By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career: Life of Hon. Phineas T. Barnum
Author: Benton, Joel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career: Life of Hon. Phineas T. Barnum" ***

Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR




Family and Birth--School Life--His First Visit to New York
City--A Landed Proprietor--The Ethics of Trade--Farm Work and
Keeping Store--Meeting-house and Sunday-school--"The One Thing

Death of his Grandmother and Father--Left Penniless and
Bare-footed--Work in a Store--His First Love--Trying to buy
Russia--Uncle Bibbin's Duel

Removal to Brooklyn--Smallpox--Goes Home to Recover His
Health--Renewed Acquaintance with the Pretty Tailoress--First
Independent Business Venture--Residence in New York--Return to

Visit to Pittsburg--Successful Lottery Business--Marriage--First
Editorial Venture--Libel Suit--Imprisonment and
Liberation--Removal to New York--Hard Times--Keeping a Boarding

Finding His True Vocation--The Purchase of Joice Heth--Evidence
as to Her Age--Her Death--Signor Vivalla--Visit to
Washington--Joining a Travelling Circus--Controversies with
Ministers--The Victim of a Practical Joke

Beating a Landlord--A Joke on Turner--Barnum as a Preacher and as
a Negro Minstrel--A Bad Man with a Gun--Dealing with a
Sheriff--"Lady Hayes"--An Embarrassed Juggler--Barnum as a
Matrimonial Agent

Advertising for a Partner--"Quaker Oats"--Diamond the Dancer--A
Dishonest Manager--Return to New York--From Hand to Mouth--The
American Museum

Advertising Extraordinary--A Quick-witted Performer--Niagara
Falls with Real Water--Other Attractions--Drummond Light

The American Flag and St. Paul's--St. Patrick's Day--The Baby
Show--Grand Buffalo Hunt--N. P. Willis--The First Wild West Show

Science for the Public--Mesmerism Extraordinary--Killing off a
Rival--The Two Giants--Discovery of "Tom Thumb"--Seeking Other
Worlds to Conquer--First Visit to England

An Aristocratic Visitor--Calling at Buckingham Palace and
Hobnobbing with Royalty--Getting a Puff in the "Court
Circular"--The Iron Duke--A Great Social and Financial Success

Arrival in Paris--Visit to the Tuilleries--Longchamps--"Tom
Ponce" all the Rage--Bonaparte and Louis Phillipi--Tour through
France--Barnum's Purchase

Presented to King Leopold and the Queen--The General's Jewels
stolen--The Field of Waterloo--An Accident--An Expensive
Equipage--The Custom of the Country

Egyptian Hall and the Zoological Garden--The Special
Relics--Purchase of the Happy Family--Return to America

Partnership with Tom Thumb--Visit to Cuba--Iranistan, his Famous
Palace at Bridgeport--Barnum's Game-Keeper and the Great Game
Dinner--Frank Leslie

A Daring Venture--Barnum's Ambassador--Unprecedented Terms
offered--Text of the Contract--Hard Work to Raise the Guarantee
Fund--Educating the American Mind to receive the Famous Singer

First Meeting with Barnum--Reception in New York--Poems in Her
Honor--A Furore of Public Interest--Sale of Tickets for the First
Concert--Barnum's Change in Terms--Ten Thousand Dollars for
Charity--Enormous Success of the First Concert

Successful Advertising--The Responsibilities of Riches--Visit to
Iranistan--Ovations at Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and
Washington--Visit to Mt. Vernon--Charleston--Havana--Fredericka

Conquest of the Habaneros--The Italian and his Dog--Mad
Bennett--A Successful Ruse--Return to New Orleans--Ludicrous
Incident--Up the Mississippi--Legerdemain

St Louis--The Secretary's Little Game--Legal Advice--Smooth
Waters Again--Barnum's Efforts Appreciated--An Extravagant

April Fool Jokes at Nashville--A Trick at Cincinnati--Return to
New York--Jenny Lind Persuaded to Leave Barnum--Financial Results
of the Enterprise

The Expedition to Ceylon--Harnessing an Elephant to a
Plow--Barnum and Vanderbilt--The Talking Machine--A Fire at
Iranistan--Mountain Grove Cemetery

Putting a Pickpocket on Exhibition--Traveling Incognito--The
Pequonnock Bank--The New York Crystal Palace--A Poem on an
Incident at Iranistan

Founding East Bridgeport--Growth of the City--The Jerome Clock
Bubble--A Ruined Man--Paying Honest Debts--Down in the Depths

False and True Friends--Meeting of Bridgeport Citizens--Barnum's
Letter--Tom Thumb's Offer--Shillaber's Poem--Barnum's Message to
the Creditors of the Jerome Clock Company--Removal to New
York--Beginning Life Anew at Forty-six

Annoying Persecutions of Creditors--Summer on Long Island--The
Black Whale Pays the Board Bill--The Wheeler & Wilson Company
Remove to East Bridgeport--Setting Sail for England

His Successful Pupil--Making Many Friends in London--Acquaintance
with Thackeray--A Comedy of Errors in a German Custom
House--Aristocratic Patronage at Fashionable Resorts--Barnum's
Impressions of Holland and the Dutch

A Jolly Voyage--Mock Trial on Shipboard--Barnum on Trial for His
Life--Discomfited Witnesses and a Triumphant Prisoner--Fair
Weather Friends--The Burning of Iranistan

The Lecture Field--Success--Cambridge--Oxford--An Unique
Entertainment--Barnum Equal to the Occasion--Invited to Stay a

A New Friend--Dinner to Tom Thumb and Commodore Nutt--Measuring
the Giant--The Two Engines

The Clock Debts Paid--The Museum once more under Barnum's
Management--Enthusiastic Reception--His Speech--Two Poems

Barnum's Partnership with the Famous Bear Hunter--Fooling Him
with the "Golden Pigeons"--Adams Earns $500 at Desperate
Cost--Tricking Barnum out of a Fine Hunting Suit--Prosperity of
the Museum--Visit of the Prince of Wales

At Home Once More--Growth of East Bridgeport--Barnum's Offer to
Men Wanting Homes of Their Own--Remarkable Progress of the
Place--How the Streets were Named

Capturing and Exhibiting White Whales--Newspaper Comments--A
Touching Obituary--The Great Behemoth--A Long "Last
Week"--Commodore Nutt--Real Live Indians on Exhibition

Miss Lavinia Warren--The Rivals--Miss Warren's Engagement to Tom
Thumb--The Wedding--Grand Reception--Letter From a Would-be
Guest, and Dr Taylor's Reply

Barnum Becomes a Republican--Illuminating the House of a
Democrat--The Peace Meeting--Elected to the Legislature--War on
the Railroads--Speech on the Amendment

How Barnum Received the Tidings--Humorous Description of the
Fire--A Public Calamity--Greeley's Advice--Intention to
Re-establish the Museum--Speech at Employees' Benefit

In the Connecticut Legislature--The Great Railroad
Fight--Barnum's Effective Stroke--Canvassing for a United States
Senator--Barnum's Congressional Campaign--A Challenge that was
not Accepted

Disposing of the Lease of the Museum Site--The Bargain with Mr.
Bennett--Barnum's Refusal to Back Out--A Long and Bitter War with
"The Herald"--Action of the Other Managers--The Return of Peace

The Fight for the Establishment of Seaside Park--Laying out City
Streets--Impatience with "Old Fogies"--Building a Seaside
Home--Waldemere--A Home in New York City

Second Marriage--The King of Hawaii--Elected Mayor of
Bridgeport--Successful Tour of the Hippodrome--Barnum's
Retirement from Office



Among the names of great Americans of the nineteenth century
there is scarcely one more familiar to the world than that of the
subject of this biography. There are those that stand for higher
achievement in literature, science and art, in public life and in
the business world. There is none that stands for more notable
success in his chosen line, none that recalls more memories of
wholesome entertainment, none that is more invested with the
fragrance of kindliness and true humanity. His career was, in a
large sense, typical of genuine Americanism, of its enterprise
and pluck, of its indomitable will and unfailing courage, of its
shrewdness, audacity and unerring instinct for success.

Like so many of his famous compatriots, Phineas Taylor Barnum
came of good old New England stock. His ancestors were among the
builders of the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. His
father's father, Ephraim Barnum, was a captain in the War of the
Revolution, and was distinguished for his valor and for his
fervent patriotism. His mother's father, Phineas Taylor, was
locally noted as a wag and practical joker. His father, Philo
Barnum, was in turn a tailor, a farmer, a storekeeper, and a
country tavernkeeper, and was not particularly prosperous in any
of these callings.

Philo Barnum and his wife, Irena Taylor, lived at Bethel,
Connecticut, and there, on July 5, 1810, their first child was
born. He was named Phineas Taylor Barnum, after his maternal
grandfather; and the latter, in return for the compliment,
bestowed upon his first grandchild at his christening the
title-deeds of a "landed estate," five acres in extent, known as
Ivy Island, and situated in that part of, Bethel known as the
"Plum Trees." Of this, more anon.

In his early years the boy led the life of the average New
England farmer's son of that period. He drove the cows to and
from the pasture, shelled corn, weeded the garden, and "did up
chores." As he grew older he rode the horse in plowing corn,
raked hay, wielded the shovel and the hoe, and chopped wood. At
six years old he began to go to school--the typical district
school. "The first date," he once said, "I remember inscribing
upon my writing-book was 1818." The ferule, or the birch-rod, was
in those days the assistant schoolmaster, and young Barnum made
its acquaintance. He was, however, an apt and ready scholar,
particularly excelling in mathematics. One night, when he was ten
years old, he was called out of bed by his teacher, who had made
a wager with a neighbor that Barnum could calculate the number of
feet in a load of wood in five minutes. Barnum did it in less
than two minutes, to the delight of his teacher and the
astonishment of the neighbor.

At an early age he manifested a strong development of the good
old Yankee organ of acquisitiveness. Before he was five years old
he had begun to hoard pennies and "fourpences," and at six years
old he was able to exchange his copper bits for a whole silver
dollar, the possession of which made him feel richer than he ever
felt afterward in all his life. Nor did he lay the dollar away in
a napkin, but used it in business to gain more. He would get ten
cents a day for riding a horse before the plow, and he would add
it to his capital. On holidays other boys spent all their
savings, but not so he. Such days were to him opportunities for
gain, not for squandering. At the fair or training of troops, or
other festivity, he would peddle candy and cakes, home-made, or
sometimes cherry rum, and by the end of the day would be a dollar
or two richer than at its beginning. "By the time I was twelve
years old," he tells us, "I was the owner of a sheep and a calf,
and should soon, no doubt, have become a small Croesus had not my
father kindly permitted me to purchase my own clothing, which
somewhat reduced my little store."

At ten years of age, realizing himself to be a "landed
proprietor" through the christening gift of his waggish
grandsire, young Barnum set out to survey his estate, which he
had not yet seen. He had heard much of "Ivy Island." His
grandfather had often, in the presence of the neighbors, spoken
of him as the richest child in the town, since he owned the whole
of Ivy Island, the richest farm in the State. His parents hoped
he would use his wealth wisely, and "do something for the family"
when he entered upon the possession of it; and the neighbors were
fearful lest he should grow too proud to associate with their

The boy took all this in good faith, and his eager curiosity to
behold his estate was greatly increased, and he asked his father
to let him go thither. "At last," says Barnum, "he promised I
should do so in a few days, as we should be getting some hay near
'Ivy Island.' The wished-for day arrived, and my father told me
that as we were to mow an adjoining meadow. I might visit my
property in company with the hired man during the 'nooning.' My
grandfather reminded me that it was to his bounty I was indebted
for this wealth, and that had not my name been Phineas I might
never have been proprietor of 'Ivy Island.' To this my mother

" 'Now, Taylor, don't become so excited when you see your
property as to let your joy make you sick, for remember, rich as
you are, that it will be eleven years before you can come into
possession of your fortune.'

"She added much more good advice, to all of which I promised to
be calm and reasonable, and not to allow my pride to prevent me
from speaking to my brothers and sisters when I returned home.

"When we arrived at the meadow, which was in that part of the
'Plum Trees' known as 'East Swamp,' I asked my father where 'Ivy
Island' was.

" 'Yonder, at the north end of this meadow, where you see those
beautiful trees rising in the distance.'

"All the forenoon I turned grass as fast as two men could cut it,
and after a hasty repast at noon, one of our hired men, a
good-natured Irishman, named Edmund, took an axe on his shoulder
and announced that he was ready to accompany me to 'Ivy Island.'
We started, and as we approached the north end of the meadow we
found the ground swampy and wet and were soon obliged to leap
from bog to bog on our route. A mis-step brought me up to my
middle in water, and to add to the dilemma a swarm of hornets
attacked me. Attaining the altitude of another bog I was cheered
by the assurance that there was only a quarter of a mile of this
kind of travel to the edge of my property. I waded on. In about
fifteen minutes more, after floundering through the morass, I
found myself half-drowned, hornet-stung, mud covered, and out of
breath, on comparatively dry land.

" 'Never mind, my boy,' said Edmund, 'we have only to cross this
little creek, and ye'll be upon your own valuable property.'

"We were on the margin of a stream, the banks of which were
thickly covered with alders. I now discovered the use of Edmund's
axe, for he felled a small oak to form a temporary bridge to my
'Island' property. Crossing over, I proceeded to the centre of my
domain. I saw nothing but a few stunted ivies and straggling
trees. The truth flashed upon me. I had been the laughing-stock
of the family and neighborhood for years. My valuable 'Ivy
Island' was an almost inaccessible, worthless bit of barren land,
and while I stood deploring my sudden downfall, a huge black
snake (one of my tenants) approached me with upraised head. I
gave one shriek and rushed for the bridge.

"This was my first and last visit to 'Ivy Island.' My father
asked me 'how I liked my property?' and I responded that I would
sell it pretty cheap."

The year 1822 was a memorable one in his childhood's history. He
was then about twelve years old. One evening, late in January,
Daniel Brown, a cattle-drover, of Southbury, Connecticut, arrived
at Bethel and stopped for the night at Philo Barnum's tavern. He
had with him some fat cattle, which he was driving to the New
York markets; and he wanted both to add to his drove of cattle
and to get a boy to help him drive them. Our juvenile hero heard
him say this, and forthwith made application for the job. His
father and mother gave their consent, and a bargain was quickly
closed with the drover.

"At daylight next morning," Barnum himself has related, "I
started on foot in the midst of a heavy snow-storm to help drive
the cattle. Before reaching Ridgefield I was sent on horseback
after a stray ox, and, in galloping, the horse fell and my ankle
was sprained. I suffered severely, but did not complain lest my
employer should send me back. We arrived at New York in three or
four days, and put up at the Bull's Head Tavern, where we were to
stay a week while the drover disposed of his cattle. It was an
eventful week for me. Before I left home my mother had given me a
dollar, which I supposed would supply every want that heart could

His first outlay was for oranges. "I was told," he says, "that
they were four pence apiece, and as four pence in Connecticut was
six cents, I offered ten cents for two oranges, which was of
course readily taken; and thus, instead of saving two cents, as I
thought, I actually paid two cents more than the price demanded.
I then bought two more oranges, reducing my capital to eighty
cents. Thirty-one cents was the charge for a small gun which
would 'go off' and send a stick some little distance, and this
gun I bought. Amusing myself with this toy in the bar-room of the
Bull's Head, the arrow happened to hit the bar-keeper, who
forthwith came from behind the counter and shook me, and soundly
boxed my ears, telling me to put that gun out of the way or he
would put it into the fire. I sneaked to my room, put my treasure
under the pillow, and went out for another visit to the toy shop.

"There I invested six cents in 'torpedoes,' with which I intended
to astonish my schoolmates in Bethel. I could not refrain,
however, from experimenting upon the guests of the hotel, which I
did when they were going in to dinner. I threw two of the
torpedoes against the wall of the hall through which the guests
were passing, and the immediate results were as follows: two loud
reports--astonished guests--irate landlord--discovery of the
culprit, and summary punishment--for the landlord immediately
floored me with a single blow with his open hand, and said:

" 'There, you little greenhorn, see if that will teach you better
than to explode your infernal fire-crackers in my house again.'

"The lesson was sufficient if not entirely satisfactory. I
deposited the balance of the torpedoes with my gun, and as a
solace for my wounded feelings I again visited the toy shop,
where I bought a watch, breastpin and top, leaving but eleven
cents of my original dollar.

"The following morning found me again at the fascinating toy
shop, where I saw a beautiful knife with two blades, a gimlet,
and a corkscrew--a whole carpenter shop in miniature, and all for
thirty-one cents. But, alas! I had only eleven cents. Have that
knife I must, however, and so I proposed to the shop-woman to
take back the top and breastpin at a slight deduction, and with
my eleven cents to let me have the knife. The kind creature
consented, and this makes memorable my first 'swap.' Some fine
and nearly white molasses candy then caught my eye, and I
proposed to trade the watch for its equivalent in candy. The
transaction was made, and the candy was so delicious that before
night my gun was absorbed in the same way. The next morning the
torpedoes 'went off' in the same direction, and before night even
my beloved knife was similarly exchanged. My money and my goods
all gone, I traded two pocket-handkerchiefs and an extra pair of
stockings I was sure I should not want for nine more rolls of
molasses candy, and then wandered about the city disconsolate,
sighing because there was no more molasses candy to conquer."

During that first visit to the metropolis the boy doubtless many
times passed the corner of Ann street and Broadway, where, in
after years, his famous museum stood. After a week in town he
returned to Bethel, riding with Brown in his sleigh, and found
himself a social lion among his young friends. He was plied with
a thousand questions about the great city which he had visited,
and no doubt told many wondrous tales. But at home his reception
was not altogether glorious. His brothers and sisters were
disappointed because he brought them nothing, and his mother,
discovering that during his journey he had lost two handkerchiefs
and a pair of stockings, gave him a spanking and put him to bed.

A settled aversion to manual labor was strongly developed in the
boy as he grew older, which his father considered simple
laziness. Instead of trying to cure him of his laziness, however,
the father decided to give up the farm, and open a store, hoping
that the boy would take more kindly to mercantile duties. So he
put up a building in Bethel, and in partnership with one Hiram
Weed opened a "general store," of dry goods, hardware, groceries,
etc., and installed young Phineas as clerk. They did a "cash,
credit and barter" business, and the boy soon learned to drive
sharp bargains with women who brought butter, eggs, beeswax and
feathers to exchange for dry goods, and with men who wanted to
trade oats, corn, buckwheat, axehelves, hats and other
commodities for ten-penny nails, molasses or New England rum. It
was a drawback upon his dignity that he was obliged to take down
the shutters, sweep the store and make the fire. He received a
small salary for his services and the perquisites of what profit
he could derive from purchasing candies on his own account to
sell to their younger customers, and, as usual, his father
insisted that he should clothe himself.

There was much to be learned in a country store, and principally,
as he found, this: that sharp tricks, deception and dishonesty
are by no means confined to the city. More than once, in cutting
open bundles of rags, brought to be exchanged for goods, he found
stones, gravel or other rubbish wrapped up in them, although they
were represented to be "all pure linen or cotton." Often, too,
loads of grain were brought in, warranted to contain so many
bushels, but on measuring them they were found five or six
bushels short.

In the evenings and on stormy days the store was a general
meeting place for the idlers of the village, and young Barnum
derived much amusement from the story-telling and joke-playing
that went on among them. After the store was closed at night he
would generally go with some of the village boys to their homes
for an hour or two of sport, and then, as late, perhaps, as
eleven o'clock, would creep slyly home and make his way upstairs
barefooted, so as not to wake the rest of the family end be
detected in his late hours. He slept with his brother, who was
sure to report him if he woke him up on coming in, and who laid
many traps to catch Phineas on his return from the evening's
merry-making. But he generally fell fast asleep and our hero was
able to gain his bed in safety.

Like almost every one in Connecticut at that time he was brought
up to go regularly to church on Sunday, and before he could read
he was a prominent member of the Sunday-school. His pious mother
taught him lessons in the New Testament and Catechism, and spared
no efforts to have him win one of those "Rewards of Merit" which
promised "to pay to the bearer One Mill." Ten of them could be
exchanged for one cent, and by securing one hundred of them,
which might be done by faithful attendance and attention every
Sunday for two years, the happy scholar could secure a book worth
ten cents!

There was only one church or "meeting-house" in Bethel, and it
was of the Presbyterian faith; but every one in town attended it,
whatever their creed. It was a severely plain edifice, with no
spire and no bell. In summer it was comfortable enough, but in
winter it was awful! There was no arrangement for heating it, and
the congregation had to sit in the cold, shivering, teeth
chattering, noses blue. A stove would have been looked upon as a
sacrilegious innovation. The sermons were often two hours long,
and by the time they were ended the faithful listeners well
deserved the nickname of "blue-skins" which the scoffers gave to
them. A few of the wealthier women carried "foot-stoves" from
their homes to their pews. A "foot-stove" was simply a square tin
box in a wooden frame, with perforations in the sides. In it was
a small square iron dish, which contained a few live coals
covered with ashes. These stoves were usually replenished just
before meeting time at some neighbor's near the meeting-house.

After many years of shivering and suffering, one of the brethren
had the temerity to propose that the church should be warmed with
a stove. His impious proposition was voted down by an
overwhelming majority. Another year came around, and in November
the stove question was again brought up. The excitement was
immense. The subject was discussed in the village stores and in
the juvenile debating club; it was prayed over in conference; and
finally in general "society's meeting," in December, the stove
was carried by a majority of one and was introduced into the
meeting-house. On the first Sunday thereafter two ancient maiden
ladies were so oppressed by the dry and heated atmosphere
occasioned by the wicked innovation that they fainted away and
were carried out into the cool air, where they speedily returned
to consciousness, especially when they were informed that owing
to the lack of two lengths of pipe no fire had yet been made in
the stove. The next Sunday was a bitter cold day, and the stove,
filled with well-seasoned hickory, was a great gratification to
the many, and displeased only a few.

During the Rev. Mr. Lowe's ministrations at Bethel he formed a
Bible class, of which young Barnum was a member. They used to
draw promiscuously from a hat a text of Scripture and write a
composition on the text, which compositions were read after
service in the afternoon to such of the congregation as remained
to hear the exercises of the class. Once Barnum drew the text,
Luke x. 42: "But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that
good part which shall not be taken away from her." Question,
"What is the one thing needful?" His answer was nearly as

"This question, 'What is the one thing needful?' is capable of
receiving various answers, depending much upon the persons to
whom it is addressed. The merchant might answer that 'the one
thing needful' is plenty of customers, who buy liberally, without
beating down, and pay cash for all their purchases.' The farmer
might reply that 'the one thing needful is large harvests and
high prices.' The physician might answer that 'it is plenty of
patients.' The lawyer might be of opinion that 'it is an unruly
community, always engaging in bickerings and litigations.' The
clergyman might reply, 'It is a fat salary, with multitudes of
sinners seeking salvation and paying large pew rents.' The
bachelor might exclaim, 'It is a pretty wife who loves her
husband, and who knows how to sew on buttons.' The maiden might
answer, 'It is a good husband, who will love, cherish and protect
me while life shall last.' But the most proper answer, and
doubtless that which applied to the case of Mary, would be, 'The
one thing needful is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, follow
in his footsteps, love God and obey His commandments, love our
fellowman, and embrace every opportunity of administering to his
necessities.' In short, 'the one thing needful' is to live a life
that we can always look back upon with satisfaction, and be
enabled ever to contemplate its termination with trust in Him who
has so kindly vouchsafed it to us, surrounding us with
innumerable blessings, if we have but the heart and wisdom to
receive them in a proper manner."

The reading of a portion of this answer occasioned some amusement
in the congregation, in which the clergyman himself joined, and
the name of "Taylor Barnum" was whispered in connection with the
composition; but at the close of the reading Barnum had the
satisfaction of hearing Mr. Lowe say that it was a well-written
answer to the question, "What is the one thing needful?"



In August, 1825, the aged grandmother met with an accident in
stepping on the point of a rusty nail, which shortly afterwards
resulted in her death. She was a woman of great piety, and before
she died sent for each of her grandchildren--to whom she was
devoted--and besought them to lead a Christian life. Barnum was
so deeply impressed by that death-bed scene that through his
whole life neither the recollection of it, nor of the dying
woman's words, ever left him.

The elder Barnum was a man of many enterprises and few successes.
Besides being the proprietor of a hotel he owned a livery-stable,
ran a sort of an express, and kept a country store. Phineas was
his confidential clerk, and, if he did not reap much financial
benefit from his position, he at least obtained a good business

On the 7th of September, 1825, the father, after a six months'
illness, died at the age of forty-eight, leaving a wife and five
children and an insolvent estate. There was literally nothing
left for the family; the creditors seized everything; even the
small sum which Phineas had loaned his father was held to be the
property of a minor, and therefore belonging to the estate. The
boy was obliged to borrow money to buy the shoes he wore to the
funeral. At fifteen he began the world not only penniless but

He went at once to Grassy Plain, a few miles northwest of Bethel,
where he managed to obtain a clerkship in the store of James S.
Keeler and Lewis Whitlock, at the magnificent salary of six
dollars a month and his board. He had chosen his uncle, Alanson
Taylor, as his guardian, but made his home with Mrs. Jerusha
Wheeler and her two daughters; Mary and Jerusha. He worked hard
and faithfully, and so gained the esteem of his employers that
they afforded him many opportunities for making money on his own
account. His small speculations proved so successful that before
long he found himself in possession of quite a little sum.

"I made," says Barnum, "a very remarkable trade at one time for
my employers by purchasing, in their absence, a whole wagon-load
of green glass bottles of various sizes, for which I paid in
unsalable goods at very profitable prices. How to dispose of the
bottles was then the problem, and as it was also desirable to get
rid of a large quantity of tin-ware which had been in the shop
for years and was con-siderably 'shop worn,' I conceived the idea
of a lottery, in which the highest prize should be twenty-five
dollars, payable in any goods the winner desired, while there
were to be fifty prizes of five dollars each, payable in goods,
to be designated in the scheme. Then there were one hundred
prizes of one dollar each, one hundred prizes of fifty cents
each, and three hundred prizes of twenty-five cents each. It is
unnecessary to state that the minor prizes consisted mainly of
glass and tin-ware; the tickets sold like wildfire, and the worn
tin and glass bottles were speedily turned into cash."

Mrs Barnum still continued to keep the village hotel at Bethel,
and Phineas went home every Saturday night, going to church with
his mother on Sunday, and returning to his work Monday morning.
One Saturday evening Miss Mary Wheeler, at whose house the young
man boarded, sent him word that she had a young lady from Bethel
whom she desired him to escort home, as it was raining violently,
and the maiden was afraid to go alone. He assented readily
enough, and went over to "Aunt Rushia's," where he was introduced
to Miss Charity ("Chairy," for short) Hallett. She was a very
pretty girl and a bright talker, and the way home seemed only too
short to her escort. She was a tailoress in the village, and went
to church regularly, but, although Phineas saw her every Sunday
for many weeks, he had no opportunity of the acquaintance that

Mrs. Jerusha Wheeler and her daughter Jerusha were familiarly
known, the one as "Aunt Rushia," and the other as "Rushia." Many
of the store customers were hatters, and among the many kinds of
furs sold for the nap of hats was one known to the trade as
"Russia." One day a hatter, Walter Dibble, called to buy some
furs. Barnum sold him several kinds, including "beaver" and
"cony," and he then asked for some "Russia." They had none, and
as Barnum wanted to play a joke upon him, he told him that Mrs.
Wheeler had several hundred pounds of "Rushia."

"What on earth is a woman doing with 'Russia?' " said he.

Barnum could not answer, but assured him that there were one
hundred and thirty pounds of old Rushia and one hundred and fifty
pounds of young Rushia in Mrs. Wheeler's house, and under her
charge, but whether or not it was for sale he could not say. Off
he started to make the purchase and knocked at the door. Mrs.
Wheeler, the elder, made her appearance.

"I want to get your Russia," said the hatter.

Mrs. Wheeler asked him to walk in and be seated. She, of course,
supposed that he had come for her daughter "Rushia."

"What do you want of Rushia?" asked the old lady.

"To make hats," was the reply.

"To trim hats, I suppose you mean?" responded Mrs. Wheeler.

"No, for the outside of hats," replied the hatter.

"Well, I don't know much about hats," said the old lady, "but I
will call my daughter."

Passing into another room where "Rushia" the younger was at work,
she informed her that a man wanted her to make hats.

"Oh, he means sister Mary, probably. I suppose he wants some
ladies' hats," replied Rushia, as she went into the parlor.

"This is my daughter," said the old lady.

"I want to get your Russia," said he, addressing the young lady.

"I suppose you wish to see my sister Mary; she is our milliner,"
said young Rushia.

"I wish to see whoever owns the property," said the hatter.

Sister Mary was sent for, and, as she was introduced, the hatter
informed her that he wished to buy her "Russia."

"Buy Rushia!" exclaimed Mary, in surprise; I don't understand

"Your name is Miss Wheeler, I believe," said the hatter, who was
annoyed by the difficulty he met with in being understood.

"It is, sir."

"Ah! very well. Is there old and young Russia in the house?"

"I believe there is," said Mary, surprised at the familiar manner
in which he spoke of her mother and sister, who were present.

"What is the price of old Russia per pound?" asked the hatter.

"I believe, sir, that old Rushia is not for sale," replied Mary,

"Well, what do you ask for young Russia?" pursued the hatter.

"Sir," said Miss Rushia the younger, springing to her feet, "do
you come here to insult defenceless females? If you do, sir, our
brother, who is in the garden, will punish you as you deserve."

"Ladies!" exclaimed the hatter, in astonishment, "what on earth
have I done to offend you? I came here on a business matter. I
want to buy some Russia. I was told you had old and young Russia
in the house. Indeed, this young lady just stated such to be the
fact, but she says the old Russia is not for sale. Now, if I can
buy the young Russia I want to do so--but if that can't be done,
please to say so, and I will trouble you no further."

"Mother, open the door and let this man go out; he is undoubtedly
crazy," said Miss Mary.

"By thunder! I believe I shall be if I remain here long,"
exclaimed the hatter, considerably excited. "I wonder if folks
never do business in these parts, that you think a man is crazy
if he attempts such a thing?"

"Business! poor man!" said Mary soothingly, approaching the door.

"I am not a poor man, madam," replied the hatter. "My name is
Walter Dibble; I carry on hatting extensively in Danbury; I came
to Grassy Plain to buy fur, and have purchased some 'beaver' and
'cony,' and now it seems I am to be called 'crazy' and a 'poor
man,' because I want to buy a little 'Russia' to make up my

The ladies began to open their eyes; they saw that Mr. Dibble was
quite in earnest, and his explanation threw considerable light
upon the subject.

"Who sent you here?" asked sister Mary.

"The clerk at the opposite store," was the reply.

"He is a wicked young fellow for making all this trouble," said
the old lady; "he has been doing this for a joke."

"A joke!" exclaimed Dibble, in surprise, "have you no Russia,

"My name is Jerusha, and so is my daughter's," said Mrs. Wheeler,
"and that, I suppose, is what he meant by telling you of old and
young Rushia."

Mr. Dibble, without more words, left the house and made for the
store. "You young villain!" he cried, as he entered, "what did
you mean by sending me over there to buy Russia?"

"I didn't," answered the young villain, with a perfectly solemn
face, "I thought you were a widower or a bachelor who wanted to
marry Rushia."

"You lie," said the discomfited Dibble, laughing in spite of
himself; "but never mind, I'll pay you off some day." And
gathering up his furs he departed.

On another occasion this sense of humor and love of joking was
turned to very practical account. Among the customers at the
store were a half a dozen old Revolutionary pensioners, who were
permitted to buy on credit, leaving their pension papers as
security. One of these pensioners was a romancing old fellow
named Bevans--more commonly known as "Uncle Bibbins." He was very
fond of his glass, and fonder still of relating anecdotes of the
Revolution, in which his own prowess and daring were always the
conspicuous features. His pension papers were in the possession
of Keeler & Whitlock, but it was three months before the money
was due, and they grew very weary of having him for a customer.
They tried delicately suggesting a visit to his relatives in
Guilford, but Uncle Bibbins steadily refused to take the hint.
Finally young Barnum enlisted the services of a journeyman hatter
named Benton, and together they hit on a plan. The hatter was
inspired to call Uncle Bibbins a coward, and to declare his
belief that if the old gentleman was wounded anywhere it must
have been in the back. Barnum pretended to sympathize with the
veteran's just indignation, and finally fired him up to the pitch
of challenging the hatter to mortal combat. The challenge was
promptly accepted, and the weapons chosen were muskets and ball,
at a distance of twenty feet. Uncle Bibbins took his second
(Barnum, of course) aside, and begged him to see that the guns
were loaded only with blank cartridges. He was assured that it
would be so, and that no one would be injured in the encounter.

The ground was measured back of the store, the principals and
seconds took their places, and the word of command was given.
They fired, Uncle Bibbins, of course, being unhurt, but the
hatter, with a fearful yell, fell to the ground as if dead.
Barnum rushed up to the frightened Bevans and begged him to fly,
promising to let him know when it was safe for him to return. The
old fellow started out of town on a run, and for the next three
months remained very quietly at Guilford. At the end of that time
his faithful second sent for him, with the assurance that his
late adversary had not only recovered from his wound but had
freely forgiven all. Uncle Bibbins then returned and paid up his
debts. Meeting Benton on the street some days later, the two foes
shook hands, Benton apologizing for his insult. Uncle Bibbins
accepted the apology, "but," he added, "you must be careful after
this how you insult a dead-shot."



In the fall of 1826, Oliver Taylor, who had removed from Danbury
to Brooklyn, induced Barnum to leave Grassy Plain, offering him a
clerkship in his grocery store, which offer was accepted, and
before long the young man was intrusted with the purchasing of
all goods for the store. He bought for cash, going into lower New
York in search of the cheapest market, frequenting auction sales
of merchandise, and often entering into combines with other
grocers to bid off large lots, which were afterward divided
between them. Thus they were enabled to buy at a much lower rate
than if the goods had passed through the hands of wholesale
dealers, and Barnum's reputation for business tact and shrewdness

The following summer he was taken ill with smallpox, and during
his long confinement to the house his stock of ready money became
sadly di-minished. As soon as he was able to travel he went home
to recover his strength, and while there had the happiness of
renewing the acquaintance, so pleasantly begun, with the pretty
tailoress, Charity Hallett.

His health fully restored he returned to Brooklyn, but not to his
old position. Pleasant as that had been, it no longer contented
the restless, ambitious Barnum. He opened a "porter-home," but
sold out a few months later, at a good profit, and took another
clerkship, this time at 29 Peck Slip, New York, in the store of a
certain David Thorp. He lived in his employer's family, with
which he was a great favorite, and where he had frequent
opportunities of meeting old friends, for Mr. Thorp's place was a
great resort for Bethel and Danbury hatters and combmakers.

At this time Barnum formed his first taste for the theatre. He
went to the play regularly and soon set up for a critic. It was
his one dissipation, however. A more moral young fellow never
existed; he read his Bible and went to church as regularly as
ever, and to the day of his death was wont to declare that he
owed all that was good in his character to his early observance
of Sunday.

In the winter of 1898 his grandfather offered to him, rent free,
his carriage-house, which was situated on the main street, if he
would come back to Bethel. The young man's capital was one
hundred and twenty dollars; fifty of this was spent in fixing up
his store, and the remainder he invested in a stock of fruit and
confectionery. Having arranged with fruit dealers of his
acquaintance in New York to receive his orders, he opened his
store on the first of May--in those times known as "training
day." The first day was so successful that long before noon the
proprietor was obliged to call in one of his old schoolmates to
assist in waiting on customers. The total receipts were
sixty-three dollars, which sum was promptly invested in a stock
of fancy goods --pocket-books, combs, knives, rings, beads, etc.
Business was good all summer, and in the fall oysters were added
to the list of attractions. The old grandfather was delighted at
the success of the scheme, and after a while induced Barnum to
take an agency for lottery tickets on a commission of ten per
cent. Lotteries in those days were looked upon as thoroughly
respectable, and the profit gained from the sale of the tickets
was regarded as perfectly legitimate by the agent; his views on
the subject changed very materially later on.

The store soon became the great village resort, the centre of all
discussions and the scene of many practical jokes.

The following scene, related by Barnum himself, makes a chapter
in the history of Connecticut, as the State was when "blue laws"
were something more than a dead letter:

"To swear in those days was according to custom, but contrary to
law. A person from New York State, whom I will call Crofut, who
was a frequent visitor at my store, was equally noted for his
self-will and his really terrible profanity. One day he was in my
little establishment engaged in conversation when Nathan Seelye,
Esq., one of our village justices of the peace, and a man of
strict religious principles, came in, and hearing Crofut's
profane language he told him he considered it his duty to fine
him one dollar for swearing.

"Crofut responded immediately with an oath, that he did not care
a d----n for the Connecticut blue laws.

" 'That will make two dollars,' said Mr. Seelye.

"This brought forth another oath.

" 'Three dollars,' said the sturdy justice.

"Nothing but oaths were given in reply, until Esquire Seelye
declared the damage to the Connecticut laws to amount to fifteen

"Crofut took out a twenty-dollar bill and handed it to the
justice of the peace, with an oath.

" 'Sixteen dollars,' said Mr. Seelye, counting out four dollars
to hand to Mr. Crofut as his change.

" 'Oh, keep it, keep it,' said Crofut, 'I don't want any change;
I'll d----n soon swear out the balance.' He did so, after which
he was more circumspect in his conversation, remarking that
twenty dollars a day for swearing was about as much as he could

About this time Barnum appeared, on at least one occasion, in the
role of lawyer. A man charged with assault and battery was
brought before the justice of the peace, Barnum's grandfather,
for trial. A medical student, Newton by name, had volunteered to
defend the prisoner, and Mr. Couch, the grand juryman, in irony,
offered Phineas a dollar to represent the State. The court was
crowded. The guilt of the prisoner was established beyond a
doubt, but Newton, undaunted, rose to make his speech. It
consisted of a flood of invective against the grand juryman,
Couch; the court listened for five minutes, and then interrupted
a magnificent burst of eloquence by informing the speaker that
Mr. Couch was not the plaintiff in the case at all.

"Not the plaintiff!" stammered Newton; "well, then, your honor,
who is?"

"The State of Connecticut," was the answer.

The young man dropped into his seat, speechless, and the
prosecuting attorney arose and in an elaborate speech declared
the guilt of the prisoner shown beyond question, adding that he
was astonished that both the prisoner and his counsel had not
pleaded guilty at once. In the midst of his soarings the
grandfather interrupted with--"Young man, will you have the
kindness to inform the court which side you represent--the
plaintiff or the defendant?"

The orator stared helplessly at the justice for a moment, and
then sat down. Amid peals of laughter from the spectators the
prisoner was bound over to the county court for trial.

But Phineas did not often come out so ingloriously in encounters
with his grandfather. The old gentleman was always ready to lend
his grandson any of his turnouts except one, and this one Phineas
especially desired one day for a sleighing party, in which he was
to escort the fair Charity Hallett. So he boldly went to the
grandfather and asked if he might take Arabian and the new

"Oh, yes," said the old man, jokingly, "if you have twenty
dollars in your pocket."


"Yes, really."

Whereupon Phineas showed the money, and putting it back in his
pocket, remarked, "You see; I am much obliged for the sleigh."

Of course, the grandfather had meant to ask an impossible price
for the horse and sleigh; but being caught up so suddenly, there
was nothing to do but to consent, and Phineas and "Chairy" had
the finest turnout of the party.

There was a young fellow in the town, Jack Mallett, whose
education was rather deficient, and who had been somewhat
unsuccessfully paying his addresses to a fair but hard-hearted
maiden, named Lucretia. One Sunday evening she cruelly refused to
accept his escort after church, and added insult to injury by
walking off before his very eyes with another man. Accordingly,
he determined to write her a letter of remonstrance, and enlisted
the aid of Phineas and another young blade known as "Bill"
Shepherd. The joint effort of the three resulted in the

                              "BETHEL,----, 18--.

"MISS LUCRETIA: I write this to ask an explanation of your
conduct in giving me the mitten on Sunday night last. If you
think, madam, that you can trifle with my affections, and turn me
off for every little whipper-snapper that you can pick up, you
will find yourself considerably mistaken. [We read thus far to
Mallett, and it met his approval. He said he liked the idea of
calling her "madam," for he thought it sounded so "distant," it
would hurt her feelings very much. The term "little
whipper-snapper" also delighted him. He said he guessed that
would make her feel cheap. Shepherd and myself were not quite so
sure of its aptitude, since the chap who succeeded in capturing
Lucretia, on the occasion alluded to, was a head and shoulders
taller than Mallett. However, we did not intimate our thoughts to
Mallett, and he desired us to "go ahead and give her another
dose."] You don't know me, madam, if you think you can snap me up
in this way. I wish you to understand that I can have the company
of girls as much above you as the sun is above the earth, and I
won't stand any of your impudent nonsense no how. [This was duly
read and approved. "Now," said Mallett, "try to touch her
feelings. Remind her of the pleasant hours we have spent
together;" and we continued as follows:] My dear Lucretia, when I
think of the many pleasant hours we have spent together--of the
delightful walks which we have had on moonlight evenings to
Fenner's Rocks, Chestnut Ridge, Grassy Plain, Wild Cat and Puppy
Town--of the strolls which we have taken upon Shelter Rocks,
Cedar Hill--the visits we have made to Old Lane, Wolfpits, Toad
Hole and Plum Trees[1]--when all these things come rushing on my
mind, and when; my dear girl, I remember how often you have told
me that you loved me better than anybody else, and I assured you
that my feelings were the same as yours, it almost breaks my
heart to think of last Sunday night. ["Can't you stick in some
affecting poetry here?" said Mallett. Shepherd could not
recollect any to the point, nor could I; but as the exigency of
the case seemed to require it, we concluded to manufacture a
verse or two, which we did, as follows:]

[1] These were the euphonious names of localities in the vicinity
of Bethel.

 Lucretia, dear, what have I done,
That you should use me thus and so,
To take the arm of Tom Beers' son,
And let your dearest true love go?

 Miserable fate, to lose you now,
And tear this bleeding heart asunder!
Will you forget your tender vow?
I can't believe it--no, by thunder.

[Mallett did not like the word "thunder," but being informed that
no other word could be substituted without destroying both rhyme
and reason, he consented that it should remain, provided we added
two more stanzas of a softer nature; something, he said, that
would make the tears come, if possible, We then ground out the

 Lucretia, dear, do write to Jack,
And say with Beers you are not smitten;
And thus to me in love come back,
And give all other boys the mitten.

 Do this, Lucretia, and till death
I'll love you to intense distraction;
I'll spend for you my every breath,
And we will live in satisfaction.

["That will do very well," said Mallett. "Now I guess you had
better blow her up a little more." We obeyed orders as follows:]
It makes me mad to think what a fool I was to give you that
finger-ring and bosom-pin, and spend so much time in your
company, just to be flirted and bamboozled as I was on Sunday
night last. If you continue this course of conduct, we part
forever, and I will thank you to send back that jewelry. I would
sooner see it crushed under my feet than worn by a person who
abused me as you have done. I shall despise you forever if you
don't change your conduct towards me, and send me a letter of
apology on Monday next. I shall not go to meeting to-morrow, for
I would scorn to sit in the same meeting-house with you until I
have an explanation of your conduct. If you allow any young man
to go home with you to-morrow night, I shall know it, for you
will be watched, ["There," said Mallett, "that is pretty strong.
Now, I guess, you had better touch her feelings once more, and
wind up the letter." We proceeded as follows:] My sweet girl, if
you only knew the sleepless nights which I have spent during the
present week, the torments and sufferings which I endure on your
account; if you could but realize that I regard the world as less
than nothing without you, I am certain you would pity me. A
homely cot and a crust of bread with my adorable Lucretia would
be a paradise, where a palace without you would be a hades.
["What in thunder is hades?" inquired Jack. We explained. He
considered the figure rather bold, and requested us to close as
soon as possible.] Now, dearest, in bidding you adieu, I implore
you to reflect on our past enjoyments, look forward with pleasure
to our future happy meetings, and rely upon your affectionate
Jack in storm or calm, in sickness, distress or want, for all
these will be powerless to change my love. I hope to hear from
you on Monday next, and, if favorable, I shall be happy to call
on you the same evening, when in ecstatic joy we will laugh at
the past, hope for the future, and draw consolation from the fact
that "the course of true love never did run smooth." This from
your disconsolate but still hoping lover and admirer,
         "JACK MALLETT.

"P. S.--On reflection I have concluded to go to meeting
to-morrow. If all is well, hold your pocket-handkerchief in your
left hand as you stand up to sing with the choir--in which case I
shall expect the pleasure of giving you my arm to-morrow night.
                                     "J. M."

The effect of this letter upon Lucretia was not as favorable as
could have been desired. She declined to remove her handkerchief
from her right hand, and she returned the "ring and bosom-pin" to
her disconsolate admirer, while, not many months after, Mallett's
rival led Lucretia to the altar. As for Mallett's agreement to
pay Shepherd and Barnum five pounds of carpet-rags and twelve
yards of broadcloth "lists" for their services, owing to his ill
success, they compromised for one-half the amount.



About this time Barnum, with a Mr. Samuel Sherwood, of
Bridgeport, started for Pittsburg, where they proposed to open a
lottery office. On reaching New York, however, and talking over
the scheme with friends, the venture was abandoned and the two
men took, instead, a pleasure trip to Philadelphia. They stayed a
week, at the end of which time they returned to New York, with
exactly twenty-seven cents between them. Sherwood managed to
borrow two dollars--enough to take him to Newark, where he had a
cousin, who obligingly loaned him fifty dollars. The two friends
remained in New York on the strength of their newly acquired
wealth for several days, and then went home considerably richer
in experience at least.

Barnum now went into the lottery business exclusively, taking his
uncle, Alanson Taylor, into partnership. They established a
number of agencies throughout the country, and made good profits
from the sale of tickets. Several of the tickets sold by them
took prizes and their office came to be considered "lucky."

The young man was prospering also in another direction. The fair
tailoress smiled on him as sweetly as ever, and in the summer of
1827 they became formally engaged. In the fall Miss Hallett went
"on a visit" to her uncle, Nathan Beers, in New York. A month
later her lover followed, "to buy goods," and on the 8th of
November, 1829, there was a wedding in the comfortable house at
No. 3 Allen street. Having married at the age of nineteen, Barnum
always expressed his disapproval of early marriages, although his
own was a very happy one.

Returning to Bethel, Mr. and Mrs. Barnum, after boarding for a
few months, moved into their own house, which was built on a
three acre plat purchased from the grandfather.

The lottery business still prospered, but it was mostly in the
hands of agents, in Danbury, Norwalk, Stamford and Middletown,
and Barnum began to look around for some field for his individual
energies. He tried travelling as a book auctioneer, but found it
uncongenial and quit the business. In July, 1831, with his uncle
Alanson Taylor, he opened a grocery and general store, but the
venture was not particularly successful, and in the fall the
partnership was dissolved, Barnum buying his uncle's interest.

The next enterprise was an important one, it being the real
beginning of Phineas T. Barnum's public career.

In a period of strong political excitement, he wrote several
communications for the Danbury weekly paper, setting forth what
he conceived to be the dangers of a sectarian interference which
was then apparent in political affairs. The publication of these
communications was refused, and he accordingly purchased a press
and types, and October 19, 1831, issued the first number of his
own paper, The Herald of Freedom.

"I entered upon the editorship of this journal," says Mr. Barnum,
"with all the vigor and vehemence of youth. The boldness with
which the paper was conducted soon excited widespread attention
and commanded a circulation which extended beyond the immediate
locality into nearly every State in the Union. But lacking that
experience which induces caution, and without the dread of
consequences, I frequently laid myself open to the charge of
libel, and three times in three years I was prosecuted. A Danbury
butcher, a zealous politician, brought a civil suit against me
for accusing him of being a spy in a Democratic caucus. On the
first trial the jury did not agree, but after a second trial I
was fined several hundred dollars. Another libel suit against me
was withdrawn. The third was sufficiently important to warrant
the following detail:

"A criminal prosecution was brought against me for stating in my
paper that a man in Bethel, prominent in church, had 'been guilty
of taking USURY of an orphan boy,' and for severely commenting on
the fact in my editorial columns. When the case came to trial the
truth of my statement was substantially proved by several
witnesses and even by the prosecuting party. But 'the greater the
truth, the greater the libel,' and then I had used the term
'usury,' instead of extortion, or note-shaving, or some other
expression which might have softened the verdict. The result was
that I was sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred dollars and to
be imprisoned in the common jail for sixty days.

"The most comfortable provision was made for me in Danbury jail.
My room was papered and carpeted; I lived well; I was overwhelmed
with the constant visits of my friends; I edited my paper as
usual and received large accessions to my subscription list; and
at the end of my sixty days' term the event was celebrated by a
large concourse of people from the surrounding country. The court
room in which I was convicted was the scene of the celebration.
An ode, written for the occasion, was sung; an eloquent oration
on the freedom of the press was delivered; and several hundred
gentlemen afterwards partook of a sumptuous dinner followed by
appropriate toasts and speeches. Then came the triumphant part of
the ceremonial, which was reported in my paper of December 12,
1832, as follows:

" 'P. T. Barnum and the band of music took their seats in a coach
drawn by six horses, which had been prepared for the occasion.
The coach was preceded by forty horsemen, and a marshal, bearing
the national standard. Immediately in the rear of the coach was
the carriage of the orator and the President of the day, followed
by the committee of arrangements and sixty carriages of citizens,
which joined in escorting the editor to his home in Bethel.

" 'When the procession commenced its march amidst the roar of
cannon, three cheers were given by several hundred citizens who
did not join in the procession. The band of music continued to
play a variety of national airs until their arrival in Bethel (a
distance of three miles), when they struck up the beautiful and
appropriate tune of "Home, Sweet Home!" After giving three hearty
cheers, the procession returned to Danbury. The utmost harmony
and unanimity of feeling prevailed throughout the day, and we are
happy to add that no accident occured to mar the festivities of
the occasion.' "

The editorial career continued as it had begun. In 1830 The
Herald of Freedom was sold to Mr. George Taylor.

The mercantile business was also sold to Horace Fairchild, who
had been associated with it as partner since 1831, and a Mr.
Toucey, who formed a partnership under the name of Fairchild &
Co. Barnum had lost considerable money in this store; he was too
speculative for ordinary trade, too ready, also to give credit,
and his ledger was full of unpaid accounts when he finally gave
up business.

In 1835 he removed his family to New York, taking a house in
Hudson street. For a time he tried to get a position in a
mercantile house, not on a fixed salary, but so as to derive a
commission on his sales, trusting to his ability to make more
money in this way than an ordinary clerk could be expected to
receive. Failing in this he acted as a "drummer" for several
stores until spring, when he was fortunate enough to receive
several hundred dollars from his agent at Bethel. In May he
opened a private boarding-house at 52 Frankfort street, which was
well patronized by his Connecticut acquaintances as often as they
visited the metropolis. This business not occupying his entire
time, he bought an interest in a grocery store at 156 South

Although the years of manhood brought cares, anxieties, and
struggles for a livelihood, they did not change Barnum's nature,
and the jocose element was still an essential ingredient of his
being. He loved fun, practical fun, for itself and for the
enjoyment which it brought. During the year he occasionally
visited Bridgeport, where he almost always found at the hotel a
noted joker, named Darrow, who spared neither friend nor foe in
his tricks. He was the life of the bar-room, and would always try
to entrap some stranger in a bet and so win a treat for the
company. He made several ineffectual attempts upon Barnum, and at
last, one evening, Darrow, who stuttered, made a final trial, as

"Come, Barnum, I'll make you another proposition; I'll bet you
hadn't got a whole shirt on your back." The catch consists in the
fact that generally only one-half of that convenient garment is
on the back; but Barnum had anticipated the proposition --in fact
he had induced a friend, Mr. Hough, to put Darrow up to the
trick--and had folded a shirt nicely upon his back, securing it
there with his suspenders. The bar-room was crowded with
customers who thought that if Barnum made the bet he would be
nicely caught, and he made presence of playing off and at the
same time stimulated Darrow to press the bet by saying:

"That is a foolish bet to make; I am sure my shirt is whole
because it is nearly new; but I don't like to bet on such a

"A good reason why," said Darrow, in great glee; "it's ragged.
Come, I'll bet you a treat for the whole company you hadn't got a
whole shirt on your b-b-b-back!"

"I'll bet my shirt is cleaner than yours," Barnum replied.

"That's nothing to do w-w-with the case; it's ragged, and y-y-you
know it."

"I know it is not," Barnum replied, with pretended anger, which
caused the crowd to laugh heartily.

"You poor ragged f-f-fellow, come down here from D-D-Danbury, I'm
sorry for you," said Darrow tantalizingly.

"You would not pay if you lost," Barnum remarked.

"Here's f-f-five dollars I'll put in Captain Hinman's (the
landlord's) hands. Now b-b-bet if you dare, you ragged
c-c-creature, you."

Barnum put five dollars in Captain Hinman's hands, and told him
to treat the company from it if he lost the bet.

"Remember," said Darrow, "I b-b-bet you hadn't got a whole shirt
on your bob-back!"

"All right," said Barnum, taking off his coat and commencing to
unbutton his vest. The whole company, feeling sure that he was
caught, began to laugh heartily. Old Darrow fairly danced with
delight, and as Barnum laid his coat on a chair he came running
up in front of him, and slapping his hands together, exclaimed:

"You needn't t-t-take off any more c-c-clothes, for if it ain't
all on your b-b-back, you've lost it."

"If it is, I suppose you have!" Barnum replied, pulling the whole
shirt from off his back!

Such a shriek of laughter as burst forth from the crowd was
scarcely ever heard, and certainly such a blank countenance as
old Darrow exhibited it would be hard to conceive. Seeing that he
was most incontinently "done for," and perceiving that his
neighbor Hough had helped to do it, he ran up to him in great
anger, and shaking his fist in his face, exclaimed:

"H-H-Hough, you infernal r-r-rascal, to go against your own
neighbor in favor of a D-D-Danbury man. I'll pay you for that
some time, you see if I d-d-don't."

All hands went up to the bar and drank with a hearty good will,
for it was seldom that Darrow got taken in, and he was such an
inveterate joker they liked to see him paid in his own coin.
Never till the day of his death did he hear the last of the
"whole shirt."



Barnum was now satisfied that he had not yet found his proper
level. He had not yet entered the business for which nature had
designed him. There was only a prospect of his going on from this
to that, as his father had done before him, trying many callings
but succeeding in none. He had not yet discovered that love of
amusement is one of the strongest passions of the human heart.
This, however, was a lesson that he was soon to learn; and he was
to achieve both fame and fortune as a caterer to the public
desire for entertainment.

Philosophizing on this theme in later years, Mr. Barnum once
said: "The show business has all phases and grades of dignity,
from the exhibition of a monkey to the exposition of that highest
art in music or the drama which entrances empires and secures for
the gifted artist a worldwide fame which princes well might envy.
Men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need
something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he
who ministers to this want is in a business established by the
Author of our nature. If he worthily fulfils his mission, and
amuses without corrupting, he need never feel that he has lived
in vain."

In the summer of 1835, Mr. Barnum was visited by Mr. Coley
Bartram, of Reading, Connecticut, who told him that he had owned
an interest in a remarkable negro woman, who was confidently
believed to be one hundred and sixty-one years old and to have
been the nurse of Washington. Mr. Bartram showed him a copy of an
advertisement in The Pennsylvania Inquirer for July 15, 1835, as

"CURIOSITY.--The citizens of Philadelphia and its vicinity have
an opportunity of witnessing at the Masonic Hall one of the
greatest natural curiosities ever witnessed, viz.: JOICE HETH, a
negress, aged 161 years, who formerly belonged to the father of
General Washington. She has been a member of the Baptist Church
one hundred and sixteen years, and can rehearse many hymns, and
sing them according to former custom. She was born near the old
Potomac River in Virginia, and has for ninety or one hundred
years lived in Paris, Kentucky, with the Bowling family.

"All who have seen this extraordinary woman are satisfied of the
truth of the account of her age. The evidence of the Bowling
family, which is respectable, is strong, but the original bill of
sale of Augustine Washington, in his own handwriting, and other
evidences which the proprietor has in his possession, will
satisfy even the most incredulous.

"A lady will attend at the hall during the afternoon and evening
for the accommodation of those ladies who may call."

Mr. Bartram told him, moreover, that he had sold out his interest
in the woman to R. W. Lindsay, of Jefferson county, Kentucky, who
was then exhibiting her as a curiosity, but was anxious to sell
her. Mr. Barnum had seen in some of the New York papers an
account of Joice Heth, and was so much interested in her that he
at once proceeded to Philadelphia to see her and Mr. Lindsay. How
he was impressed by her he has himself told. "Joice Heth," he
says, "was certainly a remarkable curiosity, and she looked as if
she might have been far older than her age as advertised. She was
apparently in good health and spirits, but from age or disease,
or both, was unable to change her position; she could move one
arm at will, but her lower limbs could not be straightened; her
left arm lay across her breast and she could not remove it; the
fingers of her left hand were drawn down so as nearly to close
it, and were fixed; the nails on that hand were almost four
inches long and extended above her wrist; the nails on her large
toes had grown to the thickness of a quarter of an inch; her head
was covered with a thick bush of grey hair; but she was toothless
and totally blind, and her eyes had sunk so deeply in the sockets
as to have disappeared altogether.

"Nevertheless she was pert and sociable, and would talk as long
as people would converse with her. She was quite garrulous about
her protege, 'dear little George,' at whose birth she declared
she was present, having been at the time a slave of Elizabeth
Atwood, a half-sister of Augustine Washington, the father of
George Washington. As nurse she put the first clothes on the
infant, and she claimed to have 'raised him.' She professed to be
a member of the Baptist Church, talking much in her way on
religious subjects, and she sang a variety of ancient hymns.

"In proof of her extraordinary age and pretensions, Mr. Lindsay
exhibited a bill of sale, dated February 5, 1727, from Augustine
Washington, county of Westmoreland, Virginia, to Elizabeth
Atwood, a half-sister and neighbor of Mr. Washington, conveying
'one negro women named Joice Heth, aged fifty-four years, for and
in consideration of the sum of thirty-three pounds lawful money
of Virginia.' It was further claimed that she had long been a
nurse in the Washington family; she was called in at the birth of
George and clothed the newborn infant. The evidence seemed
authentic, and in answer to the inquiry why so remarkable a
discovery had not been made before, a satisfactory explanation
was given in the statement that she had been carried from
Virginia to Kentucky, had been on the plantation of John S.
Bowling so long that no one knew or cared how old she was, and
only recently the accidental discovery by Mr. Bowling's son of
the old bill of sale in the Record Office in Virginia had led to
the identification of this negro woman as 'the nurse of
Washington.' "

Everything seemed to Barnum to be entirely straightforward, and
he decided, if possible, to purchase the woman. She was offered
to him at $1,000, although Lindsay at first wanted $3,000. Barnum
had $500 in cash, and was able to borrow $500 more. Thus he
secured Joice Heth, sold out his interest in the grocery business
to his partner, and entered upon his career as a showman. He
afterward declared that the least deserving of all his efforts in
the show line was this one which introduced him to the business;
it was a scheme in no sense of his own devising; but it was one
which had been for some time before the public, and which he
honestly and with good reason believed to be genuine. He entered
upon his new work with characteristic enterprise, resorting to
posters, transparencies, advertisements, newspaper paragraphs,
and everything else calculated to attract the attention of the
public, regardless of expense. He exhibited in New York, Boston,
Philadelphia, Albany, and many other places, where his rooms were
thronged and much money made. But in the following February Joice
Heth died of old age, and was buried at Bethel. A postmortem
examination was made by a surgeon and some medical students, who
were inclined to doubt if she really was as old as Lindsay had

Thus ended Barnum's first enterprise as a showman. It had been
profitable to him, and had pointed out to him the path of
success. His next venture was entirely genuine and
straightforward. He engaged an Italian, who called himself Signor
Antonio, and who was a skilful performer on stilts, on the tight
rope and at juggling. Barnum engaged him for a year at $12 a week
and his expenses, and got him to change his stage name to Signor
Vivalla. He then resorted to his former means of advertising, and
started on his tour. For Vivalla's first week of performances
Barnum received $50, and for the second week three times as much.
At the close of the first performance, in response to loud
applause, Barnum appeared upon the stage and made a speech to the
audience, a performance which he repeated thousands of times in
after years. This engagement was at the Franklin Theatre in New

The show next appeared in Boston, with great success. Next it
went to Washington and had a most disastrous week, for every
night was stormy. Indeed Barnum found himself literally stranded
there, with not enough money to get away. He was driven to pawn
his watch and chain for $35, and then met a friend who helped him
out of his dilemma.

"As this was my first visit to Washington, I was much
interested," says Barnum, "in visiting the capitol and other
public buildings. I also satisfied my curiosity in seeing Clay,
Calhoun, Benton, John Quincy Adams, Richard M. Johnson, Polk, and
other leading statesmen of the time. I was also greatly gratified
in calling upon Anne Royall, author of the Black Book, publisher
of a little paper called 'Paul Pry,' and quite a celebrated
personage in her day. I had exchanged The Herald of Freedom with
her journal, and she strongly sympathized with me in my
persecutions. She was delighted to see me, and although she was
the most garrulous old woman I ever saw, I passed a very amusing
and pleasant time with her. Before leaving her I manifested my
showman propensity by trying to hire her to give a dozen or more
lectures on 'Government' in the Atlantic cities, but I could not
engage her at any price, although I am sure the speculation would
have been a very profitable one. I never saw this eccentric woman
again; she died at a very advanced age, October 1, 1854, at her
residence in Washington."

From Washington the show went to Philadelphia and appeared at the
Walnut Street Theatre. The audiences were small and it was
evident that something must be done to arouse public interest.
"And now," says Barnum, "that instinct which can arouse a
community and make it patronize one, provided the article offered
is worthy of patronage, an instinct which served me greatly in
later years, astonishing the public and surprising me, came to my
relief, and the help, curiously enough, appeared in the shape of
an emphatic hiss from the pit!

"This hiss, I discovered, came from one Roberts, a circus
performer, and I had an interview with him. He was a professional
balancer and juggler, who boasted that he could do all Vivalla
had done and something more. I at once published a card in
Vivalla's name, offering $1,000 to any one who would publicly
perform Vivalla's feats at such place as should be designated,
and Roberts issued a counter card accepting the offer. I then
contracted with Mr. Warren, treasurer of the Walnut Street
Theatre, for one-third of the proceeds, if I should bring the
receipts up to $400 a night--an agreement he could well afford to
make as his receipts the night before had been but seventy-five
dollars. From him I went to Roberts, who seemed disposed to 'back
down,' but I told him that I should not insist upon the terms of
his published card, and ask him if he was under any engagement?
Learning that he was not I offered him thirty dollars to perform
under my direction one night at the Walnut, and he accepted. A
great trial of skill between Roberts and Vivalla was duly
announced by posters and through the press. Meanwhile, they
rehearsed privately to see what tricks each could perform, and
the 'business' was completely arranged.

"Public excitement was at fever heat, and on the night of the
trial the pit and upper boxes were crowded to the full. The
'contest' between the performers was eager, and each had his
party in the house. So far as I could learn, no one complained
that he did not get all he paid for on that occasion. I engaged
Roberts for a month, and his subsequent 'contests' with Vivalla
amused the public and put money in my purse."

In the spring of 1836 Barnum joined his show with Aaron Turner's
travelling circus, himself acting as ticket seller, secretary and
treasurer, at thirty dollars a month and one-fifth of the total
profits, while Vivalla was to get fifty dollars a month. Barnum
was himself paying Vivalla eighty dollars a month, so that he
really had left for himself only his one-fifth share of the
profits. The combined show set out from Danbury, Connecticut, for
West Springfield, Massachusetts, on April 26. On the first day,
Barnum relates, instead of stopping for dinner, Turner simply
distributed to the company three loaves of rye bread and a pound
of butter, which he bought at a farmhouse for fifty cents. On
April 28 they began their performances at West Springfield, and
as their band of music had not arrived from Providence, as
expected, Barnum made a speech to the audience in place of it,
which seemed to please everybody. The engagement was successful,
and the tour was continued during the summer through numerous
towns and cities in New England, the Middle States, Maryland,
Virginia and North Carolina.

Many incidents, humorous and otherwise, marked their progress. At
Cabotville, Massachusetts, on going to bed one night one of the
company threw a lighted cigar stump into a box of sawdust, and
the result was that, an hour or two later, they all narrowly
escaped suffocation from the smoke. At Lenox, Massachusetts, they
spent Sunday and Barnum went to church as usual. The sermon was
directed against the circus, denouncing it in very abusive terms
as an immoral and degrading institution. "Thereupon," says
Barnum, "when the minister had read the closing hymn, I walked up
the pulpit stairs and handed him a written request, signed 'P. T.
Barnum, connected with the circus, June 5, 1836,' to be permitted
to reply to him. He declined to notice it, and after the
benediction I lectured him for not giving me an opportunity to
vindicate myself and those with whom I was connected. The affair
created considerable excitement, and some of the members of the
church apologized to me for their clergyman's ill behavior. A
similar affair happened afterward at Port Deposit, on the lower
Susquehanna, and in this instance I addressed the audience for
half an hour, defending the circus company against the attacks of
the clergyman, and the people listened, though their pastor
repeatedly implored them to go home. Often have I collected our
company on Sunday and read to them the Bible or a printed sermon,
and one or more of the men frequently accompanied me to church.
We made no pretense of religion, but we were not the worst people
in the world, and we thought ourselves entitled to at least
decent treatment when we went to hear the preaching of the

Turner, the proprietor of the circus, was a self-made man. He had
made himself rich through industry, as he believed any other man
with common sense could do, and he was very proud of the fact. He
was also an inveterate practical joker, and once, at Annapolis,
Maryland, he played upon Barnum a trick which came very near
having a serious result. They got there on Saturday night, and
the next morning Barnum went out for a walk, wearing a fine new
suit of black clothes. As he passed through the bar-room and out
of the hotel Turner said to some bystanders, who did not know

"I think it very singular that you permit that rascal to march
your streets in open day. It wouldn't be allowed in Rhode Island,
and I suppose that is the reason the scoundrel has come down this

"Why, who is he?" they demanded.

"Don't you know? Why, that is the Rev. E. K. Avery, the murderer
of Miss Cornell."

Instantly there was a rush of the whole crowd to the door, eager
to get another look at Barnum, and uttering threats of vengeance.
This man Avery had only lately been tried in Rhode Island for the
murder of Miss Cornell, whose dead body was discovered in a
stack-yard, and though he was acquitted by the court everybody
believed him guilty. Accordingly, Barnum soon found himself
overtaken and surrounded by a mob of one hundred or more and his
ears saluted with such remarks as "the lecherous old hypocrite,"
"the sanctified murderer," "the black-coated villain," "lynch
him," "tar and feather him," and others still more harsh and
threatening. Then one man seized him by the collar, while others
brought a fence rail and some rope.

"Come," said the man who collared him, "old chap, you can't walk
any further; we know you, and as we always make gentlemen ride in
these parts, you may just prepare to straddle that rail!"

His surprise may be imagined. "Good heavens!" he exclaimed, as
they all pressed around, "gentlemen, what have I done?"

"Oh, we know you," exclaimed half a dozen voices; "you needn't
roll your sanctimonious eyes; that game don't take in this
country. Come, straddle the rail, and REMEMBER THE STACK-YARD!"

He grew more and more bewildered; he could not imagine what
possible offence he was to suffer for, and he continued to
exclaim, "Gentlemen, what have I done? Don't kill me, gentlemen,
but tell me what I have done."

"Come, make him straddle the rail; we'll show him how to hang
poor factory girls," shouted a man in the crowd.

The man who had him by the collar then remarked "Come, MR. AVERY,
it's no use; you see, we know you, and we'll give you a touch of
lynch law, and start you for home again."

"My name is NOT Avery, gentlemen; you are mistaken in your man,"
he exclaimed.

"Come, come, none of your gammon; straddle the rail, Ephraim."

The rail was brought and Barnum was about to be placed on it,
when the truth flashed upon him.

"Gentlemen," he exclaimed, "I am not Avery; I despise that
villain as much as you can; my name is Barnum; I belong to the
circus which arrived here last night, and I am sure Old Turner,
my partner, has hoaxed you with this ridiculous story."

"If he has we'll lynch him," said one of the mob.

"Well, he has, I'll assure you, and if you will walk to the hotel
with me, I'll convince you of the fact."

This they reluctantly assented to, keeping, however, a close hand
upon him. As they walked up the main street, the mob received a
re-enforcement of some fifty or sixty, and Barnum was marched
like a malefactor up to the hotel. Old Turner stood on the piazza
ready to explode with laughter. Barnum appealed to him for
heaven's sake to explain this matter, that he might be liberated.
He continued to laugh, but finally told them "he believed there
was some mistake about it. The fact is," said he, "my friend
Barnum has a new suit of black clothes on and he looks so much
like a priest that I thought he must be Avery."

The crowd saw the joke and seemed satisfied. Barnum's new coat
had been half-torn from his back, and he had been very roughly
handled. But some of the crowd apologized for the outrage,
declaring that Turner ought to be served in the same way, while
others advised Barnum to "get even with him." Barnum was very
much offended, and when the mob-dispersed he asked Turner what
could have induced him to play such a trick.

"My dear Mr. Barnum," he replied, "it was all for our good.
Remember, all we need to insure success is notoriety. You will
see that this will be noised all about town as a trick played by
one of the circus managers upon the other, and our pavilion will
be crammed to-morrow night."

It was even so; the trick was told all over town, and every one
came to see the circus managers who were in a habit of playing
practical jokes upon each other. They had fine audiences while
they remained at Annapolis, but it was a long time before Barnum
forgave Turner for his rascally "joke."



At almost every place visited by the travelling company, some
notable incident occurred. At Hanover Court House, Virginia, for
example, it was raining so heavily that they could not give a
performance, and Turner therefore decided to start for Richmond
immediately after dinner. Their landlord, however, said that as
their agent had engaged three meals and lodgings for the whole
troupe, the whole bill must be paid whether they went then or
stayed until next morning. No compromise could be made with the
stubborn fellow, and Turner was equally stubborn in his
determination both to go at once and also to have the worth of
his money. The following programme was accordingly carried out,
Turner insisting upon every detail:

Dinner was ordered at twelve o'clock and was duly prepared and
eaten. As soon as the table was cleared, supper was ordered, at
half past twelve. After eating as much of this as their dinner
had left room for, the whole company went to bed at one o'clock
in the afternoon. Each man insisted upon taking a lighted candle
to his room, and the whole thirty-six of them undressed and went
to bed as though they proposed to stay all night. Half an hour
later they arose and dressed again and went down to breakfast,
which Turner had ordered served at two o'clock sharp. They could
eat but little of this meal, of course, but they did the best
they could, and at half past two in the afternoon were on their
way to Richmond. Throughout the whole absurd proceedings the
landlord was furiously angry. Turner was as solemn as a corpse,
and the rest of the company were convulsed with laughter.

After the performance one evening at Richmond, Barnum tried to
pay Turner for that practical joke about the Rev. Mr. Avery. A
score of the company were telling stories and singing songs in
the sitting room of the hotel. Presently somebody began
propounding some amusing arithmetical problems. Then Turner
proposed one, which was readily solved. Barnum's turn came next,
and he offered the following, for Turner's especial benefit:

"Suppose a man is thirty years of age, and he has a child one
year of age; he is thirty times older than his child. When the
child is thirty years old, the father, being sixty, is only twice
as old as his child. When the child is sixty the father is
ninety, and therefore only one-third older than the child. When
the child is ninety the father is one hundred and twenty, and
therefore only one-fourth older than the child. Thus you see, the
child is gradually but surely gaining on the parent, and as he
certainly continues to come nearer and nearer, in time he must
overtake him. The question therefore is, suppose it was possible
for them to live long enough, how old would the father be when
the child overtook him and became of the same age?"

The company generally saw the catch; but Turner was very much
interested in the problem, and although he admitted he knew
nothing about arithmetic, he was convinced that as the son was
gradually gaining on the father he must reach him if there was
time enough--say, a thousand years, or so--for the race. But an
old gentleman gravely remarked that the idea of a son becoming as
old as his father while both were living, was simply nonsense,
and he offered to bet a dozen of champagne that the thing was
impossible, even "in figures." Turner, who was a betting man, and
who thought the problem might be proved, accepted the wager; but
he was soon convinced that however much the boy might relatively
gain upon his father, there would always be thirty years
difference in their ages. The champagne cost him $25, and he
failed to see the fun of Barnum's arithmetic, though at last he
acknowledged that it was a fair offset to the Avery trick.

From Richmond they went to Petersburg, and thence to Warrenton,
North Carolina, and there, on October 30, Barnum and Turner
separated, Barnum's engagement having expired with a clear profit
to himself of about $1,200. Barnum took Vivalla, a negro singer
and dancer named James Sandford, several musicians, horses and
wagons, and a small canvas tent. With these he proposed to carry
on a travelling show of his own. His first stop was on Saturday,
November 12, 1836, at Rocky Mount Falls, North Carolina. The next
day, being Sunday, Barnum set out for church. "I noticed," he
says, "a stand and benches in a grove near by, and determined to
speak to the people if I was permitted. The landlord who was with
me said that the congregation, coming from a distance to attend a
single service, would be very glad to hear a stranger, and I
accordingly asked the venerable clergyman to announce that after
service I would speak for half an hour in the grove. Learning
that I was not a clergyman, he declined to give the notice, but
said that he had no objection to my making the announcement,
which I did, and the congregation, numbering about three hundred,
promptly came to hear me.

"I told them I was not a preacher, and had very little experience
in public speaking, but I felt a deep interest in matters of
morality and religion, and would attempt in a plain way, to set
before them the duties and privileges of man. I appealed to every
man's experience, observation and reason, to confirm the Bible
doctrine of wretchedness in vice and happiness in virtue. We
cannot violate the laws of God with impunity, and He will not
keep back the wages of well-doing. The outside show of things is
of very small account. We must look to realities and not to
appearances. 'Diamonds may glitter on a vicious breast,' but 'the
soul's calm sunshine and the heart-felt joy is virtue's prize.'
The rogue, the passionate man, the drunkard, are not to be envied
even at the best, and a conscience hardened by sin is the most
sorrowful possession we can think of."

Barnum proceeded in this strain with various scriptural
quotations and familiar illustrations, for three-quarters of an
hour. At the end of his address several persons came up to shake
hands with him, saying that they had been greatly pleased and
edified by his remarks and asking to know his name. He went away
feeling that possibly he had done some good by means of his
impromptu preaching.

The negro singer and dancer, Sandford, abruptly deserted the show
at Camden, South Carolina, and left Barnum in a bad plight. An
entertainment of negro songs had been advertised, and no one was
able to fill Sandford's place. Barnum was determined, however,
that his audience should not be disappointed, and so he blackened
his own face and went on the stage himself, singing a number of
plantation melodies. His efforts were received with great
applause, and he was recalled several times. This performance was
repeated for several evenings.

One night after thus personating a negro, Barnum heard a
disturbance outside the tent. Hastening to the spot he found a
man quarreling with one of his company. He interfered, whereupon
the man drew a pistol and pointing it at Barnum's head,
exclaimed, "you black scoundrel! How dare you use such language
to a white man?" He evidently took Barnum for a real negro, and
in another moment would have blown his brains out. But quick as a
flash the showman exclaim, "I am as white as you!" and at the
same moment rolled up his sleeves showing the white skin of his
arm. The other man dropped his pistol in consternation and humbly
begged Barnum's pardon.

"On four different occasions in my life," said Mr. Barnum not
long before his death, "I have had a loaded pistol pointed at my
head and each time I have escaped death by what seemed a miracle.
I have also often been in deadly peril by accidents, and when I
think of these things I realize my indebtedness to an
all-protecting Providence. Reviewing my career, too, and
considering the kind of company I kept for years and the
associations with which I was surrounded and connected, I am
surprised as well as grateful that I was not ruined. I honestly
believe that I owe my preservation from the degradation of living
and dying a loafer and a vagabond, to the single fact that I was
never addicted to strong drink. To be sure, I have in times past
drank liquor, but I have generally wholly abstained from
intoxicating beverages, and for many years, I am glad to say, I
have been a strict 'teetotaller.' "

At Camden, Barnum also lost one of his musicians, a Scotchman
named Cochran. This man was arrested and, in spite of Barnum's
efforts to save him, imprisoned for many months for advising a
negro barber who was shaving him to run away to the Free States
or to Canada. To fill up his ranks Barnum now hired Bob White, a
negro singer, and Joe Pentland, a clown, ventriloquist, comic
singer, juggler, and sleight-of-hand performer, and also bought
four horses and two wagons. He called this enlarged show
"Barnum's Grand Scientific and Musical Theatre."

At Raleigh, North Carolina, Barnum had sold a half interest in
his show to a man called Henry,--not his real name. The latter
now acted as treasurer and ticket taker. When they reached
Augusta, Georgia, the Sheriff served a writ upon Henry for a debt
of $500. As Henry had $600 of the Company's money in his pockets,
Barnum at once secured a bill of sale of all his property in the
exhibition. Armed with this he met Henry's creditor and his
lawyer, who demanded the key of the stable, so that they might
levy on the horses and wagons. Barnum asked them to wait a little
while until he could see Henry, to which they agreed. Henry was
anxious to cheat his creditor, and accordingly was glad to sign
the bill of sale. Then Barnum returned and told the creditor and
his lawyer that Henry would neither pay nor compromise the claim.
The Sheriff thereupon demanded the stable key, so that he might
attach Henry's share of the property. "Not yet," said Barnum,
pulling out the bill of sale, "I am in possession as entire owner
of this property. I have already purchased it, and you have not
yet levied on it. You will touch my property at your peril."

The creditor and the sheriff were thus baffled, but they
immediately arrested Henry and took him to prison. The next day
Barnum learned that Henry really owed $1,300, and that he had
promised his creditor that he would pay him $500 of the company's
money and a bill of sale of his interest in the show at the end
of the Saturday night performance, in consideration of which the
creditor was to allow him to take one of the horses and run away,
leaving Barnum in the lurch. Learning this, Barnum was not
disposed to help Henry any further. Finding that Henry had
intrusted the $500 to Vivalla, to keep it from the sheriff,
Barnum secured it from Vivalla on Henry's order, under pretense
of securing bail for the prisoner. Then he paid the creditor the
full amount obtained from Henry as the price of his half-interest
and received in return an assignment of $500 of the creditor's
claim and a guarantee that he should not be troubled by Henry for
it. Thus his own promptness rescued Barnum from one of the most
unpleasant situations in which he was ever placed.

After this they got into one of the most desolate parts of
Georgia. One night their advance agent, finding it impossible to
reach the next town, arranged for the whole show to spend the
night at a miserable and solitary hovel owned by an old woman
named Hayes. The horses were to be picketed in a field, and the
company were to sleep in the tent and the out houses. Posters
were scattered over the country, announcing that a performance
would be given there the next day, the agent thinking that, as a
show was a rarity in that region, a considerable number of small
farmers would be glad to attend.

"Meanwhile," says Barnum, "our advertiser, who was quite a wag,
wrote back informing us of the difficulty of reaching a town on
that part of our route, and stating that he had made arrangements
for us to stay over night on the plantation of 'Lady Hayes,' and
that although the country was sparsely settled, we could
doubtless give a profitable performance to a fair audience.

"Anticipating a fine time on this noble 'plantation,' we started
at four o'clock in the morning so as to arrive at one o'clock,
thus avoiding the heat of the afternoon. Towards noon we came to
a small river where some men, whom we afterwards discovered to be
down-east Yankees, from Maine, were repairing a bridge. Every
flooring plank had been taken up, and it was impossible for our
teams to cross. 'Could the bridge be fixed so that we could go
over?' I inquired. 'No; it would take half a day, and meantime,
if we must cross, there was a place about sixteen miles down the
river where we could get over. 'But we can't go so far as that;
we are under engagement to perform on Lady Hayes's place
to-night, and we must cross here. Fix the bridge and we will pay
you handsomely.'

"They wanted no money, but if we would give them some tickets to
our show they thought they might do something for us. I gladly
consented, and in fifteen minutes we crossed that bridge. The
cunning rascals had seen our posters and knew we were coming; so
they had taken up the planks of the bridge and had hidden them
till they had levied upon us for tickets, when the floor was
re-laid in a quarter of an hour.

"Towards dinner-time we began to look out for the grand mansion
of 'Lady Hayes,' and seeing nothing but little huts we quietly
pursued our journey. At one o'clock--the time when we should have
arrived at our destination--I became impatient, and riding up to
a poverty-stricken hovel and seeing a ragged, bare-footed old
woman, with her sleeves rolled up to her shoulders, who was
washing clothes in front of the door, I inquired--" 'Hello! can
you tell me where Lady Hayes lives?'

"The old woman raised her head, which was covered with tangled
locks and matted hair, and exclaimed--" 'Hey?'

" 'No, Hayes, Lady Hayes; where is her plantation?'

" 'This is the place,' she answered; 'I'm Widder Hayes, and you
are all to stay here to-night.'

"We could not believe our ears or eyes; but after putting the
dirty old woman through a severe cross-examination she finally
produced a contract, signed by our advertiser, agreeing for board
and lodging for the company, and we found ourselves booked for
the night. It appeared that our advertiser could find no better
quarters in that forlorn section, and he had indulged in a joke
at our expense by exciting our appetites and imaginations in
anticipation of the luxuries we should find in the magnificent
mansion of 'Lady Hayes.'

"Joe Pentland grumbled, Bob White indulged in some very strong
language, and Signor Vivalla laughed. He had travelled with his
monkey and organ in Italy and could put up with any fare that
offered. I took the disappointment philosophically, simply
remarking that we must make the best of it and compensate
ourselves when we reached a town next day.

"The next forenoon we arrived at Macon, and congratulated
ourselves that we had reached the regions of civilization.

"In going from Columbus, Ga., to Montgomery, Ala., we were
obliged to cross a thinly-settled, desolate tract, known as the
'Indian Nation,' and as several persons had been murdered by
hostile Indians in that region, it was deemed dangerous to travel
the road without an escort. Only the day before we started, the
mail stage had been stopped and the passengers murdered, the
driver alone escaping. We were well armed, however, and trusted
that our numbers would present too formidable a force to be
attacked, though we dreaded to incur the risk. Vivalla alone was
fearless and was ready to encounter fifty Indians and drive them
into the swamp.

"Accordingly, when we had safely passed over the entire route to
within fourteen miles of Montgomery, and were beyond the reach of
danger, Joe Pentland determined to test Vivalla's bravery. He had
secretly purchased at Mt. Megs, on the way, an old Indian dress
with a fringed hunting shirt and moccasins and these he put on,
after coloring his face with Spanish brown. Then shouldering his
musket he followed Vivalla and the party, and, approaching
stealthily leaped into their midst with a tremendous whoop.

"Vivalla's companions were in the secret, and they instantly fled
in all directions. Vivalla himself ran like a deer and Pentland
after him, gun in hand and yelling horribly. After running a full
mile the poor little Italian, out of breath and frightened nearly
to death, dropped on his knees and begged for his life. The
'Indian' leveled his gun at his victim, but soon seemed to
relent, and signified that Vivalla should turn his pockets inside
out--which he did, producing and handing over a purse containing
eleven dollars. The savage then marched Vivalla to an oak, and
with a handkerchief tied him in the most approved Indian manner
to the tree, leaving him half dead with fright.

"Pentland then joined us, and washing his face and changing his
dress, we all went to the relief of Vivalla. He was overjoyed to
see us, and when he was released his courage returned; he swore
that after his companions left him, the Indian had been
re-inforced by six more, to whom, in default of a gun or other
means to defend himself, Vivalla had been compelled to surrender.
We pretended to believe his story for a week, and then told him
the joke, which he refused to credit, and also declined to take
the money which Pentland offered to return, as it could not
possibly be his since seven Indians had taken his money. We had a
great deal of fun over Vivalla's courage, but the matter made him
so cross and surly that we were finally obliged to drop it
altogether. From that time forward, however, Vivalla never
boasted of his prowess."

At the end of February, 1837, they reached Montgomery, and there
Barnum sold a half interest in his show to Henry Hawley, a
sleight-of-hand performer. He was a very clever fellow and was
never known to be non-plussed or embarrassed in his tricks,
except upon one occasion. This was when he was performing the
well-known egg and bag trick, which he did with great success,
taking egg after egg from the bag and finally breaking one to
show that they were genuine. "Now," said he "I will show you the
old hen that laid them." But it happened that the negro boy to
whom had been intrusted the duty of supplying "properties," had
made a slight mistake. The result was that Hawley triumphantly
produced not "the old hen that laid the eggs," but a most
palpable and evident rooster. The audience roared with laughter,
and Hawley, completely taken aback, fled in confusion to his
dressing room, uttering furious maledictions upon the boy who was
the author of his woe.

The show visited various places in Alabama, Tennessee and
Kentucky, and finally disbanded at Nashville in May, 1837.
Vivalla went to New York and gave some performances on his own
account before sailing for Cuba. Hawley remained in Tennessee,
and Barnum went home to his family. Early in July, however, he
formed a new company and went back to rejoin Hawley. But they
were not successful, and in August they parted again, Barnum
forming a new partnership with one Z. Graves. He then went to
Tiffin, Ohio, where he re-engaged Joe Pentland and got together
the nucleus of a new company.

During his short stay at Tiffin, Barnum got into a discussion
with various gentlemen on religious subjects, and in response to
their invitation lectured, or preached, in the school-house on
Sunday afternoon and evening. He also went to the neighboring
town of Republic and delivered two lectures.

On his way back to Kentucky, just before he reached Cincinnati,
he met a drove of hogs. One of the drivers made an insolent
remark because the circus wagons interfered with the driving of
the hogs, and Barnum responded angrily. Thereupon the fellow
jumped from his horse, pointed a pistol at Barnum's breast and
swore he would shoot him if he did not apologize. Barnum asked
permission to speak first to a friend in the next wagon, after
which, he said, he would give the man full satisfaction. The
"friend" proved to be a loaded double barrelled gun, which Barnum
leveled at the hog-driver's head, saying:

"Now, sir, you must apologize, or have your brains blown out. You
drew a weapon upon me for a careless remark. You seem to hold
human life at a cheap price. Now you have the choice between a
load of shot and an apology."

The man apologized promptly, a pleasant conversation ensued, and
they parted excellent friends.

On this tour they exhibited at Nashville, where Barnum visited
General Jackson at the Hermitage; at Huntsville, Tuscaloosa,
Vicksburg and various other places, generally doing well. At
Vicksburg they bought a steamboat and went down the river,
stopping at every important landing to exhibit. At Natchez their
cook deserted them, and Barnum set out to find another. He found
a white woman who was willing to go, only she expected to marry a
painter in that town, and did not want to leave him. Barnum went
to see the painter and found that he had not fully made up his
mind whether to marry the woman or not. Thereupon the
enterprising showman told the painter that if he would marry the
woman the next morning he would hire him for $25 a month as
painter, and his bride at the same wages as cook, give them both
their board and add a cash bonus of $50. There was a wedding on
the boat the next day, and they had a good cook and a good

During one evening performance at Francisville, Louisiana, a man
tried to pass Barnum at the door of the tent, claiming that he
had paid for admittance. Barnum refused him entrance; and as he
was slightly intoxicated, he struck Barnum with a slung shot,
mashing his hat and grazing what phrenologists call "the organ of
caution." He went away and soon returned with a gang of armed and
half-drunken companions, who ordered the showmen to pack up their
"traps and plunder" and to get on board their steamboat within an
hour. The big tent speedily came down. No one was permitted to
help, but the company worked with a will, and within five minutes
of the expiration of the hour they were on board and ready to
leave. The scamps who had caused their departure escorted them
and their last load, waving pine torches, and saluted them with a
hurrah as they swung into the stream.

The New Orleans papers of March 19th, 1838, announced the arrival
of the "Steamer Ceres, Captain Barnum, with a theatrical
company." After a week's performance, they started for the
Attakapas country. At Opelousas they exchanged the steamer for
sugar and molasses; the company was disbanded, and Barnum started
for home, arriving in New York. June 4th, 1838.



Looking around now for some permanent business, Barnum at last
resorted to the expedient of advertising for a partner, stating
that he had $2,500 to invest, and was willing to add his entire
personal attention to the business. He was immediately
overwhelmed with answers, the most of them coming from sharpers.
One was a counterfeiter who wanted $2,500 to invest in paper,
ink, and dies.

One applicant was a sedate individual dressed in sober drab; he
proposed to buy a horse and wagon and sell oats in bags, trusting
that no one would be particular in measuring after a Quaker.

"Do you mean to cheat in measuring your oats?" asked Barnum.

"Well," said the Quaker, with a significant leer, "I shall
probably make them hold out."

Finally Barnum decided to go into business with a good-looking,
plausible German, named Proler, who was a manufacturer of
paste-blacking, cologne, and bear's grease. They opened a store
at No. 101 1/2 Bowery, where Proler manufactured the goods, and
Barnum kept accounts and attended to sales in the store. The
business prospered, or appeared to, until the capital was
exhausted, and early in 1840 Barnum sold out his interest to
Proler, taking the German's note for $2,600, which was all he
ever got, Proler shortly afterward running away to Rotterdam.

Barnum had formed the acquaintance of a very clever young dancer
named John Diamond, and soon after leaving the paste-blacking
enterprise, he gathered together a company of singers, etc.,
which, with the dancer, Diamond, he placed in the hands of an
agent, not caring to have his name appear in the transaction. He
hired the Vauxhall Garden Saloon in New York and gave a variety
of performances. This, however, proved unprofitable, and was
abandoned after a few months.

Much as Barnum dreaded resuming the life of an itinerant showman,
there seemed nothing else to be done, so January 2d, 1841, found
him in New Orleans, with a company consisting of C. D. Jenkins,
an excellent Yankee character artist; Diamond, the dancer; a
violinist, and one or two others. His brother-in-law, John
Hallett, acted as advance agent. The venture was fairly
successful, though after the first two weeks in New Orleans, the
manager and proprietor of the show was obliged to pledge his
watch as security for the board-bill. A dancing match between
Diamond and a negro from Kentucky put nearly $500 into Barnum's
pocket, and they continued to prosper until Diamond, after
extorting as much money as possible from his manager, finally ran
away. The other members of the troop caused considerable trouble
later. Jenkins, the Yankee character man, went to St. Louis, and
having enticed Francis Lynch, an orphan protege of Barnum's into
the scheme, proceeded to the Museum, where he exhibited Lynch as
the celebrated dancer, John Diamond. Barnum poured out his wrath
at this swindler in a letter, for which Jenkins threatened suit,
and actually did instigate R. W. Lindsay to bring an action
against Barnum for a pipe of brandy, alleged to have been
included in his contract. Being among strangers, Barnum had some
difficulty in procuring the $500 bond required, and was committed
to jail until late in the afternoon. As soon as he was released,
he had Jenkins arrested for fraud, and then went on his way

After an absence of eight months Barnum found himself back in New
York, resolved never again to be a traveling showman. Contracting
with the publisher, Robert Sears, for five hundred copies of
"Sear's Pictorial Illustrations of the Bible," and accepting the
United States agency for the book, he opened an office at the
corner of Beekman and Nassau Streets. He advertised widely, had
numerous agents, and sold thousands of books, but for all that,
lost money.

While engaged in this business the Vauxhall Saloon was re-opened,
under the management of John Hallett, Mrs. Barnum's brother. At
the end of the season they had cleared about $200. This sum was
soon exhausted, and for the rest of the winter Barnum managed to
eke out a living by writing for the Sunday papers, and getting up
unique advertisements for the Bowery Amphitheatre.

His ambition received a stimulus at last from a friend in
Danbury, who held a mortgage on a piece of property owned by Mr.
Barnum. Mr. Whittlesey wrote that as he was convinced of Mr.
Barnum's inability to lay up money, he thought he might as well
demand the five hundred dollars then as at any time. Barnum's
flagging energies were aroused, and he began in earnest to look
for some permanent investment.

In connection with the Bowery Amphitheatre, the information came
to him that the collection of curiosities comprising Scudder's
American Museum, at the corner of Broadway and Ann Streets, was
for sale. The original proprietor had spent $50,000 on it, and at
his death had left a large fortune as the result of the
speculation. It was now losing money and the heirs offered it for
sale, at the low price of $15,000. Realizing that with tact,
energy, and liberality, the business might be made as profitable
as ever, Barnum resolved to buy it.

"You buy the American Museum!" exclaimed a friend to whom he
confided the scheme. "What will you buy it with?"

"With brass," answered Barnum, "for silver and gold have I none."

And buy it with brass he did, as the story of the transaction

The Museum building belonged to Mr. Francis W. Olmsted, a retired
merchant, to whom he wrote, stating his desire to buy the
collection, and that although he had no means, if it could be
purchased upon reasonable credit, he was confident that his tact
and experience, added to a determined devotion to business, would
enable him to make the payments when due. Barnum therefore asked
him to purchase the collection in his own name; to give a writing
securing it to Barnum, provided he made the payments punctually,
including the rent of his building; to allow Barnum twelve
dollars and a half a week on which to support his family; and if
at any time he failed to meet the installment due, he would
vacate the premises, and forfeit all that might have been paid to
that date. "In fact, Mr. Olmsted." Barnum continued, earnestly,
"you may bind me in any way, and as tightly as you please--only
give me a chance to dig out, or scratch out, and I will do so or
forfeit all the labor and trouble I may have incurred."

In reply to this letter, which Barnum took to his house himself,
Mr. Olmsted named an hour when he could call on him. Barnum was
there at the exact moment, and Olmsted was pleased with his
punctuality. He inquired closely as to Barnum's habits and
antecedents, and the latter frankly narrated his experiences as a
caterer for the public, mentioning his amusement ventures in
Vauxhall Garden, the circus, and in the exhibitions he had
managed at the South and West.

"Who are your references?" Olmsted inquired.

"Any man in my line," Barnum replied, "from Edmund Simpson,
manager of the Park Theatre, or William Niblo, to Messrs. Welch,
June, Titus, Turner, Angevine, or other circus or menagerie
proprietors; also Moses Y. Beach, of the New York Sun."

"Can you get any of them to call on me?"

Barnum told him that he could, and the next day Mr. Niblo rode
down and had an interview with Mr. Olmsted, while Mr. Beach and
several other gentlemen also called. The following morning Barnum
waited upon him for his decision.

"I don't like your references, Mr. Barnum," said Mr. Olmsted,
abruptly, as soon as he entered the room.

Barnum was confused, and said, "he regretted to hear it."

"They all speak too well of you," Olmsted added, laughing; "in
fact, they all talk as if they were partners of yours, and
intended to share the profits."

"Nothing could have pleased me better," says Barnum. "He then
asked me what security I could offer in case he concluded to make
the purchase for me, and it was finally agreed that, if he should
do so, he should retain the property till it was entirely paid
for, and should also appoint a ticket-taker and accountant (at my
expense), who should render him a weekly statement. I was further
to take an apartment hitherto used as a billiard-room in his
adjoining building, allowing therefor $500 a year, making a total
rental of $3,000 per annum, on a lease of ten years. He then told
me to see the administrator and heirs of the estate, to get their
best terms, and to meet him on his return to town a week from
that time.

"I at once saw Mr. John Heath, the administrator, and his price
was $15,000. I offered $10,000, payable in seven annual
installments, with good security. After several interviews, it
was finally agreed that I should have it for $12,000, payable as
above --possession to be given on the 15th of November. Mr.
Olmsted assented to this, and a morning was appointed to draw and
sign the writings. Mr. Heath appeared, but said he must decline
proceeding any further in my case, as he had sold the collection
to the directors of Peale's Museum (an incorporated institution)
for $15,000, and had received $1,000 in advance.

"I was shocked, and appealed to Mr. Heath's honor. He said that
he had signed no writing with me; was in no way legally bound,
and that it was his duty to do the best he could for the heirs.
Mr. Olmsted was sorry but could not help me; the new tenants
would not require him to incur any risk, and my matter was at an

"Of course I immediately informed myself as to the character of
Peale's Museum Company. It proved to be a band of speculators who
had bought Peale's collection for a few thousand dollars,
expecting to unite the American Museum with it, issue and sell
stock to the amount of $50,000, pocket $30,000 profits, and
permit the stockholders to look out for themselves.

"I went immediately to several of the editors, including Major M.
M. Noah, M. Y. Beach, my good friends West, Herrick, and Ropes,
of the Atlas, and others, and stated my grievances. 'Now,' said
I, 'if you will grant me the use of your columns, I'll blow that
speculation sky-high.' They all consented, and I wrote a large
number of squibs, cautioning the public against buying the Museum
stock, ridiculing the idea of a board of broken-down bank
directors engaging in the exhibition of stuffed monkeys and
gander-skins; appealing to the case of the Zoological Institute,
which had failed by adopting such a plan as the one now proposed;
and finally, I told the public that such a speculation would be
infinitely more ridiculous than Dickens's 'Grand United
Metropolitan Hot Muffin and Crumpit-baking and Punctual Delivery

"The stock was 'as dead as a herring!' I then went to Mr. Heath
and asked him when the directors were to pay the other $14,000.'
On the 26th day of December, or forfeit the $1,000 already paid,'
was the reply. I assured him that they would never pay it, that
they could not raise it, and that he would ultimately find
himself with the Museum collection on his hands, and if once I
started off with an exhibition for the South, I could not touch
the Museum at ANY price. 'Now,' said I, 'if you will agree with
me confidentially, that in case these gentlemen do not pay you on
the 26th of December I may have it on the 27th for $12,000, I
will run the risk, and wait in this city until that date.' He
readily agreed to the proposition, but said he was sure they
would not forfeit their $1,000.

" 'Very well,' said I; 'all I ask of you is, that this
arrangement shall not be mentioned.' He assented. 'On the 27th
day of December, at ten o'clock A. M., I wish you to meet me in
Mr. Olmsted's apartments, prepared to sign the writings, provided
this incorporated company do not pay you $14,000 on the 26th. He
agreed to this, and by my request put it in writing.

"From that moment I felt that the Museum was mine. I saw Mr.
Olmsted, and told him so. He promised secrecy, and agreed to sign
the document if the other parties did not meet their engagement.
This was about November 15th, and I continued my shower of
newspaper squibs at the new company, which could not sell a
dollar's worth of its stock. Meanwhile, if any one spoke to me
about the Museum, I simply replied that I had lost it."

This newspaper war against the Peales was kept up unceasingly
until one morning in December, "I received a letter from the
secretary of that company (now calling itself the 'New York
Museum Company'), requesting me to meet the directors at the
Museum on the following Monday morning. I went, and found the
directors in session. The venerable president of the board, who
was also the ex-president of a broken bank, blandly proposed to
hire me to manage the united museums, and though I saw that he
merely meant to buy my silence, I professed to entertain the
proposition, and in reply to an inquiry as to what salary I
should expect, I specified the sum of $3,000 a year. This was at
once acceded to, the salary to begin January 1st, 1842, and after
complimenting me on my ability, the president remarked: 'Of
course, Mr. Barnum, we shall have no more of your squibs through
the newspapers.' To which I replied that I should 'ever try to
serve the interests of my employers,' and I took my leave.

"It was as clear to me as noonday that, after buying my silence
so as to appreciate their stock, these directors meant to sell
out to whom they could, leaving me to look to future stockholders
for my salary. They thought, no doubt, that they had nicely
entrapped me, but I knew I had caught them.

"For, supposing me to be out of the way, and having no other
rival purchaser, these directors postponed the advertisement of
their stock to give people time to forget the attacks I had made
on it, and they also took their own time for paying the money
promised to Mr Heath, December 26th--indeed, they did not even
call on him at the appointed time. But on the following morning,
as agreed, I was promptly and hopefully at Mr. Olmsted's
apartments with my legal adviser, at half-past nine o'clock; Mr.
Heath came with his lawyer at ten, and before two o'clock that
day I was in formal possession of the American Museum. My first
managerial act was to write and dispatch the following
complimentary note:

 " 'AMERICAN MUSEUM, NEW YORK, Dec. 27th, 1841.
" 'To the President and Directors of the New York Museum:

" 'GENTLEMEN: It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you
are placed upon the Free List of this establishment until furthur
                             " 'P. T. BARNUM, Proprietor.'

"It is unnecessary to say that the 'President of the New York
Museum' was astounded, and when he called upon Mr. Heath, and
learned that I had bought and was really in possession of the
American Museum, he was indignant. He talked of prosecution, and
demanded the $1,000 paid on his agreement, but he did not
prosecute, and he justly forfeited his deposit money."



With great hopes for the success of his project, Barnum entered
upon the management of the Museum. It was a new epoch in his
career, he felt that the opportunity of his life had presented
itself--in the show business, to be sure, but in a permanent,
substantial phase of it.

He must pay for the establishment within the stipulated time, or
forfeit all he had paid on account. A rigid plan of economy was
determined upon, his wife agreeing to support the family on $600
a year, or even on four hundred if necessary. Barnum himself made
every possible personal retrenchment. One day, some six months
after the purchase had been made, Mr. Olmsted happened into the
ticket office, while the proprietor was eating his lunch of cold
corned beef and bread.

"Is that all you eat for dinner?" asked Mr. Olmsted.

"I have not eaten a warm dinner, except on Sundays, since I
bought the Museum," was the reply, "and I don't intend to, until
I am out of debt."

"That's right," said Mr. Olmsted, heartily, "and you'll pay for
the Museum before the year is out."

And he was right.

The nucleus of this establishment, Scudder's Museum, was formed
in 1810. It was begun in Chatham Street, and was afterward
transferred to the old City Hall, and from small beginnings, by
purchases, and to a considerable degree by presents, it had grown
to be a large and valuable collection. People in all parts of the
country had sent in relics and rare curiosities. Sea captains for
years had brought and deposited strange things from foreign
lands; and besides all these gifts, the previous proprietor had
actually expended, as was stated, $50,000 in making the
collection, which valuable as it was when Barnum bought it, was
only the beginning of its subsequent greatness. In 1842 the
entire contents of Peale's Museum was purchased, and in 1850 the
Peale collection of Philadelphia was added. In 1865 the space
occupied for museum purposes was more than twice as large as in
1842. The Lecture Room, originally narrow, ill-contrived, and
inconvenient, was so enlarged and improved that it became one of
the most commodious and beautiful amusement halls in the city of
New York. At first the attractions and inducements were merely
the collection of curiosities by day, and an evening
entertainment, consisting of such variety performances as were
current in ordinary shows. Then Saturday afternoons and, soon
afterward, Wednesday afternoons, were devoted to entertainments,
and the popularity of the Museum grew so rapidly that it was
presently found expedient and profitable to open the great
Lecture Room every afternoon, as well as every evening, on every
weekday in the year. The first experiments in this direction more
than justified expectations, for the day exhibitions were always
more thronged than those of the evening.

Holidays, of course, were made the most of, and there is a record
of twelve performances, to as many audiences, being given in one

By degrees the character of the stage performances were changed.
The transient attractions of the Museum were constantly
diversified, and educated dogs, industrious fleas, automatons,
jugglers, ventriloquists, living statuary, tableaux, gypsies,
Albinoes, fat boys, giants, dwarfs, rope-dancers, live "Yankees,"
pantomime, instrumental music, singing and dancing in great
variety, dioramas, panoramas, models of Niagara, Dublin, Paris,
and Jerusalem; Hannington's dioramas of the Creation, the Deluge,
Fairy Grotto, Storm at Sea; the first English Punch and Judy in
this country, Italian Fantoceini, mechanical figures, fancy
glass-blowing, knitting machines, and other triumphs in the
mechanical arts; dissolving views, American Indians, who enacted
their warlike and religious ceremonies on the stage--these, among
others, were all exceedingly successful.

No man ever understood the art of advertising better than Barnum.
Knowing that mammon is ever caught with glare, he took pains that
his posters should be larger, his transparencies more brilliant,
his puffing more persistent than anybody elses. And if he
resorted to hyperbole at times in his advertisements, it was
always his boast that no one ever went away from his Museum,
without having received the worth of his money. It used to amuse
Mr. Barnum later in life, to relate some of the unique
advertising dodges which his inventive genius devised. Here is a
fair sample, as he once told it:

"One morning a stout, hearty-looking man came into my
ticket-office and begged some money. I asked him why he did not
work and earn his living? He replied that he could get nothing to
do, and that he would be glad of any job at a dollar a day. I
handed him a quarter of a dollar, told him to go and get his
breakfast and return, and I would employ him, at light labor, at
a dollar and a half a day. When he returned I gave him five
common bricks.

" 'Now,' said I, 'go and lay a brick on the sidewalk, at the
corner of Broadway and Ann Street; another close by the Museum; a
third diagonally across the way, at the corner of Broadway and
Vesey Street, by the Astor House; put down the fourth on the
sidewalk, in front of St. Paul's Church opposite; then, with the
fifth brick in hand, take up a rapid march from one point to the
other, making the circuit, exchanging your brick at every point,
and say nothing to any one.'

" 'What is the object of this?' inquired the man.

" 'No matter,' I replied: 'all you need to know is that it brings
you fifteen cents wages per hour. It is a bit of my fun, and to
assist me properly you must seem to be as deaf as a post; wear a
serious countenance; answer no questions; pay no attention to any
one; but attend faithfully to the work, and at the end of every
hour, by St. Paul's clock, show this ticket at the Museum door;
enter, walking solemnly through every hall in the building; pass
out, and resume your work.' "

With the remark that "it was all one to him, so long as he could
earn his living," the man placed his bricks, and began his round.
Half an hour afterward, at least five hundred people were
watching his mysterious movements. He had assumed a military step
and bearing, and, looking as sober as a judge, he made no
response whatever to the constant inquiries as to the object of
his singular conduct. At the end of the first hour, the sidewalks
in the vicinity were packed with people, all anxious to solve the
mystery. The man, as directed, then went into the Museum,
devoting fifteen minutes to a solemn survey of the halls, and
afterward returning to his round. This was repeated every hour
until sundown, and whenever the man went into the Museum a dozen
or more persons would buy tickets and follow him, hoping to
gratify their curiosity in regard to the purpose of his
movements. This was continued for several days--the curious
people who followed the man into the Museum considerably more
than paying his wages--till finally the policeman, to whom Barnum
had imparted his object, complained that the obstruction of the
sidewalk by crowds, had become so serious that he must call in
his "brick man." This trivial incident excited considerable talk
and amusement; it advertised Barnum; and it materially advanced
his purpose of making a lively corner near the Museum.

Barnum realized above all that to have people pleased with his
attractions was the best advertisement he could possibly have,
and he tried honestly to keep the Museum supplied with every
novelty. A curiosity which possessed some merit, and considerable
absurdity was the celebrated model of Niagara, "with real water."

One day the enterprising proprietor was called before the Board
of Water Commissioners, and informed that he must pay a large
extra compensation for the immense amount of water that supplied
his Niagara. To the astonishment of the Board Mr. Barnum gave his
assurance that a single barrel of water per month served to run
the machine.

Apropos of this wonderful model, Barnum used to tell how he got
even with his friend, Louis Gaylord Clark, editor of the
Knickerbocker, an inveterate joker, and who was fond of guying
the Museum. The first time Clark viewed "Niagara" he assumed
great admiration.

"Well, Barnum, I declare, this is quite an idea; I never saw the
like of this before in all my life."

"No?" inquired Barnum, quite pleased.

"No," said Clark, fervently, "and I hope to the Lord, I never

Barnum might have forgiven this, but Clark's next joke was too
much to bear. He came in one day and asked Barnum if he had the
club with which Captain Cook was killed. The Museum boasted a
large collection of Indian curiosities, and Barnum showed one
warlike weapon which he assured Clark was the identical club and
he had all the documents to prove it.

"Poor Cook! Poor Cook!" said Clark, musingly. "Well, Mr. Barnum,"
he continued, with great gravity, at the same time extending his
hand, "I am really very much obliged to you for your kindness. I
had an irrepressible desire to see the club that killed Captain
Cook, and I felt quite confident you could accommodate me. I have
been in half a dozen smaller museums, and as they all had it, I
was sure a large establishment like yours would not be without

But Barnum's turn came. A few weeks afterward, he wrote to Clark
that if he would come to his office he was anxious to consult him
on a matter of great importance. He came, and Barnum said:

"Now, I don't want any of your nonsense, but I want your sober

Clark assured him that he would serve him in any way in his
power, and Barnum proceeded to tell him about a wonderful fish
from the Nile, offered for exhibition at $100 a week, the owner
of which was willing to forfeit $5,000, if, within six weeks,
this fish did not pass through a transformation in which the tail
would disappear and the fish would then have legs.

"Is it possible!" asked the astonished Clark.

Barnum assured him that there was no doubt of it.

Thereupon Clark advised Barnum to engage the wonder at any price;
that it would startle the naturalists, wake up the whole
scientific world, draw in the masses, and make $20,000 for the
Museum. Barnum told him that he thought well of the speculation,
only he did not like the name of the fish.

"That makes no difference whatever," said Clark; "what is the
name of the fish?"

"Tadpole," Barnum replied, with becoming gravity, "but it is
vulgarly called 'pollywog.' "

"Sold, by thunder!" exclaimed Clark, and he left.

Another story is illustrative of some of the trials incident to
theatrical management.

An actor named La Rue presented himself as an imitator of
celebrated histrionic personages, including Macready, Forrest,
Kemble, the elder Booth, Kean, Hamblin, and others. Taking him
into the green-room for a private rehearsal, and finding his
imitations excellent, Barnum engaged him. For three nights he
gave great satisfaction, but early in the fourth evening he
staggered into the Museum so drunk that he could hardly stand,
and in half an hour he must be on the stage! Barnum called an
assistant, and they took La Rue and marched him up Broadway as
far as Chambers Street, and back to the lower end of the Park,
hoping to sober him. At this point they put his head under a pump
and gave him a good ducking, with visible beneficial effect, then
a walk around the Park and another ducking, when he assured them
that he should be able to give his imitations "to a charm."

"You drunken brute," said Barnum, "if you fail, and disappoint my
audience, I will throw you out of the window."

He declared that he was "all right," and Barnum led him behind
the scenes, where he waited with considerable trepidation to
watch his movements on the stage. La Rue began by saying:

"Ladies and gentlemen: I will now give you an imitation of Mr.
Booth, the eminent tragedian."

His tongue was thick, his language somewhat incoherent, and
Barnum had great misgivings as he proceeded; but as no token of
disapprobation came from the audience, he began to hope he would
go through with his parts without exciting suspicion of his
condition. But before he had half finished his representation of
Booth, in the soliloquy in the opening act of Richard III, the
house discovered that he was very drunk, and began to hiss. This
only seemed to stimulate him to make an effort to appear sober,
which, as is usual in such cases, only made matters worse, and
the hissing increased. Barnum lost all patience, and, going on
the stage and taking the drunken fellow by the collar, apologized
to the audience, assuring them that he should not appear before
them again. Barnum was about to march him off, when he stepped to
the front, and said:

"Ladies and gentlemen: Mr. Booth has often appeared on the stage
in a state of inebriety, and I was simply giving you a truthful
representation of him on such occasions. I beg to be permitted to
proceed with my imitations."

The audience at once supposed it was all right, and cried out,
"go on, go on"; which he did, and at every imitation of Booth,
whether as Richard, Shylock, or Sir Giles Overreach, he received
a hearty round of applause. Barnum was quite delighted with his
success; but when he came to imitate Forrest and Hamblin,
necessarily representing them as drunk also, the audience could
be no longer deluded; the hissing was almost deafening, and
Barnum was forced to lead the actor off. It was his last
appearance on that stage.

Barnum always denied that the "Feejee Mermaid," which attained
such lasting notoriety, was an invention of his own. It was first
exhibited in London in 1822, where it was purchased by Mr. Moses
Kimball, of the Boston Museum, who sold it to Barnum. The
creature was really most ingeniously constructed, probably by
some Japanese. It drew like magic, and afterward served as a good
advertisement, sent throughout the country for exhibition, the
posters reading, "From Barnum's Great American Museum, New York."

Barnum believed in making his place of exhibition as attractive
as possible, and the building was decorated with flags and
banners, the posters were of the most sensational character, and
the first "Drummond Lights" ever seen in New York were placed on
top of the Museum, flooding the streets around with brilliance.



The fame of the American Museum rose higher and higher. It is
doubtful if any place of entertainment ever attracted such
enthusiastic crowds. It was the first place visited by strangers
in the city.

The small Lecture Room had been converted into a large and
beautiful theatre, and in it many afterward celebrated actors and
actresses made their first appearance; Sothern, Barney Williams,
and the charming Mary Garmon. On holidays there were lecture
performances every hour. The actors kept on their stage clothes
from eleven o'clock in the morning until ten at night, their
meals were served in the green-room, and the company received
extra pay.

The 4th of July, 1842, was a great day in the history of the
Museum. Barnum had planned a magnificent display of American
flags, as one of the outside attractions, and applied to the
vestrymen of St. Paul's Church, opposite the Museum, for
permission to attach his flag-rope to a tree in the church-yard.
Their reply was an indignant refusal. Returning to the Museum,
Barnum directed that his original order concerning the
disposition of the flags be carried out to the letter.

The morning dawned, and the crowds on Broadway were admiring the
display, when two representatives of the baffled vestry rushed
into the office and demanded that the ropes be taken down. "The
Church of St. Paul's, where Washington worshiped, attached to a
Museum! Sacrilege!"

Barnum assumed a conciliatory tone, reminding them that he always
stopped his band playing during their week-day services, and
suggesting the fairness of the obligation being made mutual.

"If those flags are not down in ten minutes," cried one of the
vestrymen, "I will cut them down."

Then Barnum sprang to his feet and exclaimed loudly enough for
the crowd to hear:

"Well, Mister, I should just like to see you dare to cut down the
American flag on the Fourth of July; you must be a 'Britisher' to
make such a threat as that; but I'll show you a thousand pairs of
Yankee hands in two minutes, if you dare to attempt to take down
the Stars and Stripes on this great birthday of American

"What's that John Bull a-saying?" asked a brawny fellow, placing
himself in front of the irate vestryman. "Look here, old fellow,"
he continued, "if you want to save a whole bone in your body, you
had better slope, and never dare to talk again about hauling down
the American flag in the city of New York."

Throngs of excited, exasperated men crowded around, and the
vestryman, seeing the effect of the ruse, smiled faintly and
said, "Oh, of course it is all right," and he and his companion
quietly edged out of the crowd.

By one o'clock that day, the Museum was so densely packed that no
more visitors could be admitted, and the proprietor saw with
despair the crowds being turned away from the door. Rushing
down-stairs, he directed the carpenter to cut down the partition
and floor in the rear and to put in a temporary flight of stairs.
The egress was ready by three o'clock, and people poured out into
Ann Street, while the crowd from Broadway poured in. After that,
the egress was always ready on holidays. One of Barnum's most
amusing reminiscences related to this egress.

"Early in the following March I received notice from some of the
Irish population that they meant to visit me in great numbers on
'St. Patrick's day in the morning.' 'All right,' said I to my
carpenter, 'get your egress ready for March 17th;' and I added,
to my assistant manager: 'If there is much of a crowd, don't let
a single person pass out at the front, even if it were St.
Patrick himself; put every man out through the egress in the
rear.' The day came, and before noon we were caught in the same
dilemma as we were on the Fourth of July; the Museum was jammed,
and the sale of tickets was stopped. I went to the egress and
asked the sentinel how many hundreds had passed out?

" 'Hundreds,' he replied, 'why only three persons have gone out
by this way, and they came back, saying that it was a mistake and
begging to be let in again.'

" 'What does this mean?' I inquired; 'surely thousands of people
have been all over the Museum since they came in.'

" 'Certainly,' was the reply; 'but after they have gone from one
saloon to another, and have been on every floor, even to the
roof, they come down and travel the same route over again.'

"At this time I espied a tall Irish woman with two good-sized
children whom I had happened to notice when they came in early in
the morning.

" 'Step this way, madam,' said I, politely; 'you will never be
able to get into the street by the front door without crushing
these dear children. We have opened a large egress here, and you
can thus pass by these rear stairs into Ann Street, and thus
avoid all danger.'

" 'Sure,' replied the woman, indignantly, 'an' I'm not going out
at all, at all, nor the children either, for we've brought our
dinners and we are going to stay all day.'

"Further investigation showed that pretty much all of the
visitors had brought their dinners with the evident intention of
literally 'making a day of it.' No one expected to go home till
night; the building was overcrowded, and hundreds were waiting at
the front entrance to get in when they could. In despair, I
sauntered upon the stage behind the scenes, biting my lips with
vexation, when I happened to see the scene-painter at work, and a
happy thought struck me. 'Here,' I exclaimed, 'take a piece of
canvas four feet square and paint on it, as soon as you can, in
large letters,

                {pointing finger} TO THE EGRESS.'

"Seizing his brush, he finished the sign in fifteen minutes, and
I directed the carpenter to nail it over the door leading to the
back stairs. He did so, and as the crowd, after making the entire
tour of the establishment, came pouring down the main stairs from
the third-story, they stopped and looked at the new sign, while
some of them read audibly: 'To the Aigress.'

" 'The Aigress,' said others, 'sure that's an animal we haven't
seen,' and the throng began to pour down the back-stairs only to
find that the 'Aigress ' was the elephant, and that the elephant
was all out o' doors, or so much of it as began with Ann Street.
Meanwhile, I began to accommodate those who had long been waiting
with their money at the Broadway entrance."

Barnum had planned to expend the entire profits of the first year
in advertising, but so fast did the money pour in, that he was
often embarrassed to devise means to get rid of it, according to
his first idea. One of the most expensive advertisements
consisted of a large number of oil paintings of every animal in
zoology. These paintings were prepared secretly, and were put
between the windows of the building at night. The town was
paralyzed with astonishment, and the daily receipts took an
upward jump of nearly a hundred dollars.

Flower shows, dog shows, poultry and bird shows, with prizes to
the best specimens, had long been features of the Museum, and at
last Barnum rashly decided on a baby show. There was a prize of
one hundred dollars attached, and a committee of ladies were
appointed to decide on the best baby. The unsuspecting Barnum
stepped into the circle and announced the prize winner, but to
his astonishment the verdict did not suit anybody but the mother
of one baby. The other ninety-nine indignant mothers "jumped on"
to Mr Barnum and the committee, and denounced the whole
proceeding as impartial and unjust. Barnum offered to let them
select a new committee, and even agreed to give another hundred
dollar prize, but the storm raged with unabating fury. There were
baby shows after that, but the verdict was delivered in writing,
and Mr. Barnum never gave the prize in person.

In June, 1843, a herd of yearling buffaloes was on exhibition in
Boston. Barnum bought the lot, brought them to New Jersey, hired
the race-course at Hoboken, chartered the ferry-boats for one
day, and advertised that a hunter had arrived with a herd of
buffaloes, and that august 31st there would be a "Grand Buffalo
Hunt" on the Hoboken race-course--all persons to be admitted free
of charge.

The appointed day was warm and delightful, and no less than
twenty-four thousand people crossed the North River in the
ferry-boats to enjoy the cooling breeze and to see the "Grand
Buffalo Hunt." The hunter was dressed as an Indian, and mounted
on horseback; he proceeded to show how the wild buffalo is
captured with a lasso, but unfortunately the yearlings would not
run till the crowd gave a great shout, expressive at once of
derision and delight at the harmless humbug. This shout started
the young animals into a weak gallop and the lasso was duly
thrown over the head of the largest calf. The crowd roared with
laughter, listened to the balcony band, which was also furnished
"free," and then started for New York, little dreaming who was
the author of this sensation, or what was its object.

Mr. N. P. Willis, then editor of the Home Journal, wrote an
article illustrating the perfect good nature with which the
American public submit to a clever humbug. He said that he went
to Hoboken to witness the buffalo hunt. It was nearly four
o'clock when the boat left the foot of Barclay Street, and it was
so densely crowded that many persons were obliged to stand on the
railings and hold on to the awning-posts. When they reached the
Hoboken side a boat equally crowded was coming out of the slip.
The passengers just arriving cried out to those who were coming
away, "Is the buffalo hunt over?" To which came the reply, "Yes,
and it was the biggest humbug you ever heard of!" Willis added
that passengers on the boat with him instantly gave three cheers
for the author of the humbug, whoever he might be.

After the public had enjoyed their laugh over the Buffalo hunt,
Barnum let it become known that he was the author of the joke. Of
course, their cry of "charlatan," "humbug," and "swindler" was
louder than ever from that time, but Barnum never objected to
being celled names. The more advertising the better.

About this time Barnum engaged a band of Indians from Iowa.

The party comprised large and noble specimens of the untutored
savage, as well as several very beautiful squaws, with two or
three interesting "papooses." They lived and lodged in a large
room on the top floor of the Museum, and cooked their own
victuals in their own way. They gave their war-dances on the
stage in the Lecture Room with great vigor and enthusiasm, much
to the satisfaction of the audiences. But these wild Indians
seemed to consider their dances as realities. Hence, when they
gave a real war-dance, it was dangerous for any parties, except
their manager and interpreter to be on the stage, for the moment
they had finished their war-dance, they began to leap and peer
about behind the scenes in search of victims for their tomahawks
and scalping knives! Indeed, lest in these frenzied moments they
might make a dash at the orchestra or the audience, Barnum had a
high rope barrier placed between them and the savages on the
front of the stage.

Barnum counted one incident in connection with his Indian show as
notable, being one of the few occasions when he played the losing

"After they had been a week in the Museum," he said, "I proposed
a change of performance for the week following by introducing new
dances. Among these was the Indian wedding dance. At that time I
printed but one set of posters (large bills) per week, so that
whatever was announced for Monday was repeated every day and
evening during that week. Before the wedding dance came off on
Monday afternoon, I was informed that I was to provide a large,
new, red woolen blanket, at a cost of ten dollars, for the
bridegroom to present to the father of the bride. I ordered the
purchase to be made, but was considerably taken aback when I was
informed that I must have another new blanket for the evening,
inasmuch as the savage old Indian chief, father-in-law to the
bridegroom, would not consent to his daughter's being approached
with the wedding dance unless he had his blanket present,

"I undertook to explain to the chief, through the interpreter,
that this was only a 'make believe' wedding; but the old savage
shrugged his shoulders, and gave such a terrific 'Ugh!' that I
was glad to make my peace by ordering another blanket. As we gave
two performances per day, I was out of pocket $120 for twelve
'wedding blankets' that week."

One of the beautiful squaws named Do-humme died in the Museum.
She had been a great favorite with many ladies. Do-humme was
buried on the border of Sylvan Water, at Greenwood Cemetery,
where a small monument erected by her friends, designates her
last resting-place. The poor Indians were very sorrowful for many
days, and desired to get back again to their Western wilds. The
father and the betrothed of Do-humme cooked various dishes of
food and placed them upon the roof of the Museum, where they
believed the spirit of their departed friend came daily for its
supply; and these dishes were renewed every morning during the
stay of the Indians at the Museum.



Barnum would never submit to being outdone by a rival. In "poker"
parlance, he would "see him and go one better." His chief
competitor now was Peale, who was running Peale's Museum, and
proudly proclaiming it to be a more scientific institution than
Barnum's. Thus, he said, he was catering to a higher class of

"Science, indeed!" said Barnum. "I'll give him science to his
heart's content!"

Mesmerism was then a great novelty, and Peale was given
exhibitions of it. He had one subject on whom he operated daily,
with most surprising results; though at times she was
unimpressionable, and the people who had paid to come in and see
her performances complained loudly that they were being swindled.
Barnum saw here a great opportunity to squelch a rival and
increase his own fame at a single stroke. He engaged a bright
little girl who was exceedingly susceptible to such mesmeric
influences as he could induce. That is, she learned her lesson
thoroughly, and when he had apparently put her to sleep with a
few passes and stood behind her, she seemed to be duly
"impressed," as he desired; raised her hands as he willed, fell
from her chair to the floor; and if he put candy or tobacco into
his own mouth, she was duly delighted or disgusted. She never
failed in these routine performances. Strange to say, believers
in mesmerism used to witness her performances with the greatest
pleasure, and adduce them as positive proofs that there was
something in mesmerism, and they applauded tremendously--up to a
certain point.

That point was reached when, leaving the girl "asleep," Barnum
called up some one in the audience, promising to put him "in the
same state" within five minutes, or forfeit fifty dollars. Of
course, all his "passes" would not put a man in the mesmeric
state; at the end of three minutes he was as wide awake as ever.

"Never mind," Barnum would say, "looking at his watch; "I have
two minutes more, and meantime, to show that a person in this
state is utterly insensible to pain, I propose to cut off one of
the fingers of the little girl who is still asleep." He would
then take out a knife and feel of the edge, and when he turned
around to the girl whom he left on the chair, she had fled behind
the scenes, to the intense amusement of the greater part of the
audience, and to the amazement of the mesmerists who were

"Why! where's my little girl?" he asked, with feigned

"Oh! she ran away when you began to talk about cutting off

"Then she was wide awake, was she?"

"Of course she was, all the time."

"I suppose so; and, my dear sir, I promised that you should be
'in the same state' at the end of five minutes, and as I believe
you are so, I do not forfeit fifty dollars."

Barnum kept up this performance for several weeks, till he quite
killed Peale's "genuine" mesmerism in the rival establishment. At
the end of six months he bought Peale's Museum, and the whole,
including the splendid gallery of American portraits, was removed
to the American Museum, and he immediately advertised the great
card of a "Double Attraction," and "Two Museums in One," without
extra charge.

Barnum was now devoting all his attention and energy to this
enterprise, and was achieving great success. He made everything
contribute to its popularity. When a politician asked him for
what candidate he was going to vote, he would answer, "For the
American Museum;" and this was an index of his whole demeanor.

Among the genuine and literally "great" features of his show were
several giants. They often gave both the showman and his patrons
food for much amusement as well as wonder. The Quaker giant,
Hales, was quite a wag in his way. He went once to see the new
house of an acquaintance who had suddenly become rich, but who
was a very ignorant man. When he came back he described the
wonders of the mansion, and said that the proud proprietor showed
him everything from basement to attic; parlors, bed-rooms,
dining-room, and, said Hales, "what he calls his
'study'--meaning, I suppose, the place where he intends to study
his spelling-book!"

He had at one time two famous men, the French giant, M. Bihin, a
very slim man, and the Arabian giant, Colonel Goshen. These men
generally got on together very well, though, of course, each was
jealous of the other, and of the attention the rival received, or
the notice he attracted. One day they quarreled, and a lively
interchange of compliments ensued, the Arabian calling the
Frenchman a "Shanghai," and receiving in return the epithet of
"Nigger." From words both were eager to proceed to blows, and
both ran to the collection of arms, one seizing the club with
which Captain Cook, or any other man, might have been killed, if
it were judiciously wielded, and the other laying hands on a
sword of the terrific size which is supposed to have been
conventional in the days of the Crusades.

The preparations for a deadly encounter, and the high words of
the contending parties, brought a dozen of the Museum attaches to
the spot, and these men threw themselves between the gigantic
combatants. Hearing the disturbance, Barnum ran from his private
office to the dueling ground, and said:

"Look here! This is all right; if you want to fight each other,
maiming and perhaps killing one or both of you, that is your
affair; but my interest lies here: you are both under engagement
to me, and if this duel is to come off, I and the public have a
right to participate. It must be duly advertised, and must take
place on the stage of the Lecture Room. No performance of yours
would be a greater attraction, and if you kill each other, our
engagement can end with your duel."

This proposition, made in apparent earnest, so delighted the
giants that they at once burst into a laugh, shook hands, and
quarreled no more.

From giants to dwarfs. None of Barnum's attractions has been more
famous than "Tom Thumb." The story of his discovery and
engagement is dated in November, 1842. Barnum was then at
Bridgeport, Conn. One day he heard that there belonged in one of
the families of the place a phenomenally small child, and he got
his brother, Philo F. Barnum, to bring the little fellow to his
hotel. "He was," Barnum afterward said, "not two feet high; he
weighed less than sixteen pounds, and was the smallest child I
ever saw that could walk alone; he was a perfectly formed
bright-eyed little fellow, with light hair and ruddy cheeks, and
he enjoyed the best of health. He was exceedingly bashful, but
after some coaxing, he was induced to talk with me, and he told
me that he was the son of Sherwood E. Stratton, and that his own
name was Charles S. Stratton. After seeing him and talking with
him, I at once determined to secure his services from his parents
and to exhibit him in public. I engaged him for four weeks, at
three dollars a week, with all traveling and boarding charges for
himself and his mother at my expense. They came to New York
Thanksgiving day, December 8th, 1842, and I announced the dwarf
on my Museum bills as 'General Tom Thumb.' "

Barnum took the greatest pains to educate and train the
diminutive prodigy, devoting many hours to the task by day and by
night, and he was very successful, for the boy was an apt pupil,
with a great deal of native talent, and a keen sense of the
ludicrous. Barnum afterward re-engaged him for one year, at seven
dollars a week with a gratuity of fifty dollars at the end of the
engagement, and the privilege of exhibiting him anywhere in the
United States, in which event his parents were to accompany him
and Barnum was to pay all traveling expenses. He speedily became
a public favorite, and long before the year was out, Barnum
voluntarily increased his weekly salary to twenty-five dollars,
and he fairly earned it.

For two years Barnum had been the owner of the Museum. He had
enjoyed great prosperity. Long ago he had paid every dollar of
the purchase-money out of the profits of the place. All rivals
had been driven from the field. He was out of debt, and had a
handsome balance in the bank. The experimental stage was passed,
and the enterprise was an established success. It was, indeed, in
such perfect order that Barnum felt safe in leaving it to his
lieutenants, while he went forth to seek new realms of conquest.
Accordingly he made an agreement for General Tom Thumb's services
for another year, at fifty dollars a week and all expenses, with
the privilege of exhibiting him in Europe. He proposed to test
the curiosity of men and women on the other side of the Atlantic.

After arranging his business affairs for a long absence, and
making every preparation for an extended foreign tour, on
Thursday, January 18th, 1844, he went on board the new and fine
sailing ship "Yorkshire," Captain D. G. Bailey, bound for
Liverpool. The party included General Tom Thumb, his parents, his
tutor, and Professor Guillaudeu, a French naturalist. They were
accompanied by several personal friends, and the City Brass Band
kindly volunteered to escort them to Sandy Hook.

They were met at Liverpool by a large crowd of sight-seers, who
had been attracted thither by the fame of "Tom Thumb." The
curiosity of the populace was not gratified, however, for Barnum
had the child smuggled ashore unseen, under his mother's shawl.

"My letters of introduction," said the showman,  many excellent
families, and I was induced to hire a hall and present the
General to the public, for a short season in Liverpool. I had
intended to proceed directly to London, and begin operations at
'headquarters,' that is, in Buckingham Palace, if possible; but I
had been advised that the royal family was in mourning for the
death of Prince Albert's father, and would not permit the
approach of any entertainments. Meanwhile, confidential letters
from London informed me that Mr. Maddox, Manager of Princess's
Theatre, was coming down to witness my exhibition, with a view to
making an engagement. He came privately, but I was fully informed
as to his presence and object. A friend pointed him out to me in
the hall, and when I stepped up to him, and called him by name,
he was 'taken all aback,' and avowed his purpose in visiting
Liverpool. An interview resulted in an engagement of the General
for three nights at Princess's Theatre. I was unwilling to
contract for a longer period, and even this short engagement,
though on liberal terms, was acceded to only as a means of
advertisement. So soon, therefore, as I could bring my short, but
highly successful, season in Liverpool to a close, we went to



The first public appearance of Tom Thumb in London occurred soon
after the arrival of the party there, at the Princess's Theatre.
A short engagement only had been made, but it was exceedingly
successful. The spectators were delighted, the manager overjoyed,
and Barnum himself pleased beyond measure. This brief engagement
answered his purpose, in arousing public interest and curiosity.
That was all the shrewd showman wanted for the present.
Accordingly, when the manager of the theatre urged a renewal of
the engagement, at a much higher price, Barnum positively
declined it. He had secured the desired advertising; now he would
exhibit on his own account and in his own way.

He therefore took a splendid mansion in Grafton Street, Bond
Street, in the fashionable and aristocratic West End of London.
Lord Talbot had lived in it, and Lord Brougham lived close by. It
was an audacious stroke for the Yankee showman to invade this
select and exclusive region, but it was successful. In response
to his invitations members of the nobility came eagerly flocking
to the house to see the wonderful child. Barnum showed himself as
exclusive as any of them, for he gave orders to his servants that
no callers were to be received who did not present cards of
invitation. This procedure he afterward explained, was entirely
proper. He had not yet announced himself as a public showman. He
was simply an American citizen visiting London, and it was
incumbent upon him to maintain the dignity of his position! His
servants, of course, exercised proper tact, and no offense was
given, although many of the nobility and gentry, who drove to his
door in carriages adorned with crests and coats of arms, were
thus turned away.

Among the early callers was the Hon. Edward Everett, the American
minister to England. He was much pleased with Mr. Barnum and his
tiny ward, and had them dine with him the next day. He also
promised that they should, if possible, be received by the Queen
at Buckingham Palace.

A few evenings afterward the Baroness Rothschild sent her
carriage for them. They were received by a half a dozen servants,
and were ushered up a broad flight of marble stairs to the
drawing-room, where they met the Baroness and a party of twenty
or more ladies and gentlemen. In this sumptuous mansion of the
richest banker in the world, they spent about two hours, and when
they took their leave a well-filled purse was quietly slipped
into Mr. Barnum's hand. The golden shower had begun to fall.

Mr. Barnum now thought the time ripe for beginning his public
exhibitions. He engaged Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, and announced
that Tom Thumb was to be seen there. The rush of visitors was
tremendous. The aristocracy of London thronged the hall night
after night, and a phenomenal success was assured. Barnum did not
look beyond such work. True, Everett had spoken of an audience
with the Queen, but Barnum had no idea that it would ever be
granted. One day, however, he met Mr. Murray, Master of the
Queen's Household, at Everett's at breakfast, and that gentleman
asked him what were his plans for the future. Barnum replied that
he expected presently to go to the Continent, but he would most
gladly stay in London if he could get the favor of an audience
with Her Majesty.

Mr. Murray kindly offered his good offices in the case, and the
next day one of the Life Guards, a tall, noble-looking fellow,
bedecked as became his station, brought a note, conveying the
Queen's invitation to General Tom Thumb and his guardian Mr.
Barnum, to appear at Buckingham Palace on an evening specified.
Special instructions were the same day orally given by Mr.
Murray, by Her Majesty's command, to suffer the General to appear
before her, as he would appear anywhere else, without any
training in the use of the titles of royalty, as the Queen
desired to see him act naturally and without restraint.

Determined to make the most of the occasion, Mr. Barnum put a
placard on the door of the Egyptian Hall: "Closed this evening,
General Tom Thumb being at Buckingham Palace by command of Her

When they arrived at the palace, a Lord-in-Waiting met them, and
began "coaching" them on points of court etiquette. Mr. Barnum,
especially, was told that he must in no event speak directly to
Her Majesty, but through the medium of the aforesaid Lord. He
must also keep his face constantly turned toward the Queen, and
so, in retiring from the royal presence, must walk backward.
Having thus been instructed in the ways of royalty, Mr. Barnum
and the diminutive General were led to the presence of the Queen.

They passed through a long corridor to a broad flight of marble
steps, which led to the picture gallery, and there the Queen and
Prince Albert, the Duchess of Kent, the Duke of Wellington, and
others were awaiting their arrival. They were standing at the
further end of the room when the doors were thrown open, and the
General walked in, looking like a wax doll gifted with the power
of locomotion. Surprise and pleasure were depicted on the
countenances of the royal circle at beholding this remarkable
specimen of humanity so much smaller than they had evidently
expected to find him.

The General advanced with a firm step, and, as he came within
hailing distance, made a very graceful bow, and exclaimed, "Good
evening, ladies and gentlemen."

A burst of laughter followed this salutation. The Queen then took
him by the hand, led him about the gallery, and asked him many
questions, the answers to which kept the party in an
uninterrupted strain of merriment. The General familiarly
informed the Queen that her picture gallery was "first-rate," and
told her he should like to see the Prince of Wales. The Queen
replied that the Prince had retired to rest, but that he should
see him on some future occasion. The General then gave his songs,
dances, and imitations, and after a conversation with Prince
Albert, and all present, which continued for more than an hour,
they were permitted to depart.

But before this Mr. Barnum had broken the instructions in
etiquette which had been so carefully impressed upon him by the
Lord-in-Waiting. When the Queen began asking him questions, he
answered her, as she addressed him, through the lordly medium, as
he had been told. That was inconvenient and irksome, however, and
presently Barnum addressed his reply directly to her. The
Lord-in-Waiting was horror-struck, but the Queen did not appear
to be displeased, for she instantly followed her guest's example,
and spoke thereafter directly to him. In a few minutes Her
Majesty and the Yankee showman were talking together with the
greatest ease and freedom.

"I felt," said Mr. Barnum afterward, "entirely at ease in her
presence, and could not avoid contrasting her sensible and
amiable manners with the stiffness and formality of upstart
gentility at home or abroad.

"The Queen was modestly attired in plain black, and wore no
ornaments. Indeed, surrounded as she was by ladies arrayed in the
highest style of magnificence, their dresses sparkling with
diamonds, she was the last person whom a stranger would have
pointed out in that circle as the Queen of England.

"The Lord-in-Waiting was perhaps mollified toward me when he saw
me following his illustrious example in retiring from the royal
presence. He was accustomed to the process, and therefore was
able to keep somewhat ahead (or rather aback) of me, but even _I_
stepped rather fast for the other member of the retiring party.
We had a considerable distance to travel in that long gallery
before reaching the door, and whenever the General found he was
losing ground, he turned around and ran a few steps, then resumed
his position of backing out, then turned around and ran, and so
continued to alternate his methods of getting to the door, until
the gallery fairly rang with the merriment of the royal
spectators. It was really one of the richest scenes I ever saw;
running, under the circumstances, was an offense sufficiently
heinous to excite the indignation of the Queen's favorite poodle
dog, and he vented his displeasure by barking so sharply as to
startle the General from his propriety. He, however, recovered
immediately, and with his little cane, commenced an attack on the
poodle, and a funny fight ensued, which renewed and increased the
merriment of the royal party.

"This was near the door of exit. We had scarcely passed into the
ante-room, when one of the Queen's attendants came to us with the
expressed hope of her Majesty that the General had sustained no
damage, to which the Lord-in-Waiting playfully added, that in
case of injury to so renowned a personage, he should fear a
declaration of war by the United States!"

The visitors were then escorted about the Palace, and treated to
refreshments. Before leaving Mr. Barnum bethought him of the
"Court Circular," in which the doings of the Royal Family were
chronicled to the world. Would his reception by the Queen be
mentioned in it? Certainly. Well, then, would it not be possible
to secure something more than mere mention; some words of special
commendation; a "free advertisement" in fact? He would try it! So
he inquired where he could find the gentleman who prepared the
circular, and was informed that that functionary was in the
Palace at that very moment.

"He was sent for," related Mr. Barnum, "by my solicitation, and
promptly acceded to my request for such a notice as would attract
attention. He even generously desired me to give him an outline
of what I sought, and I was pleased to see afterward, that he had
inserted my notice verbatim.

"This notice of my visit to the Queen wonderfully increased the
attraction of 'Gen. Tom Thumb,' and compelled me to obtain a more
commodious hall for my exhibition. I accordingly moved to a
larger room in the same building."

On their second visit to the Queen, they were received in what is
called the Yellow Drawing Room, a magnificent apartment. It is on
the north side of the gallery, and is entered from that
apartment. It was hung with drapery of rich yellow satin damask,
the couches, sofas, and chairs being covered with the same
material. The vases, urns, and ornaments were all of the most
exquisite workmanship. The room was panelled in gold, and the
heavy cornices beautifully carved and gilt. The tables, pianos,
etc., were mounted with gold, inlaid with pearl of various hues,
and of the most elegant designs.

They were ushered into this gorgeous drawing-room before the
Queen and royal circle had left the dining-room, and, as they
approached, the General bowed respectfully, and remarked to Her
Majesty, "that he had seen her before," adding, "I think this is
a prettier room than the picture gallery; that chandelier is very

The Queen smilingly took him by the hand, and said she hoped he
was very well.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied, "I am first-rate."

"General," continued the Queen, "this is the Prince of Wales."

"How are you, Prince?" said the General, shaking him by the hand,
and then standing beside the Prince, he remarked, "the prince is
taller than I am, but I feel as big as anybody," upon which he
strutted up and down the room as proud as a peacock, amid shouts
of laughter from all present.

The Queen then introduced the Princess Royal, and the General
immediately led her to his elegant little sofa, which he took
with him, and with much politeness sat down beside her. Then,
rising from his seat, he went through his various performances,
and the Queen handed him an elegant and costly souvenir, which
had been expressly made for him by her order, for which, he told
her, "he was very much obliged, and would keep it as long as he
lived." The Queen of the Belgians (daughter of Louis Philippe)
was present on this occasion. She asked the General where he was
going when he left London.

"To Paris," he replied.

"Whom do you expect to see there?" she continued.

Of course all expected he would answer, "the King of the French,"
but the little fellow replied.

"Monsieur Guillaudeu."

The two queens looked inquiringly, and when Mr. Barnum informed
them that M. Guillaudeu was his French naturalist, they laughed
most heartily.

On their third visit to Buckingham Palace, Leopold, King of the
Belgians, was also present. He was highly pleased, and asked a
multitude of questions. Queen Victoria desired the General to
sing a song, and asked him what song he preferred to sing.

"Yankee Doodle," was the prompt reply.

This answer was as unexpected to Mr. Barnum as it was to the
royal party. When the merriment it occasioned had somewhat
subsided, the Queen good-humoredly remarked, "that is a very
pretty song, General, sing it, if you please." The General
complied, and soon afterward retired.

The Queen sent to Barnum a handsome fee for each of his visits,
but that was only a small part of the benefits which his
acquaintance with her brought to him. Such was the force of Court
example that it was now deemed unfashionable, almost disloyal,
not to have seen Tom Thumb. Carriages of the nobility, fifty or
sixty at a time, were to be seen at Barnum's door in Piccadilly.
Egyptian Hall was crowded at every exhibition, and the net
profits there were on the average more than $500 per day from
March 20th to July 20th. Portraits of the tiny General were for
sale everywhere, and were eagerly purchased by thousands. Musical
compositions were dedicated to him, and songs were sung in his
honor. Week after week he was the subject of Punch's wittiest
cartoons; and of course all this was just so much free
advertising. Besides his three public performances per day, the
little General attended three or four private parties per week,
for which they were paid eight to ten guineas each. Frequently he
would visit two parties in the same evening, and the demand in
that line was much greater than the supply. The Queen Dowager
Adelaide requested the General's attendance at Marlborough House
one afternoon. He went in his court dress, consisting of a richly
embroidered brown silk-velvet coat and short breeches, white
satin vest with fancy colored embroidery, white silk stockings
and pumps, wig, bagwig, cocked hat, and dress sword.

"Why, General," said the Queen Dowager, "I think you look very
smart to-day."

"I guess I do," said the General, complacently.

A large party of the nobility were present. The old Duke of
Cambridge offered the little General a pinch of snuff, which he
declined. The General sang his songs, performed his dances, and
cracked his jokes, to the great amusement and delight of the
distinguished circle of visitors.

"Dear little General," said the kind-hearted Queen, taking him
upon her lap, "I see you have no watch. Will you permit me to
present you with a watch and chain?"

"I would like them very much," replied the General, his eyes
glistening with joy as he spoke.

"I will have them made expressly for you," responded the Queen
Dowager; and at the same moment she called a friend and desired
him to see that the proper order was executed. A few weeks
thereafter they were called again to Marlborough House. A number
of the children of the nobility were present, as well as some of
their parents. After passing a few compliments with the General,
Queen Adelaide presented him with a beautiful little gold watch,
placing the chain around his neck with her own hands.

This watch, also, served the purpose of an advertisement, and a
good one, too. It was not only duly heralded, but was placed upon
a pedestal in the hall of exhibition, together with the presents
from Queen Victoria, and covered with a glass vase. These
presents, to which were soon added an elegant gold snuff-box
mounted with turquois, presented by his grace the Duke of
Devonshire, and many other costly gifts of the nobility and
gentry, added to the attraction of the exhibition.

The Duke of Wellington called frequently to see the little
General at his public levees. The first time he called, the
General was personating Napoleon Bonaparte, marching up and down
the platform, and apparently taking snuff in deep meditation. He
was dressed in the well-known uniform of the Emperor. Barnum
introduced him to the "Iron Duke," who inquired the subject of
his meditations. "I was thinking of the loss of the battle of
Waterloo," was the little General's immediate reply. This display
of wit was chronicled throughout the country, and was of itself
worth thousands of pounds to the exhibition.

General Tom Thumb had visited the King of Saxony and also Ibrahim
Pacha, who was then in London. At the different parties he
attended, he met, in the course of the season, nearly all of the
nobility. Scarcely a nobleman in England failed to see General
Tom Thumb at his own house, at the house of a friend, or at the
public levees at Egyptian Hall. The General was a decided pet
with some of the first personages in the land, among whom were
Sir Robert and Lady Peel, the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham,
Duke of Bedford, Duke of Devonshire, Count d'Orsay, Lady
Blessington, Daniel O'Connell, Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence, Lord
Chesterfield, and many other persons of distinction They had the
free entree to all the theatres, public gardens, and places of
entertainment, and frequently met the principal artists, editors,
poets, and authors of the country. Albert Smith wrote a play for
the General, entitled "Hop o' my Thumb," which was presented with
great success at the Lyceum Theatre, London, and in several of
the provincial theatres.

Thus the London visit and the tour of England were successful
beyond all anticipation, and it was with an overflowing purse
that Barnum set out with his charge for the French capital.



Barnum having returned from a preliminary trip to France, in
which all arrangements, even to starting the first paragraphs in
the Paris papers were made, now went back accompanied by Tom
Thumb. They reached Paris some days before the exhibition was
opened, but on the day following their arrival, a special command
reached them to appear at the Tuileries on the next Sunday

At the appointed hour the General and his manager were ushered
into the presence of the King, the Queen, the Count de Paris,
Prince de Joinville, the Duchess d'Orleans, and a dozen more
distinguished persons, among whom was the editor of the Journal
des Debats.

At the close of the General's performances, which he went through
with to the evident delight of all present, the King gave him a
large emerald and diamond brooch, at the same time saying to Mr.
Barnum: "You may put it on the General, if you please." Which
command was obeyed, to the gratification of the King and the
immense delight of the General.

The King was so condescending and affable that Mr. Barnum at
length ventured to ask a favor of him. The Longchamps celebration
was close at hand--a day once devoted to religious ceremony, but
now conspicuous for the display of court and fashionable
equipages in the various drives and parks--and after the King had
conversed with Mr. Barnum on various topics in a familiar manner,
the diplomatic showman remarked that he had hastened his arrival
in Paris for the express purpose of taking part in the Longchamps
celebration. The General's carriage, he explained, with its
ponies and little coachman and footman, was so small that it
would be in great danger in the crowd unless the King would
graciously permit it to appear in the avenue reserved for the
court and the diplomatic corps

The King smiled, and after a few minutes' consultation with one
of the officers of his household. said: "Call on the Prefect of
Police to-morrow afternoon and you will find a permit ready for

After a two hours' visit they retired, the General loaded with

The next morning all the newspapers chronicled the royal
audience, the Journal des Debats giving a full account of the
interview and of the General's performances.

Thus all Paris knew that Tom Thumb, in all his glory, was in the

Longchamps day arrived, and conspicuous among the splendid
equipages on the grand avenue, Tom Thumb's beautiful little
carriage, with four ponies and liveried and powdered coachman and
footman, rode along in the line of carriages bearing the
ambassadors to the Court of France. The air was fairly rent with
cheers for "le General Tom Ponce."

The first day's receipts were 5,500 francs--over three hundred
dollars, and this sum might have been doubled had there been room
for more visitors. The elite of Paris flocked to the exhibition.
There were afternoon and evening performances, and seats were
reserved in advance at an extra price for the entire two months.

The papers were full of praises for the performance; Figaro gave
a picture of an immense mastiff running away with the General's
horse and carriage in his mouth.

Statuettes and pictures of "Tom Ponce" appeared everywhere; a
cafe on one of the boulevards took the name of "Tom Ponce," with
a life-size statue of the General for a sign. Eminent painters
here, as in London, asked to paint his portrait, but the
General's engagements were so pressing that he had little time to
sit to artists. All the leading actors and actresses came to see
him, and he received many fine presents from them. The daily
receipts continued to increase, and the manager had to take a cab
to carry home the silver at night.

Twice more was the General summoned to appear before the royal
family at the Tuileries, and on the King's birthday a special
invitation was sent him to view the display of fireworks in honor
of the anniversary.

The last visit to the Court was made at St. Cloud. The papers, in
speaking of the General's characterizations, mentioned that there
was one costume which Tom Thumb wisely kept at the bottom of his
trunk. This was the uniform of Napoleon Bonaparte, and by special
request of the King, it was worn at St. Cloud. The affair was
quite sub rosa, however, none of the papers mentioning it.

At the end of the visit each of the royal company gave the
General a magnificent present, overwhelmed him with kisses,
wishing him a safe journey through France, and a long and happy
life. After making their adieux they retired to another part of
the palace to permit the General to change his costume and to
partake of a collation which was served them. As they were
leaving the palace they passed the sitting-room where the royal
family were spending the evening. The door was open, and some one
spying the General there was a call for him to come in and shake
hands once more. They went in, finding the Queen and her ladies
engaged in embroidering, while one young lady read aloud. They
all kissed and petted the General many times around before
finally permitting him to depart.

After leaving Paris they made a most profitable tour, including
the cities of Rouen, Orleans, Brest, and Bordeaux, where they
were invited to witness a review of 20,000 soldiers by the Dukes
de Nemours and d'Aumale. Thence to Toulon, Montpelier, Nismes,
Marseilles, and many other less important places. At Nantes,
Bordeaux, and Marseilles the General appeared in the theatres in
a part written for him in a French play called "Petit Poncet."

During their stay in Paris, Barnum made a characteristically
profitable investment. A Russian Prince, who had lived in great
splendor in Paris, died suddenly, and his household effects were
sold at auction. There was a magnificent gold tea-set, a dinner
service of silver, and some rare specimens of Sevres china, the
value of which were impaired by the Prince's initials being on
them. The initials were "P. T ," and Mr. Barnum bought them, and
adding "B." to the other letters, had a very fine table service
appropriately marked.



The day after the arrival of the party in Brussels they were
summoned to the palace. The king and queen had seen the General
in London, but they wished their children and the distinguished
people of the court to have the same pleasure.

After a delightful visit they came away, the General, as usual,
laden with gifts.

The following day the exhibition opened, and from the first was
crowded by throngs of the best people in the city. One day, in
the midst of the exhibition, it was discovered that the case
containing all the valuable presents Tom Thumb had received from
royalty' etc., was missing.

The alarm was instantly given, and the police notified. A reward
was offered of 2,000 francs, and, after a day or two, the thief
was captured and the jewels returned. After that the case of
presents was more carefully guarded.

Everyone who goes to Brussels is supposed to visit the field of
Waterloo; so, before they left, the entire party--Tom Thumb,
Barnum, Prof. Pinte (tutor), and Mr. Stratton (father of the
General), and Mr. H. G. Sherman, went together.

After visiting the church in the village of Waterloo and viewing
the memorial tablets there, they passed to the house where Lord
Uxbridge--Marquis of Anglesey--had had his leg amputated. There
is a little monument in the garden over the shattered limb, and a
part of the boot that covered it was seen in the house. Barnum
procured a three-inch bit of the boot for his Museum, at the same
time remarking, that if the lady in charge was as liberal to all
visitors, that boot had held out wonderfully since 1815.

On approaching the ground they were beset by a dozen or more
guides, each one professing to know the exact spot where every
man had stood, and each claiming to have himself taken part in
the struggle, although most of them were less than twenty-five,
and the battle had been fought some thirty years before. They
finally accepted one old man, who at first declared that he had
been killed in the front ranks, but afterward acknowledged that
he had only been wounded and left on the field for dead three

After having the location of Napoleon's Guard, the Duke of
Wellington, the portion of the field where Blucher entered with
the Prussian army, pointed out to them, and the spots where fell
Sir Alexander Gordon and other celebrities, they asked the guide
if he knew where Captain Tippitiwichet, of Connecticut, was
killed? "Oh, oui, Monsieur," replied the guide confidently. After
pointing out the precise spots where fictitious friends from
Coney Island, New Jersey, Cape Cod and Saratoga had received
their death-wounds, they paid the old humbug and dismissed him.

Upon leaving the field they were met by another crowd of peasants
with relics of the battle for sale. Barnum bought a large number
of pistols, bullets, brass French eagles, buttons, etc., for the
Museum, and the others were equally liberal in their purchases.
They bought also maps, guide-books and pictures, until Mr.
Stratton expressed his belief that the "darned old battle of
Waterloo" had cost more since it was fought than it ever did

Some months afterwards, while they were in Birmingham, they made
the acquaintance of a firm who manufactured and sent to Waterloo
barrels of these "relics" every year.

Four or five miles on the road home they had the misfortune to
break the axle-tree of the carriage. It was past one o'clock, and
the exhibition was advertised to commence in Brussels at two. Of
course, they could not expect to walk the distance in less than
three hours, and Barnum was disposed to give up the afternoon
performance altogether. But Mr. Stratton could not bear the idea
of losing six or eight hundred francs, so, accompanied by the
interpreter, Prof. Pinte, he rushed down the road to a
farm-house, followed leisurely by the rest of the party.

Mr. Stratton asked the old farmer if he had a carriage. He had
not. "Have you no vehicle?" he inquired.

"Yes, I have that vehicle," he replied, pointing to an old cart
filled with manure, and standing in his barnyard.

"Thunder! is that all the conveyance you have got?" asked
Stratton. Being assured that it was, Stratton concluded that it
was better to ride in a manure-cart than not to get to Brussels
in time.

"What will you ask to drive us to Brussels in three-quarters of
an hour?" demanded Stratton.

"It is impossible," replied the farmer; "I should want two hours
for my horse to do it in."

"But ours is a very pressing case, and if we are not there in
time we lose more than five hundred francs," said Stratton.

The old farmer pricked up his ears at this, and agreed to get
them to Brussels in an hour for eighty francs. Stratton tried to
beat him down, but it was of no use.

"Oh, go it, Stratton," said Sherman; "eighty francs you know is
only sixteen dollars, and you will probably save a hundred by it,
for I expect a full house at our afternoon exhibition to-day."

"But I have already spent about ten dollars for nonsense," said
Stratton, "and we shall have to pay for the broken carriage

"But what can you do better?" chimed in Professor Pinte.

"It is an outrageous extortion to charge sixteen dollars for an
old horse and cart to go ten miles. Why, in old Bridgeport, I
could get it done for three dollars," replied Stratton, in a tone
of vexation

"It is the custom of the country," said Professor Pinte, "and we
must submit to it."

"Well, it's a thundering mean custom, anyhow," said Stratton,
"and I won't stand such imposition."

"But what shall we do?" earnestly inquired Mr. Pinte. "It may be
a high price, but it is better to pay that than to lose our
afternoon performance and five or six hundred francs."

This appeal to the pocket touched Stratton's feelings; so,
submitting to the extortion, he replied to our interpreter,
"Well, tell the old robber to dump his dung-cart as soon as
possible, or we shall lose half an hour in starting."

The cart was "dumped" and a large, lazy-looking Flemish horse was
attached to it with a rope harness. Some boards were laid across
the cart for seats, the party tumbled into the rustic vehicle, a
red-haired boy, son of the old farmer, mounted the horse, and
Stratton gave orders to "get along." "Wait a moment," said the
farmer, "you have not paid me yet." "I'll pay your boy when we
get to Brussels, provided he gets there within the hour," replied

"Oh, he is sure to get there in an hour," said the farmer, "but I
can't let him go unless you pay in advance." The minutes were
flying rapidly, the anticipated loss of the day exhibition of
General Tom Thumb flitted before his eyes, and Stratton, in very
desperation, thrust his hand into his pocket and drew forth
sixteen five-franc pieces, which he dropped, one at a time, into
the hand, of the farmer, and then called out to the boy, "There
now, do try to see if you can go ahead."

The boy did go ahead, but it was with such a snail's pace that it
would have puzzled a man of tolerable eyesight to have determined
whether the horse was moving or standing still. To make it still
more interesting, it commenced raining furiously. As they had
left Brussels in a coach, and the morning had promised a pleasant
day, they had omitted umbrellas. They were soon soaked to the
skin, but they "grinned and bore it" a while without grumbling.
At length Stratton, who was almost too angry to speak, desired
Mr. Pinte to ask the red haired boy if he expected to walk his
horse all the way to Brussels.

"Certainly," replied the boy; "he is too big and fat to do
anything but walk. We never trot him."

Stratton was terrified as he thought of the loss of the day
exhibition; and he cursed the boy, the cart, the rain, the luck,
and even the battle of Waterloo itself. But it was all of no use;
the horse would not run, but the rain did--down their backs.

At two o'clock, the time appointed for the exhibition, they were
yet some seven miles from Brussels. The horse walked slowly and
philosophically through the pitiless storm, the steam
majestically rising from the old manure-cart, to the no small
disturbance of their unfortunate olfactories. "It will take two
hours to get to Brussels at this rate," growled Stratton. "Oh,
no," replied the boy; "it will only take about two hours from the
time we started."

"But your father agreed to get us there in an hour," answered

"I know it," responded the boy, "but he knew it would take more
than two."

"I'll sue him for damages, by thunder!" said Stratton.

"Oh, there would be no use in that," chimed in Mr. Pinte, "for
you could get no satisfaction in this country."

"But I shall lose more than a hundred dollars by being two hours
instead of one," said Stratton.

"They care nothing about that; all they care for is your eighty
francs," remarked Pinte.

"But they have lied and swindled me," replied Stratton.

"Oh, you must not mind that; it is the custom of the country."

The party arrived in Brussels precisely two hours and a half from
the time they left the farmer's house. Of course it was too late
for the afternoon performance, and hundreds of people had been
turned away disappointed.



In London the General again opened his levees in Egyptian Hall,
with increased success. His unbounded popularity on the
Continent, and his receptions by King Louis Philippe, of France,
and King Leopold, of Belgium, had added greatly to his prestige
and fame. Those who had seen him when he was in London months
before came to see him again, and new visitors crowded by
thousands to the General's levees.

Besides giving these daily entertainments, the General appeared
occasionally for an hour, during the intermissions, at some place
in the suburbs; and for a long time he appeared every day at the
Surrey Zoological Gardens, under the direction of the proprietor,
Mr. W. Tyler. This place subsequently became celebrated for its
great music hall, in which Spurgeon, the sensational preacher,
first attained his notoriety. The place was always crowded, and
when the General had gone through with his performances on the
little stage, in order that all might see him, he was put into a
balloon, which, secured by ropes, was then passed around the
ground, just above the people's heads. Some forty men managed the
ropes and prevented the balloon from rising; but, one day, a
sudden gust of wind took the balloon fairly out of the hands of
half the men who had hold of the ropes, while others were lifted
from the ground, and had not an alarm been instantly given, which
called at least two hundred to the rescue, the little General
would have been lost.

In October Barnum made a flying visit to America, remaining long
enough to renew the lease of the Museum building, and to attend
to various other business matters. When he returned he was
accompanied by his wife and daughters. They took a furnished
house, which, during all their three months' residence, was the
scene of constant hospitality, all the distinguished people in
London being entertained there.

When the engagement at Egyptian Hall expired they made an
extensive tour through England and Scotland, going as far north
as Aberdeen. The General's Scotch costumes, his national dances
and the "bit of dialect" which he had acquired had long been a
feature of the performance and was especially admired in
Scotland. The party travelled much of the time in Barnum's own
carriage, the General's carriage, ponies and other properties
being conveyed in a huge van. They found this way of travelling
more comfortable than the other, besides enabling them to visit
out of the way places, where often the most successful
exhibitions were given.

There was one occasion when their carriage broke down, and, as
they had advertised a performance in Rugby that evening, they
decided to take the cars; but on arriving at the station they
found the last train gone. Barnum immediately looked up the
superintendent and told him that they must have an extra train
for Rugby, without an instant's delay.

"Extra train?" said he, with surprise and a half-sneer, "extra
train? why you can't have an extra train to Rugby for less than
sixty pounds."

"Is that all? well, get up your train immediately, and here are
your sixty pounds. What in the world are sixty pounds to me, when
I wish to go to Rugby, or elsewhere, in a hurry."

The astonished superintendent took the money, bustled about, and
the train was soon ready. He was greatly puzzled to know what
distinguished person--he thought he must be dealing with some
prince, or, at least, a duke--was willing to give so much money
to save a few hours of time, and he hesitatingly asked whom he
had the honor of serving.

"General Tom Thumb."

The performance at Rugby netted L160, which not only covered
expenses but left a handsome margin.

When they were in Oxford, a dozen or more of the students came to
the conclusion that, as the General was a little fellow, the
admission fee to his entertainments should be paid in the
smallest kind of money. They accordingly provided themselves with
farthings, and as each man entered, instead of handing in a
shilling for his ticket, he laid down forty-eight farthings. The
counting of these small coins was a great annoyance to Mr.
Stratton, the General's father, who was ticket-seller, and after
counting two or three handfuls, vexed at the delay which was
preventing a crowd of ladies and gentlemen from buying tickets,
Mr. Stratton lost his temper, and cried out:

"Blast your quarter-pennies! I am not going to count them! you
chaps who haven't bigger money can chuck your copper into my hat
and walk in."

Mr. Stratton was a genuine Yankee, and thoroughly conversant with
the Yankee vernacular which he used freely. In exhibiting the
General, Barnum often said to visitors that Tom Thumb's parents,
and the rest of the family, were persons of the ordinary size,
and that the gentleman who presided in the ticket-office was the
General's father. This made poor Stratton an object of no little
curiosity, and he was pestered with all sorts of questions; on
one occasion an old dowager said to him:

"Are you really the father of General Tom Thumb?"

"Wa'al," replied Stratton, "I have to support him!"

This evasive answer is common enough in New England, but the
literal dowager had her doubts, and promptly rejoined:

"I rather think he supports you!"

Although Barnum was in Europe on business, he made the most of
his opportunities for sight-seeing, and in his few leisure hours
managed to visit nearly every place of interest both in England
and on the continent.

While in Birmingham, with his friend Albert Smith, then author
and afterwards a successful showman, he visited
Stratford-on-Avon, where lived and wrote the greatest of English

While breakfasting at the Red House Inn, at Stratford, they
called for a guide-book of the town, and to Barnum's great
delight the volume proved to be Washington Irving's
"Sketch-book." His pleasure was even more increased when he
discovered, on reading the vivid and picturesque description of
Stratford, that Irving had stopped at the very same hotel where
they were awaiting breakfast.

After visiting the house as well as the church where is the tomb
of the poet, they took a post-chaise for Warwick Castle, fourteen
miles away.

The Earl of Warwick and his family being absent, the visitors
were shown through the apartments. One guide took them over the
Castle, another escorted them to the top of "Guy's Tower,"
another showed them the famous Warwick Vase. They were
congratulating themselves on not being called upon for any more
tips, when the old porter at the lodge informed them that for a
consideration he could show them more interesting things
connected with the Castle than any they had yet seen. They tossed
him his fee, and he produced what purported to be Guy of
Warwick's sword, shield, helmet, breastplate, walking-staff, etc.
The armor must have weighed two hundred pounds and the sword
alone one hundred. Barnum listened, and gazed in silence at the
horse-armor, large enough for an elephant, and a pot called
"Guy's porridge-pot," which could have held seventy gallons, but
when the old man produced the ribs of a mastodon which he
declared had belonged to a huge dun cow, which had done much
injury to many persons before being slain by the dauntless Guy,
he drew a long breath, and feelingly congratulated the old porter
on his ability to concentrate more lies than anyone had ever
before heard in so small a compass.

"I suppose," said Barnum, "that you have told these marvellous
tales so often that you almost believe them yourself."

"Almost," answered the old man, with a broad grin.

"Come now, old fellow," continued Barnum,  "what will you take
for the entire lot of these old traps? I want them for my Museum
in America."

"No money would buy these priceless relics of a bygone age,"
replied the porter, leering.

"Never mind," exclaimed the showman; "I'll have them duplicated
for my Museum, so that Americans can see them without coming
here, and in that way I'll burst up your old show."

The porter was paralyzed with astonishment at this threat, and
Albert Smith was convulsed with laughter. He afterwards told
Barnum that he first derived his idea of becoming a showman from
this day at Warwick, and Barnum's talk about his doings and
adventures in the business.

They visited that same day Kenilworth and Coventry, in which
latter place Barnum discovered the exhibition known as the "Happy
Family," about two hundred birds and animals of opposite natures,
dwelling in one cage in perfect harmony. He was so delighted with
it that he bought it on the spot, and hired the manager to
accompany the exhibition to New York, where it became a famous
feature of the Museum.

Albert Smith afterwards published a chapter in Bentley's
Magazine, entitled "A Day with Barnum," in which he said they
accomplished business with such rapidity that, when he attempted
to write out the accounts of the day, he found the whole thing so
confused in his brain that he came near locating "Peeping Tom" in
the house of Shakespeare, while Guy of Warwick WOULD stick his
head above the ruins of Kenilworth, and the Warwick Vase appeared
in Coventry.

With the exception of two brief trips to America, Barnum had been
abroad with General Tom Thumb three years. The season had been
one of unbroken pleasure and profit. They had visited nearly
every city and town in France, Belgium, England, Scotland, and
the cities of Belfast and Dublin in Ireland. After this truly
triumphant tour, they set sail in February, 1847, for New York.

Barnum was a man who never could bear to see injustice done. On
one of his business trips to America he took passage on a Cunard
steamer, commanded by a Captain Judkins. Among the passengers was
the celebrated preacher, Robert Baird. One Sunday after dinner
Barnum asked Mr. Baird if he would be willing to preach to the
passengers in the forward cabin. The captain had read the
Episcopal service that morning, but it was done as a mere matter
of form, without the slightest suggestion of devotion in its

Mr. Baird consented to preach, and Barnum, after mentioning it to
the other passengers, who were delighted at the prospect, went to
the captain and said: "Captain, the passengers desire to have Dr.
Baird conduct a religious service in the forward cabin. I suppose
there is no objection?" The rest of the story may as well be told
in Barnum's own words. To his inquiry, the captain replied

"Decidedly there is, and it will not be permitted."

"Why not?"

"It is against the rules of the ship."

"What! to have religious services on board?"

"There have been religious services once to-day, and that is
enough. If the passengers do not think that is good enough, let
them go without," was the captain's hasty and austere reply.

"Captain," Barnum replied, "do you pretend to say you will not
allow a respectable and well-known clergyman to offer a prayer
and hold religious services on board your ship at the request of
your passengers?"

"That, sir, is exactly what I say. So, now, let me hear no more
about it."

By this time a dozen passengers were crowding around his door,
and expressing their surprise at his conduct. Barnum was
indignant, and used sharp language.

"Well," said he, "this is the most contemptible thing I ever
heard of on the part of the owners of a public passenger ship.
Their meanness ought to be published far and wide."

"You had better 'shut up,' " said Captain Judkins, with great

"I will not 'shut up,' " he replied; "for this thing is perfectly
outrageous. In that out-of-the-way forward cabin you allow, on
week-days, gambling, swearing, smoking and singing till late at
night; and yet on Sunday you have the impudence to deny the
privilege of a prayer-meeting, conducted by a gray-haired and
respected minister of the gospel. It is simply infamous!"

Captain Judkins turned red in the face; and, no doubt feeling
that he was "monarch of all he surveyed," exclaimed in a loud

"If you repeat such language, I will put you in irons."

"Do it, if you dare," said Barnum, feeling his indignation rising
rapidly. "I dare and defy you to put your finger on me. I would
like to sail into New York harbor in handcuffs, on board a
British ship, for the terrible crime of asking that religious
worship may be permitted on board. So you may try it as soon as
you please; and, when we get to New York, I'll show you a touch
of Yankee ideas of religious intolerance."

Turning on his heel, he walked over to Mr. Baird and told him how
matters stood, adding, with a laugh:

"Doctor, it may be dangerous for you to tell of this incident
when you get on shore; for it would be a pretty strong draught
upon the credulity of many of my countrymen if they were told
that my zeal to hear an orthodox minister preach was so great
that it came near getting me into solitary confinement. But I am
not prejudiced, and I like fair play."

The old doctor replied: "Well, you have not lost much; and, if
the rules of this ship are so stringent I suppose we must

The captain afterwards came to Barnum and apologized for the rude
manner in which he had carried out the rules of the ship. Barnum
was not at the time a teetotaler, and the two men "washed down"
their differences in a bottle of champagne, and were excellent
friends from that moment.



One of Barnum's principal objects in returning to America at this
time was to insure the permanence of his "American Museum." He
had a lease of the property, which had yet three years to run.
But he wanted to make sure of it after that term had expired. Mr.
Olmsted, the former owner, was now dead, and It was not certain
that the new proprietor would renew the lease. If not, another
home for the great show must be secured, and Barnum decided that
in that event he would buy land on Broadway and erect a building
to suit him. The new owner of the old property was persuaded,
however, to renew the lease for a term of twenty-five years. The
building covered an area of fifty-six by one hundred feet and was
four stories high. Barnum agreed to pay for it a rental of
$10,000 a year in addition to the taxes and all assessments.
Then, as the place was not large enough for his purposes, he
rented and connected with it the upper floors of several adjacent
buildings. The Museum was at this time enormously prosperous, and
was thronged with visitors from morning to late at night.

Tom Thumb's European reputation was of course a great
advertisement, and it was "worked for all it was worth." He
appeared at the Museum daily for four weeks, and drew such crowds
of visitors as had never been seen there before. He afterwards
spent a month in Bridgeport with his kindred. To prevent being
annoyed by the curious, who would be sure to throng the houses of
his relatives, he exhibited two days at Bridgeport, and the
receipts, amounting to several hundred dollars, were presented to
the Bridgeport Charitable Society.

Barnum's contract with Tom Thumb had expired on January 1, 1845,
while they were in England, and they had then formed a
partnership, dividing equally between them the profits of their
enterprise; excepting during the first four weeks of their return
to New York, during which time the General waived his partnership
rights and exhibited himself for a salary of $50 a week. Mr.
Stratton, Tom Thumb's father, was now a rich man, and he settled
a handsome fortune upon his tiny son.

Soon a tour of America was arranged, the party consisting of Mr.
Barnum and Tom Thumb and his parents. They began at Washington,
in April, 1847, where they visited President and Mrs. Polk at the
White House. Thence they went to Richmond, to Baltimore, and to
Philadelphia, where they took in  $5,594.91 in twelve days. Next
they visited Boston and Lowell; Providence, where they received
nearly $1,000 in a day; New Bedford, Fall River, Salem,
Worcester, Springfield, Albany, Troy, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and
various other places. During the whole year's tour their receipts
averaged from $400 to $500 per day, and their expenses only from
$25 to $30. On their way back to New York they stopped at all
large towns along the Hudson river, and then went to New Haven,
Hartford, Portland and some other New England cities.

Absence did not make them forgotten in New York, however, but
only increased public interest in them. When he returned to his
Museum Mr. Barnum found that he himself had come to be regarded
as one of its chief curiosities. "If I showed myself about the
Museum, or wherever else I was known, I found eyes peering and
fingers pointing at me, and could frequently overhear the remark,
'There's Barnum.' On one occasion, soon after my return, I was
sitting in the ticket-office, reading a newspaper. A man came and
purchased a ticket of admission. 'Is Mr. Barnum in the Museum?'
he asked. The ticket-seller, pointing to me, answered, 'This is
Mr. Barnum.' Supposing the gentleman had business with me, I
looked up from the paper. 'Is this Mr. Barnum?' he asked. 'It
is,' I replied. He stared at me for a moment, and then, throwing
down his ticket, exclaimed, 'It's all right; I have got the worth
of my money;' and away he went, without going into the Museum at

In the fall of 1847 they went South, visiting and giving
exhibitions at Charleston, Columbia, Augusta, Savannah,
Milledgeville, Macon, Columbus, Montgomery, Mobile and New
Orleans. At the last-named place they spent three weeks,
including the Christmas holidays. After New Year's they went to
Cuba, and were received at Havana by the Captain-General and the
aristocracy of the city. For a month they gave exhibitions in
Havana and Matanzas with great success. The only serious drawback
was the hotels, which they did not find good; indeed, it was
difficult for them to get enough to eat. The Washington House, at
Havana, where they lived for some time, was characterized by Mr.
Barnum as "first-rate bad!"

From Cuba they returned to New Orleans, and thence to New York by
way of the Mississippi river, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati
and Pittsburg. And then, in May, 1848, it was agreed that Barnum
should travel no more with the little General. "I had," says
Barnum, "competent agents who could exhibit him without my
personal assistance, and I preferred to relinquish a portion of
the profits rather than continue to be a travelling showman. I
had now been a straggler from home most of the time for thirteen
years, and I cannot describe the feelings of gratitude with which
I reflected that, having by the most arduous toil and
deprivations succeeded in securing a satisfactory competence, I
should henceforth spend my days in the bosom of my family."

Barnum had selected the city of Bridgeport, Conn., for his home,
and thither he now repaired. He wanted to be near New York, and
he considered the northern shore of Long Island Sound the most
beautiful country he had ever seen. Bridgeport was about the
right distance from New York, and was well situated. It was also
an enterprising place, with the promise of a prosperous future.
Some three or four years before this time Barnum had purchased
seventeen acres of land at the western side of the city, and for
two years had been building a palace upon it, the famous
"Iranistan," which was now nearly ready for him to occupy.

In telling how he came to erect this gorgeous and eccentric home,
Barnum once said that in visiting Brighton, England, he had been
greatly pleased with the pavilion built there by George IV. It
was at that time the only specimen of Oriental architecture in
England, and the style had not been introduced into America. "I
concluded to adopt it, and engaged a London architect to furnish
me a set of drawings after the general plan of the pavilion,
differing sufficiently to be adapted to the spot of ground
selected for my homestead. On my second return visit to the
United States, I brought these drawings with me and engaged a
competent architect and builder, giving him instructions to
proceed with the work, not 'by the job' but 'by the day,' and to
spare neither time nor expense in erecting a comfortable,
convenient, and tasteful residence. The work was thus begun and
continued while I was still abroad, and during the time when I
was making my tour with General Tom Thumb through the United
States and Cuba. Elegant and appropriate furniture was made
expressly for every room in the house. I erected expensive
water-works to supply the premises. The stables, conservatories
and out-buildings were perfect in their kind. There was a
profusion of trees set out on the grounds. The whole was built
and established literally 'regardless of expense,' for I had no
desire even to ascertain the entire cost."

Into this splendid place he moved on November 14, 1848, nearly a
thousand fellow-citizens of Bridgeport, rich and poor alike,
participating in the "housewarming" as his guests. The estate was
called, in reference to its Oriental appearance, Iranistan, which
being interpreted means "a Persian home." This name was the
subject of many a joke, as the place itself was of much
wonderment and admiration.

The next two years were spent by Mr. Barnum chiefly at home with
his family, though he paid frequent visits to his various places
of business and amusement; business for him, amusement for the
world. He had for several years a fine Museum in Baltimore, which
was afterward the property of John E. Owens, the actor. In 1849
he also opened a Museum in Philadelphia, at the corner of
Chestnut and Seventh streets. He spent some time in Philadelphia,
until the Museum was profitably established, and then turned it
over to a manager. Two years later he sold it for a good price.
While he was running it, however, his old rival, Peale, conducted
a strong opposition show in Masonic Hall, near by. The
competition between them proved disastrous to Peale, who failed
and was sold out by the sheriff. Barnum and his friend, Moses
Kimball, purchased most of his effects and divided them between
Barnum's American Museum in New York and Kimball's Museum in

Barnum took an active interest in the affairs of Bridgeport and
of the State of Connecticut. In 1848, soon after settling in
Iranistan, he was elected President of the Fairfield County
Agricultural Society. He was not much of a practical farmer,
although he had bought a hundred or more acres of farm land near
his residence and felt a deep interest in agricultural affairs.
He had imported a lot of choice livestock, which he had at
Iranistan, and had gone pretty deeply into fancy poultry raising.
So he was considered eligible to the office of President of the
Agricultural Society.

In 1849 the Society insisted that he should deliver the annual
address. "I begged to be excused on the ground of incompetency,"
he said, "but my excuses were of no avail, and as I could not
instruct my auditors in farming, I gave them the benefit of
several mistakes which I had committed. Among other things, I
told them that in the fall of 1848 my head-gardener reported that
I had fifty bushels of potatoes to spare. I thereupon directed
him to barrel them up and ship them to New York for sale. He did
so, and received two dollars per barrel, or about sixty-seven
cents per bushel. But, unfortunately, after the potatoes had been
shipped, I found that my gardener had selected all the largest
for market, and left my family nothing but 'small potatoes' to
live on during the winter. But the worst was still to come. My
potatoes were all gone before March, and I was obliged to buy,
during the spring, over fifty bushels of potatoes, at $1.25 per
bushel! I also related my first experiment in the arboricultural
line, when I cut from two thrifty rows of young cherry-trees any
quantity of what I supposed to be 'suckers,' or 'sprouts,' and
was thereafter informed by my gardener that I had cut off all his

A friend of Barnum's, Mr. J. D. Johnson, had a fine place near
Iranistan; and Barnum owned a couple of acres just beyond and
adjoining his property. This plot Barnum presently converted into
a deer park, stocking it with fine animals from the Rocky
Mountains. From its location, however, everybody supposed it to
be a part of Johnson's estate, and to confirm this notion--in a
waggish spirit--a member of Johnson's family put up in the park a
conspicuous sign, which every passer-by on the street could read:

"All persons are forbid trespassing on these grounds, or
disturbing the deer.
                   --J. D. JOHNSON."

Barnum "acknowledged the corn," and was much pleased with the
joke. Johnson was delighted, and bragged considerably of having
got ahead of Barnum, and the sign remained undisturbed for
several days. It happened, at length, that a party of friends
came to visit him from New York, arriving in the evening. Johnson
told them that he had got a capital joke on Barnum; he would not
explain, but said they should see it for themselves the next
morning. Bright and early he led them into the street, and, after
conducting them a proper distance, wheeled them around in front
of the sign. To his dismay he discovered that I had added
directly under his name the words "Game-keeper to P. T. Barnum."

Thereafter Mr. Johnson was known among his friends and
acquaintances as "Barnum's gamekeeper."

Johnson had his revenge, however. Some time afterward Barnum
became president of the Pequonnock Bank, and gave each year a
grand dinner at Iranistan to the directors. In preparing for
these banquets he would send to the West for some boxes of
prairie chickens and other choice game. So, one day, Johnson saw
a big case at the railroad station, addressed to Barnum, and
marked "Game."

"See here," said he to the station-master, "I am Mr. Barnum's
game-keeper, and I'll take charge of that!"

And he did so, taking it to his house, and then notifying Barnum
that it could only be redeemed at cost of a new hat. He knew very
well that Barnum would rather give him a dozen hats than lose the
box; and he added that unless he got the hat very soon he would
give a game dinner on his own account! Barnum sent an order for
the hat in a hurry, and recovered his game, enjoying the whole
joke as much as Johnson did.

In 1848, Mr. Frank Leslie, afterward famous as a publisher, came
to America, bringing letters of introduction to Barnum from
friends in England, and Barnum gave him a start in business by
employing him to prepare an elaborate illustrated catalogue of
the American Museum. This he did in an admirable manner, and
hundreds of thousands of copies of it were distributed throughout
the country.



The next enterprise undertaken by Barnum was an entirely new
departure. It was justly regarded by him as bold in its
conception, complete in its development, and astounding in its
success. To the end of his days he looked upon it with pride and
satisfaction. Probably it did more than anything else in all his
career to give him a permanent and supreme position in the esteem
of the public.

This enterprise was the bringing of Jenny Lind to America for a
concert tour.

Miss Lind, often called the "Swedish Nightingale," was one of the
most remarkable singers of the world, in that or any generation.
All Europe was enraptured by her art, and her fame had encircled
the globe. Barnum had never heard her, as she had not visited
London until a few weeks after his return to America. But her
reputation was enough to determine him to engage her, if
possible, for an American tour. So he sent Mr. J. H. Wilton, an
English musician, who was visiting New York, back to London to
negotiate terms with her. Barnum agreed to pay Wilton his
expenses if he had to return without her; but a handsome sum if
he succeeded in bringing the songstress to America with him. He
told Wilton to engage her on shares if possible. If not, to
engage her for any sum up to a thousand dollars a night, for any
number of nights up to 150, besides paying all her expenses,
including servants, carriages, etc., and not more than three
musical assistants. He also offered to secure her by placing the
whole $150,000 in the hands of her London bankers in advance!

Wilton went to London, had some correspondence with her, and then
went to Lubeck, where she was singing. She told him frankly that
she had, since he first wrote to her, been busy making inquiries
about Barnum's character, trustworthiness, etc., and that she was
perfectly satisfied with what she had found out. There were,
however, four other men negotiating with her to the same end. One
of these gentlemen was a well-known opera manager in London;
another, a theatrical manager in Manchester; a third, a musical
composer and conductor of the orchestra of Her Majesty's Opera in
London; and the fourth, Chevalier Wyckoff, who had conducted a
successful speculation some years previously by visiting America
in charge of the celebrated danseuse, Fanny Ellsler.

She also insisted that, under whatever auspices she should go to
America, she should have as an accompanist Mr.--afterwards
Sir--Julius Benedict, the composer, and Signor Belletti, an
eminent Italian singer.

Finally, on January 9, 1850, Wilton succeeded in his mission.
Miss Lind agreed to come to America under Barnum's management,
and an elaborate contract was drawn up and signed This historic
document was as follows:

MEMORANDUM of an agreement entered into this ninth day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
fifty, between John Hall Wilton, as agent for PHINEAS T. BARNUM,
of New York, in the United States of North America, of the one
part, and Mademoiselle JENNY LIND, Vocalist, of Stockholm, in
Sweden, of the other part, wherein the said Jenny Lind doth

First. To sing for the said Phineas T. Barnum in one hundred and
fifty concerts, including oratorios within (if possible) one year
or eighteen months from the date of her arrival in the city of
New York--the said concerts to be given in the United States of
North America and Havana. She, the said Jenny Lind, having full
control as to the number of nights or concerts in each week, and
the number of pieces in which she will sing in each concert, to
be regulated conditionally with her health and safety of voice,
but the former never less than one or two, nor the latter less
than four; but in no case to appear in operas.

Second. In consideration of said services, the said John Hall
Wilton, as agent for the said Phineas T. Barnum, of New York,
agrees to furnish the said Jenny Lind with a servant as
waiting-maid, and a male servant to and for the sole service of
her and her party; to pay the travelling and hotel expenses of a
friend to accompany her as a companion; to pay also a secretary
to superintend her finances; to pay all her and her party's
travelling expenses from Europe, and during the tour in the
United States of North America and Havana; to pay all hotel
expenses for board and lodging during the same period; to place
at her disposal in each city a carriage and horses with their
necessary attendants, and to give her in addition the sum of two
hundred pounds sterling, or one thousand dollars, for each
concert or oratorio in which the said Jenny Lind shall sing.

Third. And the said John Hall Wilton, as agent for the said
Phineas T. Barnum, doth further agree to give the said Jenny Lind
the most satisfactory security and assurance for the full amount
of her engagement, which will be placed in the hands of Messrs.
Baring Brothers, of London, previous to the departure, and
subject to the order of the said Jenny Lind, with its interest
due on its current reduction by her services in the concerts or

Fourth. And the said John Hall Wilton, on the part of the said
Phineas T. Barnum, further agrees, that should the said Phineas
T. Barnum, after seventy-five concerts, have realized so much as
shall, after paying all current expenses, have returned to him
all the sums disbursed, either as deposits at interest, for
securities of salaries, preliminary outlay, or moneys in any way
expended consequent on this engagement, and in addition, have
gained a clear profit of at least fifteen thousand pounds
sterling, then the said Phineas T. Barnum will give the said
Jenny Lind, in addition to the former sum of one thousand dollars
current money of the United States of North America, nightly,
one-fifth part of the profits arising from the remaining
seventy-five concerts or oratorios, after deducting every expense
current and appertaining thereto; or the said Jenny Lind agrees
to try, with the said Phineas T. Barnum, fifty concerts or
oratorios on the aforesaid and first-named terms, and if then
found to fall short of the expectations of the said Phineas T.
Barnum, then the said Jenny Lind agrees to reorganize this
agreement, on terms quoted in his first proposal, as set forth in
the annexed copy of his letter; but should such be found
necessary, then the engagement continues up to seventy-five
concerts or oratorios, at the end of which, should the aforesaid
profit of fifteen thousand pounds sterling have not been
realized, then the engagement shall continue as at first--the
sums herein, after expenses for Julius Benedict and Giovanni
Belletti, to remain unaltered, except for advancement.

Fifth. And the said John Hall Wilton, agent for the said Phineas
T. Barnum, at the request of the said Jenny Lind, agrees to pay
to Julius Benedict, of London, to accompany the said Jenny Lind,
as musical director, pianist, and superintendent of the musical
department, also to assist the said Jenny Lind in one hundred and
fifty concerts or oratorios, to be given in the United States of
North America and Havana, the sum of five thousand pounds
(L5,000) sterling, to be satisfactorily secured to him with
Messrs. Baring Brothers, of London, previous to his departure
from Europe, and the said John Hall Wilton agrees further, for
the said Phineas T. Barnum, to pay all his travelling expenses
from Europe, together with his hotel and travelling expenses
during the time occupied in giving the aforesaid one hundred and
fifty concerts or oratorios--he, the said Julius Benedict, to
superintend the organization of oratorios if required.

Sixth. And the said John Hall Wilton, at the request, selection,
and for the aid of the said Jenny Lind, agrees to pay to Giovanni
Belletti, barytone vocalist, to accompany the said Jenny Lind
during her tour and in one hundred and fifty concerts or
oratorios in the United States of North America and Havana, and
in conjunction with the aforesaid Julius Benedict, the sum of two
thousand five hundred pounds (L2,500) sterling, to be
satisfactorily secured to him previous to his departure from
Europe, in addition to all his hotel and travelling expenses.

Seventh. And it is further agreed that the said Jenny Lind shall
be at full liberty to sing at any time she may think fit for
charitable institutions, or purposes independent of the
engagement with the said Phineas T. Barnum, with a view to
mutually agreeing as to the time and its propriety, it being
understood that in no case shall the first or second concert in
any city selected for the tour be for such purpose, or wherever
it shall appear against the interests of the said Phineas T.

Eighth. It is further agreed that should the said Jenny Lind, by
any act of God, be incapacitated to fulfil the entire engagement
before mentioned, that an equal proportion of the terms agreed
upon shall be given to the said Jenny Lind, Julius Benedict, and
Giovanni Belletti, for services rendered to that time.

Ninth. It is further agreed and understood, that the said Phineas
T. Barnum shall pay every expense appertaining to the concerts or
oratorios before mentioned, excepting those for charitable
purposes, and that all accounts shall be settled and rendered by
all parties weekly.

Tenth. And the said Jenny Lind further agrees that she will not
engage to sing for any other person during the progress of this
said engagement with the said Phineas T. Barnum, of New York, for
one hundred and fifty concerts or oratorios, excepting for
charitable purposes as before mentioned; and all travelling to be
first and best class.

In witness hereof to the within written memorandum of agreement
we set hereunto our hand and seal.

[L. S.]   JOHN HALL WILTON, Agent for Phineas

          T. Barnum, of New York, U. S.




In the presence of C. ACHILLING, Consul of His Majesty the King
of Sweden and Norway.

Extract from a letter addressed to John H. Wilton by Phineas T.
Barnum, and referred to in paragraph No. 4 of the annexed

                    NEW YORK, November 6, 1849.


Sir. In reply to your proposal to attempt a negotiation with
Mlle. Jenny Lind to visit the United States professionally, I
propose to enter into an arrangement with her to the following
effect: I will engage to pay all her expenses from Europe,
provide for and pay for one principal tenor, and one pianist,
their salaries not exceeding together one hundred and fifty
dollars per night; to support for her a carriage, two servants,
and a friend to accompany her and superintend her finances. I
will furthermore pay all and every expense appertaining to her
appearance before the public, and give her half of the gross
receipts arising from concerts or operas. I will engage to travel
with her personally, and attend to the arrangements, provided she
will undertake to give not less than eighty, nor more than one
hundred and fifty concerts, or nights' performances.
           PHINEAS T. BARNUM.

I certify the above to be a true extract from the letter.
            J. H. WILTON.

There was no Atlantic cable in those days, and Barnum did not
know the result of Wilton's embassy until the latter returned to
America. Barnum was in Philadelphia when Wilton landed in New
York, on February 19. Wilton at once telegraphed to him that he
had secured the singer, who was to come over and begin her
concerts in September. The great showman was startled, and felt
pretty nervous; and as so long a time was to elapse before she
came over, he thought it best to keep the whole matter a secret
for a time.

When we reflect how thoroughly Jenny Lind, her musical powers,
her character, and wonderful successes, were subsequently known
by all classes in this country as well as throughout the
civilized world, it is difficult to realize that, at the time
this engagement was made, she was comparatively unknown on this
side the water. We can hardly credit the fact that millions of
persons in America had never heard of her, that other millions
had merely read her name, but had no distinct idea of who or what
she was. Only a small portion of the public were really aware of
her great musical triumphs in the Old World, and this portion was
confined almost entirely to musical people, travellers who had
visited the Old World, and the conductors of the press.

Barnum telegraphed to Wilton to keep the matter secret, and next
morning set out for New York. But it was too late. When he got to
New York, he found the news of the engagement in full in all the
papers. Everybody was talking about it, and wondering who Jenny
Lind was, and Barnum soon perceived that he must improve the
time, from then to September, in educating the public up to an
approximate appreciation of her worth.

His first act was to send, as per agreement, the sum of $187,000
to Miss Lind's bankers in London. It was not altogether easy for
him to do this. After he had scraped together all his available
cash he was still short a large sum. He had plenty of securities
in the form of second mortgages that were perfectly good, but no
one in Wall street would lend him a dollar on them.

In his extremity, he at last went to the president of the bank
where he had transacted his business for the past eight years. "I
offered him," said Barnum afterward, "as security for a loan, my
second mortgages, and, as additional security, I offered to make
over to him my contract with Jenny Lind, with a written guaranty
that he should appoint a receiver, who, at my expense, should
take charge of all the receipts over and above $3,000 per night,
and appropriate them toward the payment of my loan He laughed in
my face, and said: 'Mr. Barnum, it is generally believed in Wall
street that your engagement with Jenny Lind will ruin you. I do
not think you will ever receive so much as $3,000 at a single
concert.' I was indignant at his want of appreciation, and
answered him that I would not at that moment take $150,000 for my
contract; nor would I. I found, upon further inquiry, that it was
useless in Wall street to offer the 'Nightingale' in exchange for
'Goldfinches.' I finally was introduced to Mr. John L. Aspinwall,
of the firm of Messrs. Howland & Aspinwall, and he gave me a
letter of credit from his firm on Baring Brothers, for a large
sum on collateral securities, which a spirit of genuine respect
for my enterprise induced him to accept.

"After disposing of several pieces of property for cash, I footed
up the various amounts, and still discovered myself $5,000 short.
I felt that it was indeed the last feather that breaks the
camel's back.' Happening casually to state my desperate case to
the Rev. Abel C. Thomas, of Philadelphia, for many years a friend
of mine, he promptly placed the requisite amount at my disposal.
I gladly accepted his proffered friendship, and felt that he had
removed a mountain-weight from my shoulders."

And now nothing remained to do but to arouse public curiosity and
interest. Barnum was a master-hand at that work, and never did he
show himself more of a master than on this occasion. He kept the
press literally teeming with notices in one form or another. Here
is a sample of the strain in which he wrote:

"Perhaps I may not make any money by this enterprise; but I
assure you that if I knew I should not make a farthing profit, I
would ratify the engagement, so anxious am I that the United
States should be visited by a lady whose vocal powers have never
been approached by any other human being, and whose character is
charity, simplicity, and goodness personified.

"Miss Lind has great anxiety to visit America. She speaks of this
country and its institutions in the highest terms of praise. In
her engagement with me (which includes Havana), she expressly
reserves the right to give charitable concerts whenever she
thinks proper.

Since her debut in England, she has given to the poor from her
own private purse more than the whole amount which I have engaged
to pay her, and the proceeds of concerts for charitable purposes
in Great Britain, where she has sung gratuitously, have realized
more than ten times that amount."

And so it came to pass that, before September rolled around,
curiosity, interest and enthusiasm over the great singer were at
fever heat, and New York thought and dreamed only of her coming.

Never, in the history of music or in the history of
entertainments in America, has the advent of a foreign artist
been hailed with so much enthusiasm.

A large share of this public interest was natural and genuine,
and would, in any event, have been accorded to Miss Lind. But a
considerable portion of it was due to the shrewd and energetic
advertising of Mr. Barnum. Under any auspices the great singer's
tour in America would have been successful; but under no other
management would it have approximated to what it was under



Jenny Lind sailed for America on Wednesday morning, August 21,
1850. She was accompanied by Messrs. Benedict and Belletti, Mr.
Wilton, her two cousins, and three or four servants. She also
brought with her a piano for her use. Mr. Barnum had engaged the
necessary accommodations for the company on the steamship
Atlantic, and their departure from England was an event of great
public interest. In America their coming was looked upon much as
the visit of a royal personage would have been. It was expected
that the steamer would reach New York on Sunday, September 1st.
Mr. Barnum, however, determined to be on hand to meet his
distinguished guest at no matter what time she reached the port.
He, therefore, went on Saturday to Staten Island, and spent the
night at the house of his friend, Dr. Doane, the health officer
of the port.

The steamship was sighted just before noon on Sunday, and soon
afterward Mr. Barnum, who went out with the health officer, was
standing on the deck where, for the first time, he met the famous
singer. After they had shaken hands and uttered a few commonplace
words of greeting Miss Lind asked him when and where he had heard
her sing.

"I never had the pleasure of seeing you before in my life," he

"How is it possible that you dared risk so much money on a person
whom you never heard sing?" she asked in great surprise.

"I risked it," answered Barnum, "on your reputation, which in
musical matters I would much rather trust than my own judgment."

The fact was that, although Barnum did rely largely upon Miss
Lind's reputation as an artist, he also took into account her
equally great reputation for benevolence, generosity and general
loveliness of disposition. He knew that these traits of character
would appeal with a special force to the warm-hearted and
enthusiastic American public. Indeed, he afterward confessed that
had it not been for this peculiarity of her disposition, he never
would have ventured to make the engagement with her; and he
always believed that as many people came to see and hear her on
this account as on account of her skill as a singer.

Seldom has any visitor to New York received a more remarkable
greeting than did the "Swedish Nightingale." Mr. Barnum's efforts
to arouse public interest in her had not been in vain. The whole
city was anxious to get the first possible glimpse of her. But
beside this bona fide interest in her, Mr. Barnum had seen to it
that her landing was made all possible use of as an
advertisement. On the wharf at which she landed a bower of green
trees, decorated with flags, had been prepared. There were also
two handsome triumphal arches, on one of which was inscribed,
"Welcome, Jenny Lind!" and on the other, "Welcome to America!"

Probably the singer thought, and possibly some of the general
public also imagined, that these decorations had been erected by
the city government, or at least by some committee of
public-spirited citizens. Mr. Barnum, however, never found fault
with any one for suspecting that he was chiefly responsible for
them, and there is every reason to believe that the cost of them
was to be found entered in his books, charged to the account of

Thousands of people were thronged along the water front, on the
piers and on the shipping, to greet the Atlantic as it reached
its dock. So great was the rush to see the illustrious guest that
one man was crowded overboard, an incident which Miss Lind
herself witnessed, and at which she was much alarmed. He was
rescued with no other harm than a thorough wetting. Barnum's
carriage was in waiting for Miss Lind, and the great showman
himself, after placing her within it, mounted the box at the
driver's side. He took that seat as a legitimate advertisement,
and his presence there aided those who filled the windows and
sidewalks along the entire way to the Irving House, and there
were many thousands of them, in coming to the conclusion that
Jenny Lind had really arrived.

Five minutes after Miss Lind had entered the hotel, Barnum
invited her to look out of a window opening on Broadway. When she
did so she saw a throng of not less than twenty thousand persons
gathered to do her honor. And there that throng remained all the
rest of the afternoon and until late in the evening. At her
request Barnum took dinner with her that afternoon. According to
the European custom she offered to pledge his health in a glass
of wine, and was doubtless much surprised at his response. He
said to her: "Miss Lind, I do not think you can ask any other
favor on earth which I would not gladly grant. But I am a
teetotaler, and must beg to be permitted to drink to your health
and happiness in a glass of cold water."

Late that night Miss Lind was serenaded by the New York Musical
Fund Society, which numbered, on that occasion, two hundred
musicians. They were escorted to the hotel by about three hundred
firemen, clad in their picturesque uniform and bearing flaming
torches. Fully thirty thousand spectators were at this hour
gathered about the hotel, and in response to their vociferous
calls Miss Lind stepped upon the balcony and bowed to them.

Such was the great singer's first day in America, and for several
weeks thereafter the public interest in her was scarcely less
demonstrative. Her rooms were thronged by visitors, among whom
were the most notable people in society, in the learned
professions and in public life. The street before the hotel was
almost blocked day after day by the carriages of fashionable
people, and Barnum's only anxiety was lest the aristocratic part
of the community should monopolize her altogether, and thus mar
his interest by cutting her off from the sympathy she had excited
among the common people. The shop-keepers of the city showered
their attentions upon her, sending her cart-loads of specimens of
their most valuable wares, for which they asked no other return
than her acceptance and her autograph acknowledgment. Gloves,
bonnets, shawls, gowns, chairs, carriages, pianos, and almost
every imaginable article of use or ornament was named for her.
Songs and musical compositions were dedicated to her, and poems
were published in her honor. Day after day and week after week
her doings formed the most conspicuous news in the daily

Some weeks before Miss Lind's arrival in America Barnum had
offered a prize of two hundred dollars for the best ode, to be
set to music and sung by her at her first concert. Its topic was
to be, "Greeting to America." In response several hundred poems
were sent in, mostly pretty poor stuff; though several of them
were very good. After a great deal of hard work in reading and
considering them, the Prize Committee selected as the best the
one offered by Bayard Taylor. It was set to music by Julius
Benedict, and was as follows:



 I greet with a full heart the Land of the West,
     Whose Banner of Stars o'er a world is unrolled;
 Whose empire o'ershadows Atlantic's wide breast,
     And opens to sunset its gateway of gold!
 The land of the mountain, the land of the lake,
     And rivers that roll in magnificent tide--
 Where the souls of the mighty from slumber awake,
     And hallow the soil for whose freedom they died!

 Thou Cradle of empire! though wide be the foam
     That severs the land of my fathers and thee,
 I hear, from thy bosom, the welcome of home,
     For song has a home in the hearts of the Free!
 And long as thy waters shall gleam in the sun,
     And long as thy heroes remember their scars,
 Be the hands of thy children united as one,
     And Peace shed her light on thy Banner of Stars!

 This award gave general satisfaction, although a few
disappointed competitors complained. This remarkable competition
and the other features of Miss Lind's reception in America,
attracted so much attention in England that the London Times in
one day devoted several columns of space to the subject.

Of course the American press literally teemed with matter about
Miss Lind and Barnum. The poetical competition demanded much
attention, and presently a witty pamphlet was published, entitled
"Barnum's Parnassus; being Confidential Disclosures of the Prize
Committee on the Jenny Lind Song." It pretended to give all or
most of the poems that had been offered in the competition,
though of course none of them were genuine. Many of them,
however, contained fine satirical hits on the whole business;
such, for example, as the following:



 When to the common rest that crowns his days,
     Dusty and worn the tired pedestrian goes,
 What light is that whose wide o'erlooking blaze
     A sudden glory on his pathway throws?

 'Tis not the setting sun, whose drooping lid
     Closed on the weary world at half-past six;
 'Tis not the rising moon, whose rays are hid
     Behind the city's sombre piles of bricks.

  It is the Drummond Light, that from the top
     Of Barnum's massive pile, sky-mingling there,
 Dart's its quick gleam o'er every shadowed shop,
     And gilds Broadway with unaccustomed glare.

  There o'er the sordid gloom, whose deep'ning tracks
     Furrow the city's brow, the front of ages,
 Thy loftier light descends on cabs and hacks,
     And on two dozen different lines of stages!

 O twilight Sun, with thy far darting ray,
     Thou art a type of him whose tireless hands
 Hung thee on high to guide the stranger's way,
     Where, in its pride, his vast Museum stands.

 Him, who in search of wonders new and strange,
     Grasps the wide skirts of Nature's mystic robe
 Explores the circles of eternal change,
     And the dark chambers of the central globe.

 He, from the reedy shores of fabled Nile,
     Has brought, thick-ribbed and ancient as old iron,
 That venerable beast, the crocodile,
     And many a skin of many a famous lion.

  Go lose thyself in those continuous halls,
     Where strays the fond papa with son and daughter;
 And all that charms or startles or appals,
     Thou shalt behold, and for a single quarter.

  Far from the Barcan deserts now withdrawn,
     There, huge constrictors coil their scaly backs;
 There, cased in glass, malignant and unshorn,
     Old murderers glare in sullenness and wax.

  There many a varied form the sight beguiles,
     In rusty broadcloth decked and shocking hat,
 And there the unwieldy Lambert sits and smiles,
     In the majestic plenitude of fat.

 Or for thy gayer hours, the orang-outang
     Or ape salutes thee with his strange grimace,
 And in their shapes, stuffed as on earth they sprang,
     Thine individual being thou canst trace!

  And joys the youth in life's green spring, who goes
     With the sweet babe and the gray headed nurse,
 To see those Cosmoramic orbs disclose
     The varied beauties of the universe.

 And last, not least, the marvellous Ethiope,
     Changing his skin by preternatural skill,
 Whom every setting sun's diurnal slope
     Leaves whiter than the last, and whitening still.

  All that of monstrous, scaly, strange and queer,
     Has come from out the womb of earliest time,
 Thou hast, O Barnum, in thy keeping here,
     Nor is this all--for triumphs more sublime

  Await thee yet! I, Jenny Lind, who reigned
     Sublimely throned, the imperial queen of song,
 Wooed by thy golden harmonies, have deigned
     Captive to join the heterogeneous throng.

  Sustained by an unfaltering trust in coin,
     Dealt from thy hand, O thou illustrious man,
 Gladly I heard the summons come to join
     Myself the immeasurable caravan.

A number of complimentary greetings in verse were also sent in to
Miss Lind by various writers of more or less eminence, among them
being the following from Mrs. Lydia H. Sigourney:



 Blest must their vocation be
 Who, with tones of melody,
 Charm the discord and the strife
 And the railroad rush of life,

 And with Orphean magic move
 Souls inert to life and love.
 But there's one who doth inherit
 Angel gift and angel spirit,
 Bidding tides of gladness flow
 Through the realms of want and woe;
 'Mid lone age and misery's lot,
 Kindling pleasures long forgot,
 Seeking minds oppressed with night,
 And on darkness shedding light,
 She the seraph's speech doth know,
 She hath done their deeds below;
 So, when o'er this misty strand
 She shall clasp their waiting hand,
 They will fold her to their breast,
 More a sister than a guest.

 The first concert was announced for the evening of September
11th, and it was to take place in the great hall of Castle
Garden, afterward famous as the landing-place for emigrants at
New York. The tickets for this occasion were sold at auction, and
the first one was bid up to the extraordinary figure of $225.
This was bid and the ticket was secured by John N. Genin, a
hatter; and the public notice which was thereby attracted to him
was such a great advertisement for his business that within a few
years thereafter he amassed a fortune. It was afterward stated
that Mr. Genin was Barnum's brother-in-law, and that his high bid
for this ticket was a pre-arranged job; but there was no truth in
this whatever. The auction itself was regarded as an occasion of
such public interest that the proprietors of the Garden, where it
was held, charged a shilling admission fee to it. No less than
3,000 persons paid this fee and attended the auction, and the
first day's sale aggregated 1,000 tickets, which brought a total
sum of $10,141.

A few days after her arrival Barnum told Miss Lind that it would
be desirable to make a change in the terms of their contract, if
she would consent. She was startled at this, and asked him what
the change was to be. "I am convinced," replied Barnum, "that
this enterprise will be far more successful than either of us
anticipated. So I wish to stipulate that you shall receive not
only $1,000 for each concert, beside all expenses, but also that,
after taking out $5,500 per night for expenses and for my
services, the balance shall be equally divided between you and

She looked at him in utter bewilderment, unable to understand his
proposition. He repeated it, and at last made her realize what it
was that he proposed to do. Then she grasped him by the hand and
exclaimed: "Mr. Barnum, you are a gentleman of honor; you are
generous; it is just as I was told. I will sing for you as long
as you please. I will sing for you in America--in

The day before the first concert Mr. Barnum told Miss Lind that,
judging by appearances, her portion of the proceeds of the first
concert, over and above her fee of $1,000, would amount to at
least $10,000. She immediately resolved to devote every dollar of
it to charity, and forthwith sent for the Mayor of the city,
under whose advice she acted in selecting the various
institutions among which it was to be distributed.

The amount of money actually received for tickets for the first
concert was $17,864.05. So it appeared that Barnum's estimate had
been a little too high, and Miss Lind's portion was too small to
realize the $10,000 which she was to give to charity. Barnum
therefore proposed to make a similar arrangement for the second
concert, and to count neither of these first two in the regular
engagement. To this she agreed. The second concert was given on
September 13th, and the receipts, which amounted to $14,203.03,
were disposed of as before, and she was thus enabled to give the
$10,000 to charity. The third concert, which was the first of the
regular series, was given on September 17th.

Barnum's arrangements of the concert-room for the singer's
appearance were very complete. One hundred ushers, adorned with
rosettes and carrying wands tipped with ribbons, looked after the
seating of the audience. In order to prevent confusion the doors
were opened at five o'clock, although the concert was not to
commence until eight. The result was that the five thousand
persons who attended made their entry without crowding and
without confusion.

The reception of Jenny Lind, on her first appearance, in point of
enthusiasm, was probably never before equalled. As Mr. Benedict
led her towards the footlights, the entire audience rose to their
feet and welcomed her with three cheers, accompanied by the
waving of thousands of hats and handkerchiefs. This was perhaps
the largest audience to which Jenny Lind had ever sung. She was
evidently much agitated, but the orchestra commenced, and before
she had sung a dozen notes of "Casta Diva," she began to recover
her self-possession, and long before the scena was concluded she
was as calm as if she was in her own drawing-room. Towards the
last portion of the cavatina, the audience were so completely
carried away by their feelings, that the remainder of the air was
drowned in a perfect tempest of acclamation. Enthusiasm had been
wrought to its highest pitch, but the musical powers of Jenny
Lind exceeded all the brilliant anticipations which had been
formed, and her triumph was complete. At the conclusion of the
concert Jenny Lind was loudly called for, and was obliged to
appear three times before the audience could be satisfied. Then
they called vociferously for "Barnum," and he "reluctantly"
responded to their demand.

On this first night Julius Benedict firmly established with the
American people his European reputation as a most accomplished
conductor and musical composer; while Signor Belletti inspired an
admiration which grew warmer and deeper in the minds of the
public, to the end of his career in this country.

"The Rubicon was passed," says Barnum. "The successful issue of
the Jenny Lind enterprise was established. I think there were a
hundred men in New York, the day after her first concert, who
would have willingly paid me $200,000 for my contract. I received
repeated offers for an eighth, a tenth, or a sixteenth,
equivalent to that price. But mine had been the risk, and I was
determined mine should be the triumph."

The triumph of Jenny Lind is a legitimate part of Barnum's
history, and it will be of interest to the present generation to
read what the musical critics of that day thought of that
wonderful singer. Here is the New York Tribune's account of her
opening concerts in America:

"Jenny Lind's first concert is over, and all doubts are at an
end. She is the greatest singer we have ever heard and her
success is all that was anticipated from her genius and her fame.
As this is something of an era in our history of art, we give a
detailed account of all that took place on the occasion.

"All the preparatory arrangements for the concert were made with
great care, and from the admirable system observed, none of the
usual disagreeable features of such an event were experienced.
Outside of the gate there was a double row of policemen extending
up the main avenue of the Battery grounds. Carriages only were
permitted to drive up to the gate from the Whitehall side, and
pass off into Battery-place. At one time the line of carriages
extended to Whitehall and up State street into Broadway.
Everything was accomplished in a quiet and orderly manner. The
chief of police, with about sixty men, came on the ground at 5
o'clock, and maintained the most complete order to the end.

"Mr. Barnum, according to promise, had put up a substantial
frame-work, and thrown an immense awning over the bridge, which
is some 200 feet in length. This was brilliantly lighted, and had
almost the appearance of a triumphal avenue on entering the gate.

"There was an immense crowd on the Battery, clustering around the
gates during the whole evening, but no acts of disorder occurred.
When Jenny Lind's carriage came, but very few persons knew it,
and no great excitement followed. The principal annoyance was
occasioned by a noisy crowd of boys in boats, who gathered around
the outer wall of the castle, and being by their position secure
from the police, tried to disturb those within by a hideous
clamor of shouts and yells, accompanied by a discordant din of
drums and fifes. There must have been more than 200 boats and a
thousand persons on the water. They caused some annoyance to that
portion of the audience in the back seats of the balcony, but the
nuisance was felt by none in the parquet. By 10 o'clock they had
either become tired or ashamed of the contemptible outrage they
were attempting, and dispersed. We may here remark that if the
river police asked for by Chief Matsell had been in existence
this attempt could not have been made.

"On entering the castle, a company of ushers, distinguished by
their badges, were in readiness to direct the visitors to that
part of the hall where their seats were located. Colored lamps
and hangings suspended to the pillars indicated at a glance the
different divisions, and the task of seating the whole audience
of near seven thousand persons was thus accomplished without the
least inconvenience. The hall was brilliantly lighted, though
from its vast extent the stage looked somewhat dim. The wooden
partition which was built up in place of the drop-curtain, is
covered with a painting representing the combined standards of
America and Sweden, below which are arabesque ornaments in white
and gold. Considering the short time allowed for these
improvements, the change was remarkable. The only instance of bad
taste which we noticed was a large motto, worked in flowers,
suspended over the pillars of the balcony directly in front of
the stage. 'Welcome, Sweet Warbler' (so ran the words), was not
only tame and commonplace, but decidedly out of place.

"The sight of the grand hall, with its gay decoration, its
glittering lamps, and its vast throng of expectant auditors, was
in itself almost worth a $5 ticket. We were surprised to notice
that not more than one-eighth of the audience were ladies. They
must stay at home, it seems, when the tickets are high, but the
gentlemen go, nevertheless. For its size, the audience was one of
the most quiet, refined and appreciative we ever saw assembled in
this city. Not more than one-third were seated before 7 o'clock,
and when the eventful hour arrived they were still coming in. A
few of the seats were not taken when the orchestra had assembled,
and Mr. Benedict, who was greeted with loud cheers on his
appearance, gave the first flourish of his baton.

"The musical performance commenced with Jules Benedict's overture
to his opera, The Crusaders, himself conducting the orchestra of
60 instruments. It was an admirably balanced and effective
orchestra, and notwithstanding that we had to listen as it were
round a corner, we felt the unity and full force of its strong
chords, and traced the precise and delicate outline of its
melodies with a distinctness which proved that a clear musical
idea was there, too clearly embodied to be lost even in that vast
space. We liked the first half of the composition best; it had
the dark shading and wild vigor and pathos of Von Weber; the
allegro which set in upon it was more in the light popular manner
of Auber and the French. Yet Mr. Benedict has proved his mastery
in this work, which the vast audience acknowledged with very
hearty plaudits.

"Signor Belletti was the next mark of expectation. In one of
Rossini's most ornate and florid bravura songs (from Maometto
Secondo) he produced a barytone of such warm, rich, solid,
resonant and feeling quality as we perhaps have never heard in
this country (though without closer observation from the less
remote position in which a barytone naturally requires to be
heard, we hardly dare to place it above Badiali's); while in
refinement of conception and of execution he left little to be

"Now came a moment of breathless expectation. A moment more, and
Jenny Lind, clad in a white dress, which well became the frank
sincerity of her face, came forward through the orchestra. It is
impossible to describe the spontaneous burst of welcome which
greeted her. The vast assembly rose as one man, and for some
minutes nothing could be seen but the waving of hands and
handkerchiefs, nothing heard but a storm of tumultuous cheers.
The enthusiasm of the moment, for a time beyond all bounds, was
at last subdued after prolonging itself by its own fruitless
efforts to subdue itself, and the divine songstress, with that
perfect bearing, that air of all dignity and sweetness, blending
a child-like simplicity and half-trembling womanly modesty with
the beautiful confidence of genius and serene wisdom of art,
addressed herself to song, as the orchestral symphony prepared
the way for the voice in Casta Diva. A better test-piece could
not have been selected for her debut. Every soprano lady has sung
it to us; but nearly every one has seemed only trying to make
something of it, while Jenny Lind WAS the very music of it for
the time being. We would say no less than that; for the wisest
and honestest part of criticism on such a first hearing of a
thing so perfect, was to give itself purely up to it, without
question, and attempt no analysis of what too truly fills one to
have yet begun to be an object of thought.

"If it were possible, we would describe the quality of that
voice, so pure, so sweet, so fine, so whole and all-pervading, in
its lowest breathings and minutest fioriture as well as in its
strongest volume. We never heard tones which in their sweetness
went so far. They brought the most distant and ill-seated auditor
close to her. They WERE tones, every one of them, and the whole
air had to take the law of their vibrations. The voice and the
delivery had in them all the good qualities of all the good
singers. Song in her has that integral beauty which at once
proclaims it as a type for all, and is most naturally worshipped
as such by the multitude.

"Of those who have been before her we were most frequently
reminded of Madame Bishop's quality (not quantity) of voice.
Their voices are of metal somewhat akin. Jenny Lind's had
incomparably more power and more at all times in reserve; but it
had a shade of that same veiled quality in its lowest tones,
consistently with the same (but much more) ripeness and
sweetness, and perfect freedom from the crudeness often called
clearness, as they rise. There is the same kind of versatile and
subtile talent, too, in Jenny Lind, as appeared later in the
equal inspiration and perfection of her various characters and
styles of song. Her's is a genuine soprano, reaching the extra
high notes with that ease and certainty which make each highest
one a triumph of expression purely, and not a physical marvel.
The gradual growth and sostenuto of her tones; the light and
shade, the rhythmic undulation and balance of her passages; the
bird-like ecstacy of her trill; the faultless precision and
fluency of her chromatic scales; above all, the sure reservation
of such volume of voice as to crown each protracted climax with
glory, not needing a new effort to raise force for the final
blow; and indeed all the points one looks for in a mistress of
the vocal art were eminently her's in Casta Diva. But the charm
lay not in any POINT, but rather in the inspired vitality, the
hearty, genuine outpouring of the whole--the real and yet truly
ideal humanity of all her singing. That is what has won the world
to Jenny Lind; it is that her whole soul and being goes out in
her song, and that her voice becomes the impersonation of that
song's soul if it have any, that is, if it BE a song. There is
plainly no vanity in her, no mere aim to effect; it is all frank
and real and harmoniously earnest.

"She next bewitched all by the delicate naivete and sparkling
espieglerie, interchanged with true love pathos, of her duet with
Belletti, from Rossini's I Turchi in Italia, the music being in
the same voice with that of his 'Barber of Seville.' The distinct
rapidity, without hurry, of many passages, was remarkable in both
performers. But perhaps the most wonderful exhibition of her
vocal skill and pliancy and of her active intimacy with nature
was in the Trio Concertante, with two flutes, from Meyerbeer's
'Camp of Silesia.' Exquisitely her voice played in echo between
the tasteful flute-warblings of Messrs. Kyle and Siede.

"But do not talk of her flute-like voice; the flute-tone is not
one a real voice need cultivate; except where it silvers the
edges of a dark mass of orchestral harmony, the flute's
unmitigated sweetness must and should contrast with the more
clarionet and reed-like quality of a voice as rich and human as
that of Jenny Lind.

"Naturally the favorites of the evening were the two national
songs. Her Swedish 'Herdsman's Song' was singularly quaint, wild
and innocent. The odd musical interval (a sharp seventh) of the
the echo, as if her singing had brought the very mountains there,
were extremely characteristic. This was loudly encored and
repeated; and when again encored was of course answered with her
'Greeting to America,' the National Prize Song, written by Bayard
Taylor, and set to a vigorous and familiar style of music, well
harmonizing with the words, by Benedict. The greeting had a soul
in it coming from those lips.

"We have but now to acknowledge the fine style of Belletti's
Largo al Factotum (though the gay barber's song always requires
the stage) and the admirable orchestra performance of Weber's
Overture to Oberon.

"We are now sure of Jenny Lind, the singer and the artist. Last
night she was herself, and well accompanied, and gloriously
responded to. But we have yet to hear her in the kind of music
which seems to us most to need and to deserve such a singer--in
the Agatha of Der Freyschutz, and in Mozart and the deep music of
the great modern German operas.

"At the close the audience (who made no movement to leave till
the last note had been uttered) broke out in a tempest of cheers,
only less vehement than those which welcomed her in Casta Diva.
She came forward again, bowed with a bright, grateful face, and
retired. The cheers were now mingled with shouts of 'Barnum!' who
at last came forward, and with some difficulty obtained
sufficient order to speak. 'My friends,' said he, 'you have often
heard it asked, 'Where's Barnum?" Amid the cheers and laughter
which followed, we only caught the words: 'Henceforth, you may
say, 'Barnum's nowhere!' '

"Mr. Barnum, after expressing his gratification at the splendid
welcome which had been given Mdlle. Lind, stated that he would
disclose a piece of news which he could no longer keep secret,
and which would show how well that welcome was deserved. Mdlle.
Lind on Monday morning informed him that it was her intention to
give her share of the net proceeds of the present concert,
amounting to considerable more than $10,000, to the various
charities in the city.

"The announcement was a signal for another storm. We did not
count the number of cheers given, but we never witnessed such a
pitch of enthusiasm. Mr. Barnum then proceeded to read the list
of her donations, interrupted at every name by a fresh burst of

 To the Fire Department Fund . . . . . . . . . $3,000

     Musical Fund Society. . . . . . . . . . . .2,000

     Home for the Friendless . . . . . . . . . . .500

     Society for the Relief of Indigent Females. .500

     Dramatic Fund Association . . . . . . . . . .500

     Home for Colored and Aged Persons . . . . . .500

     Colored and Orphan Association. . . . . . . .500

     Lying-in Asylum for Destitute Females . . . .500

     New York Orphan Asylum. . . . . . . . . . . .500

     Protestant Half-Orphan Asylum . . . . . . . .500

     Roman Catholic Half-Orphan Asylum . . . . . .500

     Old Ladies' Asylum. . . . . . . . . . . . . .500

               Total . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000

"In case the money coming to her shall exceed this sum, she will
hereafter designate the charity to which it is to be
appropriated. Mr. Barnum was then about retiring, when there was
a universal call for Jenny Lind. The songstress, however, had
already taken her departure, and the excited crowd, after giving
a few more cheers, followed her example, and slowly surged out of
the castle door, and down the canopied bridge, in a glow of
good-humor and admiration. A few disorderly vagrants collected on
the bridges leading to the Bath Houses, hooted at the throng as
it passed out, but everybody went home quietly, with a new joy at
his heart, and a new thought in his brain.

"Jenny Lind's second concert was in every respect as complete a
triumph as the first. The audience numbered upward of SEVEN
THOUSAND, filling the vast amphitheatre to the topmost circles of
the gallery. The sight of that dense sea of heads, from either
extremity of the balcony, reminded us of one of Martin's grand,
gloomy pictures, and the resemblance was further increased by the
semi-oriental appearance of the hall, with its long, light
pillars dropping from the centre, as well as by the dimness of
its illumination, the lamps, many and bright as they were, being
lost in the immense area of the building.

"The concert was a repetition of the first, with the only
difference that the orchestra volunteered the "Wedding March,"
from Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream," whose short,
crackling blaze of harmony received full justice from the sure
and well-tempered brass instruments. Weber's overture to "Oberon"
was finely rendered, and the composition is as fine a specimen of
musical fairy-land as could be found before young Mendelssohn
dreamed Shakspere's dream over in his own way.

"In Jenny Lind we still feel that it is not easy to separate the
singer from the person. She sings herself. She does not, like
many skilful vocalists, merely recite her musical studies, and
dazzle you with splendid feats unnaturally acquired; her singing,
through all her versatile range of parts and styles, is her own
proper and spontaneous activity--integral, and whole. Her
magnificent voice, always true and firm, and as far beyond any
instrument as humanity is beyond nature, seems like the audible
beauty of her nature and her character. That she is an artist in
the highest sense is a question long since settled, and any
little incidental variation from the bold and perfect outline of
success in any special effort, as the faltering of her voice from
natural embarrassment in the commencing of Casta Diva that first
night, could not to a true listener at all impede the recognition
of the wonderful art which could afford a little to humanity on
so trying an occasion. For she was as it were beginning her
career anew; literally to her was this a new world; and she felt
for a moment as if in her first blushing maidenhood of song. This
second time the hesitation of the voice in that commencement was
not felt. The note began soft and timid and scarce audible, as
the prayer of Norma might have done; but how it gradually swelled
with the influx of divine strength into the soul! The grand
difficulty in the opening andante movement of Casta Diva lies in
its broad, sustained phrasing, in the long, generous undulation
of its rhythm, which with most singers drags or gets broken out
of symmetry. Jenny Lind conceived and did it truly. The
impassioned energy of the loud-pleading syncopated cries in which
the passage attains its climax; the celestial purity and
penetrating sweetness of that highest note afterward; the
exquisite cadenza to the andante; and the inspiring eloquence of
the allegro: Ah! bello a me ritorna, were far beyond anything WE
have had the fortune hitherto to hear.

"They that sat, or even stood, in Castle Garden, may mark down a
white day in their calendar. In point of audience, programme,
execution and inspiration, it was the greatest concert, so far.
If anything more had been needed to confirm the impression which
Jenny Lind had previously made on an American public, and to
place her continued success beyond the possibility of doubt, last
night's experience certainly supplied it.

"It was foreseen in the morning that the attendance would be
greater even than on Friday night. The American Museum and Hall's
Music Store were besieged through the whole day and up to the
very hour of commencement. At the former place the crowding for
tickets was tremendous, the very sidewalk in front being
blockaded most of the time. At seven o'clock, when we took up the
line of march for Castle Garden, both sides of Broadway were
thronged, and the main avenue of the Battery was filled with a
steady stream of persons pressing into the Castle gate. As on the
first night, a double line of policemen had been formed, which
effectually prevented all disorder. A few more lamps were
introduced into the hall, rendering its aspect much more light
and cheerful. By eight o'clock the vast hall was crowded to
overflowing. Scarcely a foot of space was unoccupied; from the
very edge of the ceiling to the orchestral platform in the
centre, around the immense span of the building, there was but
one dense mass of heads. We should, at a rough guess, estimate
the number in the auditory at SEVEN THOUSAND. A much larger
proportion than on former nights were ladies, and for the first
time we caught glimpses of the fashionable society from above
Bleecker. It is worthy of note, that the first and second
concerts, immense as they were, were composed almost entirely of
the intelligent and appreciative middle class.

"Some disturbance was created by a rush to obtain seats, made by
those who had promenade tickets for the balcony, the moment the
orchestra began to collect. This proceeding, in violation of the
specified arrangements, was most disgraceful. The ushers did all
they could to prevent it, but in spite of all their efforts many
persons who arrived before the hour of commencement were deprived
of their seats. It would be a good plan to have a few policemen
in the balcony on future occasions.

"The orchestra commenced with Rossini's Overture to "William
Tell"--perhaps the finest piece of instrumental picture music
since Haydn's Creation and the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven.
Its fresh and vivid coloring, its atmospheric changes, its smart
Alpine vigor and heroic ensemble, were made as present and as
real as any sixty instruments could make them. Exquisitely did
those three violoncellos sketch the first scene of soft, cool
sunset on the unruffled lake; the mellow Corno Anglaise, male
partner to the oboe, sweetly woke the flute-like mountain echoes;
the low moan and whistle of the storm rose life like in the
crescendo of the violins, and as it died away the startling
quick-step of liberty leaped strong and simultaneous from such a
tutti as we have hardly heard from any orchestra. We can believe
that Mr. Benedict was quite sincere in telling them he had not
conducted a better orchestra in Europe. The other Overture to
Masaniello was also splendidly played, but the composition is, to
our taste, too hackneyed to fill out the programme of a Jenny
Lind before the largest audience in the world. The accompaniments
to the singing were usually given with sympathetic precision, and
subdued shading or vigorous seconding, as the case required. We
cannot speak too well of M. Benedict's control of his forces.

"The second piece was the Viravviso ("As I View Now") from La
Somnambula, delivered in the richest and most vibrating barytone
that WE Americans have heard, by Sig. Belletti. Now that we have
heard him from a nearer position, we have not a doubt left of his
superiority in voice, style, execution to all our Italian
favorites of the same register hitherto. He absolutely glorified
the cavatina which rapidly grew commonplace with Brough, and had
but half recovered even in the hands of the worthy Italian
artists who have since sung it on the stage for us. His crowning
achievement last night, however, was the actual singing of a
Tarentella by Rossini--a kind of movement which we have hitherto
heard only from instruments--a whirling, spinning, delirious,
top-like movement in which the singer seems galvanized and
tyrannized by one too happy and all-mastering idea in spite of
himself. The audience too, in spite of themselves, were sucked
into its whirling ecstacy, and it was imperatively encored. In
Mozart's Non piu Andrai the chaster prototype of Rossini's Largo
al factotum, his vocalization was elastic, spirited and elegant,
but the effect of such a piece was necessarily lost upon the
outer circles of so vast an auditory.

"For other variety there was a brilliant show duett on themes
from La Somnambula for piano and violin by Messrs. Benedict and
Noll, and a solo on the pianoforte by that most promising young
artist, Hoffman. For this he chose De Meyer's fantasy on
Semiramide, decidedly of the modern monster school of pianoforte
composition, though quite a vigorous, graceful and redeeming
specimen thereof.

"And now for the 'Queen of Song'--or, if so qualifying it will
better suit the Italians, the NORTHERN Queen of Song.

"She commenced with one of the most tender and graceful, and
hereabouts least hackneyed airs of Bellini--the Qui la Voce from
I Puritani. Her liquid purity of voice and graceful gliding
through its flowery labyrinthine passages was to us not more
remarkable than the true but quiet fervor which animated it.
Jenny Lind shows no feeling! and excites none! draws no tears!
True Art supplies the place of tears by touching the emotions
which are deeper and serener, and not a whit less human. But of
this more fully when we have room.

"The splendid song from Mozart's 'Magic Flute,' Non Paventar,
brought into play the salient diamonds of her highest voice,
which arches like the tall shaft of a fountain sparkling in the
sun. The introduction, a bold, exhorting strain, in grandiose
style, full of large intervals, was given with a glorious fervor,
and no lark ever carolled more blithely or more at ease than her
voice as it soared to F in alt! Benedict's English ballad, 'Take
this Lute,' she sang with a simplicity and pathos that won the
audience completely; and no part seemed more genuine or more
expressive than the difficult cadenza at its close.

"The romanza from Robert le Diable was perhaps the most
fascinating of her more studied performances. This, like all her
brilliant things, if not impassioned in the cheaper superficial
sense, was at all events vital, and from the soul. She is never
mechanical, whatever you may say about want of passion. Is any
tragic pathos, such as is ready on the smallest occasion, or on
none, more admirable and more inspiring, more from the inmost
soul, than is that gushing up of a full, glad, true heart which
is her native mood of song, and which was so glorious last night
in the Ah! non Giunge from Somnambula? The rapturous encore to
this was answered by the Swedish 'Herdsman's Song.'

"It was in the song from Mozart's 'Magic Flute' that we first
fully KNEW the voice and art and soul of Jenny Lind. She warmed
to that music. It is narrow criticism which imprisons such a
singer within the partial scope, albeit classical, of the Italian
School; ignores that vital part of her which may exceed the
conventional requirements of such a School, and condemns whatever
in her is most characteristic, and in contrast with its models.
It has been well said by those who make the most intelligent
reference to those models and that school, that the style of the
Swedish Nightingale is sui generis, as marked as her own
personality. True, you would not say of her, in the conventional
Italian sense of the word, what is often said in first
acknowledgment of a good singer: 'She has STYLE'--meaning the one
style which is assumed as the standard. If we are to limit style
to that sense, Mdlle. Lind has more than style; she has
genius--Northern genius, to be sure, which is precisely what she
should have to make her greatness genuine. Song is original in
her; and from her singing we drink in new life, after long
satiety of such passion-sweets as have become habits rather than
fresh inspirations in the delightful--we may almost say
perfected--but yet confined music of the Italians.

"It is, perhaps, too late to await the advent of a Queen of Song
from the warm South. The South has had its turn; it has fulfilled
its mission; the other end of the balance now comes up. The
Northern Muse must sing her lesson to the world. Her fresher,
chaster, more intellectual, and (as they only SEEM to some) her
colder strains come in due season to recover our souls from the
delicious languor of a Music which has been so wholly of the
Feelings, that, for the want of some intellectual tonic and some
spiritual temper, Feeling has degenerated into mere Sensibility
and a very cheap kind of superficial, skin-deep excitability that
usurps the name of Passion.

"We admire and feel and love the Melody of Italy. We reverence
her native gift of song, her popular sensibility to it. We have
been again and again transported by her best vocal artists who
have visited these shores, and they are not THE best--the
world-wide celebrities, we have to confess, are only traditions
to us--traditions, however, to which we yield ourselves in full
faith. From what we HAVE heard and experienced of Italian
singing, we know, as well as if we had heard Grisi, Pasta and
Rubini, that it is not IN the genius of the Italian School to
produce or hardly to appreciate such a new revelation of song as
this human nightingale or canary of Sweden.

"Is this underrating the Italian music? By no means. That is an
established fact, and has its characteristic worth. Equally so,
but in a contrasted way has the music of the North, which, till
this Nightingale appeared, had found its utterance mainly through
instruments and orchestras. Now it finds worthy utterance in
song. But of its peculiar characteristic we must take another
time to speak."



All of Barnum's inventive powers were called into play
effectually to advertise his song-bird. Biographies of Jenny Lind
were circulated. "Foreign correspondence" raved over her talents,
narratives of her benevolence filled the papers; her pictures and
her name were seen everywhere. So when she made her first
appearance, it was before an audience already wrought up to a
high pitch of enthusiasm in her behalf. Never before, or after
for that matter, was any singer so lauded by the press. The
following editorial from the New York Herald of September 10th,
1850, is a fair sample:

"What ancient monarch was he, either in history or in fable, who
offered half his kingdom (the price of box-tickets and choice
seats in those days) for the invention of an original sensation,
or the discovery of a fresh pleasure? That sensation--that
pleasure which royal power in the Old World failed to
discover--has been called into existence at a less price, by Mr.
Barnum, a plain republican, and is now about to be enjoyed by the
sovereigns of the New World.

"Jenny Lind, the most remarkable phenomenon in the musical art
which has for the last century flashed across the horizon of the
Old World, is now among us, and will make her debut to-morrow
night to a house of nearly ten thousand listeners, yielding in
proceeds by auction, a sum of forty or fifty thousand dollars.
For the last ten days our musical reporters have furnished our
readers with every matter connected with her arrival in this
metropolis, and the steps adopted by Mr. Barnum in preparation
for her first appearance. The proceedings of yesterday,
consisting of the sale of the remainder of the tickets, and the
astonishing, the wonderful sensation produced at her first
rehearsal on the few persons, critics in musical art, who were
admitted on the occasion, will be found elsewhere in our columns.

"We concur in everything that has been said by our musical
reporter, describing her extraordinary genius--her unrivalled
combination of power and art. Nothing has been exaggerated, not
an iota. Three years ago, more or less, we heard Jenny Lind on
many occasions, when she made the first great sensation in
Europe, by her debut at the London Opera House. Then she was
great in power--in art--in genius; now she is greater in all. We
speak from experience and conviction. Then she astonished, and
pleased, and fascinated the thousands of the British aristocracy;
now she will fascinate, and please, and delight, and almost make
mad with musical excitement, the millions of the American
democracy. To-morrow night, this new sensation--this fresh
movement--this excitement excelling all former excitements--will
be called into existence, when she pours out the notes of Casta
Diva, and exhibits her astonishing powers--her wonderful
peculiarities, that seem more of heaven than of earth--more of a
voice from eternity, than from the lips of a human being.

"We speak soberly--seriously--calmly. The public expectation has
run very high for the last week--higher than at any former period
of our past musical annals. But high as it has risen, the
reality--the fact--the concert--the voice of Jenny Lind--will far
surpass all past expectations. Jenny Lind is a wonder, and a
prodigy in song--and no mistake."

Barnum had not hoped to manage such an enormous enterprise as
this one, without some trouble and anxiety, but he soon
discovered that in this case, realization far exceeded
anticipation. He often declared that from the first concert,
September 11th, 1850, until the ninety-third concert, June 9th,
1851, he did not experience a single waking moment that was free
from care.

Miss Lind was utterly unprepared for the enthusiasm of her
American audience, and it is scarcely to be wondered at that she
should appear to listen at first to the dishonorable counsels of
some of her friends, who constantly besought her to break her
contract with Barnum, who, they urged, was "coining money out of
her genius," and to take the enterprise into her own hands. But
whether Miss Lind realized that Mr. Barnum's management was
largely responsible for her triumph, or whether she was simply
too high-minded to consider such a breach of honor, certain it is
that she continued to stand by her contract. John Jay, her
lawyer, took every occasion to interfere, and Barnum suffered
much from his unreasonable intrusions. The following letter,
written to Mr. Joshua Bates of Baring Bros. & Co., London, will
show the difficulties which beset the perplexed manager:

                                   "NEW YORK, October 23, 1850.


"Dear Sir: I take the liberty to write you a few lines, merely to
say that we are getting along as well as could reasonably be
expected. In this country you are aware that the rapid
accumulation of wealth always creates much envy, and envy soon
augments to malice. Such are the elements at work to a limited
degree against myself, and although Miss Lind, Benedict and
myself have never, as yet, had the slightest feelings between us,
to my knowledge, except those of friendship, yet I cannot well
see how this can long continue in the face of the fact that,
nearly every day they allow persons (some moving in the first
classes of society) to approach them, and spend hours in
traducing me; even her attorney, Mr. John Jay, has been so blind
to her interests, as to aid in poisoning her mind against me, by
pouring into her ears the most silly twaddle, all of which
amounts to nothing and less than nothing--such as the regret that
I was a showman, exhibiter of Tom Thumb, etc., etc.

"Without the elements which I possess for business, as well as my
knowledge of human nature, acquired in catering for the public,
the result of her concerts here would not have been pecuniarily
one-half as much as the present--and such men as the Hon. Edward
Everett, G. G. Howland, and others, will tell you that there is
no charlatanism or lack of dignity in my management of these
concerts. I know as well as any person, that the merits of Jenny
Lind are the best capital to depend upon to secure public favor,
and I have thus far acted on this knowledge. Everything which
money and attention can procure for their comfort, they have, and
I am glad to know that they are satisfied on this score. All I
fear is, that these continued backbitings, if listened to by her,
will, by and by, produce a feeling of distrust or regret, which
will lead to unpleasant results.

"The fact is, her mind ought to be as free as air, and she
herself as free as a bird, and being satisfied of my probity and
ability, she should turn a deaf ear to all envious and malevolent
attacks on me. I have hoped that by thus briefly stating to you
the facts in the case, you might be induced for her interests as
well as mine to drop a line of advice to Mr. Benedict and another
to Mr. Jay on this subject. If I am asking or expecting too much,
I pray you to not give it a thought, for I feel myself fully able
to carry through my rights alone, although I should deplore
nothing so much as to be obliged to do so in a feeling of
unfriendliness. I have risked much money on the issue of this
speculation--it has proved successful. I am full of perplexity
and anxiety, and labor continually for success, and I cannot
allow ignorance or envy to rob me of the fruits of my enterprise.
                        "Sincerely and gratefully yours,
                                              "P. T. BARNUM."

Miss Lind's benevolence had been so largely extolled that it was
not surprising that she should have been continually beset by
applicants for charity.

In almost all cases she gave liberally in sums varying from $20
to $1,000, and to one Swedish friend, it is said, she actually
gave $5,000.

On her return from Boston to New York the whole party stopped at
Iranistan, Mr. Barnum's Bridgeport place. The next morning Miss
Lind was escorted over the grounds, the beauty of which delighted
her. "Do you know, Mr. Barnum," she said, "that if you had not
built Iranistan, I should never have come to America for you?"
Mr. Barnum, much surprised, asked her to explain.

"I had received several applications to visit the United States,"
she continued, "but I did not much like the appearance of the
applicants, nor did I relish the idea of crossing 3,000 miles of
ocean; so I declined them all. But the first letter which Mr.
Wilton, your agent, addressed me, was written upon a sheet headed
with a beautiful engraving of Iranistan. It attracted my
attention. I said to myself, a gentleman who has been so
successful in his business as to be able to build and reside in
such a palace cannot be a mere 'adventurer.' So I wrote to your
agent, and consented to an interview, which I should have
declined, if I had not seen the picture of Iranistan."

"That, then, fully pays me for building it," replied Barnum.

The night after Miss Lind's arrival in Boston, there was a
display of fireworks, in her honor, in front of the Revere House,
which was followed by a torchlight procession by the Germans of
the city. At Philadelphia, they were met by such a dense throng
of people that it was with the greatest difficulty that they
pressed through the crowds to their hotel. Jenny was suffering
from a very severe headache and retired at once to her rooms.
Outside, the streets were packed with the thousands that had
followed them to the door, and were now clamoring for Jenny Lind.

Knowing that the noise would seriously disturb the sensitive
songstress, Barnum tried to induce the crowd to disperse; but
they declared they would not until Miss Lind appeared on the
balcony. In despair he finally put Jenny's bonnet and shawl on
her companion, Miss Ahmansen, who went out on the balcony and
bowed gracefully to the multitude, who gave three hearty cheers
and dispersed.

Miss Lind hated crowds, and always wished her arrival in any city
kept secret, so as to avoid the excitement of a public reception,
but Barnum knew that the success of the enterprise depended in a
large measure on this very excitement.

One day Miss Lind remarked to Mr. Barnum, "I have just heard that
you and I are to be married. Now how do you suppose such a report
ever originated?"

"Probably from the fact that we are 'engaged,' suggested Barnum,
the inveterate punster.

Miss Lind always went to church when she could do so without
attracting too much attention, always inquiring for the Swedish
church wherever it could be found.

One Sunday in Baltimore, Miss Caroline Barnum, now Mrs. David W.
Thompson, of New York, went with a friend of hers who resided in
the city, into the choir, where she joined in the singing.

A number of people in the audience had seen her with her father
the day previous and supposed her to be Jenny Lind. Like
lightning the news that Jenny Lind was in the choir, flew through
the church, and when Miss Barnum, whose voice was not at all
extraordinary, rose with the rest to sing, the congregation
listened breathlessly. "Heavenly!" "Exquisite!" "Angelic!" sighed
the excited audience. The two young ladies, all unconscious of
the furore they had inspired were utterly astonished when, after
church, the crowd pressed round them so closely that they had the
greatest difficulty in reaching their carriage.

The day after their appearance in Washington, President Fillmore
called, and left his card, Miss Lind being out. Jenny was very
much flurried when she returned, and was prepared to call at the
White House immediately, as would have been proper had Mr.
Fillmore been the head of any European country. Barnum assured
her, however, that etiquette was not so strict in America, and
she postponed her visit until the next day, when with Benedict,
Belletti and Mr. Barnum she spent several delightful hours in the
President's family.

The President, the Cabinet and nearly every member of Congress
attended both concerts. The great Statesman Webster was so
pleased with one of her songs that he drew himself up to his full
height and bowed profoundly, to Miss Lind's great gratification.
Of all the distinguished men who called upon her in Washington,
none impressed her like Webster. She walked up and down in great
excitement after he had gone, exclaiming: "Ah! Mr. Barnum, what a
man! I have never before seen such a man!"

Miss Lind was escorted through both Houses of Congress and
through the Capitol and grounds, by Hon. C. F. Cleveland,
Representative from Connecticut. She was very much pleased with
everything and asked innumerable questions about the American

During their stay in Washington, they were invited by Colonel
Washington, then owner of Mt. Vernon, to visit the home and the
tomb of the first President.

The party first visited the tomb and then proceeded to the house
where they were introduced to Mrs. Washington and several other

Much interest was shown by Miss Lind in examining the various
mementos of the great man, and when before leaving, Mrs.
Washington presented her with a book from the library with
Washington's autograph on the title page, she was overwhelmed
with emotion.

Miss Lind had been through so much excitement in the North that
she determined to see no callers during her stay in the South.
One young lady, the daughter of a wealthy planter, was so
determined to see her, that she bribed a maid to lend her her cap
and apron, and let her carry in Miss Lind's tea. This incident
amused Barnum immensely, but Miss Lind was much vexed, declaring
the young lady's motive to be curiosity rather than admiration.
The voyage from Wilmington to Charleston had been very rough, the
trip requiring over thirty-six hours. When they arrived at last,
the vessel had been given up for lost and the wreck had been
telegraphed all over the country. The voyage to Havana was very
much pleasanter, however.

Arriving there, they found the house which Mr. Barnum had sent a
man on to provide for them, anything but comfortable. Miss Lind,
especially, was much displeased, and, hiring a carriage, she
drove off, accompanied by an interpreter. She was gone four
hours, to the great alarm of the rest of the party. Returning,
she announced that she had hired a charming house in the suburbs,
and invited the whole company to be her guests during their stay
in Havana. It is needless to say they accepted her invitation.

There, freed from all care and annoyance and away from the too
zealous counsellors, she spent a delightful month, seeing no
callers, coming and going as she pleased, and romping like a
schoolgirl in the great court-yard back of the house. She used to
force Mr. Barnum to play ball with her until he was exhausted and
fain to beg off. Then she would laugh and say: "Oh, Mr. Barnum!
you are too fat and lazy; you cannot stand it to play ball with

The celebrated Swedish authoress, Fredericka Bremer, spent a few
days with them in their Havana retreat.



Soon after arriving at Havana, Barnum made a discovery. The
Habaneros, not accustomed to the high prices which opera tickets
command in the States, had determined that they would force
Barnum to lower the admission fee. This the manager refused to
do, and it soon became evident that although they attended the
concerts, they were not disposed to show the singer the least
favor. It was, therefore, with much inward trepidation that
Barnum watched the curtain rise on the first concert. The
following account of that concert is taken from the New York

"Jenny Lind soon appeared, led on by Signor Belletti. Some three
or four hundred persons clapped their hands at her appearance,
but this token of approbation was instantly silenced by at least
two thousand five hundred decided hisses. Thus having settled the
matter that there should be no forestalling of public opinion,
and that it applause was given to Jenny Lind in that house it
should first be incontestably earned, the most solemn silence
prevailed. I have heard the Swedish Nightingale often in Europe
as well as in America, and have ever noticed a distinct
tremulousness attending her first appearance in any city. Indeed
this feeling was plainly manifested in her countenance as she
neared the foot-lights; but when she witnessed the kind of
reception in store for her--so different from anything she had
reason to expect--her countenance changed in an instant to a
haughty self-possession, her eyes flashed defiance, and, becoming
immovable as a statue, she stood there perfectly calm and
beautiful. She was satisfied that she now had an ordeal to pass
and a victory to gain worthy of her powers. In a moment her eye
scanned the immense audience, the music began and then
followed--how can I describe it?--such heavenly strains as I
verily believe mortal never breathed except Jenny Lind, and
mortal never heard except from her lips. Some of the oldest
Castilians kept a frown upon their brow and a curling sneer upon
their lips; their ladies, however, and most of the audience began
to look surprised. The gushing melody flowed on, increasing in
beauty and glory. The caballeros, the senoras and senoritas began
to look at each other; nearly all, however, kept their teeth
clenched and their lips closed, evidently determined to resist to
the last. The torrent flowed deeper and faster, the lark flew
higher and higher, the melody grew richer and grander; still
every lip was compressed. By and by, as the rich notes came
dashing in rivers upon our enraptured ears, one poor critic
involuntarily whispered a 'brava.' This outbursting of the soul
was instantly hissed down. The stream of harmony rolled on till,
at the close, it made a clean sweep of every obstacle, and
carried all before it. Not a vestige of opposition remained, but
such a tremendous shout of applause as went up I never before

"The triumph was most complete. And how was Jenny Lind affected?
She who stood a few moments previous like adamant, now trembled
like a reed in the wind before the storm of enthusiasm which her
own simple notes had produced. Tremblingly, slowly, and almost
bowing her face to the ground, she withdrew. The roar and
applause of victory increased. 'Encore! encore! encore!' came
from every lip. She again appeared, and courtesying low, again
withdrew; but again, again and again did they call her out and at
every appearance the thunders of applause rang louder and louder.
Thus five times was Jenny Lind called out to receive their
unanimous and deafening plaudits."

With tears of joy rolling down his cheeks, Barnum rushed behind
the scenes, and met her as she was withdrawing after the fifth

"God bless you, Jenny," he cried, "you've settled them!"

"Are you satisfied?" said the singer, throwing her arms around
his neck and weeping for joy. This was the first she had known of
the opposition, all hint of it having been kept from her by Mr.
Barnum, but she fully sympathized with him in his determination
not to lower the prices.

The papers continued to cry out for a reduction, and this caused
many people to stay away from the concerts, expecting Barnum to
yield. But when, after three concerts, it was announced that the
next one, devoted to charity, was also to be Miss Lind's
farewell, they became very much excited. Committees waited on
them to request more concerts, which resulted only in refusals:
some of the leading Dons offered to guarantee them $25,000, for
three concerts, but Barnum assured them that there was not money
enough in the Island of Cuba to induce him to consent.

The proceeds of the fourth concert were distributed between two
hospitals and a convent, besides giving $500 to Barnum's old
protege Vivalla, the little Italian plate-dancer, whom they had
met in Havana. The poor fellow's fortunes were at a very low ebb,
having lost the use of his left side from paralysis. He supported
himself by exhibiting a performing dog, which turned a spinning
wheel and did several other tricks. Miss Lind had heard of his
case and was very anxious that part of the benefit money should
be given him.

The morning after the concert the bell rang and Barnum found, on
going to the door, a procession of children from the convent
which had received a large sum of money from Miss Lind. The
children were attended by ten or twelve priests in rich
vestments. They had come to see the songstress and to thank her
in person. But Jenny shrank from appearing before such a stately
deputation: "Tell them I cannot see them," she exclaimed. "They
have nothing to thank me for. If I have done good it was no more
than my duty." And the grand procession with its wreaths and
banners, were obliged to depart.

The same day, Vivalla called and brought her a basket of fruit.
With tears of joy, he called down every blessing on the head of
the benevolent lady. "I shall go back to Italy! I shall see my
brothers and sisters again!" he cried. Miss Lind had gone for a
drive, but Barnum promised to give her the fruit and the message.
As he was passing out the door he hesitated end said: "Mr.
Barnum, I should like so much to have the good lady see my dog
turn a wheel. It is very nice; he can spin very good; shall I
bring the dog and the wheel for her? She is such a good lady, I
wish to please her very much." Mr. Barnum told the grateful
fellow that Miss Lind had refused to see the priests from the
convent that morning, because she never received thanks for
favors, and that he was quite welcome to the money.

When Miss Lind returned and heard the story, she exclaimed: "Poor
man, poor man, do let him come; its all the good creature can do
for me;" then with tears rolling down her face--"I like that, I
like that; do let him come and bring his dog. It will make him so

"God bless you, it WILL make him happy," said Barnum. "He shall
come to-morrow." And he went himself to tell Vivalla that Jenny
Lind would see his dog perform, the next day at four precisely.

"I will be punctual," said Vivalla, quite overcome with emotion,
"but I was SURE she would like to see my dog perform."

For full half an hour before the time appointed did Jenny Lind
sit in her window on the second floor and watch for Vivalla and
his dog. A few minutes before the appointed hour, she saw him
coming. "Ah, here he comes! here he comes!" she exclaimed in
delight, as she ran down stairs and opened the door to admit him.
A negro boy was bringing the small spinning-wheel, while Vivalla
led the dog. Handing the boy a silver coin, she motioned him
away, and taking the wheel in her arms, she said, "This is very
kind of you to come with your dog. Follow me. I will carry the
wheel up stairs." Her servant offered to take the wheel, but no,
she would let no one carry it but herself. She called the whole
party to her parlor, and for one full hour did she devote herself
to the happy Italian. She went down on her knees to pet the dog
and to ask Vivalla all sorts of questions about his performances,
his former course of life, his friends in Italy, and his present
hopes and determinations. Then she sang and played for him, gave
him some refreshments, finally insisted on carrying his wheel to
the door, and her servant accompanied Vivalla to his

Poor Vivalla! He was probably never so happy before, but his
enjoyment did not exceed that of Miss Lind. A few months later,
however, the Havana correspondent of the New York Herald
announced the death of Vivalla, and stated that the poor
Italian's last words were about Jenny Lind and Mr. Barnum.

In the party which accompanied Barnum to Havana was a man who had
formerly kept the Peale Museum in New York, afterwards managing
the establishment for Mr. Barnum. At present he was acting as

He was a curious fellow, at times full of fun and gayety and at
other times melancholy to the verge of insanity. Madness ran in
his family, and one of his brothers, in a moment of frenzy had
blown his brains out. Barnum knew of Bennett's tendency to
melancholy and watched him constantly. When they were on board
the steamer "Falcon" on their way back to New Orleans, a
thrilling incident occurred which Barnum afterwards related in
this way:

Mr. James Gordon Bennett, editor of the New York Herald, and his
wife, were also passengers. After permitting one favorable notice
in his paper, Bennett had turned around, as usual, and had abused
Jenny Lind and bitterly attacked me. I was always glad to get
such notices, for they served as inexpensive advertisements to my

"Ticket-taker Bennett, however, took much to heart the attacks of
Editor Bennett upon Jenny Lind. When Editor Bennett came on board
the 'Falcon,' his violent name-sake said to a by-stander:

" 'I would willingly be drowned if I could see that old scoundrel
go to the bottom of the sea.'

"Several of our party overheard the remark and I turned
laughingly to Bennett and said: Nonsense; he can't harm any one,
and there is an old proverb about the impossibility of drowning
those who are born for another fate.'

"That very night, however, as I stood near the cabin door,
conversing with my treasurer and other members of my company,
Henry Bennett came up to me with a wild air, and hoarsely

" 'Old Bennett has gone forward alone in the dark--and I am going
to throw him overboard!'

"We were all startled, for we knew the man, and he seemed
terribly in earnest. Knowing how most effectively to address him
at such times, I exclaimed:

" 'Ridiculous! you would not do such a thing.'

" 'I swear I will,' was his savage reply. I expostulated with
him, and several of our party joined me.

" 'Nobody will know it,' muttered the maniac, 'and I shall be
doing the world a favor.'

"I endeavored to awaken him to a sense of the crime he
contemplated, assuring him that it could not possibly benefit any
one, and that from the fact of the relations existing between the
editor and myself, I should be the first to be accused of his
murder. I implored him to go to his stateroom, and he finally did
so, accompanied by some of the gentlemen of our party. I took
pains to see that he was carefully watched that night, and,
indeed, for several days, till he became calm again. He was a
large, athletic man, quite able to pick up his name-sake and drop
him overboard. The matter was too serious for a joke, and we made
little mention of it; but more than one of our party said then,
and has said since, what I really believe to be true, that 'James
Gordon Bennett would have been drowned that night had it not been
for P. T. Barnum.' "

Bennett's end was tragic, as might be expected. Sometime after
the Havana journey Barnum sent him to London. He conducted the
business successfully, wrote up the accounts to a penny, then
handing the papers to a mutual friend with directions to give
them to Barnum when he should arrive, he went to his lodgings and
committed suicide.

"In New Orleans the wharf was crowded by a great concourse of
persons, as the steamer "Falcon" approached. Jenny Lind had
enjoyed a month of quiet, and dreaded the excitement which she
must now again encounter.

"Mr Barnum, I am sure I can never get through that crowd," she
said in despair.

"Leave that to me. Remain quiet for ten minutes, and there shall
be no crowd here," replied Barnum.

Taking his daughter on his arm, she drew her vail over her face
and they descended the gangway.

"That's Barnum, I know him," called out several persons at the
top of their voices.

"Open the way, if you please for Mr. Barnum and Miss Lind!" cried
Le Grand Smith over the railing of the ship, the deck of which he
had just reached from the wharf.

"Don't crowd her, if you please, gentlemen," said Barnum, and so
pushing and squeezing they reached the carriage and drove to Miss
Lind's apartments. A few minutes later Jenny and her companion
came quietly in a carriage and were in the house before the ruse
was discovered. In answer to the calls of the crowd she appeared
on the balcony, and bowed to the throng, which gave her three
cheers and dispersed.

A very funny incident occurred in New Orleans. Next to the
theatre where the concerts were given, was an exhibition in the
large open lots of mammoth hogs, grizzly bears and other animals.

A gentleman had a son about twelve years old, who had a wonderful
ear for music. He could whistle or sing any tune after hearing it
once. His father did not know nor care for a single note, but so
anxious was he to please his son, that he paid thirty dollars for
two tickets to the concert.

"I liked the music better than I expected," said he the next day,
"but my son was in raptures. He was so perfectly enchanted that
he scarcely spoke the whole evening, and I would on no account
disturb his delightful reveries. When the concert was finished we
came out of the theatre. Not a word was spoken. I knew that my
musical prodigy was happy among the clouds, and I said nothing. I
could not help envying him his love of music, and considered my
thirty dollars as nothing, compared to the bliss which it secured
to him. Indeed, I was seriously thinking of taking him to the
next concert, when he spoke. We were just passing the numerous
shows upon the vacant lots. One of the signs attracted him, and
he said, 'Father, let us go in and see the big hog!' The little
scamp! I could have horse-whipped him!' said the father, who
loving a joke, could not help laughing at the ludicrous incident.

The party took passage to Cairo, Illinois, in the beautiful river
steamer "Magnolia." They had made arrangements with the captain
to delay in Natchez and in Memphis where concerts were given.

The time on board the steamer was pleasantly spent in reading and
watching the scenery. One day they had a musicale in the ladies'
cabin for the gratification of the passengers, at which Miss Lind
volunteered to sing. Barnum amused the passengers with his
inexhaustible fund of anecdotes and stories, and the tricks of
legerdemain, which he had learned and used in the South under
rather different circumstances. Among other tricks, he made a
silver piece disappear so mysteriously that the negro barber who
witnessed the feat, came to the conclusion that the great man
must be in league with the devil. "The next morning," says Mr.
Barnum, "I seated myself in the barber's chair and the darkey
began to talk:

" 'Beg pardon, Mr. Barnum, but I have heard a great deal about
you, and I saw more than I wanted to see last night. Is it true
that you have sold yourself to the devil, so that you can do what
you've a mind to?'

" 'Oh, yes," was my reply, 'that is the bargain between us.'

" 'How long did you agree for?' was the question next in order.

" 'Only nine years,' said I. 'I have had three of them already.
Before the other six are out, I shall find a way to nonplus the
old gentleman, and I have told him so to his face.'

"At this avowal, a larger space of white than usual was seen in
the darkey's eyes, and he inquired, 'Is it by this bargain that
you get so much money?'

" 'Certainly. No matter who has money, nor where he keeps it, in
his box or till, or anywhere about him, I have only to speak the
words and it comes.'

"The shaving was completed in silence, but thought had been busy
in the barber's mind, and he embraced the speediest opportunity
to transfer his bag of coin to the iron safe in charge of the

The movement did not escape me, and immediately a joke was afoot.
I had barely time to make two or three details of arrangement
with the clerk, and resume my seat in the cabin, ere the barber
sought a second interview, bent on testing the alleged powers of
Beelzebub's colleague.

" 'Beg pardon, Mr. Barnum, but where is my money? Can you get

" 'I do not want your money,' was the quiet answer. 'It is safe.'

" 'Yes, I know it is safe--ha! ha!--it is in the iron safe in the
clerk's office--safe enough from you?'

" 'It is not in the iron safe!' said I. This was said so quietly,
yet positively, that the colored gentleman ran to the office, and
inquired if all was safe. 'All right,' said the clerk. 'Open, and
let me see,' replied the barber. The safe was unlocked and lo!
the money was gone!

"In mystified terror the loser applied to me for relief. 'You
will find the bag in your drawer,' said I, and there it was

"His curiosity was still great. 'Please do another trick,' said

" 'Very well,' I replied, 'stand perfectly still.'

"He did so, and I commenced muttering some mysterious words, as
if performing an incantation.

" 'What are you doing?' said the barber.

" 'I am changing you into a black cat,' I replied, 'but don't be
afraid; I will change you back again, if I don't forget the words
to do it with.'

"This was too much for the terrified darkey; with an awful
screech he rushed to the side of the boat resolved to drown
rather than undergo such a transformation.

"He was captured and brought back to me, when I dispelled his
fright by explaining the way in which I had tricked him. Relieved
and reassured, he clapped his hands and executed an impromtu jig,
exclaiming, 'Ha! ha! when I get back to New Orleans won't I come
de Barnum ober dem niggers!' "



The concerts at Natchez and Memphis were extremely successful.
The sixty-first concert was given in St. Louis, and on the
morning of their arrival in the city Miss Lind's secretary came
to Mr. Barnum, commissioned, as he claimed, by the singer, and
told the Manager that as sixty concerts had already been given,
Miss Lind proposed to avail herself of one of the conditions of
the contract and cancel the engagement next morning. Much
startled by this sudden complication, but outwardly undisturbed,
Barnum asked if Miss Lind had authorized the notice. "I so
understand it," was the secretary's reply. Thinking that it might
be another scheme of her advisers and that Miss Lind herself
might possibly know nothing of it, Barnum told the secretary that
he would see him again in an hour. He then proceeded to his old
friend Sol Smith for legal advice. They went over the contract
together, Barnum telling his friend of the annoyances he had
suffered from Miss Lind's advisers, and they both agreed that if
she broke the contract thus suddenly, she was bound to pay back
all that she had received over the stipulated $1000, for each
concert. As she had been paid $137,000, for sixty concerts, this
extra money amounted to something like $77,000.

Barnum then went back to the secretary and told him that he was
ready to settle with Miss Lind and to close the engagement.

"But," said he, evidently much surprised, "you have already
advertised concerts in Louisville and Cincinnati, have you not?"

"Yes," answered Barnum calmly, "but you may take the contracts
for halls and printing off my hands at cost." He further offered
the assistance of his agent and his own personal services to give
Miss Lind a good start on her own account.

The secretary emboldened by this liberality then made a
proposition so extraordinary that Barnum at once saw that Miss
Lind could have had nothing to do with the scheme.

"Now suppose," he asked, "Miss Lind should wish to give some
fifty concerts in this country, what would you charge as

"A million dollars a concert," answered Barnum promptly; then he
added, "Now see here; I don't believe Miss Lind has authorized
you to make this proposition. If she has, just bring me a line to
that effect, over her own signature, and her check for the amount
due me by the terms of our contract, some $77,000, and we will
close our business connection at once."

"But why not make a new arrangement," persisted the secretary,
"for fifty more concerts, by which Miss Lind will pay you
liberally, say $1,000 a concert?"

"For the simple reason that I hired Miss Lind, and not she me,"
replied Barnum, "and because I ought never to take a farthing
less for my risk and trouble than the contract gives me. I have
voluntarily given Miss Lind more than twice as much as I
originally contracted to give her, or as she expected to receive
when she engaged with me. Now if she is not satisfied I wish to
settle instantly and finally. If you do not bring me her decision
to-day, I shall ask her for it in the morning."

The next morning Barnum asked him again for the written
communication from Miss Lind; the secretary replied that it was
all a "joke," and that he merely wanted to see what the manager
would say to the proposition. He begged that nothing would be
said to Miss Lind concerning it. So it is altogether likely that
she knew nothing of it. The four concerts at St. Louis were given
and the program as arranged for the other cities was carried out,
with no more troublous incidents occurring.

To show that Barnum's efforts as manager of the Jenny Lind
enterprise were appreciated, we copy the dedication of Sol
Smith's Autobiography published in 1854. Smith was one of the
characters of his time, being celebrated as a comedian, an
author, a manager and a lawyer:


"Great Impressario. Whilst you were engaged in your grand Jenny
Lind speculation, the following conundrum went the rounds of the
American newspapers:

" 'Why is it that Jenny Lind and Barnum will never fall out?'
Answer: 'Because he is always for-getting, and she is always

"I have never asked you the question directly, whether you, Mr.
Barnum, started that conundrum, or not; but I strongly suspect
that you did. At all events, I noticed that your whole policy was
concentrated into one idea--to make an angel of Jenny, and
depreciate yourself in contrast.

"You may remember that in this city (St. Louis), I acted in one
instance as your 'legal adviser,' and as such, necessarily became
acquainted with all the particulars of your contract with the
so-called Swedish Nightingale, as well as the various
modifications claimed by that charitable lady, and submitted to
by you after her arrival in this country; which modifications (I
suppose it need no longer be a secret) secured to her--besides
the original stipulation of one thousand dollars for every
concert, attendants, carriages, assistant artists, and a pompous
and extravagant retinue, fit (only) for a European
princess--one-half of the profits of each performance. You may
also remember the legal advice I gave you on the occasion
referred to, and the salutary effect of your following it. You
must remember the extravagant joy you felt afterwards, in
Philadelphia, when the 'Angel' made up her mind to avail herself
of one of the stipulations in her contract, to break off at the
end of a hundred nights, and even bought out seven of that
hundred--supposing that she could go on without your aid as well
as with it. And you cannot but remember, how, like a rocket-stick
she dropped, when your business connection with her ended, and
how she 'fizzed out' the remainder of her concert nights in this
part of the world, and soon afterwards retired to her domestic
blissitude in Sweden.

"You know, Mr. Barnum, if you would only tell, which of the two
it was that was 'for-getting,' and which 'for-giving;' and you
also know who actually gave the larger portion of those sums
which you heralded to the world as the sole gifts of the 'divine

"Of all your speculations--from the negro centenarian, who didn't
nurse General Washington, down to the Bearded Woman of
Genoa--there was not one which required the exercise of so much
humbuggery as the Jenny Lind concerts; and I verily believe there
is no man living, other than yourself, who could, or would, have
risked the enormous expenditure of money necessary to carry them
through successfully--travelling, with sixty artists; four
thousand miles, and giving ninety-three concerts, at an actual
cost of forty-five hundred dollars each, is what no other man
would have undertaken --you accomplished this, and pocketed by
the operation but little less than two hundred thousand dollars!
Mr. Barnum, you are yourself, alone!

"I honor you, oh! Great Impressario, as the most successful
manager in America or any other country. Democrat, as you are,
you can give a practical lesson to the aristocrats of Europe how
to live. At your beautiful and tasteful residence, 'Iranistan' (I
don't like the name, though), you can and do entertain your
friends with a warmth of hospitality, only equalled by that of
the great landed proprietors of the old country, or of our own
'sunny South.' Whilst riches are pouring into your coffers from
your various 'ventures' in all parts of the world, you do not
hoard your immense means, but continually 'cast them forth upon
the waters,' rewarding labor, encouraging the arts, and lending a
helping hand to industry in all its branches. Not content with
doing all this, you deal telling blows, whenever opportunity
offers, upon the monster Intemperance. Your labors in this great
cause alone should entitle you to the thanks of all good men,
women and children in the land. Mr. Barnum, you deserve all your
good fortune, and I hope you may long live to enjoy your wealth
and honor.

"As a small installment towards the debt, I, as one of the
community, owe you, and with the hope of affording you an hour's
amusement (if you can spare that amount of time from your
numerous avocations to read it), I present you with this little
volume, containing a very brief account of some of my
'journey-work' in the South and West; and remain, very
                 "Your friend, and affectionate uncle,
                                             "SOL SMITH.

"NOV. 1, 1854."

Although Barnum never acknowledged it, there was a vast deal of
truth in Mr. Smith's statements.

Whenever Miss Lind sang for charity she gave what she might have
earned at a regular concert; Barnum always insisted upon paying
for the hall, orchestra, printing and other expenses. But Miss
Lind received the entire credit for liberality and benevolence.

It is but just to say, however, that she frequently remonstrated
with Barnum and declared that the expenses ought to be deducted
from the proceeds of the concert, but he always insisted on doing
what he called his share.



Five concerts were given at St. Louis, and then they went to
Nashville, Tenn., where the sixty-sixth and sixty-seventh of the
series were given. At the latter place, Jenny Lind, accompanied
by Barnum and his daughter, Mrs. Lyman, visited "The Hermitage,"
where Barnum himself had years before seen "Old Hickory" Jackson.
While there, the prima donna heard, for the first time in her
life, wild mocking birds singing in the trees, and great was her
delight thereat.

They spent the first of April, 1851, at Nashville. In the
forenoon of the day, the various members of the party amused
themselves by playing little "April Fool" jokes on Barnum, and
after dinner he took his revenge upon them. Securing a supply of
telegraph blanks and envelopes, he set to work preparing messages
full of the most sensational and startling intelligence, for most
of the people in the party. Almost every one of them presently
received what purported to be a telegraphic despatch. Barnum's
own daughter did not escape. She was informed that her mother,
her cousin, and several other relatives, were waiting for her in
Louisville, and various other important and extraordinary items
of domestic intelligence were communicated to her. Mr. Le Grand
Smith was told by a despatch from his father that his native
village in Connecticut, was in ashes, including his own
homestead, etc. Several of Barnum's employees had most liberal
offers of engagements from banks and other institutions at the
North. Burke, and others of the musical professors, were offered
princely salaries by opera managers, and many of them received
most tempting inducements to proceed immediately to the World's
Fair in London.

One married gentleman received the gratifying intelligence that
he had for two days been the father of a pair of bouncing boys
(mother and children doing well), an event which he had been
anxiously looking for during the week, though on a somewhat more
limited scale. In fact, nearly every person in the party engaged
by Barnum received some extraordinary telegraphic intelligence;
and, as the great impressario managed to have the despatches
delivered simultaneously, each recipient was for some time busily
occupied with his own personal news.

By and by each began to tell his neighbor his good or bad
tidings; and each was, of course, rejoiced or grieved, according
to circumstances. Several gave Mr. Barnum notice of their
intention to leave him, in consequence of better offers; and a
number of them sent off telegraphic despatches and letters by
mail, in answer to those received.

The man who had so suddenly become the father of twins,
telegraphed to his wife to "be of good cheer," and that he would
"start for home to-morrow." And so cleverly did Barnum manage the
whole business that his victims did not discover how they had
been fooled until next morning, when they read the whole story in
a local newspaper, to which it had been given by Barnum himself.

From Nashville, Jenny Lind and a few of the party went to the
Mammoth Cave, and thence to Louisville, the others going directly
to the latter point by steamer. There they were joined by Signor
Salvi, whom Barnum had engaged at Havana. Three concerts were
given at Louisville, and they then proceeded to Cincinnati,
accompanied by George D. Prentice, the famous editor of The
Louisville Journal. A stop was made at Madison long enough to
give one concert, and they reached Cincinnati the next morning.
There was a tremendous crowd on the wharf, and Barnum was afraid
that an attempt to repeat the ruse he had played with his
daughter at New Orleans would not work here, as an account of it
had been published in the Cincinnati papers, and everyone would
be suspecting it. But he was fertile in expedients, and quickly
devised another scheme.

So he took Miss Lind on his arm and boldly started to walk down
the gang-plank in the face of the crowd. As he did so, Le Grand
Smith, who was in the plot, called out from the deck of the boat,
as if he had been one of the passengers, "That's no go, Mr.
Barnum; you can't pass your daughter off for Jenny Lind this
time." The remark elicited a peal of merriment from the crowd,
several persons calling out, "that won't do, Barnum! You may fool
the New Orleans folks, but you can't come it over the 'Buckeyes.'
We intend to stay here until you bring out Jenny Lind!" They
readily allowed him to pass with the lady whom they supposed to
be his daughter, and in five minutes afterwards the Nightingale
was complimenting Mr. Coleman upon the beautiful and commodious
apartments which were devoted to her in the Burnett House.

A concert was given at Wheeling, and another at Pittsburg, and
then, early in May, the company returned to New York. There they
gave fourteen concerts, partly at Castle Garden and partly at
Metropolitan Hall, making ninety-two of the regular series.

Miss Lind now came within the influence of various legal and
other advisers, who seemed intent on creating trouble between her
and her manager. Barnum soon discovered this state of affairs,
but was little troubled by it. Indeed he really hoped that they
would persuade her to stop at the hundredth concert, for he was
already worn out with the constant excitement and unremitting
exertions of the tour. He thought that perhaps it would be well
for Miss Lind to try giving a few concerts on her own account, or
under some other manager, in order to disprove what her friends
had told her, namely, that Mr. Barnum had not managed the
enterprise as successfully as he might have done.

Accordingly he was much pleased when, after the eighty-fifth
concert, she told him that she had decided to pay the forfeit of
$25,000, and terminate the concert tour after the one hundredth
performance. After the second series of concerts in New York,
they went to Philadelphia, where Barnum had advertised the
ninety-third and ninety-fourth concerts. As he did not care
enough for the probable profits of the last seven of the hundred
concerts to run the risk of disturbing the very friendly
relations which had so far existed between him and Miss Lind, he
now offered to relinquish the engagement, if she desired it, at
the end of the ninety-third concert. The only terms he required
were that she would allow him $1,000 for each of the remaining
seven concerts, besides the $25,000 forfeit already agreed upon.
She accepted this offer, and the engagement was forthwith ended.

After parting with Barnum, Miss Lind gave a number of concerts,
with varied success. Then she went to Niagara Falls for a time,
and afterward to Northampton, Massachusetts. While living at the
latter place she visited Boston, and was there married to Otto
Goldschmidt. He was a German composer and pianist, who had
studied music with her in Germany, and to whom she had long been
much attached. He had, indeed, travelled with her and Barnum
during a portion of their tour, and had played at several of the

After the end of their engagement, Barnum and Miss Lind met on
several occasions, always in the friendliest manner. Once, at
Bridgeport, she complained rather bitterly to him of the
unpleasant experiences she had had since leaving him. "People
cheat me and swindle me very much," said she, "and I find it very
annoying to give concerts on my own account."

"I was always," said Mr. Barnum, sometime afterward, "supplied
with complimentary tickets when she gave concerts in New York,
and on the occasion of her last appearance in America I visited
her in her room back of the stage, and bade her and her husband
adieu, with my best wishes. She expressed the same feeling to me
in return. She told me she should never sing much, if any more,
in public; but I reminded her that a good Providence had endowed
her with a voice which enabled her to contribute in an eminent
degree to the enjoyment of her fellow beings, and if she no
longer needed the large sums of money which they were willing to
pay for this elevating and delightful entertainment, she knew by
experience what a genuine pleasure she would receive by devoting
the money to the alleviation of the wants and sorrows of those
who needed it."

"Ah! Mr. Barnum," she replied, "that is very true; and it would
be ungrateful in me to not continue to use, for the benefit of
the poor and lowly, that gift which our kind Heavenly Father has
so graciously bestowed upon me. Yes, I will continue to sing so
long as my voice lasts, but it will be mostly for charitable
objects, for I am thankful to say that I have all the money which
I shall ever need."

It is pleasant to add that this noble resolution was carried out.
A large proportion of the concerts which she gave after her
return to Europe and during the remainder of her entire public
career, were devoted to objects of charity. If she consented, for
example, to sing for a charitable object in London, the fact was
not advertised at all, but the tickets were readily disposed of
in private for from $5 to $10 each.

As for Mr. Barnum, he was glad to enjoy a season of rest and
quiet after such an arduous campaign. After leaving Miss Lind, in
Philadelphia, therefore, he went to Cape May for a week and then
to his home Iranistan, where he spent the remainder of the

It is interesting, as a matter of record, to review at this
point, the financial results of this notable series of concerts.
The following recapitulation is entirely accurate, being taken
from Mr. Barnum's own account books:


New York ..............  $17,864.05
  "      ..............   14,203.03
No. 1.  "................ 12,519.59
    2.  "................ 14,266.09
    3.  "................ 12,174.74
    4.  "................ 16,028.39
    5. Boston............ 16,479.50
    6.  "................ 11,848.62
    7.  "................  8,639 92
    8.  "................ 10,169.25
    9. Providence........  6,525.54
   10. Boston............ 10,524.87
   11.  "................  5,240.00
   12.  "................  7,586.00
   13. Philadelphia......  9,291.25
   14.  "................  7,547.00
   15.  "................  8,458.65
   16. New York..........  6,415.90
   17.  "................  4,009.70
   18.  "................  5,982.00
   19.  "................  8,007.10
   20.  "................  6,334.20
   21.  "................  9,429.15
   22.  "................  9,912.17
   23.  "................  5,773.40
   24.  "................  4,993.50
   25.  "................  6,670.15
   26.  "................  9,840.33
   27.  "................  7,097.15
   28.  "................  8,263.30
   29.  "................ 10,570.25
   30.  "................ 10,646.45
   31. Philadelphia......  5,480.75
   32.  "................  5,728.65
   33.  "................  3,709.88
   34.  "................  4,815.48
   35. Baltimore.........  7,117.00
   36.  "................  8,357.05
   37.  "................  8,406.50
   38.  "................  8,121.33
   39. Washington City...  6,878.55
   40.  "................  8,507.05
   41. Richmond.......... 12,385.21
   42. Charleston........  6,775.00
   43.  "................  3,653.75
   44. Havana............  4,666.17
   45.  "................  2,837.92
   46. Havana............  2,931.95
   47. New Orleans....... 12,599.85
   48.  "................ 10,210.42
   49.  "................  8,131.15
   50.  "................  6,019.85
   51.  "................  6,644.00
   52.  "................  9,720.80
   53.  "................  7,545.50
   54.  "................  6,053.50
   55.  "................  4,850.25
   56.  "................  4,495.35
   57   "................  6,630.35
   58.  "................  4,745.10
   59. Natchez...........  5,000.00
   60. Memphis...........  4,539.56
   61. St. Louis.........  7,811.85
   62.  "................  7,961.92
   63.  "................  7,708.70
   64.  "................  4,086.50
   65.  "................  3,044.70
   66. Nashville.........  7,786.30
   67.  "................  4,248.00
   68. Louisville........  7,833.90
   69.  "................  6,595.60
   70.  "................  5,000.00
   71. Madison...........  3,693.25
   72. Cincinnati........  9,339.75
   73.  "................ 11,001.50
   74.  "................  8,446.30
   75.  "................  8,954.18
   76.  "................  6,500.40
   77. Wheeling..........  5,000.00
   78. Pittsburg.........  7,210.58
   79. New York..........  6,858.42
   80.  "................  5,453.00
   81.  "................  5,463.70
   82.  "................  7,378.35
   83.  "................  7,179.27
   84.  "................  6,641.00
   85.  "................  6,917.13
   86. New York..........  6,642.04
   87.  "................  3,738.75
   88.  "................  4,335.28
   89.  "................  5,339.23
   90.  "................  4,087.03
   91.  "................  5,717.00
   92.  "................  9,525.80
   93. Philadelphia......  3,852.75

Of Miss Lind's half receipts of the first two Concerts she
devoted $10,000 to charity in New York. She afterwards gave
Charity Concerts in Boston, Baltimore, Charleston, Havana, New
Orleans, New York and Philadelphia, and donated large sums for
the like purposes in Richmond, Cincinnati and elsewhere. There
were also several Benefit Concerts, for the Orchestra, Le Grand
Smith, and other persons and objects.


New York  35 Concerts. Receipts, $286,216.64 Average, $8,177.50

Philadelphia   8    " "          48,884,41 "   6,110 55
Boston         7    " "          70,388.16 "   10,055.45
Providence     1    " "           6,525.54 "   6,525.54
Baltimore      4    " "          32,101.83 "   8,000.47
Washington     2    " "          15,385 60 "   7,692.80
Richmond       1    " "          12,385.21 "   12,385.21
Charleston     2    " "          10,428.75 "    5,214.37
Havana         3    " "          10,436.04 "    3478.68
New Orleans   l2    " "          87,646.12 "   7,303.84
Natchez        1    " "           5,000.00 "   5,000.00
Memphis        1    " "           4,539.56 "   4,539.56
St. Louis      5    " "          30,613.67 "   6,122.73
Nashville      2    " "          12,034 30 "   6,017.15
Louisville     3    " "          19,429.50 "   6,476.50
Madison        1    " "           3,693.25 "   3,693.25
Cincinnati     5    " "          44,242.13 "   8,848.43
Wheeling       1    " "           5,000.00 "   5,000.00
Pittsburg      1    " "           7,210.58 "   7,210.58

Total   95 Concerts.  Receipts, $712,161.34  Average, $7,496.43


From the Total Receipts of Ninety-five Concerts.....$712,161.34
Deduct the receipts of the first two, which, as between P. T.
Barnum and Jenny Lind were aside from the contract, and are not
numbered in the table.....32,067.08

Total Receipts of Concerts from No. 1 to No. 93....$680,094.26
Deduct the Receipts of the 28 Concerts, each of which fell short
of $5,500.....$123,311.15 Also deduct $5,500 for each of the
remaining 65 Concerts.........................357,500.00

Leaving the total excess, as above....$199,283.11 Being equally
divided, Miss Lind's portion was....$99,641.55 Barnum paid her
$1,000 for each of the 93 Concerts.....93,000.00 Also one-half
the receipts of the first two Concerts...16,033.54

Amount paid to Jenny Lind.....................$208,675.09 She
refunded to Barnum as forfeiture, per contract, in case she
withdrew after the 100th Concert..........$25,000 She also paid
him $1,000 each for the seven concerts
relinquished..........................7,000 $32,000.00

JENNY LIND'S net avails of 95 concerts................$176,675.09
P. T. BARNUM'S gross receipts, after paying Miss Lind

TOTAL RECEIPTS of 95 Concerts $712,161.34

The highest prices paid for tickets were at auction, as follows:
John N. Genin, in New York, $225; Ossian E. Dodge, in Boston,
$625; Col. William C. Ross, in Providence, $650; M. A. Root, in
Philadelphia, $625; Mr. D'Arcy, in New Orleans, $240; a keeper of
a refreshment saloon in St. Louis, $150; a Daguerrotypist, in
Baltimore, $100. After the sale of the first ticket the premium
usually fell to $20, and so downward in the scale of figures. The
fixed price of tickets ranged from $7 to $3. Promenade tickets
were from $2 to $1 each.



The great showman did not allow even so great an enterprise as
the Jenny Lind concerts to monopolize his attention. In 1849 he
planned the formation of a great travelling show, combining the
features of a museum, a menagerie and a circus. In this he
associated with himself Mr. Seth B. Howes, who was already a
noted and successful showman, and also Mr. Stratton, the father
of Tom Thumb. In order to procure a supply of novelties for this
show they chartered the ship "Regatta," and sent it from New York
in May, 1850, to Ceylon. The object of this voyage, was to
procure, either by purchase or by capture, a number of living
elephants and other wild animals. To make sure of a sufficient
supply of fodder for them, nearly a thousand tons of hay were
purchased in New York and taken out aboard the ship. Five hundred
tons of it were left at the Island of St. Helena, to be taken up
on the return trip, and a great supply of staves and hoops were
also left there for the construction of water casks.

This extraordinary mission was successful. In almost exactly a
year from the day of sailing the ship returned to New York. Its
novel cargo was unloaded, the ten elephants which had been
secured were harnessed in pairs to a gigantic chariot, and the
whole show paraded up Broadway past the Irving House. It was
reviewed from the window of that hotel by Jenny Lind, who was
stopping there on her second visit to New York. An elaborate
outfit of horses, wagons, tents, etc., was added, the whole
costing over $100,000, and then the show went on the road under
the nominal leadership of Tom Thumb. It was called, "Barnum's
Great Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie;" it travelled about
the country for four years, and yielded to its proprietors
enormous profits.

At the end of this tour Barnum sold out the entire establishment,
including animals, cages, chariots and everything else, excepting
one elephant. This huge brute he took to his farm at Bridgeport,
for advertising purposes. It occurred to him that if he should
keep the animal there for a time and put him to some novel use,
such as working on the farm, it would set people to talking and
greatly add to public curiosity and interest in his American

He accordingly took the elephant to Bridgeport and put him in
charge of a competent keeper, who was dressed in a striking
Oriental costume. A six acre field close by the New York and New
Haven railroad track was set apart for their use. Barnum gave the
keeper a time-table of the road and directed him to make a point,
whenever trains were passing, always to be busily engaged with
the elephant at plowing or other agricultural work as close to
the track as possible. Of course the passengers noticed the
strange spectacle, items concerning it appeared in the
newspapers, extending even to the press of foreign lands, and
thousands of people came from all parts of the country to witness
the strange sight. Every mail brought numerous letters inquiring
about it. Many of these were from the officers of agricultural
societies in all parts of the United States, making serious and
earnest inquiry as to the utility of the elephant as an
agricultural animal. These letters were greatly diversified in
tone, but the substance of their inquires was about as follows:

1. "Is the elephant a profitable agricultural animal?"

2. "How much can an elephant plow in a day?"

3. "How much can he draw?"

4. "How much does he eat?"--this question was invariably asked,
and was a very important one.

5. "Will elephants make themselves generally useful on a farm?"

6. "What is the price of an elephant?"

7. "Where can elephants be purchased?"

Then would follow a score of other inquiries, such as, whether
elephants were easily managed; if they would quarrel with cattle;
if it was possible to breed them; how old calf elephants must be
before they would earn their own living; and so on indefinitely.

Barnum presently began to be alarmed lest some one should buy an
elephant and thus share the fate of the man who drew one in a
lottery and did not know what to do with him. "Accordingly," he
says, "I had a general letter printed, which I mailed to all my
anxious inquirers. It was headed 'strictly confidential,' and I
then stated, begging my correspondents 'not to mention it,' that
to me the elephant was a valuable agricultural animal, because he
was an excellent advertisement to my museum; but that to other
farmers he would prove very unprofitable for many reasons. In the
first place, such an animal would cost from $3,000 to $10,000; in
cold weather he could not work at all; in any weather he could
not earn half his living; he would eat up the value of his own
head, trunk and body every year; and I begged my correspondents
not to do so foolish a thing as to undertake elephant farming."

The result of this experiment in advertising was highly
successful. Newspaper correspondents sent highly colored accounts
of it all over the world, and numerous pictures of the elephant
harnessed to a plow appeared in the illustrated papers and
magazines. After the field had been plowed over fifty or sixty
times, Barnum concluded that the elephant had been "worked for
all he was worth," and sold him to Van Amburgh's menagerie.

In 1851 Mr. Barnum became a part owner of the steamship "North
America," which he proposed to run between America and Ireland as
a passenger and freight vessel. This idea was presently
abandoned, and the ship was sent around Cape Horn to San
Francisco and put into service on the Pacific Mail Line,
Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt having purchased a one-half
interest in it and Mr. Barnum retaining one-third interest in the
remaining half. After she had made several trips Barnum called
upon Mr. Vanderbilt at his office and introduced himself. It was
their first meeting, and this is Barnum's own account of the

" 'Is it possible you are Barnum?' exclaimed the Commodore, in
surprise, 'why, I expected to see a monster, part lion, part
elephant, and a mixture of rhinoceros and tiger! Is it possible,'
he continued, 'that you are the showman who has made so much
noise in the world?'

"I laughingly replied that I was, and added that if I too had
been governed in my anticipation of his personal appearance by
the fame he had achieved in his line, I should have expected to
have been saluted by a steam whistle, and to have seen him
dressed in a pea jacket, blowing off steam, and crying out 'all
aboard that's going.'

" 'Instead of which,' replied Mr. Vanderbilt, 'I suppose you have
come to ask me to walk up to the Captain's office and settle.'

"After this interchange of civilities, we talked about the
success of the 'North America' in having got safely around the
Horn, and of the acceptable manner in which she was doing her
duty on the Pacific side.

" 'We have received no statement of her earnings yet,' said the
Commodore, 'but if you want money, give your receipt to our
treasurer, and take some.'

"A few months subsequent to this, I sold out my share in the
steamship to Mr. Daniel Drew."

Numerous smaller enterprises also marked this stage of Mr.
Barnum's career. Some of these were connected with his museum,
while others were entirely independent of it. Thus in 1844, in
Paris, besides purchasing Robt. Houdin's ingenius automatic
writer and other costly curiosities for the museum, he had made
at great expense, a huge panorama of the funeral of Napoleon
Bonaparte. This gigantic picture showed every event of that
pageant, beginning with the embarkation of the body at St. Helena
and ending with its final entombment at the Hotel des Invalides.
This exhibition, after having had its day at the American Museum,
was sold, and extensively and profitably exhibited elsewhere.
While Barnum was in London, during the same year, he engaged a
company of "Campanalogians, or Lancashire Bell Ringers," then
performing in Ireland, to make an American tour. They were really
admirable performers, and by means of their numerous bells of
various sizes, they produced the most delightful music. They
attracted much attention in various parts of the United States,
in Canada, and in Cuba.

After the loss of the bell ringers to the English public Barnum
secured and sent thither a party of sixteen North American
Indians, who were widely exhibited. On his return to America
after his first visit to Europe he engaged an ingenious workman
to construct an automatic orator. This was a life-size and
remarkably life-like figure, and when worked from a key-board
similar to that of a piano it actually uttered words and
sentences with surprising distinctness. It was exhibited for
several months in London and elsewhere in England, but though it
was really a wonderful machine and attracted the earnest
attention of some people, it was not a popular success. The Duke
of Wellington visited it several times, and at first he thought
that the "voice" proceeded from the exhibiter, whom he assumed to
be a skilful ventriloquist. He was asked to touch the keys with
his own fingers, and, after some instruction in the method of
operating, he was able to make the machine speak, not only in
English but also in German, with which language the Duke seemed
familiar. Thereafter, he entered his name on the exhibiter's
autograph book, and certified that the "Automaton Speaker" was an
extraordinary production of mechanical genius.

Barnum also secured duplicates of the models of machinery
exhibited at the Royal Polytechnic Institution in London and a
great many interesting panoramas and pictures. These were all
exhibited at his museum in New York and afterwards sold to other
travelling showmen who exhibited them throughout the country. In
the summer of 1850 he added to the museum his famous Chinese
collection, including a Chinese family of two men, two "small
footed" women, and two children.

Few of his curiosities attracted more attention than the
performances of the "Scotch Boys." One of these was securely
blindfolded, and then, in answer to questions put by the other,
accurately described any objects presented by persons who
attended the surprising exhibition. The mystery, which was merely
the result of patient practice, consisted wholly in the manner in
which the question was propounded; in fact, the question
invariably carried its own answer; for instance:

"What is this?" meant gold; "Now what is this?" silver; "Say,
what is this?" copper; "Tell me what this is?" iron; "What is the
shape?" long; "Now, what shape?" round; "Say what shape?" square;
"Please say what this is," a watch; "Can you tell what is in this
lady's hand?" a purse; "Now, please say what this is?" a key;
"Come now, what is this?" money; "How much?" a penny; "Now, how
much?" sixpence; "Say how much," a quarter of a dollar; "What
color is this?" black; "Now, what color is this?" red; "Say what
color?" green; and so on, ad infinitum. To such perfection was
this brought that it was almost impossible to present any object
that could not be quite closely described by the blindfolded boy.

In 1850, the celebrated Bateman children acted for several weeks
at the American Museum, and in June of that year Barnum sent them
to London with their father and Mr. Le Grand Smith, where they
played in the St. James Theatre, and afterwards in the principal
provincial theatres. The elder of these children, Miss Kate
Bateman, subsequently attained the highest histrionic distinction
in America and abroad, and reached the head of her profession.

Miss Catharine Hayes and Herr Begnis were engaged by Barnum in
the fall of 1852 to give a series of sixty concerts in
California, and the enterprise proved highly profitable, although
Mr. Barnum intrusted its execution to his agents, not caring
himself to travel so far. Before she set out for California Miss
Hayes, with her mother and sister, spent several days at
Iranistan to attend the marriage of Barnum's eldest daughter,
Caroline, to Mr. David W. Thompson.

The wedding was to take place in the evening, and on the
afternoon of that day Mr. Barnum went to Bridgeport to get shaved
for the occasion. While he was lying in the barber's chair, half
of his face shaved and the other half covered with lather, his
prospective son-in-law, Mr. Thompson, drove up to the door of the
shop and rushed in, exclaiming excitedly, "Mr. Barnum, Iranistan
is in flames!" Barnum jumped up from the chair and, half shaved
and with the lather still on his face, jumped into the wagon and
started for home with the horse on a run. "I was greatly
alarmed," he afterward said, "for the house was full of visitors
who had come from a distance to attend the wedding, and all the
costly presents, dresses, refreshments, and everything prepared
for a marriage celebration to which nearly a thousand guests had
been invited, were already in my house. Mr. Thompson told me he
had seen the flames bursting from the roof, and it seemed to me
that there was little hope of saving the building.

"My mind was distressed, not so much at the great pecuniary loss
which the destruction of Iranistan would involve, as at the
possibility that some of my family or visitors would be killed or
seriously injured in attempting to save something from the fire.
Then I thought of the sore disappointment this calamity would
cause to the young couple, as well as to those who were invited
to the wedding. I saw that Mr. Thompson looked pale and anxious.

" 'Never mind!' said I; 'we can't help these things; the house
will probably be burned; but if no one is killed or injured, you
shall be married to-night, if we are obliged to perform the
ceremony in the coach-house.'

"On our way, we overtook a fire company, and I implored them to
'hurry up their machine.' Arriving in sight of Iranistan, we saw
huge volumes of smoke rolling out from the roof and many men on
the top of the house were passing buckets of water to pour upon
the fire. Fortunately, several men had been engaged during the
day in repairing the roof, and their ladders were against the
house. By these means and with the assistance of the men employed
upon my grounds, water was passed very rapidly, and the flames
were soon subdued without serious damage. The inmates of
Iranistan were thoroughly frightened; Catherine Hayes and other
visitors, packed their trunks and had them carried out on the
lawn; and the house came as near destruction as it well could and

While Miss Hayes was at Bridgeport she gave, at Barnum's request,
a concert for the benefit of "Mountain Grove Cemetery," and the
large proceeds were devoted to the erection of the stone tower
and gateway that now adorn the entrance to that beautiful resting
place of the dead. Barnum had bought the eighty acres of land for
this cemetery a few years before from several farmers. He had
been in the habit of tramping over it, gunning, and while thus
engaged, had observed its admirable fitness for the purposes of a
cemetery. After the title deeds for the property were secured, it
was offered for a cemetery, and at a meeting of citizens, several
lots were subscribed for. enough. indeed, to cover the amount of
the purchase money. Thus was begun the "Mountain Grove Cemetery,"
which is now beautifully laid out and adorned with many tasteful
and costly monuments. Among these are Barnum's own substantial
granite monument, the family monuments of Harral, Bishop,
Hubbell, Lyon, Wood, Loomis, Wordin, Hyde, and others, and
General Tom Thumb erected a tall marble shaft which is surmounted
by a life-size statue of himself. There is no more charming
burial-ground in the whole country; yet when the project was
suggested, many persons preferred an intermural cemetery to this
rural resting-place for their departed friends; though now all
concur in considering it fortunate that this adjunct was secured
to Bridgeport before the land could be permanently devoted to
other purposes.

Mr. Dion Boucicault also lectured at Bridgeport for the benefit
of this cemetery and Tom Thumb gave an entertainment for the same
object. At Barnum's request and under his management, Tom Thumb
and his wife, and Commodore Nutt and his wife, gave several
exhibitions and entertainments for the benefit of the Bridgeport
Charitable Society, the Bridgeport Library, and other local



In the summer of 1853 Alfred Bunn, formerly manager of Drury Lane
Theatre, London, arrived in Boston. He was then one of the most
notable figures in the theatrical world. It was he who had made
the first engagement with Jenny Lind to appear in London. She had
been induced to break this engagement, however, through the
solicitations of Mr. Lumley, of Her Majesty's Theatre, with the
result that Mr. Lumley had to pay to Mr. Bunn heavy damages for
the breach of contract. Barnum and Bunn had never met, though
they knew each other well by reputation, and indeed Bunn labored
under the delusion that he had met Barnum, for soon after his
arrival he hastened to New York and entered Barnum's private
office at the Museum with the exclamation, "Well, Barnum, do you
remember me?"

Barnum was confident that he had never seen him before, and
indeed did not really know who he was. But, quick as a flash, he
thought that the ex-manager of Drury Lane must be the only living
Englishman with presumption enough to accost him in this way. So
he answered without hesitation, "Why, this is Mr. Bunn, isn't

"Ah, my boy," said Bunn, slapping him familiarly on the back, "I
thought you would remember me. Well, Barnum, how have you been
since I last saw you?"

Barnum replied in a manner that encouraged his impression that
they were old acquaintances, and during the next two hours they
had much gossip about men and affairs in London. Bunn called upon
Barnum several times after that, and probably never realized that
Barnum really had been in London two or three years without
making his acquaintance. When Barnum went to London again in 1858
he renewed his acquaintance with Bunn and they became great

The years 1851, 1852 and 1853 were mostly spent at Bridgeport,
with frequent visits to New York of a day or two each. In the
last-named year he resigned the office of President of the
Fairfield County Agricultural Society, but in accepting his
resignation the society insisted that it should not go into
effect until after the annual fair of 1854 His administration of
the affairs of the society had been very successful, especially
in relation to the fairs and cattle shows.

The manner in which Barnum turned every circumstance to account
in the interest of these fairs is well shown in his dealings with
a pickpocket at the fair of 1853. The man was caught in the act
of taking a pocket-book from a country farmer, and on arrest was
found to be a notorious English thief. He had already victimized
many other visitors to the fair, and there was almost a state of
panic among the visitors. The fair was to close the next day.

Early the next morning the thief was taken before a justice,
legally examined, and was bound over for trial. Barnum then
obtained consent from the Sheriff that the fellow should be put
on the fair grounds, for the purpose of giving those who had been
robbed an opportunity of identifying him. For this purpose he was
handcuffed and placed in a conspicuous position, where of course
he was "the observed of all observers." Then Barnum papered the
country round about with handbills, stating that, for the last
day of the fair, the managers had secured an extraordinary
attraction. They would, he said, exhibit, safely handcuffed, and
without extra charge, a live pickpocket, who had on the day
preceding been caught in the act of robbing an honest farmer.
Crowds of people rushed in to see the show, parents for miles
around brought their children to see the awful example of
iniquity, and great was the profit to the treasury of the fair.

At the close of his presidency in 1854 Barnum was asked to
deliver the opening speech at the County Fair at Stamford. He did
so, delivering simply a portion of his lecture on "The Philosophy
of Humbug." The next morning, as he was being shaved in the
village barber's shop, which was at the time crowded with
customers, the ticket-seller to the fair came in. Here is
Barnum's own account of what followed:

"What kind of a house did you have last night?" asked one of the
gentlemen in waiting.

"Oh, first-rate, of course. Barnum always draws a crowd," was the
reply of the ticket-seller, to whom I was not known.

Most of the gentlemen present, however, knew me, and they found
much difficulty in restraining their laughter.

"Did Barnum make a good speech?" I asked.

"I did not hear it. I was out in the ticket-office. I guess it
was pretty good, for I never heard so much laughing as there was
all through his speech. But it makes no difference whether it was
good or not," continued the ticket-seller, "the people will go to
see Barnum."

"Barnum must be a curious chap," I remarked.

"Well, I guess he is up to all the dodges."

"Do you know him?" I asked.

"Not personally," he replied; "but I always get into the Museum
for nothing. I know the doorkeeper, and he slips me in free."

"Barnum would not like that, probably, if he knew it," I

"But it happens he don't know it," replied the ticket-seller, in
great glee.

"Barnum was on the cars the other day, on his way to Bridgeport,"
said I, "and I heard one of the passengers blowing him up
terribly as a humbug. He was addressing Barnum at the time, but
did not know him. Barnum joined in lustily, and indorsed
everything the man said. When the passenger learned whom he had
been addressing, I should think he must have felt rather flat."

"I should think so, too," said the ticket-seller.

This was too much, and we all indulged in a burst of laughter;
still the ticket-seller suspected nothing. After I had left the
shop, the barber told him who I was. I called into the
ticket-office on business several times during the day, but the
poor ticket-seller kept his face turned from me, and appeared so
chapfallen that I did not pretend to recognize him as the hero of
the joke in the barber's shop.

There were many incidents similar to the foregoing in Barnum's
career. One occurred on board a steamboat, going from New York to
Bridgeport. As they entered the harbor of the latter city a
stranger asked the great showman to point out "Barnum's house"
from the deck. Barnum did so, and then another bystander
remarked, "I know all about that house, for I did a lot of
painting there for several months while Barnum was in Europe." He
went on to say that it was the meanest and worst contrived house
he ever saw, and added, "It will cost old Barnum a mint of money
and not be worth two cents after it is finished." "I suppose from
that that old Barnum didn't pay you very punctually," observed
Barnum himself. "Oh, yes; he pays promptly every Saturday night,"
said the other; "there's no trouble about that. He has made half
a million by exhibiting a little boy whom he took from Bridgeport
and whom we never thought any great shakes until Barnum took him
and trained him."

Presently one of the other passengers told this man who Barnum
was, and nothing more was seen of him.

On another occasion, says Barnum, I went to Boston by the Fall
River route. Arriving before sunrise, I found but one carriage at
the depot. I immediately engaged it, and, giving the driver the
check for my baggage, told him to take me directly to the Revere
House, as I was in great haste, and enjoined him to take in no
other passengers, and I would pay his demands. He promised
compliance with my wishes, but soon afterwards appeared with a
gentleman, two ladies, and several children, whom he crowded into
the carriage with me, and, placing their trunks on the
baggage-rack, started off. I thought there was no use in
grumbling, and consoled myself with the reflection that the
Revere House was not far away. He drove up one street and down
another for what seemed to me a very long time, but I was wedged
in so closely that I could not see what route he was taking.

After half an hour's drive he halted, and I found we were at the
Lowell Railway Depot. Here my fellow-passengers alighted, and
after a long delay the driver delivered their baggage, received
his fare, and was about closing the carriage door preparatory to
starting again. I was so thoroughly vexed at the shameful manner
in which he had treated me, that I remarked:

"Perhaps you had better wait till the Lowell train arrives; you
may possibly get another load of passengers. Of course my
convenience is of no consequence. I suppose if you land me at the
Revere House any time this week, it will be as much as I have a
right to expect."

"I beg your pardon," he replied, "but that was Barnum and his
family. He was very anxious to get here in time for the first
train, so I stuck him for $2, and now I'll carry you to the
Revere House free."

"What Barnum is it?" I asked.

"The Museum and Jenny Lind man," he replied.

The compliment and the shave both having been intended for me, I
was of course mollified, and replied, "You are mistaken, my
friend, _I_ am Barnum."

"Coachee" was thunderstruck, and offered all sorts of apologies.

"A friend at the other depot told me that I had Mr. Barnum on
board," said he, "and I really supposed he meant the other man.
When I come to notice you, I perceive my mistake, but I hope you
will forgive me. I have carried you frequently before, and hope
you will give me your custom while you are in Boston. I never
will make such a mistake again."

The Pequonnock Bank of Bridgeport was organized in the spring of
1851. Barnum had no interest whatever in it, not holding a single
share of the stock. He was, however, unanimously elected
President of it. He accepted the office, but as he knew he could
not devote much time to it, requested that Mr. Hubbell, then
Mayor of Bridgeport, should be made Vice-President.

Mr. Barnum also invested $20,000, as special partner, in a
company for the publication of an illustrated weekly newspaper in
New York. This was The Illustrated News. The first number was
issued on the 1st of January, 1853, and within a month it had
seventy thousand circulation. Various complications arose, which
greatly annoyed Barnum, and at the end of the first year the
whole concern was sold out without loss.

He was earnestly urged, in February, 1854, to accept the
presidency of the Universal Exposition, which was held in New
York in the famous Crystal Palace. At first he positively
declined. But the matter was persistently urged upon him by many
influential gentlemen, who represented to him that the success of
the enterprise depended upon his acceptance of the position. The
result was that at last he did accept it, and he entered upon its
duties with all the vigor he could command. The concern was
almost bankrupt, and to save it from utter ruin Barnum advanced
large sums of money from his own purse. By this means and by
various other efforts, such as the re-inauguration, the famous
Jullien concerts, etc., here stored a semblance of prosperity.
But it was uphill work, and after a time he resigned the
presidency and abandoned the institution to its fate.

A little incident which occurred at Iranistan, in the winter of
1852, was observed by a lady from Philadelphia who was visiting
there at the time. She afterward made it the subject of a poem,
which Mr. Barnum prized highly. It was as follows:



 The poor man's garden lifeless lay
     Beneath a fall of snow;
 But Art in costly greenhouses,
     Keeps Summer in full glow.
 And Taste paid gold for bright bouquets,
     The parlor vase that drest,
 That scented Fashion's gray boudoir,
     Or bloomed on Beauty's breast.

  A rich man sat beside the fire,
     Within his sculptured halls;
 Brave heart, clear head, and busy hand
     Had reared those stately walls.
 He to his gardener spake, and said
     In tone of quiet glee--
 "I want a hundred fine bouquets--
    Canst make them, John, for me?

  John's eyes became exceeding round,
     This question when he heard;
 He gazed upon his master,
     And he answered not a word.
 "Well, John," the rich man laughing said,
     "If these too many be,
 What sayest to half the number, man?
     Canst fifty make for me?"

  Now John prized every flower, as 'twere
     A daughter or a son;
 And thought, like Regan--"What the need
     Of fifty, or of one?"
 But, keeping back the thought, he said,
     "I think, sir, that I might;
 But it would leave my lady's flowers
     In very ragged plight."

  "Well, John, thy vegetable pets
     Must needs respected be;
 We'll halve the number once again--
    Make twenty-five for me.
 And hark ye, John, when they are made
     Come up and let me know;
 And I'll give thee a list of those
     To whom the flowers must go,"

  The twenty-five bouquets were made,
     And round the village sent;
 And to whom thinkest thou, my friend,
     These floral jewels went?
 Not to the beautiful and proud--
     Not to the rich and gay--
 Who, Dives-like, at Luxury's feast
     Are seated every day.

 An aged Pastor, on his desk
     Saw those fair preachers stand;
 A Widow wept upon the gift,
     And blessed the giver's hand.
 Where Poverty bent o'er her task,
     They cheered the lonely room;
 And round the bed where sickness lay,
     They breathed Health's fresh perfume

  Oh! kindly heart and open hand--
     Those flowers in dust are trod,
 But they bloom to weave a wreath for thee,
     In the Paradise of God.
 Sweet is the Minstrel's task, whose song
     Of deeds like these may tell;
 And long may he have power to give,
     Who wields that Dower so well!



In the year 1851 Mr. Barnum had purchased from William H. Noble,
of Bridgeport, Conn., the undivided half of his late father's
homestead--fifty acres of land on the east side of the river,
opposite the city of Bridgeport. Together they bought the one
hundred and seventy-four acres adjoining, and laid out the entire
property in regular streets, and lined them with trees. A
beautiful grove of eight acres was reserved for a park. This they
intended for a nucleus of a new city, to be known as East

They then commenced selling alternate lots, at the same price as
the land had cost them by the acre, always on condition that a
suitable dwelling-house, store or manufactory should be erected
on the ground within a year; that every building should be placed
at a certain distance from the street; that the style of
architecture should be approved by the sellers; that the grounds
be inclosed with suitable fences, and that in all respects the
locality should be kept desirable for respectable residents.

A new foot-bridge was built across the river, connecting the new
town with the city of Bridgeport, and a public toll-bridge, which
belonged to Barnum and Noble, was thrown open to the public free.
They also erected a covered drawbridge at a cost of $16,000,
which was made free to the public for several years.

They built and leased to a union company of young coach-makers a
large manufactory, which was one of the first buildings erected
in the town, and which went into operation on the first day of
the year 1852.

In addition to the inducements of low prices for the lots, the
owners advanced one-half, two-thirds, and sometimes all the funds
to erect buildings, permitting the purchasers to repay them in
small sums at their own convenience. The town, under such
favorable auspices, began to develop and to grow with great

No one of Barnum's schemes had ever interested him as this one
did. He was willing to listen to any one who thought they had a
project favorable to the advancement of the new city. It was the
man's weak spot, and it was this weak spot which was destined to
be touched once too often.

There was a small clock factory in the town of Litchfield, in
which Barnum was a stockholder. Thinking always of his beloved
enterprise, it occurred to him at length that if the Litchfield
clock company could be transferred to East Bridgeport, it would
necessarily bring with it numerous families to swell the
population. A new stock company was formed, under the name of the
"Terry and Barnum Manufacturing Company," and in 1852 a factory
was built in East Bridgeport.

It will be seen how recklessly the owners of the site were
spending money. They looked for their profits wholly from the
sale of the reserved lots, which they felt sure would bring high

In 1855 Mr. Barnum was visited by the President of the Jerome
Clock Company, Mr. Chauncey Jerome, with a proposition that the
concern, which was reputed to be very wealthy, should be removed
to East Bridgeport. Negotiations were opened, and at last Barnum
was offered a transfer of the great manufactory with its seven
hundred to one thousand employees, if he would lend his name as
security for $110,000 in aid of the company.

He was shown an official report of the directors of the company,
exhibiting a capital of $400,000 with a surplus of $187,000. They
were in need of money to tide over a dull season and a market
glutted with goods. The company also was represented as being
extremely loth to dismiss any of their employees, who would
suffer greatly if their means of livelihood were taken from them.
The company was reputed to be rich; the President, Mr. Chauncey
Jerome, had built a church in New Haven, at a cost of $40,000,
and proposed to present it to a congregation; he had given a
clock to a church in Bridgeport, and these things showed that he,
at least, thought he was wealthy. The Jerome clocks were for sale
all over the world, even in China, where the Celestials were said
to take out the "movements," and use the cases for little temples
for their idols, "Thus proving that faith was possible without
'works,' " as Mr. Barnum said.

Further testimony came in the form of a letter from the cashier
of one of the New Haven banks, expressing the highest confidence
in the financial strength of the company. Barnum afterwards
learned that his correspondent represented a bank which was one
of the largest creditors of the concern.

Barnum finally agreed to lend the clock company his notes for a
sum not to exceed $50,000, and to accept drafts to an amount not
to exceed $60,000. He also received the written guarantee of the
President, Chauncey Jerome, that in no event should he lose by
the loan, as he would be personally responsible for the
repayment. Mr. Barnum was willing that his notes should be taken
up and renewed an indefinite number of times just so the maximum
of $110,000 was not exceeded. Upon the representation that it was
impossible to say exactly when it would be necessary to use the
notes, Barnum was induced to put his name to several notes for
$3,000, $5,000 and $10,000, leaving the date of payment blank, it
being stipulated that the blanks should be filled to make the
notes payable in five, ten, or even sixty days from date. On the
other hand, it was agreed that the Jerome Company should exchange
its stock with the Terry and Barnum stockholders, thus absorbing
that concern, and unite the whole business in East Bridgeport.

Three months later Barnum's memoranda showed that the entire
$110,000 had been used. He was then solicited by the New York
agent of the company for five additional notes for $5,000 each.
The request was refused unless they would return an equal amount
of his own cancelled notes, since the agent assured him that they
were cancelling these notes "every week." The cancelled notes
were brought him next day and he renewed them. This he did
afterwards very frequently, until at last his confidence in their
integrity became so firmly established that he ceased to ask to
see the notes that had been taken up, but furnished new paper as
often as it was desired.

But gradually the rumor that the banks were hesitating about
discounting his paper came to Barnum's ears. Wondering at this,
he made a few inquiries, which resulted in the startling
discovery that his notes had never been taken up, as represented
by the Jerome Company, and that some of the blank-date notes had
been made payable in twelve, eighteen and twenty-four months.
Further investigation revealed the fact that he had indorsed for
the company to the amount of over half a million dollars, and
that most of the notes had been exchanged for old Jerome Company
notes due to the banks and other creditors.

Barnum simply went to work, paid every debt he owed in the world,

The Jerome Company also failed, and in addition to absorbing
Barnum's fortune, was able to pay only about fifteen per cent. of
its own obligations. Of course it never removed to East
Bridgeport at all.

The failure was a nine-days' wonder all over the country. Never
had Barnum achieved such notoriety. As he expressed it, he was
taken to pieces, analyzed, put together again, kicked, "pitched
into," tumbled about, preached to, preached about, and made to
serve every purpose to which a sensation loving world could put

Barnum declared that he could stand the abuse, the cooling of
false friends and even the loss of fortune, but it made him
furious to read and hear the moralizings over the "instability of
ill-gotten gains." His fortune, if made quickly, had been
honestly worked for and honorably acquired, though envious people
pretended not to believe it.



But while misfortune reveals a man his foes, it also shows him
his friends. Barnum was overwhelmed with offers of assistance,
funds were declared at his disposal, both for the support of his
family and to re-establish him in business. "Benefits" by the
score were offered him, and there was even a proposition among
leading citizens of New York to give a series of benefits.

Every one of these offers Barnum declined on his unvarying
principle of never accepting a money favor. The following
correspondence is taken from the New York papers of the time, and
will show the stand he took in the matter:

                                 NEW YORK, June 2d, 1856.


Dear Sir. The financial ruin of a man of acknowledged energy and
enterprise is a public calamity. The sudden blow, therefore, that
has swept away, from a man like yourself, the accumulated wealth
of years, justifies, we think, the public sympathy. The better to
manifest our sincere respect for your liberal example in
prosperity, as well as exhibit our honest admiration of your
fortitude under overwhelming reverses, we propose to give that
sympathy a tangible expression by soliciting your acceptance of a
series of benefits for your family, the result of which may
possibly secure for your wife and children a future home, or at
least rescue them from the more immediate consequences of your

Freeman Hunt, E. K. Collins, Isaac V. Fowler, James Phalen,
Cornelius Vanderbilt, F. B. Cutting, James W. Gerard, Simeon
Draper, Thomas McElrath, Park Godwin, R. F. Carman, Gen. C. W.
Sanford, Philo Hurd, President H. R. R.; Wm. Ellsworth, President
Brooklyn Ins. Co.; George S. Doughty, President Excelsior Ins.
Co.; Chas. T. Cromwell, Robert Stuyvesant, E. L. Livingston, R.
Busteed, Wm. P. Fettridge, E. N. Haughwout, Geo. F. Nesbitt,
Osborne Boardman & Townsend, Charles H. Delavan, I. & C. Berrien,
Fisher & Bird, Solomon & Hart, B. Young, M. D., Treadwell, Acker
& Co., St. Nicholas Hotel; John Wheeler, Union Square Hotel; S.
Leland & Co., Metropolitan Hotel; Albert Clark, Brevoort House;
H. D. Clapp, Everett House; John Taylor, International Hotel;
Sydney Hopman, Smithsonian Hotel; Messrs. Delmonico, Delmonico's;
Geo. W. Sherman, Florence's Hotel; Kingsley & Ainslee, Howard
Hotel; Libby & Whitney, Lovejoy's Hotel; Howard & Brown, Tammany
Hall; Jonas Bartlett, Washington Hotel; Patten & Lynde, Pacific
Hotel; J. Johnson, Johnson's Hotel, and over 1,000 others.

To this gratifying communication he replied as follows:

                 LONG ISLAND, Tuesday, June 3d, 1856.

GENTLEMEN: I can hardly find words to express my gratitude for
your very kind proposition. The popular sympathy is to me far
more precious than gold, and that sympathy seems in my case to
extend from my immediate neighbors, in Bridgeport, to all parts
of our Union.

Proffers of pecuniary assistance have reached me from every
quarter, not only from friends, but from entire strangers. Mr.
Wm. E. Burton, Miss Laura Keene, and Mr. Wm. Niblo have in the
kindest manner tendered me the receipts of their theatres for one
evening, Mr. Gough volunteered he proceeds of one of his
attractive lectures; Mr. James Phalon generously offered me the
free use of the Academy of Music; many professional ladies and
gentlemen have urged me to accept their gratuitous services. I
have, on principle, respectfully declined them all, as I beg,
with the most grateful acknowledgments (at least for the
present), to decline yours--not because a benefit, in itself, is
an objectionable thing, but because I have ever made it a point
to ask nothing of the public on personal grounds, and should
prefer, while I can possibly avoid that contingency, to accept
nothing from it without the honest conviction that I had
individually given it in return a full equivalent.

While favored with health, I feel competent to earn an honest
livelihood for myself and family. More than this I shall
certainly never attempt with such a load of debt suspended in
terrorem over me. While I earnestly thank you, therefore, for
your generous consideration, gentlemen, I trust you will
appreciate my desire to live unhumiliated by a sense of
dependence, and believe me, sincerely yours,
                          P. T. BARNUM.

To Messrs. FREEMAN HUNT, E. K. COLLINS, and others.

And with other offers of assistance from far and near, came the
following from a little gentleman who did not forget his old
friend and benefactor in the time of trial:

         JONES HOTEL, PHILADELPHIA, May 12th, 1856.

MY DEAR MR. BARNUM: I understand your friends, and that means
"all creation," intend to get up some benefits for your family.
Now, my dear sir, just be good enough to remember that I belong
to that mighty crowd, and I must have a finger (or at least a
"thumb") in that pie. I am bound to appear on all such occasions
in some shape, from "Jack the Giant killer," Up-stairs, to the
door-keeper down, whichever may serve you best; and there are
some feats that I can perform as well as any other man of my
inches. I have just started out on my Western tour, and have my
carriage, ponies, and assistants all here, but I am ready to go
on to New York, bag and baggage, and remain at Mrs. Barnum's
service as long as I, in a small way, can be useful. Put me into
any "heavy" work, if you like. Perhaps I can not lift as much as
some other folks, but just take your pencil in hand and you will
see I can draw a tremendous load. I drew two hundred tons at a
single pull to-day, embracing two thousand persons, whom I hauled
up safely and satisfactorily to all parties, at one exhibition.
Hoping that you will be able to fix up a lot of magnets that will
attract all New York, and volunteering to sit on any part of the
loadstone, I am, as ever, your little but sympathizing friend,
                           GEN. TOM THUMB.

All the prominent papers published editorials and paragraphs full
of sympathy for the great man's misfortune, the Saturday Evening
Gazette of Boston breaking out in the following poem.



 BARNUM, your hand! Though you are "down,"
     And see full many a frigid shoulder,
 Be brave, my brick, and though they frown,
     Prove that misfortune makes you bolder.
 There's many a man that sneers, my hero,
     And former praise converts to scorning,
 Would worship--when he fears--a Nero,
     And bend "where thrift may follow fawning."

  You humbugged us--that we have seen,
     WE GOT OUR MONEY'S WORTH, old fellow,
 And though you thought our MINDS were GREEN,
     We never thought your HEART was YELLOW.
 We knew you liberal, generous, warm,
     Quick to assist a falling brother,
 And, with such virtues, what's the harm
     All memories of your faults to smother?

  We had not heard the peerless Lind,
     But for your spirit enterprising,
 You were the man to raise the wind,
     And make a coup confessed surprising.
 You're reckoned in your native town
     A friend in need, a friend in danger,
 You ever keep the latch-string down,
     And greet with open hand the stranger.

  Stiffen your upper lip. You know
     Who are your friends and who your foes now;
 We pay for knowledge as we go;
     And though you get some sturdy blows now,
 You've a fair field--no favors crave--
     The storm once passed will find you braver--
 In virtue's cause long may you wave,
     And on the right side, never waver.

The editor of the paper was Mr. B. P. Shillaber, better known as
"Mrs. Partington," and to him Barnum years later wrote to find
out the author of this effusion. Mr. Shillaber replied as
                             CHELSEA, April 25th, 1868.

MY DEAR MR. BARNUM: The poem in question was written by A.
Wallace Thaxter, associate editor with Mr. Clapp and myself, on
the Gazette--since deceased, a glorious fellow--who wrote th poem
from a sincere feeling of admiration for yourself. Mr. Clapp
(Hon. W. W. Clapp) published it with his full approbation. I
heard of your new trouble, in my sick chamber, where I have been
all winter, with regret, and wish you as ready a release from
attending difficulty as your genius has hitherto achieved under
like circumstances.
                   Yours, very truly
                                 B. F. SHILLABER.

The manifestations of sympathy from his fellow-citizens in
Bridgeport gratified Barnum more than all the rest. The Mayor
headed and more than 300 leading citizens signed a call for a
mass meeting of sympathy.

At the hour appointed for the meeting a large assemblage crowded
Washington Hall, the principal hall of the city. Many people
thronged the door, unable to gain entrance.

Mr. Charles B. Hubbell, President of the Pequonnock Bank, was
appointed President; Messrs. Charles Foote, Cashier of the
Connecticut Bank; Stephen Tomlinson, President of the Farmers'
Bank; Samuel F. Hurd, President of the Bridgeport City Bank,
Hanford Lyon, Dwight Morris, E. Ferris Bishop, A. P. Houston, and
Wm. H. Noble, Vice-Presidents, and Messrs. Samuel M. Chesney and
Julius L. Hanover, Secretaries.

Mr. Dwight Morris said that they had met for the purpose of
expressing their sympathy with their former fellow-citizen, P. T.
Barnum, in his pecuniary reverses. It was well known how much Mr.
Barnum had done for Bridgeport. He had expended large sums to
build up their city, had accommodated many of them with the means
of securing themselves homes, and it was principally to him that
they owed their present beautiful resting-place for the dead.
[Applause.] The citizens of Bridgeport hoped that his misfortunes
would soon pass away, and that he would ere long resume his
position in Bridgeport, and among the citizens of Fairfield
County. [Prolonged applause.]

Mr. Wm. H. Noble read the following resolutions.

WHEREAS, Our late neighbor and friend, P. T. Barnum, has become
involved in financial misfortune which seems likely to be
irretrievable, and to prevent his again residing in our
vicinity--Resolved, That we as citizens of Bridgeport deem it an
act of justice no less than a slight return for the many acts of
liberality, philanthropy, and public spirit in our midst, which
have marked his prosperity, to offer him our tribute of respect
and sympathy in this the hour of his trouble.

Resolved, That in his intercourse with us in the private and
social relations of life, Mr. Barnum is remembered as a man of
upright dealings and honorable sentiments--a kind and genial
neighbor, and exemplary character, a beneficent philanthropist,
and a most generous friend.

Resolved, That in his more extended capacity as a citizen he has
enduringly associated his name with numerous objects, which
remain as monuments among us, connected with the institutions of
religion, education, and commercial prosperity--with the
advancement of the mechanical, agricultural, and other useful
arts and sciences--with the spirit of public improvement and
public morals; and that so long as these remain to us matters of
interest, we shall never forget that he has been of them all
among the foremost, most liberal, and most efficient promoters.

Resolved, That we hereby express to him our heartfelt sympathy in
his misfortunes, our unshaken confidence in his integrity, and
our admiration of the dignified fortitude and composure with
which he has met the reverses into which he has been dragged,
through no fault of his own, except a too generous confidence in
pretended friends, and our earnest hope that he may yet return to
that wealth which he has so nobly employed and to the community
he has so signally benefited.

Resolved, That copies of these resolutions, signed by the
President and other officers of this meeting, be transmitted to
Mr. Barnum, and also to the press of this city.

Mr. E. B. Goodsell said that Mr. Barnum had been the friend of
the poor, and his hospitalities had been extended to men of every
State in the Union. The citizens of Bridgeport should be proud to
claim as one of their citizens P. T. Barnum. His name was written
upon every charity in their city, and the temples of God bore its
impress. By a few fell strokes of an ugly pen, he has been drawn
into that whirlpool of destruction to himself and almost
destruction to many in the city. In the midst of his prosperity,
while he was building up a city on the east side of their little
harbor, he had fallen by the hand of traitors. He hoped that he
might survive his misfortunes and come back to live in their
midst. He did not expect that he could ever return with that
"pocketful of rocks" which he used to talk so much about; but, if
he would come, he for one was ready to pledge himself that he
should never starve in the city of Bridgeport. [Loud and
prolonged applause.]

Mr. Oakley was loudly called for. He said that he had deep regard
for Mr. Barnum in his distress. He was one of the very few people
in Bridgeport who had never received any aid from Mr. Barnum, but
he was ready to join in any expression of sympathy, and saw no
reason why it should not assume a material form [loud applause].
He would only allude to Mr. Barnum's unostentatious benevolence.
To one of the churches of the city Mr. Barnum gave $500--to one
of their churches in which he felt no interest beyond his
interest for Bridgeport, and this was but a specimen of his
munificence. Nobody could say that Mr. Barnum had not made the
best and most benevolent use of his money [Applause]. He had been
the means of adding a large number to the population of
Bridgeport. He never yet had found a man who was more eminently
the friend of the poor man than P. T. Barnum [Cheers]. He had
alleviated the sufferings of many a broken heart, and he had
aided many a young man to start in business. If Mr. Barnum had
erred, it was only an error of judgment [Cheers]. He sympathized
with Mr. Barnum. He had talents which would cope with those of
most of the human race. He did not believe that there was a man
in the city who had so little soul as to begrudge a tear to him
in his misfortune [loud applause]. They should at least send him
assurance that there were thousands of hearts in his own city
which appreciated his noble benevolence, and loved and honored
his character.

Mr. Noble read the following letter from Mr. Barnum:

                       "NEW YORK, April 25th, 1856.
"DEAR SIR: I have just received a slip containing a call for a
public meeting of the citizens of Bridgeport, to sympathize with
me in my trouble. It is headed by his Honor the Mayor, and is
signed by most of our prominent citizens, as well as by many more
who by hard labor earn their daily bread, and who appreciate a
calamity which at a single blow strips a man of his fortune, his
dear home, and all the worldly comfort which years of diligent
labor has acquired. It is due to truth to say that I knew nothing
of this movement until your letter informed me of it. In
misfortune, the true sympathy of neighbors is more consoling and
precious than anything which money can purchase. This voluntary
offering of my fellow-citizens, though it thrills me with painful
emotions and causes tears of gratitude, yet it imparts renewed
strength and fills my heart with thankfulness to Providence for
raising up to my sight, above all this wreck, kind hearts which
soar above the sordid atmosphere of 'dirty dollars.' I can never
forget this unexpected kindness from my old friends and
neighbors. I trust I am not blind to my many faults and
shortcomings; I, however, do feel great consolation in believing
that I never used money or position to oppress the poor or wrong
my fellowmen, and that I never turned empty away whom I had the
power to assist. My poor sick wife, who needs the bracing air
which our dear home (made beautiful by her willing hand) would
now have afforded her, is driven by the orders of her physician
to a secluded spot on Long Island, where the sea-wind lends its
healthful influence, and where I have also retired for the double
purpose of consoling her and recruiting my own constitution,
which, through the excitement of the last few months, has most
seriously failed me. In our quiet and humble retreat that which I
most sincerely pray for is tranquillity and contentment. I am
sure that the remembrance of the kindness of my Bridgeport
friends will aid me in securing these cherished blessings. No man
who has not passed through similar scenes, can fully comprehend
the misery which has been crowded into the last few months of my
life; but I have endeavored to preserve my integrity, and I
humbly hope and believe that I am being taught humility and
reliance upon Providence, which will yet afford a thousand times
more peace and true happiness than can be acquired in the dire
strife and turmoil, excitements and struggles of this
money-worshiping age. The man who coins his brain and blood into
gold, who wastes all of his time and thought upon the almighty
dollar, who looks no higher than blocks of houses and tracts of
lands, and whose iron chest is crammed with stocks and mortgages,
tied up with his own heart-strings, may console himself with the
idea of safe investments; but he misses a pleasure which I firmly
believe this lesson was intended to secure to me, and which it
will secure, if I can fully bring my mind to realize its wisdom.
I think I hear you say,

When the devil was sick,
The devil a saint would be,
But when the devil got well,
The devil a saint was he.'

"Granted, but after all the man who looks upon the loss of money
as anything compared to the loss of honor, or health, or
self-respect, or friends; a man who can find no source of
happiness except in riches, is to be pitied for his blindness. I
certainly feel that the loss of money, of home and my home
comforts, is dreadful; that to be driven again to find a resting
place away from the friends that I loved, and from where I had
fondly hoped I was to end my days. And when I had lavished time,
money, and everything to make my descent to the grave placid and
pleasant, is indeed a severe lesson; but after all I firmly
believe it is for the best, and though my heart may break I will
not repine. I regret, beyond expression, that any man should be a
loser for having trusted to my name; it would not have been so if
I had not myself been deceived. As it is, I am gratified in
knowing that all my individual obligations will be met. It would
have been much better if clock creditors had accepted the best
offers that it was in my power to make them. But it was not so to
be, it is now too late, and as I willingly give up all I possess,
I can do no more. Wherever my future lot may be cast, I shall
ever fondly cherish the kindness which I have always received
from the citizens of Bridgeport. I am, my dear sir,
                              "Truly yours, P. T. BARNUM."

The reading of the letter excited much sensation, applause, and

The resolutions were re-read and passed unanimously.

Mr. William Bishop said it was unusual for citizens to meet
together to express sympathy with one who had lost his fortune.
It was very common for the people and the press to eulogize a man
when he was beyond the reach of human sympathy. He thought it was
far better to tender a man the marks of approval while he was yet
alive and could appreciate it. [Applause] For along time in this
city they were accustomed to bury their dead among the living.
Mr. Barnum had done more than any other man to secure to this
city the most beautiful-cemetery in Connecticut. He alone had
secured to the city what it had never had before--a public
square. On the east side of the river he had almost completed a
school-house, a thing which could be said of no other man. [Loud
cheering.] If material aid were needed, he should be proud to
assist in raising it. There was one clause in the resolutions
which he did not believe. He did not believe that "in all
probability he could ever retrieve" his fortune. [Prolonged

Mr. J. E. Dunham made a brief but earnest speech. He hoped this
meeting would put down the sneers which were in circulation in
relation to Mr. Barnum's sincerity, by showing that those
estimated him most who knew him best.

Mr. Nathaniel Greene and Mr. Bowles made short but effective

The meeting was characterized throughout by the greatest
enthusiasm, and adjourned with three loud cheers for Barnum.

Nor was sympathy all his neighbors offered him; shortly after
this meeting a number of gentlemen in Bridgeport offered him a
loan of $50,000, if that sum would meet the exigency.

Little by little the magnitude of the fraud practiced upon
Barnum's too confiding nature dawned upon him. Not only had his
notes been used to five times the amount stipulated, but the
money had been applied, not to relieving the temporary
embarrassment of the company, but almost entirely to the
redemption of the old claims of years gone by. Barnum sent two of
his friends to New Haven to ask for a meeting of the creditors,
authorizing them to say for him in substance:

"GENTLEMEN: This is a capital practical joke! Before I negotiated
with your clock company at all, I was assured by several of you,
and particularly by a representative of the bank which was the
largest creditor of the concern, that the Jerome Company was
eminently responsible, and that the head of the same was
uncommonly pious. On the strength of such representations solely,
I was induced to agree to indorse and accept paper for that
company to the extent of $110,000--no more. That sum I am now
willing to pay for my own verdancy, with an additional sum of
$40,000 for your 'cuteness, making a total of $150,000, which you
can have if you cry 'quits' with the fleeced showman and let him

Many of the old creditors favored this proposition; but it was
found that the indebtedness was so scattered it would be
impracticable to attempt a settlement by an unanimous compromise
of the creditors.

Barnum therefore turned over his Bridgeport property to
Connecticut assignees, moved his family to New York, and made an
assignment there of all his other property, real estate and
personal effects.

About this time he received a letter from Philadelphia proffering
the loan of $500 in case he really was in need. The wording of
the letter made Barnum suspicious that it was a trick to
ascertain whether he really had any property or if he made an
honest settlement to the best of his ability. To this letter
Barnum replied that he did need $500, and as he had expected the
money never came.

But the Philadelphia banks which were holding the Jerome paper
for a higher percentage, at once acceded to the terms which Mr.
Barnum had announced himself able to pay,

Every dollar which he owed on his own account he had already
paid, and for the liabilities incurred by the swindle which had
involved him he offered such a percentage which he thought his
estate, when sold, would eventually pay. Mrs. Barnum also gave up
certain portions of her own property to redeem such notes as
could be secured upon these terms.

They went to live in a hired furnished house in New York, the
landlady and her family boarding with them. At forty-six Barnum
found himself once more at the foot of the ladder--beginning life

"The situation is disheartening," he said, "but I have
experience, energy, health, and hope."



In the summer of 1855 Barnum had sold the American Museum to
Messrs. John Greenwood, Jr., and Henry D. Butler. They paid
nearly twice as much for the collection as it had originally
cost, giving notes for nearly the entire amount, securing the
notes by a chattel mortgage, and hiring the premises from Mrs.
Barnum, who owned the Museum property lease, and on which, by
agreement of the lessees, she realized something like $19,000 a
year. The chattel mortgage was, of course, turned over to the New
York assignees with the other property.

Barnum's widespread reputation for shrewdness was, in his present
difficulties, destined to be the cause of considerable annoyance
to him. Certain outside creditors who had bought clock notes at a
tremendous discount, believing that Barnum's means were still
ample, made up their minds that they must be paid at once without
waiting for the sale of the property by assignees.

They, therefore, took what is known as "supplementary
proceedings," by which is meant an examination before a judge,
compelling the debtor to disclose, under oath, everything in
regard to his property, his present means of living, and so on.

"Putting Barnum through a course of sprouts," as they expressed
it, came to be a very frequent occurrence. One creditor after
another hauled him up, and the attorneys would ask the same
questions which had already been answered a dozen times.

This persistent and unnecessary annoyance created a great deal of
sympathy for the man, the papers took his part, and even the
judges before whom he appeared, personally sided with him,
although they were obliged to administer the law. After a while,
the judges ruled that he need not answer any questions propounded
by an attorney, if he had already answered the same question in
any previous examination.

In fact, one of the judges lost all patience on one occasion, and
said sharply to the examining attorney:

"This, sir, has become simply a case of persecution. Mr. Barnum
has many times answered every question that can properly be put
to him, to elicit the desired information; and I think it is time
to stop these examinations. I advise him not to answer one
interrogatory which he has replied to under any previous

One consequential little lawyer commenced his examination in
behalf of a note-shaver, who held a thousand dollar note which he
had bought for seven hundred. After the oath had been
administered, he arranged his pen, ink, and paper, and in a loud
tone of voice asked:

"What is your name, sir?"

The answer was given, and the next question delivered in a
louder, more peremptory tone was:

"What is your business?"

"Attending bar," answered Barnum.

"Attending bar!" exclaimed the lawyer; "attending bar! Why, I
thought you were a teetotaler."

"So I am," declared the witness.

"And yet, sir, you have the audacity to assert that you peddle
rum all day, and drink none yourself?"

"That is not a relevant question," said Barnum.

"I will appeal to his Honor the Judge if you don't answer it
instantly," said the lawyer, gleefully.

"Very well; I do attend bar, and yet never drink intoxicating

"Where do you attend bar, and for whom?" pursued the lawyer.

"I attend the bar of this court nearly every day, for the benefit
of two-penny lawyers and their greedy clients," replied the
disgusted Barnum.

On another occasion a young lawyer who had been pushing his
inquiries to a great length, said in a half-laughing tone of

"You see, Mr. Barnum, I am searching after the small thing; I am
willing to take even the crumbs that fall from the rich man's

"Which are you, then, Lazarus or one of the dogs?" asked Barnum,

"I guess a blood-hound would not smell out much on this trial,"
returned the lawyer, good-naturedly, adding that he had no more
questions to ask.

On account of Mrs. Barnum's continued ill-health, the family
spent the summer in a farm-house at Westhampton, Long Island. The
farm lay close to the ocean, and the place was very cool and
delightful. The respite from active life, and the annoyance
attendant to his financial troubles was of the greatest benefit
to Mr. Barnum, who spent the time shooting, fishing, and driving.

One morning they discovered that the waves had thrown up on the
beach a young black whale, nearly twelve feet long. The animal
was dead, but still hard and fresh, and Barnum bought it for a
few dollars from the man who claimed it by right of discovery. He
sent it at once to the Museum, where it was exhibited in a huge
refrigerator for a few days, where crowds came to see it. The
managers very properly gave Barnum a share of the profits, which
amounted to a sum sufficient to pay the board-bill of the family
for the entire season.

"Well," said the amazed landlord, when he heard of it, "you do
beat all for luck. Here you come and board for four months with
your family, and when the time is nearly up and you're getting
ready to leave, out rolls a big black whale on our beach, a thing
never heard of before in this vicinity, and you take that whale
and pay your board-bill with it!"

Shortly after his return to New York an unforeseen event occurred
which Barnum realized was likely to extricate him from his

The new city which had led him into ruin now promised to be his

The now gigantic Wheeler & Wilson Sewing-Machine Company was then
doing a comparatively small yet rapidly growing business at
Watertown, Connecticut. The Terroy & Barnum clock factory was
standing idle, almost worthless, in East Bridgeport, and Wheeler
& Wilson saw in the empty building, the situation, the ease of
communication with New York, and other advantages, precisely what
they wanted, provided they could procure the premises at a rate
which would compensate them for the expense and trouble of
removing their establishment from Watertown. The clock factory
was sold for a trifle and the wheeler & Wilson Company moved into
it and speedily enlarged it.

This important occurrence gave Barnum great hope for the
increased value of the land belonging to his estate. And moreover
Mr. Wheeler offered him a loan of $5,000 without security, which
sum Barnum accepted, and devoted it, together with Mrs. Barnum's
money, to purchasing the East Bridgeport property at the
assignees' sale and also taking up such clock notes as could be
purchased at a reasonable percentage. Though this new plan did
eventually result in putting more money in his pocket than the
Jerome complication had taken out, yet the process was a slow
one. But Barnum concluded to let it work itself out, and
meanwhile, with the idea of doing something to help out the
accumulation and even saving something to add to the amount, he
made up his mind to go to Europe again.

He set sail in 1857, taking with him Tom Thumb and little
Cordelia Howard, who had attained celebrity for her artistic
rendering of juvenile characters,



Years ago Barnum had known Albert Smith in London as a dentist,
literary "hack," occasional writer for Punch and various
magazines, etc., not achieving notable success in any of these
undertakings. He now found him the most eminent and successful
showman in the city, occupying Barnum's old quarters in Egyptian
Hall. The chief attraction of his show was a panorama of Mont
Blanc, accompanying which he gave a lecture, descriptive of the
mountain and relating his own experiences in climbing it. When
Barnum called upon him he found him just as unassuming and
cordial as ever; he was forthwith entered on the free list at all
of Smith's entertainments, and the two often dined together at
the Garrick Club.

The first time Barnum attended Smith's exhibition, the latter
gave him a sly wink from the stage at the moment of his
describing a scene in the golden chamber of St. Ursula's church
in Cologne, where the old sexton narrating the story of the ashes
and bones to the eleven thousand innocent virgins, who, according
to tradition, were sacrificed on a certain occasion. One of the
characters whom he pretended to have met several times on his
trip to Mont Blanc, was a Yankee, whom he named "Phineas
Cutecraft." The wink came at the time he introduced Phineas in
the Cologne church, and made him say at the end of the sexton's
story about the virgins' bones:

"Old fellow, what will you take for that hull lot of bones? I
want them for my museum in America!"

When the question had been interpreted to the old German, he
exclaimed in horror, according to Albert Smith:

"Mine Gott! it is impossible! We will never sell the virgins'

"Never mind," replied Phineas Cutecraft, "I'll send another lot
of bones to my museum, swear mine are the real bones of the
Virgins of Cologne, and burst up your show!"

This always excited the heartiest laughter; but Mr. Smith knew
very well that Barnum would at once recognize it as a paraphrase
of the scene wherein they, too, had figured in 1844, at the
porter's lodge of Warwick Castle. "In the course of the
entertainment," says Barnum, "I found he had woven in numerous
anecdotes I had told him at that time, and many incidents of our
excursion were also travestied and made to contribute to the
interest of his description of the ascent of Mont Blanc."

When they dined together at the club that day, Smith introduced
Barnum to several of his acquaintances as his teacher in the show
business. He also remarked to Barnum that he must have recognized
as old friends many of the incidents and jokes in the lecture.
Barnum replied that he did. "Well," said Smith, "of course you as
a showman, know very well that, to win popular success. we have
to appropriate and adapt to our uses everything of the sort that
we can get hold of."

By thus engrafting his various experiences upon this Mont Blanc
entertainment, Albert Smith succeeded in serving up a salmagundi
feast which was relished alike by royal and less distinguished

When William Makepeace Thackeray first visited this country, he
brought a letter of introduction to Barnum, from Albert Smith,
and called on the showman at his New York museum. He spent an
hour or more there, asking much advice of Barnum in regard to the
management of the course of lectures on "The English Humorists of
the Eighteenth Century," which he proposed to deliver, as he did
afterwards, with very great success, in the principal cities of
the Union. Barnum gave him the best advice he could as to
management, and the cities he ought to visit, for which he was
very grateful, and he called on Barnum whenever he was in New
York. Barnum also saw him repeatedly when he came to America the
second time with his lectures on "The Four Georges," which, it
will be remembered, he delivered in the United States in the
season of 1855-56, before he read them to audiences in Great
Britain. Barnum's relations with this great novelist were cordial
and intimate; and now, when he called upon him, in 1857, at his
own house, Thackeray grasped him heartily by the hand, and said:

"Mr. Barnum, I admire you more than ever I have read the accounts
in the papers of the examinations you underwent in New York
courts; and the positive pluck you exhibit under your pecuniary
embarrassments is worthy of all praise. You would never have
received credit for the philosophy you manifest if these
financial misfortunes had not overtaken you."

Barnum thanked him for his compliment, and he continued:

"But tell me, Barnum, are you really in need of present
assistance? For if you are you must be helped."

"Not in the least," the showman replied, laughing "I need more
money in order to get out of bankruptcy, and I intend to earn it;
but so far as daily bread is concerned, I am quite at ease, for
my wife is worth L30,000 or L40,000."

"Is it possible!??" he exclaimed, with evident delight; "well,
now, you have lost all my sympathy; why, that is more than I ever
expect to be worth; I shall be sorry for you no more."

During his stay in London, Barnum met Thackeray several times,
and on one occasion dined with him. He repeatedly expressed his
obligations to Barnum for the advice and assistance he had given
him on the occasion of his first lecturing visit to the United

Soon after Barnum arrived in London he was visited by Mr. Otto
Goldschmidt, who had married Jenny Lind. They were then living in
Dresden, but Madame Goldschmidt had insisted on his hurrying over
to England to see her old manager, and ascertain whether he
really was in want. Barnum assured him that he was getting on
comfortably, though he had to exercise economy, and that his
family would presently come over and live with him in London.
Goldschmidt urged him to come to Dresden to live. "It is much
cheaper living there," he said, "and my wife will be so glad to
find a suitable house for you." But Barnum declined the offer.
His business prospects would be better in London than in Dresden.

Barnum's old friends, Julius Benedict and Signor Belletti, also
called on him frequently, and made him feel much at home. Among
others whom he met in London, some of them quite frequently at
dinners, were Mr. George Augustus Sala, Mr. Edmund Yates, Mr.
Horace Mayhew, Mr. Alfred Bunn, Mr Lumley, of Her Majesty's
Theatre; Mr. Buckstone; of the Haymarket; Mr. Charles Kean, our
princely countryman; Mr. George Peabody, Mr. J. M. Morris, the
manager, Mr. Bates, of Baring Brothers & Co.; Mr. Oxenford,
dramatic critic of the London Times, Dr. Ballard, the American
dentist, and many other eminent persons.

He had numerous offers from professional friends on both sides of
the Atlantic, who supposed him to be in need of employment. Mr.
Barney Williams, who had not then acted in England, proposed, in
the kindest manner, to make him his agent for a tour through
Great Britain, and to give him one-third of the profits which he
and Mrs. Williams might make by their acting. Mr. Pettengill, of
New York, the newspaper advertising agent, offered him the fine
salary of $10,000 a year to transact business for him in Great
Britain. He wrote: "When you failed in consequence of the Jerome
clock notes, I felt that your creditors were dealing hard with
you; that they should have let you up and give you a chance, and
they would have fared better, and I wish I was a creditor, so as
to show what I would do." These offers, both from Mr. Williams
and Mr. Pettengill, Barnum felt obliged to decline.

Mr. Lumley, manager of Her Majesty's Theatre, used to send him an
order for a private box for every opera night, and Barnum
frequently availed himself of his courtesy.

Meanwhile the showman was by no means idle. Cordelia Howard as
"Little Eva," with her mother as the inimitable "Topsy," were
highly successful in London and other large cities, while General
Tom Thumb, returning after so long an absence, drew crowded
houses wherever he went. These were strong spokes in the wheel
that was moving slowly but surely in the effort to get Barnum out
of debt, and, if possible, to save some portion of his real
estate. Of course, it was not generally known that he had any
interest whatever in either of these exhibitions; if it had been,
possibly some of the clock creditors would have annoyed him; but
he busied himself in these and in other ways, working
industriously and making much money, which he constantly remitted
to his trusty agent at home.

Barnum spent some weeks in London and then went to Germany. He
was accompanied by Tom Thumb, and they went by the way of Paris,
Strasburg, and Baden-Baden. At the frontier they had a terrible
time with the thick-headed customs-inspector. This was at Kehl,
near Strasburg. "I knew," said Barnum in telling the story, "that
I had no baggage which was rightfully subject to duty, as I had
nothing but my necessary clothing, and the package of placards
and lithographs, illustrating the General's exhibitions. As the
official was examining my trunks, I assured him in French, that I
had nothing subject to duty; but he made no reply and
deliberately handled every article in my luggage. He then cut the
strings to the large packages of show-bills. I asked him in
French, whether he understood that language. He gave a grunt,
which was the only audible sound I could get out of him, and then
laid my show-bills and lithographs on his scales as if to weigh
them. I was much excited. An English gentleman, who spoke German,
kindly offered to act as my interpreter.

" 'Please to tell him,' said I, 'that those bills and lithographs
are not articles of commerce; that they are simply

"My English friend did as I requested; but it was of no use; the
custom-house officer kept piling them upon his scales. I grew
more excited.

" 'Please tell him I give them away,' I said. The translation of
my assertion into German did not help me; a double grunt from the
functionary, was the only response. Tom Thumb, meanwhile, jumped
about like a little monkey, for he was fairly delighted at my
worry and perplexity. Finally, I said to my new found English
friend: 'Be good enough to tell the officer to keep the bills if
he wants them, and that I will not pay duty on them, any how.'

"He was duly informed of my determination, but he was immovable.
He lighted his huge Dutch pipe, got the exact weight, and,
marking it down, handed it to a clerk, who copied it on his book,
and solemnly passed it over to another clerk, who copied it on
still another book; a third clerk then took it, and copied it on
to a printed bill, the size of a half letter sheet, which was
duly stamped in red ink with several official devices. By this
time I was in a profuse perspiration; and, as the document passed
from clerk to clerk, I told them they need not trouble themselves
to make out a bill, for I would not pay it; they would get no
duty and they might keep the property.

"To be sure, I could not spare the placards for any length of
time, for they were exceedingly valuable to me as advertisements,
and I could not easily have duplicated them in Germany; but I was
determined that I would not pay duties on articles which were not
merchandise. Every transfer, therefore, of the bill to a new
clerk, gave me a fresh twinge, for I imagined that every clerk
added more charges, and that every charge was a tighter turn to
the vise which held my fingers. Finally, the last clerk defiantly
thrust in my face the terrible official document, on which were
scrawled certain cabalistic characters, signifying the amount of
money I should be forced to pay to the German government before I
could have my property. I would not touch it but resolved I would
really leave my packages until I could communicate with one of
our consuls in Germany, and I said as much to the English
gentleman who had kindly interpreted for me.

"He took the bill, and, examining it, burst into a loud laugh,
'Why, it is but fifteen kreutzers!' he said.

" 'How much is that?' I asked, feeling for the golden sovereigns
in my pocket.

" 'Sixpence!' was the reply.

"I was astonished and delighted, and, as I handed out the money,
I begged him to tell the officials that the custom-house charge
would not pay the cost of the paper on which it was written. But
this was a very fair illustration of sundry red-tape dealings in
other countries as well as in Germany."

Baden-Baden was found to be an uncommonly pleasant place, the
neatest and cleanest little city he had ever seen, Barnum
thought. As soon as they were fairly settled there, Tom Thumb
began driving out on the streets in his tiny carriage, with his
ponies and liveried coachmen and footmen. Public curiosity was
greatly excited. The place was thronged with visitors, it being
one of the most popular resorts in Europe. There were kings and
queens, and minor royalties and members of the nobility without
number. All these soon forgot their other amusements and
entertainments in their interest in the little General. They
crowded his rooms at his reception every day, and Barnum, seeing
the quality of his patrons, put the entrance fee higher than it
ever was at any other place. Their stay at this resort was
exceedingly profitable.

Thence they proceeded to the other German watering places, such
as Ems, Weisbaden and Hamburg. They saw that it paid to strike
for high game. No matter how high their fee, the crowned, titled,
rich, aristocratic throng came to their show by thousands. Among
them was the King of Holland, who was particularly interested in
Tom Thumb. So profitable was the tour, that Barnum was able to
send many thousands of dollars to his agents in America, to buy
back his real estate and settle up the remains of the disastrous
clock business.

Other German cities visited were Frankfort-on-the-Main, Mayence
and Cologne. At the latter place, they remained for some time,
seeing as well as giving shows. Then they went on to Rotterdam
and Amsterdam.

The shrewd and enterprising Yankee was much impressed by the
thrift and industry of Holland. "It gave me," he afterwards said,
"more genuine satisfaction than any other foreign country I have
ever visited, if I except Great Britain. Redeemed as a large
portion of the whole surface of the land has been from the bottom
of the sea, by the wonderful dykes, which are monuments of the
industry of whole generations of human beavers, Holland seems to
me the most curious, as well as interesting country in the world.
The people, too, with their quaint costumes, their extraordinary
cleanliness, their thrift, industry and frugality, pleased me
very much. It is the universal testimony of all travellers, that
the Hollanders are the neatest and most economical people among
all nations. So far as cleanliness is concerned, in Holland it is
evidently not next to, but far ahead of godliness. It is rare,
indeed, to meet a ragged, dirty, or drunken person. The people
are very temperate and economical in their habits; and even the
very rich--and there is a vast amount of wealth in the
country--live with great frugality, though all of the people live

"As for the scenery, I cannot say much for it, since it is only
diversified by thousands of windmills, which are made to do all
kinds of work, from grinding grain to pumping water from the
inside of the dykes back to the sea again. As I exhibited the
General only in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and to no great profit
in either city, we spent most of our time in rambling about to
see what was to be seen. In the country villages it seemed as if
every house was scrubbed twice and whitewashed once every day in
the week, excepting Sunday. Some places were almost painfully
pure, and I was in one village where horses and cattle were not
allowed to go through the streets and no one was permitted to
wear their boots or shoes in the houses. There is a general and
constant exercise of brooms, pails, floor-brushes and mops all
over Holland, and in some places, even, this kind of thing is
carried so far, I am told, that the only trees set out are

Barnum thought that the reason why his exhibitions were not
better patronized here was that the people were too frugal to
spend much money for mere amusements. "But they and their habits
and ways afforded us so much amusement, that we were quite
willing they should give our entertainment the 'go by,' as they
generally did. We were in Amsterdam at the season of 'Kremis,' or
the annual fair, which is held in all the principal towns, and
where shows of all descriptions are open, at prices for admission
ranging from one to five pennies, and are attended by nearly the
whole population. For the people generally, this one great
holiday seems all-sufficient for the whole year. I went through
scores of booths, where curiosities and monstrosities of all
kinds were exhibited, and was able to make some purchases and
engagements for the American Museum. Among these was the Albino
family, consisting of a man, his wife, and son, who were by far
the most interesting and attractive specimens of their class I
had ever seen.

"We visited the Hague, the capital and the finest city in
Holland. It is handsomely and regularly laid out, and contains a
beautiful theatre, a public picture gallery, which contains some
of the best works of Vandyke, Paul Potter, and other Dutch
masters, while the museum is especially rich in rarities from
China and Japan. When we arrived at the Hague, Mr. August
Belmont, who had been the United States Minister at that court,
had just gone home, but I heard many encomiums passed upon him
and his family, and I was told some pretty good stories of his
familiarity with the king, and of the 'jolly times' these two
personages frequently enjoyed together. I did not miss visiting
the great government museum, as I wished particularly to see the
rich collection of Japan ware and arms, made during the many
years when the Dutch carried on almost exclusively the entire
foreign trade with the Japanese. I spent several days in minutely
examining these curious manufactures of a people who were then
almost as little known to nations generally as are the
inhabitants of the planet Jupiter."

On the first day of his visits to this museum, Barnum stood for
an hour before a large case containing a most unique and
extraordinary collection of fabulous animals, made from paper and
other materials, and looking as natural and genuine as the
stuffed skins of any animals in the American Museum. There were
serpents two yards long, with a head and a pair of feet at each
end; frogs as large as a man, with human hands and feet; turtles
with three heads; monkeys with two heads and six legs; scores of
equally curious monstrosities; and at least two dozen mermaids,
of all sorts and sizes. Looking at these "sirens" he easily
divined from whence the Feejee mermaid originated.

After a delightful visit in Holland, he went back to England; and
proceeding to Manchester, opened his exhibition. For several days
the hall was crowded to overflowing at each of the three, and
sometimes four, entertainments they gave every day. By this time,
his wife and two youngest daughters had come over to London, and
he hired furnished lodgings in the suburbs where they could live
within the strictest limits of economy. It was necessary now for
him to return for a few weeks to America, to assist personally in
forwarding a settlement of the clock difficulties. So leaving the
little General in the hands of trusty and competent agents to
carry on the exhibitions in his absence, he set his face once
more towards home and the west, and took steamer at Liverpool for
New York.



Barnum made in his life many voyages across the Atlantic, but
none, perhaps, pleasanter than this. On every such trip he got
under rest and relief from his multitudinous business cares and
arduous labors; and he always contrived to organize plenty of
merry-making among his fellow-passengers. On this occasion he
felt in uncommonly good spirits because he was so rapidly
retrieving his well-nigh fallen fortunes. The feature of the
voyage was a series of mock trials, in which a judge was
selected, jurymen drawn, prisoners arraigned, counsel employed,
and all the formalities of a court established. "I have the
vanity to think," said he, afterwards, in telling in his own
inimitable way the story of this voyage, "that if my good fortune
had directed me to that profession, I should have made a very
fair lawyer for I have always had a great fondness for debate and
especially for the cross-examination of witnesses, unless that
witness was P. T. Barnum in examination under supplementary
proceedings at the instance of some note shaver, who had bought a
clock note at a discount of thirty-six per cent. In this mock
court, I was unanimously chosen as prosecuting attorney, and, as
the court was established expressly to convict, I had no
difficulty in carrying the jury and securing the punishment of
the prisoner. A small fine was generally imposed, and the fund
thus collected was given to a poor sailor boy who had fallen from
the mast and broken his leg."

"After several of these trials had been held, a dozen or more of
the passengers secretly put their heads together and resolved to
place the 'showman' on trial for his life. An indictment,
covering twenty pages, was drawn up by several legal gentlemen
among the passengers, charging him with being the Prince of
Humbugs, and enumerating a dozen special counts, containing
charges of the most absurd and ridiculous description. Witnesses
were then brought together, and privately instructed what to say
and do. Two or three days were devoted to arranging this mighty
prosecution, 'When everything was ready, I was arrested, and the
formidable indictment read to me. I saw at a glance that time and
talent had been brought into requisition, and that my trial was
to be more elaborate than any that had preceded it. I asked for
half an hour to prepare for my defense, which was granted.
Meanwhile, seats were arranged to accommodate the court and
spectators, and extra settees were placed for the ladies on the
upper deck, where they could look down, see and hear all that
transpired. Curiosity was on tip-toe, for it was evident that
this was to be a long, exciting and laughable trial. At the end
of half an hour the judge was on the bench the jury had taken
their places; the witnesses were ready; the counsel for the
prosecution, four in number, with pens, ink, and paper in
profusion, were seated, and everything seemed ready. I was
brought in by a special constable, the indictment read, and I was
asked to plead guilty, or not guilty. I rose and In a most solemn
manner, stated that I could not conscientiously plead guilty or
not guilty; that I had, in fact, committed many of the acts
charged in the indictment, but these acts, I was ready to show,
were not criminal, but on the contrary, worthy of praise. My plea
was received and the first witness called.

"He testified to having visited the prisoner's museum, and of
being humbugged by the Feejee mermaid; the nurse of Washington;
and by other curiosities, natural and unnatural. The questions
and answers having been all arranged in advance, everything
worked smoothly. Acting as my own counsel, I cross-examined the
witness by simply asking whether he saw anything else in the
museum besides what he had mentioned.

" 'Oh! yes, I saw thousands of other things.'

" 'Were they curious?'

" 'Certainly; many of them very astonishing.'

" 'Did you ever witness a dramatic representation in the museum?'

" 'Yes, sir, a very good one.'

" 'What did you pay for all this?'

" 'Twenty-five cents.'

" 'That will do, sir; you can step down.'

"A second, third and fourth witness were called, and the
examination was similar to the foregoing. Another witness then
appeared to testify in regard to another count in the indictment.
He stated that for several weeks he was the guest of the
prisoner, at his country residence Iranistan and he gave a most
amusing description of the various schemes and contrivances which
were there originated for the purpose of being carried out at
some future day in the museum.

" 'How did you live there?' asked one of the counsel for the

" 'Very well, indeed, in the daytime,' was the reply; 'plenty of
the best to eat and drink except liquors. In bed, however, it was
impossible to sleep. I rose the first night, struck a light, and
on examination found myself covered with myriads of tattle bugs,
so small as to be almost imperceptible. By using my microscope I
discovered them to be infantile bedbugs. After the first night I
was obliged to sleep in the coach-house in order to escape this

"Of course this elicited much mirth. The first question put on
the cross-examination was this:

" 'Are you a naturalist, sir?'

"The witness hesitated. In all the drilling that had taken place
before the trial, neither the counsel nor witnesses had thought
of what questions might come up in the cross-examination, and
now, not seeing the drift of the question, the witness seemed a
little bewildered, and the counsel for the prosecution looked

"The question was repeated with some emphasis.

" 'No, sir,' replied the witness, hesitatingly, 'I am not a

" 'Then, sir, not being a naturalist, dare you affirm that those
microscopic insects were not humbugs instead of bedbugs'--(here
the prisoner was interrupted by a universal shout of laughter, in
which the solemn judge himself joined)--land if they were
humbugs, I suppose that even the learned counsel opposed to me
will not claim that they were out of place.

" 'They may have been humbugs,' replied the witness.

" 'That will do, sir; you may go,' said I; and at the same time,
turning to the array of counsel, I remarked, with a smile, 'You
had better have a naturalist for your next witness, gentlemen.'

" 'Don't be alarmed, sir, we have got one, and we will now
introduce him,' replied the counsel.

"The next witness testified that he was a planter from Georgia,
that some years since the prisoner visited his plantation with a
show, and that while there he discovered an old worthless donkey
belonging to the planter, and bought him for five dollars. The
next year the witness visited Iranistan, the country seat of the
prisoner, and, while walking about the grounds, his old donkey,
recognizing his former master, brayed; 'whereupon,' continued the
witness, 'I walked up to the animal and found that two men were
engaged in sticking wool upon him, and this animal was afterwards
exhibited by the prisoner as the woolly horse.'

"The whole court--spectators, and even the 'prisoner'
himself--were convulsed with laughter at the gravity with which
the planter gave his very ludicrous testimony.

" 'What evidence have you,' I inquired, 'that this was the same
donkey which you sold to me?'

" 'The fact that the animal recognized me, as was evident from
his braying as soon as he saw me.'

" 'Are you a naturalist, sir?'

" 'Yes, I am,' replied the planter, with firm emphasis, as much
as to say, you can't catch me as you did the other witness.

" 'Oh! you are a naturalist, are you? Then, sir, I ask you, as a
naturalist, do you not know it to be a fact in natural history
that one jackass always brays as soon as he sees another?'

"This question was received with shouts of laughter, in the midst
of which the nonplussed witness backed out of court, and all the
efforts of special constables, and even the high sheriff himself,
were unavailing in getting him again on the witness stand.

"This trial lasted two days, to the great delight of all on
board. After my success with the 'naturalist,' not one-half of
the witnesses would appear against me. In my final argument I
sifted the testimony, analyzed its bearings, ruffled the learned
counsel, disconcerted the witnesses, flattered the judge and
jury, and when the judge had delivered his charge, the jury
acquitted me without leaving their seats. The judge received the
verdict, and then announced that he should fine the naturalist
for the mistake he made, as to the cause of the donkey's braying,
and he should also fine the several witnesses, who, through fear
of the cross-fire, had refused to testify."

The trial afforded a pleasant topic of conversation for the rest
of the voyage; and the morning before arriving in port, a vote of
thanks was passed to Barnum, in consideration of the amusement he
had intentionally and unintentionally furnished to the passengers
during the voyage.

The treatment to which Barnum was subjected on his arrival in New
York, was in strange and discreditable contrast to that which he
had enjoyed abroad. He sometimes spoke of it in later life,
though without any bitterness. He was too much of a philosopher
to take it to heart. "After my arrival," he would say, "often, in
passing up and down Broadway, I saw old and prosperous friends
coming, but before I came anywhere near them, if they espied me,
they would dodge into a store, or across the street, or
opportunely meet some one with whom they had pressing business,
or they would be very much interested in something that was going
on over the way, or on top of the City Hall. I was delighted at
this, for it gave me at once a new sensation and a new
experience. 'Ah, ha!' I said to myself, 'my butterfly friends, I
know you now; and, what is more to the point, if ever I get out
of this bewilderment of broken clock-wheels, I shall not forget
you;' and I heartily thanked the old clock concern for giving me
the opportunity to learn this sad but most needful lesson. I had
a very few of the same sort of experiences in Bridgeport, and
they proved valuable to me."

One of Barnum's assignees was his neighbor and quondam
"gamekeeper," Mr. Johnson, and he it was who had written to
Barnum to return to America, to facilitate the settlement of his
affairs. He now told him that there was no probability of
disposing of Iranistan at present, and that therefore he might as
well move back into his old home. That was August. In September,
Barnum's family followed him to America, and they decided to take
Mr. Johnson's advice and re-occupy Iranistan. They went to
Bridgeport, to superintend arrangements, and there Barnum's
second daughter, Helen, was married to Mr. S. W. Hurd, on October
20, 1857.

"Meanwhile, Iranistan, which had been closed and unoccupied for
more than two years, was once more opened to the carpenters and
painters whom Mr. Johnson sent there to put the house in order.
He agreed with Barnum that it was best to keep the property as
long as possible, and in the interval, till a purchaser for the
estate appeared, or till it was forced to auction, to take up the
clock notes, whenever they were offered. The workmen who were
employed in the house were specially instructed not to smoke
there, but nevertheless, it was subsequently discovered that some
of the men were in the habit occasionally of going into the main
dome to eat their dinners which they brought with them, and that
they stayed there awhile after dinner to smoke their pipes. In
all probability, one of these lighted pipes was left on the
cushion which covered the circular seat in the dome and ignited
the tow with which the cushion was stuffed. It may have been days
and even weeks before this smouldering tow fire burst into flame.

Barnum was staying at the Astor House, in New York, when, on the
morning of December 18, 1857, he received a telegram from his
brother, Philo F. Barnum, dated at Bridgeport, and informing him
that Iranistan was burned to the ground that morning. The alarm
was given at eleven o'clock on the night of the 17th, and the
fire burned till one o'clock on the morning of the 18th.

This was, of course, a considerable loss to Barnum's estate, for
the house had cost about $150,000. It was also generally regarded
as a public calamity. This house had been the only building in
its peculiar style of architecture of any pretension in America,
and many persons had visited Bridgeport every year expressly to
see it. The insurance on the mansion had usually been about
$62,000, but Barnum had let some of the policies expire without
renewing them, so that at the time of the fire there was only
$28,000 insurance on the property. Most of the furniture and
pictures were saved, generally in a damaged state.

Subsequently, the assignees sold the grounds and outhouses of
Iranistan to Elias Howe, Jr., the inventor of the sewing-machine.
The property brought $50,000, which, with the $28,000 insurance
went into Barnum's assets to satisfy clock creditors. It was Mr.
Howe's intention to erect a splendid mansion on the estate, but
his untimely and lamented death prevented the fulfilment of the



Seeing the necessity of making more money to assist in
extricating his affairs from financial disorder, Barnum went back
to England, taking with him Tom Thumb, whom he exhibited in all
the principal places of England, Scotland and Wales; this was
early in 1858.

The tour was a profitable one, and the money, as fast as it came
in, was remitted to his agents and assignees in America.

At the suggestion of some of his American friends In London,
Barnum next appeared on the lecture platform. The subject chosen
was "The Art of Money Getting," although Barnum told his friends
that in the light of recent events he felt more competent to
speak on the art of money losing. But they assured him that his
name having been associated with the Jenny Lind concerts and
other great money-making enterprises, the lecture would
undoubtedly prove both attractive and profitable.

The lecture was widely advertised, of course, and at the
appointed time the great St. James' Hall, Regent Street,
Piccadilly, was completely filled. It was the evening of December
29, 1858. We subjoin extracts from the lecture, which was closely
listened to and well received by many more audiences than the one
which heard it first at St. James' Hall.

Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only to
set their minds upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do
in regard to any other object which they wish to accomplish, and
the thing is easily done. But however easy it may be found to
make money, I have no doubt many of my hearers will agree it is
the most difficult thing in the world to keep it. The road to
wealth is, as Dr. Franklin truly says, "as plain as the road to
mill." It consists simply in expending less than we earn; that
seems to be a very simple problem. Mr. Micawber, one of those
happy creations of the genial Dickens, puts the case in a strong
light when he says that to have an income of twenty pounds per
annum, and spend twenty pounds and sixpence, is to be the most
miserable of men; whereas, to have an income of only twenty
pounds, and spend but nineteen pounds and sixpence, is to be the
happiest of mortals. Many of my hearers may say, "we understand
this; this is economy, and we know economy is wealth; we know we
can't eat our cake and keep it also." Yet I beg to say that
perhaps more cases of failure arise from mistakes on this point
than almost any other. The fact is, many people think they
understand economy when they really do not.

True economy is misapprehended, and people go through life
without properly comprehending what that principle is. One says,
"I have an income of so much, and here is my neighbor who has the
same; yet every year he gets something ahead and I fall short;
why is it? I know all about economy." He thinks he does, but he
does not. There are many who think that economy consists in
saving cheese-parings and candle-ends, in cutting off twopence
from the laundress' bill and doing all sorts of little mean,
dirty things. Economy is not meanness. The misfortune is, also,
that this class of persons let their economy apply in only one
direction. They fancy they are so wonderfully economical in
saving a half-penny where they ought to spend twopence, that they
think they can afford to squander in other directions. A few
years ago, before kerosene oil was discovered or thought of, one
might stop over night at almost any farmer's house in the
agricultural districts and get a very good supper, but after
supper he might attempt to read in the sitting-room, and would
find it impossible with the inefficient light of one candle. The
hostess, seeing his dilemma, would say: "It is rather difficult
to read here evenings; the proverb says 'you must have a ship at
sea in order to be able to burn two candles at once;' we never
have an extra candle except on extra occasions." These extra
occasions occur, perhaps, twice a year. In this way the good
woman saves five, six, or ten dollars in that time; but the
information which might be derived from having the extra light
would, of course, far outweigh a ton of candles.

But the trouble does not end here. Feeling that she is so
economical in tallow candles, she thinks she can afford to go
frequently to the village and spend twenty or thirty dollars for
ribbons and furbelows, many of which are not necessary. This
false economy may frequently be seen in men of business, and in
those instances it often runs to writing-paper. You find good
business men who save all the old envelopes and scraps, and would
not tear a new sheet of paper, if they could avoid it, for the
world. This is all very well; they may in this way save five or
ten dollars a year, but being so economical (only in note-paper),
they think they can afford to waste time; to have expensive
parties, and to drive their carriages.

True economy consists in always making the income exceed the
out-go. Wear the old clothes a little longer if necessary;
dispense with the new pair of gloves; mend the old dress; live on
plainer food if need be; so that, under all circumstances, unless
some unforeseen accident occurs, there will be a margin in favor
of the income. A penny here, and a dollar there, placed at
interest, goes on accumulating, and in this way the desired
result is attained. It requires some training, perhaps, to
accomplish this economy, but when once used to it, you will find
there is more satisfaction in rational saving than in irrational
spending. Here is a recipe which I recommend; I have found it to
work an excellent cure for extravagance, and especially for
mistaken economy: When you find that you have no surplus at the
end of the year, and yet have a good income, I advise you to take
a few sheets of paper and form them into a book and mark down
every item of expenditure. Post it every day or week in two
columns, one headed "necessaries" or even "comforts," and the
other headed "luxuries," and you will find that the latter column
will be double, treble, and frequently ten times greater than the
former. The real comforts of life cost but a small portion of
what most of us can earn.

The foundation of success in life is good health; that is the
substratum of fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A
person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick. He
has no ambition; no incentive; no force. Of course, there are
those who have bad health and cannot help it; you cannot expect
that such persons can accumulate wealth; but there are a great
many in poor health who need not be so.

If, then, sound health is the foundation of success and happiness
in life, how important it is that we should study the laws of
health, which is but another expression for the laws of nature!
The closer we keep to the laws of nature the nearer we are to
good health, and yet how many persons there are who pay no
attention to natural laws, but absolutely transgress them, even
against their own natural inclination. We ought to know that the
"sin of ignorance" is never winked at in regard to the violation
of nature's laws; their infraction always brings the penalty. A
child may thrust its finger into the flames without knowing it
will burn, and so suffers; repentance, even, will not stop the
smart. Many of our ancestors knew very little about the principle
of ventilation. They did not know much about oxygen, whatever
other "gin" they might have been acquainted with; and
consequently, they built their houses with little seven-by-nine
feet bedrooms, and these good old pious Puritans would lock
themselves up in one of these cells, say their prayers and go to
bed. In the morning they would devoutly return thanks for the
"preservation of their lives" during the night, and nobody had
better reason to be thankful. Probably some big crack in the
window, or in the door, let in a little fresh air, and thus saved

Many persons knowingly violate the laws of nature against their
better impulses, for the sake of fashion. For instance, there is
one thing that nothing living except a vile worm ever naturally
loved, and that is tobacco; yet how many persons there are who
deliberately train an unnatural appetite, and overcome this
implanted aversion for tobacco, to such a degree that they get to
love it. They have got hold of a poisonous, filthy weed, or
rather that takes a firm hold of them. Here are married men who
run about spitting tobacco-juice on the carpet and floors, and
sometimes even upon their wives besides. They do not kick their
wives out-of-doors like drunken men, but their wives, I have no
doubt, often wish they were outside of the house. Another
perilous feature is that this artificial appetite, like jealousy,
"grows by what it feeds on;" when you love that which is
unnatural, a stronger appetite is created for the hurtful thing
than the natural desire for what is harmless. There is an old
proverb which says that "habit is second nature," but an
artificial habit is stronger than nature. Take, for instance, an
old tobacco-chewer; his love for the "quid" is stronger than his
love for any particular kind of food. He can give up roast beef
easier than give up the weed.

These remarks apply with tenfold force to the use of intoxicating
drinks. To make money, requires a clear brain. A man has got to
see that two and two make four; he must lay all his plans with
reflection and forethought, and closely examine all the details
and the ins and outs of business. As no man can succeed in
business unless he has a brain to enable him to lay his plans,
and reason to guide him in their execution, so, no matter how
bountifully a man may be blessed with intelligence, if the brain
is muddled, and his judgment warped by intoxicating drinks, it is
impossible for him to carry on business successfully. How many
good opportunities have passed, never to return, while a man was
sipping a "social glass" with his friend! How many foolish
bargains have been made under the influence of the "nervine,"
which temporarily makes its victim think he is rich. How many
important chances have been put off until to-morrow, and then
forever, because the wine-cup has thrown the system into a state
of lassitude, neutralizing the energies so essential to success
in business. Verily, "wine is a mocker." The use of intoxicating
drinks as a beverage is as much an infatuation as is the smoking
of opium by the Chinese, and the former is quite as destructive
to the success of the business man as the latter. It is an
unmitigated evil, utterly indefensible in the light of
philosophy, religion or good sense. It is the parent of nearly
every other evil in our country.

The safest plan, and the one most sure of success for the young
man starting in life, is to select the vocation which is most
congenial to his tastes. Parents and guardians are often quite
too negligent in regard to this. It is very common for a father
to say, for example: "I have five boys. I will make Billy a
clergyman; John a lawyer; Tom a doctor, and Dick a farmer." He
then goes into town and looks about to see what he will do with
Sammy. He returns home, and says: "Sammy, I see watchmaking is a
nice, genteel business; I think I will make you a goldsmith." He
does this, regardless of Sam's natural inclinations or genius.

We are all, no doubt, born for a wise purpose. There is as much
diversity in our brains as in our countenances. Some are born
natural mechanics, while some have great aversion to machinery.
Let a dozen boys of ten years get together, and you will soon
observe two or three are "whittling" out some ingenious device;
working with locks or complicated machinery. When they were but
five years old their father could find no toy to please them like
a puzzle. They are natural mechanics; but the other eight or nine
boys have different aptitudes I belong to the latter class; I
never had the slightest love for mechanism; on the contrary, I
have a sort of abhorrence for complicated machinery. I never had
ingenuity enough to whittle a cider-tap so it would not leak. I
never could make a pen that I could write with, or understand the
principle of a steam-engine. If a man was to take such a boy as I
was, and attempt to make a watchmaker of him, the boy might,
after an apprenticeship of five or seven years be able to take
apart and put together a watch; but all through life he would be
working uphill and seizing every excuse for leaving his work and
idling away his time. Watchmaking is repulsive to him.

Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature,
and best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed. I am
glad to believe that the majority of persons do find their right
vocation. Yet we see many who have mistaken their calling from
the blacksmith up (or down) to the clergyman. You will see, for
instance, that extraordinary linguist, the "learned blacksmith,"
who ought to have been a teacher of languages; and you may have
seen lawyers, doctors and clergymen who were better fitted by
nature for the anvil or the lapstone.

Avoid debt. Young men starting in life should avoid running into
debt. There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like
debt. It is a slavish position to get in, yet we find many a
young man, hardly out of his "teens," running in debt. He meets a
chum, and says, "Look at this: I have got trusted for a new suit
of clothes." He seems to look upon the clothes as so much given
to him; well, it frequently is so, but, if he succeeds in paying
and then gets trusted again, he is adopting a habit which will
keep him in poverty through life. Debt robs a man of his
self-respect, and makes him almost despise himself. Grunting and
groaning and working for what he has eaten up or worn out, and
now when he is called upon to pay up he has nothing to show for
his money; this is properly termed "working for a dead horse." I
do not speak of merchants buying and selling on credit, or of
those who buy on credit in order to turn the purchase to a
profit. The old Quaker said to his farmer son, "John, never get
trusted; but if thee gets trusted for anything, let it be for
'manure,' because that will help thee pay it back again."

Mr. Beecher advised young men to get in debt if they could to a
small amount in the purchase of land in the country districts.
"If a young man," he says, "will only get in debt for some land
and then get married, these two things will keep him straight, or
nothing will." This may be safe to a limited extent, but getting
in debt for what you eat and drink and wear is to be avoided.
Some families have a foolish habit of getting credit at "the
stores," and thus frequently purchase many things which might
have been dispensed with.

It is all very well to say, "I have got trusted for sixty days,
and if I don't have the money the creditor will think nothing
about it." There is no class of people in the world who have such
good memories as creditors. When the sixty days run out you will
have to pay. If you do not pay, you will break your promise, and
probably resort to a falsehood. You may make some excuse or get
in debt elsewhere to pay it, but that only involves you the

A good-looking, lazy young fellow, was the apprentice boy,
Horatio. His employer said, "Horatio, did you ever see a snail?"
"I--think--I--have," he drawled out. "You must have met him,
then, for I am sure you never overtook one," said the "boss."
Your creditor will meet you or overtake you and say, "Now, my
young friend, you agreed to pay me; you have not done it, you
must give me your note." You give the note on interest and it
commences working against you; "it is a dead horse." The creditor
goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning better off than
when he retired to bed, because his interest has increased during
the night, but you grow poorer while you are sleeping, for the
interest is accumulating against you.

Among the maxims of the elder Rothschild was one, an apparent
paradox: "Be cautious and bold." This seems to be a contradiction
in terms, but it is not, and there is great wisdom in the maxim.
It is, in fact, a condensed statement of what I have already
said. It is to say, "you must exercise your caution in laying
your plans, but be bold in carrying them out." A man who is all
caution will never dare to take hold and be successful; and a man
who is all boldness is merely reckless, and must eventually fail.
A man may go on "'change" and make fifty or one hundred thousand
dollars in speculating in stocks at a single operation. But if he
has simple boldness without caution, it is mere chance, and what
he gains to-day he will lose to-morrow. You must have both the
caution and the boldness to insure success.

The Rothschilds have another maxim: "Never have anything to do
with an unlucky man or place." That is to say, never have
anything to do with a man or place which never succeeds, because,
although a man may appear to be honest and intelligent, yet if he
tries this or that thing and always fails, it is on account of
some fault or infirmity that you may not be able to discover, but
nevertheless which must exist.

There is no such thing in the world as luck. There never was a
man who could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold
in the street to-day, and another to-morrow, and so on, day after
day. He may do so once in his life; but so far as mere luck is
concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it. "Like causes
produce like effects." If a man adopts the proper methods to be
successful, "luck" will not prevent him. If he does not succeed,
there are reasons for it, although, perhaps, he may not be able
to see them.

We all depend, more or less, upon the public for our support. We
all trade with the public--lawyers, doctors, shoemakers, artists,
blacksmiths, showmen, opera singers, railroad presidents, and
college professors. Those who deal with the public must be
careful that their goods are valuable; that they are genuine, and
will give satisfaction. When you get an article which you know is
going to please your customers, and that when they have tried it
they will feel they have got their money's worth, then let the
fact be known that you have got it. Be careful to advertise it in
some shape or other, because it is evident that if a man has ever
so good an article for sale, and nobody knows it, it will bring
him no return. In a country like this, where nearly everybody
reads, and where newspapers are issued and circulated in editions
of five thousand to two hundred thousand, it would be very unwise
if this channel was not taken advantage of to reach the public in
advertising. A newspaper goes into the family, and is read by
wife and children, as well as the head of the house; hence
hundreds and thousands of people may read your advertisement,
while you are attending to your routine business. Many, perhaps,
read it while you are asleep. The whole philosophy of life is,
first "sow," then "reap." That is the way the farmer does; he
plants his potatoes and corn, and sows his grain, and then goes
about something else, and the time comes when he reaps. But he
never reaps first and sows afterwards. This principle applies to
all kinds of business, and to nothing more eminently than to
advertising. If a man has a genuine article, there is no way in
which he can reap more advantageously than by "sowing" to the
public in this way. He must, of course, have a really good
article, and one which will please his customers; anything
spurious will not succeed permanently, because the public is
wiser than many imagine. Men and women are selfish, and we all
prefer purchasing where we can get the most for our money; and we
try to find out where we can most surely do so.

You may advertise a spurious article, and induce many people to
call and buy it once, but they will denounce you as an impostor
and swindler, and your business will gradually die out and leave
you poor. This is right. Few people can safely depend upon chance
custom. You all need to have your customers return and purchase
again. A man said to me, "I have tried advertising and did not
succeed; yet I have a good article."

I replied, "My friend, there may be exceptions to a general rule.
But how do you advertise?"

"I put it in a weekly newspaper three times, and paid a dollar
and a half for it." I replied: "Sir, advertising is like
learning--'a little is a dangerous thing!' "

A French writer says that "The reader of a newspaper does not see
the first insertion of an ordinary advertisement; the second
insertion he sees, but does not read; the third insertion he
reads; the fourth insertion, he looks at the price; the fifth
insertion, he speaks of it to his wife; the sixth insertion, he
is ready to purchase, and the seventh insertion, he purchases."
Your object in advertising is to make the public understand what
you have got to sell, and if you have not the pluck to keep
advertising, until you have imparted that information, all the
money you have spent is lost.

Work at it, if necessary, early and late, in season and out of
season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a
single hour that which can be done just as well now. The old
proverb is full of truth and meaning: "Whatever is worth doing at
all, is worth doing well." Many a man acquires a fortune by doing
his business thoroughly, while his neighbor remains poor for
life, because he only half does it. Ambition, energy, industry,
perseverance, are indispensable requisites for success in

Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does
not help himself. It won't do to spend your time like Mr.
Micawber, in waiting for something to "turn up." To such men one
of two things usually "turns up:" the poor-house or the jail; for
idleness breeds bad habits, and clothes a man in rags. The poor
spendthrift vagabond said to a rich man:

"I have discovered there is money enough in the world for all of
us, if it was equally divided; this must be done, and we shall
all be happy together."

"But," was the response, "if everybody was like you, it would be
spent in two months, and what would you do then?"

"Oh! divide again; keep dividing, of course!"

I was recently reading in a London paper an account of a like
philosophic pauper, who was kicked out of a cheap boarding-house
because he could not pay his bill, but he had a roll of papers
sticking out of his coat pocket, which, upon examination, proved
to be his plan for paying off the national debt of England
without the aid of a penny. People have got to do as Cromwell
said: "Not only trust in Providence, but keep the powder dry." Do
your part of the work, or you cannot succeed. Mahomet, one night,
while encamping in the desert, overheard one of his fatigued
followers remark: "I will loose my camel, and trust it to God."
"No, no, not so," said the prophet; "tie thy camel, and trust it
to God." Do all you can for yourselves, and then trust to
Providence, or luck, or whatever you please to call it, for the

Some men have a foolish habit of telling their business secrets.
If they make money they like to tell their neighbors how it was
done. Nothing is gained by this, and ofttimes much is lost. Say
nothing about your profits, your hopes, your expectations, your
intentions. And this should apply to letters as well as to
conversation. Goethe makes Mephistophiles say: "Never write a
letter nor destroy one." Business men must write letters, but
they should be careful what they put in them. If you are losing,
money, be specially cautious and not tell of it or you will lose
your reputation.

Preserve your integrity. It is more precious than, diamonds or
rubies. The old miser said to his sons: "Get money; get it
honestly, if you can, but get money." This advice was not only
atrociously wicked, but it was the very essence of stupidity. It
was as much as to say, "if you find it difficult to obtain money
honestly, you can easily get it dishonestly. Get it in that way."
Poor fool! Not to know that the most difficult thing in life is
to make money dishonestly! not to know that our prisons are full
of men who attempted to follow this advice; not to understand
that no man can be dishonest without soon being found out, and
that when his lack of principle is discovered, nearly every
avenue to success is closed against him forever. The public very
properly shun all whose integrity is doubted. No matter how
polite and pleasant and accommodating a man may be, none of us
dare to deal with him if we suspect "false weights and measures."
Strict honesty not only lies at the foundation of all success in
life (financially), but in every other respect. Uncompromising
integrity of character is invaluable. It secures to its possessor
a peace and joy which cannot be attained without it--which no
amount of money, or houses and lands, can purchase. A man who is
known to be strictly honest, may be ever so poor, but he has the
purses of all the community at his disposal--for all know that if
he promises to return what he borrows, he will never disappoint
them. As a mere matter of selfishness, therefore, if a man had no
higher motive for being honest, all will find that the maxim of
Dr. Franklin can never fail to be true--that "honesty is the best

I hold that no man ought ever to indorse a note or become
security for any man, be it his father or brother, to a greater
extent than he can afford to lose and care nothing about, without
taking good security. Here is a man that is worth twenty thousand
dollars; he is doing a thriving manufacturing or mercantile
trade; you are retired and living on your money; he comes to you
and says:

"You are aware that I am worth twenty thousand dollars, and don't
owe a dollar: if I had five thousand dollars in cash, I could
purchase a particular lot of goods and double my money in a
couple of months; will you indorse my note for that amount?"

You reflect that he is worth twenty thousand dollars, and you
incur no risk by indorsing his note; you like to accommodate him,
and you lend your name without taking the precaution of getting
security. Shortly after, he shows you the note with your
indorsement cancelled, and tells you, probably truly, "that he
made the profit that he expected by the operation;" you reflect
that you have done a good action, and the thought makes you feel
happy. By and by the same thing occurs again and you do it again;
you have already fixed the impression in your mind that it is
perfectly safe to indorse his notes without security.

But the trouble is, this man is getting money too easily. He has
only to take your note to the bank, get it discounted, and take
the cash. He gets money for the time being without effort;
without inconvenience to himself. Now mark the result. He sees a
chance for speculation outside of his business. A temporary
investment of only $10,000 is required. It is sure to come back
before a note at the bank would be due. He places a note for that
amount before you. You sign it almost mechanically. Being firmly
convinced that your friend is responsible and trustworthy, you
indorse his notes as a "matter of course."

Unfortunately the speculation does not come to a head quite so
soon as was expected, and another $10,000 note must be discounted
to take up the last one when due. Before this note matures the
speculation has proved an utter failure and all the money is
lost. Does the loser tell his friend, the indorser, that he has
lost half of his fortune? Not at all. He don't even mention that
he has speculated at all. But he has got excited; the spirit of
speculation has seized him; he sees others making large sums in
this way (we seldom hear of the loser), and, like other
speculators, he "looks for his money where he loses it." He tries
again. Indorsing notes has become chronic with you, and at every
loss he gets your signature for whatever amount he wants. Finally
you discover your friend has lost all of his property and all of
yours. You are overwhelmed with astonishment and grief, and you
say "it is a hard thing; my friend here has ruined me," but, you
should add, "I have also ruined him." If you had said in the
first place, "I will accommodate you, but I never indorse without
taking ample security," he could not have gone beyond the length
of his tether, and he would never have been tempted away from his
legitimate business. It is a very dangerous thing, therefore, at
any time, to let people get possession of money too easily; it
tempts them to hazardous speculations, if nothing more. Solomon
truly said, "He that hateth suretiship is sure."

We sometimes see men who have obtained fortunes suddenly become
poor. In many cases this arises from intemperance, and often from
gaming and other bad habits. Frequently it occurs because a man
has been engaged in "outside operations" of some sort. When he
gets rich in his legitimate business, he is told of a grand
speculation where he can make a score of thousands. He is
constantly flattered by his friends, who tell him that he is born
lucky, that everything he touches turns into gold. Now if he
forgets that his economical habits, his rectitude of conduct and
a personal attention to a business which he understood, caused
his success in life, he will listen to the siren voices. He says:

"I will put in twenty thousand dollars. I have been lucky, and my
good luck will soon bring me back sixty thousand dollars."

A few days elapse, and it is discovered he must put in ten
thousand dollars more; soon after he is told "it is all right,"
but certain matters not foreseen require an advance of twenty
thousand dollars more, which will bring him a rich harvest; but
before the time comes around to realize the bubble bursts, he
loses all he is possessed of, and then he learns what he ought to
have known at the first, that however successful a man may be in
his own business, if he turns from that and engages in a business
which he don't understand, he is like Samson when shorn of his
locks--his strength has departed, and he becomes like other men.

If a man has plenty of money, he ought to invest something in
everything that appears to promise success, and that will
probably benefit mankind; but let the sums thus invested be
moderate in amount, and never let a man foolishly jeopardize a
fortune that he has earned in a legitimate way by investing it in
things in which he has had no experience.

When a man is in the right path he must persevere. I speak of
this because there are some persons who are "born tired;"
naturally lazy and possessing no self-reliance and no
perseverance. But they can cultivate these qualities, as Davy
Crockett said:

          "This thing remember, when I am dead,
          Be sure you are right, then go ahead."

It is this go-aheaditiveness, this determination not to let the
"horrors" or the "blues" take possession of you, so as to make
you relax your energies in the struggle for independence, which
you must cultivate.

How many have almost reached the goal of their ambition, but,
losing faith in themselves, have relaxed their energies, and the
golden prize has been lost forever.

It is, no doubt, often true, as Shakespeare says:

          "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
          Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."

 If you hesitate, some bolder hand will stretch out before you
and get the prize. Remember the proverb of Solomon: "He becometh
poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent
maketh rich."

Perseverance is sometimes but another word for self-reliance.
Many persons naturally look on the dark side of life, and borrow
trouble. They are born so. Then they ask for advice, and they
will be governed by one wind and blown by another, and cannot
rely upon themselves. Until you can get so that you can rely upon
yourself, you need not expect to succeed. I have known men,
personally, who have met with pecuniary reverses, and absolutely
committed suicide, because they thought they could never overcome
their misfortune. But I have known others who have met more
serious financial difficulties, and have bridged them over by
simple perseverance, aided by a firm belief that they were doing
justly, and that Providence would "overcome evil with good."

Learn something useful. Every man should make his son or daughter
learn some trade or profession, so that in these days of changing
fortunes--of being rich to-day and poor to-morrow--they may have
something tangible to fall back upon. This provision might save
many persons from misery, who by some unexpected turn of fortune
have lost all their means.

Let hope predominate, but be not too visionary. Many persons are
always kept poor because they are too visionary. Every project
looks to them like certain success, and therefore they keep
changing from one business to another, always in hot water,
always "under the harrow." The plan of "counting the chickens
before they are hatched" is an error of ancient date, but it does
not seem to improve by age.

Do not scatter your powers. Engage in one kind of business only,
and stick to it faithfully until you succeed, or until your
experience shows that you should abandon it. A constant hammering
on one nail will generally drive it home at last, so that it can
be clinched. When a man's undivided attention is centred on one
object, his mind will constantly be suggesting improvements of
value, which would escape him if his brain was occupied by a
dozen different subjects at once. Many a fortune has slipped
through a man's fingers because he was engaged in too many
occupations at a time. There is good sense in the old caution
against having too many irons in the fire at once.

Be systematic. Men should be systematic in their business. A
person who does business by rule, having a time and place for
everything, doing his work promptly, will accomplish twice as
much and with half the trouble of him who does it carelessly and
slipshod. By introducing system into all your transactions, doing
one thing at a time, always meeting appointments with
punctuality, you will find leisure for pastime and recreation;
whereas the man who only half does one thing, and then turns to
something else, and half does that, will have his business at
loose ends, and will never know when his day's work is done, for
it never will be done. Of course, there is a limit to all these
rules. We must try to preserve the happy medium, for there is
such a thing as being too systematic. There are men and women,
for instance, who put away things so carefully that they can
never find them again. It is too much like the "red-tape"
formality at Washington, and Mr. Dick-ens' "Circumlocution
Office,"--all theory and no result.

To get rich is not always equivalent to being successful. "there
are many rich poor men," while there are many others, honest and
devout men and women, who have never possessed so much money as
some rich persons squander in a week, but who are nevertheless
really richer and happier than any man can ever be while he is a
transgressor of the higher laws of his being.

The inordinate love of money, no doubt, may be and is "the root
of all evil," but money itself, when properly used, is not only a
"handy thing to have in the house," but affords the gratification
of blessing our race by enabling its possessor to enlarge the
scope of human happiness and human influence. The desire for
wealth is nearly universal, and none can say it is not laudable,
provided the possessor of it accepts its responsibilities, and
uses it as a friend to humanity.

The history of money-getting, which is commerce, is a history of
civilization, and wherever trade has flourished most, there, too,
have art and science produced the noblest fruits. In fact, as a
general thing, money-getters are the benefactors of our race. To
them in a great measure, are we indebted for our institutions of
learning and of art, our academies, colleges and churches. It is
no argument against the desire for, or the possession of, wealth,
to say that there are sometimes misers who hoard money only for
the sake of hoarding, and who have no higher aspiration than to
grasp everything which comes within their reach. As we have
sometimes hypocrites in religion, and demagogues in politics, so
there are occasionally misers among money-getters. These,
however, are only exceptions to the general rule. But when, in
this country, we find such a nuisance and stumbling block as a
miser, we remember with gratitude that in America we have no laws
of primogeniture, and that in the due course of nature the time
will come when the hoarded dust will be scattered for the benefit
of mankind. To all men and women, therefore, do I conscientiously
say, make money honestly, and not otherwise, for Shakespeare has
truly said, "He that wants money, means and content, is without
three good friends."

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent
servant but a terrible master. When you have it mastering you;
when interest is constantly piling up against you, it will keep
you down in the worst kind of slavery. But let money work for
you, and you have the most devoted servant in the world. It is no
"eye-servant." There is nothing animate or inanimate that will
work so faithfully as money when placed at interest, well
secured. It works night and day, and in wet or dry weather.

Do not let it work against you; if you do, there is no chance for
success in life so far as money is concerned. John Randolph, the
eccentric Virginian, once exclaimed in Congress, "Mr. Speaker, I
have discovered the philosopher's stone: pay as you go." This is,
indeed, nearer to the philosopher's stone than any alchemist has
ever yet arrived.

Barnum and the newspapers had always been on the best of terms,
and in nearly every instance the press praised the lecture in
most unqualified terms. The following extract from the London
Times is a fair sample of many notices which he received:

"We are bound to admit that Mr. Barnum is one of the most
entertaining lecturers that ever addressed an audience on a theme
universally intelligible. The appearance of Mr. Barnum, it should
be added, has nothing of the 'charlatan' about it, but is that of
the thoroughly respectable man of business; and he has at command
a fund of dry humor that convulses everybody with laughter, while
he himself remains perfectly serious. A sonorous voice and an
admirably clear delivery complete his qualifications as a
lecturer, in which capacity he is no 'humbug,' either in a higher
or lower sense of the word."

During the year 1859 he delivered this lecture nearly one hundred
times in London and in different parts of England, always with
great success.

Remembering his experiences with Tom Thumb at Oxford and
Cambridge, and knowing the fondness of the college men for
joking, Barnum made up his mind to endure any amount of friendly
chaff when he visited their cities.

He commenced at Cambridge, where he was greeted with a crowded
house, composed largely of under-graduates. Soon after he began
to speak, one of the young men called out: "Where is Joice Heth?"
to which Barnum replied: "Young gentleman, please to restrain
yourself till the close of the lecture, when I shall take great
pleasure in affording you all the information I possess
concerning your deceased relative."

This turned the laugh against the youthful inquirer, and kept the
students quiet for a few moments. Questions of a similar
character were occasionally propounded and as promptly answered,
and on the whole the lecture was interrupted less than Barnum had
anticipated, while the receipts were over one hundred pounds

At Oxford the hall was filled to suffocation half an hour before
the time announced for the lecture to begin, and the sale of
tickets was stopped.

Barnum therefore stepped upon the platform, and said: "Ladies and
gentlemen: as every seat is now occupied and the ticket-office is
closed, I propose to begin my lecture now and not keep you
waiting till the advertised hour."

"Good for you, old Barnum,"--"Time is money,"--"Nothing like
economy," yelled the audience. Holding up his hand for silence,
Barnum proceeded:

"Young gentlemen, I have a word or two to say, in order that we
may have a thorough understanding between ourselves at the
outset. I see symptoms of a pretty jolly time here this evening,
and you have paid me liberally for the single hour of my time,
which is at your service. I am an old traveller and an old
showman, and I like to please my patrons. Now, it is quite
immaterial to me; you may furnish the entertainment for the hour,
or I will endeavor to do so, or we will take portions of the time
by turns --you supplying a part of the amusement and I a part--as
we say sometimes in America, 'you pays your money, and you takes
your choice.' "

This frankness pleased the students, who agreed to this unique
proposition unhesitatingly.

The lecture proceeded for fifteen minutes, when a voice called
out: "Come, old chap! you must be tired by this time. Hold up now
till we sing Yankee Doodle." Whereupon they all joined in that
honorable song with lusty good-will, Barnum meanwhile sitting
down comfortably, to show them that he was quite satisfied with
their manner of passing the time. When the song was concluded,
the leader of the party said: "Now, Mr. Barnum, you may go ahead

The lecture went on, or rather A lecture, for Barnum began to
adapt his remarks to the occasion. Every few minutes would come
some interruption, which was always as much enjoyed by Barnum as
by the audience. When the entertainment concluded, the young men
crowded to the platform to shake hands with the speaker,
declaring that they had had a "jolly good time," while the leader
said: "Stay with us a week, Barnum, and we'll dine you, wine you,
and give you full houses every night."

Barnum would have accepted the invitation had he not been
announced to lecture in London the next evening, and he told the
students so. They asked him all sorts of questions about America,
the Museum and other shows, and expressed the hope that he would
come out of his troubles all right.

At least a score of them invited him to breakfast with them the
next morning, but he declined, until one young gentleman insisted
on personal grounds. "My dear sir," said he, "you must breakfast
with me. I have almost split my throat here to-night, and it is
only fair for you to repay me by coming to see me in the
morning." This appeal was irresistible, and Barnum agreed to

The boys were pleased with his nerve and good nature, but they
confided to him that they liked better to get people angry. A few
weeks before Howard Paul had left them in disgust, because they
insisted on smoking when his wife was on the stage. They added
that the entertainment was excellent, and Howard Paul might have
made a thousand pounds if he had kept his temper.

Some time later Barnum was offered L1,200, or $6,000, for the
copyright of his lecture; the offer was, however, refused.



The morning after the lecture in Manchester a gentleman named
John Fish called at the hotel where Barnum was staying. He said
that he had attended the lecture the evening before, and added
that he was pretty well acquainted with the lecturer, having read
his autobiography. He went on to say that he was joint proprietor
with another gentleman in a cotton-mill near Manchester,
"although," he said, "a few years ago I was working as a
journeyman, and probably should have been at this time had I not
read your book."

Observing Mr. Barnum's surprise, he continued:

"The fact is, Mr. Barnum, upon reading your autobiography, I
thought I perceived you tried to make yourself out worse than you
really were; for I discovered a pleasant spirit and a good heart
under the rougher exterior in which you chose to present yourself
to the public; but," he added, "after reading your life, I found
myself in possession of renewed strength, and awakened energies
and aspirations, and I said to myself, 'Why can't I go ahead and
make money, as Barnum did? He commenced without money and
succeeded; why may not I?' In this train of thought," he
continued, "I went to a newspaper office and advertised for a
partner with money to join me in establishing a cotton-mill. I
had no applications, and, remembering your experiences when you
had money and wanted a partner, I spent half a crown in a similar
experiment. I advertised for a partner to join a man who had
plenty of capital. Then I had lots of applicants ready to
introduce me into all sorts of occupations, from that of a banker
to that of a horsejockey or gambler, if I would only furnish the
money to start with. After a while, I advertised again for a
partner, and obtained one with money. We have a good mill. I
devote myself closely to business, and have been very successful.
I know every line in your book; so, indeed, do several members of
my family; and I have conducted my business on the principles
laid down in your published 'Rules for Money-making.' I find them
correct principles; and, sir, I have sought this interview in
order to thank you for publishing your autobiography, and to tell
you that to that act of yours I attribute my present position in

"Your statement is certainly flattering," said Mr. Barnum, "and I
am glad if I have been able in any manner, through my
experiences, to aid you in starting in life. But I presume your
genius would have found vent in time if I had not written the

"No, indeed, it would not," he replied, in an earnest tone; "I am
sure I should have worked as a mill-hand all my life if it had
not been for you. Oh, I have made no secret of it," he continued;
"the commercial men with whom I deal know all about it; indeed,
they call me 'Barnum' on 'change here in Manchester."

On one occasion, when General Tom Thumb exhibited in Bury, Mr.
Fish closed his mill, and gave each of his employees a ticket to
the exhibition; out of respect, as he said, to Barnum. On a
subsequent occasion, when the little General visited England the
last time, Mr. Fish invited him, his wife, Commodore Nutt, Minnie
Warren, and the managers of "the show," to a splendid and
sumptuous dinner at his house, which the distinguished little
party enjoyed exceedingly.

Soon after his return to America, Barnum read an account of a
French giant then exhibiting in Paris, and said to be over eight
feet in height. As this was considerably taller than anything
that the showman had ever beheld, he wrote to his friend Fish,
who had expressed a wish to do him any service in his power, and
requested him to go to Paris, and, by actual measurement, find
out the exact height of the giant. He inclosed an offer,
arranging the prices on a sliding scale, commencing at eight
feet, and descending to seven feet two inches, for if he were not
taller than that he was not to be desired.

Mr. Fish put a two-foot rule in his pocket, and started for
Paris, where, after several days' delay and much trouble beside,
he finally succeeded in gaining an interview. The giant was shown
Barnum's letter, and read the tempting offers made for his
services, provided he measured eight feet, or within six inches
of that height.

"Oh, I measure over eight feet," said he.

"Very likely," responded Mr. Fish, "but you see my orders are to
measure you."

"There's no need of that; you can see for yourself," stretching
himself up a few inches by aid of a peculiar knack which giants
and dwarfs possess to increase or diminish their apparent

"No doubt you are right," persisted Mr. Fish, "but you see I must
obey orders, and if I am not permitted to measure you I shall not
engage you."

"Well," said the giant, "if you can't take my word for it, look
at that door. You see my head is more than two feet above the top
(giving his neck a severe stretch); just measure the door."

But Mr. Fish refused. The giant was now desperate, and,
stretching himself up to his full height, exclaimed: "Well, be
quick! Put your rule to my feet and measure me; but hurry up,

Mr. Fish regarded him coolly. "Look here!" said he, "this sort of
thing won't do, you know. I don't understand this contrivance
around the soles of your boots, but it seems to me you've got a
set of springs there which aids your height when you desire it.
Now I will not stand any more nonsense. If I engage you at all,
you must first take off your boots, and lie flat upon your back
in the middle of the floor."

The giant protested, but Mr. Fish was firm, and at last he slowly
took off his coat and lay down on the floor. Mr. Fish applied his
rule, and to his own astonishment and the giant's indignation the
latter proved to be barely seven feet one and one-half inches. So
he was not engaged at all.

Some time afterwards Barnum wrote to his friend and asked his
permission to put him into a new book then in course of
preparation. He wrote in return the following characteristic

Had I made a fortune of L100,000 I should have been proud of a
place in your Autobiography; but as I have only been able to make
(here he named a sum which in this country would be considered
almost a fortune), I feel I should be out of place in your pages;
at all events, if you mention me at all, draw it mildly, if you

The American war has made sad havoc in our trade, and it is only
by close attention to business that I have lately been at all
successful. I have built a place for one thousand looms, and
have, as you know, put in a pair of engines, which I have named
"Barnum" and "Charity." Each engine has its name engraved on two
large brass plates at either end of the cylinder, which has often
caused much mirth when I have explained the circumstances to
visitors. I started and christened "Charity" on the 14th of
January last, and she has saved me L12 per month in coals ever
since. The steam from the boiler goes first to "Charity" (she is
high pressure), and "Barnum" only gets the steam after she has
done with it. He has to work at low pressure (a condensing
engine), and the result is a saving. Barnum was extravagant when
he took steam direct, but since I fixed Charity betwixt him and
the boiler, he can only get what she gives him. This reminds me
that you state in your "Life" you could always make money, but
formerly did not save it. Perhaps you never took care of it till
Charity became Chancellor of Exchequer. When I visited you at the
Bull Hotel, in Blackburn, you pointed to General Tom Thumb, and
said: "That is my piece of goods; I have sold it hundreds of
thousands of times, and have never yet delivered it!" That was
ten years ago, in 1858. If I had been doing the same with my
pieces of calico, I must have been wealthy by this time; but I
have been hammering at one (cotton) nail several months, and, as
it did not offer to clinch, I was almost tempted to doubt one of
your "rules," and thought I would drive at some other nail; but,
on reflection, I knew I understood cotton better than anything
else, and so I back up your rule and stick to cotton, not
doubting it will be all right and successful.

Mr. Fish was one of the large class of English manufacturers who
suffered seriously from the effects of the rebellion in the
United States. As an Englishman, he could not have a patriot's
interest in the progress of that terrible struggle; but he made a
practical exhibition of sympathy for the suffering soldiers, in a
pleasant and characteristic manner.

At the great Sanitary Fair in New York, during the war, Mr. Fish
sent two monster "Simuel cakes," covered with miniature forts,
cannon, armies, and all the panoply of war, which attracted great
attention from every one present.



In 1859, Barnum returned to the United States. During his trip
abroad he had secured many novelties for the Museum, the Albino
Family, Thiodon's Mechanical Theatre, and others.

These afforded him a liberal commission, and he had beside made
considerable money from the Tom Thumb exhibitions and his

All this, his wife's income, as well as a large sum derived from
the sale of some of her property, was faithfully devoted to the
one object of their lives--paying off the clock debts.

Mrs. Barnum and her daughter, Pauline, had either boarded in
Bridgeport or lived in a small house in the suburbs during the
entire four years of struggle. The land purchased by Mrs. Barnum
at the assignee's sale in East Bridgeport had increased in value
meanwhile, and they felt justified in borrowing on it, some of
the single lots were sold, and all this money went toward the
discharge of the debts.

At last, in March, 1860, all the clock indebtedness was
extinguished, except $20,000, which Barnum bound himself to take
up within a certain time, his friend James D. Johnson
guaranteeing his bond to that effect.

On the seventeenth day of March, Messrs. Butler and Greenwood
signed an agreement to sell and deliver to Barnum on the
following Saturday their entire good-will and interest in the
Museum collection. This fact was thoroughly circulated, and
blazing posters, placards, and advertisements announced that
"Barnum is on his feet again." It was furthermore stated that the
Museum would be closed for one week, opening March 31st, under
the management and proprietorship of its original owner. It was
also promised that Barnum would address the audience on the night
of closing.

The Museum, decked in its holiday dress of flags and banners, was
crowded to its utmost capacity when Barnum made his appearance.
His reception was an enthusiastic one, cheers and shouts rent the
air, and tears filled the showman's eyes as he thought of this
triumphant conclusion of his four years' struggle.

Recovering himself, he bowed his acknowledgments for the
reception, and addressed the audience as follows:

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I should be more or less than human, if I
could meet this unexpected and overwhelming testimonial at your
hands, without the deepest emotion. My own personal connection
with the Museum is now resumed, and I avail myself of the
circumstance to say why it is so. Never did I feel stronger in my
worldly prosperity than in September, 1855. Three months later I
was so deeply embarrassed that I felt certain of nothing, except
the uncertainty of everything. A combination of singular efforts
and circumstances tempted me to put faith in a certain clock
manufacturing company, and I placed my signature to papers which
ultimately broke me down. After nearly five years of hard
struggle to keep my head above water, I have touched bottom at
last, and here to-night I am happy to announce that I have waded
ashore. Every clock debt of which I have any knowledge has been
provided for. Perhaps, after the troubles and turmoils I have
experienced, I should feel no desire to re-engage in the
excitements of business; but a man like myself, less than fifty
years of age, and enjoying robust health, is scarcely old enough
to be embalmed and put in a glass case in the Museum as one of
its million of curiosities. 'It is better to wear out than rust
out.' Besides, if a man of active temperament is not busy, he is
apt to get into mischief. To avoid evil, therefore, and since
business activity is a necessity of my nature, here I am, once
more, in the Museum, and among those with whom I have been so
long and so pleasantly identified. I am confident of a cordial
welcome, and hence feel some claim to your indulgence while I
briefly allude to the means of my present deliverance from utter
financial ruin. Need I say, in the first place, that I am
somewhat indebted to the forbearance of generous creditors. In
the next place, permit me to speak of sympathizing friends, whose
volunteered loans and exertions vastly aided my rescue. When my
day of sorrow came, I first paid or secured every debt I owed of
a personal nature. This done, I felt bound in honor to give up
all of my property that remained toward liquidating my 'clock
debts.' I placed it in the hands of trustees and receivers for
the benefit of all the 'clock' creditors. But at the forced sale
of my Connecticut real estate, there was a purchaser behind the
screen, of whom the world had little knowledge. In the day of my
prosperity I made over to my wife much valuable property,
including the lease of this Museum building--a lease then having
about twenty-two years to run, and enhanced in value to more than
double its original worth. I sold the Museum collection to
Messrs. Greenwood & Butler, subject to my wife's separate
interest in the lease, and she has received more than $80,000
over and above the sums paid to the owners of the building.
Instead of selfishly applying this amount to private purposes, my
family lived with a due regard to economy, and the savings
(strictly belonging to my wife) were devoted to buying in
portions of my estate at the assignees' sales and to purchasing
'clock notes' bearing my indorsements. The Christian name of my
wife is Charity. I may well acknowledge, therefore, that I am not
only a proper 'subject of charity,' but that 'without Charity, I
am nothing.'

"But, ladies and gentlemen, while Charity thus labored in my
behalf, Faith and Hope were not idle. I have been anything but
indolent during the last four years. Driven from pillar to post,
and annoyed beyond description by all sorts of legal claims and
writs, I was perusing protests and summonses by day, and dreaming
of clocks run down by night. My head was ever whizzing with
dislocated cog-wheels and broken main-springs; my whole mind (and
my credit) was running upon tick, and everything pressing on me
like a dead weight.

"In this state of affairs I felt that I was of no use on this
side of the Atlantic, so, giving the pendulum a swing, and
seizing time by the forelock, I went to Europe. There I furtively
pulled the wires of several exhibitions, among which that of Tom
Thumb may be mentioned for example. I managed a variety of
musical and commercial speculations in Great Britain, Germany,
and Holland. These enterprises, together with the net profits of
my public lectures, enabled me to remit large sums to
confidential agents for the purchase of my obligations. In this
manner, I quietly extinguished, little by little, every dollar of
my clock liabilities. I could not have achieved this difficult
feat, however, without the able assistance of enthusiastic
friends--and among the chief of them let me gratefully
acknowledge the invaluable services of Mr. James D. Johnson, a
gentleman of wealth, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Other gentlemen
have been generous with me. Some have loaned me large sums
without security, and have placed me under obligations which must
ever command my honest gratitude "but Mr. Johnson has been a
'friend in deed,' for he has been truly a 'friend in need.'

"You must not infer, from what I have said, that I have
completely recovered from the stunning blow to which I was
subjected four years ago. I have lost more in the way of tens of
thousands, yes, hundreds of thousands, than I care to remember. A
valuable portion of my real estate in Connecticut, however, has
been preserved, and as I feel all the ardor of twenty years ago,
and the prospect here is so flattering, my heart is animated with
the hope of ultimately, by enterprise and activity, obliterating
unpleasant reminiscences, and retrieving the losses of the past.
Experience, too, has taught me not only that, even in the matter
of money, 'enough is as good as a feast,' but that there are, in
this world, some things vastly better than the Almighty Dollar!
Possibly I may contemplate, at times, the painful day when I said
'Othello's occupation's gone'; but I shall the more frequently
cherish the memory of this moment, when I am permitted to
announce that Richard's himself again.'

"Many people have wondered that a man considered so acute as
myself should have been deluded into embarrassments like mine,
and not a few have declared, in short meter, that 'Barnum was a
fool.' I can only reply that I never made pretensions to the
sharpness of a pawnbroker, and I hope I shall never so entirely
lose confidence in human nature as to consider every man a scamp
by instinct, or a rogue by necessity. 'It is better to be
deceived sometimes, than to distrust always,' says Lord Bacon,
and I agree with him.

"Experience is said to be a hard schoolmaster, but I should be
sorry to feel that this great lesson in adversity has not brought
forth fruits of some value. I needed the discipline this
tribulation has given me, and I really feel, after all, that
this, like many other apparent evils, was only a blessing in
disguise. Indeed, I may mention that the very clock factory which
I built in Bridgeport for the purpose of bringing hundreds of
workmen to that city, has been purchased and quadrupled in size
by the Wheeler & Wilson Sewing-Machine Company, and is now filled
with intelligent New England mechanics, whose families add two
thousand to the population, and who are doing a great work in
building up and beautifying that flourishing city. So that the
same concern which prostrated me seems destined as a most
important agent toward my recuperation. I am certain that the
popular sympathy has been with me from the beginning; and this,
together with a consciousness of rectitude, is more than an
offset to all the vicissitudes to which I have been subjected.

"In conclusion, I beg to assure you and the public that my chief
pleasure, while health and strength are spared me, will be to
cater for your and their healthy amusement and instruction. In
future, such capabilities as I possess will be devoted to the
maintenance of this Museum as a popular place of family resort,
in which all that is novel and interesting shall be gathered from
the four quarters of the globe, and which ladies and children may
visit at all times unattended, without danger of encountering
anything of an objectionable nature. The dramas introduced in the
Lecture Room will never contain a profane expression or a vulgar
allusion; on the contrary, their tendency will always be to
encourage virtue and frown upon vice.

"I have established connections in Europe, which will enable me
to produce here a succession of interesting novelties otherwise
inaccessible. Although I shall be personally present much of the
time, and hope to meet many of my old acquaintances, as well as
to form many new ones, I am sure you will be glad to learn that I
have re-secured the services of one of the late proprietors, and
the active manager of this Museum, Mr. John Greenwood, Jr. As he
is a modest gentleman, who would be the last to praise himself,
allow me to add that he is one to whose successful qualities as a
caterer for the popular entertainments, the crowds that have
often filled this building may well bear testimony. But, more
than this, he is the unobtrusive one to whose integrity,
diligence, and devotion I owe much of my present position of
self-congratulation. Mr. Greenwood will hereafter act as
assistant manager, while his late co-partner, Mr. Butler, has
engaged in another branch of business. Once more, thanking you
all for your kind welcome, I bid you, till the re-opening, 'an
affectionate adieu.' "

The speech was received with wild enthusiasm, and after the
re-opening of the Museum the number of visitors was at once
almost doubled.

Among the many newspaper congratulations he received, none gave
Barnum more pleasure than a poem from his old admirer on the
Boston Saturday Evening Gazette.


 Barnum, your hand! The struggle o'er,
     You face the world and ask no favor;
 You stand where you have stood before,
     The old salt hasn't lost its savor.
 You now can laugh with friends, at foes'
     Ne'er heeding Mrs. Grundy's tattle;
 You've dealt and taken sturdy blows,
     Regardless of the rabble's prattle.

  Not yours the heart to harbor ill
     'Gainst those who've dealt in trivial jesting;
 You pass them with the same good will
     Erst shown when they their wit were testing.
You're the same Barnum that we knew,
     You're good for years, still fit for labor,
 Be as of old, be bold and true,
     Honest as man, as friend, as neighbor.

At about this period, the following poem was published in a
Pottsville, Pa., paper, and copied by many journals of the-day:


 Companions! fill your glasses round
     And drink a health to one
 Who has few coming after him,
     To do as he has done;
 Who made a fortune for himself,
     Made fortunes, too, for many,
 Yet wronged no bosom of a sigh,
     No pocket of a penny.
 Come! shout a gallant chorus,
     And make the glasses ring,
 Here's health and luck to Barnum!
     The Exhibition King.

  Who lured the Swedish Nightingale
     To Western woods to come?
 Who prosperous and happy made
     The life of little Thumb?
 Who oped Amusement's golden door
     So cheaply to the crowd,
 And taught Morality to smile
     On all HIS stage allowed?
 Come! shout a gallant chorus,
     Until the glasses ring--
 Here's health and luck to Barnum!
     The Exhibition King.

  And when the sad reverses came,
     As come they may to all,
 Who stood a Hero, bold and true,
     Amid his fortune's fall?
 Who to the utmost yielded up
     What Honor could not keep,
 Then took the field of life again
     With courage calm and deep?
 Come! shout a gallant chorus,
     Until the glasses dance--
 Here's health and luck to Barnum,
     The Napoleon of Finance

 Yet, no--OUR hero would not look
     With smiles on such a cup;
 Throw out the wine--with water clear,
     Fill the pure crystal up
 Then rise, and greet with deep respect,
     The courage he has shown,
 And drink to him who well deserves
     A seat on Fortune's throne.
 Here's health and luck to Barnum!
     An ELBA he has seen,
 And never may his map of life
     Display a ST HELENE!

It is of interest to observe that the phrase "Napoleon of
Finance," which has in recent years been applied to several Wall
Street speculators, was first coined in honorable description of
Phineas T. Barnum, because of his honesty as well as his signal



The famous old American Museum was now the centre of Barnum's
interests, and he devoted himself to its development with such
energy as never before. His enterprise in securing new
curiosities, and his skill in presenting them to the public in
the most attractive light, surpassed all previous efforts. To his
office, as to their Mecca, flocked all the "freaks" of the land,
and all who possessed any objects of rare or marvelous nature.
Foremost among these visitors was one veteran frontiersman, who
had attained--and well deserved--much fame as a fighter of the
most savage wild beasts. His name was James C. Adams, but he was
universally known as "Grizzly Adams," from the fact that he had
captured a great many grizzly bears at the risk and cost of
fearful encounters and perils. He was brave, and with his bravery
there was enough of the romantic in his nature to make him a real
hero. For many years a hunter and trapper in the Rocky and Sierra
Nevada Mountains, he acquired a recklessness, which, added to his
natural invincible courage, rendered him one of the most striking
men of the age, and he was emphatically a man of pluck. A month
after Barnum had re-purchased the Museum, Adams arrived in New
York with his famous collection of California animals, captured
by himself, consisting of twenty or thirty immense grizzly bears,
at the head of which stood "Old Samson," together with several
wolves, half a dozen different species of California bears,
California lions, tigers, buffalo, elk, and "Old Neptune," the
great sea-lion from the Pacific.

Old Adams had trained all these monsters so that with him they
were as docile as kittens, though many of the most ferocious
among them would attack a stranger without hesitation, if he came
within their grasp. In fact, the training of these animals was no
fool's play, as Old Adams learned to his cost, for the terrific
blows which he received from time to time, while teaching them
"docility," finally cost him his life.

Adams called on Barnum immediately on his arrival in New York. He
was dressed in his hunter's suit of buckskin, trimmed with the
skins and bordered with the hanging tails of small Rocky Mountain
animals; his cap consisting of the skin of a wolf's head and
shoulders, from which depended several tails, and under which
appeared his stiff bushy, gray hair and his long, white, grizzly
beard; in fact, Old Adams was quite as much of a show as his
beasts. They had come around Cape Horn on the clipper ship
"Golden Fleece," and a sea voyage of three and a half months had
probably not added much to the beauty or neat appearance of the
old bear-hunter. During their conversation Grizzly Adams took off
his cap, and showed Barnum the top of his head. His skull was
literally broken in. It had, on various occasions, been struck by
the fearful paws of his grizzly students; and the last blow, from
the bear called "General Fremont," had laid open his brain so
that its workings were plainly visible. Barnum remarked that he
thought it was a dangerous wound and might possibly prove fatal.

"Yes," replied Adams, "that will fix me out. It had nearly
healed; but old Fremont opened it for me, for the third or fourth
time, before I left California, and he did his business so
thoroughly, I'm a used-up man. However, I reckon I may live six
months or a year yet." This was spoken as coolly as if he had
been talking about the life of a dog.

This extraordinary man had come to see Barnum about the
"California Menagerie," of which he, Adams, was the owner. Barnum
had shortly before, however, purchased one-half interest in it
from a man who had claimed to be Adams's equal partner. This
Adams disputed, declaring that he had merely borrowed from the
man some money on the security of the show, that the man was not
his partner, and that he had no right to sell one-half or any
portion of the menagerie. As a matter of fact, however, the man
did have a bill of sale for one-half of the show, and Adams was
soon convinced that Barnum's purchase was entirely legitimate.
The result was that Barnum and Adams formed a regular
partnership, the former to attend to all business affairs, the
latter to exhibit the animals. The show was opened in a huge
canvas tent on Broadway, at the corner of Thirteenth Street.

On the morning of opening, a band of music preceded a procession
of animal cages down Broadway and up the Bowery, old Adams,
dressed in his hunting costume, heading the line, with a platform
wagon on which were placed three immense grizzly bears, two of
which he held by chains, while he was mounted on the back of the
largest grizzly, which stood in the centre and was not secured in
any manner whatever. This was the bear known as "General
Fremont," and so docile had he become that Adams said he had used
him as a pack-bear, to carry his cooking and hunting apparatus
through the mountains for six months, and had ridden him hundreds
of miles. But apparently docile as were many of these animals,
there was not one among them that would not occasionally give
Adams a sly blow or a sly bite when a good chance offered; hence
old Adams was but a wreck of his former self, and expressed
pretty nearly the truth when he said:

"Mr. Barnum, I am not the man I was five years ago. Then I felt
able to stand the hug of any grizzly living, and was always glad
to encounter, single handed, any sort of an animal that dared
present himself. But I have been beaten to a jelly, torn almost
limb from limb, and nearly chawed up and spit out by these
treacherous grizzly bears. However, I am good for a few months
yet, and by that time I hope we shall gain enough to make my old
woman comfortable, for I have been absent from her some years."

His wife came from Massachusetts to New York and nursed him. Dr.
Johns dressed his wounds every day, and not only told Adams he
could never recover, but assured his friends that probably a very
few weeks would lay him in his grave. But Adams was as firm as
adamant and as resolute as a lion. Among the thousands who saw
him dressed in his grotesque hunter's suit, and witnessed the
seeming vigor with which he "performed" the savage monsters,
beating and whipping them into apparently the most perfect
docility, probably not one suspected that this rough,
fierce-looking, powerful semi-savage, as he appeared to be, was
suffering intense pain from his broken skull and fevered system,
and that nothing kept him from stretching himself on his
death-bed but his most indomitable and extraordinary will.

Adams was an inveterate story-teller, and often "drew the long
bow" with daring hand. He loved to astonish people with
extraordinary tales, which were sheer inventions, but which no
one could disprove. He pretended, too, to have been everywhere
and to have seen everything. This weakness made him good game for
Barnum, who determined to expose his foibles to him at the first
opportunity. The opportunity soon came. One day, amid the
innumerable caravan of cranks that moved to the weird realm of
Barnum's wonder-house, there appeared a fat, stolid German,
carrying in his hand a small basket, which he guarded with
jealous care.

"I have come," he said, "to see if you would not like some golden
pigeons to buy?"

"Yes," Barnum replied, "I would like a flock of golden pigeons,
if I could buy them for their weight in silver; for there are no
'golden pigeons' in existence, unless they are made from the pure

"You shall some golden pigeons alive see," he replied, at the
same time entering the office, and closing the door after him. He
then removed the lid from the basket, and sure enough, there were
snugly ensconced a pair of beautiful, living ruff-necked pigeons,
as yellow as saffron, and as bright as a double-eagle fresh from
the Mint.

Barnum was somewhat staggered at this sight, and quickly asked
the man where those birds came from. A dull, lazy smile crawled
over the sober face of the German visitor, as he replied in a
slow, guttural tone of voice:

"What you think yourself?"

Catching his meaning, Barnum quickly replied:

"I think it is a humbug."

"Of course, I know you will so say; because you 'forstha' such
things; so I shall not try to humbug you; I have them myself

It then came out that the man was a chemist, and that he had
invented a process by which he could dye the feathers of living
birds any color he pleased, retaining at the same time all the
natural gloss of the plumage. Barnum at once closed a bargain
with him for the birds, for ten dollars, and then put them in his
"Happy Family" at the Museum. He marked them "Golden Pigeons,
from California," and then gleefully awaited Adams' next visit,
feeling sure that the old fellow would be completely taken in.

Sure enough, next morning Adams came along, saw the pigeons,
looked at them earnestly for a few minutes, and then went
straight to the office.

"Mr. Barnum," said he, "you must let me have those California

"I can't spare them," said Barnum.

"But you must spare them. All the birds and animals from
California ought to be together. You own half of my California
menagerie, and you must lend me those pigeons."

"Mr. Adams, they are too rare and valuable a bird to be hawked
about in that manner."

"Oh, don't be a fool," replied Adams. "Rare bird, indeed! Why,
they are just as common in California as any other pigeon! I
could have brought a hundred of them from San Francisco, if I had
thought of it."

"But why did you not think of it?" with a suppressed smile.

"Because they are so common there," said Adams. "I did not think
they would be any curiosity here."

Barnum was ready to burst with laughter to see how readily Adams
swallowed the bait, but, maintaining the most rigid gravity, he

"Oh! well, Mr. Adams, if they are really so common in California,
you had probably better take them, and you may write over and
have half a dozen pairs sent to me for the Museum."

A few weeks later Barnum, being in the California Menagerie,
noticed that something ailed the pigeons. They had a
sadly-mottled appearance. Their feathers had grown out, and they
were half white. Adams had not yet noticed it, being too busy
with his bears. But Barnum called him at once to the pigeon cage.

"Look here, Adams," he said, "I'm afraid you are going to lose
your Golden Pigeons. They must be very sick. Just see how pale
they look! Good thing they're so common in California, so you can
easily get some more, eh?"

Adams looked at them a moment in astonishment, then turning to
Barnum, and seeing that he could not suppress a smile, he
indignantly exclaimed:

"Blast the Golden Pigeons! You had better take them back to the
Museum. You can't humbug me with your painted pigeons!"

This was too much, and Barnum laughed till he cried, to witness
the mixed look of astonishment and vexation which marked the
grizzly features of old Adams.

After the exhibition on Thirteenth Street and Broadway had been
open six weeks, the doctor insisted that Adams should sell out
his share in the animals and settle up his worldly affairs, for
he assured him that he was growing weaker every day, and his
earthly existence must soon terminate. "I shall live a good deal
longer than you doctors think for," replied Adams, doggedly; and
then, seeming after all to realize the truth of the doctor's
assertion, he turned and said: "Well, Mr. Barnum, you must buy me

A bargain was soon concluded. Arrangements had been made to
exhibit the bears in Connecticut and Massachusetts during the
summer, in connection with the Museum, and Adams insisted that
Barnum should engage him to travel for the season and manage the
bears. He offered to do it for $60 a week and expenses. Barnum
replied that he would gladly make such an arrangement, but he
feared Adams was not strong enough to stand it.

"You are growing weaker every day," he said; "and would better go
to your home and rest."

"What will you give me extra if I will travel and exhibit the
bears every day for ten weeks?" added old Adams, eagerly.

"Five hundred dollars."

"Done!" exclaimed Adams, "I will do it, so draw up an agreement
to that effect at once. But mind you, draw it payable to my wife,
for I may be too weak to attend to business after the ten weeks
are up, and if I perform my part of the contract, I want her to
get the $500 without any trouble."

Barnum drew up a contract to pay him $60 per week for his
services, and if he continued to exhibit the bears for ten
consecutive weeks, to hand him, or his wife, $500 extra.

"You have lost your $500!" exclaimed Adams on taking the
contract; "for I am bound to live and earn it."

"I hope you may, with all my heart, and a hundred years more if
you desire it," replied Barnum.

"Call me a fool if I don't earn the $500!" exclaimed Adams, with
a triumphant laugh.

The "show" started off in a few days, and at the end of a
fortnight Barnum met it at Hartford, Connecticut.

"Well" said he, "Adams, you seem to stand it pretty well. I hope
you and your wife are comfortable?"

"Yes," he replied with a laugh; "and you may as well try to be
comfortable, too, for your $500 is a goner."

"All right," Barnum replied, "I hope you will grow better every

But the case was hopeless. Adams was dying. When Barnum met him
three weeks later at New Bedford his eyes were glassy and his
hands trembling, but his courage and will were strong as ever.

"This hot weather tells on me," he said, "but I'll last the ten
weeks and more, and get your $500."

Barnum urged him to quit work, to take half of the $500 and go
home. But, no. He would not listen to it. And he did actually
serve through the whole ten weeks, and got the $500; remarking,
as he pocketed the cash,

"Barnum, it's too bad you're a teetotaler, for I'd like to stand
treat with you on this."

When Adams set out on this last tour, Barnum had a fine new
hunting-suit made of beaver-skins. He had procured it for Herr
Driesbach, the animal tamer, whom he had engaged to take Adams'
place whenever the latter should give out. Adams had asked him to
loan him the suit, to wear occasionally when he had great
audiences, as his own suit was badly worn. Barnum did so; and at
the end of the engagement, as he received the $500, Adams said:

"Mr. Barnum, I suppose you are going to give me this new

"Oh, no," Barnum replied, "I got that for your successor, who
will exhibit the bears to-morrow, besides, you have no possible
use for it."

"Now, don't be mean, but lend me the dress, if you won't give it
to me, for I want to wear it home to my native village."

Barnum could not refuse the poor old man anything, and he
therefore replied:

"Well, Adams, I will lend you the dress, but you will send it
back to me?"

"Yes, when I have done with it," he replied, with an evident
chuckle of triumph.

Barnum thought, "he will soon be done with it," and replied:
"That's all right."

A new idea evidently struck Adams, for, with a brightening look
of satisfaction, he said:

"Now, Barnum, you have made a good thing out of the California
menagerie, and so have I; but you will make a heap more. So if
you won't give me this new hunter's dress, just draw a little
writing, and sign it, saying that I may wear it until I have done
with it."

Barnum knew that in a few days, at longest, he would be "done"
with this world altogether, and, to gratify him, he cheerfully
drew and signed the paper.

"Come, old Yankee, I've got you this time--see. if I hadn't!"
exclaimed Adams, with a broad grin, as he took the paper.

Barnum smiled, and said:

"All right, my dear fellow; the longer you live the better I
shall like it,"

They parted, and Adams went to Charlton, Worcester County,
Massachusetts, where his wife and daughter lived. He took at once
to his bed, and never rose from it again. The excitement had
passed away, and his vital energies could accomplish no more, The
fifth day after arriving home, the physician told him he could
not live until the next morning. He received the announcement in
perfect calmness, and with the most apparent indifference; then,
turning to his wife, with a smile he requested her to have him
buried in the new hunting-suit. "For," said he, "Barnum agreed to
let me have it until I have done with it, and I was determined to
fix his flint this time. He shall never see that dress again."
That dress was indeed the shroud in which he was entombed.

After Adams' death, Barnum incorporated the California Menagerie
with the American Museum, for a time, but afterward sold most of
the animals. The Museum was now most prosperous, and Barnum was
making steady progress toward paying off the debts that burdened

In the fall of 1860 the Museum was visited by the Prince of Wales
and his suite, in response to an invitation from Barnum.
Unfortunately, Barnum himself had gone to Bridgeport that very
morning, the invitation not having been accepted until about an
hour before the visit. Mr. Greenwood, the manager, when he heard
that the Prince was coming, caused the performance in the
lecture-room to be commenced half an hour before the usual time,
so as to clear the floors of a portion of the crowd, in order
that he might have a better opportunity to examine the
curiosities. When the Prince arrived, there was a great crowd
outside the Museum, and hundreds more were soon added to the
numbers assembled within the building. He was received by Mr.
Greenwood, and immediately conducted to the second story, where
the first object of interest pointed out was the "What Is It?" in
which his Royal Highness manifested much curiosity. In compliance
with his wish, the keeper went through the regular account of the
animal. Here, also, the party were shown the Albino family,
concerning whom they made inquiries. The Siamese twins, the
sea-lions, and the seal were also pointed out, and some of the
animals were fed in the presence of the Prince at his own
request. He was conducted through the building, and his attention
was called to many objects of special interest. At the close of a
short visit, the Prince asked for Mr. Barnum, and regretted that
he had not an opportunity of seeing him also. "We have," he said,
"missed the most interesting feature of the establishment."

A few days later Barnum called on the Prince in Boston and was
cordially received. The Prince was much interested and amused at
Barnum's reminiscences of the visits to Buckingham Palace with
Tom Thumb. He told Barnum that he had been much pleased with the
Museum, and had left his autograph there as a memento of his



It was now about five years since Barnum had had a settled home.
The necessities of his business combined with the adversities of
fortune had kept him knocking about from pillar to post.
Sometimes they lived in boarding-houses, and sometimes they kept
house in temporary quarters. Mr. and Mrs. Barnum were now alone,
two of their daughters being married and the third being away at
a boarding-school. Mrs. Barnum's health was much impaired, and it
was desirable that she should have a comfortable and permanent
home. Accordingly, in 1860, Barnum built a pleasant house at
Bridgeport, next to that of his daughter Caroline and not far
from the ruins of Iranistan.

His unfortunate enterprise in the clock business had not
discouraged him from further business ventures. His pet city,
East Bridgeport, was growing rapidly. An enormous sewing-machine
factory had been built, employing a thousand workmen. Other large
factories were springing up, many private residences were being
erected, and there was a great demand for houses of all kinds,
but especially for small cottages suitable for mechanics and
other laboring men. The farm-land which Barnum had purchased only
a few years before was rapidly becoming a city.

It was characteristic of Barnum to place himself in the forefront
in this city-building movement, and in the double role of
speculator and public benefactor. The enterprise which he
undertook was calculated both to help those who were willing to
help themselves to obtain independent homes, and at the same time
to pay a handsome profit to Mr. Barnum. His scheme was described
by himself as follows in the Bridgeport Standard:


"There is a demand at the present moment for two hundred more
dwelling-houses in East Bridgeport. It is evident that if the
money expended in rent can be paid towards the purchase of a
house and lot, the person so paying will in a few years own the
house he lives in, instead of always remaining a tenant. In view
of this fact, I propose to loan money at six per cent. to any
number, not exceeding fifty, industrious, temperate and
respectable individuals, who desire to build their own houses.

"They may engage their own builders, and build according to any
reasonable plan (which I may approve), or I will have it done for
them at the lowest possible rate, without a farthing profit to
myself or agent, I putting the lot at a fair price and advancing
eighty per cent. of the entire cost; the other party to furnish
twenty per cent. in labor, material, or money, and they may pay
me in small sums weekly, monthly, or quarterly, any amount not
less than three per cent. per quarter, all of which is to apply
on the money advanced until it is paid.

"It has been ascertained that by purchasing building materials
for cash, and in large quantities, nice dwellings, painted, and
furnished with green blinds, can be erected at a cost of $1,500
or $1,800, for house, lot, fences, etc., all complete, and if six
or eight friends prefer to join in erecting a neat block of
houses with verandas in front, the average cost need not exceed
about $1,300 per house and lot. If, however, some parties would
prefer a single or double house that would cost $2,500 to $3,000,
I shall be glad to meet their views.
        "P. T. BARNUM.      "February 16, 1864."

On this the editor of the paper commented as follows:

"AN ADVANTAGEOUS OFFER.--We have read with great pleasure Mr.
Barnum's advertisement, offering assistance to any number of
persons, not exceeding fifty, in the erection of dwelling-houses.
This plan combines all the advantages and none of the objections
of building associations. Any individual who can furnish in cash,
labor, or material, one-fifth only of the amount requisite for
the erection of a dwelling-house, can receive the other
four-fifths from Mr. Barnum, rent his house, and by merely paying
what may be considered as only a fair rent, for a few years, find
himself at last the owner, and all further payments cease. In the
meantime, he can be making such inexpensive improvements in his
property as would greatly increase its market value, and besides
have the advantage of any rise in the value of real estate. It is
not often that such a generous offer is made to working men. It
is a loan on what would be generally considered inadequate
security, at six per cent., at a time when a much better use of
money can be made by any capitalist. It is therefore generous.
Mr. Barnum may make money by the operation. Very well, perhaps he
will, but if he does, it will be by making others richer, not
poorer; by helping those who need assistance, not by hindering
them, and we can only wish that every rich man would follow such
a noble example, and thus, without injury to themselves, give a
helping hand to those who need it. Success to the enterprise. We
hope that fifty men will be found before the week ends, each of
whom desires in such a manner to obtain a roof which he can call
his own."

A considerable number of men immediately availed themselves of
Barnum's offer, and succeeded after a time in paying for their
homes without much effort. There were many others, however, who
did not fully accept his proposals. They would not sign the
temperance pledge, and they would not give up the use of tobacco.
The result was, that they continued month after month and year
after year to pay rent on hired tenements. "The money they have
expended for whiskey and tobacco," remarked Mr. Barnum,
moralizing upon this topic, "would have given them homes of their
own if it had been devoted to that object, and their positions,
socially and morally, would have been far better. How many
infatuated men there are in all parts of the country who could
now be independent, and even owners of their own carriages, but
for their slavery to these miserable habits!"

This East Bridgeport land was originally purchased by Barnum at
an average cost of about $200 per acre. A few years after the
above-described enterprise, a considerable part of it was
assessed in the tax list at from $3,000 to $4,000 per acre. It
was presently annexed to the city, and connected with it by three
bridges across the river. A horse-railroad was also built, of
which Mr. Barnum was one of the original stockholders.

This part of the city was laid out by General Noble and Mr.
Barnum, and various streets were named after members of the two
families. Hence there are Noble street, Barnum street, William
street (General Noble's first name), Harriet street (Mrs. Noble's
name), Hallett street (Mrs. Barnum's maiden name), and Caroline
street, Helen street, and Pauline street, the names of Barnum's
three daughters. A public school was also named for Mr. Barnum.
The streets were lined with beautiful shade trees, set out by
thousands by Barnum; and Noble, and the same gentlemen gave to
the city its beautiful Washington Park of seven acres.



The year 1861 was notable in the history of the American Museum.
Barnum heard that some fishermen at the mouth of the St. Lawrence
river had captured alive a fine white whale. He was also told
that such an animal, if packed in a box filled with sea-weed and
salt water, could be transported over land a considerable
distance without danger to its life or health. He accordingly
determined to secure and place on exhibition in his Museum a
couple of live whales. So he built in the basement of the
building a tank of masonry, forty feet long and eighteen feet
wide, to contain them. Then he went to the St. Lawrence river on
a whaling expedition. His objective point was the Isle au
Coudres, which was populated by French Canadians. There he
engaged a party of twenty-four fishermen, and instructed them to
capture for him, alive and unharmed, a couple of the white whales
which at almost any time were to be seen in the water not far
from the island.

The plan decided upon was to plant in the river a "kraal,"
composed of stakes driven down in the form of a V, leaving the
broad end open for the whales to enter. This was done in a
shallow place, with the point of the kraal towards shore; and if
by chance one or more whales should enter the trap at high water,
the fishermen were to occupy the entrance with their boats, and
keep up a tremendous splashing and noise till the tide receded,
when the frightened whales would find themselves nearly "high and
dry," or with too little water to enable them to swim, and their
capture would be next thing in order. This was to be effected by
securing a slip-noose of stout rope over their tails, and towing
them to the sea-weed lined boxes in which they were to be
transported to New York.

Many times fine whales were seen gliding close by the entrance to
the trap, but they did not enter it, and the patience of Barnum
and his fishermen was sorely tried. One day one whale did enter
the kraal, and the fishermen proposed to capture it, but Barnum
was determined to have two, and while they waited for the second
one to enter the first one went out again. After several days of
waiting, Barnum was aroused early one morning by the excited and
delighted shouts of his men. Hastily dressing, he found that two
whales were in the trap and were sure of being captured. Leaving
the rest of the task to his assistants, he hurried back to New
York. At every station on the route he gave instructions to the
telegraph operators to take off all whaling messages that passed
over the wires to New York, and to inform their fellow-townsmen
at what hour the whales would pass through each place.

The result of these arrangements may be imagined; at every
station crowds of people came to the cars to see the whales which
were travelling by land to Barnum's Museum, and those who did not
see the monsters with their own eyes, at least saw some one who
had seen them, and thus was secured a tremendous advertisement,
seven hundred miles long, for the American Museum.

Arrived in New York, dispatches continued to come from the
whaling expedition every few hours. These were bulletined in
front of the Museum and copies sent to the papers. The excitement
was intense, and, when at last, these marine monsters arrived and
were swimming in the tank that had been prepared for them,
anxious thousands literally rushed to see the strangest
curiosities ever exhibited in New York.

Barnum's first whaling expedition was thus a great success.
Unfortunately he did not know how to feed or take care of the
animals. A supply of salt water could not be obtained, so they
were put into fresh water artificially salted, and this did not
agree with them. The basement of the Museum building was also
poorly ventilated and the air was unwholesome. As the result of
these circumstances the whales died within a week, although not
until they had been seen by thousands of people. Barnum
immediately resolved to try again. In order to secure a better
home for his pets, he laid an iron pipe under the streets of the
city, from his Museum clear out into New York bay. Through this,
by means of a steam-engine, he was able to secure a constant
supply of genuine sea-water. In order that the whales should have
good air to breathe, he constructed for them another tank on the
second floor of the Museum building. This tank had a floor of
slate, and the sides were made of French plate-glass, in huge
pieces six feet long, five feet wide, and one inch thick. These
plates were imported by Barnum expressly for the purpose. The
tank was twenty-four feet square. Two more white whales were soon
caught in the same manner as before, and were conveyed in a ship
to Quebec and thence by rail to New York.

Barnum was always proud of this enterprise, and it yielded him
handsome profits. The second pair of whales, however, soon died.
Barnum remarked that their sudden and immense popularity was too
much for them. But a third pair was quickly secured to take their
place. Envious and hostile critics declared that they were not
whales at all, but only porpoises, but this did no harm. Indeed,
Barnum might well have paid them to start these malicious
reports, for much good advertising was thereby secured. The
illustrious Agassiz was appealed to. He came to see the animals,
gave Barnum a certificate that they were genuine white whales,
and this document was published far and wide.

The manner in which the showman advertised his curiosities may be
seen from the following, taken from one of the daily papers of
the time:

BARNUM'S AMERICAN MUSEUM. ----After months of unwearied labor,

in capturing and transporting them from that part of the Gulf of
St. Lawrence nearest Labrador, the Manager is enabled to offer
his visitors


a male and a female. Everybody has heard of WHALES


everybody has read of WHALES in story, song, and history, and


and now they have the opportunity. Barnum has


has built a small ocean in his Museum, filled it from the briny
deep, and there


measuring respectively fifteen and twenty feet in length, may be
seen at all hours sporting in their native element. Who will miss
the opportunity of seeing them? Another may not offer in a
lifetime. Embrace this ere it be too late. See Mr. Barnum's card


The Colored Steward and German Sailor of the


Who slew three of the piratical prize crew, and rescued
themselves and the vessel from their power.


MAMMOTH BEAR SAMSON, with a variety of other living Bears;

In the Lecture-Room, a great Dramatic Novelty is offered,

talented company, including LITTLE LOLA, THE INFANT WONDER,

Mr. and Mrs. C. B. REYNOLDS;


The favorite Juvenile Danseuse, always popular.


With a laughable farce, every day at 3 and 7 3/4 o'clock.
Admission to all, 25 cents; Children under 10, 15 cents.
CARD FROM P. T. BARNUM.--LIVING WHALES on exhibition.--Having
learned from fishermen and eminent naturalists, including the
written statement of the celebrated Prof. Agassiz, that the White
Whale could be found in that portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence
nearest to Labrador, I made a journey there in June last,
accompanied by my agent. I remained there a fortnight, and made
every arrangement for capturing and keeping alive two of these
monsters. This arrangement included the service of thirty-five
men, beside my special agent. I then returned and had erected in
the Museum a reservoir fifty feet in length and twenty-five feet
in width, in which was placed sea-water, and arrangements made
for a continual fresh supply. I also made arrangements with
steamers and railroads to convey these leviathans to New York at
the fastest possible speed, without regard to the expense.

I am highly gratified in being able to assure the public that
they have arrived safe and well, a MALE and FEMALE, from 15 to 20
feet long, and are now swimming in the miniature ocean in my
Museum, to the delight of visitors. As it is very doubtful
whether these wonderful creatures can be kept alive more than a
few days, the public will see the importance of seizing the first
moment to see them.
                        P. T. BARNUM.

AMERICAN MUSEUM, Thursday, August 8, 1861.

"A real live whale," said an editorial writer in the New York
Tribune of that date, "is as great a curiosity as a live lord or
prince, being much more difficult to catch, and far more
wonderful in its appearance and habits. After all people are
people, and have much the same ways of feeling and doing. But
when we get among the whales, we catch glimpses of a new and neat
thing in nose, recall the narrative of Jonah without throwing a
shadow of a doubt upon its authenticity, and appreciate keenly
the difficulties with which mermaid society must have to contend.

"We owe the presence of two whales in our midst to the enterprise
of Mr. P. T. Barnum. He has had them in tow for a long while, but
has kept his secret well, and it was not until his own special
whaler telegraphed from Troy that he had come so far into the
bowels of the earth with his submarine charge, and all well, that
he felt warranted in whispering whale to the public. The public
was delighted, but not surprised, because it feels that the
genius that is equal to a What Is It is also equal to the biggest
thing, and would experience no unusual thrill of wonder if a real
iceberg, or a section of the identical North Pole, should be
announced on the bills of the Museum.

"But flocks of the public sought the Museum yesterday, and were
not disappointed. They saw not, as Polonius, something 'very like
a whale,' but the original animal in its original element. The
bears, and the anacondas, the hatchet, and the seal, sank into
merited insignificance, although they will have their day again
if the whales should expire. The transfer of the fish was neatly
effected. They travelled the whole distance in first-class
hermetical boxes, filled with water and thickly lined with
seaweed, and were landed, if the expression may be used, in the
new and excellent tank provided for them in the basement of the
Museum. This tank is fifty feet deep and twenty-five in width,
has seven feet of sea-water in it, and seems to suit the whales
eminently. Mr. Barnum has fears that the pets will have but a
brief, if brilliant, career, in their new quarters, but we prefer
to predict for them a long and happy one.

"These are white whales, and were taken near the Labrador coast
by a crew of thirty-five men. The largest has attained the
extreme size reached by this species, and is about 22 feet long;
the other is 18 feet long. Their form and motion are graceful,
and their silver backs and bellies show brightly through the
water. A long-continued intimacy has endeared them to each other,
and they go about quite like a pair of whispering lovers, blowing
off their mutual admiration in a very emphatic manner. Just at
present they are principally engaged in throwing their eyes
around the premises, and pay small attention to visitors, upon
whom, indeed, the narrative of Jonah has a strong hold. And yet
neither of these whales could make a single mouthful of a man of
ordinary size. Even if one of them should succeed in swallowing a
man, he could just stand up with the whale, and make it, at
least, as uncomfortable as himself.

"Here is a real 'sensation.' We do not believe the enterprise of
Mr. Barnum will stop at white whales. It will embrace sperm
whales and mermaids, and all strange things that swim or fly or
crawl, until the Museum will become one vast microcosm of the
animal creation. A quarter seems positively contemptible weighed
against such a treat."

And this was the public tribute, from the same pen, to the first
of the cetaceans that died through too much publicity:

"The community was shocked to hear of the death of one of
Barnum's whales yesterday morning. Death apparently loves a
shining mark. It seems but yesterday--in fact it was the day
before--we gazed upon the youthful form, instinct with life, and
looking forward to a useful and pleasant career. The whale shared
not the forebodings of its friends. Mr. Barnum was possessed with
a strange presentiment of calamity, and summoned the public to
either a house of mourning or a house of joy, he knew not which,
but at all events to be quick. At daybreak, we believe, the great
natural curiosity passed away.

"The blow is a severe one. To Mr. Barnum it must be a shocking
reminder of the emptiness of all human plans. Enterprise, liberal
expenditure, courage--what are they all before the fell
destroyer? Even whales have their time to sink and rise no more.
To the dear companion of all the joys and sorrows of the troubled
life of the deceased the bereavement must be sore indeed.
Delicacy forbids that we should lay bare such sorrows. No
twenty-five cent ticket should admit to them, including the
lecture-room. Such as witnessed the tender endearments between
these white whales, and saw how they had hearts that beat as one,
and how they were not happy when they were not pretty near each
other in the tank, may, perhaps, realize the anguish of their
separation. We are not surprised to learn, indeed, that the
affliction has borne so heavily upon the survivor that there may
be tidings at any moment of the flight of its spirit also. May
both whales meet again in the open seas of immortality! The loss
of the public is great, although not irreparable. The world moves
on, and many natural curiosities remain to fill up the gaps
caused by death. Mr. Barnum's spirit, although saddened, is not
broken. He sees the objects of his care and best management
snatched from him, and yet he announces that he will immediately
send on for two more whales of the same sort. We shall soon
forget the lost whales in contemplation of the new. Such is life,
it is well known.

"The decease may be attributed in a great measure to bear. It is
true that there might have been something injurious to the health
of the fish in a long overland journey. 'A fish out of water' is
a case that tries the utmost skill of the faculty. If a man were
confined in the most comfortable of water-tight boxes and
carried, under the care of a special agent, hundreds of miles
beneath the water, we should not be startled to hear that his
constitution was much shattered at the end of the journey. And
yet we are more encouraged to think that the whale owed his death
to other causes than the overland transportation, because the sea
lion does so well, and the fishes in the aquaria appear to be so
hearty and contented. To bear, then, we must attribute our loss.
This animal abounded in the basement where the tank is, and
whether through jealousy of the fame of the new-comers, or
through some settled antipathy between flesh and fish, or simply
through his natural beastliness, he communicated effluvia to the
atmosphere that were perfectly unendurable by whale, which
promptly expired from want of good breath.

"This agent of destruction will be removed from the premises
before the next whales arrive, and suitable measures will be
taken to guard against such a mournful catastrophe. There is a
whale in Boston whose health is so good that it never requires
medical attendance.

"The deceased was about sixty years of age. It bore an excellent
character. Its patience and sweet disposition under the most
trying circumstances will long be remembered. The remains,
weighing not less than twenty-six hundred pounds, will be
suitably disposed off. While the public mourns it may also
console itself with the reflection that there are plenty more
where it came from, and that the energy of Barnum is not to be
abated by any of the common disasters of life, and may hopefully
anticipate a speedy announcement of an entirely new whale. Vale!

The tank in the basement of the Museum was now devoted to a yet
more interesting exhibition. On August 12, 1861, Barnum placed in
it the first live hippopotamus that had ever been seen in
America. The brute was advertised most extensively and
ingeniously as "the great behemoth of the Scriptures," and
thousands of scientific men, biblical students, clergymen and
others, besides the great host of the common people, flocked to
see it. There was fully as much excitement in New York over this
wonder in the animal creation as there was in London when the
first hippopotamus was placed in the Regent's Park "Zoo."

Barnum began by advertising that the animal was on exhibition for
a short time only. Then he announced the "last week" of the novel
show. Then, "by special request," another week was added. And
thus the "last week of the hippopotamus" was prolonged through
many months. The following is a fair sample of the advertisements
with which the daily papers literally teemed:



The history of this animal is full of interest, and to every
class, especially the educated and intelligent, but above all to
the biblical student, who has read with interest the glowing
description of


in the Book of Job. He is strictly an


living in the water and out of it; under the water, or on the top
of it, floats on its surface with perfect ease, or beneath the
surface, midway between the top and the bottom. In their natural
state these animals are wild and ferocious; though on the land,
they are not very formidable, but when pursued they fly to the


frequently appearing on the opposite side without the least
indication of their course on the surface of the stream. If
exasperated by assaults, in the water they are the most


their gigantic proportions and herculean strength, giving them
power over every opposing force, frequently destroying whole
boat-loads of men and their boats, crushing with their huge jaws
everything that comes in their way. In the Museum the specimen
here exhibited has an


where he is to be seen in all his natural peculiarities, floating
on, and swiming beneath the surface, walking on the bottom
several feet beneath, exhibiting, in short, all the peculiarities
of his nature; and to perfect the scene, native


who is himself a curiosity as a specimen of that historic tribe
of men, who exhibits all the stolidity and Arabian dignity of
that Oriental race; the only man who can control or exhibit his
hippopotamiship, is in constant attendance. They are both to be
seen at all hours, DAY and EVENING.

This is the


ever seen in America. He is engaged at a cost of many thousand of
dollars, and will remain


Also just obtained at great expense, and now to be seen swimming
in the large tank in the Aquarial Hall,


beside a great variety of other living Fish, Turtles, &c., &c.


The Lecture-Room Entertainments embrace PETITE DRAMA, VAUDEVILLE,
BURLETTA and FARCE. By a company of rare musical and dramatic

The Talented Young Violinist, &c.

Admission to all, 25 cents; Children under 10, 15 cents.

Nor did the monster fail to receive much other notice in the
press. Said one writer: "Nothing discomfitted by the sudden death
that overtook the gentle and loving whales, Mr. Barnum has again
invested untold heaps of money in a tremendous water-monster. The
great tank has again a tenant, and the great public have huge
amphibious matter for their wonderment. The new curiosity comes
to us staggering under the unwieldy name of Hippo-potamus. He is
a comely gentleman, fair and beauteous to look upon; and the
strange loveliness of his countenance cannot fail to captivate
the crowd. His youth, too, gives him a special claim to the
consideration of the ladies, for he is a little darling of only
three years--a very baby of a hippopotamus in fact, who, only a
few months ago, daily sucked his few gallons of lacteal
nourishment from the fond bosom of mamma Hippo, at the bottom of
some murmuring Egyptian river. The young gentleman is about as
heavy as an ox, and gives you the idea that he is the result of
the amalgamation of a horse, a cow, two pigs, a seal, a dozen
India-rubber blankets, and an old-fashioned horse-hide covered
trunk. Big as he is, unwieldy as he is, strange, uncouth, and
monstrous as he is, he appears after all to be most mild and
even-tempered. In truth, he is no more vicious than a
good-natured muley cow; and if by chance he should hurt anybody,
he would have to achieve it much in the same manner that such a
cow would, by running against him, or rolling over upon him. So
that the red-breeched individual, who so valiantly gets over the
railing and stands by the side of young Hippo, doesn't, after
all, do a deed of such superhuman daring, for all he does it with
such an air of reckless sacrifice of self for the public good.
The hippopotamus is certainly one of the most interesting and
attractive of all the strange creatures ever yet caught by Mr.
Barnum, and offered for the delectation of the paying public. He
is well worth a visit, and an hour's inspection. He receives
daily, from 9 A.M. to some time after dark."

Having now a good supply of salt water Barnum greatly enlarged
his aquarium, which was the first show of the kind ever seen in
America. He exhibited in it living sharks, porpoises, sea-horses
and many rare fishes. For several seasons he kept a boat cruising
the ocean in search of marine novelties. In this way he secured
many of the beautiful angel fishes and others that never had been
seen in New York before. He also purchased the Aquarial Gardens
in Boston, and removed the entire collection to his Museum.

The story of another of Barnum's greatest hits must be told in
his own words: "In December, 1861," he related, "I was visited at
the Museum by a most remarkable dwarf, who was a sharp,
intelligent little fellow, with a deal of drollery and wit. He
had a splendid head, was perfectly formed, and was very
attractive, and, in short, for a 'showman,' he was a perfect
treasure. His name, he told me, was George Washington Morrison
Nutt, and his father was Major Rodnia Nutt, a substantial farmer,
of Manchester, New Hampshire. I was not long in dispatching an
efficient agent to Manchester, and in overcoming the competition
with other showmen who were equally eager to secure this
extraordinary pigmy. The terms upon which I engaged him for three
years were so large that he was christened the $30,000 Nutt; I,
in the meantime, conferring upon him the title of Commodore. As
soon as I engaged him, placards, posters and the columns of the
newspapers proclaimed the presence of 'Commodore Nutt' at the
Museum. I also procured for the Commodore a pair of Shetland
ponies, miniature coachman and footman, in livery, gold-mounted
harness, and an elegant little carriage, which, when closed,
represented a gigantic English walnut. The little Commodore
attracted great attention, and grew rapidly in public favor.
General Tom Thumb was then travelling in the South and West. For
some years he had not been exhibited in New York, and during
these years he had increased considerably in rotundity and had
changed much in his general appearance. It was a singular fact,
however, that Commodore Nutt was almost a fac-simile of General
Tom Thumb, as he looked half-a-dozen years before. Consequently,
very many of my patrons, not making allowance for the time which
had elapsed since they had last seen the General, declared that
there was no such person as 'Commodore Nutt;' but that I was
exhibiting my old friend Tom Thumb under a new name.

"Commodore Nutt enjoyed the joke very much. He would sometimes
half admit the deception, simply to add to the bewilderment of
the doubting portion of my visitors.

"It was evident that here was an opportunity to turn all doubts
into hard cash, by simply bringing the two dwarf Dromios
together, and showing them on the same platform. I therefore
induced Tom Thumb to bring his Western engagements to a close,
and to appear for four weeks, beginning with August 11, 1862, in
my Museum. Announcements headed 'The Two Dromios,' and 'Two
Smallest Men, and Greatest Curiosities Living,' as I expected,
drew large crowds to see them, and many came especially to solve
their doubts with regard to the genuineness of the 'Nutt.' But
here I was considerably nonplussed, for, astonishing as it may
seem, the doubts of many of the visitors were confirmed! The
sharp people who were determined 'not to be humbugged, anyhow,'
still declared that Commodore Nutt was General Tom Thumb, and
that the little fellow whom I was trying to pass off as Tom
Thumb, was no more like the General than he was like the man in
the moon. It is very amusing to see how people will sometimes
deceive themselves by being too incredulous.

"In 1862 I sent the Commodore to Washington, and, joining him
there, I received an invitation from President Lincoln to call at
the White House with my little friend. Arriving at the appointed
hour, I was informed that the President was in a special Cabinet
meeting, but that he had left word if I called to be shown in to
him with the Commodore. These were dark days in the rebellion,
and I felt that my visit, if not ill-timed, must at all events be
brief. When we were admitted, Mr. Lincoln received us cordially,
and introduced us to the members of the Cabinet. When Mr. Chase
was introduced as the Secretary of the Treasury, the little
Commodore remarked:

" 'I suppose you are the gentleman who is spending so much of
Uncle Sam's money?'

" 'No, indeed,' said the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, very
promptly; 'I am spending the money.'

" 'Well,' said Commodore Nutt, 'it is in a good cause, anyhow,
and I guess it will come out all right.'

"His apt remark created much amusement. Mr. Lincoln then bent
down his long, lank body, and taking Nutt by the hand, he said:

" 'Commodore, permit me to give you a parting word of advice.
When you are in command of your fleet, if you find yourself in
danger of being taken prisoner, I advise you to wade ashore.'

The Commodore found the laugh was against him, but placing
himself at the side of the President, and gradually raising his
eyes up the whole length of Mr. Lincoln's very long legs, he

" 'I guess, Mr. President, you could do that better than I
could.' "

In no place did extremes ever meet in a more practical sense than
in the American Museum. Commodore Nutt was the shortest of men;
and at the same time the Museum contained the tallest of women.
Her name was Anna Swan, and she came from Nova Scotia. Barnum
first heard of her through a Quaker, who was visiting the Museum.
This visitor came to Barnum's office, and told him of a wonderful
girl, only seventeen years old, who lived near him at Pictou.
Barnum soon sent an agent up there, who brought the young lady
back to New York. She was an intelligent girl, and, despite her
enormous stature, was decidedly good-looking. For a long time she
was a leading attraction at Barnum's Museum, and afterwards went
to England and attracted great attention there.

For many years Barnum had been in the habit of engaging parties
of American Indians from the far West to exhibit at the Museum.
He had also sent several parties of them to Europe, where they
were regarded as extraordinary curiosities.

In 1864 ten or twelve chiefs, of as many different tribes,
visited the President of the United States, at Washington. By a
pretty liberal outlay of money, Barnum succeeded in inducing the
interpreter to bring them to New York, and to pass some days at
the Museum. Of course, getting these Indians to dance, or to give
any illustration of their games or pastimes, was out of the
question. They were real chiefs of powerful tribes, and would no
more have consented to give an exhibition of themselves than the
chief magistrate of our own nation would have done. Their
interpreter could not therefore promise that they would remain at
the Museum for any definite time; "for," said he, "you can only
keep them just so long as they suppose all your patrons come to
pay them visits of honor. If they suspected that your Museum was
a place where people paid for entering," he continued, "you could
not keep them a moment after the discovery."

On their arrival at the Museum, therefore, Barnum took them upon
the stage and personally introduced them to the public. The
Indians liked this attention from him, as they had been informed
that he was the proprietor of the great establishment in which
they were invited and honored guests. His patrons were of course
pleased to see these old chiefs, as they knew they were the "REAL
thing," and several of them were known to the public, either as
being friendly or cruel to the whites. After one or two
appearances on the stage, Barnum took them in carriages and
visited the Mayor of New York in the Governor's room at the City
Hall. Here the Mayor made them a speech of welcome, which, being
interpreted to the savages, was responded to by a speech from one
of the chiefs, in which he thanked the "Great Father" of the city
for his pleasant words, and for his kindness in pointing out the
portraits of his predecessors hanging on the walls of the
Governor's room.

On another occasion Barnum took them by special invitation to
visit one of the large public schools up town. The teachers were
pleased to see them, and arranged an exhibition of special
exercises by the scholars, which they thought would be most
likely to gratify their barbaric visitors. At the close of these
exercises, one old chief arose, and simply said: "This is all new
to us. We are mere unlearned sons of the forest, and cannot
understand what we have seen and heard."

On other occasions he took them to ride in Central Park, and
through different portions of the city. At every street-corner
which they passed they would express their astonishment to each
other, at seeing the long rows of houses which extended both ways
on either side of each cross-street. Of course, after each of
these outside visits Barnum would return with them to the Museum,
and secure two or three appearances upon the stage to receive the
people who had there congregated "to do them honor."

As they regarded him as their host, they did not hesitate to
trespass upon his hospitality. Whenever their eyes rested upon a
glittering shell among his specimens of conchology, especially if
it had several brilliant colors, one would take off his coat,
another his shirt, and insist that he should exchange the shell
for the garment. When he declined the exchange, but on the
contrary presented the coveted article, he soon found he had
established a dangerous precedent. Immediately they all commenced
to beg for everything in the vast collection which they happened
to take a liking to. This cost Barnum many valuable specimens,
and often "put him to his trumps" for an excuse to avoid giving
them things which he could not part with.

The chief of one of the tribes one day discovered an ancient
shirt of chain-mail which hung in one of the cases of antique
armor. He was delighted with it, and declared he must have it.
Barnum tried all sorts of excuses to prevent his getting it, for
it had cost a hundred dollars, and was a great curiosity. But the
old man's eyes glistened, and he would not take "no" for an
answer. "The Utes have killed my little child," he said through
the interpreter; and now he must have this steel shirt to protect
himself; and when he returned to the Rocky Mountains he would
have his revenge. Barnum remained inexorable until the chief
finally brought a new buckskin Indian suit, which he insisted
upon exchanging. Barnum then felt compelled to accept his
proposal; and never did anyone see a man more delighted than the
Indian seemed to be when he took the mailed shirt into his hands.
He fairly jumped up and down with joy. He ran to his
lodging-room, and soon appeared again with the coveted armor upon
his body, and marched down one of the main halls of the Museum,
with folded arms, and head erect, occasionally patting his breast
with his right hand, as much as to say, "Now, Mr. Ute, look
sharp, for I will soon be on the war-path!"

Among these Indians were War Bonnet, Lean Bear, and
Hand-in-the-water, chiefs of the Cheyennes; Yellow Buffalo, of
the Kiowas; Yellow Bear, of the same tribe; Jacob, of the Caddos;
and White Bull, of the Apaches. The little wiry chief known as
Yellow Bear had killed many whites as they had travelled through
the "far West." He was a sly, treacherous, bloodthirsty savage,
who would think no more of scalping a family of women and
children than a butcher would of wringing the neck of a chicken.
But now he was on a mission to the "Great Father" at Washington,
seeking for presents and favors for his tribe, and he pretended
to be exceedingly meek and humble, and continually urged the
interpreter to announce him as a "great friend to the white man."
He would fawn about Barnum, and although not speaking or
understanding a word of our language, would try to convince him
that he loved him dearly.

In exhibiting these Indian warriors on the stage, Barnum
explained to the large audiences the names and characteristics of
each. When he came to Yellow Bear he would pat him familiarly
upon the shoulder, which always caused him to look up with a
pleasant smile, while he softly stroked Barnum's arm with his
right hand in the most loving manner. Knowing that he could not
understand a word he said, Barnum pretended to be complimenting
him to the audience, while he was really saying something like
the following:

"This little Indian, ladies and gentlemen, is Yellow Bear, chief
of the Kiowas. He has killed, no doubt, scores of white persons,
and he is probably the meanest black-hearted rascal that lives in
the far West." Here Barnum patted him on the head, and he,
supposing he was sounding his praises, would smile, fawn upon
him, and stroke his arm, while he continued: "If the bloodthirsty
little villain understood what I was saying, he would kill me in
a moment; but as he thinks I am complimenting him, I can safely
state the truth to you, that he is a lying, thieving,
treacherous, murderous monster. He has tortured to death poor,
unprotected women, murdered their husbands, brained their
helpless little ones; and he would gladly do the same to you or
to me, if he thought he could escape punishment. This is but a
faint description of the character of Yellow Bear." Here Barnum
gave him another patronizing pat on the head, and he, with a
pleasant smile, bowed to the audience, as much as to say that the
words were quite true, and that he thanked Barnum very much for
the high encomiums he had so generously heaped upon him.

After the Indians had been at the Museum about week they
discovered the real character of the place. They found they were
simply on exhibition, and that people paid a fee for the
privilege of coming in and gazing at them. Forthwith there was an
outcry of discontent and anger. Nothing would induce them again
to appear upon the stage. Their dignity had been irretrievably
offended, and Barnum was actually fearful lest they should wreak
vengeance upon him with physical violence. It was with a feeling
of great relief that he witnessed their departure for Washington
the next day.

In the fall of this year Barnum produced at his Museum a
dramatization of Dickens's "Great Expectations." On the opening
night of the play, before the curtain rose, the great showman
himself went upon the stage and made this poetical address of
welcome to the audience:


 "That Prince of Humbugs, Barnum," so it appears
 Some folks have designated me for several years.
 Well, I don't murmur; indeed, when they embellish it,
 To tell the truth, my friends, I rather relish it,
 Since your true humbug's be, who as a host,
 For the least money entertains you most.
 In this sense I'm a "humbug," I succumb!
 Who as a "General" thing brought out Tom Thumb?
 Who introduced (you can't say there I sinned)
 The Swedish Nightingale, sweet Jenny Lind?
 Who brought you Living Whales from Labrador?
 The Hippopotamus from Nilus's shore,
 The Bearded Lady with her (h)airs and graces,
 The Aztec Children with their normal faces,
 The Twins of Siam--rarest of dualities--
 Two ever separate, ne'er apart realities?
 The Family of Albinos? the Giraffe?
 The famous Baby Show that made you laugh?
 The Happy Family--cats, rats, doves, hawks, harmonious?
 Their voices blend in tones euphonious.
 The great Sea Lion from Pacific's coast,
 The "Monarch of the Ocean," no empty boast;
 Old Adam's Bears, cutest of brute performers,
 In modern "peace meetings" models for reformers.
 That living miracle, the Lightning Calculator,
 Those figures confound Hermann the "Prestidigitator."
 The Grand Aquaria, an official story
 Of life beneath the waves ill all its glory;
 The curious "What is It?" which you, though spunky,
 Won't call a man and cannot call a monkey.
 These things and many more time forbids to state,
 I first introduced, if I did not originate;
 "The World's Seven Wonders," pooh! let them invite you,
 Here "seven" saloons all wonder-full delight you.
 To call this "humbug" admits of no defence,
 For all is shown for five and twenty cents.
 And now, good friends, to use less rhyme than reason,
 To-day re-opens our dramatic season;
 Therefore I welcome you! And though we're certain
 To raise "Great Expectations" with the curtain,
 And "play the Dickens" afternoon and nightly,
 I bid you welcome none the less politely,
 To these my "quarters," merry and reliable,
 That yours are always welcome 'tis undeniable!
 And Patrick Henry like I say, I boast of it,
 If that be "humbug," gentlemen, "make the most of it."

The foregoing address may be correctly said to have as much truth
as poetry. It is a graceful summary of the curiosities which
Barnum had brought before the world up to his sixtieth year. It
does not include the Sacred White Elephant of Siam, the mammoth
Jumbo and other wonders of nature which he was yet to reveal to
astonished and delighted millions. Nor does it indicate that
grand genius of aggregation by which in later years he surpassed
all his previous performances--masterly as they were. Not till
the veteran had reached the age of seventy--the allotted span of
life--did he gather and create "The Greatest Show on Earth."

In connection with the dramatization of Dickens' novel, it seems
surprising that the Great Showman had little intercourse with the
Great Novelist. He was on intimate terms with Thackeray and gave
him useful hints for his lecturing tour in the United States, by
which the humorist duly profited. But Dickens, who reached the
popular heart as Barnum did their senses, seems to have held
aloof from one whose knowledge of men rivalled his own.



In 1862 Mr. Barnum heard of an extraordinary dwarf girl named
Lavinia Warren, who was living at Middleboro, Massachusetts, and
sent an invitation to her and her parents to visit him at
Bridgeport: they came, and Barnum found her to be a very
intelligent and refined young lady. He immediately made a
contract with her for several years, she agreeing to visit the
Old World.

He purchased a splendid wardrobe for her, including many elegant
dresses, costly jewels and everything else that could add to her
naturally charming person. She was placed on exhibition at the
Museum, and from the first was a great success. Commodore Nutt
was exhibited with her, and although he was several years her
junior, he at once took a violent fancy to her. One day Mr.
Barnum gave Miss Warren a diamond and emerald ring, and as it did
not exactly fit her finger, he offered to get her another one
just like it, and told her to present this one to Commodore Nutt
in her own name. She did so, and the Commodore, who possessed a
full proportion of masculine vanity, construed the gift to be a
love token, and poor Lavinia was much distressed, for she
considered herself quite a woman, and the Commodore only "a nice
boy." Still she did not like to offend him, and continued to
treat him kindly, while not actually encouraging his attentions.

At the time Tom Thumb was not on exhibition at the Museum; he was
taking a vacation at his home in Bridgeport. One day he came to
New York quite unexpectedly, and naturally called on Mr. Barnum
at the Museum. Lavinia was holding one of her levees when he came
in, and he was presented to her.

After a short interview with her he went directly to Mr. Barnum's
private office and asked to see him alone. The door was closed
and the General sat down. His first question gave Mr. Barnum a
slight inkling of the object of the interview. The General wanted
to know all about the family of Lavinia Warren. Mr. Barnum gave
him all information, and the General said, earnestly, "That is
the most charming little lady I ever saw, and I believe she was
created to be my wife. Now, Mr. Barnum, you've always been a
friend of mine, and I want you to say a good word for me to her.
I've got plenty of money and I want to marry and settle down, and
I really feel as though I must marry that young lady."

Mr. Barnum laughed, and recalling his ancient joke, said:
"Lavinia is already engaged, General."

"To whom? Commodore Nutt?" asked Tom Thumb, jealously.

"No, to me."

"Oh!" laughed the General, much relieved. "Never mind; you may
exhibit her for a while, and then give up the engagement; but I
do hope you will favor my suit with her."

"Well, General," replied Barnum, "I will not oppose your suit,
but you must do your own courting. I will tell you, however, that
Commodore Nutt will be jealous of you, and more than that, Miss
Warren is nobody's fool, and you will have to proceed very
cautiously if you succeed in winning her."

The General promised to be very discreet. A change now came over
him. He had been very fond of his country home at Bridgeport,
where he spent all his leisure time with his horses and his
yacht, for he had a great passion for the water; but now he was
constantly running down to the city, and the horses and yacht
were sadly neglected. He had a married sister living in New York,
and his visits to her multiplied to such an extent that his
mother, who lived in Bridgeport, remarked that Charles had never
before shown so much brotherly affection, nor so much fondness
for city life.

His visits to the Museum were frequent, and it was very amusing
to watch his new relations with Commodore Nutt, who strutted
around like a bantam rooster whenever the General approached
Lavinia. One day the rivals got into a friendly scuffle in the
dressing-room, and the Commodore laid the General very neatly on
his back.

But while the Commodore was performing on the stage, and on
Sunday afternoons and evenings, the General found plenty of
opportunities to talk to Lavinia, and it was evident that his
suit was progressing.

Finally, Tom Thumb returned to Bridgeport, and privately begged
Mr. Barnum to bring Lavinia up the next Saturday evening, and
also to invite him to the house.

His immediate object was that his mother might see Miss Warren.
Mr. Barnum agreed to the proposition, and on the following
Friday, while Miss Warren and the Commodore were sitting in the
green-room, he said:

"Lavinia, would you like to go up to Bridgeport with me
to-morrow, and stay until Monday?"

"I thank you," she replied, "it will be a great relief to get
into the country for a couple of days."

"Mr. Barnum," said the Commodore, "I should like to go up to
Bridgeport to-morrow."

"What for?" asked Barnum.

"I want to see my ponies; I have not seen them for several
months;" he replied.

Mr. Barnum remarked that he was afraid he could not spare the
Commodore from the Museum, but he said:

"Oh! I can perform at half past seven o'clock and then jump on
the evening train and go up by myself, reaching Bridgeport at
eleven, and return early Monday morning."

Fearing a clash of interests between the two little men, but
wishing to please the Commodore, Mr. Barnum consented, especially
as Miss Warren seemed to favor it.

The Commodore had made his feelings almost as plain to the
manager as had General Tom Thumb, but Lavinia Warren's secret was
her own. She kept up a wonderful self-possession under the
circumstances, for she must have known the reason of the
General's frequent visits to the Museum. Barnum was afraid that
she intended to reject Tom Thumb, and he told him as much; the
General was nervous but determined; hence his anxiety to have
Lavinia meet his mother, and also to see the extent of his
possessions in Bridgeport.

The General met his lady-love and Mr. Barnum at the station
Saturday morning, and drove them to the latter's house in his own
carriage--the coachman being tidily dressed, with a broad velvet
ribbon and a silver buckle on his hat, especially for the

After resting for a half hour at Lindencroft, he came back and
took Lavinia out to drive. They stopped at his mother's house,
where she saw the apartments which had been built for him and
filled with the most gorgeous furniture, all corresponding to his
diminutive size. Then he took her to East Bridgeport, and
undoubtedly took occasion to point out all of the houses which he
owned, for he depended much on his wealth making an impression on

He stayed to lunch at Lindencroft, and was much pleased when
Lavinia expressed her opinion that "Mr. Barnum or Tom Thumb owned
about all Bridgeport."

The General took his leave and returned to five o'clock dinner,
accompanied by his mother, who was delighted with Lavinia. The
General took Mr. Barnum aside and begged him for an invitation to
stay all night, "For," said he, "I intend to ask her to marry me
before the Commodore arrives."

After tea Lavinia and the General sat down to play backgammon. By
and by the rest went to their separate rooms, but Tom Thumb had
volunteered to sit up for the Commodore, and persuaded Miss
Warren to keep him company.

The General was beaten at backgammon, and after sitting a few
minutes, he evidently thought it time to put a clincher on his
financial abilities. So he drew from his pocket a policy of
insurance and handed it to Lavinia, asking her if she knew what
it was.

Examining it, she replied, "It is an insurance policy. I see you
keep your property insured."

"But the beauty of it is, it is not my property," replied the
General, "and yet I get the benefit of the insurance in case of
fire. You will see," he continued, unfolding the policy, "this is
the property of Mr. Williams, but here, you will observe, it
reads 'loss, if any, payable to Charles S. Stratton, as his
interest may appear.' The fact is, I loaned Mr. Williams three
thousand dollars, took a mortgage on his house, and made him
insure it for my benefit. In this way, you perceive, I get my
interest, and he has to pay the taxes."

"That is a very wise way, I should think," remarked Lavinia.

"That is the way I do all my business," replied the General,
complacently, as he returned the huge insurance policy to his
pocket. "You see," he continued, "I never lend any of my money
without taking bond and mortgage security, then I have no trouble
with taxes; my principal is secure, and I receive my interest

The explanation seemed satisfactory to Lavinia, and the General's
courage began to rise. Drawing his chair a little nearer to hers,
he said:

"So you are going to Europe, soon?"

"Yes," replied Lavinia, "Mr. Barnum intends to take me over in a
couple of months."

"You will find it very pleasant," remarked the General; "I have
been there twice, in fact I have spent six years abroad, and I
like the old countries very much."

"I hope I shall like the trip, and I expect I shall," responded
Lavinia; "for Mr. Barnum says I shall visit all the principal
cities, and he has no doubt I will be invited to appear before
the Queen of England, the Emperor and Empress of France, the King
of Prussia, the Emperor of Austria, and at the courts of any
other countries which we may visit. Oh! I shall like that, it
will be so new to me."

"Yes, it will be very interesting indeed. I have visited most of
the crowned heads," remarked the General, with an evident feeling
of self-congratulation. "But are you not afraid you will be
lonesome in a strange country?" asked the General.

"No, I think there is no danger of that, for friends will
accompany me," was the reply.

"I wish I was going over, for I know all about the different
countries, and could explain them all to you," remarked Tom

"That would be very nice," said Lavinia.

"Do you think so?" said the General, moving his chair still
closer to Lavinia's.

"Of course," replied Lavinia, coolly, "for I, being a stranger to
all the habits and customs of the people, as well as to the
country, it would be pleasant to have some person along who could
answer all my foolish questions."

"I should like it first rate, if Mr. Barnum would engage me,"
said the General.

"I thought you remarked the other day that you had money enough,
and was tired of traveling," said Lavinia, with a slightly
mischievous look from one corner of her eye.

"That depends upon my company while traveling," replied the

"You might not find my company very agreeable."

"I would be glad to risk it."

"Well, perhaps Mr. Barnum would engage you, if you asked him,"
said Lavinia.

"Would you really like to have me go?" asked the General, quietly
insinuating his arm around her waist, but hardly close enough to
touch her.

"Of course I would," was the reply.

The little General's arm clasped the waist closer as he turned
his face nearer to hers, and said:

"Don't you think it would be pleasanter if we went as man and

And after a little hesitation she agreed that it would.

A moment later a carriage drove up to the door, the bell rang and
the Commodore entered.

"You here, General?" said the Commodore as he espied his rival.

"Yes," said Lavinia, "Mr. Barnum asked him to stay, and we were
waiting for you."

"Where is Mr. Barnum?" asked the Commodore.

"He has gone to bed," answered Tom Thumb, "but a supper has been
prepared for you."

"I am not hungry, thank you," said the Commodore petulantly,
"What room does Mr. Barnum sleep in?"

He was answered, and immediately went to Mr. Barnum whom he found
reading in bed.

"Mr. Barnum," he said sarcastically, "does Tom Thumb BOARD here?"

"No," said Mr. Barnum, "Tom Thumb does not BOARD here. I invited
him to stop over night, so don't be foolish, but go to bed."

"Oh, it's no affair of mine. I don't care anything about it. Only
I thought he'd taken up his residence here." And off he went to
bed, in a very bad humor.

Ten minutes after, Tom Thumb rushed into the room in the greatest
excitement, and cried joyfully: "We're engaged, Mr. Barnum! We're

"Is that possible?" said Barnum.

"Yes sir, indeed it is," responded the General, "but you must'nt
mention it. We've agreed to tell no one, so don't say a word. I'm
going to ask her Mother's consent Tuesday."

Barnum swore secrecy, and the General went off radiant with

The next day the family plied Lavinia with all sorts of
questions, but not a breath passed her lips that would give the
slightest indication as to what had transpired. She was most
amiable to the Commodore, and as the General concluded to go home
the next morning, the Commodore's happiness and good humor were
fully restored. The General made a call Sunday evening and
managed to have an interview with Lavinia. The next morning she
and the Commodore returned to New York, without Mr. Barnum.

The General called on Monday to tell Mr. Barnum that he had
concluded to send his letter to Lavinia's mother by his friend,
Mr. Wells, who had consented to go to Middleboro' the next day,
and to urge the General's suit if necessary.

The General went to New York on Wednesday to wait there for Mr.
Wells's return. That same day he and Lavinia came to Mr. Barnum,
and Tom Thumb said: "Mr. Barnum, I want somebody to tell the
Commodore that Lavinia and I are engaged, for I'm afraid there
will be a row when he hears of it."

"Why don't you do it yourself, General?" asked Barnum.

"Oh!" said the General, almost shuddering, "I would not dare do
it, he might knock me down."

"I will do it myself," said Lavinia. So the General retired and
the Commodore was sent for. When he had joined them, Mr. Barnum
began by saying, "Commodore, do you know what this little witch
has been doing?"

"No, I don't," he answered.

"Well, she has been cutting up the greatest prank you ever heard
of. She almost deserves to be shut up for daring to do it. Can't
you guess what it is?"

He mused a moment, and then said in a low tone, and looking full
at her, "Engaged?"

"Yes," said Barnum, "actually engaged to be married to General
Tom Thumb. Did you ever hear of such a thing?"

"Is it so, Lavinia?" he asked, earnestly.

"Yes," said Lavinia, "it is really so."

The Commodore turned pale, choked a little, and turning on his
heel, he said, in a broken voice:

"I hope you may be happy."

As he passed out the door a tear rolled down his cheek. "That's
pretty hard," said Barnum.

"Yes it is hard," said Lavinia, "and I am very sorry. Only I
couldn't help it. It was all the fault of your emerald and
diamond ring."

Half an hour later the Commodore returned to the office and said:

"Mr. Barnum do you think it would be right for Miss Warren to
marry Charlie Stratton if her mother should object?"

"No, indeed," replied Mr. Barnum.

"Well, she says she will marry him anyway; that she gives her
mother the chance to consent, but if she objects, she will have
her way and marry him."

"On the contrary," said Barnum, "I will not permit it. She is
engaged to go to Europe with me, and I will not release her if
her mother does not consent to her marriage."

The Commodore's eyes glistened, and he said: "Between you and me,
Mr. Barnum, I don't believe she will consent."

But she did, although at first she had objected, thinking that it
might be merely a money-making scheme; but after she read Tom
Thumb's letter, and heard Mr. Barnum's assurance that he would
release her from her engagement with him, in event of the
marriage, she consented.

After the Commodore heard the news Mr. Barnum said to him:

"Never mind, Commodore; Minnie Warren is a better match for you
anyhow. She is two years younger than you, and Lavinia is older."

But the Commodore replied grandly; "Thank you sir, but I would
not marry the best woman living. I don't believe in women."

Barnum then suggested that he stand with Minnie, as groom and
bridesmaid, but he declined. A few weeks later, however, he told
Barnum that Tom Thumb had asked him to stand with Minnie, and
that he was going to do so.

"And when I asked you, you refused," said Barnum.

"It was not your business to ask me," said the Commodore
pompously, "when the proper person asked me, I accepted."

The approaching wedding was announced and created an immense
excitement. Lavinia's levees were crowded and she not
infrequently sold three hundred dollars' worth of photographs in
a day. The General was engaged to exhibit and his own photograph
was largely in demand. The Museum was so well attended, the daily
receipts being nearly three thousand dollars, that Barnum offered
them fifteen thousand dollars if they would postpone their
wedding for a month and continue the levees.

"No sir," said the General excitedly, "not for fifty thousand

"Good for you Charlie," said Lavinia, "only you should have said
one hundred thousand."

It was suggested to Barnum to have the wedding take place in the
Academy of Music and charge a good admission.

But Barnum refused.

Grace Church, at Broadway and Tenth St., was the scene of this
historic wedding, which occurred at noon of Tuesday, Feb. 10,
1863. Long before the hour designated the entire neighborhood was
thronged by expectant and smiling crowds awaiting the arrival of
the happy pair with their attendants, and looking with
ill-concealed envy upon the scores of carriages that bore to the
scene of action the fortunate possessors of cards of invitation.
At the entrance the ubiquitous Brown was to be seen, bland and
smiling, looking more like an honest Alderman of yore than a
sexton, and recognizing in each new deposit of youth or beauty or
wealth another star to shed lustre upon the extraordinary

Excellent police arrangements, no less than the self-respect and
decorum that always characterizes an American crowd, secured the
utmost quiet and order. The truth was that an outsider could only
have discovered the marriage to have been one of peculiar
interest from the snatches of feminine gossip that met the ear,
in which small-sized adjectives were profusely employed.

The church was crowded with a gay assemblage of ladies and
gentlemen, the former appearing in full opera costume, and the
latter in dress coats and white neck-cloths. In front of the
altar a platform three feet high covered with Brussels carpet had
been erected. Pending the arrival of the wedding cortege, Mr.
Morgan performed a number of operatic selections on the organ.

At high noon the murmuring of the swarming throng outside and the
turning of all heads townward presaged the arrival of the bridal
party; its undoubted arrival was announced by the arrival of
Barnum himself.

The bridal party quickly entered the church, and proceeding up
the middle aisle, took proper positions upon the platform.
Commodore Nutt acting as groomsman, and Miss Minnie Warren as

After several operatic performances on the organ, the marriage
services were commenced, the Rev. Dr. Taylor and the Rev. Junius
M. Willey officiating. The petite bride was given away by the
Rev. Mr. Palmer, at the request of her parents. Dr. Taylor
pronounced the marital benediction, when the party left the
church and were rapidly driven to the Metropolitan Hotel, the
street, stoops, buildings and windows in the neighborhood of
which were crowded with men, women and children.

At 1 o'clock the reception commenced, the bride and groom,
attended by the Commodore and Miss Minnie Warren, occupying a
dais in one of the front parlors. The crowd soon resolved into a
perfect jam, and for some time great confusion prevailed. After a
time, certain arrangements were made by which the company were
enabled to pay their respects to the little couple.

The graceful form of Mrs. Charles S. Stratton was shown to
advantage in her bridal robe, which was composed of plain white
satin, the skirt en traine, being decorated with a flounce of
costly point lace, headed by tulle puffings; the berthe to match.
Her hair, slightly waved, was rolled a la Eugenie, and
elaborately puffed in noeuds behind, in which the bridal veil was
looped: natural orange blossoms breathed their perfume above her
brow, and mingled their fragrance with the soft sighs of her
gentle bosom. Roses and japonicas composed a star-shaped bouquet,
which she held in her just-bestowed hand.

Her jewels consisted of diamond necklace, bracelets, earrings,
and a star-shaped ornament en diadem, with brooch to match.

Mr. Stratton was attired in a black dress coat and a vest of
white corded silk, with an undervest of blue silk.

The Commodore was similarly attired, and Miss Minnie Warren
appeared in a white silk skirt, with a white illusion overdress,
trimmed half way up the skirt with bouillonnes of the same
material, dotted with pink rosebuds. The corsage was decollete,
with berthe to match.

At 3 o'clock the bridal party left the reception room, and
retired to their private parlor, when the company soon after
dispersed. Upon leaving the hotel the guests were supplied with
wedding cake, over two thousand boxes being thus distributed. In
a parlor adjoining that used for the reception were exhibited the
bridal presents.

The jewelry and silverware were displayed in glass cases.

That night, at 10 o'clock, the New York Excelsior Band serenaded
the bridal party at the Metropolitan, when Mr. Stratton appeared
upon the balcony and made the following speech to the large
assemblage in front of the hotel:

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--I thank you most sincerely for this and
many other tokens of kindness showered upon me to-day. After
being for more than twenty years before the public, I little
expected at this late day, to attract so much attention. Indeed
if I had not become a family man I should never have known how
high I stood in public favor, and I assure you I appreciate
highly and am truly grateful for this evidence of your esteem and
consideration. I am soon off for foreign lands, but I shall take
with me the pleasant recollection of your kindness to-day. But,
ladies and gentlemen, a little woman in the adjoining apartment
is very anxious to see us, and I must, therefore, make this
speech, like myself, short. I kindly thank the excellent band of
music for its melody, the sweetness of which is only exceeded by
my anticipations of happiness in the new life before me. And now,
Ladies and Gentlemen, wishing you all health and happiness, I bid
you all a cordial good-night." [Applause.]

The following entirely authentic correspondence, the only
suppression being the name of the person who wrote to Dr. Taylor,
and to whom Dr. Taylor's reply is addressed, shows how a certain
would-be "witness" was not a witness of the famous wedding. In
other particulars the correspondence speaks for itself.


Sir: The object of my unwillingly addressing you this note is to
inquire what right you had to exclude myself and other owners of
pews in Grace Church from entering it yesterday, enforced, too,
by a cordon of police for that purpose. If my pew is not my
property, I wish to know it; and if it is, I deny your right to
prevent me from occupying it whenever the church is open, even at
a marriage of mountebanks, which I would not take the trouble to
cross the street to witness.
                     Respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                         W*** S***

                         804 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, Feb. 16, 1863.
MR. W*** S***

Dear Sir: I am sorry, my valued friend, that you should have
written me the peppery letter that is now before me. If the
matter of which you complain be so utterly insignificant and
contemptible as "a marriage of mountebanks, which you would not
take the trouble to cross the street to witness," it surprises me
that you should have made such strenuous, but ill-directed
efforts to secure a ticket of admission. And why, permit me to
ask, in the name of reason and philosophy, do you still suffer it
to disturb you so sadly? It would, perhaps, be a sufficient
answer to your letter, to say that your cause of complaint exists
only in your imagination. You have never been excluded from your
pew. As rector, I am the only custodian of the church, and you
will hardly venture to say that you have ever applied to me for
permission to enter, and been refused.

Here I might safely rest, and leave you to the comfort of your
own reflections in the case. But as you, in common with many
other worthy persons, would seem to have very crude notions as to
your rights of "property" in pews, you will pardon me for saying
that a pew in a church is property only in a peculiar and
restricted sense. It is not property, as your house or horse is
property. It vests you with no fee in the soil; you cannot use it
in any way, and in every way, and at all times, as your pleasure
or caprice may dictate; you cannot put it to any common or
unhallowed uses; you cannot remove it, nor injure it, nor destroy
it. In short, you hold by purchase, and may sell the right to,
the undisturbed possession of that little space within the church
edifice which you call your pew during the hours of divine
service. But even that right must be exercised decorously, and
with a decent regard for time and place, or else you may at any
moment be ignominiously ejected from it.

I regret to be obliged to add that, by the law of custom, you
may, during those said hours of divine service (but at no other
time) sleep in your pew; you must, however, do so noiselessly and
never to the disturbance of your sleeping neighbors; your
property in your pew has this extent and nothing more. Now, if
Mr. W*** S*** were at any time to come to me and say, "Sir, I
would that you should grant me the use of Grace Church for a
solemn service (a marriage, a baptism, or a funeral, as the case
may be), and as it is desirable that the feelings of the parties
should be protected as far as possible from the impertinent
intrusion and disturbance of a crowd from the streets and lanes
of the city, I beg that no one may be admitted within the doors
of the church during the very few moments that we expect to be
there, but our invited friends only,"--it would certainly, in
such a case, be my pleasure to comply with your request, and to
meet your wishes in every particular; and I think that even Mr.
W*** S*** will agree that all this would be entirely reasonable
and proper. Then, tell me, how would such a case differ from the
instance of which you complain? Two young persons, whose only
crimes would seem to be that they are neither so big, nor so
stupid, nor so ill-mannered, nor so inordinately selfish as some
other people, come to me and say, sir, we are about to be
married, and we wish to throw around our marriage all the
solemnities of religion. We are strangers in your city, and as
there is no clergyman here standing in a pastoral relation to us,
we have ventured to ask the favor of the bishop of New York to
marry us, and he has kindly consented to do so; may we then
venture a little further and request the use of your church in
which the bishop may perform the marriage service? We assure you,
sir, that we are no shams, no cheats, no mountebanks; we are
neither monsters nor abortions; it is true we are little, but we
are as God made us, perfect in our littleness. Sir, we are simply
man and woman of like passions and infirmities with you and other
mortals. The arrangements for our marriage are controlled by no
"showman," and we are sincerely desirous that everything should
be ordered with a most scrupulous regard to decorum. We hope to
invite our relations and intimate friends, together with such
persons as may in other years have extended civilities to either
of us; but we pledge ourselves to you most sacredly that no
invitation can be bought with money. Permit us to say further,
that as we would most gladly escape from the insulting jeers, and
ribald sneers and coarse ridicule of the unthinking multitude
without, we pray you to allow us, at our own proper charges, so
to guard the avenues of access from the street, as to prevent all
unseemly tumult and disorder.

I tell you, sir, that whenever, and from whomsoever, such an
appeal is made to my Christian courtesy, although it should come
from the very humblest of the earth, I would go calmly and
cheerfully forward to meet their wishes, although as many W***
S***'s as would reach from here to Kamtschatka, clothed in furs
and frowns, should rise up to oppose me.

In conclusion, I will say, that if the marriage of Charles S.
Stratton and Lavinia Warren is to be regarded as a pageant, then
it was the most beautiful pageant it has ever been my privilege
to witness. If, on the contrary, it is rather to be thought of as
a solemn ceremony, then it was as touchingly solemn as a wedding
can possibly be rendered. It is true the bishop was not present,
but Mr. Stratton's own pastor, the Rev. Mr. Willey, of
Bridgeport, Connecticut, read the service with admirable taste
and impressiveness, and the bride was given away by her mother's
pastor and her own "next friend," a venerable Congregational
clergyman from Massachusetts. Surely, there never was a gathering
of so many hundreds of our best people, when everybody appeared
so delighted with everything; surely it is no light thing to call
forth so much innocent joy in so few moments of passing time;
surely it is no light thing, thus to smooth the roughness and
sweeten the acerbities which mar our happiness as we advance upon
the wearing journey of life. Sir, it was most emphatically a high
triumph of "Christian civilization!"
            Respectfully submitted, by your obedient servant,
                                         THOMAS HOUSE TAYLOR.

Not long after the wedding, a lady called at Barnum's office and
called his attention to a little six-paged pamphlet which she
said she had written. It was called "Priests and Pigmies," and
she asked Barnum to read it. He glanced at the title, and at once
estimating the character of the publication, promptly declined to
devote any portion of his valuable time to its perusal.

"But you had better look at it, Mr. Barnum; it deeply interests
you, and you may think it worth your while to buy it."

"Certainly, I will buy it, if you desire," said he, tendering her
a sixpence, which he supposed to be the price of the little

"Oh! you quite misunderstand me; I mean buy the copyright and the
entire edition, with the view of suppressing the work. It says
some frightful things, I assure you," urged the author.

He lay back in his chair and fairly roared at this exceedingly
feeble attempt at blackmail.

"But," persisted the lady, "suppose it says that your Museum and
Grace Church are all one, what then?"

"My dear madam," he replied, "you may say what you please about
me or about my Museum; you may print a hundred thousand copies of
a pamphlet stating that I stole the communion service, after the
wedding, from Grace Church altar, or anything else you choose to
write; only have the kindness to say something about me, and then
come to me and I will properly estimate the money value of your
services to me as an advertising agent. Good morning,
madam,"--and she departed.



While he had always taken an active interest in politics, it was
many years before Barnum consented to run for any office. In 1852
he was strongly urged to submit his name to the State Convention,
as a candidate for the office of Governor, and although the
Democratic party (to which he then belonged) was in the
ascendancy, and the nomination was equivalent to election, he
still refused.

In 1860 his political convictions were changed, and he identified
himself with the Republican party. During the exciting campaign
of that year, which resulted in Lincoln's first election to the
presidency, it will be remembered that the "Wide-Awake"
associations, with their uniforms and torchlight processions,
were organized in every city, town and village throughout the

One day Mr. Barnum arrived home from New York and learned that
the Bridgeport "Wide Awakes?" were to parade that evening and
intended to march out to Lindencroft. Ordering two boxes of
candles he prepared for an illumination of every window in the
house. Many of his neighbors, among them several Democrats, came
to Lindencroft that evening to witness the parade, and to see the
illumination. His next door neighbor, Mr. T., was a strong
Democrat, and before he left home, he ordered his servants to
stay in the basement, and not show a light, thus proving by the
darkness of his premises, the firmness of his Democratic

Barnum urged his friend James D. Johnson, who was not less a
joker than a Democrat, to engage the attention of Mr. and Mrs.
T., and to keep their faces turned toward Bridgeport and the
approaching procession, while he and Mr. George A. Wells, also a
Democrat, ran over and illuminated Mr. T.'s. house. As the
Wide-Awakes approached and saw that the house of Mr. T. was in a
blaze with light, they concluded that he had changed his
politics, and gave three rousing cheers for him. Hearing his
name, he turned and saw his house lighted from basement to attic,
and uttering one single emphatic ejaculation, he rushed for home.
But he was not able to extinguish the lights before the
Wide-Awakes had gone on their way rejoicing over his apparent

When the war broke out in 1861, Barnum was too old for active
service in the field, but he sent four substitutes and
contributed largely from his means to the support of the Union.

After Bull Run, July 21st, 1861, "Peace Meetings" began to be
held in different parts of the North, and especially in
Connecticut. At these meetings it was usual to display a white
flag bearing the word "Peace," above the national flag, and to
listen to speeches denunciatory of the war.

One of these meetings was held August 24, 1861, at Stepney, ten
miles north of Bridgeport, and Mr. Barnum and Elias Howe, Jr.,
inventor of the sewing machine needle, agreed to attend and hear
for themselves whether the speeches were loyal or not. They
communicated their intention to a number of their friends, asking
them to go also, and at least twenty accepted the invitation. It
was their plan to listen quietly to the harangues, and if they
found any opposition to the government or anything calculated to
create disaffection in the community, or liable to deter
enlistments,--to report the matter to the authorities at
Washington and ask that measures be taken to suppress the

As the carriages of these gentlemen turned into Main street they
discovered two large omnibuses filled with soldiers who were home
on a furlough, and who were going to Stepney. The lighter
carriages soon outran the omnibuses, and the party arrived at
Stepney in time to see the white flag run up above the stars and
stripes. They stood quietly in the crowd, while the meeting was
organized, and a preacher--Mr. Charles Smith--was invited to open
the proceedings with prayer. "The Military and Civil History of
Connecticut, during the war of 1861-65," by W. A. Croffut and
John M. Morris, thus continues the account of the meeting:

"He (Smith) had not, however, progressed far in his supplication,
when he slightly opened his eyes, and beheld, to his horror, the
Bridgeport omnibuses coming over the hill, garnished with Union
banners, and vocal with loyal cheers. This was the signal for a
panic; Bull Run, on a small scale was re-enacted. The devout
Smith, and the undelivered orators, it is alleged, took refuge in
a field of corn. The procession drove straight to the pole
unresisted, the hostile crowd parting to let them pass; and a
tall man--John Platt--amid some mutterings, climbed the pole,
reached the halliards, and the mongrel banners were on the
ground. Some of the peace-men, rallying, drew weapons on 'the
invaders,' and a musket and a revolver were taken from them by
soldiers at the very instant of firing. Another of the defenders
fired a revolver, and was chased into the fields. Still others,
waxing belligerent, were disarmed, and a number of loaded muskets
found stored in an adjacent shed were seized. The stars and
stripes were hoisted upon the pole, and wildly cheered. P. T.
Barnum was then taken on the shoulders of the boys in blue, and
put on the platform, where he made a speech full of patriotism,
spiced with the humor of the occasion. Captain James E. Dunham
also said a few words to the point. * * * * 'The Star Spangled
Banner' was then sung in chorus, and a series of resolutions
passed, declaring that 'loyal men are the rightful custodians of
the peace of Connecticut.' Elias Howe, Jr., chairman, made his
speech, when the crowd threatened to shoot the speakers. 'If they
fire a gun, boys, burn the whole town, and I'll pay for it!'
After giving the citizens wholesome advice concerning the
substituted flag, and their duty to the government, the
procession returned to Bridgeport with the white flag trailing in
the mud behind an omnibus. * * * * They were received at
Bridgeport by approving crowds, and were greeted with continuous
cheers as they passed along."

In the Spring of 1865, Barnum accepted from the Republican party
a nomination to the Connecticut Legislature, from the town of
Fairfield, and he did so mainly because he wished to vote for the
then proposed amendment to the Constitution, to abolish slavery
forever from the land.

He was elected, and on arriving at Hartford the night before the
session began, found the wire pullers at work, laying their plans
for the election of a Speaker of the House.

Barnum, with his usual penetration and shrewdness, saw that the
railroad interests had combined in support of one of the
candidates, and seeing in this, no promise of good to the
community at large, he at once consulted with a few friends in
the Legislature, and they resolved to defeat the railroad "ring,"
if possible, in caucus. Their efforts were successful and the
railroad's candidate was not elected.

Immediately after the caucus, Barnum sought the successful
nominee, Hon. E. K. Foster, of New Haven, and begged him not to
appoint as chairman of the Railroad Committee the man who had
held the office for several successive years, and who was, in
fact, the great railroad factotum of the State. The speaker
complied with Barnum's request, and he soon saw how important it
was to check the strong and growing monopoly; for, as he said,
the "outside pressure" to secure the appointment of the
objectionable party was terrible.

Although Barnum had not foreseen such a thing until he reached
Hartford, he soon discovered that a battle with the railroad
commissioners would be necessary, and his course was shaped
accordingly. A majority of the commissioners were mere tools in
the hands of the railroad companies, and one of them was actually
a hired clerk in the office of the New York and New Haven
Railroad Company. It was also shown that the chairman of the
commissioners permitted most of the accidents which occurred on
that road to be taken charge of and reported upon by their paid
lobby agent.

This was so manifestly destructive to the interests of all
parties who might suffer from accidents on the road, or have any
controversy with the company, that the farmers, and the
anti-monopolist element united to defeat the chairman of the
railroad commissioners, who was a candidate for re-election, and
to put their own candidate in his place.

Through Barnum's efforts a law was passed that no person in the
employ of any railroad in the State, should serve as railroad

But the great struggle, which lasted through the entire session,
was upon the subject of railroad passenger commutations.
Commodore Vanderbilt had secured control of the Hudson River and
Harlem railroads, and had increased the price of commuters'
tickets, from two hundred to four hundred per cent. Many men
living on the line of these roads, ten to fifty miles from New
York, had built fine residences in the country on the strength of
cheap transit to and from the city, and were now compelled to
submit to the extortion. Commodore Vanderbilt was also a large
shareholder in the New York and New Haven road, and it seemed
evident that the same practice would be introduced there Barnum
therefore enlisted as many as he could in a strong effort to
strangle the outrage before it became too strong to grapple with.
Several lawyers in the Assembly promised their aid, but before
the final struggle came, all but one, in the whole body, had
enlisted in favor of the railroads.

What influence had been at work with these gentlemen was, of
course, a matter of conjecture.

Certain it is that all the railroad interests in the State were
combined; and while they had plenty of money with which to carry
out their designs, the chances were small indeed for those
members of the legislature who were struggling for simple
justice, and who had no pecuniary interests at stake.

Nevertheless, every inch of ground was fought over, day after
day, before the legislative railroad committee; examinations and
cross-examinations of railroad commissioners and lobbyists were
kept up. Scarcely more than one man, Senator Ballard, of Darien,
lent his personal aid to Barnum in the investigation, but
together they left not a stone unturned.

The man who was prevented from being appointed chairman succeeded
in becoming one of the railroad commissioners, but so much light
was thrown on his connection with railroad reports, railroad laws
and lobbying, by the indefatigable Barnum, the, the man took to
his bed, some ten days before the close of the session, and
actually staid there "sick " until the legislature adjourned.

The amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing
slavery met with little opposition; but the proposed amendment to
the State Constitution, giving the right of suffrage to the
negro, was violently opposed by the Democratic members. The
report from the minority of the committee to whom the question
was referred gave certain reasons for rejecting the contemplated
amendment, and in reply to this minority report, Barnum spoke,
May 26th, 1865, as follows:--ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Mr. Speaker: I will not attempt to notice at any length the
declamation of the honorable gentleman from Milford, for
certainly I have heard nothing from his lips approaching to the
dignity of argument. I agree with the gentleman that the right of
suffrage is "dearly and sacredly cherished by the white man"; and
it is because this right is so dear and sacred, that I wish to
see it extended to every educated moral man within our State,
without regard to color. He tells us that one race is a vessel to
honor, and another to dishonor; and that he has seen on ancient
Egyptian monuments the negro represented as "a hewer of wood and
a drawer of water." This is doubtless true, and the gentleman
seems determined always to KEEP the negro a "vessel of dishonor,"
and a "hewer of wood." We, on the other hand, propose to give him
the opportunity of expanding his faculties and elevating himself
to true manhood. He says he "hates and abhors, and despises
demagogism." I am rejoiced to hear it, and I trust we shall see
tangible evidence of the truth of what he professes in his
abandonment of that slavery to party which is the mere trick and
trap of the demagogue.

When, a few days since, this honorable body voted unanimously for
the Amendment of the United States Constitution, abolishing human
slavery, I not only thanked God from my heart of hearts, but I
felt like going down on my knees to the gentlemen of the
opposition, for the wisdom they had exhibited in bowing to the
logic of events by dropping that dead weight of slavery which had
disrupted the Democratic party, with which I had been so long
connected. And on this occasion I wish again to appeal to the
wisdom and loyalty of my Democratic friends. I say Democratic
"friends," for I am and ever was, a thorough, out and out
Democrat. I supported General Jackson, and voted for every
Democratic president after him, up to and including Pierce; for I
really thought Pierce was a Democrat until he proved the
contrary, as I conceived, in the Kansas question. My democracy
goes for the greatest good to the greatest number, for equal and
exact justice to all men, and for a submission to the will of the
majority. It was the repudiation by the Southern Democracy of
this great democratic doctrine of majority rule which opened the

And now, Mr. Speaker, let me remind our Democratic friends that
the present question simply asks that a majority of the legal
voters, the white citizens of this State, may decide whether or
not colored men of good moral character, WHO ARE ABLE TO READ,
and who possess all the qualifications of white voters, shall be
entitled to the elective franchise. The opposition may have their
own ideas, or may be in doubt upon this subject; but surely no
true Democrat will dare to refuse permission to our
fellow-citizens to decide the question.

Negro slavery, and its legitimate outgrowths of ignorance,
tyranny and oppression, have caused this gigantic rebellion,
which has cost our country thousands of millions of treasure, and
hundreds of thousands of human lives in defending a principle.
And where was this poor, down-trodden colored race in this
rebellion? Did they seize the "opportunity" when their masters
were engaged with a powerful foe, to break out in insurrection,
and massacre those tyrants who had so long held them in the most
cruel bondage? No, Mr. Speaker, they did not do this. My
"Democratic" friends would have done it. I would have done it.
Irishmen, Chinamen, Portuguese, would have done it; any white man
would have done it; but the poor black man is like a lamb in his
nature compared with the white man. The black man possesses a
confiding disposition, thoroughly tinctured with religious
enthusiasm, and not characterized by a spirit of revenge. No, the
only barbarous massacres we heard of, during the war, were those
committed by their white masters on their poor, defenceless white
prisoners, and to the eternal disgrace of southern white
"Democratic" rebels, be it said, these instances of barbarism
were numerous all through the war. When this rebellion first
broke out, the northern Democracy raised a hue-and-cry against
permitting the negroes to fight; but when such a measure seemed
necessary, in order to put down traitors, these colored men took
their muskets in hand and made their bodies a wall of defence for
the loyal citizens of the North. And now, when our grateful white
citizens ask from this assembly the privilege of deciding by
their votes whether these colored men, who at least, were
partially our saviours in the war, may or may not, under proper
restrictions, become participants in that great salvation, I am
amazed that men calling themselves Democrats dare refuse to grant
this democratic measure. We wish to educate ignorant men, white
or black. Ignorance is incompatible with the genius of our free
institutions. In the very nature of things it jeopardizes their
stability, and it is always unsafe to transgress the laws of
nature. We cannot safely shut ourselves up with ignorance and
brutality; we must educate and Christianize those who are now by
circumstances our social inferiors.

Years ago, I was afraid of foreign voters. I feared that when
Europe poured her teeming millions of working people upon our
shores, our extended laws of franchise would enable them to swamp
our free institutions, and reduce us to anarchy. But much
reflection has satisfied me that we have only to elevate these
millions and their descendants to the standard of American
citizenship, and we shall find sufficient of the leaven of
liberty in our system of government to absorb all foreign
elements and assimilate them to a truly democratic form of

Mr. Speaker: We cannot afford to carry passengers and have them
live under our government with no real vital interest in its
perpetuity. Every man must be a joint owner.

The only safe inhabitants of a free country are educated citizens
who vote.

Nor in a free government can we afford to employ journeymen; they
may be apprenticed until they learn to read, and study our
institutions; and then let them become joint proprietors and feel
a proportionate responsibility. The two learned and distinguished
authors of the minority report have been studying the science of
ethnology and have treated us with a dissertation on the races.
And what have they attempted to show? Why, that a race which,
simply on account of the color of the skin, has long been buried
in slavery at the South, and even at the North has been tabooed
and scarcely permitted to rise above the dignity of whitewashers
and boot-blacks, does not exhibit the same polish and refinement
that the white citizens do who have enjoyed the advantages of
civilization, education, Christian culture and self-respect which
can only be attained by those who share in making the laws under
which they live.

Do our Democratic friends assume that the negroes are not human?
I have heard professed Democrats claim even that; but do the
authors of this minority report insist that the negro is a beast?
Is his body not tenanted by an immortal spirit? If this is the
position of the gentlemen, then I confess a beast cannot reason,
and this minority committee are right in declaring that "the
negro can develop no inventive faculties or genius for the arts."
For although the elephant may be taught to plow, or the dog to
carry your market-basket by his teeth, you cannot teach them to
shave notes, to speculate in gold, or even to vote; whereas, the
experience of all political parties shows that men may be taught
to vote, even when they do not know what the ticket means.

But if the colored man is indeed a man, then his manhood with
proper training can be developed. His soul may appear dormant,
his brain inactive, but there is a vitality there; and Nature
will assert herself if you will give her the opportunity.

Suppose an inhabitant of another planet should drop down upon
this portion of our globe at mid-winter. He would find the earth
covered with snow and ice, and congealed almost to the
consistency of granite. The trees are leafless, everything is
cold and barren; no green thing is to be seen; the inhabitants
are chilled, and stalk about shivering, from place to place; he
would exclaim, "Surely this is not life; this means annihilation.
No flesh and blood can long endure this; this frozen earth is
bound in the everlasting embraces of adamantine frost, and can
never develop vegetation for the sustenance of any living thing."
He little dreams of the priceless myriads of germs which
bountiful Nature has safely garnered in the warm bosom of our
mother earth; he sees no evidence of that vitality which the
beneficent sun will develop to grace and beautify the world. But
let him remain till March or April, and as the snow begins to
melt away, he discovers the beautiful crocus struggling through
the half-frozen ground; the snow-drops appear in all their chaste
beauty; the buds of the swamp-maple shoot forth; the beautiful
magnolia opens her splendid blossoms; the sassafras adds its
evidence of life; the pearl-white blossoms of the dog-wood light
up every forest: and while our stranger is rubbing his eyes in
astonishment, the earth is covered with her emerald velvet
carpet; rich foliage and brilliant colored blossoms adorn the
trees; fragrant flowers are enwreathing every wayside; the
swift-winged birds float through the air and send forth joyous
notes of gratitude from every tree-top; the merry lambs skip
joyfully around their verdant pasture-grounds; and everywhere is
our stranger surrounded with life, beauty, joy and gladness.

So it is with the poor African. You may take a dozen specimens of
both sexes from the lowest type of man found in Africa; their
race has been buried for ages in ignorance and barbarism, and you
can scarcely perceive that they have any more of manhood or
womanhood than so many orang-outangs or gorillas. You look at
their low foreheads, their thick skulls and lips, their woolly
heads, their flat noses, their dull, lazy eyes, and you may he
tempted to adopt the language of this minority committee, and
exclaim: Surely these people have "no inventive faculties, no
genius for the arts, or for any of those occupations requiring
intellect and wisdom." But bring them out into the light of
civilization; let them and their children come into the genial
sunshine of Christianity; teach them industry, self-reliance, and
self-respect; let them learn what too few white Christians have
yet understood, that cleanliness is akin to godliness, and a part
of godliness; and the human soul will begin to develop itself.
Each generation, blessed with churches and common schools will
gradually exhibit the result of such culture; the low foreheads
will be raised and widened by an active and expanded brain; the
vacant eye of barbarism, ignorance and idleness will light up
with the fire of intelligence, education, ambition, activity and
Christian civilization; and you will find the immortal soul
asserting her dignity, by the development of a man who would
startle by his intelligence the honorable gentleman from
Wallingford, who has presumed to compare beings made in God's
image with "oxen and asses." That honorable gentleman, if he is
rightly reported in the papers (I did not have the happiness to
hear his speech), has mistaken the nature of the colored man. The
honorable gentleman reminds me of the young man who went abroad,
and when he returned, there was nothing in America that could
compare with what he had seen in foreign lands. Niagara Falls was
nowhere; the White Mountains were "knocked higher than a kite" by
Mont Blanc; our rivers were so large that they were vulgar, when
contrasted with the beautiful little streams and rivulets of
Europe; our New York Central Park was eclipsed by the Bois de
Bologne and the Champs Elysees of Paris, or Hyde or Regent Park
of London, to say nothing of the great Phoenix Park at Dublin.

"They have introduced a couple of Venetian gondolas on the large
pond in Central Park," remarked a friend.

"All very well," replied the verdant traveler, "but between you
and me, these birds can't stand our cold climate more than one
season." The gentleman from Wallingford evidently had as little
idea of the true nature of the African as the young swell had of
the pleasure-boats of Venice.

Mr. Johnson, of Wallingford: "The gentleman misapprehends my
remarks. The gentleman from Norwich had urged that the negro
should vote because they have fought in our battles. I replied
that oxen and asses can fight, and therefore should, on the same
grounds, be entitled to vote."

Mr. Barnum: I accept the gentleman's explanation. Doubtless
General Grant will feel himself highly complimented when he
learns that it requires no greater capacity to handle the musket,
and meet armed battalions in the field, than "oxen and asses"

Let the educated free negro feel that he is a man; let him be
trained in New England churches, schools and workshops; let him
support himself, pay his taxes, and cast his vote, like other
men, and he will put to everlasting shame the champions of modern
Democracy, by the overwhelming evidence he will give in his own
person of the great Scripture truth, that "God has made of one
blood all the nations of men." A human soul, "that God has
created and Christ died for," is not to be trifled with. It may
tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot--it
is still an immortal spirit; and, amid all assumptions of caste,
it will in due time vindicate the great fact that, without regard
to color or condition, all men are equally children of the common

A few years since, an English lord and his family were riding in
his carriage in Liverpool. It was an elegant equipage; the
servants were dressed in rich livery; the horses caparisoned in
the most costly style; and everything betokened that the
establishment belonged to a scion of England's proudest
aristocracy. The carriage stopped in front of a palatial
residence. At this moment a poor beggar woman rushed to the side
of the carriage, and gently seizing the lady by the hand,
exclaimed, "For the love of God give me something to save my poor
sick children from starvation. You are rich; I am your poor
sister, for God is our common Father."

"Wretch!" exclaimed the proud lady, casting the woman's hand
away; "don't call me sister; I have nothing in common with such
low brutes as you." And the great lady doubtless thought she was
formed of finer clay than this suffering mendicant; but when a
few days afterward she was brought to a sick bed by the smallpox,
contracted by touching the hand of that poor wretch, she felt the
evidence that they belonged to the same great family, and were
subject to the same pains and diseases.

The State of Connecticut, like New Jersey, is a border State of
New York. New York has a great commercial city, where aldermen
rob by the tens of thousands, and where principal is studied much
more than principle. I can readily understand how the negro has
come to be debased at the North as well as at the South. The
interests of the two sections in the product of negro labor were
nearly identical. The North wanted Southern cotton and the South
was ready in turn to buy from the North whatever was needed in
the way of Northern supplies and manufactures. This community of
commercial interests led to an identity in political principles,
especially in matters pertaining to the negro race--the working
race of the South--which produced the cotton and consumed so much
of what Northern merchants and manufacturers sold for plantation
use. The Southern planters were good customers and were worth
conciliating. So when Connecticut proposed in 1818 to continue to
admit colored men to the franchise, the South protested against
thus elevating the negroes, and Connecticut succumbed. No other
New England State has ever so disgraced herself; and now
Connecticut Democrats are asked to permit the white citizens of
this State to express their opinion in regard to reinstating the
colored man where our Revolutionary sires placed him under the
Constitution. Now, gentlemen, "Democrats," as you call
yourselves, you who speak so flippantly of your "loyalty," your
"love for the Union" and your "love for the people"; you who are
generally talking right and voting wrong, we ask you to come
forward and act "democratically," by letting your masters, the
people, speak.

The word "white" in the Constitution cannot be strictly and
literally construed. The opposition express great love for white
blood. Will they let a mulatto vote half the time, a quadroon
three-fourths, and an octoroon seven-eighths of the time? If not,
why not? Will they enslave seven-eighths of a white man because
one-eighth is not Caucasian? Is this democratic? Shall not the
majority seven control the minority one? Out on such "democracy."

But a Democratic minority committee (of two) seem to have done
something besides study ethnology. They have also paid great
attention to fine arts, and are particularly anxious that all
voters shall have a "genius for the arts." I would like to ask
them if it has always been political practice to insist that
every voter in the great "unwashed" and "unterrified" of any
party should become a member of the Academy of Arts before he
votes the "regular" ticket? I thought he was received into the
full fellowship of a political party if he could exhibit
sufficient "inventive faculties and genius for the arts," to
enable him to paint a black eye. Can a man whose "genius for the
arts" enables him to strike from the shoulder scientifically, be
admitted to full fellowship in a political party? Is it evident
that the political artist has studied the old masters, if he
exhibits his genius by tapping an opponent's head with a
shillelah? The oldest master in this school of art was Cain; and
so canes have been made to play their part in politics, at the
polls and even in the United States Senate Chamber.

Is "genius for the arts and those occupations requiring intellect
and wisdom" sufficiently exemplified in adroitly stuffing
ballot-boxes, forging soldiers' votes, and copying a directory,
as has been done, as the return list of votes? Is the "inventive
faculty" of "voting early and often" a passport to political
brotherhood? Is it satisfactory evidence of "artistic" genius, to
head a mob? and a mob which is led and guided by political
passion, as numerous instances in our history prove, is the worst
of mobs. Is it evidence of "high art" to lynch a man by hanging
him to the nearest tree or lamp-post? Is a "whisky scrimmage" one
of the lost arts restored? We all know how certain "artists" are
prone to embellish elections and to enhance the excitements of
political campaigns by inciting riots, and the frequency with
which these disgraceful outbreaks have occurred of late,
especially in some of the populous cities, is cause for just
alarm. It is dangerous "art."

Mr. Speaker: I repeat that I am a friend to the Irishman. I have
traveled through his native country and have seen how he is
oppressed. I have listened to the eloquent and patriotic appeals
of Daniel O'Connell, in Conciliation Hall, in Dublin, and I have
gladly contributed to his fund for ameliorating the condition of
his countrymen. I rejoice to see them rushing to this land of
liberty and independence; and it is because I am their friend
that I denounce the demagogues who attempt to blind and mislead
them to vote in the interests of any party against the interests
of humanity, and the principles of true democracy. My neighbors
will testify that at mid-winter I employ Irishmen by the hundred
to do work that is not absolutely necessary, in order to help
them support their families.

After hearing the minority report last week, I began to feel that
I might be disfranchised, for I have no great degree of "genius
for the arts;" I felt, therefore, that I must get "posted" on
that subject as soon as possible. I at once sauntered into the
Senate Chamber to look at the paintings: there I saw portraits of
great men, and I saw two empty frames from which the pictures had
been removed. These missing paintings, I was told, were portraits
of two ex-Governors of the State, whose position on political
affairs was obnoxious to the dominant party in the Legislature;
and especially obnoxious were the supposed sentiments of these
governors on the war. Therefore, the Senate voted to remove the
pictures, and thus proved, as it would seem, that there is an
intimate connection between politics and art.

I have repeatedly traveled through every State in the South, and
I assert, what every intelligent officer and soldier who has
resided there will corroborate, that the slaves, as a body are
more intelligent than the poor whites. No man who has not been
there can conceive to what a low depth of ignorance the poor
snuff-taking, clay-eating whites of some portions of the South
have descended. I trust the day is not far distant when the
"common school" shall throw its illuminating rays through this
Egyptian pall.

I have known slave mechanics to be sold for $3,000, and even
$5,000 each, and others could not be bought at all; and I have
seen intelligent slaves acting as stewards for their masters,
traveling every year to New Orleans, Nashville, and even to
Cincinnati, to dispose of their masters' crops. The tree colored
citizens of Opelousas, St. Martinsville, and all the Attakapas
country in Louisiana, are as respectable and intelligent as an
ordinary community of whites. They speak the French and English
languages, educate their children in music and "the arts," and
they pay their taxes on more than fifteen millions of dollars.

Gentlemen of the opposition, I beseech you to remember that our
State and our country ask from us something more than party
tactics. It is absolutely necessary that the loyal blacks at the
South should vote, in order to save the loyal whites. Let
Connecticut, without regard to party, set them an example that
shall influence the action at the South, and prevent a new form
of slavery from arising there, which shall make all our
expenditure of blood and treasure fruitless.

But some persons have this color prejudice simply by the force of
education, and they say, "Well, a nigger is a nigger, and he
can't be anything else. I hate niggers, anyhow." Twenty years ago
I crossed the Atlantic, and among our passengers was an Irish
judge, who was coming out to Newfoundland as chief justice. He
was an exceedingly intelligent and polished gentleman, and
extremely witty. The passengers from the New England States and
those from the South got into a discussion on the subject of
slavery, which lasted three days. The Southerners were finally
worsted, and when their arguments were exhausted, they fell back
on the old story, by saying: "Oh! curse a nigger, he ain't half
human anyhow; he had no business to be a nigger, etc." One of the
gentlemen then turned to the Irish judge, and asked his opinion
of the merits of the controversy. The judge replied:

"Gentlemen, I have listened with much edification to your
arguments pro and con during three days. I was quite inclined to
think the anti-slavery gentlemen had justice and right on their
side, but the last argument from the South has changed my mind. I
say a 'nigger has no business to be a nigger,' and we should kick
him out of society and trample him under foot--always provided,
gentlemen, you prove he was born black at his own particular
request. If he had no word to say in the matter, of course he is
blameless for his color, and is entitled to the same respect that
other men are who properly behave themselves!"

Mr. Speaker: I am no politician; I came to this legislature
simply because I wish to have the honor of voting for the two
constitutional amendments--one for driving slavery entirely out
of our country; the other to allow men of education and good
moral character to vote, regardless of the color of their skins.
To give my voice for these two philanthropic, just and Christian
measures is all the glory I ask legislativewise. I care nothing
whatever for any sect or party under heaven, as such. I have no
axes to grind, no logs to roll, no favors to ask. All I desire is
to do what is right, and prevent what is wrong. I believe in no
"expediency" that is not predicated of justice, for in all
things--politics, as well as everything else--I know that
"honesty is the best policy." A retributive Providence will
unerringly and speedily search out all wrong-doing; hence, right
is always the best in the long run. Certainly,, in the light of
the great American spirit of liberty and equal rights which is
sweeping over this country, and making the thrones of tyrants
totter in the Old World, no party can afford to carry slavery,
either of body or of mind. Knock off your manacles and let the
man go free. Take down the blinds from his intellect, and let in
the light of education and Christian culture. When this is done
you have developed a man. Give him the responsibility of a man
and the self-respect of a man, by granting him the right of
suffrage, Let universal education, and the universal franchise be
the motto of free America, and the toiling millions of Europe,
who are watching you with such intense interest, will hail us as
their saviours. Let us loyally sink "party" on this question, and
go for "God and our Country." Let no man attach an eternal stigma
to his name by shutting his eyes to the great lesson of the hour,
and voting against permitting the people to express their opinion
on this important subject. Let us unanimously grant this truly
democratic boon. Then, when our laws of franchise are settled on
a just basis, let future parties divide where they honestly
differ on State or national questions which do nor trench upon
the claims of manhood or American citizenship.



On the 13th day of July, 1865, when Barnum was speaking in the
Legislature at Hartford, against the railroad schemes, a telegram
was handed him from his son-in-law and assistant manager in New
York, S. H. Hurd, saying that the American Museum was in flames
and its total destruction certain.

Barnum glanced at the dispatch, folded and laid it in his desk,
and went calmly on with his speech. At the conclusion of his
remarks, the bill which he was advocating was voted upon and
carried, and the House adjourned.

Not until then did Barnum hand the telegram to his friend,
William G. Coe, of Winsted, who immediately communicated the
intelligence to several members.

Warm sympathizers at once crowded around him, and one of his
strongest opponents pushing forward, seized his hand, and said:
"Mr. Barnum, I am truly sorry to hear of your great misfortune."

"Sorry," replied Barnum; "why, my dear sir, I shall not have time
to be sorry in a week! It will take me at least that length of
time before I can get over laughing at having whipped you all so
nicely on that bill."

But he did find time to be sorry when, next day, he went to New
York and saw nothing of what had been the American Museum but a
smouldering mass of debris.

Here was destroyed, in a few hours, the result of many years'
toil in accumulating from every part of the world myriads of
curious productions of nature and art--a collection which a half
a million of dollars and a quarter of a century could not

In addition to these, there were many Revolutionary relics and
other articles of historical interest that could never be
duplicated. Not a thousand dollars worth of property was saved;
the loss was irreparable, and the insurance was only forty
thousand dollars.

The fire probably originated in the engine-room, where steam was
constantly kept up to pump fresh air into the waters of the
aquaria and to propel the immense fans for cooling the atmosphere
of the rooms.

All the New York newspapers made a great "sensation" of the fire,
and the full particulars were copied in journals throughout the
country. A facetious reporter; Mr. Nathan D. Urner, of the
Tribune, wrote the following amusing account, which appeared in
that journal, July 14, 1865, and was very generally quoted from
and copied by provincial papers, many of whose readers accepted
every line of the glowing narrative as "gospel truth":

"Soon after the breaking out of the conflagration, a number of
strange and terrible howls and moans proceeding from the large
apartment in the third floor of the Museum, corner of Ann street
and Broadway, startled the throngs who had collected in front of
the burning building, and who were at first under the impression
that the sounds must proceed from human beings unable to effect
their escape. Their anxiety was somewhat relieved on this score,
but their consternation was by no means decreased upon learning
that the room in question was the principal chamber of the
menagerie connected with the Museum, and that there was imminent
danger of the release of the animals there confined, by the
action of the flames. Our reporter fortunately occupied a room on
the north corner of Ann street and Broadway, the windows of which
looked immediately into this apartment; and no sooner was he
apprised of the fire than he repaired there, confident of finding
items in abundance. Luckily the windows of the Museum were
unclosed, and he had a perfect view of almost the entire interior
of the apartment. The following is his statement of what
followed, in his own language.

"Protecting myself from the intense heat as well as I could by
taking the mattress from the bed and erecting it as a bulwark
before the window, with only enough space reserved on the top so
as to look out, I anxiously observed the animals in the opposite
room. Immediately opposite the window through which I gazed was a
large cage containing a lion and lioness. To the right hand was
the three-storied cage, containing monkeys at the top, two
kangaroos in the second story, and a happy family of cats, rats,
adders, rabbits, etc., in the lower apartment. To the left of the
lions' cage was the tank containing the two vast alligators, and
still further to the left, partially hidden from my sight, was
the grand tank containing the great white whale, which has
created such a furore in our sightseeing midst for the past few
weeks. Upon the floor were caged the boa-constrictor, anacondas
and rattlesnakes, whose heads would now and then rise menacingly
through the top of the cage. In the extreme right was the cage,
entirely shut from my view at first, containing the Bengal tiger
and the Polar bear, whose terrific growls could be distinctly
heard from behind the partition. With a simultaneous bound the
lion and his mate sprang against the bars, which gave way and
came down with a great crash, releasing the beasts, which for a
moment, apparently amazed at their sudden liberty, stood in the
middle of the floor lashing their sides with their tails and
roaring dolefully.

"Almost at the same moment the upper part of the three-storied
cage, consumed by the flames, fell forward, letting the rods drop
to the floor, and many other animals were set free. Just at this
time the door fell through and the flames and smoke rolled in
like a whirlwind from the Hadean river Cocytus. A horrible scene
in the right-hand corner of the room, a yell of indescribable
agony, and a crashing, grating sound, indicated that the tiger
and Polar bear were stirred up to the highest pitch of
excitement. Then there came a great crash, as of the giving way
of the bars of their cage. The flames and smoke momentarily
rolled back, and for a few seconds the interior of the room was
visible in the lurid light of the flames, which revealed the
tiger and the lion, locked together in close combat.

"The monkeys were perched around the windows, shivering with
dread, and afraid to jump out. The snakes were writhing about,
crippled and blistered by the heat, darting out their forked
tongues, and expressing their rage and fear in the most sibilant
of hisses. The 'Happy Family' were experiencing an amount of
beatitude which was evidently too cordial for philosophical
enjoyment. A long tongue of flame had crept under the cage,
completely singing every hair from the cat's body. The felicitous
adder was slowly burning in two and busily engaged in
impregnating his organic system with his own venom. The joyful
rat had lost his tail by a falling bar of iron; and the beatific
rabbit, perforated by a red-hot nail, looked as if nothing would
be more grateful than a cool corner in some Esquimaux farm-yard.
The members of the delectated convocation were all huddled
together in the bottom of their cage, which suddenly gave way,
precipitating them out of view in the depths below, which by this
time were also blazing like the fabled Tophet.

"At this moment the flames rolled again into the room, and then
again retired. The whale and alligators were by this time
suffering dreadful torments. The water in which they swam was
literally boiling. The alligators dashed fiercely about,
endeavoring to escape, and opening and shutting their great jaws
in ferocious torture; but the poor whale, almost boiled, with
great ulcers bursting from his blubbery sides, could only feebly
swim about, though blowing excessively, and every now and then
sending up great fountains of spray. At length, crack went the
glass sides of the great cases, and whale and alligators rolled
out on the floor with the rushing and steaming water. The whale
died easily, having been pretty well used up before. A few great
gasps and a convulsive flap or two of his mighty flukes were his
expiring spasm. One of the alligators was killed almost
immediately by falling across a great fragment of shattered
glass, which cut open his stomach and let out the greater part of
his entrails to the light of day. The remaining alligator became
involved in a controversy with an anaconda, and joined the melee
in the centre of the flaming apartment.

"A number of birds which were caged in the upper part of the
building were set free by some charitably inclined person at the
first alarm of fire, and at intervals they flew out. There were
many valuable tropical birds, parrots, cockatoos, mockingbirds,
humming-birds, etc., as well as some vultures and eagles, and one
condor. Great excitement existed among the swaying crowds in the
streets below as they took wing. There were confined in the same
room a few serpents, which also obtained their liberty; and soon
after the rising and devouring flames began to enwrap the entire
building, a splendid and emblematic sight was presented to the
wondering and upgazing throngs. Bursting through the central
casement, with flap of wings and lashing coils, appeared an eagle
and a serpent wreathed in fight. For a moment they hung poised in
mid-air, presenting a novel and terrible conflict. It was the
earth and air (or their respective representatives) at war for
mastery; the base and the lofty, the groveller and the soarer,
were engaged in deadly battle. At length the flat head of the
serpent sank; his writhing, sinuous form grew still; and wafted
upward by the cheers of the gazing multitude, the eagle, with a
scream of triumph, and bearing his prey in his iron talons,
soared towards the sun. Several monkeys escaped from the burning
building to the neighboring roofs and streets; and considerable
excitement was caused by the attempts to secure them. One of the
most amusing incidents in this respect, was in connection with
Mr. James Gordon Bennett. The veteran editor of the Herald was
sitting in his private office, with his back to the open window,
calmly discussing with a friend the chances that the Herald
establishment would escape the conflagration, which at that time
was threateningly advancing up Ann street towards Nassau street.
In the course of his conversation, Mr. Bennett observed:
'Although I have usually had good luck in cases of fire, they say
that the devil is ever at one's shoulder, and'--here an
exclamation from his friend interrupted him, and turning quickly
he was considerably taken aback at seeing the devil himself, or
something like him, at his very shoulder as he spoke. Recovering
his equanimity, with the ease and suavity which is usual with him
in all company, Mr. Bennett was about to address the intruder,
when he perceived that what he had taken for the gentleman in
black was nothing more than a frightened orang-outang. The poor
creature, but recently released from captivity, and doubtless
thinking that he might fill some vacancy in the editorial corps
of the paper in question, had descended by the water-pipe and
instinctively taken refuge in the inner sanctum of the
establishment. Although the editor--perhaps from the fact that he
saw nothing peculiarly strange in the visitation--soon regained
his composure, it was far otherwise with his friend, who
immediately gave the alarm. Mr. Hudson rushed in and boldly
attacked the monkey, grasping him by the throat. The book-editor
next came in, obtaining a clutch upon the brute by the ears; the
musical critic followed and seized the tail with both hands, and
a number of reporters, armed with inkstands and sharpened
pencils, came next, followed by a dozen policemen with brandished
clubs; at the same time, the engineer in the basement received
the preconcerted signal and got ready his hose, wherewith to pour
boiling hot water upon the heads of, those in the streets, in
case it should prove a regular systematized attack by gorillas,
Brazil apes, and chimpanzees. Opposed to this formidable
combination the rash intruder fared badly, and was soon in
durance vile. Numerous other incidents of a similar kind
occurred; but some of the most amusing were in connection with
the wax figures.

"Upon the same impulse which prompts men in time of fire to fling
valuable looking-glasses out of three-story windows, and at the
same time tenderly to lower down feather beds--soon after the
Museum took fire, a number of sturdy firemen rushed into the
building to carry out the wax figures. There were thousands of
valuable articles which might have been saved if there had been
less of solicitude displayed for the miserable effigies which are
usually exhibited under the appellation of 'wax figures.' As it
was, a dozen firemen rushed into the apartment where the figures
were kept, amid a multitude of crawling snakes, chattering
monkeys and escaped paroquets. The 'Dying Brigand' was
unceremoniously throttled and dragged towards the door; liberties
were taken with the tearful 'Senorita' who has so long knelt and
so constantly wagged her doll's head at his side; the mules of
the other bandits were upset, and they themselves roughly seized.
The full-length statue of P. T. Barnum fell down of its own
accord, as if disgusted with the whole affair. A red-shined
fireman seized with either hand Franklin Pierce and James
Buchanan by their coat-collars, tucked the Prince Imperial of
France under one arm and the Veiled Murderess under the other,
and coolly departed for the street. Two ragged boys quarreled
over the Tom Thumb, but at length settled the controversy by one
of them taking the head, the other satisfying himself with the
legs below the knees. They evidently had Tom under their thumbs,
and intended to keep him down. While the curiosity-seeking
policeman was garroting Benjamin Franklin, with the idea of
abducting him, a small monkey, flung from the windowsill by the
strong hand of an impatient fireman, made a straight dive,
hitting Poor Richard just below the waistcoat, and passing
through his stomach, as fairly as the Harlequin in the 'Green
Monster' pantomime ever pierced the picture with the slit in it,
which always hangs so conveniently low and near. Patrick Henry
had his teeth knocked out by a flying missile, and in carrying
Daniel Lambert down stairs, he was found to be so large that they
had to break off his head in order to get him through the door.
At length the heat became intense, the 'figgers' began to
perspire freely, and the swiftly approaching flames compelled all
hands to desist from any further attempt at rescue. Throwing a
parting glance behind as we passed down the stairs, we saw the
remaining dignitaries in a strange plight. Some one had stuck a
cigar in General Washington's mouth, and thus, with his chapeau
crushed down over his eyes and his head leaning upon the ample
lap of Moll Pitcher, the Father of his Country led the van of as
sorry a band of patriots as not often comes within one's
experience to see. General Marion was playing a dummy game of
poker with General Lafayette; Governor Morris was having a set-to
with Nathan Lane, and James Madison was executing a Dutch polka
with Madam Roland on one arm and Luicretia Borgia on the other.
The next moment the advancing flames compelled us to retire.

"We believe that all the living curiosities were saved; but the
giant girl, Anna Swan, was only rescued with the utmost
difficulty. There was not a door through which her bulky frame
could obtain a passage. It was likewise feared that the stairs
would break down, even if she should reach them. Her best friend,
the living skeleton, stood by her as long as he dared, but then
deserted her, while, as the heat grew in intensity, the
perspiration rolled from her face in little brooks and rivulets,
which pattered musically upon the floor. At length, as a last
resort, the employees of the place procured a lofty derrick which
fortunately happened to be standing near, and erected it
alongside of the Museum. A portion of the wall was then broken
off on each side of the window, the strong tackle was got in
readiness, the tall woman was made fast to one end and swung over
the heads of the people in the street, with eighteen men grasping
the other extremity of the line, and lowered down from the third
story, amid enthusiastic applause. A carriage of extraordinary
capacity was in readiness, and, entering this, the young lady was
driven away to a hotel.

"When the surviving serpents, that were released by the partial
burning of the box in which they were contained, crept along on
the floor to the balcony of the Museum and dropped on the
sidewalk, the crowd, seized with St. Patrick's aversion to the
reptiles, fled with such precipitate haste that they knocked each
other down and trampled on one another in the most reckless and
damaging manner.

"Hats were lost, coats torn, boots burst and pantaloons dropped
with magnificent miscellaneousness, and dozens of those who rose
from the miry streets into which they had been thrown looked like
the disembodied spirits of a mud bank. The snakes crawled on the
sidewalk and into Broadway, where some of them died from injuries
received, and others were dispatched by the excited populace.
Several of the serpents of the copper-head species escaped the
fury of the tumultuous masses, and, true to their instincts,
sought shelter in the World and News offices. A large black bear
escaped from the burning Museum into Ann street, and then made
his way into Nassau, and down that thoroughfare into Wall, where
his appearance caused a sensation. Some superstitious persons
believed him the spirit of a departed Ursa Major, and others of
his fraternity welcomed the animal as a favorable omen. The bear
walked quietly along to the Custom House, ascended the steps of
the building, and became bewildered, as many a biped bear has
done before him. He seemed to lose his sense of vision, and, no
doubt, endeavoring to operate for a fall, walked over the side of
the steps and broke his neck. He succeeded in his object, but it
cost him dearly. The appearance of Bruin in the street sensibly
affected the stock market, and shares fell rapidly; but when he
lost his life in the careless manner we have described, shares
advanced again, and the Bulls triumphed once more.

"Broadway and its crossings have not witnessed a denser throng
for months than assembled at the fire yesterday. Barnum's was
always popular, but it never drew so vast a crowd before. There
must have been forty thousand people on Broadway, between Maiden
Lane and Chambers street, and a great portion stayed there until
dusk. So great was the concourse of people that it was with
difficulty pedestrians or vehicles could pass.

"After the fire several high-art epicures, groping among the
ruins, found choice morsels of boiled whale, roasted kangaroo and
fricasseed crocodile, which, it is said, they relished; though
the many would have failed to appreciate such rare edibles.
Probably the recherche epicures will declare the only true way to
prepare those meats is to cook them in a Museum wrapped in
flames, in the same manner that the Chinese, according to Charles
Lamb, first discovered roast pig in a burning house, and ever
afterward set a house on fire with a pig inside, when they wanted
that particular food."

All the New York journals, and many more in other cities,
editorially expressed their sympathy with the misfortune, and
their sense of the loss the community had sustained in the
destruction of the American Museum. The following editorial is
from the New York Tribune of July 14, 1865:

"The destruction of no building in this city could have caused so
much excitement and so much regret as that of Barnum's Museum.
The collection of curiosities was very large, and though many of
them may not have had much intrinsic or memorial value, a
considerable portion was certainly of great worth for any Museum.
But aside from this, pleasant memories clustered about the place,
which for so many years has been the chief resort for amusement
to the common people who cannot often afford to treat themselves
to a night at the more expensive theatres, while to the children
of the city, Barnum's has been a fountain of delight, ever
offering new attractions as captivating and as implicitly
believed in as the Arabian Nights Entertainments: Theatre,
Menagerie and Museum, it amused, instructed, and astonished. If
its thousands and tens of thousands of annual visitors were
bewildered sometimes with a Wooly Horse, a What is It? or a
Mermaid, they found repose and certainty in a Giraffe, a Whale or
a Rhinoceros. If wax effigies of pirates and murderers made them
shudder lest those dreadful figures should start out of their
glass cases and repeat their horrid deeds, they were reassured by
the presence of the mildest and most amiable of giants, and the
fattest of mortal women, whose dead weight alone could crush all
the wax figures into their original cakes. It was a source of
unfailing interest to all country visitors, and New York to many
of them was only the place that held Barnum's Museum. It was the
first thing--often the only thing--they visited when they came
among us, and nothing that could have been contrived, out of our
present resources, could have offered so many attractions, unless
some more ingenious showman had undertaken to add to Barnum's
collection of waxen criminals by putting in a cage the live
Boards of the Common Council. We mourn its loss, but not as
without consolation. Barnum's Museum is gone, but Barnum himself,
happily, did not share the fate of his rattlesnakes and his, at
least, most "un-Happy Family." There are fishes in the seas and
beasts in the forest; birds still fly in the air, and strange
creatures still roam in the deserts; giants and pigmies still
wander up and down the earth; the oldest man, the fattest woman,
and the smallest baby are still living, and Barnum will find

"Or even if none of these things or creatures existed, we could
trust to Barnum to make them out of hand. The Museum, then, is
only a temporary loss, and much as we sympathize with the
proprietor, the public may trust to his well-known ability and
energy to soon renew a place of amusement which was a source of
so much innocent pleasure, and had in it so many elements of
solid excellence."

As already stated, Mr. Barnum's insurance was but forty thousand
dollars while the loss was fully four hundred thousand, and as
his premium was five per cent., he had already paid the insurance
companies more than they returned to him.

His first impulse, on reckoning up his losses, was to retire from
active life and all business occupations, beyond what his real
estate interests in Bridgeport and New York would compel. He went
to his old friend, Horace Greeley, and asked for advice on the

"Accept this fire as a notice to quit, and go a-fishing," said
Mr. Greeley.

"What?" exclaimed Barnum.

"Yes, go a-fishing," replied Greeley. "Why, I have been wanting
to go for thirty years, and have never yet found time to do so."

And but for two considerations Barnum might have taken this
advice. One hundred and fifty employees were thrown out of work
at a season when it would have been difficult to get anything
else to do. That was the most important consideration. Then, too,
Barnum felt that a large city like New York needed a good Museum,
and that his experience of a quarter of a century in that
direction afforded the greatest facilities for founding another
establishment of the kind. So he took a few days for reflection.

The Museum employees were tendered a benefit at the Academy of
Music, at which most of the dramatic artists in the city gave
their services. At the conclusion Barnum was called for, and made
a brilliant speech, in which he announced that he had decided to
establish another Museum, and that, in order to give present
occupation to his employees, he had engaged the Winter Garden
Theatre for a few weeks, his new establishment promising to be
ready by fall.

The New York Sun commented on the speech as follows:

"One of the happiest impromptu oratorical efforts that we have
heard for some time was that made by Barnum at the benefit
performance given for his employees on Friday afternoon. If a
stranger wanted to satisfy himself how the great showman had
managed so to monopolize the ear and eye of the public during his
long career, he could not have had a better opportunity of doing
so than by listening to this address. Every word, though
delivered with apparent carelessness, struck a key-note in the
hearts of his listeners. Simple, forcible and touching, it showed
how thoroughly this extraordinary man comprehends the character
of his countrymen, and how easily he can play upon their

"Those who look upon Barnum as a mere charlatan, have really no
knowledge of him. It would be easy to demonstrate that the
qualities that have placed him in his present position of
notoriety and affluence would, in another pursuit, have raised
him to far greater eminence. In his breadth of views, his
profound knowledge of mankind, his courage under reverses, his
indomitable perseverance, his ready eloquence and his admirable
business tact, we recognize the elements that are conducive to
success in most other pursuits. More than almost any other living
man, Barnum may be said to be a representative type of the
American mind."



During his legislative career Mr. Barnum made many new friends
and pleasant acquaintances, and there were many events great and
small which tended to make the session memorable. Barnum was by
no means an idle member. On several occasions, indeed, he took a
most conspicuous part in debates and in framing legislation. On
one occasion, a Representative, who was a lawyer, introduced
resolutions to reduce the number of Representatives, urging that
the "House" was too large and ponderous a body to work smoothly;
that a smaller number of persons could accomplish business more
rapidly and completely; and, in fact, that the Connecticut
Legislature was so large that the members did not have time to
get acquainted with each other before the body adjourned sine
die. Barnum replied, that the larger the number of
Representatives, the more difficult it would be to tamper with
them; and if they all could not become personally acquainted, so
much the better, for there would be fewer "rings," and less
facilities for forcing improper legislation.

"As the House seems to be thin now, I will move to lay my
resolutions on the table," remarked the member; "but I shall call
them up when there is a full House."

"According to the gentleman's own theory," Barnum replied, "the
smaller the number, the surer are we to arrive at correct
conclusions. Now, therefore, is just the time to decide; and I
move that the gentleman's resolutions be considered." This
proposition was seconded amid a roar of laughter; and the
resolutions were almost unanimously voted down, before the member
fairly comprehended what was going on. He afterwards acknowledged
it as a pretty fair joke, and at any rate as an effective one.

At this time Connecticut had two capitals, Hartford and New
Haven. The State House at Hartford was a wretched old building,
too small and entirely unfit for the purposes to which it was
devoted; and that at New Haven was scarcely better. Barnum made a
strong effort to secure the erection of new buildings in both
cities, and was made chairman of the committee having the matter
in charge. During his investigations he ascertained that
Bridgeport, Middletown and Meriden would each be willing to erect
a fine new State House at its own cost, for the sake of being
made the capital of the State. Thus the jealousy of Hartford and
New Haven was greatly aroused, and committees of citizens waited
upon Mr. Barnum, beseeching him not to press the matter of
removing the capital. In the end nothing definite was done, but
years afterward Hartford was made the sole capital and one of the
finest public buildings in the world was erected there.

The most notable event of the whole session however occurred near
its close, when Barnum introduced a bill to amend the railroad
law of the State by inserting in it the following:

"Section 508. No railroad company, which has had a system of
commutation fares in force for more than four years, shall
abolish, alter, or modify the same, except for the regulation of
the price charged for such commutation; and such price shall, in
no case, be raised to an extent that shall alter the ratio
between such commutation and the rates then charged for way fare,
on the railroad of such company."

The New York and New Haven Railroad Company seemed determined to
move heaven and earth to prevent the passage of this law. The
halls of legislation were thronged with railroad lobbyists, who
button-holed nearly every member. Barnum's motives were attacked,
and the most foolish slanders were circulated. Not only every
legal man in the House was arrayed against him, but occasionally
a "country member," who had promised to stick by and aid in
checking the cupidity of railroad managers, would drop off, and
be found voting on the other side. "I devoted," says Barnum,
"many hours, and even days, to explaining the true state of
things to the members from the rural regions, and, although the
prospect of carrying this great reform looked rather dark, I felt
that I had a majority of the honest and disinterested members of
the House with me. Finally, Senator Ballard informed me that he
had canvassed the Senate, and was convinced that the bill could
be carried through that body if I could be equally successful
with the House."

The date of the final debate and vote was fixed for the morning
of July 13. At that time the excitement was intense. The State
House was crowded with railroad lobbyists; for nearly every
railroad in the State had made common cause with the New York and
New Haven Company, and every Representative was in his seat,
excepting the sick man, who had doctored the railroads till he
needed doctoring himself. The debate was led off by skirmishers
on each side, and was finally closed on the part of the railroads
by Mr. Harrison, of New Haven, who was chairman of the railroad
committee. Mr. Harrison was a close and forcible debater and a
clear-headed lawyer. His speech exhibited considerable thought,
and his earnestness and high character as a gentleman of honor
carried much weight. Besides, his position as chairman of the
committee naturally influenced some votes. He claimed to
understand thoroughly the merits of the question, from having, in
his capacity as chairman, heard all the testimony and arguments
which had come before that committee; and a majority of the
committee, after due deliberation, had reported against the
proposed bill.

Mr. Barnum arose to close the debate. He endeavored to state
briefly the gist of the whole case. "Only a few years before," he
said, "the New York and New Haven Company had fixed their own
price for commuters' tickets along the whole line of the road,
and had thus induced hundreds of New York citizens to remove to
Connecticut with their families, and build their houses on
heretofore unimproved property, thus vastly increasing the value
of the lands, and correspondingly helping our receipts for taxes.
He urged that there was a tacit understanding between the
railroad and these commuters and the public generally, that such
persons as chose thus to remove from a neighboring State, and
bring their families and capital within Connecticut's borders,
should have the right to pass over the railroad on the terms
fixed at the time by the president and directors; 'that any claim
that the railroad could not afford to commute at the prices they
had themselves established was absurd, from the fact that, even
now, if one thousand families who reside in New York, and had
never been in our own State, should propose to the railroad to
remove these families (embracing in the aggregate five thousand
persons) to Connecticut, and build one thousand new houses on the
line of the New York and New Haven Railroad, provided the
railroad would carry the male head of the family at all times for
nothing, the company could well afford to accept the proposition,
because they would receive full prices for transporting all other
members of these families, at all times, as well as full prices
for all their visitors and servants.'

"And now," he said, "what are the facts? Do we desire the
railroad to carry even one-fifth of these new-comers for nothing?
Do we, indeed, desire to compel them to transport them for any
definitely fixed price at all? On the contrary, we find that
during the late rebellion, when gold was selling for two dollars
and eighty cents per dollar, this company doubled its prices of
commutation, and retains the same prices now, although gold is
but one-half that amount ($1.40). We don't ask them to go back to
their former prices; we don't compel them to rest even here; we
simply say, increase your rates, pile up your demands just as
high as you desire, only you shall not make fish of one and fowl
of another. You have fixed and increased your prices to
passengers of all classes just as you liked, and established your
own ratio between those who pay by the year and those who pay by
the single trip; and now, all we ask is, that you shall not
change the ratio. Charge ten dollars per passenger from New York
to New Haven, if you have the courage to risk the competition of
the steamboats; and whatever percentage you choose to increase
the fare of transient passengers, we permit you to increase the
rates of commuters in the same ratio.

"The interests of the State, as well as communities, demand this
law; for if it is once fixed by statute that the prices of
commutation are not to be increased, many persons will leave the
localities where extortion is permitted on the railroads, and
will settle in our State. But these railroad gentlemen say they
have no intention to increase their rates of commutation, and
they deprecate what they term 'premature legislation,' and an
uncalled-for meddling with their affairs. Mr. Speaker, 'an ounce
of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' Men engaged in plots
against public interests always ask to be 'let alone.' Jeff Davis
only asked to be 'let alone,' when the North was raising great
armies to prevent the dissolution of the Union. The people cannot
afford to let these railroads alone. This hall, crowded with
railroad lobbyists, as the frogs thronged Egypt, is an admonition
to all honest legislators that it is unsafe to allow the
monopolies the chance to rivet the chains which already fetter
the limbs of those whom circumstances place in the power of these

At this point in his speech he was interrupted a messenger, who
placed in his hands a dispatch from his son-in-law in New York,
marked "Urgent." He opened and read it. It announced that his
Museum had been totally destroyed by fire. He laid it upon his
desk, and without the slightest change of manner continued his
argument, as follows:

"These railroad gentlemen absolutely deny any intention of
raising the fares of commuters, and profess to think it very hard
that disinterested and conscientious gentlemen like them should
be judged by the doings of the Hudson River and Harlem Railroads.
But now, Mr. Speaker, I am going to expose the duplicity of these
men. I have had detectives on their track, for men who plot
against public interest deserve to be watched. I have in my
pocket positive proofs that they did, and do, intend to spring
their trap upon the unprotected commuters on the New York and New
Haven Railroad."

He then drew from his pocket and read two telegrams received that
morning, one from New York and the other from Bridgeport,
announcing that the New York and New Haven Railroad Directory had
held a secret meeting in New York the day before, for the purpose
of immediately raising the fares of commuters twenty per cent.,
so that in case his bill became a law they could get ahead of
him. He continued:

"Now, Mr. Speaker, I know that these dispatches are true; my
information is from the inside of the camp. I see a director of
the New York and New Haven Railroad sitting in this hall; I know
that he knows these dispatches are true; and if he will go before
the railroad committee and make oath that he don't know that such
a meeting took place yesterday, for exactly this purpose, I will
forfeit and pay one thousand dollars to the families of poor
soldiers in this city. In consideration of this attempt to
forestall the action of this Legislature, I offer an amendment to
the bill now under consideration, by adding after the word
'ratio' the words 'as it existed on the 1st day of July, 1865.'
In this way we shall cut off any action which these sleek
gentlemen may have taken yesterday. It is now evident that these
railroad gentlemen have set a trap for this Legislature; and I
propose that we now spring the trap, and see if we cannot catch
these wily railroad directors in it. Mr. Speaker, I move the
previous question."

This revelation astounded the opposition, and the "previous
question" was ordered. On the final vote the bill was carried
through triumphantly, and has ever since remained an important
item in the statute-book of the State.

In the spring of 1866 Barnum was re-elected to represent the town
of Fairfield in the Legislature. He had not intended to serve
again. But one of the directors of the railroad, who had led the
opposition to Barnum's new railroad law, had openly boasted about
the town that Barnum should not be allowed to hold the office
again. It was in response to these boasts that Barnum decided to
accept the nomination, and he was handsomely elected.

The leading issue before that Legislature was the election of a
United States Senator. Andrew Johnson was then President of the
United States, and had begun to break away from the Republican
party. One of the Connecticut Senators was following him in this
action. The other Senator was now a candidate for re-election.
Barnum had been an earnest admirer of him, but now ascertained
that he too was siding with Johnson. This caused Barnum to take
an active part in opposing him, and the showman-legislator spent
many days and nights endeavoring to impress upon his colleagues
the importance of defeating this candidate and electing the Hon.
O. S. Ferry to the Senatorship.

Excitement ran high. At first Mr. Ferry had only a few votes. But
under Barnum's skilful leadership he at last obtained a majority
in the party caucus and was accordingly elected.

During that summer Barnum entertained many eminent politicians
and other public men at his beautiful residence, Lindencroft.
Governor Hawley wanted him to serve as a Commissioner to the
Paris Exposition of 1867, but he was unable to do so.

In the spring of 1867 he was nominated for Congress by the
Republicans of the Fourth District. In referring to this episode,
he afterward remarked: "Politics were always distasteful to me. I
possessed, naturally, too much independence of mind, and too
strong a determination to do what I believe to be right,
regardless of party expediency, to make a lithe and oily
politician. To be called on to favor applications from
office-seekers, without regard to their merits, and to do the
dirty work too often demanded by political parties; to be "all
things to all men," though not in the apostolic sense; to shake
hands with those whom I despised, and to kiss the dirty babies of
those whose votes were courted, were political requirements which
I felt I could never acceptably fulfil. Nevertheless, I had
become, so far as business was concerned, almost a man of
leisure; and some of my warmest personal friends insisted that a
nomination to so high and honorable a position as a member of
Congress was not to be lightly rejected, and so I consented to
run. Fairfield and Litchfield counties composed the district,
which, in the preceding Congressional election, in 1865, and just
after the close of the war, was Republican. In the year
following, however, the district in the State election went
Democratic. I had this Democratic majority to contend against in
1867, and as the whole State turned over and elected the
Democratic ticket, I lost my election. In the next succeeding
Congressional election, in 1869, the Fourth District also elected
the only Democratic Congressman chosen from Connecticut that

"I was neither disappointed nor cast down by my defeat. The
political canvass served the purpose of giving me a new
sensation, and introducing me to new phases of human nature--a
subject which I had always great delight in studying. The filth
and scandal, the slanders and vindictiveness, the plottings and
fawnings, the fidelity, meanness and manliness,: which by turns
exhibited themselves in the exciting scenes preceding the
election, were novel to me, and were so far interesting.

"Shortly after my opponent was nominated I sent him the following
letter, which was also published in the Bridgeport Standard:

" 'BRIDGEPORT, Conn., February 21, 1867.
" 'W. H. BARNUM, Esq., Salisbury, Conn.:

" 'Dear Sir: Observing that the Democratic party has nominated
you for Congress from this district, I desire to make you a

" 'The citizens of this portion of our State will be compelled,
on the first Monday in April next, to decide whether you or
myself shall represent their interests and their principles in
the Fortieth Congress of the United States.

" 'The theory of our government is, that the will of the people
shall be the law of the land. It is important, therefore, that
the people shall vote understandingly, and especially at this
important crisis in our national existence. In order that the
voters of this district shall fully comprehend the principles by
which each of their Congressional candidates is guided, I
respectfully invite you to meet me in a serious and candid
discussion of the important political issues of the day at
various towns in the Fourth Congressional District of
Connecticut, on each week-day evening, from the fourth day of
March until the thirtieth day of the same month, both inclusive.

" 'If you will consent to thus meet me in a friendly discussion
of those subjects, now so near and dear to every American heart,
and, I may add, possessing at this time such momentous interest
to all civilized nations in the world who are suffering from
misrule, I pledge myself to conduct my portion of the debate with
perfect fairness, and with all due respect for my opponent, and
doubt not you will do the same.

" 'Never, in my judgment, in our past history as a nation, have
interests and questions more important appealed to the people for
their wise and careful consideration. It is due to the voters of
the Fourth Congressional District that they have an early and
full opportunity to examine their candidates in regard to these
important problems, and I shall esteem it a great privilege if
you will accept this proposition.

" 'Please favor me with an early answer, and oblige
                                        " 'Truly yours,
                                             " 'P. T. BARNUM.' "

To this letter Mr. William H. Barnum replied, positively
declining to accept his rival's proposition.

When Congress met P. T. Barnum was surprised to see in the
newspapers an announcement that the seat of his successful rival
was to be contested on the ground of bribery and fraud. " This,"
he said, "was the first intimation that I had ever received of
such an intention, and I was never, at any time before or
afterwards, consulted upon the subject. The movement proved to
have originated with neighbors and townsmen of the successful
candidate, who claimed to be able to prove that he had paid large
sums of money to purchase votes. They also claimed that they had
proof that men were brought from an adjoining State to vote, and
that in the office of the successful candidate naturalization
papers were forged to enable foreigners to vote upon them. But, I
repeat, I took no part nor lot in the matter, but concluded that
if I had been defeated by fraud, mine was the real success.' "



After the destruction of his museum by fire, Barnum determined to
open another and still finer establishment. It would not be on
the old site, however, but further up town. The unexpired lease
of the two lots at Ann Street and Broadway he proposed to sell;
and he quickly had numerous offers for it. This lease still had
about eleven years to run, and the annual rental was only
$10,000; and there was a provision that, in case of the burning
of the building, the owner was to spend $24,000 in aiding Barnum
to rebuild, and then, at the expiration of the lease, was to pay
Barnum the appraised value of the building, not exceeding
$100,000. This lease had seemed extravagant when Barnum had made
it, but the great growth of the city had so increased the value
of property in that vicinity, that now the rental of $10,000
seemed ridiculously small. An experienced real estate broker,
whom Barnum engaged for the purpose, estimated the value of the
lease at $275,000. Barnum was so anxious, however, to get the
matter settled at once that he decided to offer the lease for
sale at $225,000.

The next day he met James Gordon Bennett, the elder, the owner of
the New York Herald. Mr. Bennett told him that he thought of
buying both the lease and the fee simple of the property itself,
and erecting there a fine building for his great newspaper.
Barnum therefore, offered him the lease for $200,000, and after a
few day's consideration Mr. Bennett accepted the offer. His
attorney thereupon handed to Mr. Barnum a check on the Chemical
Bank for $200,000, which Barnum immediately used in the purchase
of Government Bonds. Mr. Bennett had agreed to purchase the fee
of the property for $500,000. He had been informed that the
property was worth some $300,000 to $400,000, and he did not mind
paying $100,000 extra for the purpose of carrying out his plans.
But the parties who estimated for him the value of the land knew
nothing of the fact that there was a lease upon the property,
else of course they would in their estimate have deducted the
$200,000, which the lease would cost. When, therefore, Mr.
Bennett saw it stated in the newspapers that the sum which he had
paid for a piece of land measuring only fifty-six by one hundred
feet was more than was ever paid before in any city in the world
for a tract of that size, he discovered the serious oversight
which he had made; and the owner of the property was immediately
informed that Bennett would not take it. But Bennett had already
signed a bond to the owner, agreeing to pay $100,000 cash, and to
mortgage the premises for the remaining $400,000.

Supposing that by this step he had shaken off the owner of the
fee, Bennett was not long in seeing that, as he was not to own
the land, he would have no possible use for the lease, for which
he had paid the $200,000; and accordingly his next step was to
shake Barnum off also, and get back the money he had paid him.

In speaking of what followed, Mr. Barnum afterwards said: "My
business for many years, as manager of the Museum and other
public entertainments, compelled me to court notoriety; and I
always found Bennett's abuse far more remunerative than his
praise, even if I could have had the praise at the same price,
that is for nothing. Especially was it profitable to me when I
could be the subject of scores of lines of his scolding
editorials free of charge, instead of paying him forty cents a
line for advertisements, which would not attract a tenth part so
much attention. Bennett had tried abusing me, off and on, for
twenty years, on one occasion refusing my advertisement
altogether for the space of about a year; but I always managed to
be the gainer by his course. Now, however, when new difficulties
threatened, all the leading managers in New York were members of
the 'Managers' Association,' and as we all submitted to the
arbitrary and extortionate demands of the Herald, Bennett thought
he had but to crack his whip, in order to keep all and any of us
within the traces. Accordingly one day Bennett's attorney wrote
me a letter, saying that he would like to have me call on him at
his office the following morning. Not dreaming of the object, I
called as desired, and after a few pleasant commonplace remarks
about the weather, and other trifles, the attorney said:

" 'Mr. Barnum, I have sent for you to say that Mr. Bennett has
concluded not to purchase the museum lots, and therefore that you
had better take back the lease, and return the $200,000 paid for

" 'Are you in earnest?' I asked with surprise.

" 'Certainly, quite so,' he answered.

" 'Really,' I said, smiling, 'I am sorry I can't accommodate Mr.
Bennett; I have not got the little sum about me; in fact, I have
spent the money.'

" 'It will be better for you to take back the lease,' said the
attorney, seriously.

" 'Nonsense,' I replied, 'I shall do nothing of the sort; I don't
make child's bargains. The lease was cheap enough, but I have
other business to attend to, and shall have nothing to do with

"The attorney said very little in reply; but I could see, by the
almost benignant sorrow expressed upon his countenance, that he
evidently pitied me for the temerity that would doubtless lead me
into the jaws of the insatiable monster of the Herald. The next
morning I observed that the advertisement of my entertainments
with my museum company at Winter Garden was left out of the
Herald columns. I went directly to the editorial rooms of the
Herald; and learning that Bennett was not in, I said to Mr.
Hudson, then managing editor:

" 'My advertisement is left out of the Herald; is there a screw

" 'I believe there is,' was the reply.

" 'What is the matter?' I asked.

" 'You must ask the Emperor,' said Mr. Hudson, meaning of course

" 'When will the "Emperor" be in?' I inquired. 'Next Monday,' was
the answer.

" 'Well, I shall not see him,' I replied; 'but I wish to have
this thing settled at once. Mr. Hudson, I now tender you the
money for the insertion of my museum advertisement on the same
terms as are paid by other places of amusement; will you publish

" 'I will not,' Mr. Hudson peremptorily replied.

" 'That is all,' I said. Mr. Hudson then smilingly and blandly
remarked, 'I have formally answered your formal demand, because I
suppose you require it; but you know, Mr. Barnum, I can only obey
orders.' I assured him that I understood the matter perfectly,
and attached no blame to him in the premises. I then proceeded to
notify the secretary of the 'Managers' Association' to call the
managers together at twelve o'clock the following day; and there
was a full meeting at the appointed time. I stated the facts in
the case in the Herald affair, and simply remarked, that if we
did not make common cause against any newspaper publisher who
excluded an advertisement from his columns simply to gratify a
private pique, it was evident that either and all of us were
liable to imposition at any time.

"One of the managers immediately made a motion that the entire
Association should stop their advertising and bill printing at
the Herald office, and have no further connection with that
establishment. Mr. Lester Wallack advised that this motion should
not be adopted until a committee had waited upon Bennett, and had
reported the result of the interview to the Association.
Accordingly, Messrs. Wallack, Wheatley and Stuart were delegated
to go, down to the Herald office to call on Mr. Bennett.

"The moment Bennett saw them, he evidently suspected the object
of their mission, for he at once commenced to speak to Mr.
Wallack in a patronizing manner; told him how long he had known,
and how much he respected his late father, who was a true English
gentleman of the old school,' with much more in the same strain.
Mr. Wallack replied to Bennett that the three managers were
appointed a committee to wait upon him to ascertain if he
insisted upon excluding from his columns the museum
advertisements--not on account of any objection to the contents
of the advertisements, or to the museum itself, but simply
because he had a private business disagreement with the
proprietor; intimating that such a proceeding, for such a reason,
and no other, might lead to a rupture of business relations with
other managers. In reply, Mr. Bennett had something to say about
the fox that had suffered tailwise from a trap, and thereupon
advised all other foxes to cut their tails off; and he pointed
the fable by setting forth the impolicy of drawing down upon the
Association the vengeance of the Herald. The committee, however,
coolly insisted upon a direct answer to their question.

"Bennett then answered: 'I will not publish Barnum's
advertisement; I do my business as I please, and in my own way.'

" 'So do we,' replied one of the managers, and the committee

"The next day the Managers' Association met, heard the report,
and unanimously resolved to withdraw their advertisements from
the Herald, and their patronage from the Herald job
establishment, and it was done. Nevertheless, the Herald for
several days continued to print gratutitously the advertisements
of Wallack's Theatre and Niblo's Garden, and inordinately puffed
these establishments, evidently in order to ease the fall, and to
convey the idea that some of the theatres patronized the Herald,
and perhaps hoping by praising these managers to draw them back
again, and so to nullify the agreement of the Association in
regard to the Herald. Thereupon, the mangers headed their
advertisements in all the other New York papers with the line,
'This establishment does not advertise in the New York Herald,'
and for many months this announcement was kept at the top of
every theatrical advertisement and on the posters and playbills.

"The Herald then began to abuse and villify the theatrical and
opera managers, their artists and their performances, which, of
course, was well understood by the public, and relished
accordingly. Meanwhile the theatres prospered amazingly. Their
receipts were never larger, and their houses never more thronged.
The public took sides in the matter with the managers and against
the Herald, and thousands of people went to the theatres merely
to show their willingness to support the managers and to spite
'Old Bennett.' The editor was fairly caught in his own trap.
Other journals began to estimate the loss the Herald sustained by
the action of the managers, and it was generally believed that
this loss in advertising and job printing was not less than from
$75,000 to $100,000 a year. The Herald's circulation also
suffered terribly, since hundreds of people, at the hotels and
elsewhere, who were accustomed to buy the paper solely for the
sake of seeing what amusements were announced for the evening,
now bought other papers. This was the hardest blow of all, and it
fully accounted for the abuse which the Herald daily poured out
upon the theatres.

"Bennett evidently felt ashamed of the whole transaction. He
would never publish the facts in his columns, though he once
stated in an editorial that it had been reported that he had been
cheated in purchasing the Broadway property; that the case had
gone to court, and the public would soon know all the
particulars. Some persons supposed by this that Bennett had sued
me; but this was far from being the case. The owner of the lots
sued Bennett, to compel him to take the title and pay for the
property as per agreement; and that was all the 'law' there was
about it. He held James Gordon Bennett's bond, that he would pay
him half a million of dollars for the land, as follows: $100,000
cash, and a bond and mortgage upon the premises for the remaining
$400,000. The day before the suit was to come to trial, Bennett
came forward, took the deed, and paid $100,000 cash, and gave a
bond and mortgage of the entire premises for $400,000.

"Had I really taken back the lease, as Bennett desired, he would
have been in a worse scrape than ever; for having been compelled
to take the property, he would have been obliged, as my landlord,
to go on and assist in building a Museum for me, according to the
terms of my lease, and a Museum I should certainly have built on
Bennett's property, even if I had owned a dozen Museums up town.

"In the autumn of 1868, the associated managers came to the
conclusion that the punishment of Bennett for two years was
sufficient, and they consented to restore their advertisements to
the Herald. I was then carrying on my new Museum, and although I
did not immediately resume advertising in the Herald, I have
since done so."

Such is the account Barnum gave, in his own words, of this
extraordinary quarrel. He was, it will be seen, unsparing of
criticism and denunciation. Kindly as was his nature, he was "a
good hater," and never was there a more relentless fighter. In
denouncing Mr. Bennett he was perfectly sincere, and believed
himself to be entirely in the right. At the same time he never
hesitated to give a full meed of appreciative praise to the great
journalist, for his extraordinary enterprise and commanding
talents. Both the men are now dead, after careers of marvellous
success, and the animosity that raged between them is also long
dead; it perished years before they did. It is here rehearsed
merely as an integral and essential part of this biography, to be
regarded in a spirit of philosophic contemplation, entirely
devoid of bitterness or acrimony,



A remarkable feature of Mr. Barnum's life was his loyalty to the
place he had chosen as his home, and his devotion to its
interests. He had great faith in Bridgeport, and worked
unceasingly to justify it. He looked far ahead, saw the
prospective growth of the place, and laid broad plans of
preparation for the future.

Apart from his great services in laying out East Bridgeport, he
was the author of the improvements on the water-front known as
Seaside Park. The idea of such a thing occurred to him first in
1863, when he rode over the ground and observed its fitness for
the purpose. He then began agitating the matter, and urging the
immediate acquirement by the city of land for a park and public
drive-way along the margin of the Sound. It was necessary, he
represented, to do it at once, before the natural increase in the
value of the land made such an undertaking too expensive. That it
would be a profitable venture he felt certain; for such an
improvement would make every bit of real estate in the city more
valuable, and would attract many new residents to the place.

There were, however, many conservatives, "old fogies" he called
them, who opposed him. He then approached the farmers who owned
the land lying immediately upon the shore, and tried to convince
them that, if they would give the city, free, a deep slip next to
the water, to be used as a public park, it would increase in
value the rest of their land so much as to make it a profitable
operation for them. But it was like beating against the wind.
They were "not so stupid as to think that they could become
gainers by giving away their property."

He succeeded, however, in getting the active aid and co-operation
of Messrs. Nathaniel Wheeler, James Loomis, Francis Ives,
Frederick Wood, and some others, who went with him to the
landowners and added their persuasions to his. After much urging,
they finally got the terms upon which the proprietors would give
a portion and sell another portion of their land, which fronted
on the water, provided the land thus disposed of should forever
be appropriated to the purposes of a public park. But,
unfortunately, a part of the land it was desirable to include was
a farm, of some thirty acres, then belonging to an unsettled
estate, and neither the administrator nor the heirs could or
would give away a rod of it. But the whole farm was for
sale--and, to overcome the difficulty in the way of its transfer
for the public benefit, Barnum bought it for about $12,000, and
then presented the required front to the park. He did not want
this land or any portion of it, for his own purposes or profit,
and he offered a thousand dollars to any one who would take his
place in the transaction; but no one accepted, and he was quite
willing to contribute so much of the land as was needed for so
noble an object. Besides this, he gave $1,400 toward purchasing
other land and improving the park, and, after months of
persistent personal effort, he succeeded in raising, by private
subscription, the sum necessary to secure the land needed. This
was duly paid for, deeded to, and accepted by the city, and
Barnum had the pleasure of naming this new and great public
improvement, "Seaside Park."

When Mr. Barnum first selected Bridgeport as his home, as already
stated in a preceding chapter, the place was commended to him by
its nearness to New York, its convenience of access, and the
beauty of its situation. "Nowhere," said he, "in all my travels
in America and abroad had I seen a city whose very position
presented so many and varied attractions. Situated on Long Island
Sound, with that vast water-view in front, and on every other
side a beautiful and fertile country with every variety of inland
scenery, and charming drives which led through valleys rich with
well-cultivated farms, and over hills thick-wooded with
far-stretching forests of primeval growth--all these natural
attractions appeared to me only so many aids to the advancement
the beautiful and busy city might attain, if public spirit,
enterprise, and money grasped and improved the opportunities the
locality itself extended. I saw that what Nature had so freely
lavished must be supplemented by yet more liberal Art."

It was in pursuance of this object that he built the famous
Iranistan; and when he did so he felt confident that this superb
place would so increase the value of surrounding property that
none but first-class residences would be erected in the vicinity.
He, however, went on to improve the surrounding property as much
as possible. He opened numerous fine avenues through land
purchased by himself, and freely gave them to the city. In this
way he opened miles of new streets and planted them with
thousands of shade trees. The planting of trees was almost a
mania with him, in pursuit of the doctrine laid down in Scott's
"Heart of Mid-Lothian": "When ye hae naething else to do, ye may
be aye sticking in a tree; it will be growing when ye're

Barnum was always for enterprise and progress. "Conservatism," he
said, "may be a good thing in the State, or in the Church, but it
is fatal to the growth of cities, and the conservative notions of
old fogies make them indifferent to the requirements which a very
few years in the future will compel, and blind to their own best
interests. Such men never look beyond the length of their noses,
and consider every investment a dead loss unless they can get the
sixpence profit into their pockets before they go to bed. My own
long training and experience as a manager impelled me to carry
into such private enterprises as the purchase of real estate that
best and most essential managerial quality of instantly deciding,
not only whether a venture was worth undertaking, but what, all
things considered, that venture would result in. Almost any man
can see how a thing will begin, but not every man is gifted with
the foresight to see how it will end, or how, with the proper
effort, it may be made to end. In East Bridgeport where we had no
'conservatives' to contend with, we were only a few years in
turning almost tenantless farms into a populous and prosperous
city. On the other side of the river, while the opening of new
avenues, the planting of shade trees, and the building of many
houses, have afforded me the highest pleasures of my life, I
confess that not a few of my greatest annoyance's have been
occasioned by the opposition of those who seem to be content to
simply vegetate through their existence, and who looked upon me
as a restless, reckless innovator, because I was trying to remove
the moss from everything around them, and even from their own

Mrs. Barnum's health continued to decline, and in the summer of
1867 her doctor commended her to live on the seashore.
Accordingly her husband sold Lindencroft, and they removed for
the summer to a small farm-house adjoining Seaside Park. So
delighted were they with life by the water during the hot days of
the summer that they determined thereafter to spend every summer
on the very shore of Long Island Sound. Finding it impossible to
prepare a house of their own in time for the next season, they
spent the summer of 1868 in a new and handsome house which Mr.
Barnum owned but which he had built for sale. In the fall of
1868, however, he purchased a large and beautiful grove of
hickory trees adjoining Seaside Park, and decided to build a
permanent residence there.

But there was a vast deal to do in grading and preparing the
ground, in opening new streets and avenues as approaches to the
property, and in setting out trees near the proposed site of the
house; so that ground was not broken for the foundation till
October. He planned a house which should combine the greatest
convenience with the highest comfort, keeping in mind always that
houses were made to live in as well as to look at, and to be
"homes" rather than mere residences. So the house was made to
include abundant room for guests, with dressing-rooms and baths
to every chamber; water from the city throughout the premises;
gas manufactured on the ground; and that greatest of all
comforts, a semi-detached kitchen, so that the smell as well as
the secrets of the cuisine might be confined to its own locality.
The stables and gardens were located far from the mansion, on the
opposite side of one of the newly-opened avenues, so that in the
immediate vicinity of the house, on either side and before both
fronts, stretched large lawns, broken only by the grove, single
shade-trees, rock-work, walks, flower-beds, and drives. The whole
scheme as planned was faithfully carried out in less than eight
months The first foundation stone was laid in October, 1868; and
they moved into the completed house in June following, in 1869.

On taking possession of this new residence, Barnum formally named
it "Waldemere." Literally this name was "Wald-am-Meer," or
"Woods-by-the Sea," but Barnum preferred the more euphonious
form. On the same estate he built at the same time two beautiful
cottages, called "Petrel's Nest," and "Wavewood," the homes of
his two daughters, Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Seeley--the latter his
youngest. Here Barnum decided to speed five months of every year,
and for his home during the other seven months he purchased a
splendid mansion on Murray Hill, in New York City, at the corner
of Fifth Avenue and 38th Street.



In the autumn of 1874 Mr. Barnum married the daughter of his old
English friend, John Fish. The wedding took place in the Church
of the Divine Paternity, Fifth Avenue, New York, and after a
brief bridal tour, they returned to Waldemere.

In December, 1874, David Kalakau, King of the Sandwich Islands,
visited New York, and with his suite was invited to attend the

During the performance Barnum sat beside the King, who kept up a
pleasant conversation with him for two hours. The King expressed
himself as highly delighted with the entertainment, and said he
was always fond of horses and racing.

Some twelve thousand spectators were present, and before the
exhibition was finished they began to call loudly "The King! The

Turning to his host, Kalakau inquired the meaning of their
excitement. "Your Majesty," replied Barnum, "this vast audience
wishes to give you an ovation. The building is so large that they
cannot distinguish your Majesty from every part of the house, and
are anxious that you should ride around the circle in order that
they may greet you."

At the moment, Barnum's open barouche was driven into the circle
and approached the royal box.

"No doubt your Majesty would greatly gratify my countrymen, if
you would kindly step into this carriage and ride around the

The King immediately arose, and amidst tremendous cheering,
stepped into the carriage. Barnum took a seat by his side, and
the King smilingly remarked, "We are all actors."

The audience rose to their feet, cheered and waved their
handkerchiefs, as the King rode around the circle, raising his
hat and bowing. The excitement was simply tremendous.

In March, 1875, the nomination for Mayor of Bridgeport was
offered Barnum, but he refused it, until assured that the
nomination was intended as a compliment, and that both parties
would sustain it. Politically the city is largely Democratic, but
Barnum led the Republican ticket, and was easily elected.

His Inaugural address before the new Common Council, April 12, is
given below.

GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMON COUNCIL:--Intrusted as we are, by the
votes of our fellow-citizens, with the care and management of
their interests, it behooves us to endeavor to merit the
confidence reposed in us. We are sometimes called the "fathers of
the city." Certainly our duty is, and our pleasure should be, to
administer the municipal government as a good and wise father
conducts his household, caring for all, partial to none. No
personal feelings should dictate our official acts. We are not
placed here to gratify personal or party resentment, nor to
extend personal or party favor in any manner that may in the
remotest degree conflict with the best interests of our city. As
citizens we enjoy a great common interest. Each individual is a
member of the body corporate, and no member can be unduly favored
or unjustly oppressed without injury to the entire community. No
person or party can afford to be dishonest. Honesty is always the
best policy, for "with what measure ye mete it shall be measured
to you again."

A large portion of this honorable body are now serving officially
for the first time, and therefore may not be fully acquainted
with the details of its workings; but we are all acquainted with
the great principles of Justice and Right. If we fail to work
according to these eternal principles, we betray the confidence
placed in us, and this our year of administration will be
remembered with disapprobation and contempt.

Let us bring to our duties careful judgment and comprehensive
views with regard to expenditure, so that we may be neither
parsimonious nor extravagant, but, like a prudent householder,
ever careful that expenses shall be less than the income.

Our city is peculiarly adapted for commercial purposes, it should
be our care, therefore, to adopt such measures as tend to promote
trade, manufactures and commerce. Its delightful and healthy
locality makes it also a desirable place of residence. We should
strive to enhance its natural beauty, to improve our streets and,
with moderate expenditure, to embellish our parks, by which means
we shall attract refined and wealthy residents.

As conservators of the public peace and morals it is our duty to
prevent, so far as possible, acts which disturb one or the other,
and to enforce the laws in an impartial and parental spirit.

The last report of our Chief of Police says: " 'Tis a sad and
painful duty, yet candor compels us to state that at least ninety
per cent. of the causes of all the arrests during the year are
directly traceable to the immoderate use of intoxicating liquors,
not to speak of the poverty and misery it has caused families
which almost daily come under our observation."

In the town of Vineland, N. J., where no intoxicating drinks are
sold, the overseer of the poor stated in his annual report that
in a population of 10,000 there was but one indictment in six
months, and that the entire police expenses were but seventy-five
dollars per year--the sum paid to him--and the poor expenses a
mere trifle. He further says: "We practically have no debt, and
our taxes are only one per cent. on the valuation. "Similar
results are reported in the town of Greeley, Colorado, where no
liquors are sold.

Our laws license the sale of intoxicating drinks under certain
restrictions on week days, but no man can claim the right under
such license to cause mobs, riots, bloodshed or murder. Hence no
man has, or can have, any right by license or otherwise to
dispense liquors to intoxicated persons, nor to furnish
sufficient liquor to cause intoxication. Our duty is therefore to
see that the police aid in regulating to the extent of their
legal power a traffic which our laws do not wholly prohibit.
Spirituous liquors of the present day are so much adulterated and
doubly poisoned that their use fires the brain and drives their
victims to madness, violence and murder. The money annually
expended for intoxicating drinks, and the cost of their evil
results in Bridgeport, or any other American city where liquor
selling is licensed, would pay the entire expenses of the city
(if liquors were not drank), including the public schools, give a
good suit of clothes to every poor person of both sexes, a barrel
of flour to every poor family living within its municipal
boundaries, and leave a handsome surplus on hand. Our enormous
expenses for the trial and punishment of criminals, as well as
for the support of the poor, are mainly caused by this traffic.
Surely, then, it is our duty to do all we can, legally, to limit
and mitigate its evil. As no person ever became a drunkard who
did not sincerely regret that he or she ever tasted intoxicating
drinks, it is a work of mercy, as well as justice, to do all in
our power to lessen this leprous hindrance to happiness. We
should strive to exterminate gambling, prostitution and other
crimes which have not yet attained to the dignity of a "license."

The public health demands that we should pay attention to
necessary drainage, and prevent the sale of adulterated food. The
invigorating breezes from Long Island Sound, and the absence of
miasmatic marshes serve to make ours one of the most healthy
cities in America. Scientific experiments made daily during the
whole of last year have established the fact that our atmosphere
is impregnated with OZONE, or concentrated oxygen, to an extent
not hitherto discovered on this continent. No city of the same
size in America is so extensively known throughout our own land
and in Europe as Bridgeport. It should be our pleasure to
strengthen all natural advantages which we possess as a city by
maintaining a government of corresponding excellence.

It is painful to the industrious and moral portions of our people
to see so many loungers about the streets, and such a multitude
whose highest aspirations seem to be to waste their time in
idleness, or at base ball, billiards, etc.

No person needs to be unemployed who is not over fastidious about
the kind of occupation. There are too many soft hands (and heads)
waiting for light work and heavy pay. Better work for half a loaf
than beg or steal a whole one. Mother earth is always near by,
and ready to respond to reasonable drafts on her never-failing
treasury. A patch of potatoes raised "on shares" is preferable to
a poulticed pate earned in a whisky scrimmage. Some modern
Micawbers stand with folded hands waiting for the panic to pass,
as the foolish man waited for the river to run dry and allow him
to walk over.

The soil is the foundation of American prosperity. When
multitudes of our consumers become producers; when fashion
teaches economy, instead of expending for a gaudy dress what
would comfortably clothe the family; when people learn to walk
until they can afford to ride; when the poor man ceases to spend
more for tobacco than for bread; when those who complain of
panics learn that "we cannot eat our cake and keep it," that a
sieve will not hold water, that we must rely on our own exertions
and earn before we expend, then will panics cease and prosperity
return. While we should by no means unreasonably restrict healthy
recreation, we should remember that "time is money," that
idleness leads to immoral habits, and that the peace, prosperity
and character of a city depend on the intelligence, integrity,
industry and frugality of its inhabitants.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper of July 24th, contained a
picture entitled "His Honor, P. T. Barnum, Mayor of Bridgeport,
Presiding at a Meeting of the Common Council of that City." The
editor's remarks are as follows:--"Mayor Barnum's message was a
model of brevity and practical thought. Having at the beginning
of his official career declared war against the whisky dealers,
he next proceeded to open the struggle. For twenty years the
saloons had been kept open on Sundays, and it was declared
impossible to close them. Mr. Barnum has all his life acted upon
the quaint French aphorism that 'nothing is so possible as the
impossible.' He gave notice that the saloons must be closed. A
select committee of citizens volunteered to aid in collecting
testimony in case the sellers should disregard the proclamation,
and leave the latch-string to their back doors displayed on the
outside. Although the doors were open, the keepers refused to
sell except to personal friends. The committee-men stood opposite
the saloons, and took the names of a dozen or so who were
admitted. The next morning the saloon-keepers were arrested, and
when they found their 'friends' had been subpoenaed to appear as
witnesses, they pleaded guilty and immediately brought out their
pocket-books to pay the judicial 'shot.' This plan effectually
broke up Sunday traffic in liquor, thus insuring a quiet day for
the citizens, and greatly accommodating the saloon-keepers, the
best portion of whom really favor a general closing on Sunday.

"By nature an organizer of men and systems, he is his own best
executive officer. No one knows so well as he how men may be best
governed, and no one can so pleasantly polish off the rough sides
of mankind. Successful beyond the usual measure as an
intelligent, courteous and considerate showman, he has already
proved himself the most acceptable of Mayors."

In 1875, the Hippodrome was transported by rail throughout the
United States, going as far east as Portland, Maine, and west to
Kansas City, Missouri. Notwithstanding the depressed state of
finances generally that year, the season was a fairly profitable

A very painful event in connection with the show, occurred in
July. The aeronaut, Donaldson, made his customary daily ascension
from the Hippodrome grounds at Chicago, and was never heard from
afterward. He took with him Mr. N. S. Grimwood, a reporter of the
Chicago Journal, whose body was found a few weeks later in Lake
Michigan. There was a terrible storm the night of the ascension
and it was doubtless then that the men perished.

About the middle of June Barnum visited Niagara Falls with Mrs.
Barnum and a party of English friends. Leaving the party at
Niagara, Mr. and Mrs. Barnum went to Akron, Ohio, where the
"Travelling World's Fair" was to exhibit. The Mayor of Akron
called upon them and invited them to a concert, where, in
response to loud calls, Barnum gave a short speech; they were
afterward tendered a reception and a serenade at the hotel. The
next day they were escorted to Buchtel College by the founder of
the institution, Mr. J. R. Buchtel, and the Reverend D. C.
Tomlinson. The students received Barnum enthusiastically, and he
gave them one of his delightful speeches.

Returning to Buffalo, they rejoined their friends, and also met
the Hippodrome. Early in the morning of the second day of the
exhibition Barnum despatched a special train to Niagara Falls,
with some hundreds of the Hippodrome Company, to whom he wished
to give the pleasure of viewing the cataract. The band which
accompanied them crossed Suspension Bridge playing "God Save the
Queen," and "Yankee Doodle," and returned to Buffalo in time for
the afternoon performance. In July, Barnum visited the Hippodrome
at St Louis and Chicago, and then returned to Waldemere for the
rest of the summer.

During the autumn of 1875, under the auspices of the Redpath
Lyceum Bureau, in Boston, Mr. Barnum found time to deliver some
thirty times, a lecture on "The World and How to Live in It,"
going as far east as Thomaston, Maine, and west to Leavenworth,
Kansas. When the tour was finished the Bureau wrote him that "In
parting for the season please allow us to say that none of our
best lecturers have succeeded in delighting our audiences and
lecture committees so well as yourself."

The National Jubilee year was celebrated by the Hippodrome
Company in a very patriotic manner. It was said, that they gave
the people, a Fourth of July celebration every day. The
establishment traveled in three trains of railroad cars; they
took along a battery of cannon, and every morning fired a salute
of thirteen guns. Groups of persons costumed in the style of
Continental troops, and supplemented with the Goddess of Liberty,
a live eagle and some good singers, sang patriotic songs,
accompanied with bands of music, and also with cannon placed
outside the tents and fired by means of electricity. The
performance was closed by singing "America," the entire audience
rising and joining in the chorus. At night there were fireworks
in which Revolutionary scenes were brilliantly depicted. The
street parade was a gorgeous feature. It began to move when the
salute was fired, and the town bells were always rung to aid the
effect of the National Jubilee.

Barnum's official term as Mayor of Bridgeport, expired April 3,
1876. Preferring to travel part of the time with his Centennial
show, he refused a renomination. The last meeting of the Common
Council under his administration, met March 29.

The New York Daily Graphic, of March 30, read:--"Mr. P. T.
Barnum, Mayor of Bridgeport, has uttered his valedictory message.
The document is very much like the man. He disapproves of the
reports of the Chief of Police and Clerk of the Police
Commissioners, because they declare that liquor saloons and
brothels cannot be closed, and he even reproves the latter for
his 'flippant manner' of dealing with the subject. Barnum must
have his joke or two, withal, and he can no more subsist without
his fun than could a former Mayor of this city. He ventures to
allude in this solemn document to the management of the New York
and New Haven Railroad Company, as 'the good bishop and his
directors;' makes a first rate pun on the names of two citizens;
and says to the Aldermen, 'And now we have, like the Arabs, only
to 'fold our tents and silently steal away,' congratulating
ourselves that this is the only stealing which has been performed
by this honorable body.' Mr. Barnum's administration in
Bridgeport has been mild, but characterized by firmness and
independence. His trouble with the Jews was of short duration,
for he is most respectful toward all theologies. He has not been
able to carry out his extreme temperance views; but he has made a
very good Mayor of a city, for whose prosperity he has labored
for half a lifetime."

It can safely be said that Barnum amused and instructed more
persons than any men who ever lived. In the course of his career
as manager of public entertainments, the number of his patrons
was enormous. Here is his own estimate, in 1889:--"During the
forty years that I have been a manager of public amusements, the
number of my patrons has been almost incredible. From a careful
examination of my account books for the different exhibitions
which I have owned and controlled, I find that more than
eighty-two millions of tickets, in the aggregate, were disposed
of, and numerous exhibitions which I have had at various times
are not included in this statement."

The traveling exhibitions which I managed during
the six years preceding my purchase of the New York
American  Museum, in 1841, were attended by . . . . .  1,500,000
The American Museum which I managed from 1841
to 1865, when it was destroyed by fire, sold . . . .  37,560,000
My Broadway Museum, in 1865-6-7 and 8, sold . . . . .  3,640,000
My Philadelphia Museum, 1849, 1850 and 1851, sold . .  1,800,000
My Baltimore Museum, sold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  900,000
My traveling Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie,
in 1851-2-3 and 4, sold   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5,824,000
My great traveling World's Fair and Hippodrome, in
1871-2-3-4-5 and 6, sold . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7,920,000
                                   Carried forward,  59,144,000

My other traveling exhibitions in America and Europe,
sold  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    2,200,000
General Tom Thumb has exhibited for me 34 years,
and sold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    20,400,000
Jenny Lind's Concerts, under my management, were
attended by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    600,000
Catharine Hayes's 60 Concerts in California, under my
contract, sold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     120,000
Thus, my patrons amount to the enormous number of     82,464,000

In addition to that, he delivered over seven hundred public
lectures which were attended in the aggregate by 1,300,000
persons, and wrote three books of reminiscences. Is it to be
wondered at, that such a well-known character should receive a
letter from New Zealand addressed simply, "Mr. Barnum, America"?


 My first recollection of Mr. Barnum goes back to the period of
my small-boyhood, when he came to the country village near my
home to lecture upon temperance. I still remember the animation
of his discourse on that occasion; its humor and its anecdote;
and, with what absorbing interest the large audience sat out the
hour and a half or more which the speaker so well filled. In
describing the drunkard and the illusions which master him, he
showed a keen perception of human nature; and, in every part of
his address there was no end of spirited appeal and analysis,
mingled with unbounded mirth and pathos, as the fluctuating
argument went on.

A few years later, when I had grown old enough to visit the
metropolis, I made it one of the chief items of my concern to
visit the old museum on the corner of Ann Street and Broadway,
where the Herald Building now stands. There was, even then, no
curiosity there more impressive than its proprietor, who was the
very embodiment of life, kindly feeling, and wholesome joy. I
noticed that he was in all parts of the museum in very rapid
succession, and that nothing escaped his attention. Something in
his manner caught every eye. It was said of Daniel Webster that
when he walked through the streets of London, strangers who met
him turned around for another look after he passed by. And, I
confess I yielded in Mr. Barnum's presence, as others did, to
this same sight-seeing inclination. It was not merely that he was
so well known, and that his name had gone about the world with
the circuit of the sun; it was because the force that made this
thing possible worked also in other ways, and compelled you to
give its owner attention.

He had a kind word or an entertaining one for everybody who came
near him, as occasion offered, whether he was an old acquaintance
or a stranger. The occasion did not come to me, though I remember
wishing it had, when I left the museum. Probably I should have
deliberately sought it if I had had more assurance and experience
at that time; and if I had known, too, that we were afterward to
meet intimately, and that for more than twenty years the
latch-string of his different homes, in Bridgeport and New York,
was to respond so many dozens of times to my touch, for days and
weeks of remarkable hospitality.

My opportunity for knowing Mr. Barnum personally came about when
I was, as a young man, conducting, almost single-handed, a
lecture course in a very small country town in the later sixties,
soon after the close of the war. The night for Mr. Barnum to come
to us was a very cold and forbidding one in February. A
snow-storm, the most formidable one of the winter, sprang up to
apparently thwart the success of the performance; and so certain
was Mr. Barnum that nobody would appear to hear him, he offered
not only to release me from the contract between us, but, in
addition to that, would pay me the price I was to pay him, or
more, to be permitted to return to New York. "There is nothing on
earth I hate to do so much," said he, "as to lecture to empty

I said to him: "Please trust me for the avoidance of that. If it
had been a pleasant night, instead of this howling storm, I would
have filled the hall and the yard in front to the front gate.
But, as it now is, I will still guarantee to fill the hall." And
filled it was, to our equal delight.

Before entering and discovering this fact, I ventured to say to
Mr. Barnum that, owing to the general untowardness and inclemency
of the night, I would introduce him in my own way, and not in the
conventional one, if he did not object. "By all means," said he;
"if you can awaken any warmth or hilarity on as sorrowful an
outlook as this, do not spare ME, or hesitate for a moment."

On arriving at our seats on the platform, I arose and said, in
some such words as these:

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:--You will bear me out in saying it has
been my usual custom to introduce the speaker of the evening in
the briefest way possible, and not to trouble you with any talk
of my own. To-night, in view of the storm, and while Mr. Barnum
is resting for a moment, I will break my rule and tell you a
story. Some years ago a queer fellow from the country went to New
York, and, among the sights and experiences he had planned for,
he went to Barnum's Museum. Mr. Greenwood was then its manager,
and noticed with some interest his patron's rusticity when he
called for a ticket. He asked Mr. Greenwood, after having paid
for the card of admittance, 'Where is Barnum?' As Mr. Barnum
happened to be in sight on the entrance floor, Mr. Greenwood,
pointing to him said, There he is.'

"At once the querist started in the direction named. He got very
near Mr. Barnum and stood looking intently at him. Then he moved
a little segment in the circle he was describing, and looked
again. Several times he repeated these inspections, until he had
from all points viewed the object of his curiosity and had
completed the circle, when he started for the door, Mr. Greenwood
watching him all the time. When he came near enough Mr. Greenwood
said to him: 'My friend, you have not seen the Museum yet. There
is a whale downstairs and any number of things up-stairs, a moral
play soon to come off, etc.' 'I know it,' said the rustic, 'and I
don't care. I've seen Barnum, and I've got my money's worth.'

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, I have not been able to bring to you
the American Museum to-night, but I have done what is better--I
have brought to you Mr. Barnum."

 Mr. Barnum then arose, not in the least nonplussed, but greatly
pleased with the packed house and the hearty cheers which greeted

 "MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:--I cannot, for the life of
me, see why you should have sent so far as New York for me to
come and address you. I am not really a lyceum lecturer at all. I
am only a showman, and it seems you have a man here who can show
up the showman."

The whole story may read very weakly in print; for Mr. Barnum's
tones of voice, and gestures and mobility of feature are not
communicable to cold type. But the playfulness of this unusual
preface not only stirred the audience on a dismal night, but put
the lecturer at his very best. Mr. Barnum's lecture was elastic.
It might be shaped for an hour, as it was not fully written, or
it might consume more time. On this occasion it was two hours and
over. While the snow was still falling in open sleighs, that
could find no shelter, their owners, not minding this, were
enjoying one of the most delightful evenings of a whole
winter--of many winters, perhaps.

And all this leads me to say that Mr. Barnum, while claiming no
part of a professional lecturer's endowment, and only made
oratory a casual--if it was sometimes a frequent--matter, was,
nevertheless, admirably equipped to entertain an audience. He
could tell a story inimitably. His mimetic faculty, like Gough's,
gave him something of the quality of an actor, so that he
illustrated well what he had to say. No lectures have proved much
more instructive and entertaining than Mr. Barnum's on The Art of
Money Getting; and, wherever he went to address an audience, he
was sure to be called again.

When I met him in Bridgeport for the first time, I found he was
easily the chief man of the place. He was living then at
Lindencroft, on Fairfield Avenue. His Oriental palace, Iranistan,
had burned down some years before. But, wherever he lived, his
house gave open welcome to many guests, illustrious and other;
and no one who had the good fortune to enter it, ever went away
without connecting with his visit the happiest of memories. At
the table he especially shone. Wit, repartee, and even puns, when
occasion offered, coruscated over the meal, and diffused
universal good humor. He had always at hand innumerable
anecdotes, which he made peculiarly his own, and which he told
with inimitable grace and unction. I am sure nobody will ever
tell them again as he told them; for, contrary to the proverb,
the prosperity of the jest in his case lay, nine-tenths, in his
way of relating it--though it was never a dull one.

It mattered not what the business of the day might be, or what
obstacles or discouragements had been encountered, his
cheerfulness was perennial and unfailing. Mirth and good cheer
were apparently inborn and organic with him. He could no more
suppress them than a fountain could cease bubbling up, or a river
turn backward in its course. And what men and women he has had,
first and last, at his table; it is impossible to exhaust the
list or exaggerate its quality. Horace Greeley, Henry Ward
Beecher, E. H. Chapin, Bayard Taylor, Mark Twain, and the Cary
sisters, were a few among Americans; and Thackeray, Matthew
Arnold, George Augustus Sala, and I know not how many others,
from abroad. No catalogue of them, but only types can be given
here. He was almost never without people who made no claim to
distinction; and to them, too, he was the genial, urbane, and
entertaining host.

There was a depth of warm humanity in Mr. Barnum's inmost texture
that his public fame does not fully disclose. That children liked
him has been already often said; but those in maturer
youth--young gentlemen and ladies--felt, somehow, that he never
ceased, at any age, to be their contemporary. No younger and more
hopeful thoughts were offered than his. If, as sometimes
happened, when he organized, as he persistently did, the summer
picnic, inland or on the coast, there was a party made for each
direction, the struggle was to see which could capture Mr.
Barnum. Which way the rest of us might go was not of so much
consequence; but the party which lost him in behalf of the other,
felt like one trying to enjoy Hamlet with the chief character

At one time he actually kept a seaside caterer at a distant beach
to receive his guests of twenty or more on a place of his own,
whenever, on summer days, he could collect guests enough and give
them attention. It was only necessary to send word in the
morning, and the tables were ready, and the party was conveyed to
the shady grounds from Mr. Barnum's door. Swings were not
forgotten for the children, nor was anything forgotten that
conduced to rational joy. If some poor sick person was heard of
in the city, one carriage, Mr. Barnum's own, would go somewhat
out of the way to stop and leave delicacies and presents, not
without a few words of sympathy and comfort. When, on one
occasion that I remember, he took two or three hundred people
from several towns in the State, and from New York, to Charles
Island, a summer place midway between Bridgeport and New Haven,
the hospitality was royal, and even the steamboat tickets were
mysteriously provided for all.

I have never noticed, in the multitude of printed sketches of Mr.
Barnum's doings, any general mention of his lavish hospitality
poured out for years, but there will be hundreds who can testify
to and will remember it. It was as if he had said: "As we go
along through life let us make others happy." And he did this
with no niggardliness or stint, in his private life as well as in
his public career.

There is a series of stories of Mr. Barnum's humane endeavors
longer than Aesop's or Pilpays' fables combined, and it is
impossible to relate them all. But I have heard one recently that
will very well illustrate the beneficial manner of his charity,
and which shows that, by native sagacity, he had early learned
the scientific way of giving--to give so that the gift may be
more than its surface expression, and so as not to produce
chronic pauperism.

It seems that a poor widow, some years ago, went to Mr. Barnum's
house and told him she was very poor, and had a large family to
support; she could not, in fact, decently support them. But if
Mr. Barnum would only loan her $75 with which to buy a
sewing-machine, she assured him she could do enough better to be
able to save a little, and to pay the money back. Mr. Barnum,
thinking her honest and truthful, said she might have the money
on the terms suggested, but told her when she had saved the
requisite amount to bring it to him. After some struggle and
privation, in due time she did this, and laid it before him.
"Well," said he, "my good woman, you have now fairly earned your
sewing-machine, and you have done one thing more, YOU HAVE
LEARNED HOW TO SAVE." And thereupon he handed back the money, and
told her to put it in safe keeping.

Mr. Barnum's deep attachment for Bridgeport grew year by year,
and was most strikingly manifessed. The thousands of trees he had
set out there, the new streets he opened, and the Seaside Park,
which was his creation mainly, are but a few of the evidences of
his public enterprise. The Barnum Historical and Scientific
Institute, and the Barnum Gymnasium were among his latest
endowments, East Bridgeport he practically gave existence to, and
both that and the city proper are so essentially his monument
that you cannot now divorce the name of Bridgeport from that of

Some years ago, when certain experiments were made to test the
presence of ozone in the air, and much was said of its value to
health, Mr. Barnum had the air at Bridgeport put on trial, and
proved exultingly that no climate in this country was so
salubrious as that of Bridgeport, especially in the region of the
Seaside Park. He was very enthusiastic on the subject, and wrote
to the local papers, to myself, and to others about it to give
the fact publicity and proper emphasis.

It may be said by some that Mr. Barnum, in many of his real
estate enterprises, made money; and so he did, by his foresight,
faith, and sagacity concerning his adopted town. He partly
foresaw the future of Bridgeport, and then largely made it. But
if he had not made money--and his example was open for others to
follow--he could have had no money to give. He used to say
himself, half jokingly: "I believe in a profitable philanthropy,"
which illustrates one of his characteristic traits--his absolute
frankness. In fact, he was so open-hearted about himself that no
account he ever gave of his private doings was ever flattering or
exalted. He wore no phylacteries, and was as far away as possible
from Pecksniffian pretensions.

In early life he suffered hardship and deprivations, and no Mark
Tapley ever met them with more composure and, on occasions, with
more hilarity. But he knew well what comfort and convenience are,
and when they were at his command he enjoyed their best gifts. He
once told me that it pained him to see Mr. Greeley omit those
little cares for himself in later life to which he was surely
entitled, and so, when he was his guest for many days together,
he took care to provide him with a loose morning coat and
comfortable slippers, and would not have him drop in an ordinary
chair by accident, but secured for him the easiest one.

Busy as Mr. Barnum was, he found many hours for social and other
pleasures. He did this by his systematic allotment of his time.
All the machinery of his household and his business ran with a
smoothness and punctuality that would have delighted George
Washington. Everything was on time; his meals were regular--not
movable feasts. It was a wonder how he wrote so many letters,
foreign and domestic; dispatched so promptly his household and
his city affairs, and his out-of-town business; met all sorts of
callers on all sorts of errands; and yet spared time for rides, a
social game or talk, and an evening out with so much frequency.
Absolute idleness was positively painful to him; occupation of
some sort he must have, and to the very end he had and enjoyed

I can scarcely realize, even now, that he is really gone--so
clear of mind and active was he to the very last. Nor can it be
easily imagined how Bridgeport in this generation can accustom
itself to so great a loss. To hear that the average man--of
distinction even--has died, seems common and credible. But the
message which announced Mr. Barnum's death came like a troubled
dream from which we somehow expect to awaken. That one so full of
life as to be its very embodiment, should leave us, it will take
time to fully comprehend. If, in the world, his demise leaves a
striking and peculiar void, to a multitude of friends it comes
with a tender sorrow that shall tincture indelibly many flowing
years.                                        J. B.


Among letters that have come to hand we select the following as
the tribute of a representative American divine:

                                      BROOKLYN, April 16th, 1891.
Dear Mr. Benton:

There was a Mr. Barnum whom all the world knew, and whose name is
familiar in every civilized land; but there was another Mr.
Barnum whom we, his intimate friends knew, and regarded with a
hearty affection. That he was a most courteous gentleman and the
entertaining companion at his table and hospitable fireside, is
but a part of the truth. He had a big warm heart that bound all
his friends to him with hooks of steel.

I first met him on the platform of a grand temperance banquet, in
Tripler Hall, New York, thirty-nine years ago--where he and Mr.
Beecher, and Dr. Chapin, Hon. Horace Mann, Gen. Houston, of
Texas, and myself were the speakers.

A gold medal was presented that evening to the Hon. Neal Dow, of
Maine, the father of the "Prohibitory Law." Mr. Barnum made a
very vivacious and vigorous address. In after years he delivered
several addresses in behalf of Total Abstinence in my church, and
they were admirable specimens of close argument, most pungently
presented. He indulged in but few witticisms or amusing stories;
for, as he well said, "The Temperance Reform was too SERIOUS a
matter for trifling jokes and buffooneries."

During the first year of my married life, 1853, Mr. Barnum
visited me at Trenton, N. J., and he often spoke of the happy
hour he spent at our table, and the cozy dinner my young wife
prepared for him. In after years he often sat at my table, and on
two occasions he entertained me with princely hospitality at his
Bridgeport mansion. On one occasion he invited the leading
clergymen of the town to meet me.

We differed very decidedly in our religious creeds, and never
fell into arguments about them. I honored his conscientious
convictions, and his staunch adherence to what he believed to be
the right interpretation of God's Word. With the scoffing
scepticism of the day he had no sympathy, and utterly abhorred
it. His kind heart made him a philanthropist, and in his own
peculiar way he loved to do good to his fellow-men. Surrounded by
innumerable temptations, he maintained a clean, chaste, and
honest life, and found his happiest hours in the society of wife
and children, under his own roof-tree. Had Mr. Barnum devoted
himself to political life he would have made an excellent figure;
for he had keen sagacity, vast and varied observations of human
nature, and sturdy common sense. In conversation with
intellectual men he always held his own with admirable acumen and
vigor of expression. He was altogether one of the most unique
characters that his native State has produced, and when his name
ceases to be connected with shows and zoological exhibitions, he
will be lovingly remembered as the genial friend, the sturdy
patriot, the public-spirited and philanthropic neighbor, and the
honest, true-hearted man.
                        Yours respectfully,
                              THEODORE L. CUYLER.


 April 10th, 1891, was the day set for Mr. Barnum's funeral. The
morning was cold, gray, and dismal. Nature's heart, with the
spring joy put back and deadened, symboled the melancholy that
had fallen upon Bridgeport. No town was ever more transformed
than was this city by one earthly event. On the public and
private buildings were hung the habiliments of woe; flags were at
half mast, and, in the store windows were to be seen innumerable
portraits and likenesses of the dead citizen, surrounded by dark
drapery, or embedded in flowers.

Nor was this all. The people on the street and in the windows of
their houses seemed to be thinking of but one thing--their common
loss. The pedestrian walked slower; the voices of talkers, even
among the rougher classes, were more subdued, and in their looks
was imprinted the unmistakable signal of no common or ordinary

The large church was not only filled, with its lecture-room, a
considerable time before the hour set for the services; but
thousands of people crowded the sidewalks near-by for hours,
knowing they could only see the arrival and departure of the
funeral cortege. The private services at the house, "Marina,"
near the Seaside Park, which preceded the public services in the
church, were simple and were only witnessed and participated in
by the relatives and immediate friends.



The immense congregation that filled to repletion the South
Congregational Church, while the last services were being held
over the remains of Hon. P. T. Barnum, were deeply impressed with
the touching tribute which was paid the great showman and public
benefactor by his old friend, Rev. Robert Collyer, D. D.

It was a pathetic picture which met the eyes of the vast throng.
The aged preacher, with long white hair hanging loosely on his
shoulders, and an expression of keen sorrow on his kindly face,
standing in a small pulpit looking down on the remains of his old
and cherished friend. The speaker's voice was strong and steady
throughout his sermon. Each word of that sad panegyric could be
distinctly heard in all parts of the edifice, but in offering up
the last prayer, he broke down. The aged preacher made a strong
effort to control himself, but his voice finally became husky,
and tears streamed down his wrinkled cheeks. The audience was
deeply touched by this display of feeling, and many ladies among
the congregation joined with the preacher and wept freely.

The immense gathering were unusually quiet when the aged minister
took his place in the pulpit, and his words were strangely clear,
and distinct in all portions of the church, In his feeling
tribute, Dr. Collyer said:

"P. T. Barnum was a born fighter for the weak against the strong,
for the oppressed against the oppressor. The good heart, tender
as it was brave, would always spring up at the cry for help and
rush on with the sword of assistance. This was not all that made
him loved, for the good cheer of his nature was like a halo about
him. He had always time to right a wrong and always time to be a
good citizen and patriot of the town, State, or republic in which
he lived. His good, strong face, was known almost as well on the
other side. You may be proud of him as he was proud of his town.
He helped to strengthen and beautify it, and he did beautify it
in many places. 'It is said that the hand that grasps takes away
the strength from the hand that ought to give,' and that such a
man must die without friends or blessings. He was not that man.
He was always the open and generous man, who could not do too
much for Bridgeport. He often told me of his desire to help this
place, and he was not content to wait until after death. What he
has done for Bridgeport is the same as he has done for other
noble works. As my brother, Rev. Mr. Fisher, said today, there
was never anything proposed in this city that had any promise of
goodness but that he was ready to pour out money and assistance
for it.

"Faith in one's self fails in the spring if one has not faith in
God also. He had that faith I know. He had worship, reverence,
and love in his heart, and as he rests from his labors we meet
and linger here for a few minutes and pay respect and honor to
the memory of a great and good man. We can forget that we belong
to divers churches, and stand here as children of one faith and
one baptism, honoring for the last time one who has finished his
labors here and with a crown of glory for his reward, has joined
in his eternal home the Father he served so well."

When the church services were over, the procession moved to
Mountain Cemetery, a mile or more distant, where, in a beautiful
plat, long ago arranged, with a modest monument above it, rest
the remains of Mr. Barnum's first wife. Here, in a place made
beautiful by nature and improved by art, was consigned the mortal
part of him whose story we have tried, weakly, perhaps, to tell.
Great masses of flowers, similar to those displayed in the house
and church, were upon the grave and about it, and the people, who
came there in large numbers, did not leave for hours after the
religious service had been read.

A book of good size might be made of the notable expressions
called forth by Mr. Barnum's death from leading journals and men
known to fame. It is impossible to give any fair sample of them
here, but the London Times' leader of April 8th may serve,
perhaps, as a good specimen:

 "Barnum is gone. That fine flower of Western civilization, that
arbiter elegantiarum to Demos, has lived. At the age of eighty,
after a life of restless energy and incessant publicity, the
great showman has lain down to rest. He gave, in the eyes of the
seekers after amusement, a lustre to America. * * * He created
the metier of showman on a grandiose scale worthy to be professed
by a man of genius. He early realized that essential feature of a
modern democracy, its readiness to be led to what will amuse and
instruct it. He knew that 'the people' means crowds, paying
crowds; that crowds love the fashion and will follow it; and that
the business of the great man is to make and control the fashion.
To live on, by, and before the public was his ideal. For their
sake and his own, he loved to bring the public to see, to
applaud, and to pay. His immense activity, covering all those
years, marked him out as one of the most typical and conspicuous
of Yankees. From Jenny Lind to Jumbo, no occasion of a public
'sensation' came amiss to him.

"Phineas Taylor Barnum, born in 1810, at Bethel, Connecticut--how
serious and puritanical it sounds! --would have died with a
merely local reputation unless chance had favored him by putting
in his way something to make a hit with. He stumbled across
Charles H. Stratton, the famous, the immortal 'General Tom Thumb'
of our childhood. Together they came to Europe and held
'receptions' everywhere. It was the moment when the Queen's
eldest children were in the nursery, and Barnum saw that a
fortune depended on his bringing them into friendly relations
with Tom Thumb. He succeeded; and the British public flocked to
see the amusing little person who had shown off his mature yet
miniature dimensions by the side of the baby Heir Apparent. Then
came the Jenny Lind furore. Then came a publicity of a different
sort. Mr. Barnum became a legislator for his State, and even, in
1875, Mayor of Bridgeport. Why not? The man who can organize the
amusements of the people may very well be trusted to organize a
few of their laws for them.

"When, in 1889, the veteran brought over his shipload of giants
and dwarfs, chariots and waxworks, spangles and circus-riders, to
entertain the people of London, one wanted a Carlyle to come
forward with a discourse upon 'the Hero as Showman.' It was the
ne plus ultra of publicity. * * * There was a three-fold
show--the things in the stalls and cages, the showman, and the
world itself. And of the three perhaps Barnum himself was the
most interesting. The chariot races and the monstrosities we can
get elsewhere, but the octogenarian showman was unique. His name
is a proverb already, and a proverb it will continue."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career: Life of Hon. Phineas T. Barnum" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files. We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's search system for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.