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Title: Hero Tales from History
Author: Burnham, Smith
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Franklin's Printing Office and Book Shop

Benjamin Franklin, printer, was one of the greatest men of his time. He
wrote philosophical essays and some doggerel verse, published “Poor
Richard’s Almanac,” and became a great inventon. The painting shows
Christ Church in the background.]

                              HERO TALES
                             FROM HISTORY


                          SMITH BURNHAM, A.M.




                      THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY

                         DALLAS SAN FRANCISCO

                          COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY
                        THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.

                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                          PRINTED IN U. S. A.


An interest in history and a love of historical reading will be most
readily acquired by those children who approach this rich field of
literature through the medium of stories of the great figures of the
past. Such stories, if properly selected and told, give children those
vivid concrete pictures of men and of events which are vitally essential
to any real understanding of bygone days. At the same time such history
stories may be so selected as to hold up right ideals of conduct and of
character. Moreover, by their appeal to the emotions, which lie very
near to the springs of conduct, they move to action. Tales of
gentleness, of honor, of justice, of courage, of fortitude in suffering,
of intrepidity in danger, of dauntless resolution, of iron will, inspire
children to an emulation of those virtues. These “Hero Tales from
History” have been written in the faith set forth in this paragraph.
Through these stories the author aims to inculcate the fundamental
virtues just named and at the same time to acquaint children with the
names and achievements of some of those great men and women whose lives
and characters are a part of our racial and national inheritance.

In the selection of the tales in this book the author has drawn upon all
ages. Here are mighty men of the ancient world and makers of modern
America. Some of the characters chosen as the heroes of these stories
are great figures in world history, but the greater part of them were
selected because they are among the foremost heroes of our own country
and of our own culture. Of course in a book of this size many valuable
stories had to be omitted. But it is believed that all the tales
included are typical and representative.

These “Hero Tales” are not biographies of the men about whom they are
told, neither has any attempt been made to join them into a connected
historical narrative. They are just stories from the past told with
constant thought of the stage of mental development of the children for
whom they are intended. Each story has a hero, each is full of action,
and the author has tried to tell each one in clear and simple language.
The author has also tried to make each story teach its intended lesson
without any moralizing on his part.

The history of the past can never become a vital thing to us until the
men of the past are live, flesh and blood men. It is the author’s hope
that these “Hero Tales from History” will help to make threescore great
figures from our past something more than names to the children who may
enjoy this book.





DAVID, THE GIANT-KILLER KING                                           6

HOMER, THE HERO POET OF ANCIENT GREECE                                10

SOCRATES, THE “GRAND OLD MAN” OF GREECE                               15

ALEXANDER, THE BOY WHO CONQUERED THE WORLD                            20

FOUR FAMILIAR SAYINGS OF JULIUS CÆSAR                                 24


THE CHRISTMAS CROWNING OF CHARLEMAGNE                                 32

ALFRED, THE GREATEST OF THE SAXON KINGS                               37


LION-HEARTED RICHARD AND WOLF-HEARTED JOHN                            47

JOAN OF ARC AND THE LILIES OF FRANCE                                  52


SHAKESPEARE, THE GREATEST MAKER OF PLAYS                              58

HOW CROMWELL CHANGED PLACES WITH THE KING                             61

NAPOLEON, THE CORSICAN BOY WHO RULED EUROPE                           65

NELSON, THE HERO OF TRAFALGAR                                         72


COLUMBUS, THE MAP-MAKER WHO FOUND A NEW WORLD                         78

MAGELLAN, THE MAN OF THE STRAITS                                      84

CORTES, THE CONQUEROR                                                 89

DE SOTO, A GOLD HUNTER IN SOUTHERN SWAMPS                             96




LA SALLE AND THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI                            120


PEARY, A HERO OF THE GREAT WHITE NORTH                               137


JOHN SMITH, THE CAPTAIN OF MANY ADVENTURES                           145

CHAMPLAIN, THE FATHER OF NEW FRANCE                                  151




   THE THREE FATHERS OF MARYLAND                                     180

WILLIAM PENN, THE FOUNDER OF PENNSYLVANIA                            185




LAFAYETTE, THE BOY HERO OF TWO WORLDS                                201

THE IMMORTAL REPLY OF JOHN PAUL JONES                                208

GENERAL MARION, THE CAROLINA “SWAMP FOX”                             217






DAVID CROCKETT, THE HERO OF THE ALAMO                                258


HOW ELI WHITNEY MADE COTTON KING                                     266

“FULTON’S FOLLY”                                                     270

HOW MORSE SENT LETTERS BY LIGHTNING                                  274


ELIAS HOWE AND HIS SEWING MACHINE                                    282

EDISON, THE WIZARD OF MANY INVENTIONS                                285



GEORGE WASHINGTON AND HIS MOTHER                                     296


THOMAS JEFFERSON, THE FATHER OF DEMOCRACY                            309

ANDREW JACKSON, AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR HERO                          315


THE KIND HEART OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN                                    327

ULYSSES S. GRANT, THE GENERAL WHO HATED WAR                          332

THE NOBLE SOUL OF ROBERT E. LEE                                      341

DAVID FARRAGUT, THE HERO OF MOBILE BAY                               346

THE STRENUOUS LIFE OF ROOSEVELT                                      352

CLARA BARTON, “THE ANGEL OF THE BATTLE-FIELD”                        358



FRANKLIN’S BOOKSHOP IN PHILADELPHIA                        _Frontispiece_

MOSES PRAYING ON MOUNT SINAI                                           5

DAVID PLAYING HIS HARP BEFORE KING SAUL                                9

HOMER, THE BLIND POET                                                 11



THE ASSASSINATION OF CÆSAR                                            28



KING WILLIAM WOUNDED IN SINGLE COMBAT                                 45

KING RICHARD FORGIVES BERTRAND DE GURDUN                              48


SHAKESPEARE AMONG HIS FRIENDS IN LONDON                               59

OLIVER CROMWELL VISITING THE POET MILTON                              63

EMPEROR NAPOLEON AT THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO                            70



FERDINAND MAGELLAN                                                    85

HERNANDO CORTES                                                       90

THE CAPTURE OF THE CITY OF MEXICO BY CORTES                           93

DE SOTO ON THE BANK OF THE MISSISSIPPI                               100


THE BOYHOOD OF RALEIGH                                               110

THE DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER                                    117



PEARY IN ARCTIC DRESS WITH HIS ESKIMO DOGS                           138

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH                                                   145

THE MARRIAGE OF POCAHONTAS                                           149


THE MARCH OF MYLES STANDISH                                          163

GOVERNOR JOHN WINTHROP                                               170

THE LANDING OF ROGER WILLIAMS                                        179

GEORGE CALVERT, LORD BALTIMORE                                       181

WILLIAM PENN                                                         185

PENN’S TREATY WITH THE INDIANS                                       189


THE LAST WORDS OF CAPTAIN NATHAN HALE                                199



GENERAL MARION, THE CAROLINA “SWAMP FOX”                             218

THE MARQUIS DE MONTCALM                                              225

THE DEATH OF GENERAL WOLFE                                           231


COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK                                          241


DAVID CROCKETT, HERO OF THE ALAMO                                    259

ELI WHITNEY, INVENTOR OF THE COTTON GIN                              267

WHITNEY’S FIRST COTTON GIN                                           268

ROBERT FULTON, INVENTOR OF THE STEAMBOAT                             270

THE “CLERMONT,” FULTON’S FIRST STEAMBOAT                             273

S. F. B. MORSE, INVENTOR OF THE TELEGRAPH                            275

MORSE’S FIRST TELEGRAPH SOUNDER                                      277

CYRUS H. MCCORMICK, INVENTOR OF THE REAPER                           280

MCCORMICK’S FIRST REAPER                                             281

ELIAS HOWE                                                           283

HOWE’S FIRST SEWING MACHINE                                          284

THOMAS A. EDISON AND ONE OF HIS EARLY DYNAMOS                        287

WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL TO HIS MOTHER                                  299





THE BOY LINCOLN READING BY THE FIRELIGHT                             328

GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT                                             333

LEE’S INVASION OF THE NORTH                                          343



CLARA BARTON, “THE ANGEL OF THE BATTLEFIELD”                         360

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW                                           366



Long ago in the land of Egypt there lived as slaves to the Egyptians a
race of white people called the Hebrews. There were so many of them that
the Egyptians began to be afraid that they would over-run the land. So
the cruel king, or the Pharaoh, as he was called, commanded that all the
baby boys of the slave race should be thrown into the River Nile. But
one little child escaped this fate, for his poor slave mother disobeyed
the king and hid her baby in her hut. When he was three months old, his
mother was afraid she could not keep him quiet any longer. So she made a
basket, and plastered it inside with pitch, so that it would be
water-tight and float like a boat. Into this basket-boat she put her

The mother set the strange little boat on the edge of the River Nile,
among the tall reeds called bulrushes, very near the place where she
knew the king’s daughter came every day to bathe. It was a cool spot,
well guarded and safe from the terrible crocodiles that lived in the
Nile. After making sure that the little boat would not sink, the mother
went back to her work, leaving her daughter Miriam to see what became of
her baby brother.

Just as the wise mother had planned, the princess soon came with her
ladies-in-waiting, and spied the cradle basket rocking on the waves near
the shore. She told one of her maidens to bring it to her. The king’s
daughter knew too well of her father’s command to drown or kill all the
boy babies of the Hebrew slaves. So when she found a baby crying there,
she pitied the poor mother who had obeyed the king by putting him in the
river, still fondly hoping to save his life.

When the Pharaoh’s daughter saw the babe, she said, “This is one of the
Hebrews’ children!” There was a pleading look in the face of the little
child. He seemed to ask the princess to take him in her arms. The
princess herself was married but she had no children. That baby, smiling
through his tears, touched her mother-heart. How could she help saving
his little life from her father’s cruel law by claiming him as her own?

Just then Sister Miriam bowed before the princess and said, “Shall I go
and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the
child for thee?”

The king’s daughter was, pleased and said, “Yes, go.” So the happy
sister ran and brought her mother to the great stone palace of the
Pharaohs. Then the princess said, as if the mother were only a child’s
nurse, “Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee
thy wages.”

So, besides saving his life, that mother was royally paid for taking
care of her own son instead of working as a slave out in the hot sun.
Besides, she had a good chance to tell him, as he grew up, of the one
true God. What if her boy should save his father’s people from slavery,
when he became a man in the palace of the Pharaohs?

In due time the daughter of the king adopted the young Hebrew as her own
son, and named him Moses, which means “Saved,” because she had rescued
him out of the river. When Moses was old enough he went to live with
his royal mother, where he was educated in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians, who at that time, nearly four thousand years ago, were the
most learned people in the world. Although he studied in the college of
the priests, who believed in the Sun, the Moon and many other gods,
Moses never forgot what his mother had taught him about the true God.

Young Prince Moses had a great deal to do while he was growing to
manhood. He is said to have become commander-in-chief of the Egyptian
army that conquered the black and savage race living a thousand miles up
the Nile.

In the Bible story are these words:

     “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he
     went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he
     spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

     “And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw there was no
     man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

     “Now when Pharaoh heard this, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses
     fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian.”

This Pharaoh was not the father of Moses’ foster mother, who was now
dead. It is said that this king was afraid Moses would drive him from
the throne and become Pharaoh himself.

For forty long years the exiled prince lived in Midian, studying,
planning, and writing. It was during this time that he made the great
decision of his life. He resolved to save his own people, the million
Hebrews who were slaves to the Egyptians.

At last, Moses and his brother Aaron appeared before the Pharaoh, and
announced that God had demanded that the king should let the children of
Israel go free. It was a hard thing to ask, for the Egyptians still
needed the great army of slave men to build great pyramids and temples.

The king refused, and consented, and refused again, until plague after
plague was sent upon the land of Egypt. At last, when the king’s son,
and the oldest child of every Egyptian family in the whole country had
died in one night, the terrified and heartbroken king called for Moses
and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up and get you forth from among my
people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go.”

     “And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their
     kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their

This going out of the Hebrew people bound for the Promised Land, nearly
four thousand years ago, is called “the Exodus.” To this day it is
celebrated by the Jews every year as the Passover.

When the Pharaoh realized that the great stone temples and pyramids of
Egypt might never be finished, he was afraid because he had let the
slave people go. So he ordered out his horses and chariots and drove
hard after them till he caught them in camp beside the Red Sea. The
frightened Hebrews began to cry and accuse Moses of deceiving them and
leading them out into a great trap, to be killed like a million helpless
sheep, by Pharaoh’s army.

But Moses told the wailing crowds not to be afraid. Before the king’s
horses and men caught up with them a strong east wind came up and kept
the tide from running in, thus leaving a bare sand bar right in front of
them across that arm of the Red Sea. Moses commanded the people to march
over as on dry land, an order which they lost no time in obeying. Then
the Pharaoh and his horsemen came up behind and drove hard after them
upon the sand bar. But the heavy chariots stuck in the mud beneath the
sand, and when the Egyptians reached the middle the wind changed, and
the tide, which had been held back so long, rushed in and drowned
Pharaoh and his army. Then Miriam and Moses and Aaron led these million
freed slaves in a grand victory chorus of song about their hairbreadth


_From an old print_]

But the people were always scolding and complaining against Moses, the
dear, gentle leader who had saved them from their cruel bondage. It was
his patient love for his thankless people, while through forty years
they wandered in the wilderness, that gave Moses the name of being the
meekest man that ever lived.

At Mount Sinai Moses received from God and gave to the people the Ten
Commandments, written on two tablets of stone. He spent his time during
the long years of wandering in the wilderness in planning the laws and
religion for his beloved people. He himself never entered the Promised
Land, but died in the wilderness, somewhere on a mountain called Nebo.
The Bible makes this statement of his death:

“So Moses the servant of the Lord died there. And he buried him in a
valley, but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.”


Nearly three thousand years ago a bright, handsome Hebrew lad was
playing a harp while watching his father’s sheep on the hills of

One dark night there was a great stir among the sheep, and David saw a
bear making off with one of the lambs. There were no guns in those days,
but David had a sling, and he could fling a pebble almost as swift and
straight as a boy can shoot a bullet to-day. So David ran and killed the
bear by driving a stone through the big brute’s eye into its brain. When
he took the trembling lamb back to its mother, what should he see but a
lion starting off with a sheep in his huge jaws. There was no time to
gather pebbles. Grabbing a jagged rock in one hand, David seized the
great beast by the mane with the other, and aimed quick blows at the
lion’s eyes, breaking his skull before the lion could drop his prey and
fight back.

That was a great night’s work for one lone lad. After quieting his
frightened flock, David took his harp and made up a song of thanks to
the God of Israel for saving him alive from the jaws of the lion and the
paws of the bear.

Not long after this, David’s old father sent out to the hills for him.
When the youth came down to the house, he found Samuel, Prophet of God
and Judge of Israel, waiting for him. David’s seven older brothers stood
around eyeing him strangely, as the prophet said, “This is he,” and
baptized him by pouring oil on his head.

“What did the prophet anoint me for?” David asked his father.

“To be king of Israel instead of Saul.”

“But I am only a boy, and King Saul is so big and strong--head and
shoulders taller than other men. Why did not the prophet anoint our
Eliab? He is almost as tall as the king himself.”

“The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward
appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

After that David went back and herded his father’s sheep, but his
brothers were jealous of him because he had been anointed to be king.

As had often happened in the days of the Judges, the heathen Philistines
came up and made war against the people of Israel, and the eldest three
of David’s brothers were in the king’s army. Many weeks went by, but no
word came from the camp. So the father sent David down with provisions
for the brothers and a present for their captain.

The shepherd boy found the two armies in camps opposite each other,
across a narrow valley. Every one was excited over Goliath, a giant who
came down every day into the valley from the army of the Philistines and
challenged the king of Israel and all his men. Goliath was nearly eleven
feet tall. He wore a bronze helmet about as big as a bushel measure, and
his spear was like a weaver’s beam. Even King Saul and David’s tall
brother Eliab were much too small to fight with the Philistine giant.

David could not bear to hear Goliath calling the king and his soldiers
cowards and repeating wicked words about the God of Israel. So he went
and told Saul he would like the chance to go down and fight the
insulting giant.

The soldiers laughed at this, and Eliab told his young brother to go
home and mind his “few sheep in the wilderness.” But David would not be
put off. He told how God had helped him kill a lion and a bear in one
night. The lad was so earnest that the king consented to let him try.

The only weapons David took were his staff and his sling. On his way to
meet the giant he stopped at the brook and picked up five smooth
pebbles. Both armies looked on breathless at the strange combat. Great
Goliath laughed at little David, as if the king of Israel were playing a
joke on him. He cursed David by all the gods of the Philistines, and

“Am I a dog, that thou shouldst come to fight me with a stick? For this
I will feed thy little carcass to the birds.”

Then David shouted back to Goliath, “I come in the name of the God of
Israel whom thou hast defied.”

All the Israelites and Philistines saw the boy make a quick motion with
his sling, and heard a thud. The giant dropped his heavy spear, threw up
his huge hands and fell, with a groan and a great clatter of armor, face
downward on the ground.

David’s first pebble had done the work. It had gone swift and straight
through the eye-hole in Goliath’s brass helmet and sunk deep into his
low, brutal forehead, killing him almost instantly.

“And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead they arose and
fled. The children of Israel returned from chasing after the
Philistines, and they spoiled (looted) their tents.”


_From the painting by Schopin_]

King Saul was so thankful that his own life had been saved, and that the
people were spared from being slaves to the Philistines, that he made
David come and live in his palace as a younger brother to his son,
Jonathan. This prince was not jealous like David’s own brothers. David
and Jonathan became such good friends that, though this happened nearly
three thousand years ago, people say yet that two boys or men who are
very friendly with each other are “like David and Jonathan.”

After a time Saul and Jonathan were both killed in a battle with the
Philistines. Then David became king of Israel. He proved to be one of
the best of rulers. He wrote many of the Bible Psalms and played on his
harp as he sang them. He planned to build a great house of worship for
the God of Israel in Jerusalem, but, because he had been a man of war,
he felt unworthy to do such sacred work. So he left the temple to be
built by his son Solomon, the wisest king that ever ruled over Israel.


Long, long ago, when the world was young, and before men began to write
books, a kind of men called “bards” used to wander about the land of
Greece, from town to town and from court to court, playing the harp and
singing of the deeds of the heroes of Greece. As years went on there
came to be very many such tales sung by the bards, and handed down from
father to son. At last, there came a day when men learned to write. Then
the person whom we call Homer, the earliest and greatest poet in the
history of the world, gathered together these hero tales and wrote them
in beautiful poetry. This work of collecting these scattered stories of
the exploits and adventures of the


Greek gods and heroes and making them into one great hero poem, called
an “epic,” was done nearly three thousand years ago.

Although nobody really knows anything surely about the life of this
ancient Homer, the story goes that he was blind, and that he was very
poor, as poets often are. After his death, when his two great poems had
made him famous, seven different cities in Greece claimed each to have
been his home. But the facts of his life matter very little when
compared with the wonderful stories that he left for all the world to
read. His epics were imitated by the greatest poets of Rome, Italy, and
England, and have been translated many times into both poetry and prose.

There were two of these epics--the “Iliad,” picturing the siege and
downfall of ancient Ilium, or Troy; and the “Odyssey,” describing the
ten years’ wanderings of Odysseus, or Ulysses, on his way back home
after the destroying of Troy by the Greeks.

The war against Troy, which lasted ten years, was started because Paris,
son of Priam, the old king of Troy, carried off from her home, Helen,
the lovely wife of one of the Grecian kings. The “Iliad” tells of the
bold deeds of many heroes on both sides. The strongest fighter in Troy
was Hector, another son of King Priam. Achilles was the greatest hero on
the side of the Greeks. One of the most beautiful scenes in art as well
as in poetry is that of Hector saying good-bye to his wife and baby boy,
and one of the best known examples of friendship is that of Achilles for
his friend Patroclus.

The great gods and goddesses--for the early Greeks believed in many
gods--all took sides in the struggle for Troy. Apollo, Minerva, and Juno
helped the Greeks; Mars and Venus helped the Trojans. They chose the
side of the people who had especially served and worshiped them, using
their mighty power to help and direct in the long war.

After nine years the Greeks pretended that they were going to give up
the struggle and sail away to their homes. They built a huge wooden
horse to leave as a peace offering, telling the Trojans that it was a
gift for them to offer to their gods. The Trojans were only too willing
to think that the Greeks were giving up the fight. They would not listen
to the princess Cassandra, who warned them of danger, saying, “I fear
the Greeks, even when they bring gifts.” In spite of her words the city
fathers accepted the strange present and trundled the big horse within
their walls. That night some Greek soldiers who were hidden inside the
hollow wooden figure jumped out of their hiding place, opened the six
gates of Troy, and let in the Grecian army. The great warriors waiting
outside swarmed in and soon captured the city.

Helen, the stolen queen, sailed back home and lived there in her little
Grecian kingdom for many years after her rescue by her royal husband and
his brother, another king, with the help of the Greek heroes and the
gods who sided with them.

Among the Greeks who fought at Troy was Ulysses. His journeyings on the
way from Troy to Ithaca, the rocky island where he was king, form a
wonder story of ancient life and travel. Ulysses’ ships were driven
about to many strange places. First he came to the land of the lotus
eaters, where some of his men ate the lotus flowers and forgot their
homes and friends. The rest of them came next to the country of the
Cyclops, giant monsters with only one eye in the middle of their
foreheads. The chief Cyclops caught the Greeks, shut them up in the cave
where he kept his sheep, and ate two of them for his supper every day.
Ulysses was clever enough to think of a way by which he and his men
might escape. While the giant was out of the cave he sharpened a stake
by burning it in the coals, and when the Cyclops fell asleep after his
hearty supper, Ulysses and four of his men drove this sharp stake into
his one eye, blinding him. Then the leader tied each of his men under
one of the Cyclops’ sheep, and himself clung to the long hair beneath
the largest ram. When the sheep crowded out of the cave the giant did
not know that they were carrying his prisoners with them. Before he
discovered the trick the Greeks were safe on their ship.

After another voyage, Ulysses and his men landed on the island of Circe,
a beautiful witch who turned the men all into swine and made them stay
with her a long time. But Apollo and Minerva helped Ulysses undo the
spell of the charmer. Circe warned Ulysses against the Sirens, who would
tempt them by their singing only to destroy them all, and against Scylla
and Charybdis--a risky place for a ship to pass, between a great rock
and a dangerous whirlpool.

The wife of Ulysses also was beset with many trials and dangers. She was
surrounded by neighboring princes, each of whom wished to marry her and
become king of Ithaca. She kept on with her weaving, putting these
suitors off by telling them she would give them her answer when she
finished her weaving--but each night she unraveled all the weaving she
had done in the daytime.

During the twenty long years of Ulysses’ absence, Penelope’s young son
grew to manhood and started out to find his father. He reached home,
after a vain search, just at the time when Ulysses came back. The king
of Ithaca was disguised by the goddess Minerva as an old beggar, so that
no one recognized him but his good old dog.

Ulysses arrived at his palace at the very moment when, the suitors
having become too urgent, Penelope brought out Ulysses’ bow and agreed
to marry the man who could bend it and shoot an arrow through six rings
placed in a long line, as her heroic husband had been known to do. The
feeble looking beggar was allowed to look on while the princes tried
frantically to win the hand and the throne of the fair Penelope. One
after another failed in the desperate attempt. Then the seemingly aged
stranger asked them to let him try to bend the great, stiff bow and
shoot the heavy arrow. They laughed at and insulted him, but he took the
bow, bent it with ease, and shot the long arrow straight through all the
rings, just as Ulysses used to do.

Penelope gave a cry of joy, for she knew then that the stranger was none
other than her long-lost husband. Ulysses’s disguise suddenly
disappeared, and with his son’s aid he shot the impudent suitors who had
tormented his wife all those years.


Socrates was the son of a sculptor of Athens in the days of Pericles, a
ruler who encouraged art and culture and made his city famous for its
learning and beauty. As a boy, Socrates was taught by his father to
carve statues. Nearly a thousand years afterward, a traveler in Greece
described a group of figures, called “The Graces,” carved by the
youthful Socrates. But the young man was not satisfied with being a
sculptor. While he was working at his carving, his active mind kept
trying to find out the reason for everything.

In Athens at this time there were not only many painters and sculptors,
but numbers of men called philosophers, who gave all their time to
thinking out the meaning of what they saw in the world around them, and
trying to teach that meaning to such people as would listen to them.
These philosophers differed widely from one another in their views. Some
of the things they thought would seem very queer to us to-day, but they
were doing their best to find out the truth.

A group of philosophers who held the same views was called a “school.”
The schools of philosophy were not like the schools of to-day. They were
simply gathering places, in some one’s house, or on a street corner, or
in a public porch, or in a grove, where men who liked to think came
together for talk and debate. Instead of children sitting quietly at
desks, a school was made up of grown men walking about and talking a
great deal.

Socrates found that he was much more interested in listening to what the
philosophers thought than he was in carving statues. So he gave up his
work with his father and went out to visit the schools. But as he went
from one school to another, he could see that no one of them was right
in every way. He decided that he could not learn the real truth from
them. So he resolved to walk the streets and ask questions of the people
he met there. He was so anxious to know that he could learn from anyone
he talked with, whether man, woman, or child. He met many men who
thought they were philosophers when they were not, for it was
considered a great thing to be known as a famous thinker, and all men
aimed at it.

When Socrates met a man who claimed to be wise, he would ask questions
as if he himself did not know anything, and he would thus lead on from
one thing to another till sometimes he made the man say the very
opposite of what he had said before, making him ashamed of himself. This
way of drawing out the truth by questions and proving the wrongness of
some ways of reasoning is known to-day as the “Socratic method.”

The Greeks were great believers in beauty. They thought whatever is
beautiful must be right. But Socrates saw handsome men and beautiful
women leading wrong lives, and he made such people angry by saying so.
Socrates himself was far from handsome. He was short and thick-set. His
head was bald and his eyes bulged out in a comical way. His nose was
broad and flat; his lips were thick and his ears stood out, making him
look like the clowns the Greeks laughed at in their great out-door

More than this, Socrates was poor. He had learned, while a young man,
that those who had most of the so-called good things of life were the
most unhappy. So he made up his mind that the best kind of wealth lay in
not wanting much. He did not care for good things to eat. He went
barefoot, and wore the same thin garment both summer and winter.

The Greeks were fond of art for the sake of art. But Socrates believed
in right living, and loved art only for heart’s sake--for the sake of
doing good and making people happy. He also believed that to know is to
live, and that in order to live right one must first know what is right.
He claimed to have a certain force or voice within which showed him
what was right. He was the first of all the wise men of the heathen
world to believe that this inner light should be a correct moral guide
to right living.

Even the gods the Greeks worshiped did things of the worst kind; they
were spiteful, cruel, and wicked. So the people did not think it wrong
to act as their gods did. They did not understand what Socrates meant
when he said he had a voice within himself which told him what he should
or should not do. So they thought he was trying to make them believe in
a strange god, when they had too many already.


Socrates was a great lover of his country. When the Greeks went to war
he went in the ranks as a private soldier, and fought like a hero. In
one battle he saved the life of a rich, handsome, brilliant young man
who was very popular in Athens. This youth soon learned to love the
homely old philosopher and studied with him. Two other great men were
pupils of Socrates. One of these became one of the greatest historians
and the other a great philosopher. They were both authors, and they
wrote all that is known to-day about Socrates, who did not leave any
writings to show what he believed and taught.

Of course, most people failed to understand Socrates, and so they made
him the laughing stock of the town. Yet many young men, led by the youth
whose life Socrates had saved, came to him to learn how to live and be
useful and happy.

But the people who were jealous of his influence over the young men of
the city accused the old philosopher of teaching them of other gods and
thus corrupting their minds. They had him arrested, but his students
followed him to the prison, where he kept on teaching them the right way
to live. Socrates was tried by a law-court of citizen judges and
defended himself very ably. The story of his bold defense is told in a
book called the “Apology of Socrates,” by a famous Greek writer named
Plato. He spoke of his aim to show people how little they knew so that
they might learn more, and told his judges that he intended to go on in
the same way if they spared his life. He was condemned to die, however,
and thirty days after the trial they gave him a cup of poison called
hemlock to drink. After he had taken this he went on talking to his
students of the hope of a happier life beyond the grave. This was four
hundred years before the birth of Christ. Socrates came nearer the
Christian belief than any other philosopher of that ancient time who had
no knowledge of the Bible and its teachings.


Alexander was the son of Philip, king of Macedon, a country to the north
of Greece. His father was a great general as well as a king. Young
Alexander was a strong, active, handsome lad. A story is told of his
“breaking” a wild horse which had been presented to Philip by a
neighboring king. This horse was named Bucephalus--the Greek word for
“Bullheaded.” He reared, bit, snorted, and pawed the air, if any one
tried to mount him. King Philip was indignant at being given such a
present, and was about to send back the “bullheaded beast,” as too
dangerous to the life or limb of anyone who attempted to ride him. But
Alexander noticed that the horse was frightened even at his own shadow.
He begged his father to let him conquer such a splendid animal. The lad
was so much in earnest that the king decided to let him try.

The young prince showed no fear as he walked up beside Bucephalus and
patted him on the neck. He wanted to keep the horse from being
frightened, as his fright was the cause of his wildness. By degrees the
boy managed to turn the great brute’s head toward the sun so that he
could not see his shadow. Throwing off his velvet mantle, Alexander
suddenly sprang on the horse’s back. Instead of trying to restrain or
guide the frightened steed, the boy let him go as fast as he would
across the plain. When Bucephalus grew tired, the shrewd rider began to
turn his head this way and that, while speaking kindly and patting him
soothingly. When they returned from their long run, Bucephalus obeyed
the prince’s word and touch as a gentle, well-trained horse should. It
is said that the huge beast learned to kneel for Prince Alexander to
mount, and that he carried his young master proudly through many a

The king was so pleased with the courage and wisdom Alexander displayed
in conquering Bucephalus that he said to his son, “You should have a
larger kingdom than Macedon to rule.”

As if to fulfill this wish, Philip went to war with several of the
neighboring kings and left his sixteen-year-old son to rule over Macedon
while he was absent. Then Alexander was allowed to command certain
companies of the Macedonian army; in this he showed wonderful courage
and wisdom.

Philip was murdered when Alexander was twenty. Then the kings whom the
father had conquered tried to throw off the rule of Macedon. They said,
“This new king is only a boy.” But Alexander answered when he heard it,
“They think I am a boy; I will show them that I am a man.” And he
did--not only by defeating the kings and armies his father had beaten,
but by conquering the other states around Macedon whose kings had turned
in to help Alexander’s enemies.

At this time the greatest monarch in Asia was Darius, king of the
Persians. He sent several nobles of his realm to seek the friendship of
Alexander, king of Macedon. These men were surprised when they saw that
the young ruler was not interested in their stories of the wealth and
splendor of the vast countries of Darius. Instead, Alexander wished to
hear about the extent of their kingdom, about its different peoples, and
about the location of the rivers, roads, and cities. The men from Persia
said to members of the court of Macedon, “Our old king is _rich_; but
your young king is _great_.”

Alexander, both king and general, had a strange thirst for power. He
left a true friend to control his kingdom in Europe and started east,
with only a small army, to conquer the vast countries on the continent
of Asia. King Darius laughed at the very idea of “a mere boy,” with so
few soldiers, coming to conquer him and the greatest and richest empire
in the world. He came to meet the Macedonian army with an armed host
about ten times as large as Alexander’s. “That boy” soon routed and
scattered the hosts of the Persians, and King Darius had to fly for his
life, leaving his wife and her mother behind, as Alexander’s prisoners.
The young conqueror was kind to these and to all other prisoners of war.
This was wholly different from the custom then; for ancient conquerors
killed or made slaves of those whom they defeated in battle. Alexander
gained two great victories over Darius and captured other kingdoms and
walled cities after long sieges and hard-fought battles.

While in Asia he came to a temple where there was a puzzle which no one
had solved. This was a strange knot in a long leather strip. This knot,
it had been prophesied for centuries, could never be undone except by
the one who was to conquer Asia. Alexander felt that he must unloose
this terrible tangle in some way or other. So, when he was brought into
the temple, which was at a place named Gordium, he took his sword and
cut the strangely knotted thong in pieces! Ever since then when any one
meets and solves in a surprising way what seems to be an impossible
problem, he is said to have “cut the Gordian knot,” as Alexander did in
the temple at Gordium.

The young conqueror marched down into Africa, and not only took
possession of Egypt, the greatest kingdom of


that vast region, but built, near one of the mouths of the wide river
Nile, a city to which he gave his own name. That city, Alexandria, is
still one of the largest cities on the continent of Africa.

It became necessary for Alexander to lead his army farther eastward into
Asia. After his great successes he began to indulge his appetites, in
eating and drinking and in other harmful ways. Once, in a fit of drunken
anger, he killed his best friend. This made him ashamed and sad when he
came to himself and realized what he had done.

Because of his many victories Alexander is called “the Great.” When he
was only twenty-six, he had conquered all the important nations in the
world of his day. It was because he had now nothing to strive after that
he gave way to evil passions. He is said to have “wept because there
were no more worlds to conquer.” He became ill and died as a result of
his excesses, leaving no child or relative to rule over the great
kingdoms he had acquired.

Although Alexander the Great had conquered the world, he could not
govern himself. Hundreds of years before his day, Solomon, the wise,
rich king, wrote in his Proverbs:

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth
his spirit than he that taketh a city.”


Julius Cæsar was born at Rome more than two thousand years ago, about
one hundred years before Christ. His family belonged to a noble clan of
the patricians. The people of Rome were divided into three classes. Of
these the patricians were highest in rank and fewest in number. There
were many more in the middle class, which at that time was largely made
up of free men who could vote and hold office. The lowest class and by
far the largest number were the slaves.

More than half of the Roman slaves were white, many having blonde hair
and blue eyes. These had been brought as captives from the northern
countries and sold in Rome. Some of the slaves, especially those who
came from the Greek lands in the East, were more refined than the
ignorant, brutal Roman masters for whom they had to do the hardest and
dirtiest kinds of work. Worse than this, the Roman law allowed cruel
masters to whip, torture, and even kill these educated men and women.

By right of the might of her wonderful armies, Rome made herself
“Mistress of the World.” So the patricians and the freemen looked with
contempt upon other nations and said to themselves, “To be a Roman is
greater than to be a king.” The patricians were the proudest Romans, and
the Cæsars were among the haughtiest patricians. Their family belonged
to the rich, ruling class when little Julius was born.

Of course, there was no such thing as the Christian religion in Julius
Cæsar’s day. The only believers in the one true God were the Jews, who
lived in the little, far-off country now called the Holy Land. The best
educated Romans believed in Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Venus, and many other
deities who, they imagined, were ruling over them, and who were as
selfish and cruel as the Romans themselves.

There were no public schools for children in Rome. Instead of millions
of printed books, there were a few rolls of parchment on which Latin
words were printed very slowly by hand. Instead of using paper to write
on, the Romans scratched their letters and messages on tablets of wax
with large needles. As there were no newspapers then, the people learned
what was going on in the world by word of mouth from speakers in the
Forum, an open city square with a stone platform, around which crowded
thousands of listeners.

The highest ambition of the youthful Julius Cæsar was to speak well to
the people in the Forum and to win their friendship. He grew to be a
tall, handsome, brilliant young man. He was not rich, and while his
friends led lives of ease and pleasure, this young Cæsar studied hard.
He learned to read and speak Greek, because then the greatest poems,
orations, and plays were in that language. He traveled thousands of
miles, to Greece and Asia Minor, to learn to be a good speaker and
writer. And though he was a patrician, his real sympathy lay with the
poor and the middle class, whose side he took almost from boyhood.

The Romans governed themselves, in some ways, as the people of the
United States do to-day. That is, their consuls, or governors, were
elected by the patricians and the free men. Sometimes the patricians
were in power; at other times, the people of the middle class succeeded
in electing their leaders. But in those cruel times the winning party
sometimes killed the chiefs on the other side, and treated them all as
if they were enemies at war. The uncle of Julius Cæsar had been one of
the chiefs overthrown in such a civil war, and the young man inherited
his uncle’s love for the cause of the common people.

The first deed of Cæsar that brought him into public notice took place
while he was traveling in the East. A crew of pirates, or sea robbers,
captured him and held him prisoner until a large sum of money, or a
ransom, should be paid. Julius Cæsar succeeded in raising the amount and
paid it to them to set him free. But before he left the pirates he told
them that if he ever caught them he would have his revenge. Then he went
and collected men and ships, caught his former captors, won back his
ransom money, and ordered the ring-leaders crucified. Crucifixion was
the Roman penalty for pirates and other thieves.

From the time Julius Cæsar was thirty years old, he was constantly in
one office or another in the Roman republic. One early position was that
of director of shows and sports. The Romans had theaters, with seats of
stone rising one behind another from the central space, like the seats
in a circus or college stadium. Here thousands of people could see and
hear actors, poets, orators, and debaters. One of these theaters was so
large that eighty thousand people could witness the games at one time.
Instead of football and baseball, the Romans had running races and
wrestling matches by athletes and fighters who came from all parts of
the world. Most of them were slaves. Among them were men called
gladiators, who fought each other with swords until one or the other was
killed. The cruel Romans liked this part of the sport best.

Julius Cæsar provided such splendid shows and games that he made himself
very popular with the people. He was elected to one office after
another; and finally, after being sent as a kind of governor to Spain,
was chosen one of the two consuls. The office of consul was the highest
in Rome, and was somewhat similar to our president. When his term
expired, Cæsar was made governor over the Gauls, a half savage people
who lived in the country that is now northern Italy, Switzerland, and

During the nine years while Cæsar was in Gaul, he had to fight many
battles and conquer many dangerous tribes. Besides that, he crossed to
the island of Britain, now called England. But Cæsar was kind to his
enemies and prisoners. His “Journal,” which tells of his wars in Gaul,
is read to-day as one of the simplest and best books ever written.


His wonderful victories and great kindnesses made Cæsar the idol of the
people. But he had enemies at home, and a rival, another great general
named Pompey. The Senate were on the side of Pompey, and at last they
decreed that if Cæsar did not give up his command and dismiss his army
by a certain day, he would be called an enemy of the country. Pompey and
the Senate were against the poorer classes, and Cæsar knew that if he
yielded to this command, the common people, whose friend he was, would
lose their freedom. So instead of disbanding his army he marched it to
the borders of Italy. He stopped on the bank of a little river called
the Rubicon. Anyone who crossed that river with an army was considered
an enemy of Rome. When Cæsar decided to cross the river and advance with
his army against the city, he exclaimed, “The die is cast!” His words
meant that he could no more go back than a die, once thrown out of the
dice-box, can be taken back. Nowadays, when a man decides to do
something which may bring great loss to him if he does not win, and from
which he cannot draw back, once he has begun, he is said to have
“crossed the Rubicon.”

Cæsar’s fortunes, however, did not desert him, and he succeeded in
driving Pompey away and finally conquering him. Within three years,
after many victorious battles in Greece and Egypt and Asia Minor, he
returned to Rome in triumph. By this time the Senate were willing to do
anything for him that he wanted, and the adoring people chose him
Dictator for ten years. That meant that although he was not called king
he had almost the same power as a king.

Two of Cæsar’s sayings are often quoted. Once, when he was pursuing
Pompey, he started on a voyage when a storm seemed to be coming up. The
sailors were afraid to cross the sea, but he said to them, “You carry
Cæsar and his fortunes!” They set sail at once and reached the other
side in safety. At another time he caught an escaping army in Asia. He
announced this victory in three words: “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” the meaning
of which was, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

By his policy of kindness to the people as dictator, Cæsar so won their
love that they came even to worship him as one of their gods. The month
in the year in which he was born was at this time named in his honor,
for our word July is a shortened form of Julius. He governed Rome well
and made many useful changes. One thing that he did was to arrange the
calendar, which before this time was very clumsy. It was he who divided
the year into months of so many days each, very much as it is divided

The climax of Cæsar’s popularity was reached when he was offered a
crown, to show that the people of Rome wished him to be their king. He
refused this honor three times in public. But not all the men of Rome
shared in this admiration of Cæsar, for one party, some of whom had been
his friends, felt that his growing power was not good for Rome. They
wanted their country to be a republic, and not to be ruled by a king. So
they began to plot against Cæsar.

On the fifteenth of March, 44 B. C., just as Cæsar was about to take his
seat in the presence of the Roman Senate, a group of men gathered round
and began plunging their daggers into his body. Among them was Marcus
Brutus, for whom Cæsar had done many kindnesses. When Cæsar saw Brutus
with his dagger raised to stab him to the heart, he exclaimed with a sad
smile, “And thou too, Brutus!” Then, covering his face with his mantle,
he fell down and died. Of the twenty-three knife wounds that were found
in Cæsar’s body, Shakespeare wrote that the stab of Brutus was “the most
unkindest cut of all.”

Although Cæsar was murdered to keep him from bearing the name of king,
the mightiest monarchs of modern times took the name of Cæsar as the
highest title a king could have--as the “Kaiser” of Germany and the
“C-zar” of Russia. When these two recent Cæsars were put down, there
remained no ruler in Europe who believed in governing by the cruel Roman
law that “Might makes Right.”



About twelve hundred years ago, thousands of Saracens, who were among
the followers of Mohammed, crossed the narrow strait from Africa into
Spain. The world was then coming out of those centuries of ignorance and
fear which are known as the Dark Ages. The dark-skinned people--Arabs
and Africans--who followed Mohammed, went about converting people by
making them prostrate themselves with their faces turned toward the East
and repeat the Mohammedan creed. Those who refused to bow down and
repeat this creed were killed. Of course everyone was very much afraid
of missionaries who used such methods as these, and large parts of Asia
and Africa had come under Mohammedan control. When they reached the
shores of Spain, they thought they were going to convert and conquer
Europe, too.

The Saracens marched north through Spain and into the country of the
Franks, whose great-great-great-grandchildren are the French people of
to-day. Here the victory of the invaders ceased to be so easy, for they
were met by a certain Duke Charles, who beat them in a great battle near
Tours and drove them back. For his bravery in saving Europe from these
dark-skinned enemies, Duke Charles was named Martel, the Franks’ word
for “hammer.”

Charles the Hammer had a son, Pepin, who was called the Short, because
he was not a tall man. But though he was small, Pepin had a big, brave
heart. He fought for his country against the Lombards, a savage people
in North Italy, and he was rewarded for his valor and success by being
made king of the Franks.

When Pepin was crowned by the Pope, he had a son Charles, twelve years
old. This Charles was so ambitious that, even while a boy, he began to
dream of conquering other nations, and becoming king not only of France
but of other lands as well. All through his boyhood he dreamed of what
he would do if he were king. It was not many years after his father’s
death, when he became king in fact, before Charles Martel’s grandson had
conquered so many nations in the south and so many savage tribes in the
north of Europe that he became a king of kings, or emperor, and received
the title of Charlemagne, which means Charles the Great.

Perhaps the best thing that Charlemagne ever did was to keep Alcuin, a
scholar from Britain, at his court as a trusted friend and teacher. In
those days such men in other kings’ palaces were merely chaplains or
religious teachers, but Alcuin taught the king, the queen, and the
princes grammar, spelling, arithmetic, and other common branches. This
Palace School proved to be such a good thing that the emperor ordered
that not only any child of a nobleman, but even of the poorest peasant,
could come to it if the boy showed talent for learning. The books in the
Palace School were printed very slowly with a pen, sometimes in bright
inks and gold. As there were no public libraries in those days, Alcuin
searched the world for books for his pupils. These parchments were rare
and very costly. Instead of Charles’s children going to school, the
Palace School went with the children, as the emperor moved from place to
place and from palace to palace.

Charlemagne’s armies were led by brave knights called paladins. The
foremost of these paladins were Roland and Oliver, who fought in combats
and tournaments. They were both of heroic size, eight feet tall, and
performed the same feats, so that one could not be distinguished from
the other. A story is told of these two having fought five days on an
island in the River Rhine without either of them gaining the least
advantage over the other; so now, when two men are equal in some great
struggle, people exclaim--“A Roland for an Oliver!”

Roland, also called Orlando, was the chief hero, and Oliver seems to
have been his reflection or shadow. Roland was a nephew of Charlemagne.
He is described in the “Song of Roland” as having a wonderful horse, a
miraculous saber, and a magic horn, which he blew so that it could be
heard thirty miles. The greatest story told of him is that he commanded
the rear guard of Charlemagne’s army as they were returning from Spain
through a pass in the Pyrenees Mountains. Set upon by 100,000 Saracens,
Roland blew his magic horn so that his uncle the emperor heard it eight
miles away.

In the advancing guard with Charlemagne, however, lurked an evil genius,
who told the anxious emperor that Roland’s horn was not a signal of
distress, but that his nephew was hunting stags in the mountains. Roland
fought until the 100,000 Saracens were slain, and he had only fifty of
his 20,000 soldiers left. Then 50,000 more Saracens came out of the
mountains and killed the brave paladin and his fifty men. While Roland
was dying of his wounds, this legend goes on, he threw his magic sword


_From an old print_]

a poisoned stream. Another version of the story is that Roland died of
starvation while trying to find his way, wounded and alone, through the
mountains to catch up with the army.

Charlemagne and his valiant paladins rode and fought in all parts of
Europe, beating the savage Germans beyond the Rhine, and conquering
tribes and peoples all over Europe almost as far as Constantinople, the
great capital of the Eastern Empire. At last the dream of the
twelve-year-old lad at his father’s crowning came true, when Charlemagne
himself was crowned at Rome, the city of the Cæsars, as Emperor of the
Western World, on Christmas Day, in the year of our Lord 800.

It is written that the crowning of Charlemagne was prepared as a
surprise to him by the Pope and his people in Rome. While Charles and
his sons were kneeling before a shrine very early on that Christmas
morning, Pope Leo appeared in the great church with a crown of gold set
with many precious gems, and placed it on the head of the kneeling king,
thus proclaiming him Emperor of the Western World. In an instant the
Pope, the cardinals, the priests, and the people rose from their knees
and chanted these words:

“To Charles the Augustus, crowned of God, the great and pacific emperor,
long life and victory!”

Charlemagne was a wise and good emperor who did many things to help his
people. He built a lighthouse at Boulogne to guide ships to port,
encouraged farming and made wise laws. He was kind to scholars and his
favorite recreation was talking to them. He spoke several languages very
well and wrote a great deal. Among his writings were a grammar, poems in
Latin and many letters.


Over one thousand years ago, the king of the West Saxons on the island
of Britain, now England, had four sons. Alfred, the youngest of these,
was his father’s favorite. When this boy was only five, his royal father
sent him to Rome to be confirmed by the Pope. After Alfred came back his
queen-mother died, and the father made a pilgrimage, or religious
journey, to Rome, taking young Prince Alfred, with many court gentlemen,
soldiers, and servants.

On their way the king and his train were given a royal welcome by the
king of France. Alfred’s father fell in love with the beautiful young
daughter of the French king, and asked her hand in marriage. Her father
consented, so the royal wedding took place on the Saxon king’s return
from Rome.

Alfred’s new mother soon became very fond of him. Young as he was, he
had learned to play the harp. But when he was twelve years old, Alfred
had not been taught to read. Saxon kings and princes thought most kinds
of learning were for priests and lawyers. When gentlemen made contracts
or signed law papers, they did not write their names, but “set their
signs and seals thereunto,” as is done to-day in legal documents. All
the books were written on parchments in Latin.

One day Alfred saw his French stepmother reading a roll of parchment on
which Latin words were printed by hand in many colors. As the lad
admired it, the queen told him she would make him a present of the
scroll as soon as he learned to read and understand it. He went right
out and coaxed a monk, or priest, to teach him Latin, and he soon became
the happy owner of the beautiful parchment.

Learning to read opened a new world to Prince Alfred. He wrote verses
and songs for his harp, and began to compose both words and music of
hymns to be sung in the cathedral near his father’s palace.

When Alfred was fourteen his father died. Each of his three older
brothers became king, one after another, and died within a few years.

Alfred was twenty-two when the last brother died and left him to be
king. Some rough people, called Danes, from the north countries across
the sea, had landed on the island of Britain, and the Saxons were
compelled to give battle to them so as not to be killed or made slaves
to those rough Northmen. So Alfred had to fight to keep on being king.
When he began to reign, he ruled like all the other kings he had known.
His father and brothers had treated the people as if they were made only
to work and pay their way, like cattle; so Alfred did the same at first.

The fierce Danes kept coming over in larger numbers. In a hard-fought
battle, Alfred was defeated and most of his army was slain. Flying for
his life, the young king found a hiding place in the hut of a swineherd,
a man who tends hogs. This man knew who Alfred was, but kept the king’s
secret from his wife, who thought the stranger was a poor soldier from
the Saxon army.

Many stories are told of what the king did while he lived in the hut of
this swineherd. These tales have changed so much, all the hundreds of
years which have passed since Alfred’s time, that they are called
legends. The best known of these is the story of the king and the cakes.
Once when the housewife was going out to do some work, she asked him,
while he was fixing his bow and arrows, to mind the cakes she had left
baking in the ashes of the fireplace. The distracted king’s mind was on
higher things than coarse meal cakes. When the woman came in she found
them burning. She was so angry that she called Alfred a good-for-nothing
beggar, and added that if he could not pay for what she gave him to eat,
he ought at least to look after her cakes a little while.


Alfred had the good sense to see his own conduct through the poor
woman’s eyes. So, instead of being angry or telling her who he was, he
said gently, “I am sorry I was so careless. I will try not to forget

“A soft answer turneth away wrath,” Alfred had read in the roll of
Proverbs in his Latin Bible. It may have been during the long months he
spent in the home of this shepherd that the humbled king decided to
translate the best parts of the Bible into the Saxon language so that
the people could read it.

Another story is that Alfred stayed in the hut alone while the family
were away fishing. He had only a loaf of bread to last until their
return. A beggar came and asked for bread. Alfred broke his little loaf
in two, gave the man half, and ate his half with the beggar. The
swineherd returned that day with fish enough for a family feast. In the
night the beggar of the day before appeared, as an angel, to the captive
king, and said that God had seen how Alfred had humbled his heart so
that he was now fitted to rule his people wisely and well.

The Danish army was now encamped not far from the king’s hiding place.
Encouraged by the vision of the shining pilgrim, Alfred started out to
see for himself how strong the enemy were and what they were going to
do. So he disguised himself as a wandering musician, playing a harp. He
played and sang for the Danish soldiers, and was soon taken before their
fierce leader, like David, with his harp, before King Saul. The Danes
were so pleased with him and his music that they asked him to stay with
them. As soon as he had found out all he wanted to know, he took up his
harp and left the camp of the enemy. The Danes invited him to come

Hurrying back to the swineherd’s hut, Alfred sent word to the leaders
among his people that he was alive and ready to go on with the war
against the Danes. The people had been in despair, for they had believed
that their brave young king was dead.

The Saxon chiefs came at once and knelt to King Alfred. When the poor
woman realized who her guest was, she fell on her knees and begged him
to forgive all she had said to him. Alfred lifted her tenderly from the
ground, and told her he would reward her and her loyal husband when he
was safe on his throne again.

The Danish army was astonished, early one morning, to hear three trumpet
blasts, and to see a great army of Saxon soldiers marching to meet them,
led by that wandering minstrel! Of course, the Saxons gained the victory
and made the Danes promise not to come and attack them again. They
agreed, but did not keep their word long. After that, instead of waiting
for the Danes to land in Britain, King Alfred fitted up a fleet of ships
so that he could go out and fight them on the sea. This has been called
“the beginning of the British navy.”

Then Alfred improved the years of peace by making laws which allowed the
people more rights and privileges. He invented a simple clock of
candles, by which the people could tell the time of day. He rebuilt the
towns that had been destroyed in the war and trained his people not only
to fight but to till their farms. He made wise laws and did much to
educate his subjects by having books translated from the Latin into
Anglo-Saxon, the language of the Saxons. Best of all, he translated the
Bible into the language of the people. Because of all the acts which
taught the people how to make their lives better and happier he is known
in history as Alfred the Great. In one of his histories, King Alfred
wrote what he tried to do in his own life:

“My will was to live worthily as long as I lived and, after my life, to
leave to them that should come after, my memory in good works.”


When the first son was born to Robert, Duke of Normandy, and Arlette,
the daughter of a tanner, the nurse laid the day-old baby on the straw
carpet of the castle. In those days most of the floors of the houses,
whether huts or castles, were of earth or stone, covered with straw
which could be cleared out, as from a modern stable, to allow fresh
straw to be laid down. When placed on the floor in his little blanket,
Baby William reached out and clutched some of the straws so tightly in
his small pink fists that one of those who noticed smiled and said, “He
will take fast hold on everything he lays his hands on when he grows

When William was seven, Duke Robert, his father, being about to make the
voyage to the Holy Land, called some of his nobles together and said, “I
am resolved to journey to the place where our Lord Christ died and was
buried. But because I know this journey is full of dangers, I would have
it settled who should be duke if I should die.”

The nobles and knights took an oath that they would stand by his son
William and not let any one keep him from being duke of Normandy. Then
Duke Robert sailed away and died during the long voyage.

William was away hunting in a Norman forest when his faithful fool (as
they called a sort of clown kept by a king to amuse the court) broke in
where he lay asleep and shouted, “Fly, or you will never leave here a
living man!” The young duke jumped up, dressed in haste, and mounted his
horse, riding through the forest in the moonlight and fording rivers
till he came to the castle of a friend who was sure to be faithful to
him. This knight and his three sons rode with William to his own castle.

It turned out that a number of the Norman lords who had taken the oath
to satisfy Duke Robert were now declaring that they would not serve
under the low-born grandson of a tanner. The fool had learned that they
were plotting rebellion and the death of his young master.

William, who was now twenty years old, gathered an army of loyal knights
and men, and waged fierce warfare against the traitors, who retreated
within the walls of a Norman town. The young duke soon captured the
town, and proved to these rebels, as well as to the men of the
neighboring kingdom of France, that the grandson of a tanner might be a
greater general than the son of a king. At the beginning of a great
battle of brave knights against braver knights, a champion of heroic
size came out from the ranks of the enemy and threw down his gauntlet,
or glove, challenging any knight of Normandy to come and fight him with
the sword. William himself took up the gauntlet, and drove his sword
through an open place in the big knight’s armor, so that he fell from
his horse dead.

Then, like the Philistines of old when David slew their giant, the
Duke’s enemies fled in all directions. Many of them were slain in
battle, others while running away were cut down by the battle-axes of
Norman knights, and many more perished in the flooded river.

Those were brutal days, when people thought that whatever a great king
or noble might do was all right if he only had the power to put it
through. An example of such high-handed dealing is William’s conquest of
England. He had once paid a visit to Edward the Confessor, the priestly
king of England. The duke claimed, on his return to Normandy, that
Edward had promised to leave the kingdom to him, as a relative. It
happened that Harold, an English earl, was shipwrecked on the coast of
Normandy. William seized Harold, shut him up in prison, and kept him
there until he promised to do his best to make William King of England
at the death of Edward.

Two years later, when Edward the Confessor died, it was found that in
spite of his promise to William he had advised in his will that Harold
be elected king by the witan, an assembly of English freemen. This body
of men took the good old king’s advice, chose Harold king, and saw that
he was crowned at once. Harold excused himself for breaking his word to
William because King Edward had decided in his favor instead of
William’s, and because the oath he had made had been forced from him
while he was a prisoner.

William, however, was very angry when he heard that Harold had allowed
himself to be crowned king of England. Getting together as large an army
as he could in Normandy, he sailed across the Channel. In leaping ashore
from his boat he tripped and fell forward with his hands upon the
ground. Realizing that his soldiers would think this a bad sign, he
clutched both hands full of earth, and rising he held them up,
exclaiming, “See, I have taken possession of this land of England.”

The Normans took position in the village of Hastings. Harold went into
camp on top of Senlac hill, now called Battle, about six miles from
Hastings, and dug trenches around. Here a great battle began at four
o’clock in the morning of the 14th of October, 1066. In advance of the
Norman lines rode a knight in armor, bearing the duke’s colors, singing
the Song of Roland, the great paladin in the army of Charlemagne, who
had lived and fought nearly three hundred years before. It was a brave
combat, with many knights and nobles on each side. The Norman found the
Englishman a foeman worthy of his steel.


The Saxons, entrenched on Battle Hill, held their ground so well that
William saw he could not gain the day unless he drew them away from that
point of vantage. So he ordered a retreat, and the honest Saxons chased
the flying Normans, expecting to catch and slay them. But to their great
surprise, the Normans turned and fought harder than before. Harold was
killed by an arrow shot into his eyes. The Saxon army, without a
commander, was thrown into confusion, and thus the day was won by
strategy. William, Duke of Normandy, became William the Conqueror of

No one now had a better claim to the throne of England than William; so,
in the new Westminster Abbey, on Christmas Day, 1066, he was crowned,
and took his proud place in history as William the First of England. He
had to fight four years longer to break down all opposition from the
northern counties. In rewarding the Norman knights and nobles who had
helped him gain possession of England, the king gave them great estates
scattered over the kingdom. William brought to the island many scholars
and bishops, and did much to establish the Church of England. Though he
had been rough and cruel, he was both shrewd and wise in proving his own
rights and in strengthening his kingdom.

William ruled England with a strong hand for twenty-one years. He
forbade the buying and selling of slaves; yet he reduced the Saxon
farmers to serfs almost as low as slaves. He ordered a record like a
census made, and a survey of the kingdom which was recorded in what is
called the Domesday Book.

It was terribly hard for the good, honest Anglo-Saxon people to see the
Normans move into their homes and force them to work like slaves on the
very places they themselves had owned. But the Normans had the power and
the Saxons could not help themselves. For hundreds of years the Normans
spoke the French language, and the Saxons, the English. The very names
of the meats on your table at home are signs of the Norman Conquest,
nearly nine hundred years ago. The animals in the pastures and stables
of England were called by the names the Saxons gave them--as cow, calf,
sheep, swine. But the meats of those animals when cooked and served upon
the tables of the masters are still known by the Norman French names, as
beef (Norman name for cow), veal (Norman for calf), mutton (Norman for
sheep), pork (Norman for hog or swine). Milk is a Saxon word, but cream
is from the French, because the Saxons had to milk the cows and drink
only milk, while they served their Norman lords the cream.

The Norman traits of keenness, tact, and worldly wisdom have been
mingling for many centuries with the honest, sturdy integrity of the
Anglo-Saxons. Little by little, as the races grew together, the nobles
became less haughty and cruel and the poorer people were lifted out of
their poverty. But it took many centuries for men to learn the lesson

    “Kind hearts are more than coronets,
     And simple faith than Norman blood.”


The great-grandson of William the Conqueror was Henry the Second of
England, a great and powerful king. At his death, in 1189, he left two
sons, Richard and John. As Richard was the older he was at once
proclaimed king and duly crowned in Westminster Abbey. He was also Duke
of Normandy, and thought this a greater honor than to be king of

About a hundred years before the time of Richard, great armies had begun
to sail from several of the countries of western Europe to the Holy Land
in Syria. The rock-hewn tomb of Jesus, near Jerusalem, was in possession
of the followers of Mohammed--Turks, Arabs, and Saracens--who controlled
the country. The Christian people of Europe thought it very wrong that
the Saracens owned the Holy City of Jerusalem and could keep Christians
from coming to worship at the tomb of their Lord. So throngs of soldiers
went to the Holy Land to rescue the Holy Sepulchre, or tomb. The wars
which they fought for this cause were known as the Crusades.


_From the painting by John Cross_]

In the First Crusade, the Christian knights captured not only the Holy
Sepulchre but also the city of Jerusalem. In the Second Crusade, about
fifty years later, the crusaders were beaten back by the Saracens. Two
years before Richard became king, the Mohammedans again captured
Jerusalem and the sacred tomb.

Young King Richard was fired with a holy zeal to win back the Holy City
and the Sepulchre, and, if possible, to find the cross upon which Jesus
of Nazareth was crucified. This relic was believed to have been hidden
by the Saracens.

King Richard made many sacrifices to raise money for a Third Crusade.
His brother John was glad to have Richard go away on such a distant and
dangerous mission, leaving the younger brother to rule over England
during the king’s long absence. John was as cowardly as Richard was
brave, and, down in his heart, he hoped the Turk would kill his brother
so that he could have the throne. Because of the king’s knightly courage
he was given the title of Richard Lion-heart. If John had been named for
the animal he was most like, he would have been called John Wolf-heart.

Richard was joined by King Philip of France, and the two kings, with
their armies and those of the Archduke of Austria, reached the Holy Land
in due time. They attacked the walled city of Acre--called Akka by the
Arabs--and captured it after a long, hard fight and the loss of many
thousands of soldiers.

But Richard was as overbearing as he was brave. He ordered other kings
and dukes about, and his manner was so masterful that he made Philip and
the Archduke of Austria very angry. After several bitter quarrels, the
king of France left Richard to fight on without him. The French king
sailed away home with most of his army, and plotted with Prince John to
injure the absent brother and make John King of England while Richard
was still alive.

Many tales are told of the struggle between Richard, king of England,
and Saladin, the sultan of the Saracens. For hundreds of years after
Richard Lion-heart’s campaign in the Holy Land, Arab mothers would
frighten their children by warning them that Richard would get them if
they were not good. Sir Walter Scott’s great novels, “Ivanhoe” and “The
Talisman,” are stories of life in England at this time, and of knightly
tournaments which took place between Richard and Saladin during this

While the Crusaders were trying to capture Ascalon, it became necessary
for them to work like stone masons in rebuilding certain walls. Richard
went to work with a royal will, and most of the nobles and knights
followed his example. But the Archduke of Austria said he was the son
neither of a carpenter nor of a mason, and flatly refused to help. This
made King Richard so angry that he struck the Archduke a blow with his
mailed fist and gave him a resounding kick with his heavy iron boot.
With all his holy zeal to take the Holy City, Richard Lion-heart had not
learned that “he that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a
city.” Then the Archduke and his Austrian army also left Richard to
fight on alone with his few remaining soldiers.

What Richard had found hard enough with the help of the king of France
and the Archduke of Austria was impossible without them. But Lion-heart
was not only a very brave man but a fine general. He defeated the army
of Saladin in a great battle at Arsuf and twice led the Christian forces
within a few miles of Jerusalem. Quarrels among the crusaders however
made it impossible to continue the war. King Richard also received bad
news from home, that his brother John was plotting against him aided by
King Philip of France. So he and Saladin made a truce to stop fighting
for three years, three months, three weeks, and three days. Then the
brave king of England started for home. Richard sent his army the long
way round by water, while he and a few knights, disguised as pilgrims,
tried to go the short way by land, across Austria and Germany. In spite
of his disguise, Richard was recognized by an Austrian soldier. When the
Archduke heard that Richard was crossing his dukedom, he sent soldiers
at once to capture the king who had insulted him.

Richard was a prisoner in a great castle for two years. A story is told
of a young troubadour, or wandering minstrel, who started out to find
his royal master by playing a lute and singing songs of love and hymns
of the Crusaders. After months of wandering, he sang under a castle wall
a favorite song of Richard’s, and heard, to his great joy, a deep bass
voice within the German fortress joining in the hymn. He well knew that
the voice was none other than Richard Lion-heart’s. Saying nothing, he
hurried away and told some English friends where their lost king was.
They rushed to Richard’s rescue and paid the Emperor of Germany, who was
over the Archduke in rank and power, a royal ransom to have their brave
king set free.

When Philip of France heard that Richard was out of prison, he sent word
to John, who had been making believe that his brother the king was dead,
“Take care of yourself. The devil has broke loose!” When Richard reached
London, John pretended to be very glad to receive his dear brother back
as from the dead.

Richard reigned only a few years after that, for he was killed in one of
his wars with Philip of France. While he was as brave as a lion, Richard
was also as fierce and cruel as the king of beasts. He was not a good
man as people to-day regard manhood, but he was much better than his
cowardly brother John, who became king after Richard’s death.


Five hundred years ago a little French peasant girl was working outside
the stone hut where her father’s large family lived, when she heard, or
thought she heard, a voice saying to her, “Joan, be a good child; go
often to church.”

This Joan of Arc was so kind-hearted and so thoughtful for others that
her friends made fun of her and said she was not like other girls; and
her parents feared that she was growing too good to live. But Joan only
wondered and smiled, said her prayers, and went often to church. When
she was twelve or thirteen, she began to see visions and hear what she
called “the Voices,” saying over and over, “Joan, trust in God; for
there is great sorrow in the kingdom of France.”

“It must be St. Catherine and St. Margaret,” Joan said to herself, as
she sat spinning for hours at a time. What was the sorrow in France, and
how could _she_ make things better just by being good? She even doubted
whether the visions she had seen and the Voices she had heard were
anything but her own half-waking dreams.

One day she overheard the parish priest of Domremy, where she lived,
telling of the troubles of France. For almost a hundred years the kings
of England had claimed and fought for the right to rule over France, and
lately, under their soldier king, Henry the Fifth, had defeated the
French and driven their armies into the southern part of their own land.
Henry the Fifth had died, but his son still claimed the French throne;
and the French prince, or Dauphin, as he was called, had not been
crowned king, because the English held the city of Rheims, where all
French kings were crowned. The English armies were pushing southward to
lay siege to the French city of Orleans.

Joan heard the good priest and her father and mother sighing over the
sad day that had come when foreigners were fighting to make slaves of
the French people. And the dear Dauphin whom God had given them for
their king was now flying from place to place before the armies of

After that day the Voices grew more earnest and definite. “Go to the
governor,” they urged her; “go and ask him to give you soldiers, and
send you to the help of the king.” Poor little Joan’s heart sank within
her, and she protested, “I am only a young girl. I don’t know how to
ride or to fight. They will only laugh at me.” But the Voices kept on
insisting, “Go! go! go! and we will help you save France.”

Joan told her parents what the Voices were telling her to do. Her father
laughed and threatened to punish her if he heard any more of such talk,
and her mother was afraid her strange little daughter was going to die.
Joan’s brothers and sisters made fun of her and asked if she wished to
marry the Dauphin and be Queen of France.

But Joan had a kind uncle who loved and sympathized with her. Her mother
let her go to visit Uncle Durant, hoping her poor little girl might
forget the Voices. When Joan told her uncle what she kept seeing and
hearing, he promised to help her all he could. So he went with his
anxious little niece to the governor of that part of France, and stood
by her as she told the great man about the Voices, and repeated the
latest command they had given her for him:

“Send and tell the Dauphin to wait, and not offer battle to his
enemies; because God will give him help before the middle of Lent. The
kingdom belongs not to the Dauphin, but to my Lord; but my Lord wishes
that the Dauphin shall be king and hold it in trust. In spite of his
enemies he shall be king of France, and I will lead him to be crowned.”

“And who is your lord?” demanded the governor with a sneer. “The King of
Heaven,” said Joan of Arc proudly. The governor, who was a rough
military man, laughed loud and long at the faith of the little peasant
girl in a white cap, red petticoat, and wooden shoes. Instead of doing
as she asked, he told her uncle to give her a good whipping, to beat the
foolishness out of her head, and send her home to her father.

Baffled and discouraged, Joan went home with her uncle. But the Voices
kept saying in her ears, “Go! go!” Back to the governor she went, but he
treated her as badly as before. Then they found another man to whom she
told her story and added, “God in Heaven has told me to go to the
Dauphin; with His help I must do it, even if I have to go on my knees.”
This friendly gentleman was deeply touched by her earnest words.

The people in the country who knew and believed in Joan of Arc pleaded
with the men of influence in the neighborhood, and it was at last
arranged that Joan should go and tell her story to the young king of
France. To see if God were guiding her, as she claimed, the king changed
places with a noble in his court; but instead of going up to the
pretended king who sat in the seat of honor, Joan walked straight to the
prince, where he stood behind some men of the court.

It is easy to believe what we will. The Dauphin listened to the burning
words of the peasant girl with the pure,


_From the painting by J. J. Scherer_]

Madonna-like face. After she had won the king’s approval it was not so
hard for Joan to go on obeying the Voices. Dressed in a suit of armor
which shone like silver, she led a French army to the relief of Orleans.
She carried everywhere a beautiful white banner, embroidered with

The English laughed at that silly girl trying to be a man, and called
her insulting names; but Joan did not mind, for she felt safe under the
protection of the saints in heaven. One day, in an attack upon a fort
held by the English, the Maid, as the French army now called her, was
wounded in the foot; but she would not stop fighting. She mounted her
horse again and led the charge as though nothing had happened. The
English then thought she was a witch--that is, a woman working for the

In another battle an arrow was shot clear through her shoulder so that
the barb stuck out five inches. Then the enemy raised a shout of
triumph. “The Maid can be wounded and killed,” they yelled. “She is not
a witch, so we are not afraid of her.” But one of Joan’s company pulled
out the arrow and she led them fiercely in the assault. The English
soldiers were frightened, for in those days every one believed in
witches. Joan drove the enemy from one place to another until all the
south country was cleared of the English forces. Then the Maid of
Orleans, as she was now called, led the king, with his court and the
French army, to the old city of Rheims, where he was crowned, with great
joy and splendor, as Charles the Seventh.

The Maid had put the lilies on her banner as the symbol of purity and of
God’s love and care over France. The French lily, or fleur-de-lys, has
been the emblem of France through all the centuries since the days of
Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans.

Now the Maid, who had done all that the Voices had commanded, was ready
to return home to spin and to tend the sheep on the hills of Domremy;
but weak-hearted King Charles begged her to stay long enough to drive
all the English out of France.

Against her wish, Joan yielded. While fighting outside the walls of a
town not far from Paris, she was surrounded by armed men of the enemy.
By mistake or through fear, some French people shut the gate in such
haste that the Maid was left outside fighting a dozen soldiers
single-handed. She was captured and put in a dark, damp prison. Here the
poor girl, then only nineteen, was frightened and tortured to make her
sign a paper confessing that she was a wicked witch, and that all she
had done was by the help of the devil.

After waiting a long time in vain for the ungrateful prince, whom she
had made king of France, to come and save her with his army, or to pay a
large sum of money to ransom her, she was compelled to stand an unjust
trial during which she was many times abused and insulted. This wicked
trial was conducted by a false bishop, who condemned that sweet, heroic
young girl to be burned at the stake in the market-place of Rouen on the
24th of May, 1431.

Twenty-five years after her death the Pope reversed the decision of the
corrupt bishop. In 1920, nearly five hundred years after the Maid was
burned to death, high and holy men in the ancient Church to which she
belonged took the great step of declaring Joan of Arc, the peasant girl
of Domremy, one of the noble army of martyrs in the communion of



Perhaps there is no one who has done so much for the world, yet about
whose life so little is known, as William Shakespeare. His father was a
farmer and market man, and his mother was Mary Arden, a prosperous
farmer’s daughter. The father was so highly respected that he was made
high bailiff, or mayor, of Stratford-upon-Avon, where the Shakespeare
family lived.

It was one of the father’s duties to give out licenses to players or
actors who went from town to town performing their plays. Sometimes they
gave their shows out of doors; and when theaters were built they were
galleries around a space of ground. The people who paid the most stood
or sat in the galleries and the poor people saw the play from the
ground, called the pit. Strolling players were looked upon in those days
almost as tramps are to-day. They had to have licenses like street bands
nowadays. They often gave their shows in a town square and took up a
collection for their pay.

John Shakespeare was fond of these shows, and there is no doubt that his
son William was taken to see them before he went to the Stratford
Grammar School when he was seven years old. Here the boy is said to have
studied Latin, writing, and arithmetic. Judging from the specimens that
are still to be seen of William Shakespeare’s penmanship, it was not a
great success. One of the great


_From the painting by John Ford_]

play-writers of Shakespeare’s time wrote that Will had learned “small
Latin and less Greek” at school. But Latin was the chief study in the
schools of that time. It was sung and spoken in church, and it was
thought necessary for even a farmer’s son to study that language.

When William was thirteen his father was unfortunate in business, and
the boy had to leave school to earn his living. There is a legend that
he started in to learn the butcher’s trade, but it seems more likely
that he worked as a lawyer’s boy and clerk. If all accounts are true, he
must have been a mischievous lad, for the story goes that he was once
taken up for poaching, or shooting a deer, in the park of one of the
great men in the county.

When he was eighteen Will Shakespeare married a farmer’s daughter eight
years older than himself. By the time he was twenty-one the young father
had three children. Two of these, Hamnet and Judith, were twins. Hamnet
died before he grew to manhood, and about all that is known of Judith
Shakespeare is that she, like her mother, never learned to read. It was
not thought necessary then for farmers’ wives and daughters to read and

A lawyer’s clerk with five mouths to feed could hardly find enough to do
in Stratford to earn a living, so William Shakespeare went to London to
seek his fortune. It is said that he began life in the great city by
holding horses in front of one of the theaters, as they did not have
hitching-posts in Shakespeare’s days. Then he was promoted to be
prompter’s boy. One of his duties was to tell the actors when it was
time for them to go on the stage and play their parts.

Nothing is really known of what the young man from Stratford was doing
for six or seven years. He made his living in one way or another in
connection with the theaters. At the end of that time a dying actor left
some bitter lines about Will “Shake-scene.” But another actor at this
time called Shakespeare a good man, a graceful actor, and a witty writer
of plays. Shakespeare seems not to have been a leading actor. It is said
that he took the part of the Ghost in his own play of “Hamlet.” He
became so successful as a writer that he was “commanded” to bring his
company and produce a play before Queen Elizabeth in one of her palaces.

It is recorded that Shakespeare was paid from thirty to seventy-five
dollars for one of his plays. While it is true that thirty dollars would
buy as much then as three hundred dollars to-day, yet that was a very
small price to pay for the greatest dramas ever written. But the real
value of the greatest things of the world cannot be measured by money.

Every one is said to have at least one great chance in life.
Shakespeare’s Door of Opportunity was the door of a theater. He did not
wait for it to open; he opened it himself. Shakespeare’s life showed
that “poets are born, not made.” He had the keenest insight into the
human heart and life of all the writers who ever lived.


In Shakespeare’s day Queen Elizabeth came first in the thoughts of all
the people of England. She was almost worshiped by the men of wealth and
genius whom she gathered at her court, and by the people at large. By
her cleverness and wisdom she kept England peaceful and prosperous
almost all through her reign. But she never married; so, when she died,
her cousin, James Stuart, king of Scotland, became king of England.

James had been brought up to think that because he was king, everybody
must bow to him as the Lord’s anointed. It was he and his councilors who
drove the Pilgrim Fathers out of England because they would not worship
God, as James wished them to, in the Church of England, of which he was
the head.

On his way down to London to be crowned, James stopped at the beautiful
estate of Sir Oliver Cromwell. In the royal company was the king’s
eldest son, Charles, called by the Scottish people “the bonnie prince.”
The little Scotch boy, only six years old, already thought that the
world was created for him and that no other boy had any rights which he,
Prince Charles, was bound to respect.

The story goes that Sir Oliver Cromwell sent for his nephew, whose name
was Oliver Cromwell also, to play with the prince. When little Noll, as
they nicknamed Oliver, came in, his uncle presented him to the boy
prince. Young Oliver tried to shake hands with Charles. Old Oliver, who
wanted the boy to bow and kiss the prince’s hand, said, “Pay your duty
to Prince Charles.”

“I owe him no duty,” said Noll Cromwell. “Why should I kiss that boy’s

King James only laughed at the Cromwell lad’s spirit, and Charles and
Noll were left to play together. The prince soon struck the other boy,
as he was in the habit of doing, but naughty Noll struck back and sent
“the bonnie prince” howling to the king with royal blood streaming from
his little freckled nose.

Sir Oliver and the members of the royal party looked with holy horror
at the boy who had laid his hands on the Lord’s anointed. Some of them
thought young Oliver ought to be imprisoned in the Tower of London or
even beheaded for his wickedness. But King James had sense enough to see
that it was well for the prince to get “tit for tat” once in a while; so
he only looked hard at little Oliver and said:


_From the painting by David Neal_]

“Thou art a bold lad; and if thou live to be a man, my son Charlie would
do wisely to be friends with thee.” Then he turned to Sir Oliver and the
frightened friends standing there, saying, “Harm not the lad. He has
taught my son a good lesson, if heaven do but give him grace to profit
by it. If he be tempted to play the tyrant over the stubborn English,
let him remember little Oliver Cromwell.”

Young Oliver went to Free School and then to a Puritan college in
Cambridge University; but he had to leave school on account of the death
of his father. Before he was thirty Cromwell was elected to Parliament,
of which his cousin, John Hampden, was also a member.

Meanwhile King James died and his son, the prince with whom Oliver had
quarreled when a boy, became King Charles the First. King James had been
so sensible at times and so foolish at others that he has been called
“the wisest fool in Europe.” But Charles had even less sense than his
royal father. He tried to abolish Parliament, thus setting up his own
will against the will of the people of all England and Scotland.

Parliament, led by such men as Cromwell and Hampden, stood up for the
rights of the people against tyranny. All lovers of liberty and human
rights are greatly in debt to these two brave men who risked their lives
to save their country from the selfish wilfulness of kings. Englishmen
now were divided into two parties. The king’s party were the Cavaliers,
or Church of England men, who wore wigs or long curls and dressed in
velvets, silks, and laces like grown-up Lord Fauntleroys. The
parliamentary party were called Roundheads, so named because they cut
their hair short, as men do to-day. Oliver Cromwell, who never saw an
army until he was forty, was suddenly found to be a great general.
Because of their stern, unyielding courage, Cromwell’s soldiers were
called “Ironsides.” They often went into battle with a prayer on their
lips, or, in a grand chorus, sang a psalm of David while striking
valiantly for the right.

At last it became necessary to sacrifice King Charles in order to secure
the victory for Parliament, which stood for the freedom of Englishmen
against the tyranny of kings. So a court set up by Parliament voted to
put the king to death, and Oliver Cromwell was one of the signers of the
death-warrant. As James, the king’s father, had driven the Pilgrims out
of the country, so now the Puritans in Parliament forced the king’s sons
to leave the country for their country’s good.

During the few years in which Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector of
England, he did much to strengthen the nation and to repair the great
harm brought upon it by the foolish whims of its extravagant kings. It
was then that England learned the terrible lesson which Europe had to be
taught almost three hundred years later--that no king has a divine right
to do wrong to the people.


Though Napoleon Bonaparte was the greatest soldier of his time, he was
small in body. His fullest height was a little above five feet. The
story of his strange career shows how a poor, puny little lad made
himself emperor of France and master of Europe, so that kings, generals,
and prime ministers bowed, like so many servants, to his imperial will.

He began, while he wore petticoats, to wish to be a soldier. He threw
away his baby rattle for a brass cannon, and his first playthings were
little iron soldiers. When he was old enough to play with other boys, he
always chose to be a soldier and, small as he was, he was the one who
told the bigger boys just what to do. Even then, if his mother gave him
a piece of cake, he would go out to the edge of the little town and
trade it to an old soldier for some coarse, black army bread. As he grew
older, this soldier-longing became his ambition. His health was never
very good. He was often nervous, wilful, and hard to manage. But he had
a keen sense of honor, and always despised a coward.

Napoleon’s home was the rugged island of Corsica. While he was still a
little boy, he found, between some rocks, near the shore, a cave which
he claimed for his own. This is still pointed out to thousands who come
to visit the boy’s birthplace, as “Napoleon’s Grotto.”

At that time there was a feud between the boys of the town and the
shepherd lads on the hills around. Little Napoleon told the other town
boys that if they would do as he said, he would make those big country
boys stop throwing stones at them whenever they met. The town lads
agreed to this; so Napoleon told them to gather stones and pile them in
a row a little distance below the fortress which the shepherds had
chosen behind some rocks on top of their hill.

The pale Bonaparte boy led his young army up till the country youths
fired a volley of stones at them. Then he turned and ran down the hill
followed by his company. The enemy came out and gave chase, pell-mell.
This was just what Napoleon expected. When the little leader got down to
the piles of stones he shouted--_“Halt!”_

His soldiers obeyed.


Each boy gathered up as many as he could carry.

“_About face!_--FIRE!”

Before the astonished shepherds could stop they were met by a shower of
rocks. The big fellows broke and scattered in all directions, and two of
them were taken prisoner. Captain Bonaparte would not let them go till
the other country boys pledged themselves not to touch his “men” again.

Thus eight-year-old Napoleon became the leader of the boys in his home

Before he was ten, he was sent to a military school in France, where
sons of noblemen were educated. Some of those French boys were wayward,
mean, and savagely cruel. They made fun of the shy country lad, for his
rough Corsican ways and speech, and because he was small and sallow.
Napoleon had entered the school on a scholarship, so they sneered at him
as “the charity boy.” He could not speak French at first, and pronounced
his own name so that it sounded like the French words for “Nose of
straw.” As Napoleon’s nose was long, straight, and thin, they laughed
and shouted his nickname, “Mr. Straw Nose!”

All this made the proud, sensitive lad speechless with rage. He kept
himself away from the rest. A garden plot was assigned for each cadet to
tend. A few of the others were too idle to take care of theirs, so they
gave them to Napoleon and he kept them in order as his own. In the
center of his little kingdom he built an arbor where he could stay alone
to study and plan as he had done in his little cave in Corsica, and woe
to those who entered there without his permission. He had suffered this
sort of life nearly four years before his father and mother managed to
visit their boy, who was almost a prisoner in military school. Napoleon
wrote of the shock the visit gave his mother:

“When she came to see me at Brienne she was frightened at my thinness. I
was indeed much changed, because I employed the hours of recreation in
working, and often passed the nights in thinking about the days’
lessons. My nature could not bear the idea of not being first in my

After finishing at this academy, Napoleon went to the military college
at Paris. Father Bonaparte’s death, about this time, left the family
poorer than ever. Sometimes Napoleon did not have enough to eat. But
that did not prevent him from studying hard. His great ambition kept him
from starving. Some time after his graduation he was assigned to a small
command in Paris. “Red” revolutionists were trying to destroy the city.
Young Napoleon thought it high time to stop them. A mob gathered in a
public square threatening to kill people and burn their houses. He
opened fire on the mob and cleared that square in short order. It was
said afterward, “Bonaparte stopped the French Revolution with a whiff of

From being “the Man of the Hour” Napoleon went on until he became “the
Man of Destiny.” He was raised to the highest rank, and as General
Bonaparte became commander-in-chief of the French army in Italy, where
he gained brilliant victories over the Austrians. But the Austrians
would not stay beaten, and while Napoleon was away in Egypt, Austria
started in to win back its control of northern Italy.

When Napoleon returned to Paris he was the idol of the people. They
elected him consul, a kind of president, of the French republic. The
Austrians were pleased at this, as it would keep “the Little Corporal,”
as the soldiers called Napoleon, in Paris. He would have to send another
commander to Italy, and the Austrians had gotten such a start that they
could win the victory before the French forces could go around the Alps.

Austria was already crowing over its triumph and all Europe was laughing
because General Bonaparte had been “caught napping,” when one May
morning Consul Napoleon and a great army came tobogganing down the
mountain sides into the plains of Italy, as if they had fallen from the

In a letter to his older brother, Napoleon wrote of this:

“We have dropped here like a thunderbolt; the enemy didn’t expect it,
and hardly believe it yet.”

He had made his soldiers climb up the Alps Mountains in the highest,
steepest place, dragging heavy cannon and army supplies after them. By
his wonderful feat of crossing the Alps, Napoleon won by surprise the
victory at Marengo, just as he had beaten the shepherd lads when he was
a boy of eight.

The people now made their hero consul for life. After that it was easy
for him to make himself Emperor of the French. At his coronation
Napoleon snatched the crown out of the hands of the pope and placed it
on his own head, to show that he was emperor by the right of his own
might. Yet Emperor Napoleon kept on leading his armies in person. He
still had to fight with other nations to hold his place as master of
Europe. He gained even more brilliant victories, as Emperor Napoleon,
than he had won as General Bonaparte. Not content with his record as a
great conqueror, he gave the French people the _Code Napoléon_, a set of


_From the painting by David Neal_]

which proved him to be also a wise statesman and law-giver.

The kings and nobles of Europe always hated Napoleon. They said he was
vulgar, and called him “the Corsican upstart.” But the French people
loved him as one of themselves. No general or emperor ever had more
devoted followers than Napoleon Bonaparte. Millions of men gave their
lives willingly to fight his battles. He waged war after war till there
were but few fighting men left in France. Then the people began to think
that Napoleon loved them because they could help him win victories to
give him more power and fulfill his high ambition. They began to say
among themselves, “He is sacrificing us for his own glory.” While at the
height of his power, Napoleon exclaimed, “What are a million lives to a
man like me!”

When the people lost their faith in him, Napoleon began to lose instead
of win his battles. Generals and nobles stopped flattering him and began
to fight him. His own brothers and sisters, whom he had made kings and
queens, deserted him. Even his wife forsook him, taking with her his
only son, the idol of his heart.

Napoleon’s last battle was at Waterloo, in Belgium. Because this loss
brought ruin to him, the name of the place became a kind of proverb.
When overwhelming defeat comes to a great man, people say, “He has met
his Waterloo!”

The conquered conqueror was taken prisoner and sent thousands of miles
away as a captive to the bleak island of St. Helena. He made the best of
his hard lot as “the fortunes of war.” But the years of loneliness
endured by this friendless conqueror, who all his life had been selfish
and merciless, are suggested by a well-known picture, which shows
Napoleon on the shore of that far-off rock in the southern sea, standing
with hands clasped behind him, looking off across the ocean to where
France lay.


A small English boy strayed away from his grandmother’s house after she
had warned him that gypsies encamped near by might carry him off. When
the old lady found the little fellow sitting beside a stream too wide
for him to cross, she exclaimed:

“Why did you run away, Horatio? I was half dead with fear--”

“Fear!” demanded the little lad, still in petticoats. “What is that? I
never saw a fear.”

The boy’s father’s name was Nelson. He was a clergyman of the Church of
England. His wife had died when this boy was a baby, leaving eight
children for the invalid father to care for. Once while the father was
away for his health, young Horatio heard that his mother’s brother had
been appointed to the command of a British man-of-war. Horatio said to
an older brother: “Do, William, write to my father and tell him that I
should like to go to sea with Uncle Maurice.”

Thinking the navy might be a good place for the boy and a benefit to his
health, Doctor Nelson wrote to his brother-in-law. The bluff sea-captain
wrote right back:

     “What has poor Horatio done, who is so weak, that he, above all the
     rest, should be sent to rough it out at sea? But let him come, and
     the first time we go into action a cannon-ball may knock off his
     head and provide for him at once.”

Thus young Horatio Nelson entered the Royal Navy. One of his first trips
was as coxswain on a voyage to the Arctic regions. While dragging the
ship’s boats over the ice, the sailors had to fight with walruses and
polar bears. Coxswain Nelson killed a big white bear and carried home
the skin for his father.

When Horatio was fifteen he made a voyage on the warship _Seahorse_ to
the East Indies. A year and a half in that hot climate made the frail
lad so ill that he had to go home. Of his thoughts while sailing home on
sick leave he once said:

“After a long and gloomy revery in which I almost wished myself
overboard, a sudden glow of patriotism was kindled within me and
presented my king and country as my patrons. My mind exulted in the
idea. ‘Well then,’ I exclaimed, ‘I will be a hero, and trusting in God,
I will brave every danger.’”

Young Nelson had too much pluck to be sick long. England was then at war
with France and Spain, and he fought his country’s enemies in malarial
regions where hundreds of his fellows died from the poisoned air and
serpent bites. When Horatio was twenty-two his health again failed, and
he had to spend months in Brighton to recover it.

When peace was signed between England and France, in 1783, Nelson was
twenty-five. He was presented at court in that year, as he was a
favorite with the Duke of Clarence who afterward became King William the

The next year Captain Nelson was placed in command of the battle-ship
_Boreas_. He was very kind to the thirty midshipmen on board. When a boy
was afraid to climb a mast, Nelson would say to him with a winning

“I am going to race to the masthead and beg that I may meet you there.”

Once when he was invited to dinner with the governor of Barbadoes,
Nelson said, “Your Excellency must excuse me for bringing one of my
midshipmen. I make it a rule to introduce them to all the good company I
can, as they have few to look up to besides myself while they are at


_From the painting by David Neal_]

It is not surprising that men under his command exclaimed, in comparing
him with other men, “_Nelson_ was the man to _love!_”

The wars of Great Britain with Napoleon kept the young navy officer in
active service. During a siege a shell burst and destroyed the sight of
his right eye. In another attack he was wounded in the arm. He shouted
to those who wished to remove him from the fray,

“Let me alone; I have yet my legs and one arm. Tell the surgeon to make
haste and get the instruments. I know I must lose my right arm; so the
sooner it is off, the better.”

In 1798, when Napoleon started out with the French fleet for an unknown
port, to surprise and lay waste the countries of people friendly to
Great Britain, these instructions were issued to Admiral Nelson: “Take,
sink, burn, and destroy the French fleet.” With his battleships Nelson
set out to search the Mediterranean, but for a long time he was unable
to find the French fleet. At last it was found at anchor in Aboukir Bay
at the mouth of the Nile. The French were caught in a trap. Though
Nelson had not eaten or slept much for many days and nights, he invited
his officers to dinner on his flagship, the _Vanguard_, to discuss the
coming battle. “If we succeed, what will the world say?” asked one of
the officers.

“There is no ‘_if_’ in the case,” replied the admiral sharply. “We are
sure to succeed, but who may live to tell the story is a very different

Admiral Nelson had the colors flying from six different places on his
flagship when they went into battle that very night. That engagement,
now known as the battle of the Nile, was one of the greatest naval
combats in history. The French flagship, _L’Orient_, on which Napoleon
had sailed to carry war into Egypt, was blown up and the French admiral
killed with all on board. The battle raged from seven in the evening
until three in the morning. Though the French had thousands more men
than the British, most of them were killed. Nelson sent boats to rescue
them from the burning French ships, but they preferred to go on fighting
through the flames, amidst bursting shells and exploding powder

Napoleon’s fleet was utterly destroyed. Nelson wrote of that night’s

“Victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene; it is a

The whole world, which had suffered in dread of “that monster,
Napoleon,” went wild over the news. England made Nelson a baron and
voted him a pension of ten thousand dollars a year. Other nations,
rulers, and corporations showered upon him great sums of money, gold
boxes filled with diamonds, jeweled swords, and gem-incrusted souvenirs.
The Queen of Naples, a sister of Queen Marie Antoinette, who had lately
been beheaded by the French people, was beside herself with joy. The
poor people of Italy expressed their gratitude when Nelson’s fleet was
anchored in the bay of Naples. Bringing cages of birds to the shore,
they opened the doors and let the birds out to fly about the flagship
and light on the beloved admiral’s shoulders.

Three years later the conquering hero was called to strike another blow
against Napoleon near Copenhagen, Denmark. Admiral Nelson opened the
attack on the allied fleet, but the admiral higher in command, thinking
it might be well to give Nelson a chance to withdraw a little, signaled
him to retire to repair several disabled ships. Nelson, hearing of this,
put his spyglass to his blind eye and winked as he said: “I really do
not see the signal. Keep on flying mine for ‘closer battle.’ That’s the
way _I_ answer such signals!”

The men of both fleets fought with undaunted courage for five long,
terrible hours. The enemy lost 1800 men and 6000 prisoners, but the
British had only 250 killed, and 680 wounded. Of the Battle of
Copenhagen, Nelson wrote:

“I have been in one hundred and five engagements, but this has been the
most terrible of all.”

For the victory at Copenhagen Nelson was made a viscount. But there was
no time for celebrations after this, for Napoleon was now waging war to
the death. Lord Nelson seemed to realize that the next fight must be the
end either of France or of England. At last the great day came, off Cape
Trafalgar, Spain, on the 21st of October, 1805. It is told of Admiral
Lord Nelson that as he walked the deck of his flagship, _Victory_, that
morning, his knees trembled more with excitement than fear. The
one-eyed, one-armed hero looked down and shook his fist at his legs,
saying: “Shake away, there! You would shake worse than that if you knew
where I’m going to take you to-day.” Then he gave the order for that
immortal signal: “ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN TO DO HIS DUTY.” Trafalgar
was the greatest of all Nelson’s victories. It broke the power of
Napoleon and paved the way for Wellington at Waterloo.

At a shot from the mizzenmast of a French ship, the Lord Admiral fell.
Captain Hardy of the _Victory_ knelt beside him.

“They have done for me at last, Hardy,” he gasped.

Nelson lived for hours, giving his last directions, then died in the
moment of his greatest triumph.

“Now I am satisfied,” were his last words. “Thank God, I have done my



In a tall narrow house in the midst of a block on a narrow street in
Genoa, Italy, lived a poor woolworker named Columbus. This slender house
was only two windows wide and seven stories high. In the lowest story,
in which there were a wide door and a grated window, Signor Columbus
stored the bales of wool which he washed and carded, using a tool
somewhat like the curry-comb for cleaning horses. He thus prepared the
wool to be spun into yarn, which would later be woven and made up into
clothing and blankets.

A small boy named Christopher went in and out of this foul-smelling
place to play and work. Very little is known of the boyhood of Columbus.
As Genoa was a large seaport town, it is supposed that he spent much of
his time on the wharves watching the boats-galleys from Venice, with
gay-colored sails, and strange-looking craft from Asia and Africa, with
long, slim, lateen wings, veering about like swallows of the sea.

There were pirates, or highway-robbers of the sea, in those days. Little
Christopher was sure to hear thrilling stories of how they fought
hand-to-hand with sabers and axes, and of how the wicked but powerful
pirates murdered the men on merchant ships and carried off the women
and children to be slaves in distant lands. Young Columbus seems to
have been fired with a boyish longing for--

    “A life on the ocean wave,
     A home on the rolling deep,”

for the next that is known of him is that he narrowly escaped from
drowning in a shipwreck by swimming six miles to shore on a boat oar.

He landed near a town in Portugal and soon found work in a map-maker’s
shop. Here he had a chance to learn all the geography that was known
four hundred years ago. Most of the maps he made were drawn as if the
world were flat. But there were curious charts with lands and seas
outlined on the six sides of a cube, and others drawn as if the world
were shaped like a huge section of stovepipe. Young Columbus found the
maps very interesting; but what seemed most wonderful of all was the
idea that the world was round, as every child now knows.

In those days a man was not allowed to believe anything different from
what every one else thought. So when young Columbus began to claim that
the earth was round, people laughed at him. They thought he was crazy.
Of course, a few astronomers and scientists knew how to prove the
roundness of the earth by the shadow it casts on the moon in an eclipse,
but most of the people could not understand such things. Columbus
himself could notice that the surface of the ocean, within the short
distance he could see, was slightly curved. He resolved to miss no
chance to prove his theory, by learning all he could about newly-found
lands; and he even began planning to sail around the earth to India and
Far Cathay, as China was called in the old days.

Travelers had been overland to the Far East and back. Daring sailors had
sailed along the coast of Africa. But the great body of water to the
west of Portugal was called the Sea of Darkness. People believed that
terrible sea-monsters haunted its dark waters, and that if men were to
sail far enough westward, their ship would go beyond the brink of the
world, as over a giant waterfall, and fall down, down through space

So when Christopher Columbus tried to persuade the king of Portugal and
the princes of other countries to fit out a few ships and let him prove
the roundness of the earth by sailing west to the Far East, no one would
listen to him seriously. But the poor man could not give it up, though
he spent many years wandering from country to country to persuade some
one rich and powerful enough to supply the ships and men for such a
dangerous voyage. Queen Isabella of Spain and her husband, King
Ferdinand, listened to him, but when the matter was referred to the
royal council, those grave men shook their heads and said such a thing
was absurd and unfit for a queen even to think about.

Columbus was in despair. His wife was now dead and he had his little son
Diego with him. The two were tramping across the country and came, about
sunset, to a monastery on the border of Spain, where the boy asked for a
drink just as the monk in charge happened to be passing. This monk spoke
to Columbus and, seeing what an interesting man he was, invited the
strangers in. Columbus told his strange, sad story. This monk had been a
friend and adviser to Queen Isabella. Also he knew two sailors who might
be a help in such an undertaking. He wrote at once to the queen, urging
her to let Columbus come and talk


over the matter once more. She wrote back that she would like to hear
what her friend the monk might have to say about it. He started the very
night he received the queen’s letter, and talked with her about
converting to the Christian faith the people of the new lands Columbus
might discover. As a result of this talk the good monk wrote to Columbus
who, with his young son, was waiting at the monastery:

     “Our Lord has heard his servants’ prayers. My heart swims in a sea
     of comfort and my spirit leaps with joy. Start quickly, for the
     queen awaits you, and I yet more than she. Commend me to the
     prayers of my brethren and of the little Diego. The grace of God be
     with you.”

The queen received Columbus this time with sympathy and kindness. She is
said to have pledged her jewels to raise money enough to fit out three
ships for his great voyage. Columbus was to command one of these and the
monk’s friends were to be captains of the other two. But after making
the little fleet ready, they could not induce sailors to man the vessels
for their ghastly voyage across the Sea of Outer Darkness. Sailors were
always superstitious. Even to-day they will not start out on Friday, and
many seafaring men will refuse to sail with a ship if the flag should
happen to be raised “union down,” or wrong side up, no matter how
quickly it may be set right. At last Columbus had to take convicts out
of prison and condemn them to hard labor as sailors for the terrible
trial trip. Some of these men were desperate criminals.

The unknown western sea was far wider than Columbus had thought. This
showed that the world must be much larger than he supposed. As they
sailed on and on, day after day and week after week, across the
untraveled sea, the superstitious convict-sailors were half-dead with
fear. They planned to murder the Admiral, as Columbus was now called,
and his two captains, in order to turn the ship about and go back before
they were engulfed in some great whirlpool of disaster. Columbus kept
himself well guarded, and coaxed and flattered the frightened creatures,
promising them all kinds of wealth and pleasures if they would only keep
on a day or two longer. He offered an extra prize to the man who first
caught sight of land.

On the night of the 11th of October, 1492, one of the sailors saw a
glimmering light to the west. On the morning of the 12th, the Admiral
was an early riser. There lay a tropical island, with “gardens of the
most beautiful trees I ever saw,” he said afterward. The sea was as deep
blue as that along the shores of his native Italy. He and his two
captains went ashore, with well-armed men in boats from all three ships.
The water was clear and the bottom was white with sand and shells, while
strange, bright fish darted about as they paddled along. On the island
were parrots and other birds of gay plumage flitting from tree to tree
as if startled by the coming of the first white men into their world.
Columbus did not need his armed soldiers. After looking a long while he
saw naked red men peering at them from behind the strange, tropical
plants. After he made signs of friendship, the natives were no longer

Christopher Columbus was first to set foot on the new-found shore.
Falling on his knees, his eyes filled with tears of joy, he bowed his
face and kissed the sand of the new world. The happy company repeated
prayers and sang a hymn of praise. The naked natives looked on with
wonder to see the leader, who was dressed in rich red velvet, set up a
red, white, and gold banner--the combined flag of Ferdinand and
Isabella--and go through a long ceremony. They did not know that those
white strangers were claiming the country in the name of a king and
queen far across the sea. Columbus named this island--one of the group
now called Bahamas--San Salvador, or Holy Saviour. He still thought he
had reached the Far East.

Admiral Columbus returned to Spain to report upon his reaching eastern
India by sailing west. With him went ten of the red men he had found,
whom he called Indians. He made several voyages after that--only once
landing on the continent of South America. Some of his Spanish followers
were jealous of their Italian Admiral, and Columbus died in a prison in
Spain, after all he had done for that country, without even knowing that
it was America, not India, that he had discovered.


Among the lads in many lands who were thrilled by the stories of
Columbus and his discoveries was twelve-year-old Ferdinand Magellan, a
Portuguese boy. Like thousands of youths all over Europe, he then made
up his mind to sail the seas and seek his fortune.

Portugal, though a small country, was the home of many men of great
energy and daring. A Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, had sailed
around the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern point of Africa, and
discovered that way to India and the Moluccas, or Spice Islands. On
these voyages the Portuguese had landed, traded, and taken possession of
important parts of Africa. Others had followed in the wake of Columbus,
discovering and claiming vast regions in South America.

So young Magellan formed a partnership with another adventurer and
started out on voyages of discovery. For nearly ten years he journeyed
to and fro between his little homeland and various points in East
Africa, India, the Malay Peninsula, and the islands beyond. Frequently
he had to fight battles with savage native tribes. In one battle he
received a wound that made him lame for life.


When Magellan came home, he suggested to the king of Portugal that it
would be a great thing for Portugal if a passage across or around
America could be discovered, which would shorten the distance, time, and
expense of going from Europe to the Spice Islands. He hoped the king
would equip a fleet for such a voyage of discovery; but the king
refused, and he set out for Spain to get help for his great undertaking.

At this time he received a letter from a friend who had settled in the
Spice Islands, saying that he had “discovered another new world, larger
than that found by Vasco da Gama.” Magellan wrote to this friend that he
would soon be visiting those islands himself--“If not by way of
Portugal, then by way of Spain.”

After a long wait, the Spanish king consented to furnish five ships with
two hundred and thirty-four officers and sailors, and to stock them with
provisions to last through a two-year voyage. It was agreed also that
Magellan and his partner should receive one-twentieth of the profits of
their undertaking; and that they should be governors of the islands they

At last, after two long years of waiting, Magellan’s fleet was ready to
sail. Crossing the Atlantic seemed an easy matter then--twenty-seven
years after the first voyage of Columbus. The first land they reached
was the mainland of South America. The natives along the northern coast
were friendly and ready to exchange enough fish for ten men for a
looking-glass, a bushel of sweet potatoes for a bell, and several fowls
(or even one of their own children) for a butcher-knife. Those people
lived in huts and went almost naked, except for aprons of parrots’
feathers. There were many birds of bright plumage and plenty of monkeys
in those regions. Some of the natives were cannibals, cooking and eating
the flesh of men they captured or killed in battle.

The little Spanish fleet coasted along toward the south. The wide mouth
of the La Plata deceived them so that they sailed in until they found
that it was only a river. As they drew nearer to the South Pole it grew
intensely cold. The men on the ships begged Magellan to turn round and
go home. Some of their number died of exposure and want, and the rest
were afraid they could not live through such a winter. Not only did
they suffer from the bitter cold, but their ships had been damaged by
storms on the way down the coast.

They stayed several weeks at a port in the country now called Patagonia
without seeing a person. But one day an Indian giant strode in upon
them. He was so tall that the white men’s heads barely came up to his
waist. His hair was dyed white, his face colored red, and he had painted
wide yellow circles around his little, black eyes. When they let him see
himself in a big steel mirror he was so astonished that he jumped
backward and knocked down four of the Spaniards standing around him.
When he understood that it was himself he saw in the looking-glass, he
was pleased and they made him a present of a small metal mirror. They
found the Patagonians to be savages of a very low and brutal type, who
ate raw meat, and even rats, like beasts of prey. If they felt sick they
stuck arrows down their throats, and gashed their foreheads with
shell-knives when their heads ached.

Many of Magellan’s men now turned against him, planning to murder him
and those who stood by him, and then to sail back to Spain. Though they
were the larger number the energetic ship master beat them at their own
game. He executed one ringleader, and sailed away leaving another rebel
on the shore, where he was, no doubt, soon killed and eaten by the

As July and August are the coldest months near the South Pole, the
weather began to moderate in October, which is a spring month. January
and February are the hot season in that climate. On the 21st of October,
1520, they “saw an opening like unto a bay,” and after sailing through
its winding ways they found to their great joy, that it led out at the
other end into a vast expanse of water. At last they had discovered the
only natural passage from sea to sea through the American continents.

Some of their ships had been lost and their provisions were eaten. Most
of the men begged to turn back, now that they could report that they had
found a great ocean beyond South America. “No one knows,” they said,
“how wide this open sea is, and we may all starve before we reach the

But Ferdinand Magellan would not turn back. He accused them of having
faint hearts, and said that even if they had to eat the leather on the
ships’ yards he would still go on and discover what he had promised the
King of Spain.

One dark night the commander of the largest ship deserted the others and
went back to Spain with the greater part of their provisions. The other
ships were thirty-eight days winding their way through the straits to
which the great leader’s name was afterward given, the Straits of
Magellan. They saw so many fires in the land away to the south of them
that they named it Terra del Fuego--Land of Fire.

Brave Magellan’s threat had to be carried out. All their provisions had
either been eaten or were wholly unfit to eat. So all they had to live
on for a long time was the leather on the ships’ yards. They hung it
over the sides of the ship to soak several days in the salt water as
they sailed along. Then they cooked it over a coal fire. The wide sea
they were now crossing was so free from storms that Magellan named it
the Pacific Ocean.

After three months of hunger and thirst, risking their lives in their
devotion to leader and country, they discovered a group of islands now
named the Marianne or Ladrone Islands. Here they enjoyed the luscious
fruits and reveled in plenty of fresh water to drink. From the Ladrones
they sailed on and discovered the Philippines, where the natives were
friendly and brought them coconuts, oranges, bananas, fowls, and palm
wine, which they gladly exchanged for metal looking-glasses, red caps,
beads, and trinkets.

Besides his wish to sail round the globe and take possession of new
islands for Spain, Magellan’s great desire was to make the savage people
Christians. He had the happiness of seeing thousands of dusky islanders
kneeling before the crosses he had set up. But in his zeal to show those
heathen the power of the Christian’s God, he led the warriors of one
island in a fight against some unconverted savages and lost his life.

In three years, lacking twelve days from the time they started out, the
ship _Victoria_ returned to the Spanish port from which it had sailed,
after making the first voyage around the world. This vessel was loaded
with spices from the Moluccas, as Magellan had planned. A faithful
lieutenant represented their departed leader at the court of King
Charles of Spain, who rewarded the few survivors with high honors and
liberal pensions.


Among the millions of people who wondered at the strange stories of the
new lands discovered by Columbus was Hernando, a seven-year-old son of a
Spanish noble family named Cortes. His young mind was filled with
longing for adventure. As soon as he was old enough Hernando left home
to seek his fortune on the island of Santo Domingo in the new world. The
governor of this island was pleased with the manner, pluck, and energy
of Cortes, and offered to sell him a large estate on easy terms. But the
young Spaniard answered haughtily, “I did not come here to plough like a
field laborer; I came to get gold.”

It was not long before young Cortes saw a chance for adventure. He went
with a Spanish governor to settle the island of Cuba. He soon became a
favorite with this governor also. An adventurer returned from the part
of the mainland now called Central America and Mexico with tales of the
great wealth of the people called Aztecs, and of the gold mines there.

[Illustration: HERNANDO CORTES

_From a painting by Peale, in Independence Hall, Phila._]

The governor of Cuba decided to send ships and men to conquer that
country, and offered the command to Cortes, who worked like a hero to
get ready for the campaign. He equipped eleven vessels with six hundred
men. A hundred or more of these were sailors and workmen; and the rest,
soldiers, some of whom were armed with muskets and some with crossbows.
There were fourteen small cannon and sixteen horses in the outfit.

As Cortes was about to sail, the governor of Cuba changed his mind and
sent an order to Havana giving the command of the expedition to another
officer. But shrewd young Cortes got wind of this in time, and sailed
away before the governor’s messengers arrived.

The soldiers and other men of the expedition agreed to stand by the
brave leader and capture the new country for King Charles of Spain in
their own name instead of the Cuban governor’s. This was exactly what
that governor feared Cortes would try to do.

When the Spaniards landed on the continent the natives were afraid. They
had never seen a horse, and they thought the men on horseback were
monster human beings with four legs, half man and half horse. Yet they
came bravely out of their hiding places to do battle with such frightful
invaders. Then the Spaniards fired a cannon volley and shot off their
muskets so that several of the Indians fell dead. “They are gods!”
shouted the natives in deadly fear. “They have the lightning and thunder
in their hands!” It did not take long for Cortes to make terms with
these natives, some of whom became allies and interpreters for the

After founding a city at the coast, which he named Villa Rica de la Vera
Cruz (Rich City of the True Cross), now called Vera Cruz, Cortes
prepared to conquer the empire of the Aztecs with six hundred Spaniards
and several thousand Mexican Indians. Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs,
heard of his coming, and tried to make him leave the country by sending
rich presents from his capital in the mountains. But that did not stop

In order to insure victory, the Spanish general committed a brave though
desperate act. Choosing one ship from his fleet he manned it and sent a
trusted officer back--to Spain, not Cuba--with some of Montezuma’s rich
presents. With these Cortes sent other proofs of the wealth of the
country which he was about to conquer and add to the empire of King
Charles of Spain. Then, after taking from the other ten ships everything
the Spaniards could use in the new country, Cortes ordered those vessels
burned and sunk. Thus, having burned their bridges behind them, they
had no way of escape but to go forward and fight for their fortunes,
their country, and their very lives.

On the march of two hundred miles to Montezuma’s capital, the Spaniards
beat the Tlascalans in battle and made friends with those Indians
against the Aztec tyrant, as the Indians called Emperor Montezuma.

The Indians of the hot countries of America were not so savage as those
who lived in the northern parts of the continent. But they had a
terrible religious rite which they had learned from the Aztecs. They
offered human lives to appease the sun god. Though the Aztecs were a
peaceable people otherwise, they often went to war to take prisoners for
these horrible sacrifices.

Cortes broke into a temple at one place on the way and murdered the
priests who were killing and offering human beings to the sun god. He
set up a cross and invited the people to become Christians or be killed.
In that way he gained many converts from among the frightened Indians.

But with Hernando Cortes this kind of conversion was but a step toward
gaining gold and power for himself and for the king of Spain. After many
terrible battles, in which he massacred the helpless natives by
thousands, he and his few hundred white men, with thousands of Indian
allies, reached the capital of Montezuma. Built of stone on an island in
the midst of a beautiful lake, this civilized city was connected with
the mainland by six long stone bridges or causeways. The splendid
capital, with its palaces and temples of hewn stone, had much of the
beauty of Venice. The city measured twelve miles around. It was then
hundreds of years old, and proved that the ancient Aztecs knew how to
build great stone houses and bridges.


_From the painting by Alonzo Chappel_]

Montezuma came out to meet Cortes, borne on a golden throne on the
shoulders of Aztec nobles and officials. He wore priceless feathers and
his garments were embroidered with many-colored gems. Even his shoes
were gold. His courtiers carried carpets to lay down before him, so that
his sacred feet should not touch the ground. How the eyes of those
greedy Spaniards glittered when they beheld such signs of the great
wealth of Montezuma and his people!

The white men were received with great honor. They were served in golden
goblets with a strange, rich drink which the Aztecs named chocolatl.
This delicious drink is now called chocolate or cocoa. Montezuma told
the Spaniards that their coming had been foretold by the priests for
hundreds of years, ever since the visit of a pure white man, a son of
the Sun who had come down from the skies. This sun-god had told the
Aztecs that he would come again with other sun-gods and reign over the
empire forever.

Cortes pretended to be the long-expected “fair god” of the Aztecs, and
persuaded Montezuma to visit him in the palace assigned to the Spanish
leader and his officers during their stay in the city. The people, who
had no reason to believe in the Spanish soldiers, crowded around the
sedan chair of their king, crying out against him because he was placing
himself in the wicked hands of the strangers. Montezuma told them not to
fear, for their guests were honorable men and he was sure that all would
be well with him. But he soon found that he was not a guest but a
prisoner, betrayed by a pretense of friendship. The Mexicans came again
and attacked the palace which Cortes and his men had now turned into a
fortress. During the months when the Spaniards held Montezuma as a
prisoner a fierce war was waged with the Mexicans.

While Cortes and his army were in such desperate straits, word came that
the governor of Cuba had sent ships and nearly a thousand men to bring
the general and his followers back, to be punished as deserters. Cortes
and a picked band crept out of the capital one dark night, marched
hundreds of miles to the coast, and surprised and defeated the army the
governor had sent. Then he returned, with all those armed men and many
more cannon and horses, to relieve the small garrison he had left to
hold the many thousands of Aztecs at bay, and capture the city of

The Aztecs were frightened when they saw the thousand soldiers Cortes
now brought up against them, for it looked as if the new troops had come
down from the skies to the help of the Spaniards. When the battle was
fiercest, the broken-spirited emperor went out to plead with the natives
to stop their fighting. This made them so angry that they hurled stones
at him and he died of a broken heart. The hatred of his own people was
even harder to bear than Spanish cruelty.

After more fierce fighting, Cortes completed the conquest of Mexico.
Years afterward he returned to his old home in Spain, where he was, for
a time, treated as a great conqueror. But he suffered in later years
from remorse for his treachery and cruelty. When he grew old he was
imprisoned through the influence of Spanish enemies.

One day an old, broken man with shaggy gray locks pushed through the
crowd around King Charles of Spain, now known as Emperor Charles the
Fifth and the most powerful monarch in the world. When the emperor asked
the old man who he was, he replied with indignant pride,

“I am Cortes, the man who has given you more provinces than your
ancestors left you cities.”


Hernando de Soto was the Spanish grandee, or noble, appointed governor
of Cuba and “the Floridas” about twenty-five years after Florida was
discovered. It was Ponce de Leon who landed near the southern point of
North America, on Easter Day, 1513, and named that lovely country
Florida--Land of Flowers. De Leon had heard a beautiful story that far
inland in the heart of the wilderness there was a magic spring that
would make young forever all who drank of its sparkling waters. Though
he searched long and eagerly, Ponce de Leon discovered no Fountain of
Eternal Youth, but he did find endless swamps full of snakes and

De Soto, the new governor of Florida, made up his mind that Ponce de
Leon was a very foolish old man. He ought to have known that there are
no such things nowadays as springs of eternal youth. He, Hernando de
Soto, was going to show his practical good sense by finding solid,
yellow gold--for what good is youth without money to enjoy it with? De
Soto was already a very rich man, for he had served under Pizarro, the
cruel conqueror of Peru, and he had gone home to Spain one of the
wealthiest of its grandees, in those days of wonderful discoveries and
marvelous fortunes. Still Hernando de Soto was not satisfied. He wanted
to be like Pizarro or Cortes--to conquer a great country and capture
from its dusky people gold mines and vast wealth.

Therefore on a bright July day he left Cuba in charge of a high official
and sailed away. He and his knights in armor stood on the decks of their
nine ships, large and small, and waved farewells to the fair ladies who
stood on the castle tower at Havana weeping bitterly, fearing that they
would never see their brave lords and knights again.

Governor de Soto and his fleet came to anchor in the harbor now known as
Tampa Bay. During the night they were aroused by horrible yells and
showers of arrows from the shore. In the morning the Spaniards made a
landing, though the natives fought hard to keep them back. Before night
they met a man who could be of great use to them. He was a member of a
party that, after De Leon’s discovery, had gone to Florida to find gold,
but had been driven back. This young man, Juan Ortiz, had been captured
and kept by the Indians as a slave. A member of De Soto’s scouting party
tells how they met this poor fellow:

     “Towards sunset it pleased God that the soldiers descried at a
     distance some twenty Indians painted with a kind of red ointment
     that they put on when they go to war. They wore many feathers and
     had their bows and arrows. And when the Christians ran at them, the
     Indians fled to a hill, and one of them came forth into the path,
     lifting up his voice and saying in Spanish,

     “‘Sirs, for the love of God, slay not me! For I am a Christian like
     yourselves. I was born in Seville, and my name is Juan Ortiz.’”

The Spanish governor received Ortiz as if he were his own long-lost son.
He made himself very useful because he knew both the Spanish and the
Indian language, and thus could help the Spaniards to talk to the

De Soto now started inland leading a brilliant company of knights and
private soldiers, all in bright armor. Over the shining helmets were
waving plumes, and many a mailed fist held aloft a rich and beautiful
banner. There were hundreds of horsemen and many more men marching on
foot. No more richly dressed men and horses ever started out on a
Crusade to regain possession of the Holy City. But the object of this
Spanish quest was gold. Spanish serving men drove along with this rich
and gay procession four hundred fat hogs. De Soto had decided not to
risk being starved to death as so many explorers had been. And
gamekeepers held in leash, not falcons to catch and kill birds or
beasts, but bloodhounds for hunting Indians.

Instead of mountains of rocks from which gold could be mined, De Soto’s
men found swamps. The weather was sultry and moist. Insects got inside
their knightly armor and stung them to madness, and venomous serpents
coiled around their armored legs. Indians shot poisoned arrows at them
from the bushes. Their coats of mail were so heavy that stout knights
sank deep in the bogs. They advanced very slowly; they wallowed rather
than marched, and their days and nights were spent in weariness and

The fame of the white men went on ahead of them. As De Soto advanced he
found the savages on the warpath ready to drive back the invaders. All
along their line of march they could hear savage threats in the
distance. Juan Ortiz told the Spaniards that the Indians were shouting:

“Keep on, robbers and murderers! In Apalachee you will get what you
deserve. No mercy will be shown to captives, who will be hung on the
highest trees along the trail.”

After the Spaniards had marched through the lands of five different
chiefs, they found a great chieftain who seemed to wish to make friends
with the white men. De Soto gladly accepted, but Juan Ortiz warned him
to look out for treachery. So the white men were secretly prepared; and
when the traitor chief gave the signal to his men to attack, the
Spaniards raised their battle cry, “_Santiago!_” and thousands of the
savages were killed by a few hundred Spaniards. Hundreds of Indians
took refuge in a lake. There five good swimmers would lie side by side,
on the surface like logs, forming a human raft on which the best archer
would stand and shoot back at the white men. The fight lasted all day
and nearly all night. Before morning all the Indians were killed or
captured, put in chains, and divided among the Spaniards as slaves.

The Indians, who at first thought the white men were gods, were now sure
they were devils. The boasted village of Apalachee was only a few straw
huts on a knoll in the center of a great swamp. And the savages who
defended it with bows and arrows were no match for armed Spaniards; the
white men killed nearly all of them.

Cold weather came on, and the Spaniards went into winter quarters. A
beautiful Indian girl-chief in that region came bringing pearls and gems
to the Spanish chieftain. But he demanded gold. When she understood this
she sent men to a far country for the yellow metal he desired so
eagerly. De Soto and his men now rejoiced, for they thought they had
found the object of their long and painful search. When the red
messengers returned the stuff proved not to be gold. It must have been
copper ore or “fool’s gold.”

During the second year of their long march, the Spaniards were led
southward to Mabila, which is believed to have stood on the shore of
Mobile Bay. This was a huge fortress, the greatest native town the white
men had yet seen. Within an immense stockade or wall of tree trunks on
end stood a number of houses each of which would hold hundreds of

Tuscaloosa, the Mabile chief, set a trap for the Spaniards. The battle
which took place here was the worst of all. The


_From the drawing by H. L. Stephens_]

Spaniards lost seventy men and forty horses. Then they set fire to the
Indians’ houses, and the savages perished in the flames.

De Soto’s men were heartily sick of fighting. They also despaired of
finding gold in southern swamps. The governor heard here that they were
plotting to desert him at Mabila and return by boat to Havana. So,
instead of waiting for a ship to come from Cuba, he ordered them to
march farther into the wilderness. As the prospect of finding gold
became more desperate, De Soto seemed to grow more cruel. Indians were
beheaded for small offenses; friendly scouts were tortured and sent back
with insulting messages to their chiefs.

The farther west the Spaniards went the more bitterly the natives fought
and the more successful they were in battle. In one place the Indians
burned nearly all the Spaniards’ hogs, and feasted on roast pork for
many days. After terrible wanderings, the few remaining Spaniards came
to a wide stream at Chickasaw Bluff, a few miles above the present city
of Vicksburg.

Though it is often stated that De Soto discovered the Mississippi, he
was not the first Spaniard to see that wide and muddy stream. The Great
River meant nothing to him. As he wandered up and down its banks he
contracted malarial fever and died miserably. Faithful friends placed
the body in his heavy armor and wrapped that in blankets weighted with
sand. Then, on a dark night, they paddled out into the middle of the
stream and sank it in a hundred feet of water, where the Indians could
not find it and wreak their revenge upon De Soto’s remains. His
followers attempted to go farther west but became discouraged and
descended the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.


Among little Francis Drake’s earliest memories was his home in the hulk
of an old ship near a navy yard in the south of England. His father was
a sort of chaplain to the fleets which kept coming and going there.
Francis heard the wild tales of seafaring men about pirates and
Spaniards, and seafights, and the wonderful wealth in distant lands.

Young Drake’s soul was fired with a fervent longing for life and
adventure on the high seas or the Spanish Main, as the region along the
northern coast of South America was called, where wedges of gold and
silver from Peru and pearls and precious stones were stored in treasure
towns, waiting to be shipped to Spain. But Francis was the eldest of
twelve children and his father was poor. So the lad was bound out till
he was twenty-one to work for a skipper, or owner of a small trading
vessel called a barque. In his work there was plenty of lifting and
lugging to do--moving baskets and bales on and off his master’s boat. He
had to work long hours--often at night. His food was scarce and coarse
and his pay was very small indeed, for his work was thought not worth
much more than his learning the sailor trade.

Sometimes they sailed the barque across the Channel to France or Holland
and brought back a cargo to England; but that was as far as such a small
craft could be trusted to go. Francis often saw great ships riding high
on their majestic way to foreign lands, and he felt sure that those
lucky sailors would have thrilling times with pirates and Spaniards, and
come home loaded down with gold and silver, spices, precious gems, and
thrilling stories. Much as he yearned to go on a long voyage, the
faithful fellow stayed by his master, worked hard, and learned all the
ins and outs of sailing a ship, whether large or small.

Just before Francis was old enough to be his own man the good skipper
died. As he had never married and had no near relatives, he left his
barque to his faithful apprentice. Young Drake continued the business,
running from port to port and market to market for about a year, when he
saw a chance to sail on a longer voyage and engage in a larger
enterprise. He had a cousin, John Hawkins, who was captain of a vessel.
This cousin now had a little fleet of five ships and was about to engage
in the slave trade. As Francis had learned to manage a ship, Captain
Hawkins offered to put the smallest vessel in his fleet under his young
cousin’s command. So Francis sold his barque and became captain of his
cousin’s ship _Judith_.

Now, at the age of twenty-two, Francis Drake was embarking on the voyage
of life with the prospect of great adventures, as he had always dreamed
of doing. Slave trading was not considered wrong four hundred years ago.
The ships would go to Africa and buy or carry off negroes and take them
to some foreign country to work in fields and mines. There the blacks
would be sold for gold, silver, pearls and other things of great value.
Sometimes the owner of a fleet would make a fortune in a single
adventure. Of course, there was a great risk to run. Although England
and Spain were not then at war, the English and Spanish treated each
other as enemies when they met on the high seas.

For this voyage, Captain Hawkins got leave of Queen Elizabeth “to load
negroes in Guinea and sell them in the West Indies.” As a sign that the
hundred and seventy men on Hawkins’s fleet saw nothing wrong in stealing
black men from their homes and selling them to be slaves, here is a
motto which that captain had written to govern his soldiers and sailors:
“Serve God daily, love one another, preserve your victuals, beware of
fire, and keep good company.”

Hawkins and Drake seem to have had no trouble in seizing negroes on the
coast of Africa, or in selling their human cargo in the Spanish ports of
America. But as these slavers were starting back to England they were
caught in a storm and had to go into a harbor in Mexico for safety and
to repair damages. While they were there a Spanish fleet five times as
large as theirs, loaded with gold and pearls, came in also for repairs.
The English agreed to leave the Spaniards without touching their ships
if the Spaniards would let them alone. But the Spanish captain did not
keep his word and there was a fierce battle. Hawkins and Drake did great
damage to the Spanish fleet. They reached England safely with two of
their ships, though they had lost nearly all the treasure they had
received as pay for the slaves.

Captain Drake complained to the queen of the way in which the Spaniards
had deceived them, but she was afraid to go to war with a country which
had such a powerful navy as Spain’s was then. So the bold English
captain took matters into his own hands. He made one voyage after
another, attacking Spanish settlements where gold and silver were
stored, boarding Spanish vessels, killing the men or taking them
prisoners, and bringing their rich cargoes to England. Within a few
years the Spaniards lived in terror of their lives when they heard that
Francis Drake was near, and the king of Spain appealed to Queen
Elizabeth to stop those attacks, calling Drake “the master thief of the
western world.”

On one of these expeditions, Drake landed on the Isthmus of Panama, or
Darien, as it was then called. Some of the natives showed him the way
across to the South Sea, or the Pacific Ocean, as Magellan had named it,
and when they had ascended a mountain about half-way across, Drake
climbed a tall tree from which he gazed upon the broad, unexplored

“May God give me leave and life to sail that sea but once!” murmured
Captain Drake to his companions.

But Queen Elizabeth had heard of the terror of the Spaniards and ordered
him to stop, lest he plunge her kingdom into a Spanish war before
England was ready. So for a while Francis Drake stayed at home and
suffered because he was not allowed to fight with the Spaniards.

About five years after his first sight of the Pacific, Captain Drake
sailed away from England in command of a fleet of five vessels of which
the flagship was the _Golden Hind_. The object of the voyage was a
secret. This was about sixty years after Magellan, the Portuguese
master-sailor, had discovered and passed through the straits named for

It took five months for the fleet to reach the eastern coast of South
America. In due time they found and passed through the Straits of
Magellan; but the ocean beyond was more terrific than Pacific, for a
fierce storm drove the _Golden Hind_ even farther south than Tierra del
Fuego, so that Drake was first to land at Cape Horn, the southern-most
point of South America. At the place where the waters of the Atlantic
meet those of the Pacific, Drake lay down and embraced the sharp point
of rock and exclaimed: “I am the only man in the world who has ever been
so far south!”

All the ships in Drake’s fleet but the _Golden Hind_ had either been
sunk, broken, or scattered. Now at last he had “leave and life to sail
that sea but once”--with one ship alone. The undaunted hero sailed up
the western coast of South America to capture treasure from the gold
mines of Peru. When he came near Valparaiso, some Spaniards in a ship
saw the _Golden Hind_ approach. Never dreaming that an English ship
could be in that ocean, they were astonished to see a gun presented
through a porthole and to hear an English voice calling on them roughly
to surrender. So they stared and cursed under their breath while “the
master thief of the western world” took charge of their ship with sixty
thousand gold pesos, jewels, merchandise, and a stock of wine.

When the people of Valparaiso heard that the dreadful Drake was in their
harbor, they fled from the city. The little English crew entered the
town, and stocked up with bread, bacon, and wine, which they enjoyed to
the full after many months of famishing. In a day or two the _Golden
Hind_ sailed away northward toward Peru.

At another port they waylaid three unguarded barques and captured
fifty-seven bricks of silver, each weighing about twenty pounds. When
they came to the port of Lima, there were seventeen vessels anchored in
the harbor. Not daunted by numbers, Drake sailed right into the harbor,
captured them all with his one ship, and made their men prisoners while
he plundered the whole Spanish fleet. By this time the alarm had been
spread along the coast that Drake was capturing everything in sight, and


_From the drawing by Sir John Gilbert, R.A._]

governor of Peru with two thousand men was waiting for him at Callao.

Drake’s good luck seemed now to desert him. In the presence of that
waiting army the wind died down and the _Golden Hind_ was becalmed,
helpless, and unable to move a yard. The Spanish governor grinned as he
went out in boats from the shore with four hundred soldiers, to take
back all the precious cargo Drake had lately captured. But before the
armed men reached the English ship a gale blew up and Drake sailed away,
laughing and waving farewells to his pursuers.

The cargo from the last ship they captured overloaded the _Golden Hind_
with tons of gold, silver and precious gems. It was useless to overhaul
any more galleons, for they now had all their ship could carry. Their
only thought was to get their treasure home safe and sound. Sailing
across the Pacific, they were sixty-eight days without sighting land.

The _Golden Hind_ began to show the strain of her long voyage; so they
set up a forge on an island in the South Pacific and spent weeks in
making repairs, so that the ship might complete her voyage around the
world. After they had sailed more than a month longer, the ship ran on a
ledge of rocks. Seeing that they could not get her off, they threw six
cannon overboard, then the sugar and spices, then great fortunes in
silver. At last they managed to work her off the ledge into deep water.
Still it was nearly a year before they reached the harbor of Plymouth,

The wildest dreams of the boy Francis Drake were now more than realized.
All England buzzed with his astounding exploits. The city bells rang and
there was a general holiday, with feasting and dancing. Queen Elizabeth
came down from London and dined with the great captain on the _Golden
Hind_. Before she left the deck, the captain knelt before her and she
tapped him on the shoulder with his sword, thus knighting him Sir
Francis Drake.

After this the greatest of the English knights of the high seas made
many voyages, dealing out destruction to Spanish galleons and treasure
stores. He attacked cities and burned fleets--reporting to the queen
that he had just “singed the Spanish king’s beard.” Drake was one of the
four chiefs in command of the English ships that destroyed the Spanish
Armada. No one did more than he to take the sea power away from Spain
and give it to England, and thus make it possible for the English to
begin the settlement of our country.


A gay company was waiting before the old palace at Greenwich, beside the
River Thames below the City of London, on a summer afternoon in the days
of Elizabeth. They were watching for the queen and her intimates to come
down the broad steps in front of the palace.

There had been a shower, and the trees, grass, and bright flowers
glistened in the sunshine.

“Here comes Her Majesty!” exclaimed some in the waiting throng as a
woman in middle life descended the steps, attended by the Earl of
Leicester and other nobles and knights whose names are well-known to
history. The queen was slender, with her light auburn hair dressed up
from her high, pale brow. Her chief mark of beauty was her small,
delicate hands with long, taper fingers, of which she was rather vain.
She was richly dressed in a heavy silk brocade, and a collar of costly
lace stood up from her shoulders behind her slender neck like an open


_From the painting by J. E. Millais_]

The court, after receiving her gracious greetings, followed the queen in
a grand promenade through the park. Elizabeth soon came to a spot where
the recent shower had left a shallow pool of water. A quaint writer
describes this scene:

     “Her Majesty meeting with a plashy place, made some scruples to go
     on, when Raleigh (dressed in the gay and genteel habit of those
     times) presently cast off and spread his new plush cloak on the
     ground, whereon the Queen trod gently over, rewarding him
     afterwards with many suits for his so free and seasonable tender of
     so fair a foot-cloth.”

Walter Raleigh was a handsome young man, six feet tall, with curly brown
hair and beard. He had been a soldier in France and an officer in
Ireland, and had made several voyages of discovery with his gallant
half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert.

It was the fashion--indeed it seemed necessary then--for men at court to
flatter the middle-aged maiden queen, who was foolish enough to believe
that she was as lovely as they told her she was. The Earl of Leicester
once entertained her at Kenilworth Castle, where he had all the clocks
stopped on the moment of her arrival to show that no notice should be
taken of the passing of time during her visit there.

So Queen Bess could hardly help feeling flattered when such a gallant
and good-looking courtier as Raleigh bowed before her and laid his cloak
as a velvet carpet for her to walk upon. Riches, lands, castles, and
even happiness go by favor in royal circles. Some time after this, the
queen made her favorite a knight, with the title Sir before his name.

One day the queen saw Raleigh taking a diamond ring off his finger and
scratching something on a window-pane.

    “Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.”

Then she took from her own slim hand a diamond and cut in the glass
under what he had written, this rhyme:

    “If thy heart fail thee, climb not at all.”

Of course, each reigning favorite of the queen became an object of envy
to the rest of the court. Lord Leicester, who was now slighted by her
Majesty for this new knight, did all he could to injure Raleigh. The
young Earl of Essex did his utmost, later, to turn the queen against Sir
Walter. But for a long time Raleigh remained high in favor.

Raleigh was the first Englishman to attempt to plant a colony in the New
World. By way of compliment to the maiden queen, he named the whole
region which he was trying to settle, Virginia. Returning from an early
voyage, he introduced into Ireland the potato, first found in South
America. He also discovered the pineapple (so named because it is shaped
like a pine cone) and imported it to England. Another thing Raleigh is
said to have introduced into England was tobacco, which the American
Indians raised and “drank,” as they called smoking, in pipes of copper
and clay. Raleigh had a silver pipe made for his own use. One day when
he was smoking in his library, a manservant came in with a pot of ale,
and, thinking his master was on fire, yelled with fright as he poured
the ale over him! It is said that the queen asked Sir Walter to smoke in
her presence; but when she tried to learn to use tobacco in that way,
she stopped because it made her ill.

Sir Walter Raleigh was in active command of a number of English ships in
the fleet which defeated the Invincible Armada, sent against England by
King Philip the Second of Spain. For her favorite’s part in that great
adventure, the queen made him an admiral. Later, he was wounded in a
naval battle near Cadiz, Spain. When asked what had been done for him on
account of his heroic services there, Admiral Raleigh sadly replied,

“What the generals have got I know least. For my own part, I have got a
lame leg and deformed. I have not wanted good words, and exceeding kind
and regardful usage; but I have possession of nought but poverty and

Some one must have told the queen of this speech, for she called Raleigh
back to the palace and appointed him once more her captain of the guard.

When Queen Elizabeth died, James Stuart, king of Scotland, became king.
James’s mind had been poisoned against Raleigh, whose enemies told the
new king that Raleigh plotted to place James’s cousin, Arabella Stuart,
upon the throne of England. So Sir Walter was imprisoned in the Tower of
London. He was confined there for twelve years, though he proved that
the things his enemies had said against him were untrue. One wicked
creature who had accused him confessed that his story about Raleigh was
made up out of spite.

During the long years of his imprisonment, Sir Walter wrote his “History
of the World,” and experimented in a rude chemical laboratory which he
had fixed up in his prison. He also wrote beautiful poems and many
letters to his friends. For some time Lady Raleigh was allowed to visit
him with their son, Carew. The older son, Walter, had been killed in an
encounter while on a voyage with his father, seeking El Dorado, or the
City of Gold, supposed to lie hidden in northern South America.

At last word came from King James that if Raleigh would go and find
those fabled gold mines for his benefit, his high treason would be
forgiven. So the white-haired knight, lame from a wound he had received
in loyal service of England, started out on another voyage of adventure,
to fight the Spaniard to the bitter end.

But Sir Walter was only hoping against hope, for there was no such mine
there, and the expedition proved an utter failure. Instead of escaping
to another country as he might well have done, he went back and bravely
told King James that the “El Dorado” story was only a Spanish lie.

So the disappointed king ordered Raleigh back to prison, and a corrupt
judge pronounced him guilty of high treason. For that crime, the
Raleigh’s beautiful home estate might legally become the property of the
crown, and Raleigh himself condemned to death.

Raleigh made the best even of this terrible experience. He cheered his
wife by telling her he was ready and glad to go where she could come
too--where they could be happy together always.

On his way to execution, Raleigh noticed a man with a bald head and no
hat. Taking off his own cap he tossed it down to the old man with--

“You need this, my friend, more than I do.”

On the scaffold he made a patriotic speech to the assembled crowd. Then
he asked to see the axe. He smiled as he tried the edge of it with his
thumb, and remarked to the executioner who stood before him, dressed, as
was the custom, in black velvet tights, with a black mask over his face,

“This gives me no fear. It is a sharp and fair medicine to cure me of
all my troubles.”


Just as Magellan set out to discover a way through America from the
Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, so Henry Hudson determined to find a
northwest passage from ocean to ocean. The reason for wishing to cross
in the north from one ocean to the other was to save going “round the
Horn,” as sailors call the long voyage around Cape Horn, the southern
point of South America. We now know that there is no northwest passage;
at least, if there is such a waterway it is so near the North Pole that
it is always frozen up. But Henry Hudson, like all sailors in his time,
thought that it would be a simple matter to sail through the open polar
sea and pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific north of North America.

In 1607 this bold British navigator undertook a voyage in the employ, as
he wrote in his journal, of “certain worshipful Merchants of London.”
The object of this voyage was to explore the coast of Greenland and, as
he explained, “for to discover a passage by the North Pole to Japan and
China.” His crew numbered only twelve persons, including one boy, his
own son John. After sailing about for five months, suffering great
hardships, Hudson returned to London without discovering that northern
passage. The next year he started out again, this time sailing
north-east along the coast of Norway, and returned after four months
without finding anything but hardships.

Hudson’s third voyage was made in the employ of the Dutch East India
Company. He sailed from Amsterdam, Holland, with a crew of twenty men
and his young son, on the _Half Moon_. He started out a second time for
a north-east passage, but he found so many difficulties that he turned
his prow westward again, determined to discover the way past North
America. About the 4th of July, 1609, he came to the Grand Banks of
Newfoundland, where he saw a fleet of Frenchmen fishing for cod. After
catching over a hundred of these fish for themselves, the crew of the
_Half Moon_ proceeded to the southwest, as Hudson had heard from his
friend, Captain John Smith, that there was an open way to the Pacific
south of Virginia.

After wandering down the coast and back, the _Half Moon_ entered a broad
bay and anchored beside an island which the natives called Manhattan.
Hudson took possession of this region in the name of his Dutch employers
and named it New Netherland. Here he traded with the Indians and sailed
a little way up the beautiful river which now bears his name. “Here,”
one of his men wrote in the journal, “the land grew very high and
mountainous.” Hudson and his crew were afraid of the Indians. They
captured two red men and tried to hold them as prisoners. They thought
that the other Indians would treat the white men well for fear that
Hudson would kill these two prisoners. But they made their escape
through a porthole and swam to the shore. As the _Half Moon_ got under
way again, the two Indians and their friends stood on the bank,
war-whooping, brandishing tomahawks, and calling for vengeance.

The _Half Moon_ sailed on upstream, and towards night came to anchor
near what is now Catskill Landing. “There,” as it is written in the
journal of the voyage, “we found very loving people and very old men,
where we were well used. Our boat went to fish and caught great store of
very good fish.”

The next morning the fishing was not so good, “the


_From the painting by Warren Sheppard © 1895, by The Woolfall Co._]

savages having been there in their canoes all night.” In the two days
following the ship went only five miles farther up the river. Hudson was
kindly received by an old chief who gave him the best cheer he could.
The natives came flocking on board the ship, bringing grapes, pumpkins,
and beaver and otter skins, which they traded with the sailors for
hatchets, knives, beads, and trinkets.

The ship’s “log” states that they gave some of the savages brandy to
drink. One of these men fell sound asleep, to the astonishment of the
others, who feared he had been poisoned. They took to their canoes and
paddled for shore. After a long powwow a few of the Indians returned
with a quantity of beads. They wanted to pay the white men to lift the
spell which they had put upon the sleeping Indian. The next day the
intoxicated Indian was walking about, well and happy, after his first
taste of “firewater.” This made his friends believe in the white men
again, and the journal goes on to say:

     “So, at three of the clock in the afternoon they came aboard, and
     brought tobacco and more beads, and gave them to our master; and
     made an oration, and showed him all the country round about. Then
     they sent one of their company on land, who presently returned, and
     brought a great platter full of venison dressed by themselves, and
     they caused him to eat with them. Then they made him reverence and
     departed, all save the old men that lay aboard.”

Hudson found that it would not be safe to take the ship beyond the site
of the present city of Albany; so the _Half Moon’s_ prow was turned down
stream. On the way back the sailors were met by the two escaped
prisoners with quite a company of savages. More than a hundred braves
surrounded the ship. One climbed up the rudder and others swarmed over
the sides. The crew fired upon them with their muskets, and with the
cannon, blew holes in their canoes. The “thunder and lightning” from the
guns frightened the Indians so that they fled to the shore and took to
the woods.

Hudson himself had had enough. The _Half Moon_ lifted its anchor and
sailed away from the river whose name is Henry Hudson’s most glorious
monument. Stopping in England on his way to Holland, he was engaged by
the London Company to make another voyage in their behalf the following
year. This time the ship he commanded was the _Discovery_. The course
was past Iceland, around the southern part of Greenland, sighting
Desolation Island, which he charted as in the northern part of Davis
Strait. Through the strait which now bears his name he entered the sea
known for all time as Hudson Bay.

This crew was a bad set of men. One young fellow whom Captain Hudson had
picked up and befriended in London proved the worst of the gang. They
did not face their hardships and sufferings with real courage. When
starvation stared them in the face, every man looked out for himself.
They hoarded food, and robbed and fought one another like wild beasts.
At last they turned against Hudson, saying that he had brought them
there to starve.

The young man to whom Hudson had been kindest of all bound his master.
The rest tied up the six men who were most loyal to their chief, and
Hudson’s son. These eight men were put bound into the ship’s boat. Then
the crew hoisted the sail of the _Discovery_. They towed the little boat
for a time, as if they were loath to do the dastardly deed that they had
planned. But when they reached the open sea they cut the rope, and the
little boat containing Henry Hudson and his son was never again seen by
white men.

The ungrateful young man met a fate he richly deserved. In a fight with
Arctic savages he was killed, and several of the rest were mortally
wounded. Still others died of want before the few remaining deserters
were picked up, starving, by a passing vessel. Their names are
forgotten, and they are only remembered at all because of their wicked
treachery. But the map of North America is a fitting monument to the
heroic but ill-fated adventurer and discoverer, Henry Hudson.


Little is known now of the early life of Robert Cavelier de la Salle,
until, at twenty-five or a little less, he came from Rouen, France, to
Montreal. But of his life in America, in those days when the land was
still a howling wilderness, there is much to tell. He was born a century
and a half after Columbus thought he had found the coast of China; yet
this young Frenchman still believed that China was only a little farther
west than the land Columbus found, for he had but a narrow idea of the
width of America.

The people who were living in Canada, the new country along the River
St. Lawrence, were French. They traded with the Indians and trapped and
skinned wild animals for their fur. Those were the days of Indian scouts
and wigwams, and of war and scalp dances. Many of the French lived like
Indians; they played Indian games--running, shooting, snowshoeing,
lacrosse--and they learned to hunt and hide, and to travel stealthily
through the forests, like real red men.

So the Indians liked the French people better than they liked other
white settlers. The French called their scouts wood-runners. These
brave, shrewd messengers went out among the Indian tribes and learned
their languages and customs. Many of them ran from tribe to tribe,
thousands of miles into the wilderness, and came back to the French
settlement with skins of the mink, beaver, otter, and other animals.
They also had strange stories to tell of meadows, which they called
prairies, as level as a floor and hundreds of miles wide, where there
were no trees except along the rivers. Down through this thousand-mile
prairie region they said there were rivers which flowed together into a
wide stream which the Indians called the Mississippi, or Father of
Waters, which kept on in a mighty flood to the unknown south country.

These stories fired the fervent soul of Robert La Salle. He believed
that mighty river should be used as a water highway to the South Sea--as
the Pacific Ocean was still called; and that if they could sail down to
its mouth they would find an outlet to China like the outlet which the
St. Lawrence gave toward Europe. He was always talking about China and
trying in every way he could to raise money for canoes and food and
Indian guides to find the way to China through the western wilderness.
The French people laughed at his enthusiasm and called some land which
he owned beside the rapids above Montreal _La Chine_--French for China.
That suburb of Montreal is still called Lachine, and the rapids are the
Lachine Rapids.

Not having wealth enough of his own, La Salle went to France to ask the
king to approve his plan, and to provide money for the planting of the
lilies of France on the banks of the Mississippi. La Salle’s practical
way of planting French lilies was to build and maintain forts at
different points through all that great western country. Already Fort
Frontenac had been built near the outlet of Lake Ontario, and Father
Marquette, a heroic French missionary, accompanied by a trader named
Joliet had found the Mississippi and explored that great river for
hundreds of miles. On his return to a French settlement Joliet wrote to
Count Frontenac, governor of Canada, telling of the dangers of his

     “I had escaped every peril of the Indians. I had passed forty-two
     rapids; and was at the point of debarking, full of joy at the
     success of so long and difficult an enterprise, when my canoe
     capsized, after all the danger seemed over. I lost two men and my
     box of papers within sight of the first French settlements, which I
     had left almost two years before. Nothing remains to me but life,
     and the ardent desire to employ it on any service which you may
     please to direct.”

When Robert La Salle had permission from the king and his treasurer, and
had borrowed money of his rich relatives in France, he returned to
Canada and made up a party of brave French and Indian guides, scouts,
and interpreters, who were to fight, if need be, to plant the lilies and
forts of France in the great western valley of the Father of Waters.

After they had paddled through Lake Ontario and carried their canoes
past Niagara Falls and the rapids above the Falls, they built their
sailboat, the _Griffin_. On this ship they sailed through the lakes to
the lower end of Lake Michigan. They paddled their canoes down along the
shore of that lake to the St. Joseph River, where they built Fort St.
Joseph. Canoeing up this river, which flows into Lake Michigan, they
carried their barks across to a little stream which led away from the
lake toward the greater rivers of the south country. On their way they
saw Indians of the Illinois tribes, and smoked the calumet, or peace
pipe, with most of these red men. Some tribes were so savage and
unfriendly that the white travelers were afraid to shoot game for food,
or even to build a fire lest a band of Indians on the warpath should see
it and come to kill and scalp them all. But it seems to have been the
fate of most discoverers to find their bitterest foes among those who
should be their friends. One of La Salle’s own party was caught just in
time to keep him from shooting their leader in the back.

Floating down a small stream the travelers came to the Illinois River.
On their way, among friendly tribes, they shot plenty of game. Once they
captured a huge bison, or buffalo, stuck in a swamp and left behind by
the rest of the herd, and feasted on buffalo meat for many days.

At last they came to a place, now called Lake Peoria, where the Illinois
is several miles wide. They decided that this would be a good place to
build a fort. Seeing smoke, they guessed that it proceeded from the
campfire of an Illinois tribe which was said to be hostile to the
French. Seeing wigwams in the distance La Salle arranged the canoes in
rows, and pulled up to the Indian camp. There was a stir in the Illinois
village. The Indian braves came out and received the white men as
friends, and there were feasts and games and dances in honor of their
French guests.

The Indians said that La Salle and his friends might build a fort there.
Built without delay, the fort was named Fort Breakheart, for Robert La
Salle had been going through some heartrending experiences. One of these
was the loss of the lake boat, the _Griffin_, with all the supplies and

When La Salle explained to the Illinois tribe what he was seeking, the
chief gave him and his men a solemn warning of perilous falls and
precipices, of cannibal tribes and man-eating monsters. He said that if
they should get by those awful dangers, the mouth of the river was an
awful whirlpool which would engulf them, for no man who had ever gone
down into the mouth of the Father of Waters had returned alive. These
stories so frightened the men of the party--both red and white--that
they deserted their leader. They preferred to endure the ills they had
and risk their lives among savages known to be cruel, rather than fly to
ills they knew not of.


_From the painting in the Versailles Collection_]

So La Salle had to go hundreds of miles back to Canada for more men,
funds, and supplies, before he could venture to make the rest of the
trip. After many months’ delay he started out again from Montreal.

There were now fifty-four in his party--twenty-three Frenchmen, eighteen
braves, ten squaws to do the cooking, and three papooses. When they got
back to Fort Breakheart, La Salle gave up building a ship, as he had
decided to make the voyage down the Mississippi in canoes. There was
plenty of game along the river, and in its muddy waters they caught
catfish six feet long and weighing about two hundred pounds. They saw
wild beans along the banks with stalks “as big as your arm,” reminding
one of the tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” They had varied experiences
with the different tribes of Indians--Chickasaw, Arkansas,
Natchez--along their course, and found that the “man-eating monsters”
described by the Illinois chief were only alligators. When at last they
reached the mouth of the Father of Waters, there was no whirlpool to
swallow them down; but the river calmly divided into three mouths, each
leading into a broad expanse of salt water which, they learned, was not
the Pacific Ocean but the Gulf of Mexico. On a hill near by, La Salle
raised a wooden pillar on which he nailed the coat-of-arms bearing the
lilies of France, and buried near it a leaden plate on which letters
were engraved to tell future comers that the whole country drained by
the Mississippi belonged to France.

At last, the patient worker and traveler had triumphed. He went back to
Paris and reported all he had done in the name of his beloved king and
country. Robert Cavelier de la Salle had done a greater thing than he
realized. One hundred and twenty years later, Napoleon, Emperor of the
French, sold to the United States the territory of Louisiana, claimed by
La Salle, which is now half of the great republic. This was an
achievement which meant more than the discovery of an outlet to China.
Although a boat may be sailed through long rivers and short canals from
the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Mississippi, this fact
is hardly thought worthy of mention in these days. A far greater benefit
to America and the whole world was achieved by Robert La Salle, because
he enabled the French government to give to the United States her broad
empire of the west.


Little Davie Livingstone was a queer, quiet Scotch laddie. His father
was a high-minded man, but he was so poor that he had to take Davie out
of the village school when he was ten. In those days, the early part of
the nineteenth century, children began to work when they were very
young. So Mr. Livingstone sent the lad to work, with other boys of his
own age, as a piecer in a cotton mill. David worked from six in the
morning till eight at night, stopping only for lunch.

With his first week’s wages the ten-year-old boy bought a Latin grammar.
He was so eager to learn that he went to night school from eight to ten
at night. He studied till midnight, and even later, when his mother did
not take his books away and send him to bed. His great desire was to be
a missionary. So he took up other languages besides Latin, and such
studies as would fit him for missionary work. As soon as he was able, he
went to London and


_From a photograph taken in 1867_]

elsewhere to study, working part of the time, to earn enough to pay his

On a visit to London Livingstone met Doctor Moffat, a leading missionary
in South Africa, and soon decided to work in Africa himself. He had
prepared himself to help men’s bodies as well as their souls. So he went
first as a medical missionary.

Doctor Livingstone’s first mission station, or center, was seven hundred
miles farther north than Doctor Moffat’s, in a region which was
dangerous because of savage men, wild beasts, and, worst of all, an
unhealthful climate. In this lonely place the new missionary began to
tell the ignorant black people about the one true God. He cured them of
their illnesses, and showed them how to dig canals and build dams to
water their little farms. He also taught them to till these farms in a
better way than they had known.

In the region there were many lions. One day, when the missionary was
out with a band of natives, he met one of the big beasts. Livingstone
and one of his black men shot at the lion, which sprang up with a roar
and bounded into the bushes, through the circle the men had made around
him. Then two more lions appeared. Before Livingstone could reload his
gun, he saw one great brute with bristling mane and angry eyes springing
upon him. Its weight bore him to the earth. The lion seized his shoulder
with jaws strong enough to carry off an ox. When some one asked him
afterward what he thought just then, Doctor Livingstone replied, “I was
wondering what part of me he would eat first.” In a letter the doctor
described this adventure:

“With his terrible roar sounding in my ear, the lion shook me as a dog
does a rat; but, strange to say, I felt neither pain nor fear, though
fully conscious of all that passed. As I turned to escape the weight of
his paw, which was resting on my head, I saw his eyes turn toward
Mebalwe [one of the natives], who was about to fire, but his gun missed
fire in both barrels. Instantly the lion quitted his hold of me and
leaped on Mebalwe, biting him badly in the thigh; then he dashed at
another man who was about to attack him with his spear. But at that
moment the previous shots the lion had received took effect and he
dropped to the ground dead.”

Livingstone was bitten in eleven places, his arm was badly mangled, and
bones were broken in several places. It was many months before he was
well. The broken arm was always weak, and he bore the marks of that big
lion’s teeth to his dying day.

While recovering from his wounds, Livingstone made the long journey to
the home of Doctor Moffat, and married that gentleman’s daughter Mary.
Miss Moffat was born in South Africa, so that she knew the language and
ways of the people. This made her a true helpmeet to her husband in his
noble work.

Livingstone called himself “Jack-of-all-trades.” “I read in journeying,”
he wrote, “but little at home. Building, gardening, cobbling, doctoring,
tinkering, carpentering, gun-mending, farriering (horse-doctoring and
shoeing), wagon-mending, preaching, schooling, lecturing in divinity to
a class of three, fill up my time.”

When Livingstone reached the country of one of the black tribes,
thousands of miles to the north, all the people of the region, numbering
six or seven thousand, poured out to see the white man. The missionary
was greatly relieved to find that the chief of this region, who was only
eighteen years old, was disposed to be friendly. The white man and his
party were well cared for and given plenty of good food, of which they
were badly in need. They were nearly starved, because unfriendly natives
on the way had refused to sell them food. In regions where the Arab
slave-traders had robbed, killed, and carried away and sold many of the
natives, the people were afraid of Livingstone, for they thought all
white men must be robbers and murderers. But in reality the brave Scotch
missionary was a great worker against the slave-trade, writing and
saying all he could to make people in Europe and England know how wicked
it was.

Although Livingstone journeyed about so much, travel was very hard and
dangerous. He and his faithful men often had to go up to their necks in
swamps where the hot, moist air was filled with poisonous insects, and
to cross rivers in great peril from the crocodile and hippopotamus. Not
only did Livingstone have numerous hairbreadth escapes from lions,
elephants, and other wild beasts, but he was many times stricken with
the terrible African fever. Because of his wonderful recoveries the
natives thought his life was charmed, and they were afraid he was a
wizard who worked cures by magic from the devil. But the good doctor
soon won their friendship by his great kindness to them.

Livingstone traveled thousands of miles by water, in clumsy boats. He
wrote to a friend, describing the life on one of these river trips:

“We rise a little before five, when it is daylight. While I am dressing,
the coffee is made, and after I have filled my little coffeepot, I leave
the rest for my companions, who eagerly swallow the refreshing drink.
Meanwhile the servants are busy loading the boats, which done, we
embark. The next two hours, while the men row swiftly onward, are the
pleasantest of the whole day. About eleven we land and eat our luncheon,
which consists of what is left from supper the evening before, or of
zwieback with honey and water.

“After resting for an hour we enter the boats again, and take our places
under an umbrella. The heat is oppressive, and as I am still weak from
my recent attack of fever, I cannot go ashore and hunt. The rowers, who
are exposed to the sun without cover, drip with sweat and begin to tire
by afternoon. We often reach a suitable spot to spend the night two
hours before sundown, and as we are all tired, we gladly make a halt.

“As soon as we are ashore the men cut grass for my bed and poles for my
tent. The bed is then made, the boxes with our supplies piled on each
side of it, and lastly the tent is stretched above. Four or five paces
in front of it a huge fire is lighted, beside which each man has his own
place, according to the rank he occupies. Two of the Makololos are
always at my right and left, both in eating and sleeping, while Machana,
my head boatman, lies down before the door of my tent as soon as I go to

“A space beyond the fire is staked out for the cattle, in the shape of a
horseshoe. The evening meal consists of coffee and zwieback, or of bread
made from maize or Kaffir corn, unless we are lucky enough to shoot
something to supply us with a pot of meat. We go to bed soon after, and
silence descends upon the camp. On moonlight nights the fire is allowed
to go out.”

While Livingstone was exploring to the northward, he discovered the
great cataracts of the Zambesi, which are even higher and wider than
Niagara. He named them Victoria Falls in honor of the queen of England.
He also found the lakes from which the Zambesi flows into the eastern
sea and the Congo into the western, on opposite sides of the continent
of Africa. The two rivers are like two long watersnakes with their tiny
tails close together, but their wide-open mouths thousands of miles

Doctor Livingstone had sent his wife to England for the benefit of her
health and to educate their children. The people there were greatly
pleased with the results of Livingstone’s labors in Africa, for all of
the country discovered by him would belong to Great Britain. So the
British government gave him its support and paid him a small salary for
the work he was doing for science and for the world. By this time other
missionaries had come to help save the Dark Continent. The wives of two
of these were coming out from England with Mrs. Livingstone when she
returned. There was great joy on both sides--that of the three husbands
in the heart of Africa, and that of the three wives on their way to join
them. But Livingstone and both his friends were seized with African
fever, and, when their wives came, the two men missionaries had just
died. Even Mrs. Livingstone, although she had been brought up in Africa,
took the disease and died. The two missionaries’ wives soon returned to
England, but Doctor Livingstone could not even then be persuaded to
leave the needy people to go to England to rest awhile and see his now
motherless children.

Besides all these labors, and besides the exact reports he made on the
animal life, flowers, trees, rocks, and geography of that new land, he
wrote books about his adventures and experiences which had an immense
sale. This made him a man of considerable wealth; but, after providing
well for his family and for the education of his children, he spent the
greater part of his fortune--ten to thirty thousand dollars at a
time--for the benefit of his black “children.”

When Livingstone did go to England, it was only for a short visit. While
absent from Africa he seemed always to hear those millions of poor,
ignorant people calling him. Once he purchased the parts of a little
steamer and brought it back to Africa. The boat was put together and was
run on some of the lakes and rivers he had discovered. The vessel proved
to be a poor affair, which ran very slowly and was always breaking down.
But the natives were astonished, and would have worshipped it if he had
let them. As time went on, larger and better boats were sent out to him.
Once he had to discharge his engineer, but he ran the steamboat himself.
He found it easier, of course, to make his journeys with the help of
steam, though he had to go to many places where the boats could not be
taken. A writer has described a trip Livingstone and his friends made in

     “It was now the African mid winter and the nights were very cold.
     The tsetse flies were more troublesome than ever. Wild beasts
     became more numerous every day in this uninhabited region. Herds of
     elephants, buffaloes, zebras, and many kinds of antelopes were
     frequently seen, which allowed the head of the caravan to approach
     within two hundred feet of them. The wild boars, of which many were
     seen, were very shy; while, on the contrary, troops of monkeys
     hastily retreated into the jungle at the sight of the travelers,
     chattering angrily about the coming of the white man. Guinea fowl,
     doves, ducks, and geese were also plentiful.

     “With the darkness a new and even more numerous world of living
     creatures awoke. Lions and hyenas roared and howled about the camp.
     Unknown birds sang sweetly or screeched as if in fear, and all
     sorts of strange insect noises were heard.

     “One day Livingstone narrowly escaped losing his life from the
     attack of a two-horned rhinoceros. This beast was strangely quick,
     in spite of its great bulk, and very savage, being one of the few
     animals which will attack a man without being first attacked.

     “While making their way through a dense thicket Livingstone had
     become separated from the others, and was stooping to gather some
     specimen, when a black rhinoceros made a furious charge at him;
     but, strange to say, it suddenly stopped short, giving him time to
     escape. In his flight, his watch and chain became entangled in a
     branch and, stopping to loosen it, he saw the beast still standing
     in the same spot, as if held back by an unseen hand. On reaching a
     safe distance he uttered a shout of warning, thinking some of the
     party might be near; at this the rhinoceros rushed away, grunting

While Dr. Livingstone was in England he was welcomed with highest
honors. He was invited to visit Queen Victoria and her husband, the
Prince Consort. But so strong was the missionary spirit in him that he
preferred talking to cotton spinners and the people in the slums of the
East End of London. He was quite glad to go back to Africa and escape
from the medals, degrees, and other great honors showered upon him.

After his return to the Dark Continent for the last time, he went
farther than ever into the interior in an attempt to discover, or at
least to prove, where the great river Nile begins. When he had nearly
reached the goal, he was driven back by hostile tribes which had
recently suffered from attacks of slave traders. At this time the Arabs
who carried Livingstone’s letters down to the coast to be sent to
England destroyed them all, for fear he had written to England about the
slave outrages they had committed. For this reason nothing was heard of
him for years. It was thought that he had been murdered by savages or
had died of African fever.

At last the publisher of _The New York Herald_ sent Henry M. Stanley,
the newspaper’s foreign correspondent, with all the money he needed, to
find Dr. Livingstone; or, if he were no longer living, to get any
records that could be found. After a long search the American newspaper
man heard of a white man hundreds of miles farther in the interior.
Trace and trail grew more and more distinct and at last the American
company, with the American flag flying, marched up to Livingstone’s camp
on the shore of one of the great lakes he had discovered. Of this
meeting Stanley wrote:

     “As I advanced slowly toward him I noticed he looked pale and
     weary. He had a gray beard, and wore a cap with a faded gold band
     on it. I could have run to him and embraced him, only I did not
     know how he would receive me; so instead I walked up to him and
     said, ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?’

     “‘Yes,’ said he with a kind smile. We both grasped hands.

     “‘I thank God, Doctor, that I have been permitted to see you!’ said
     I, and he answered, ‘I feel thankful that I am here to welcome

     “I found myself gazing at the wonderful man at whose side I now sat
     in the heart of Africa. Every hair of his head, every line of his
     face, his pallor and the wearied look he wore, all told me what I
     had longed so much to know.”

The two explorers spent months together talking over their discoveries
and experiences. Stanley had much to tell of what was going on in the
world outside. Nearly all Livingstone’s store of supplies had been
stolen, but Stanley had prepared for that. He insisted on providing the
old missionary with everything he might need. Of Stanley’s tenderness
Livingstone wrote to his daughter:

     “He laid all he had at my service, divided his clothes into two
     heaps, and pressed one upon me, then his medicine chest, his goods
     and everything he had, with true American generosity. To coax my
     appetite he often cooked dainty dishes for me with his own hands.
     The tears often started to my eyes at some fresh proof of his

As Dr. Livingstone was again recovering from a very severe attack of
fever Stanley begged him to go home to England with him for a year of
rest, but the aged missionary shook his head sadly. Stanley returned to
the outside world.

About a year after this, David Livingstone was found kneeling beside his
bed in a hut built of bamboo poles and coarse grass. He had died while
praying. Millions of natives in the heart of the Dark Continent were
heartbroken when they heard of the medical missionary’s death. They
spent months in wailing and mourning, for they had lost their “White

Two devoted black men carried the body of their beloved master hundreds
of miles through the swamps and jungles of Africa, and placed it on
shipboard, to be taken back to England. That ship was met at the English
seaport by a special train heavily draped in mourning, which carried the
honored remains up to London. Great Britain had strong reasons for
honoring David Livingstone. He had added a million square miles to the
known world, and put great lakes, rivers, mountains, and countries on
the map of Africa.

There was a magnificent funeral in Westminster Abbey, where the great
missionary and explorer was buried beside the sacred ashes of kings,
queens, princes, and statesmen. Thus he received the highest honors
England can bestow upon her most illustrious dead. On the black marble
slab which marks David Livingstone’s final resting place are the last
words he is known to have written. They are about the cruel slave trade:

     “All I can say in my solitude is, may Heaven’s rich blessing come
     down on every one--American, English, Turk--who will help to heal
     this open sore of the world.”


For hundreds of years after Columbus, explorers sought the Northwest
Passage through the frozen seas of North America. It was not until 1853
that such a channel was actually traced. Even then it was so filled with
ice that no sailor, however brave and skilful, could make his way
through. Long ago the search for the Northwest Passage gave place to the
great desire and purpose to reach the North Pole.

Of course, there is no pole standing out of the northern half of the
world. The axis, or axle, of the earth is only an unseen line which
scientists have thought of as if it ran straight through the center of
the earth. The place in the middle of the top of the globe where this
line, if there were one, would come out, is named the North Pole, and
the same place at the opposite end is called the South Pole.

It is easy to see how many boys could have a great longing to run away
to sea and seek their fortunes in foreign lands; but it is hard to
understand why any young man should wish to undertake the awful
hardships of bitter cold and blizzards, with the risk of falling down
ice-cracks hundreds of feet deep, and of starving or freezing to death,
in trying to get to the Pole, especially when there is nothing but snow
and ice to see there if he ever could find the place.

Yet, in his youth, Robert E. Peary had a strange desire to visit the
Inland Ice region of Greenland. Robert was a Pennsylvania lad whose
father had died when he was three. He grew up to care for his widowed
mother. He went to an eastern college and was graduated second in a
class of fifty-one. Then he passed the rigid tests for Engineer in the
United States Navy. Like young Robert E. Lee, Robert E. Peary was first
assigned to engineering duty on the eastern coast, in Florida. Then he
was sent as one of a number of experts in science to survey a route
through Nicaragua, as many people believed that a ship canal should run
through Nicaragua rather than across the narrow isthmus where the Panama
Canal was dug afterward.


_©1909, Doubleday, Page & Co._]

So it was not until he was thirty years old that Robert E. Peary was
able to realize the dream of his boyhood and explore the bleak and
frozen plains even beyond “Greenland’s icy mountains.” Five years later
he started out to go farther north than any white man had even been. His
first attempt to reach the Pole was in 1891, when he took with him his
young wife. This was the first time a white woman ever had made the
journey into the unknown regions of the “Great White North.” With the
Pearys in this dangerous undertaking went Dr. Frederick A. Cook, a
surgeon, and Matthew Henson, the Pearys’ colored helper. On board the
_Kite_--the special ship for this journey--the leader’s leg was broken
by the sudden slipping of the rudder. This accident kept them from
advancing farther north that fall. Through the constant care of his
wife, the faithful Matthew, and Dr. Cook, Lieutenant Peary was restored
to health and strength by the following spring.

Peary knew how to make the best of everything. The half year he was laid
up by this accident was that of the Arctic night. For six months in the
year--spring and summer--the sun in the Arctic regions can be seen
moving in a complete circle up in the sky. In other parts of the world,
what is called the sunset is just the turning away of one side of the
earth from the sun; and sunrise is the whirling round of that side into
the sunlight again. What is called night is the time when the sun is
shining on the other side of the earth. But the sun moves north in
spring and summer; so that during those seasons in the Arctic region it
never sets, and there is daylight all the time. In the fall and winter
the sun moves south, and then in the Arctic region it never rises. So
there is night for six months.

While nursing his broken leg during this Arctic night, Lieutenant Peary
was by no means idle. He sent the _Kite_ thousands of miles back to the
United States. He made friends with the Eskimos, his little fat,
red-faced northern neighbors who lived in _igloos_, as they called their
small dome-shaped houses built of blocks of ice. He learned all he could
of their language and their ways. He found out how to hunt the
reindeer, the musk-ox, and other big game of the north, and studied and
trained the Eskimo dogs, which would draw his sledges the thousands of
miles he must yet go to reach the Pole. At last, when his leg was
entirely well, it was early spring, when the sun could be seen rising,
shining a little while in the middle of the day, and setting just above
the frozen plains and icebergs to the south of them.

In May, when the sun was circling a little higher in the sky for several
hours every day, Peary and a small party harnessed sixteen dogs to four
sledges and started off on a camping trip towards the Farthest North.
With one companion who was used to the life in cold northern countries,
he climbed a mountain of ice nearly a mile high. These two heroes kept
on alone, across bleak regions broken up by ice-cracks, called
_crevasses_, hundreds of feet deep, over slippery hummocks or
ice-mounds, through deep snowdrifts and fogs, in constant danger of
precipices and pitfalls. On the Fourth of July, they reached a body of
water which they named for the day, Independence Bay. Here they climbed
an icy height which they called Navy Cliff. From here they beheld a
splendid expanse of clear country stretching still farther away toward
the north.

It was now the Arctic midsummer. They were surprised to find flowers
blooming in sheltered nooks and to hear the hum of bees and flies. There
were birds also--snow-bunting and sandpiper--flitting and flying about.
On the little patches of bright green that showed through the snows of
ages, musk-oxen--which look like both sheep and buffalo--were grazing.
Peary shot five of these to supply meat for men and dogs on the return
journey of five hundred miles or more.

The way back was beset with even greater dangers than before. While they
were on their way north they had known that the shifting and breaking up
of fields of ice might cut them off forever from their friends and
supplies. So every few hundred miles they had “cached,” or buried, tools
and provisions, and marked the places so that they could find them again
when a little food might save them from starving. In spite of such
precautions, many exploring parties found only hardship, starvation, and
death in the cruel ice. But Peary and his party succeeded in making
their return to the Inland Ice fields, the region of young Peary’s
boyish dreams, through violent wind-storms, drifting snows, and freezing
fogs. Even the hardy little Arctic dogs were half famished and worn out.
Finding the _Kite_, with other explorers, waiting for them there, the
Peary party sailed down to the United States, meeting mountain-like
icebergs, and shooting walruses and polar bears by the way.

Lieutenant Peary at once went to work preparing for a second attempt at
the discovery of the North Pole. Mrs. Peary again accompanied her
husband into the Arctic regions, and the twelfth of September, 1893, the
first white baby ever seen in that far northern country was born. This
was the Pearys’ little blue-eyed daughter, “bundled deep in soft, warm
Arctic furs, and wrapped in the Stars and Stripes.” During the first
half year of her life, Marie Snowbaby Peary--as they named her--never
saw the sunlight.

Before the sun began to show above the southern horizon again, Papa
Peary started off on another twelve-hundred mile ice journey. This time
he took with him eight men, twelve sledges, and ninety-two Eskimo dogs.
But some of the dogs were strangers to the rest, and those from
different places fought one another. As it is hard enough to separate
only two fighting dogs, it was impossible to stop the wholesale
dog-fight that went on constantly and kept the party from going forward.
The cold became even more intense; the temperature went down to sixty
degrees below zero. Conditions were so much worse than on the previous
trip that Peary decided to _cache_ all the provisions and other things
they did not need to preserve life, and returned to the place where he
had left his wife and baby. The feet of the men, even of the Eskimos of
the party, were badly frozen, and when they returned to their base of
supplies, out of the ninety-two dogs, there were only twenty-six left.

But the heroic explorer would not give up. He and his little family
stayed north of the Arctic Circle while he made discoveries and proved
the truth of the statements of those who had been there before him.
Little Snowbaby also made her observations. She saw Eskimo children
living in their small round hives of ice, and heard them teasing their
mothers for whale blubber and other kinds of grease, just as the
children at home plead for candy or ice-cream. An Eskimo child likes a
tallow candle much better than a stick of candy, and will chew the
cotton candle-wick until there is no more grease left in it.

Lieutenant Peary made eight trips to the Arctic regions. Sometimes he
would advance farther north than any explorer before him; then, when he
was almost within reach of the Pole, everything would fail and he would
have to retreat and go back thousands of miles to the United States and
begin to raise a fortune for the next attempt. At one time his ship, on
the way to the north, would be caught in the ice and crushed like an
egg-shell. On another occasion the boat would be frozen up in miles and
miles of ice, so that he and his men would have to wait for spring to
come and thaw it out of the clutches of the terrible white giant, Jack

It needed the patience of Job to endure and overcome the trials which
came thick and fast upon him. One summer the wealthy friend died who had
promised him all the money he needed to reach the Pole; but a newspaper
owner in London, England, offered his yacht, the _Windward_, for the
next polar trip. This time the great Arctic explorer froze both his feet
and had to have eight toes cut off. The cold was awful--from fifty-one
to sixty-three degrees below zero. After many weeks of acute suffering,
he was removed to a less severe climate.

In 1902, for the seventh time, Peary came within a few degrees of the
Pole, and finding that he could not go farther, was forced to return to
the United States. In the first gloom of this defeat he wrote:

     “The game is off. My dream of sixteen years is ended. I have made
     the best fight I knew. I believe it has been a good one. But I
     cannot do the impossible.”

But this hopeless state of mind did not last long. Peary spent six more
years in preparing for one last desperate attempt. On the sixth of July,
1908, he left New York City for his eighth voyage to the Arctic, on his
latest ship, the _Roosevelt_--determined to reach the Pole or die in the
attempt. This time, when he came within a few degrees of his goal, he
decided to leave all behind but the faithful Matthew and one Eskimo,
while he made the last dash. When he came within a few miles of the spot
he had sought for nearly twenty years, he was prostrated by overwork
and excitement. After a short rest he went on and stood, on the sixth of
April, 1909, in the place called the North Pole. There was nothing to
see--not a living thing but themselves and their dogs. But he was now on
the top of the world. There was no North, no East, no West--only South.
The only North he could see was up in the cold, gray sky. Directly
overhead was the North Star, toward which the Pole points.

Peary stayed in that desolate neighborhood thirty hours, taking
observations and “planting” five United States flags to show to future
comers that America had been first to discover and take possession of
the North Pole. One flag he mounted on a pole which he set in the top of
a hummock of ice, as if the North Pole were a flag pole standing up out
of the surface of the earth. This was called “nailing the American flag
to the North Pole.” Then he wrote this postal card to mail to his wife:

“90 NORTH LATITUDE, April 7th, 1909.

     “MY DEAR JO:--I have won out at last. Have been here a day. I start
     for home and you in an hour. Love to the kidsies.




Stories of the strange adventures of Columbus, John Cabot, and other
explorers made a restless lad of little motherless John Smith, of
Willoughby, England. When he was fourteen he had made ready to run away
from home; but then his father died and left him the owner of an estate,
in the charge of guardians. Those mean men cared more for the property
than for the boy who was to have it when he was old enough. So they gave
him only a little pocket-money and hired him out by law as apprentice to
a tradesman, who treated the well-to-do lad as if he were a slave.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH]

In less than a year young John Smith ran away in good earnest, leaving
master, guardians, and property behind. He had attended two free schools
and had gained what would be equal to a common-school education in these
days. He went right to Paris, because France and Spain were at war just
then; but peace was declared almost as soon as he was able to enlist.

After several hard experiences, young Smith engaged in the service of
the duke of a little kingdom which was fighting the Turks. In one of his
books, John Smith describes his adventures in these desperate battles.
He tells of killing three Turks single-handed in mortal combat, and of
how his princely master designed for him a coat-of-arms having in it
three Turks’ heads.

But ill fortune soon befell young Captain John Smith. In a battle with
the Turks he was wounded and left for dead, and became the property of a
Turkish chief, who, as Smith goes on to tell, “sent him forthwith to
Constantinople to his fair mistress for a slave. By twenty and twenty,
chained by the necks, they marched in file to this great city where they
were delivered to their several masters.”

The princess, to whom Captain John Smith was sent, was too young to own
any kind of property. Afraid her mother would sell her white slave
before she was of age, she sent him to her brother, a distant chief,
asking him to be kind to her prize. But the brother treated his sister’s
slave so brutally that Smith killed him and escaped in his master’s
clothes to Russia. Here he found people who were unfriendly enough to
the Turks to file off the iron collar which he still wore. On his way
back to England, Smith found himself on the ship of a friendly French
pirate, where he had to fight for his life against two Spanish
men-of-war. The French ship succeeded in escaping from the Spaniards
into a port on the northern coast of Africa. From here Smith took ship
for London and entered the service of the Virginia Company, whose
business it was to carry on the settling of America, begun by Sir Walter

The Virginia Company secured a charter from King James and in December,
1606, sent more than a hundred men to America. It was a strange company
for such an enterprise. There were four carpenters, one blacksmith, one
bricklayer, one mason, one tailor, one sailor, one drummer, two
surgeons, two “boys,” or men-servants, and only twelve laborers. But
there were forty-eight “gentlemen,” of whom some were ne’er-do-wells and
others downright criminals, who could not work because they did not know
how to do anything useful. Even before they reached Virginia, quarrels
broke out among members of the party and Captain John Smith was falsely
accused of conspiracy and condemned to be hanged. He escaped, however,
and afterward forgave the conspirators.

The king had sent out the colony with sealed orders, which were not to
be opened until they reached Virginia. When the orders were opened, John
Smith was found to be among the seven men appointed as council for the
colony. But the men highest in control were unfit to command such an
enterprise. They spent seventeen days searching for a good site for a
settlement. The place which they finally chose was a long distance from
the coast, was hard for a sailing vessel to reach, and lay in an
unhealthy place between the shallow river and a bad swamp. The river was
named the James and the settlement Jamestown, both in honor of the king.

As for Captain John Smith, the others of the party were jealous of him.
They thought he knew too much, because he saw how little they knew. Most
of the party expected to get rich quick, and they did not care how they
did it, so long as it was at the expense of some one else. So, instead
of fishing for oysters, planting gardens, and clearing farms, they went
hunting for gold and making trouble with the Indians. They did discover
something they thought was gold, but Know-it-all Smith told them the
yellow stuff was only “fool’s gold,” which is the common name for iron
pyrites. Instead of following Smith’s advice and working all together to
prepare for the future, they became so spiteful that they would have
imprisoned him if he had not been too shrewd for them.

The Indians grew more and more hostile. The condition of the settlers
was fast becoming hopeless. Smith himself wrote of their condition:

     “What toil we had, with so small a power (twelve laborers out of
     more than one hundred men) to guard our workmen a-days, watch all
     night, resist our enemies, and effect our business--to re-lade the
     ships, cut down trees and prepare the ground to plant our corn.”

The settlers’ provisions were disappearing faster than they expected.
One of them wrote at this time of the sad state of affairs: “Our drink
was water; our lodgings, castles in the air.” The foolish president of
the council was soon displaced. The man elected in his stead was said to
be “of weak judgment in dangers, and less industry in peace”; but he had
the sense to leave the management of affairs to John Smith.

That capable captain now took hold with a firm hand. He fought the
Indians till they gained a wholesome respect for him and the English.
Then he played on their curiosity and superstition so as to get them to
bring Indian corn, venison, and wild turkeys to feed the white men. He
set the idlers to work at chopping down trees and the like.

When he had things going right in Jamestown, the tireless captain went
out exploring the wilderness. Captured by a hostile tribe of Indians, he
showed them his compass and told them a story which made them afraid to
kill him. So they took him, as a great prize, to the Powhatan, or head
chief of all the tribes of that part of the country.

The Powhatan and his chiefs knew too well that this was the mighty chief
who had thus far kept the white men out of their clutches. They held a
solemn powwow and


condemned the troublesome captain to death. They laid his head on a
stone and a chief was lifting his war-club to dash out the prisoner’s
brains, when Pocahontas, the Powhatan’s beautiful daughter, rushed out
and threw herself between the death-club and Smith’s head. She pleaded
so earnestly, threatening to kill herself if Smith was harmed, that her
father gave orders to stop the execution, and to keep the white man
prisoner. With the help of the Indian girl, he soon made his escape.

Pocahontas proved a true friend to the English. More than once she
warned Captain Smith of the deep-laid plans of the Virginia tribes to
murder all the white settlers at a stroke. She became a convert to
Christianity, was christened Rebecca, and was confirmed in the Church of
England. Then a young settler, John Rolfe, married her and took her to
England, where she was received in the homes of lords and ladies, and
entertained by the queen as Lady Rebecca and the Princess Pocahontas.
Some of the “First Families of Virginia” proudly prove that this
beautiful and devoted Indian girl was one of their ancestors.

Not long after his escape from the Indians, John Smith was seriously
injured by the explosion of some gunpowder, and was compelled to return
to England for treatment. His work in Virginia was done. But the
restless soul of the old Captain could not let him be content to remain
at ease in England. He made other voyages of exploration along the coast
to the north of the Dutch island of Manhattan. From his careful
observations he drew a good map of that northern country and gave it the
name New England. So besides starting the greatest southern colony of
North America, he prepared the way for the Pilgrims to settle at


In Samuel de Champlain’s earlier life he was both a soldier and a sailor
of France. He was a great adventurer, who came to visit the new country
in America claimed for France by Jacques Cartier about seventy-five
years before. He was a personal friend of Henry of Navarre, who became
Henry the Fourth, king of France.

Champlain was a great lover of king and country. He said to the high
officials at court: “Spain has her ‘New Spain,’ and England her ‘New
England’; why should not we have our ‘New France’ in America?” The king
and the rich nobles thought it was a good idea, and one leading man at
the French court sent Champlain to carry out his own project. The brave
explorer started a settlement on the coast near the wide mouth of the
St. Lawrence, but on account of the wars France was engaged in, this
wealthy Frenchman found that he could no longer spare money to carry on
the enterprise, and Champlain had to give up the settlement he had so
nicely started and go back to France.

But Samuel de Champlain was a plucky soul whom nothing could frighten or
discourage. He had a romantic nature, to which the wild life in America
appealed. It was not long before he was back in the New World, sailing
up the St. Lawrence. There he saw a high, steep cliff at a narrow point
in the wide river, and decided that it would be a good place to build a
fort and make a settlement.

He started both at once--placing the fort on the head of the cliff and
building several houses at its foot. Champlain, who was quite an artist,
made a drawing of this small group of houses and named the little
settlement Quebec. On account of its high cliff above a narrow place in
the river, Quebec is called “the Gibraltar of America.” Gibraltar is
the name of a high rock on the coast of Spain guarding the entrance to
the Mediterranean.

In this narrow settlement Champlain planted a garden with as many roses
and other flowers as he could. He had a kind heart and a pleasant face,
and soon became as great a friend to the Indians as William Penn in
Philadelphia. Champlain encouraged his French friends to treat the men
of the forest as their brothers. As he was a devout Catholic, he did
everything he could to make the savages Christians, sending good men to
live among them and teach the natives how to live right. He not only
tried to help pious men to convert the Indians, but he went himself to
trade and hunt with the neighboring tribes and make them his friends.
More than this, he sent young Frenchmen to live among the different
tribes and learn the language and the ways of the Indians. These hardy
young heroes were called “wood runners,” and became the first white
guides and scouts in the wilds of America.

It was necessary for Champlain to make several voyages home to Old
France. On one of these visits “the Father of New France,” now forty
years of age, married Hélène, the young daughter of a wealthy citizen of
Paris. But, instead of taking her to share his rough life in the wilds
of the St. Lawrence, he sent her back to school to fit herself better to
aid him in teaching the Indians when she was old enough to come with him
to the New World.

When he went back to Quebec he went farther up the St. Lawrence to an
island which Cartier had called Mount Royal, and started another little
settlement, which he named Montreal. Here he made everything as
beautiful as he could, planting roses and other flowers, as he had done
at Quebec. The island in the river opposite this new settlement he named
Sainte Hélène, for the child wife he had left behind in Old France. This
island, now known by the English name, St. Helen’s, is a park and
pleasure ground for the people of Montreal.

“The White Governor” found before long that the Indians around Quebec
were not satisfied with a friendship which showed itself in teaching
them to be Christians and in trading beads for the furs the savages had
gathered by shooting and trapping in the forests. It seems strange that
tall, stern red men should be so childish as to care much for beads, but
it must be remembered that the Indians used beads of special colors in
weaving bands and strings of wampum which they used for money. Their own
beads were very hard to make from shells; so they were as eager for
glass beads of certain colors as white men are for the smallest grains
of gold.

The Indians were less trouble to Champlain and his friends than the
English--and other Frenchmen, too--who tried to turn the Indians against
him and his settlers. Other ships than those of Champlain’s company
landed every now and then at points along the St. Lawrence to trade with
the Indians. These white men would try to make the savages unfriendly to
Champlain, so that they would trade only with the newcomers, somewhat as
a business house to-day tries to take customers away from other dealers.

The simple men of the forest could not understand these tricks of trade
of the wily white men. Champlain, in one of the stories of his
adventures, relates that the Indians came to tell him about some fur
traders from other parts of France.

     “They tell us that they would come and fight for us against our
     enemies if we liked. What do you think of it? Are they telling the

     “No, they are not,” said Governor Champlain earnestly. “I know well
     enough what they want. They tell you this only to get your trade.”

     “The white governor is right!” shouted the Indians. “Those men are
     women; they only want to make war on our beavers!”

By this they meant that the other Frenchmen were willing to promise
anything in order to get all the beaver and other fur skins the Indians
might have to sell. As the Indian squaws were not allowed to go into
battle, the savages showed their contempt for white men by calling them

Champlain knew that the Indians would not accept him as a real friend
unless he would fight for them against their enemies--the cruel and
powerful Iroquois, who lived south of the St. Lawrence. The tribes of
the Iroquois were the most daring and warlike of the red men and were
feared by all their neighbors.

The Indians looked upon “the White Governor” and his men as workers of
miracles with their “fire-sticks,” as they called the rude guns which
the French called arquebuses. In one of his accounts Champlain describes
the first of a number of battles he helped the Indians to fight against
the Iroquois. After describing how his red friends met the enemy at
night and agreed to fight next morning, he continued:

     “Meanwhile the whole night was spent in dancing and singing on both
     sides, with many insults and other taunts, such as how little
     courage _we_ had, how great _their_ power against our arms, and
     when day broke we would find this out to our ruin. Our Indians did
     not fail in talking back, telling them they would witness the
     effect of arms they had never seen before.

     “After each side had sung and danced and threatened enough, day
     broke. My [white] companions and I were always concealed for fear
     the enemy would see us preparing our arms the best we could, being
     separated, each in one of the canoes belonging to the St. Lawrence

     “After being equipped with light armor, we took each an arquebus
     and went ashore. I saw the enemy leave their barricade. They were
     about two hundred men, of strong and robust appearance, who were
     coming slowly toward us with a gravity and assurance which greatly
     pleased me, led on by three chiefs. Ours were marching in similar
     order, and told me that those who wore three tall feathers were the
     chiefs, and that I must do all I could to kill them.

     “The moment we landed, our Indians began calling me with a loud
     voice, and making way, placed me marching at their head--about
     twenty paces in advance--until I was within thirty paces of the
     enemy. The moment they [the Iroquois] saw me, they halted, gazing
     at me and I at them. When I saw them preparing to shoot at us I
     raised my arquebus, and aiming directly at one of the three chiefs,
     two of them fell to the ground by this shot, and one of their
     companions received a wound of which he died afterwards. I had put
     four balls in my arquebus. Our Indians, on witnessing a shot so
     favorable for them, set up such tremendous shouts that thunder
     could not have been heard, and yet there was no lack of arrows on
     either side.

     “The Iroquois were greatly astonished, seeing two men killed at
     once, though they were protected by arrow-proof armor, woven of
     cotton thread and wood, this frightened them very much. While I was
     reloading one of my [white] men in the bush fired a shot which so
     astonished them anew that they lost courage, took to flight, and
     abandoned the field and their fort, hiding in the depths of the
     forest where I followed them and killed some others. Our savages
     also killed several of them, and took ten or twelve prisoners. The
     rest carried off the wounded. Fifteen or sixteen of ours were
     wounded by arrows; they were promptly cured.

     “After gaining the victory, they amused themselves plundering
     Indian corn and meal from the enemy, also the arms which the
     Iroquois had thrown away in order to run faster. After feasting,
     dancing and singing, we returned three hours later with the

     “I named the place where this battle was fought _Lake Champlain._”

“The White Governor” went on to tell about the devilish delight his
friends, the St. Lawrence Indians, took in torturing their Iroquois
prisoners. The braves, and even the squaws, would try to think of
something to do that would make the dying Indians’ sufferings still more
terrible. If the victim cried out or uttered the least sound, the
torturing Indians would laugh and dance about for joy. Champlain begged
his friends to stop this fiendish sport, but they could not understand
why. The Iroquois would have tortured them just as wickedly if they had
won. So “the White Governor” shot several of the suffering victims to
put them out of their agonies. After that, when the St. Lawrence Indians
gained a victory, Champlain would demand as many prisoners as he could
for his share. These he would not allow to be tortured, and, in time,
would contrive to let them escape.

By being friends with the neighboring tribes in war, Champlain made
bitter enemies of the Iroquois who lived in New York, so that in the
later wars between France and England those powerful tribes fought with
the English against the French, and in the end helped to place New
France in the hands of the British.

Champlain’s sympathetic and romantic nature made him a welcome visitor,
whether in the wigwams of the savages or in the palaces of the kings and
noblemen of France. He did all he could to help the people of Old France
and New to understand one another. He sent a young Frenchman up into the
country some distance north of Montreal to live among the savages. After
this youth had spent the winter in the north, he came back to the St.
Lawrence with glowing stories about the finding of a “salt sea” much
farther north. He was taken to France and became the lion of the day
there, for explorers from all lands were still looking for a northwest
passage across America to “the South Sea” and China. Just about this
time Henry Hudson had discovered the Hudson River and was lost in Hudson
Bay in his search for this passage; but this was not yet known in

So Champlain, with his strong desire to explore and to prove a great
benefit to mankind, arranged to command an expedition into the far
northern wilds and make his young friend’s boasted discovery of actual
use to Old and New France. With the young explorer and an Indian guide,
the Governor and a company of men reached the lake and island belonging
to the tribe with which the young Frenchman had stayed. In talking with
those Indians about the great discovery, Champlain spoke with pride of
his young friend’s energy and success. They laughed and told him he had
been fooled, for that young man had never gone farther north than the
island on which they were standing!

This was a bitter experience for the good “White Governor.”

The Indians, who had told him before that there was no salt sea anywhere
near that region, taunted Champlain with,

“Now who were your friends? Don’t you see that he wanted to cause your
death? Give him to us and we promise you he shall never lie again.”

Champlain knew too well that with the savages’ hatred of a liar and
their cruel modes of punishment they would have tortured that young
Frenchman to death. Of course, the kind-hearted governor could not
permit this. But he did make the fellow stand before all the Frenchmen
at Montreal and confess that he had been guilty of lying and committing


a great fraud. After that, as Champlain himself expressed it, “We left
him to the mercy of God.”

At last, Sieur de Champlain brought his young wife to Canada. Her
brother, who had been a settler on the St. Lawrence for years, exclaimed
when he met her, “You are a brave girl to come here!” The Indians,
always glad to welcome the great white chief, were now doubly glad to
see his young “squaw”! They greatly admired “the little white witch,” as
they called her, and would have worshiped her if she had let them. She
wore a small mirror--the fashion in Paris then--as a sort of charm. When
she allowed the Indians to see their painted faces in this, they said,
“She carries each one of us in her heart!” She used her good influence
over her dusky admirers to persuade them to be baptized. Of a very
devout spirit, Madame de Champlain returned to France after a short stay
in the western wilds, and entered a convent in Paris.

Once more England and France were at war, and King Charles the First
looked with jealous eyes upon the fair islands and settlements of the
St. Lawrence. English warships appeared before Quebec, claimed
possession, and threatened to take that place. “The White Governor”
wrote back, with French courtesy, to the impudent enemy:

     “We will await you from hour to hour and shall endeavor if possible
     to dispute the claim which you have made over these places. Upon
     which I remain, Sir, your affectionate servant,”

The English commander did not dare dispute the claim then, but he came
again with a powerful force and “the White Governor” was forced to yield
and go back to France. But at the end of the war, England returned
Canada to France, and the Father of New France came again to Quebec,
his capital, amid the rejoicings of all the people, both French and
Indians, and even of “our friends our enemies,” the English. Here he
lived like another French knight, “without fear and without reproach,”
until he received the call of the King of kings in the Far Country, on
Christmas Day, 1635.


Little is known of the life of Myles Standish before he sailed from
Holland among the hundred and two passengers of the _Mayflower_ on its
way across the stormy ocean to the wilderness of America. The brave men
and women who had been driven out of England, on account of their
religion, by foolish King James, had made their escape to Holland.
Although the Dutch who lived in that country were very kind to them, the
English people decided to go to America where they could live and
worship as they wished and teach their children their own language and
ways of living; for, though their king was silly and mean, they still
loved dear Old England.

The _Mayflower_ was a poor, clumsy, leaky craft about the size of a
coastwise schooner, which would not be allowed to risk a voyage across
the ocean to-day. The Pilgrims, as the _Mayflower_ passengers were
called, did not know just where to land. The part of America to which
they had chosen to go was called Virginia, but that was the name of the
country all along the eastern coast, from the South nearly to New York
harbor, which had been claimed by the Dutch only a few years before. The
Pilgrims had a vague idea of landing about halfway between New York and
Jamestown, which had been settled some years before by John Smith and a
company of men from England. But storm after storm drove the _Mayflower_
farther and farther northward, till the Pilgrims found themselves just
within the long, protecting arm of land called Cape Cod.

They were very tired of being huddled together and pitched about in the
little ship. Many of them were ill from the close quarters, as well as
from terrible seasickness. During the long voyage they had had nothing
but mouldy bread and salt pork to eat, for there were no canned meats,
vegetables, and fruits in the fall of 1620, when the Pilgrims made their
long voyage across the sea.

The first thing they did was to go ashore near the end of Cape Cod,
where the Pilgrim Mothers did their much-needed washing. The Cape was a
long, low, sandy arm of land extending far out to sea. The ship’s
carpenter worked to finish the shallop, or small sailboat, which he had
started to build during the voyage. It was intended for the purpose of
sailing in shallow water to find a good place to live, where there were
trees for shelter and springs of water and, if possible, a good, safe
harbor in which the _Mayflower_ and all coming ships might stay at

The Pilgrims held a meeting in the cabin of the _Mayflower_ and signed a
paper which they called “The Compact,” by which they agreed to live and
be governed. They elected John Carver, the oldest man in the company,
governor. Although they are called “The Pilgrim Fathers,” they were
nearly all young or middle-aged men. Elder Brewster, the minister, was
about forty years old, and Myles Standish was thirty-six. William
Bradford, who wrote the story of the settlement in his diary, and John
Alden, the cooper, were still younger.

The Pilgrims chose twenty of their number to go along the shore of Cape
Cod toward the mainland to find a place to build their cabins and spend
the winter, for it was late in November and very cold. While waiting for
the shallop to be finished, this Pilgrim “Lookout Committee,” led by
Myles Standish, started out afoot on their great search, not knowing
what might happen to them. Captain John Smith had explored that part of
the country after he lived two years at Jamestown, Virginia; he had made
a map of all that region which he named New England. The men went ashore
from the _Mayflower_ and had walked along the Cape a mile or more when
they saw a party of Indians with a dog coming toward them. When the red
men saw the white strangers they hid in the bushes and whistled to their
dog, which followed them out of sight. Myles Standish and his men tried
to catch up with the Indians and speak with them, but they were afraid
of the strangers who wore helmets and armor over their bodies and
thighs, and carried “fire-sticks,” as the Indians called the guns.

The Pilgrims followed the natives about ten miles without seeing them
again. Then they built a hasty camp of logs and brush in which eighteen
men slept while three stood on guard outside. Nothing happened that
night to disturb them.

Next day they saw wild ducks and deer and discovered a kettle and some
fresh mounds of earth, “which,” William Bradford wrote in his diary, “we
digged up, and found a fine, great, new basket, full of very fair corn
of this year, with some six and thirty goodly ears of corn, some
yellow, and some red, and other mixed with blue. The basket was round
and narrow at the top. It held about three or four bushels, which was as
much as two of us could lift up from the ground, and was very handsomely
and cunningly made. But, whilst we were busy about all these things, we
were in suspense what to do with it, and at length, after much talk, we
concluded to take as much corn as we could carry away with us; and when
our shallop came, if we could find any of the people, we would satisfy
[pay] them for their corn. The rest we buried again; for we were so
laden with armor that we could carry no more.”


_From the painting by G. H. Boughton_]

As they walked slowly on, noting all the strange things they met, they
found a deer trap. One of their number wrote down afterward just what
happened at this point: “As we wandered we came to a tree where a young
sapling was bowed [bent] down over a bow and some acorns strewed
underneath. Stephen Hopkins said it had been to catch some deer. So as
we were looking at it, William Bradford, being in the rear, when he came
and went about, it gave a sudden jerk up and he was caught by the leg.
It [the deer trap] was a pretty device, made with a rope of their own
making and having a noose as well made as any ropemaker in England can
make.” Even those solemn Pilgrims had to laugh to see Brother Bradford
with one foot up in the air and his head on the ground!

The men returned to the ship and reported what they had seen. When the
shallop was completed they sailed away in that, and went farther on
little voyages of discovery; but Cape Cod is a long peninsula, and they
went back and forth several times between the land and their ship, which
remained at anchor near the end of the Cape.

One time they came back from their site-hunting and found that another
Pilgrim had been born in the _Mayflower_. This baby (William White was
its father) was the first white child born in this part of America. They
named the baby Peregrinus, the Latin word for Pilgrim; so he was called
Peregrine White.

There was a mischievous small boy in the _Mayflower_--“that Billington
boy,” the Pilgrims called him--who found some gunpowder and proceeded to
make trails of it on the deck, then touched a live coal to it and made
it flash up. So young Francis Billington made the first fireworks in New
England. He also shot off a musket. There were two kinds of musket; one
called the matchlock, lighted by punk or “slow match” (there were no
friction matches for two hundred years after that); and the other kind
called the snaphance, or flintlock. While playing with fire, “that
Billington boy” flashed a line of powder which ran back to the kegs of
gunpowder and came very near blowing up the _Mayflower_ and all on

Another time the home hunters had had a hard day, and, being tired and
hungry, made their camp and went to rest after placing men on guard.
Bradford wrote in his journal:

     “About midnight we heard a great and hideous cry; and our sentinels
     called, ‘Arm, arm!’ So we bestirred ourselves, and shot off a
     couple of muskets, and the noise ceased. We concluded that it was a
     company of wolves or other wild beasts, for one told us he had
     heard such a noise in Newfoundland.

     “About five in the morning we began to be stirring; and two or
     three [men who] doubted whether their pieces would go off or no,
     made trial of them, and shot them off, but thought nothing at all.
     After prayer we prepared ourselves for breakfast, and for a
     journey; and, it being now twilight in the morning, it was thought
     meet [best] to carry the things down to the shallop.

     “Anon, all of a sudden, we heard a great and strange cry, which we
     knew to be the same voices, though they varied their notes. One of
     the company came running in and cried, ‘They are men! Indians!
     Indians!’ and withal their arrows came flying amongst us.

     “Our men ran with all speed to recover their arms, as by the good
     Providence of God they did. In the meantime, Captain Myles
     Standish, having a snaphance ready, made a shot; and after him
     another. After they two had shot, other two of us were ready, but
     he wished us not to shoot till we could take aim, for we knew not
     what need we should have; and there were four only of us which had
     their arms there ready.

     “Our care was no less for the shallop; but we hoped all the rest
     would defend it. We called unto them to know how it was with them;
     and they answered, ‘Well, well!’ everyone; and, ‘Be of good
     courage!’ We heard three of their pieces go off; and the rest
     called for a firebrand to light their [punk] matches [for their
     matchlock muskets]. One took a log of the fire on his shoulder, and
     went and carried it unto them. The cry of our enemies was dreadful,
     especially when our men ran out to recover their arms. Their note
     was after this manner, ‘Woach! woach! ha ha hach woach!’”

This “hideous and great cry” was the first Indian warwhoop the Pilgrims
ever heard. It must have curdled the blood of those quaint old Puritans
who had never heard a modern college yell! The white men’s matchlocks
and snaphances seem to have scared the Indians even more than their
warwhoop and arrows--tipped with brass, buckhorn, and eagles’
claws--frightened the white men. So the red men ran away and lived to
fight another day.

The Indians who first fought with the Pilgrims proved to be the Nausets,
an unfriendly tribe living on Cape Cod. The white men named this place,
“The First Encounter.” The Lookout Committee went on after this until
they reached the main land and soon found the site they had been
searching for so long. Bradford’s diary contains the record:

     “On the Sabbath day we rested; and on Monday we sounded the harbor,
     and found it a very good harbor for shipping. We marched also into
     the land and found divers cornfields and little running brooks--a
     place very good for situation. So we returned to our ship
     [_Mayflower_] again with good news to the rest of our people, which
     did much comfort their hearts.”

Though Bradford did not then think it worth mentioning, there was a big
boulder in the edge of the harbor upon which these men sprang out of the
shallop. This happened on the 21st of December, 1620, and is known as
the Landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. December 21st is
celebrated now, more than three hundred years after that event, as
Forefathers’ Day. This place was marked Plymouth on Captain John Smith’s
map of New England, and the Pilgrims, who had sailed from Plymouth,
England, were glad to give their new-found settlement that name.

Four days after this landing, the _Mayflower_ sailed from the end of
Cape Cod and came to anchor in Plymouth harbor. The first thing the
Pilgrims did was to build a common house of logs to be used later as a
sort of town hall. Then they erected a square cabin on top of the hill
for both church and fort. On its flat roof they mounted three brass
cannon. Christmas Day came while they were building their first cabin,
but they worked all that day, for they were too strict even to celebrate
Christmas. While they were building their village of log cabins with
thatched roofs, some of them stayed in their quarters on the

It seemed a long time before they saw Indians again. But one day while
the grave and reverend Pilgrims were holding a council in their common
house, a tall red man came stalking up to their door, saying: “Welcome,
Yankees! Welcome, Yankees!” “Yankees” was the nearest the Indian could
pronounce “Englishmen”! From this, the people of New England are still
called Yankees.

This Indian’s name was Samoset. He had learned a little English from
some fishermen farther north on the New England coast. He came again to
Plymouth bringing another red man named Squanto, who, years before, had
been carried away with other savages by an English captain and sold into
slavery. Squanto had been taken to London and learned to speak English.
He was glad to stay with the Pilgrims and talk for them to the tribes
around Plymouth, for while he was away a slave in foreign lands, his own
people had been taken with a dreadful disease called a plague, and when
he came back they had all died, and poor Squanto was left alone in the

The Pilgrims elected Myles Standish, who was the only soldier in the
company, their captain. But about the first work Captain Standish had to
do was to take care of the sick, and he did so, according to the poet
Longfellow, “With a hand as gentle as woman’s.”

In the spring there were only fifty-one of the Pilgrims--just one-half
the number that had landed on Plymouth Rock. Among the first to die was
Rose Standish, the Captain’s beautiful wife. Although they were not
attacked that winter, they knew the Indians were lurking about, so the
Pilgrims did not make mounds of the graves in their poor little burial
ground on the hill for fear the savages would see how few white men were
left, and attack them while they were all so ill. At one time only two
men were well enough to nurse all the rest and bury them as fast as they

In April the men were well enough to plant corn and do other work. It
was so hot that Governor Carver, the oldest of all the Pilgrims, was
prostrated by the heat and died. William Bradford was elected Governor
in his place.

When the Pilgrims had erected cabins enough to house all who were left
of them, they built a stockade, or wall of upright logs, around the
settlement. In April, 1621, the _Mayflower_ started back to England.
Much as they had suffered through the long, dreary winter, none of the
Pilgrims wished to return home on their little ship. That plucky band of
men and women had come to America to stay.

They marched to their church-fort on the hill every Sunday, led by their
governor, minister, and captain. The men carried their muskets to be
ready to defend themselves if the Indians tried to surprise them while
at their worship. The Pilgrims believed in watching and fighting as well
as praying.

After a long time, Massasoit, the great Indian chief, came with a
company of his braves to see the Pilgrims, and the white men and the red
made a treaty of peace and friendship. Afterwards the chief of a more
distant tribe sent an Indian runner to Plymouth with a bundle of arrows
tied together with a rattlesnake skin. Captain Standish promptly filled
the snake skin with powder and bullets and sent it back. This frightened
the Indians, for they thought the white “medicine man” had the power to
send a plague among them which would make them all sicken and die.

After a time the people of Plymouth were comfortable and at peace with
their Indian neighbors. Then a lad known as “that Billington boy”
disobeyed the rules by going outside the limits and was lost. The
settlers were alarmed, and Captain Standish took a small company of men
and made a search for the lad. They found him with the unfriendly
Nausets, the Indians they had fought with at “The First Encounter.”

The Indians around Plymouth laughed at the little red-headed white
captain because he was so small. He was so quick-tempered that they
named him “Little-Pot-That-Soon-Boils-Over.” Once when a tall, wiry
Indian north of Plymouth insulted him, the fiery little captain had all
he could do to control himself. Standish and three other white men had
gone up to that place for the purpose of punishing the Indians who were
threatening the whole colony with death. Watching his chance, the white
captain sprang upon the big Indian chief who had sneered at him,
snatched the savage’s own knife, and killed him with a single stab. The
other white men dispatched their Indians. The account of this brave deed
of the Captain of Plymouth was reported among the Indians far and near,
and the Pilgrims had long years of peace because the red men had gained
a wholesome respect for Myles Standish, whose name they now changed to


John Winthrop can not be called a boy’s hero; yet he was a hero, and his
life was strange and interesting. He was a son of a good Puritan family
in England. When a young man he met Oliver Cromwell, who became Lord
Protector of England. He was acquainted with John Milton, the blind
Puritan poet who wrote “Paradise Lost,” one of the greatest poems in the
English language. John Winthrop had also to transact certain business
with Cromwell’s cousin, John Hampden, the great English patriot who
opposed King Charles when he sought to impose taxation upon the people
without their consent.


Young Winthrop was married the first time when he was seventeen, and his
son Henry was born when the young father was eighteen. In 1629, the
father decided to go to America where he could worship God as he thought
best. He and four hundred men and women set sail from England in a
fleet of small ships, intending to join the settlement at Salem, started
a year before. One of these ships was the _Mayflower_, in which the
Pilgrims of Plymouth had sailed nine years before.

On their second morning out from England they spied eight ships coming
behind them. The captain of the _Arabella_, the ship on which Winthrop
sailed (as he wrote in the logbook or journal of the voyage),

     “caused the gun-room and gun-deck to be cleared. After noon we
     still saw those eight ships to stand towards us. Having more wind
     than we, they came up apace. We all prepared to fight with them,
     and took down some cabins which were in the way of our ordnance
     [cannon] and out of every ship were thrown such bed matters as were
     subject to take fire. We drew forth our men and armed them with
     muskets and other weapons and instruments for fireworks. To try it
     our captain shot a ball of wildfire fastened to an arrow, out of a
     crossbow, which burnt in the water a good time.

     “The women and children were removed into the lower deck that they
     might be out of danger. All things being thus fitted, we went to
     prayer upon the upper deck. It was good to see how cheerful all the
     company appeared; not a woman or child showed fear.

     “It was now about one of the clock, and the fleet seemed to be
     within a league of us; therefore our captain, because he would show
     he was not afraid of them, and that he might see what was to be
     done before night should overtake us, tacked about and stood to
     meet them. And when they came near, we perceived them to be our

     “So every ship (as they met) saluted each other and the musketeers
     discharged their small shot; and so, God be praised, our fear and
     danger was turned into mirth and friendly entertainment. Our danger
     being thus over, we espied two boats fishing in the Channel. So
     every one of our four ships manned out a skiff, and we bought of
     them great store of excellent fresh fish of divers sorts.”

The voyagers were seventy-six days--nearly eleven weeks--crossing the
Atlantic. They had passed through storms, but when, early in June, they
sighted America, Winthrop wrote in his journal:

     “We had now fair sunshine weather, and so pleasant a sweet air as
     did much refresh us; and there came a smell off shore like the
     smell of a garden. There came a wild pigeon into our ship, and
     another small land bird.”

In four days the _Arabella_ was anchored in Salem Harbor. The poor
little settlement welcomed some of the newcomers with “a good supper of
venison pasty. In the meantime most of our people went on shore upon the
land of Cape Ann, which lay very near us, and gathered store of fine

“Salem, where we landed, pleased us not,” wrote one of the men on board
to a countess in England. Winthrop, who had been elected governor of the
colony they were to found, looked about for a better place to settle,
and decided on a site they called Charlestown, on the Charles River.
Although they had left England because of their obstinate and foolish
king, Charles the First, they named rivers and towns for him, and one of
their earliest churches was called King’s Chapel. When no one was
allowed to think for himself, or even to wear such clothes as he saw
fit, it would have been regarded as almost a crime to speak a word
against the king, no matter how much he deserved a bad name.

When Governor Winthrop came back from Charlestown to Salem, he wrote in
his journal: “We went to Massachusetts to find out a place for our
sitting down.” By “Massachusetts” he meant only that part of the country
along Boston Harbor, about fifteen miles south of Salem. Just after his
return, his eldest son Henry, who had come over on another ship, arrived
at Salem. That very day the young man started with several of the ship’s
officers to visit some Indian wigwams. In his journal the father
describes what happened:

     “They saw, on the other side of the river, a small canoe. He would
     have had one of the company swim over and fetch it, rather than
     walk several miles on foot, it being very hot weather, but none of
     the party could swim but himself; and so he plunged in, and, as he
     was swimming over, was taken with a cramp a few rods from shore,
     and drowned.”

“My son Henry! My son Henry!” wrote the bereaved governor to his wife in
England. “Ah, poor child. Yet it grieves me much more for my dear
daughter. Yet for all these things (I praise my God) I am not

Henry, the son of John Winthrop’s first wife, had been married in
England. He had come without his bride to the western wilds to build a
little home before sending for her.

Heartsore but not dismayed, Governor Winthrop took his followers and
tried to make the settlement at Charlestown, now part of the great city
of Boston. But their sufferings were not over. As at Jamestown, on the
James River in Virginia about twenty-five years before this, the
settlers were ill with malaria and some of them died.

Then a strange old hermit, who had lived about twenty years alone on a
tree-topped hill on the other side of the river, came to see the new
governor, and invited him to come over the river and build his town on
the hill which had been named Three-mount, Tri-mountain, or Tremont. So
Winthrop and his people moved once more and named the new place for the
city of Boston in England. The old hermit proved to be William
Blackstone, a minister from old England. On the Three Mounts he tilled a
small farm which extended down into the now historic Boston Common. He
had brought from England his library, and spent his time reading,
farming, and raising apples. He had left England because he would not
worship according to the legal forms there. But he did not like the way
the Puritans wished him to worship, either. So he moved away from Boston
as soon as he could dispose of his house and other real estate.

Blackstone also had been kind to the Indians. His influence did much
toward keeping the red tribes friendly with the white settlers of
Boston. On the highest of the three mounts was placed a sort of
lighthouse or beacon which sailors could see far down the harbor. This
gave the name of Beacon Hill to that part of Boston. On this hill the
State House has since been erected. This building has a great dome
covered with gold-leaf which glistens in the sun and can be seen for
many miles around. “All roads lead” to the dome of the State House in
Boston, as the spokes of a wheel come together in the hub. Because of
this fact, a humorous writer gave Boston the title of “The Hub of the

Though the Indians gave the early settlers very little trouble, the
wolves which howled around the settlement were alarming, and sometimes
dangerous to the little children. Sometimes a bear would come ambling
into “Boston Town.” The people’s cows were pastured on the Common. This
made some people who wished to make fun of Boston claim that the narrow,
crooked streets of that city were laid out by the cows, as they wandered
down from the Common to drink at a certain spring.

Sometimes the town suffered from disease and famine. One day, when
Governor Winthrop had divided his last cupful of cornmeal with a
starving beggar, he appointed a day of fasting and prayer to God for
food. On the very day set for this fast, a ship arrived from England
with provisions, and the people had a feast instead. Another time when
the people did not have enough to eat, an Indian chief named
Chickataubot came and presented the governor with a great quantity of
corn. As with the Indians, so with the white settlers at first, it was
either feast or famine.

The people of Boston were kinder to the Indians than to the white men
who failed to agree with them in religion. They banished the Baptists
and hanged the Quakers. Besides Roger Williams, they drove out a good
woman named Anne Hutchinson, because she argued too well against some of
their beliefs. This gifted woman and her family were murdered and
scalped by Indians in the log cabin in which they lived after they were
banished from Boston.

Governor Winthrop finally sent for his wife and his other children. One
of his sons became governor of Connecticut. John Winthrop was twelve
times elected governor of Massachusetts. More than once he was chosen
deputy governor. He was good to the poor and unfortunate. In this he was
far in advance of his time. It was said that he kept his private purse
open for the public. Once, when he found that a man was stealing wood
from his pile, he laughed and said he would stop that. He did so by
inviting the man to come in the daytime and help himself to all the wood
he needed. But the man never came again.

Cotton Mather, one of the greatest of Boston preachers, said of Governor
Winthrop that he was--

“The terror of the wicked, and delight of the sober, the envy of the
many, but the hope of those who had any hopeful design in hand for the
common good of the nation.”


When the Pilgrim Fathers left Europe in the clumsy little ship, the
_Mayflower_, they came to America to have freedom to think and act as
they believed right in matters of religion. Many men in England who
wished to have their own religious beliefs were called Puritans because
they wished to purify the Church of England from things which they
thought were wrong. King James of England had announced that they must
all worship in the ways of the Church of England or he would “harry them
out of the land.”

Puritans and other people who would not conform to the service of the
Church of England were called Nonconformists. The group of
Nonconformists who went away from their own country in 1620, to come as
strangers to America, were called the Pilgrims. They came to America in
the _Mayflower_, and landed on a big boulder in the edge of the harbor
at a place they named Plymouth. Companies of Puritans sailed from
England a few years later and landed on the shores of Massachusetts Bay,
some at Salem, and some at a place they named Boston, for another town
in England. John Winthrop was the leader of this last company, and was
made governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The Puritans soon found that there were some of their number who did not
believe just as they did. It seems strange now that those who had come
from England just to find a place where they could worship God in the
way they saw fit could not let others do the same. They came to do what
their consciences told them was right, but they would not let others
think that any other way was right.

So when members of the Society of Friends, called Quakers, came,
dressing differently and thinking it wrong to fight and treat the
Indians cruelly, the Puritans sent them away. If the Quakers came back
to Boston after being sent away, they were hanged on the Common. A man
who did not think what his neighbors believed was likely to have a hard
time of it. For any one to dress differently from others was considered
a great offense. It was the same all over the world, especially in
England. The first man who tried to wear a silk hat in London was chased
through the streets. The mob battered his hat and tore his clothes, and
he barely escaped with his life.

Therefore, when Roger Williams, a bright young minister from England,
came to preach in the first church of Boston, the people soon found that
he believed in a different form of baptism from theirs, and some were
angry enough to wish to kill him for being a Baptist. So he left Boston
and went to live at Plymouth. The preaching of those days was not so
much about doing good and living by the Golden Rule as about certain
fixed beliefs. This often led to angry arguments, and some good people
became very violent. On this account Roger Williams soon had to leave
Plymouth. Then he went to Salem and built a little church there which is
still standing, about three hundred years old. Here the young minister
kept on preaching what the leaders thought were strange and wicked
teachings. It was decided that such a reckless preacher should be
arrested and sent in chains to England to be tried, and imprisoned or
put to death. But Roger Williams heard of this decision and did not wait
to be arrested. When the captain and his men from Boston came to the
Salem minister’s house, they found that he had left there three days

When the people of Boston, Salem, and Plymouth next heard of Roger
Williams, he was settled on Narragansett Bay. The Indians there received
him gladly, for he had been one of the few white men who treated them
kindly, as William Penn, fifty years afterwards, dealt with the Indians
along the Delaware River.

Williams and his friends built a group of log houses and named their
settlement Providence, because they believed that, in the providence, or
care, of God, they had found a safe retreat among the savages from the
severity of the pious Puritans of Massachusetts. Quakers and other
religious people, who were driven from the Puritan colonies, came and
settled near Roger Williams. Even here the people of different beliefs
quarreled over religious matters, and good Pastor Williams had all he
could do to keep them from fighting and injuring one another.

Soon the savage Pequot Indians tried to persuade all the Indian tribes
to join together and kill at a stroke all the white men who had come
over the Great Water and taken from the natives certain parts of their
country. When the white men of Boston and Plymouth heard of this they
sent and begged Roger Williams to use his good influence with his
neighbors the Narragansetts, a large and powerful tribe, to prevent them
from joining in the plot to murder all the white men--as the Indians
could have done if all the tribes had joined together and attacked all
at once.

Here was a chance for Roger Williams to get even with those who had
wished to kill or imprison him and who had driven him from place to
place. But the minister of Providence returned good for evil. Taking his
life in his hands, he went to the Indian village. The Pequot braves were
there in the wigwam of Canonicus, the Narragansett chief,


_From the painting by Alonzo Chappel_]

trying to persuade him and his tribe to take part in a war against the
“palefaces.” Roger Williams was a hero. He stayed with those Indians,
sleeping with them at night without showing the least sign of fear,
though he very well knew that a savage Pequot might stab him in his

The Providence minister was successful. Canonicus refused to join with
the Pequots. Because the Narragansetts stayed out of the war, other
tribes also kept out of it. The Pequots went ahead, but the white men
defeated and destroyed them. By his conduct at this time of need, Roger
Williams set both red men and white a noble example. He taught them all
by his life that a true Christian loves his enemies and does good to
those who treat him badly. The man who founded the town of Providence
and the state of Rhode Island was the friend both of white men and red
because he lived the Golden Rule.


George Calvert, of Kipling, England, was such a fine man that he was
beloved by king and people alike. King James gave him the title of “Sir”
George Calvert, and made him Secretary of State. As the king and the
church in England were Protestant, Sir George felt it his duty to give
up his royal honors when he became a Catholic. But King James’ son,
Charles the First, instead of taking Calvert’s rank away from him, made
him “Baron” Baltimore. A baron is higher in position than a knight, who
is called “Sir.”

A few years after the Pilgrims came to America and settled at Plymouth
in order to worship God as they thought right, Lord Baltimore asked
permission to make a settlement for himself and the Catholics of England
who were persecuted because of their religion. The first place chosen by
him for a Catholic settlement was in Newfoundland. But though the
climate was lovely and cool there in spring and summer, the settlers
found it so cold in winter that they had to go back to England. King
Charles then granted Lord Baltimore another great tract of land much
farther south, between the English settlement at Jamestown and that of
the Puritans at Plymouth in New England. Lord Baltimore named this
region “Mary Land,” in honor of King Charles’ wife, the queen of


As all the other English settlements in America were Protestant, the
party had great trouble in securing supplies and getting started for the
New World. Before they were quite ready, the first Lord Baltimore died,
and his eldest son, Cecil Calvert, who then became Lord Baltimore,
inherited Maryland as part of his father’s estate. But some of the land
granted to Lord Baltimore had been settled years before and was claimed
by the colonists of Virginia. On account of this, young Lord Baltimore
had to stay in London to look out for his rights in America. Therefore
his younger brother, Leonard Calvert, was sent to act for him as
governor of Maryland.

At last the voyagers sailed away in two ships, the _Ark_ and the _Dove_.
There were one hundred and twenty-eight passengers, not counting
servants and children. There were others on board who, not having money,
bound themselves by law to work for a certain time in America to pay
their passage across the sea.

The two ships were caught in a terrific storm on the way and the _Dove_
was not to be seen anywhere. After many days of hoping against hope,
those on the _Ark_ gave up for lost the _Dove_ and all their friends on
it. Then the _Ark_ sailed on alone, stopping, after many weeks, at one
of the islands of the West Indies. While they were anchored there their
sorrow was turned to joy, for the _Dove_ caught up with them. It had
been driven out of sight by the fierceness of the gale and had found
refuge in a harbor near by.

The two sister ships now sailed northward and entered the mouth of the
Potomac. Of this river Father White, one of the company, wrote:

     “Never have I beheld a larger or more beautiful river. The Thames
     seems a mere rivulet in comparison with it; it is not disfigured by
     any swamps, but has firm land on each side. Fine groves of trees
     appear, not choked with bushes and undergrowth, but growing at
     intervals as if planted by hand, so that you might easily drive a
     four-horse carriage through the midst of the trees.”

Governor Leonard Calvert had heard so many stories of the fierceness and
cunning of the Indians that he did not land at once. After the two ships
had cruised about the rivers and the bay awhile, he decided to settle at
the mouth of a small river, which they named St. Mary’s, and built a
group of cabins, calling this place St. Mary’s also.

They were quite surprised to find their Indian neighbors friendly,
bringing corn and provisions, and showing them all they could about
planting and trapping and hunting. The settlers soon learned that the
Indians were friendly because they wanted the white men to help them
when they went to war with their savage enemies. The red men thought the
strangers’ “firesticks” (guns) worked magic, like lightning and thunder
from above. The children of young Maryland saw much to entertain and
sometimes to frighten them. When the Indians painted themselves with
red, black, and yellow stripes, they looked even uglier than before. The
white people had heard of the savages’ war dances and scalp dances, but
they now found the natives had also their corn dances, something like a
harvest or Thanksgiving festival.

The Maryland colonists were kind to the tribes and gained their
friendship, as Champlain had done and as William Penn and the Quakers of
Philadelphia were to do about fifty years later. The Indians in and
around Maryland learned to believe in the goodness of the people of the
Baltimore colony.

Most of the trouble Governor Calvert had in settling Maryland was with a
white leader named Claiborne, who had settled on the largest island in
the bay. He claimed that this land, which was named Kent Island, was
part of Virginia.

Governor Calvert visited Jamestown, and the governor of that colony said
that the island was part of Lord Baltimore’s land. Then Claiborne
announced that Kent Island was not only separate from either colony, but
that it belonged to him. He had made friends among the Indians, far and
near, and began to boast that he was going to drive all the other white
people out of that country.

The Marylanders went to work like so many beavers, building a fort and
other defenses to be ready for an attack. When they heard that the
people on Kent Island had fitted out a large sailboat as a man-of-war,
Governor Calvert fitted up two pinnaces, or small boats, and mounted a
cannon in each. Then the men of Maryland sailed for Kent Island and
captured it, after a battle in which several persons were killed. After
this there was no more trouble with Claiborne, and since that time Kent
Island has belonged to Maryland. Lord Baltimore held the rights over
Maryland by a grant from the king, somewhat as William Penn afterward
came to own Pennsylvania. Although Cecil, Baron Baltimore, was never
able to visit his property in the New World, his name was given to
Baltimore, the greatest city of Maryland, and Anne Arundel County was
named for his wife.

The purpose of the colony was not all religious. Trading and business
were also the objects of those brave settlers, and some of the most
successful merchant princes have sprung from that old Maryland
stock--“the best out of Old England.” The women of Maryland have been
far-famed for their beauty. There is good reason for naming the
loveliest of climbing roses, “Baltimore Belles.”

The best thing grown in old Maryland was its patriotism. When the
Fathers were signing the Declaration of Independence, the chief man
from Maryland was Charles Carroll. As there was another Charles Carroll,
the hero in Independence Hall signed his name “Charles Carroll of
Carrollton.” The patriotic spirit of the colony still lives in that
song, popular in all the states: “Maryland, my Maryland!”


When William Penn was born, his father, Admiral Sir William Penn, was
sailing out to sea on an English battleship. Little William’s mother was
a lovely woman from Holland, and as good as she was beautiful. While in
college at Oxford, young Penn attended Quaker meetings, which had been
started by followers of George Fox, the founder of a religious sect, the
Society of Friends, or Quakers, as they were commonly called.

[Illustration: WILLIAM PENN.

_In State Capitol of Pennsylvania_]

The professors in charge of Oxford University did not believe in such
meetings, so they turned out of the college those who attended them.
When William Penn went home, sent away from Oxford, his father was so
angry that he gave his Quaker son a beating and drove him from home.
Young Penn would have had to starve or beg in the streets but for his
good mother, who sent and helped him secretly. Even after that William
was found at a Quaker meeting in London and put in prison for eight

William Penn’s father was a great man, a friend of King Charles the
First. When that king was put to death, Admiral Penn became the friend
of Cromwell, who had fought against the king. After Cromwell died, the
Admiral attached himself to King Charles the Second, and to the king’s
brother, the Duke of York, who afterward became James the Second.
Although these four rulers were different--even bitter enemies to one
another--shrewd Admiral Penn managed to keep the favor of them all. He
was ambitious also to have his eldest son become the favorite of kings.
He allowed William to come home after he was free from prison, in order
to send him away to Paris, as he hoped the youth would forget his queer
belief in the gay life there. The father asked the son’s friends, who
were sons of English noblemen, to influence William while in Paris to do
everything that was against the Quaker belief. One day a stranger met
young Penn in the street and picked a quarrel with him, drawing his
sword and challenging the peace-loving young man to a duel with swords.
Penn was forced, much against his will, to fight. He had always been an
active youth and fond of sports. While at college he had been very good
at fencing. By skilful play he disarmed the quarrelsome fellow and ended
the duel without hurting the stranger, as if it were all done in sport.
This pleased all who saw the sword-play and it did credit to the heart
as well as to the skill of the young Quaker.

When William returned home he was so handsome and had gained so much in
courtly manners that his father was thoroughly pleased. But the Great
Plague broke out in London then, carrying off nearly seventy thousand
people in that city alone. This frightened even the most worldly into
leading religious lives, and made William Penn’s conscience trouble him.
Repenting of his gay life, he finally joined the Friends for good and
all, and became one of their most earnest members and preachers. His
father ordered him out of the house and threatened to cast him off

William was now imprisoned in the London Tower because of something he
had written against the Church of England. While in prison he wrote “No
Cross, No Crown,” and other works in defense of the Quakers. His father,
whose heart was touched by his son’s courage and unselfishness, appealed
to the Duke of York, King Charles’ brother, and got William out of the

Admiral Penn died soon after this, leaving William a rich man. The royal
treasury owed him immense sums of money loaned to King Charles and his
brother James. But young Penn was again arrested because he was a
Friend, and imprisoned in Newgate, where the worst criminals were kept.
When he was again set free he began to seek some good place outside of
England where he and his Quaker followers could serve God and their
fellow-men without being treated like criminals. Learning of a certain
region in America, he went to King Charles and asked for it in payment
of the large amount of money Charles owed him.

As the king was still unable to pay the great debt in money, he was glad
to grant Penn a charter for the vast tract of land. When Penn came
before the king and the council to have the state paper signed and
sealed, he did not remove his hat, as Quakers think it wrong to show
such reverence to any one but God. King Charles allowed Penn to keep
his hat on, but removed his own, to the astonishment of all, and said
with a smile, “It is the custom at court for only one person to remain

Penn suggested calling the tract of country they were ceding to him,
Sylvania, which meant “forest land”; but the king insisted on naming it
Pennsylvania, or Penn-forest. This name was written in the charter, so
William Penn had to abide by it, though he thought it vain to have the
land named for himself. The religious leader was now happy in having a
country where he and his people could live and love God and one another
in their own simple way. Sailing across the ocean in his good ship,
_Welcome_, Penn bought the country from its rightful owners, the
Indians. He made a solemn treaty with them which was “never sworn to,
and never broken.”

No Quaker ever hurt or wronged an Indian, and no Indian ever injured a
Friend, though the red savages murdered settlers belonging to other
religious faiths. William Penn laid out a town which soon became the
largest city in America. For this place he made up a name, Philadelphia,
composed of two Greek words meaning “Brother” and “love.”

Grand as it was to own such a great country as Pennsylvania, and to
found a large and flourishing city like Philadelphia, it was even
grander to teach people to live by the Golden Rule, and to help along
religious liberty. It was most fitting that the Declaration of
Independence should be adopted and signed in the State House of
Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, the city of William Penn.




“Pat Henry’s a good-for-nothing fellow. Just lounges about his
father-in-law’s tavern telling stories and fiddling.”

This was the verdict of the people of Hanover Court House, Virginia,
when Patrick Henry was a young man. When he was but a youth he had
married the tavern-keeper’s daughter. He had tried farming and failed,
people said, because he was “too lazy to do anything but go a-fishing.”
But he was a great reader and had studied law in a random, listless way.

The door of opportunity opened one day before this young man of whom the
neighbors had so little good to say. There was a case in court called
“the Parsons’ Cause.” This famous lawsuit arose in the following way: An
old law required each church in Virginia to pay its minister sixteen
thousand pounds of tobacco as his yearly salary. Later the legislature
of Virginia passed another law which permitted each parish to pay its
minister a smaller salary in money. The King of England set this law
aside and then the “parsons,” as the clergy were called, brought a
lawsuit to collect the unpaid parts of their salaries. Young Patrick
Henry’s sympathies were with the men who were sued and he offered his
services in their defense.

When the people of Hanover Court House heard of this, they laughed as if
it were a huge joke.


“The good-for-nothing! What can _he_ do, with his low, tavern talk?”
they asked in scorn. “His stories may do for a bar-room, but for such a
fellow to speak in such an important case will be an insult to the

The courtroom was well filled on the day of the trial. The opposing
lawyers had promised to make short work of Patrick Henry, and teach him
a lesson he would not soon forget. There was a strange stillness when
the young man rose to speak. At first he seemed unable to control his
voice, and some of those present nudged each other and whispered: “He’s
going to break down! I told you so. He ought to have known better than
attempt a big case like this.”

Then young Henry’s will seemed to come to his rescue. He straightened
up. His face flushed eagerly. His eyes blazed with indignation. His
words soon came in a torrent of eloquence. He declared that the people
of Virginia had the right to make their own laws and that if the King
interfered he was no longer the father of his people, but a tyrant whom
they need not obey. The jury, carried away by the young lawyer’s fiery
appeal, decided that the parsons should have only one penny more money.

The people who had come to sneer now began to cheer. They carried the
young lawyer out of the courthouse on their shoulders.

That success showed that the “ne’er-do-well” was really a great lawyer.
After that Patrick Henry spent his time in his law office instead of
going fishing or loafing about the hotel. He studied to improve his
mind, and practiced in correcting his errors of speech, while learning
to make good use of his new-found gift of speaking in public.

Honors were showered, thick and fast, on the fiery lawyer. Other cases
were brought to him and he won them right and left. Soon he was sent to
the House of Burgesses, or the legislature of Virginia.

When other leaders hesitated to take the steps necessary to obtain their
rights, Patrick Henry did not falter. He seemed to see farther than
other men into the future. He made the halls of the lawmakers ring for
liberty, beginning his great liberty speeches ten years before the
colonies were prepared to meet and declare their independence.

When Virginians were sent to the first Congress of the United Colonies
in Philadelphia, Patrick Henry was one of those chosen to go with George
Washington and Richard Henry Lee. Here, in a fiery speech, Patrick Henry
exclaimed: “I am not a Virginian--I am an American!” He had to leave
Congress before signing the Declaration of Independence; but soon after
he became the first governor of Virginia, which was now no longer a
British colony but a new state. He was four times elected governor of
the state.

Patrick Henry was “the firebrand of the Revolution”; that is, his
burning words spread like a prairie fire from south to north, and
inspired the people with a burning zeal for liberty which could not be
quenched till all thirteen colonies had gained their independence and
had become the United States of America.

It has been said that Patrick Henry “rocked the world with his voice.”
The best known of his speeches was made just a few weeks before the
battle of Lexington, which was the first skirmish of the Revolution.
Here are the closing words of that great speech:

     “Gentlemen may cry, ‘Peace! Peace!’--but there is no peace. The war
     is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the north will
     bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are
     already in the field. Why stand we here idle? What is it the
     gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so
     sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid
     it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but, as
     for me, _give me Liberty or give me Death!_”


Nathan Hale was a country boy, the sixth of ten children. When he was
twelve his mother died. It had been her wish that Nathan should study to
be a minister. So the lad entered Yale College when he was only
fourteen. Young as he was, Nathan became president of the debating
society. He was a big, strong, handsome fellow, full of fun and fond of
sports. He was best at what was known as the broad jump. For many years
“the Hale jump” made the record for the college. He was a strong swimmer
and excelled in shooting at the mark. In going about the college
grounds, Hale was often seen placing one hand on top of a six-foot fence
and vaulting over it with ease. One of his chums has told how Nathan
would stand in one hogshead, with his hands on his hips, and jump up out
of that into the second hogshead; then, in the same manner, leap into
the third hogshead and from there out on the ground--“all without
touching.” His athletic feats were so wonderful that the boys used to
boast of the things “Young Hale” did for “Old Yale.”

When he was seventeen, the young athlete also showed himself such a
ready and eloquent speaker that he was chosen for the highest honors of
the debating society. One address of his is still kept in the records of
Yale University. One of the questions he proposed and took part in
debating was: “Is it right to enslave the Africans?”

Right after his graduation, at the age of eighteen, young Hale began to
teach school and do tutoring besides, to pay his way while studying to
be a minister. But early in 1775, when he had been teaching less than
two years, the news of the first battles in the War for Independence
fired the fervent soul of the young patriot, and he joined the army.

Nathan Hale was appointed lieutenant in a company sent by Connecticut,
his native state, to become part of General Washington’s army which was
trying to take the city of Boston, then in the hands of the British. The
army then was without uniforms, proper arms, or training. During the
summer Lieutenant Hale “turned” twenty-one and was promoted to the rank
of captain.

When the time for which the Connecticut men had enlisted was nearly up,
the young captain was shocked and hurt to find that some of the men in
his own company were not willing to serve a little longer. Here is a
short, signed entry he made in his camp-book in November:

     “28. Tuesday. Promised the men if they would tarry another month
     they should have my wages for that time. NATHAN HALE.”

The youthful Connecticut officer and some of his men were among the few
who stayed till the British were driven out of Boston by sea. After this
the commander-in-chief, foreseeing that New York must be the next point
of attack for the British, sent all his soldiers on ahead to that city.
In the first brigade to go was Captain Nathan Hale, with as many of his
little company as he could command.

While officers like Hale were recruiting new soldiers and drilling the
raw recruits, Washington went to consult with the Congress then in
session at Philadelphia. During this visit he designed the first
American flag and ordered it made. It was the summer of the Declaration
of Independence.

Washington and his untrained troops, less than fourteen thousand in
number, had to defend and hold New York City, Brooklyn, and the
surrounding country against an army nearly three times as large. The
British troops under General Howe were well fitted out and trained, and
were aided by a fleet of warships commanded by the general’s brother,
Admiral Lord Howe. The Howes and their regular soldiers thought it would
be an easy matter for their army, numbering three to one of their
enemies, to capture the American army and carry Washington and the other
ring-leaders of the rebellion back to England to be hanged for treason.

When, late in August, Washington learned that Howe was landing his army
on Long Island from Staten Island, he sent General Putnam to meet and
hold the British back. As the British outnumbered Putnam’s company five
to one, this was impossible, and the Americans retreated to their
defenses. This engagement was called the battle of Long Island. At
nightfall the British encamped around the cornered Americans, and the
commander told his staff that they would take that “nest of rebels” in
the morning.

A dense fog came in from the sea, and Washington, under cover of it, got
as many boats together as his sailor soldiers could manage, and they
rowed away from Long Island in the silent watches of the night. Next
morning, when Howe came to capture the nest, the birds had flown.

Washington was now forced to fly with his army from place to place, and
the danger of being captured was greater than before. So he needed to
learn, if possible, what General Howe’s plans were. Captain Nathan Hale
was selected for this dangerous service.

There were some people in the colonies who believed that Washington was
a traitor and that his men were rebels. These people called themselves
Loyalists, but others called them Tories. Because of Nathan Hale’s frank
face and sincere manner it was thought that he could make friends with
these Tories and find out what was desired through them and their
friends, the British officers. Also, he was an educated gentleman. He
could take a position as tutor in the family of a rich Tory. British
officers visited these Loyalists and often discussed plans with them.

Captain Hull, a college friend of Captain Hale’s, was now an army
comrade also. When he heard that Hale was chosen, he called to beg him
not to go as a spy. He argued:

“Your nature is too frank and open for deceit and disguise. General
Washington--nor any commander--has a right to ask you to assume the garb
of friendship for the betrayal of others.”

Hale hesitated a moment at this, but when he spoke his voice was clear
and firm:

“I think I owe it to my country to do the thing which seems so important
to General Washington, and I know of no other way of getting the desired
information than by assuming a disguise and passing into the enemy’s

“But,” urged his friend almost in despair, “think of the disgrace of it!
If you were caught, you would be hanged as a criminal! Dear Nathan, I
beg of you, don’t go.”

Nathan Hale could not help being deeply moved. He said gently: “He took
upon himself the disguise of the men He came to live among, for the good
of many and the cause of the right. He was arrested and hanged--on a
cross! Who am I that I should set up my judgment against His example and
General Washington’s will?”

Still, Captain Hull could not give up. He has left on record his last
attempt to persuade the young man whose love of country had become a
religion: “I urged him for the love of country, for the love of kindred,
to abandon an enterprise which would only end in the sacrifice of the
dearest interests of both. He paused--then, affectionately taking my
hand, he said, ‘I _will_ reflect, and _do nothing but what duty
demands_.’ He was absent from the army and I feared he had gone to the
British lines to execute his fatal purpose.”

Naturally very little is known of the spy in the few weeks that
followed. Sergeant Hempstead has told of going with him to the point
chosen for crossing on a waiting sloop to Long Island, many miles from
the British camp. Hempstead says Hale was then “dressed in a brown suit
of citizen’s clothes, with a round, broad-brimmed hat.” When the captain
and the sergeant wrung each other’s hands in farewell, Nathan Hale gave
into Hempstead’s care his private papers and letters and his
shoe-buckles. The letters were to Hale’s aged father and to the girl
whom he expected to marry.

At the end of several weeks Nathan Hale had succeeded in carrying out
General Washington’s instructions, even to making a number of sketches.
So far as he knew, he had not been suspected. This, he thought, was
rather surprising, for there were Tories everywhere.

It was late in September, “in the dark of the moon,” when Hale slipped
away from the British on Long Island and strolled down to the water’s
edge where he was to meet the sloop and sail back to his own army. He
waited some time for the ship, but it did not come. After some delay a
sailboat came in sight and made up to the shore. He was greatly
relieved, for it did not occur to him that there was anything wrong. As
the boat drew near he hailed it with a happy shout. When it was too
late, Hale saw that some of the men in the boat were in British uniform.
In a moment more, he was their prisoner. He had been betrayed--it was
never known by whom. He had a Tory cousin who was blamed at first, but
his innocence was proven in time.


_From the painting by F. O. C. Darley_]

He was taken to General Howe’s headquarters. The telltale sketches and
data were found in his shoes. He did not attempt to deny that he was a
spy. It was not necessary to try him after he confessed. He was turned
over to the provost marshal to be hanged next day.

Of course, no one knows what Nathan Hale thought that last night, but it
may well be believed that he did not waste his last hours in despairing
regrets. If he was permitted to write farewell letters that night, they
were never delivered. In the morning Hale asked if he might speak with a
minister, but that was curtly denied him. “Will you lend me a Bible a
moment, then?” was his dying request. “No!” snapped the marshal.

A kind-hearted British officer, who noticed the pure, honest face of the
young American spy, offered him shelter from the sun in his tent during
a brief delay. The heart of this enemy captain was touched, and it was
he who preserved Nathan Hale’s noble words for future ages. If the young
spy could have known that his death would strengthen the hearts of
patriots to fight for liberty, and that what he was about to say would
go resounding down the ages, it would have added to his joy that hot
September day. A poet has described the moment when they came and led
him out:

    “To drum-beat and heart-beat
       A soldier marches by;
     There is color in his cheek,
       There is courage in his eye;
     Yet to drum-beat and heart-beat,
       In a moment he must die.”

They led him to an apple tree near at hand. While they were fastening
his arms behind him and tying a rope around his ankles, he gazed up into
the tree. On his handsome face rested the resigned expression which is
shown in the bronze and marble statues of Nathan Hale in the Yale yard
where he used to play, and in the park before City Hall, in New York.

“Well, have you any confession to make?” asked the marshal. This called
Nathan Hale’s mind back. He smiled at the needless question, for he had
confessed the night before and had thus made a trial unnecessary.
Hesitating only a moment, he answered the officer with simple courtesy,
in the bravest words ever uttered by mortal man:

“_I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country._”


In a great stone building among the tree-covered hills in the south of
France there lived a little boy who at birth received fourteen names and
titles. He belonged to the noble French family of the Lafayettes, who
had been knights for at least seven hundred years. The boy never saw his
father, for shortly before the child was born, his brave young soldier
father was killed in a battle with the English. The home in which this
fatherless boy lived was a castle, but it looked like a great prison or
a modern storage warehouse with a huge, round tower at each end. Across
its few small windows were iron bars.

Out of all the Lafayette boy’s names, the family called him Gilbert.
When he was eleven years old Gilbert was sent to a school in Paris where
sons from French gentlemen’s families were taught the things it was
thought proper for young nobles to know. First of all, they studied
heraldry, which explained the coats-of-arms of their royal and noble
relations and was really a sort of family history of France. The boys
also learned to ride and to fence and to talk politely--even wittily, if
they happened to be bright enough. Besides their own French language
they learned Latin so that they could write and even speak it. Then the
youths who had a taste for history were instructed in that study, not
the history of the whole French people, but the records of the royal and
great families, and the battles and schemes of the kings and princes.

In this boys’ college the rooms were very small, dark, and narrow, like
prison cells, and the pupils were locked in at night. Gilbert was never
allowed a holiday. If his mother came to see him she was permitted to
talk with him in the presence of a tutor, almost as if he were a
prisoner. The masters feared that a good, motherly chat with her son
would distract the boy’s mind from his studies.

Madame de Lafayette wished to do all she could to help her son in his
future life. So she moved to Paris and was presented at court; that is,
she was introduced to the king and queen and the highest nobles of
France. When Gilbert was thirteen his mother died, leaving her son
almost alone in the world. He had a rich uncle who might have been his
guardian, but he also died, leaving young Lafayette another fortune and
making him a very wealthy marquis.

Boys and girls in French noble families were often betrothed in infancy
and brought up expecting to marry each other when old enough. Marriage
seemed to be rather a question of the family fortunes than of the young
people’s real love for each other. When young Marquis de Lafayette was
left without parents to plan a proper marriage for him, a rich duke who
was a great favorite with King Louis decided to arrange for the orphan
boy to marry his own daughter Adrienne. In order to bring this about,
Adrienne’s parents invited Gilbert de Lafayette to come and live in
their palace, where they all could care for him as a son until it was
proper for him to marry their daughter. There was a wonderful wedding
when Lafayette was sixteen and Adrienne fourteen years old.

From that time, besides all the wealth of the Lafayettes, the riches of
his father-in-law, the duke, gave the young marquis a splendid position
at the court of France. If the boy bridegroom only had enjoyed that sort
of high life he might have been very happy. But the things which
interested the young nobleman were of quite a different sort. While he
was at a dinner, in honor of a younger brother of George the Third, king
of England, he heard that the American people had started their fight
for independence. Lafayette’s sympathies for the unhappy people across
the sea were so aroused that he began at once to plan to leave his
palace home, his lovely young wife, and his baby daughter, in order to
help the American people in their struggle. To find out how best to do
this, he went to see Dr. Franklin and Silas Deane, the agents for the
United States in France. Knowing how much the American people needed
Lafayette’s money and influence, these statesmen encouraged him in every

The young marquis fitted out a ship and made ready to start, taking with
him several Frenchmen of high rank who also expected to be made officers
in the American Army. But Lafayette’s father-in-law did not relish the
youth’s idea of fighting for the common people against kings and nobles,
so he persuaded the king to order the marquis not to leave the country.
In spite of King Louis’s command, Lafayette walked on board his own
ship, under the detectives’ noses, disguised as the bodyservant of a
stranger from another country who also was going to fight for American

The Marquis de Lafayette reached the American army, near Philadelphia,
after many dangers and hardships. General Washington could not help
smiling at the earnestness of “Major-General” Lafayette, aged nineteen,
who could command only as much of the English language as he had learned
while crossing the Atlantic. Though “the Marquis,” as everyone learned
to call him, volunteered to serve anywhere without pay, Washington
offered him a place on his staff. Once when the commander-in-chief asked
Lafayette how to improve the discipline of the American troops, the
noble youth replied, “I am here, General, to learn, not to teach.”


General Lafayette received his first wound in the Battle of Brandywine,
where he fought hard to keep the British back from Philadelphia. While
riding his horse at the head of his men he was shot in the leg. He
recovered from this wound in time to come to Valley Forge and suffer
with Washington the hardships of the long, bitter winter there.

While at Valley Forge the young general was sent to keep the British
from coming out from Philadelphia and attacking the American camp.
Lafayette took his station at Barren Hill near the Schuylkill River.
When the British commander had word of this he sent out three companies
to surround the boy general from three directions, and make him their
prisoner. So sure were they of making this capture that they planned a
dinner in honor of their noble French prisoner, and invited their
friends in Philadelphia to be present and meet the Marquis de Lafayette.

But the boy general was too shrewd for them all. Quick as a flash he saw
a way out of the trap they had set for him. Ordering the heads of his
columns to stand in the edge of a grove where they could be seen as if
in battle array, he ordered a retreat by a secret path. When the three
British lines marched up the hill, even the Americans in the edge of the
woods had disappeared, and the companies only met one another and looked
sheepish as they marched down again. Their game had gotten away, and
they had to eat that dinner without their prisoner-guest.

Howe and his men soon heard that the French were sending ships and men
to help their American friends, so they went away from Philadelphia as
quickly as possible. On the way to New York, Washington met them and
gave battle at Monmouth, New Jersey. He appointed General Lafayette
second in command; but General Charles Lee was offended because “that
French boy” was placed above him. To relieve his chief, Lafayette gave
up the command. This was the battle in which Lee disobeyed Washington’s
command and prevented the American army from winning a real victory. It
was Lafayette who saw that something was going wrong and helped to save
the day for the Americans.

Hearing of his wife’s illness and his little daughter’s death, Lafayette
asked leave of absence to go home to France. He returned to America as
soon as he could, after persuading the French government to send more
money, more men, and more ships to help bring the long war with England
to an end. Soon after his return, “the Marquis” was sent with his
regiment to meet Cornwallis and defend Virginia.

Cornwallis laughed when he saw that “the Boy” had been sent against him.
But “the Boy” was more than a match for the British commander in the
south. He kept retreating and advancing up and down the James River. One
day Cornwallis would think he was trapping Lafayette, but the next day
he found himself only moving farther from his base of supplies. “The
Boy” did this just to gain time, for he had learned that the expected
fleet was in American waters with a French army on board, and that
Washington was on his way down from near New York to meet the French
ships and men and surround Cornwallis. It was now the British general’s
turn to retreat. He retired to Yorktown, where he was surrounded by the
Americans and French and was soon forced to surrender.

As soon as the fighting was ended, General Washington gave a dinner to
the French officers and their English prisoner, Lord Cornwallis. The
defeated general was so well treated by Washington and his men that the
two commanders became good friends.

When the Americans had gained their independence, General Lafayette
returned to France, where he was received as a hero, even by the king
whose command he had disobeyed by running away to help America. The
people were so fond of the brave young marquis, that King Louis
appointed him a marshal of France, though he was only twenty-four.

The French Revolution soon broke out, but it was very different from the
American Revolution, because the people of France had the wrong idea of
liberty. They killed the king, the queen, and many of the nobles in a
savage and cruel way. They even imprisoned and put to death some of
their early leaders, who loved liberty, but who were not willing to do
such savage deeds to obtain it. Lafayette was one of the lovers of
liberty who suffered much from the French people during the Revolution,
because he did not believe in going to extremes.

Washington and Lafayette did not forget each other. They wrote devoted
letters to each other as if they were father and son. The French
nobleman named his son for Washington, who, during the troublous years
in France, received and cared for the boy as if he were a grandson.

Nearly fifty years after Lafayette’s first coming to America, he made
his fourth voyage to our country, bringing with him his son, George
Washington de Lafayette. He came, at the invitation of President Monroe
and Congress, as the guest of the United States. Because of the
enthusiasm with which he was welcomed all over the country, his visit
was remembered as one of the brightest times in the history of the
United States.

One hundred and forty years after the Marquis de Lafayette’s first
coming to help America, four millions of American young men were
enrolled to rescue republican France from her brutal enemy. A million
soldiers had crossed the ocean, and another million were on their way
when a company of Americans visited the last resting-place of Lafayette.
As they laid a wreath upon the tomb of the “Friend of America,” General
Pershing, the commander of the American forces, exclaimed, “Lafayette,
we are here!”


Of the millions of boys who have had “sea fever,” perhaps none suffered
with it more than John Paul, a bright, sandy-haired Scotch lad. His
father was a gardener on the estate of a noble lord. John went to school
but little, yet he studied hard while he was there. He had learned to
sail a boat quite well when he had a chance, at twelve years old, to go
to America as a cabin boy. When the owner of the ship soon after failed
in business, John Paul entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman. He
learned all he could in the short time he was a “middy,” but, as his
father was poor, he saw no chance to get ahead there.

He left the navy and found work on a merchant ship running between
Scotland and the West Indies. Coming back from a voyage to Jamaica, the
ship’s captain and mate both died, and John Paul, though still a mere
boy, sailed the ship home. So he became a captain before he was twenty.
In those days, shipmasters treated their men roughly, and once young
Captain Paul had to flog the ship’s carpenter. The man died some time
afterward of fever, and, to spite the young shipmaster, he claimed that
he had been fatally injured by John Paul’s cruelty. After that, on
another voyage, the sailors mutinied or turned against their captain,
and tried to kill him. In self-defense the young master knocked the
leader down stairs and he died of the fall.

The next time John Paul was heard from, he was living in America with a
wealthy man named Jones. It was just at the beginning of the War for
Independence, and the young Scotchman was so in love with liberty and
the new country that he decided to become an American. In doing this he
took the name of his new-found friend Jones. Instead of John Paul, the
British subject, he now called himself Paul Jones, American. He went to
the Congress in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, in May, 1775, to offer
his services. He was promptly given command of several ships to defend
the colonies against Great Britain. The next year the Declaration of
Independence was signed. On the 14th of June, 1777, the Congress
appointed him to the command of the American ship-of-war, _Ranger_. On
the same day the Congress adopted a flag and made this record:

     “_Resolved_, That the flag of the thirteen United States be
     thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, and that the union be
     thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new

Captain Paul Jones had a silk flag made at once and raised it on the
_Ranger_, on the first birthday of the United States, July 4th, 1777.
The first voyage of this ship was to France, and the young United States
captain announced to the French admiral, in the harbor he was about to
enter, that he would expect the French fleet to salute the new American
flag. After some delay, the French officer consented and the _Ranger_
sailed into port between two rows of French ships-of-war, which had
French flags flying, and French sailors and soldiers manning the
yardarms, and cannon booming all along the line, in honor of the Stars
and Stripes. That was a great day for the United States, for this was
the first time a foreign kingdom recognized the new republic of America.

France not only treated the United States as an equal, but she went to
war with England and helped the Americans win their independence.
Captain Jones was a little, peppery man, and had been an American only
two years, but he was trying to make up for lost time. He believed so
much in the people’s right to be free, that he considered being an
American citizen the highest honor in the world. He begged the high
French officials and Doctor Franklin, who represented the United States
in France, to let him take the _Ranger_ out and fight England all by
himself. The British had taken American prisoners and treated them as
spies and traitors, instead of as prisoners of war. Captain Jones wished
to capture some British prisoners and teach the enemy how prisoners of
war should be treated.

When the Americans in Paris and the French tried to convince the brave
little captain that it would be dangerous for him to go out with but one
ship, he replied that he liked nothing better than “going into harm’s
way,” and he finally went. He waited outside an English port till the
warship _Drake_ came out. The British commander stared at the new flag,
for he had never seen it before. “What ship is that?” he asked. “It is
the American ship _Ranger_.” Some one on the _Drake_ made fun of the
new flag, saying it looked like a patchwork quilt. “Very well,” retorted
Captain Jones, “we will cover your Union Jack with it, then.”

The battle between the _Ranger_ and the _Drake_ lasted just one hour and
four minutes. When it was over, the _Drake_ had lost her captain and
first lieutenant and thirty-eight men, killed and wounded, while the
loss on the _Ranger_ was only two killed and six wounded.

When Captain Jones returned to the shores of France he brought with him
the _Drake_ as a prize, with a goodly crew of British prisoners to
exchange for Americans. As he had promised, the Stars and Stripes were
at the _Drake’s_ masthead over the British flag. There was no trouble
then about saluting the American flag. All France and America went wild
over this victory. In fact, nearly every nation under heaven--excepting
Great Britain--was greatly pleased with the escapade of brave little
Captain Jones.

Of course, Captain Jones had just had enough to make him long to be
“going into harm’s way” on a larger scale. But France now had her own
troubles with England. She needed all the ships and men she could raise
to make a navy able to beat the big fleet Great Britain was getting
ready for a great naval battle. Still, Captain Jones would not be put
off. With Doctor Franklin’s help the French found him a poor old ship
which they told him to arm and man and go ahead with. Jones did his
best, but the foundry did not fill his order for cannon, and he was
obliged to take some old guns which were too heavy for the positions he
had to give them. It was bad enough to be forced to fight the whole
British navy with a poor, slow, rotten old hulk with out-of-date guns,
but the men he had to take to do the fighting were worse. Among them
were Portuguese and Malays who could not understand orders in either
French or English; but, worst of all, there were a hundred or more
English prisoners, who would watch their chance to stab or shoot the few
Americans in command, and surrender the ship to their own countrymen.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard” almanac had been published as a
French book, under the title of “Bonhomme Richard,” or “Goodman
Richard.” So Jones, in compliment to his genial friend and helper, named
his newly-made-over ship, _Bonhomme Richard_. Before he got this craft
ready, several French commanders and crews wished to join him. These men
were not capable commanders, but they had better ships and crews than
Captain Jones, the one man best able to use them to advantage.

When Jones started out with the _Richard_, he was followed by a sort of
private fleet, among which were the _Alliance_ and the _Pallas_. The
commanders of the other ships refused to obey orders unless they
happened to feel so disposed. Most of the other ships got lost or
started off, like pirates, after prizes for themselves, so that when
Jones met the leading ships of the British, there were only the
_Richard_, the _Alliance_, and the _Pallas_ left.

When the three ships came round a high point called Flamborough Head and
saw there the British men-of-war, _Serapis_ and _Countess of
Scarborough_, Commander Jones ordered the _Pallas_ to engage the
_Countess_ while he, with the _Richard_, tackled the _Serapis_.

The commander had one lieutenant, Richard Dale, an American who had
escaped in the most mysterious way from an English prison. Without the
heroic aid of this officer Jones might have lost the day--or the night,
for the battle did not begin until dark. There were hundreds of people
on the shore watching the fight. At the very beginning they saw--and
heard--the old cannon on the _Richard_ bursting and killing nearly all
the gunners and powder-boys serving them.

Meanwhile the _Serapis_, which was a brand-new ship with twice the
number and weight of guns that Jones had, was raking the _Richard_ fore
and aft, and shooting great, ragged holes in her sides. The sea came
pouring into the ship and the British prisoners came running up, yelling
frantically, “We are sinking!” By sheer force of will and fear of eye,
Paul Jones and Richard Dale drove those excited Englishmen back into the
hold to work the pumps, as though they would pump the North Sea dry.

Jones sailed his ship close to the _Serapis_, intending to catch hold of
its side with hooks called grappling-irons. This made it possible for
the men on both ships to fight hand to hand. The _Richard_ came
alongside with such force that a spar which stuck out at the side
(called the jib-boom) was driven into the ropes which held the mast
nearest the stern of the _Serapis_ (called the mizzenmast). The grip
which Captain Jones now had on the _Serapis_ was like that of a Boston
bulldog who has an English mastiff by the throat. If one ship went down,
the other would have to go too.

“Well done, my brave lads. We have got her now!” shouted Jones; and he
ordered the sailing master to haul the _Richard’s_ cable over and tie
the jib-boom of the _Serapis_ to his own mizzenmast. When the cable
caught and became tangled the master uttered an oath.

“Don’t swear,” said Jones calmly. “In another moment we may be in
eternity; but let us do our duty.”

The ropes and spars of the two ships were now so tangled that the men in
the top of the _Richard_ scrambled across into the rigging of the enemy,
like monkeys in two treetops. In spite of all the captain’s efforts, the
_Richard_ was now on fire in a dozen places. The people on shore
cheered, for it looked as if the English were burning the “pirate” ship.
The master-at-arms, hearing a report that the captain and Dale had both
been killed, started with two others to surrender to the commander of
the _Serapis_, all three shouting, “Quarter!” The commander of the
_Serapis_, hearing the cry, asked Jones if he was ready to give up.

“No,” shouted the American commander, “_I have not yet begun to fight!_”

By this time even the masts of the _Richard_ were burning; but an
American sailor saw a chance to do great harm to the enemy. Seizing a
hand grenade, or bomb, he crept across the yardarms of both ships and
threw it down upon the deck of the _Serapis_. The bomb fell and burst on
a train of gunpowder scattered by broken cartridges. The flame blazed
along past several of the big guns, ending in a terrific explosion.

This turned the tide of the battle. The Americans swarmed on board the
_Serapis_ and took possession of it. The English commander surrendered
by pulling down the flag of his ship. In giving up his sword to Jones he
said, with a sneer,

“It is painful to me that I must resign to a man with a halter around
his neck.”

The American captain seemed not to notice the intended insult. Every
American boy and girl has a right to be proud of Paul Jones for his
noble reply:

“Sir, you have fought like a hero.”


The _Pallas_ had captured the _Countess of Scarborough_ after an hour’s
fighting. The _Bonhomme Richard_, when cut loose from the _Serapis_,
sank to the bottom of the sea. Before the rest of the enemy’s fleet
could stop them, Jones and the commander of the _Pallas_ sailed away
with the _Serapis_ and the _Countess_ to a safe neutral port in Holland.
The British now offered a reward of more than fifty thousand dollars for
Captain Paul Jones, dead or alive. The people of Holland begged him not
to fly the American flag, as there were two British fleets waiting
outside that Dutch harbor to capture him. But Paul Jones insisted on
flying the Stars and Stripes, not only in that port, but when he came
out and ran the gauntlet of more than forty British men-of-war. He
passed them all with colors flying, and reached a French port in safety.

Captain Paul Jones was one of the heroes of the world. The French made
him a knight and King Louis presented him with a magnificent
gold-handled sword. The United States Congress voted him a gold medal in
honor of his greatest victory and passed a resolution commending “his
zeal, prudence and intrepidity,” assigned him to the command of a new
ship of the line then being built, and proposed to create for him the
rank of real admiral, until then unknown in the American navy. General
Washington wrote him a letter of congratulation in which he said: “You
have won the admiration of the world.”

Thus the son of a poor gardener became our greatest naval hero in the
War of the Revolution. But above all the honors he received at home and
abroad, this was Paul Jones’s proudest boast: “_I have ever looked out
for the honor of the American flag._”


A hundred years ago, when boys had but few books of any kind, “The Life
of General Marion” was their favorite book of adventure, because of its
short stories of rare bravery and hairbreadth escapes. General Francis
Marion, of whom the book tells, was a southern man, born the same year
as General Washington, and a commander of some of the American troops in
the War for Independence.

During that war, when the British found that they could accomplish
little in the northern states, they decided to carry the war into the
south. Lord Cornwallis was the British commander; under him Colonel
Tarleton was a cavalry officer notorious for bullying and cruelty who
became a terror to the whole region. Another commander of British troops
in the south was a former American general, Benedict Arnold, the
traitor, who joined the British after he had failed to deliver West
Point into the hands of the enemy.

General Horatio Gates was sent by the Congress to defend the south
against the British. But General Gates was not a great or brave
commander. He was defeated by Cornwallis at Camden, South Carolina. He
lost two thousand men, and the rest of his soldiers were scattered.
Because of this terrible defeat--the worst in the whole War for
Independence--the southern people were deeply discouraged.

What was to be done? In the south there were many Tories, as the people
were called who believed that those who fought against England for
liberty were rebels. Besides fighting in the British campaigns, the
southern Tories went about in bands, shooting and injuring all the
“rebels” they


could. So the southern patriots gathered together in small companies to
defend their families from the British and the Tories, and to prevent
the British from capturing the whole southern country before Washington
could send down a better general and another army.

During the months after the defeat at Camden, the fight was carried on
in what was called guerrilla warfare--_guerrilla_ being Spanish for
“little war.” Small bands of Americans hid in the woods and swamps, and
when they caught the British off guard, suddenly pounced upon them,
taking or rescuing prisoners. The greatest leader of this kind of
warfare on the American side was General Marion.

These southern soldiers had very poor weapons. Most of their guns were
the kind used in shooting birds, and were loaded with shot instead of
bullets. For swords they had wooden-handled saws with the teeth ground
down to a smooth edge. They had but little to eat--often only potatoes,
which they could bake in the ashes of their campfires.

Their horses, however, were the finest and fastest in all that country.
Although these men had to deny themselves food and clothing, their
horses were well fed and groomed, for often the masters’ lives depended
on the fleetness of their steeds. And the horses sometimes acted as if
they understood and enjoyed the terrible game of life and death their
masters were playing.

Some of the bravest men in the south, seeing no other way to save or to
serve their country, came and offered themselves to General Marion, to
fight under the greatest hardships and risks in the most dangerous
adventures. Among these was the famous Sergeant Jasper, who was one of
the first to risk his life for the flag. Nine British ships-of-war
attacked a fort in Charleston Harbor. They shot away the staff on which
the American flag was flying; but Jasper jumped out, caught the banner
before it touched the ground, and climbed up and nailed it in place,
while the guns were aimed at him as well as at the starry ensign.

While Sergeant Jasper was under General Marion he was often sent out on
scout and spy duty. He had a natural talent for disguising himself. He
went once to visit a sergeant in a British regiment. While he was there
a number of American prisoners were brought in. Taking it for granted
that a guard of ten British soldiers, with these prisoners, would pass a
certain spring, Jasper left the British camp to obtain help. He found
only one American who could go with him. The two hid themselves near the
spring, surprised the ten redcoats, disarmed them, and, with the former
prisoners, marched gaily back to Marion’s headquarters with the ten
captured British soldiers.

Once when General Marion came to a river ferry, he heard that a company
of ninety British regulars were taking more than two hundred captured
Americans to the prison-ship at Charleston. The prisoners already in the
hold of the ship were starved and neglected. Besides, smallpox had
broken out among them, and many of the best men among the patriots were
dying of that loathsome disease. So General Marion ordered his men to
ride through the darkness to the ford where the British and their
prisoners had crossed the river a few hours before. Here they learned
that the redcoats and their charges were going to stay that night at a
country tavern called the Blue House. The Americans approached this
place with great caution. When they came to a wooden bridge, they took
horse-blankets and laid them down on the bridge to deaden the sound of
the horses’ hoofs.

Before deciding how to make an attack, General Marion sent several
scouts to find out the lay of the land. With tread as sure and silent as
that of moccasined Indians, the scouts returned and whispered this

“The officers are carousing in the house. Some of the men are outside.
Many of them must be asleep, as we could not get a glimpse of them. A
few sentinels are lounging about, without a thought of being attacked.”

Marion told his men to lie down under the trees for a little rest. Very
early in the morning, when all the British, including the sentinels,
seemed to be asleep, he roused the men and ordered the attack.

The odds were over three to one against them, but Marion’s men were used
to that. They were taking a great risk, but there was much to be
gained--guns, equipment and British prisoners who could be exchanged so
as to release Americans from the prison-ship. Best of all, each man of
the thirty might be the means of setting ten other Americans free.

When the men were well awake, General Marion sent a lieutenant ahead,
directing him as follows:

“Take a few men with you, make a wide circle, and come in behind the
house. Get as close to them as you can, and wait till I give the signal.
Then close in on them and see that no one gets away. We must make quick
work of this. See that your guns are all right.”

To the men waiting with him he said: “Are you ready?”

“Ready, sir,” they whispered back.

“Come on, then,” he commanded. “Follow me. Don’t make any noise. Don’t
speak. Watch me. Don’t fire till I say the word.”

They crept around the Blue House like Indians, testing every twig lest
it snap, and feeling their way in the darkness. Suddenly a shot rang out
in the early morning air. A sentinel on the other side of the house must
have seen the lieutenant’s men. The British soldiers, roused from a
sound sleep, jumped about, peering this way and that in the darkness. No
one knew what had happened, or what would happen next.

The officers came tumbling out, swearing and yelling. As the Americans
came rushing in from all sides, shouting and shooting, the British
thought they were attacked by an army instead of by thirty guerrillas.
Marion’s men grabbed the rifles of the British soldiers, shooting some
and knocking others down. Some of the British shouted, “Quarter!” and
General Marion ordered his men to stop firing.

There was a wholesale surrender, and the hundreds of American prisoners
were set free. Many of them joined Marion’s men. When the British saw
how they and their prisoners had been taken in, ten to one, they looked

But the British leader, the bullying Colonel Tarleton, had made his
escape. His motto seemed to be--

    “He who fights and runs away
     Will live to fight another day.”

He ran away, at least, though he did not do any fighting first.

Five months after the battle of Camden, there was another battle at
Cowpens. The British army, commanded by Tarleton, was only a little
larger than the American. The redcoats were so badly beaten that they
lost over nine hundred men, while the American loss was only

One day, not long after, Tarleton was bullying a southern woman in her
home, where he and some of his officers were quartered. There was, on
the American side, a Colonel Washington, a distant relative of the
commander-in-chief. In his insulting way, Tarleton asked, when the lady
said this officer was a relative of hers:

“What does Colonel Washington look like? I have never had the pleasure
of meeting him.”

“You might have seen him,” said the lady, sweetly, “if you had _looked
behind you_ at the Battle of Cowpens!”

This polite way of calling him a coward made Tarleton very angry, but he
was no match in wit for a brave and brilliant southern woman.

Though many of the wealthiest people of the south were Tories, some of
them were true patriots. A widow named Motte had just built a beautiful
home on a hilltop, and had furnished it elegantly, when the British
decided that it would make a fine fort, and promptly took possession of
it. General Marion and his guerrilla band surrounded the mansion and
told Mrs. Motte, who was then staying in a neighbor’s house, that if he
could set her house afire he could “smoke out” the British and capture
them. That woman patriot was glad to sacrifice her lovely home for the
good of her country; so Marion burned down the mansion and made the
redcoats his prisoners.



More than one hundred years after Champlain returned from France to his
beloved Quebec, France and Great Britain were at war. In America this
struggle was called the French and Indian War, because the English
colonists had to fight against the French and their Indian allies, who
came down from Canada to keep the English out of the country along the
Ohio River. In Europe this strife, in which several other nations took
part, was known as the Seven Years’ War.

During this war young George Washington was first heard of. He was sent
into the western wilderness in the dead of winter to carry a message
from the English governor of Virginia to the French commander at a fort
in western Pennsylvania. A few years later, General Braddock came over
with an army of British regulars to fight the French and their allies in
the region where the young messenger had been. Major George Washington
was on the English general’s staff, and saved many of the British
regulars after Braddock fell, defeated, near Fort Duquesne, where
Pittsburgh now stands.

The British attacked the French also at Louisburg, in Nova Scotia, and
at Ticonderoga, near the southern end of Lake Champlain; but the most
important point to attack was Quebec, “the Gibraltar of America,” which
Champlain had built nearly one hundred and fifty years before. The
general then in military command at Quebec was the Marquis de Montcalm,
a true Frenchman, devoted to his king, and to his mother, wife, and
children, from all of whom he was separated because of his warm love of


In his frequent letters to his mother and his wife, Montcalm told all
his troubles with the governor of Canada and the Canadian volunteers. He
had brought from France to Quebec an army of regular soldiers. They
looked with scorn upon the French Canadian raw recruits, who seemed
about as rude as their Indian neighbors. The Canadian governor, on his
side, saw with jealous eyes the French marquis who had come from Old
France to command the Canadian companies along with his own French
troops. It needed rare tact and true love of country for Montcalm to
keep friendly with the Canadian governor, who pretended to be the
friend of the marquis while secretly turning everybody he could against

When the general won a great victory at Oswego, hundreds of miles away,
the governor, who was not there, wrote to his friends and the men over
him in France about “my” victory and what “I” planned and “I” did with
such great success. But though Montcalm wrote about his trials and
troubles to his wife and mother, he managed to keep on good terms with
the governor and to prevent an outbreak between the French regulars and
the Canadian soldiers and Indian warriors.

General Montcalm knew that the British would attack the French
stronghold of Quebec. To keep this fortress at the narrow point in the
St. Lawrence River might mean the saving not only of all Canada, but
also of the French forts and territory along the Wabash and Mississippi
rivers, more than a thousand miles away to the southwest.

The fortress at Quebec seemed impossible to take, for it was on top of a
high, steep cliff looking over the St. Lawrence. The lower part of the
town lay along the level of the river far below, but the town would be
of no use whatever to an enemy that could not take the fort, frowning
directly overhead. It seemed that the only way the fort might be reached
by an enemy was by way of the St. Charles River, just below the town.
Troops might be taken up this river, and reach Quebec by going a long
distance around back of the city. Montcalm had logs chained together,
making a “boom,” and threw that across the St. Charles where it flows
into the St. Lawrence. Then no ship or large boat could enter there and
land soldiers behind the fort.

Not only was the St. Lawrence River narrow at Quebec, but there were
many rocks in the swift channel below, so that no ship without a
skilled pilot could pass up to the town. Montcalm, however, wishing to
make Quebec doubly safe, posted most of his army below the town, to
prevent the approach of the enemy.

Meanwhile William Pitt, the British prime minister, decided, as Montcalm
had foreseen, that Quebec must be taken. Pitt made up his mind also that
a young British officer named Wolfe was the right man to place in
command of the British army, to capture the Canadian fortress. Wolfe’s
father had been a general, and from the age of sixteen the son had been
a soldier. As a colonel under General Amherst at Louisburg, James Wolfe
had shown himself so fearless as to be even rash, and so devoted to his
duty that he seemed not to care for his own life. He was so daring and
reckless that some one tried to warn the king of England by saying,
“That young Wolfe is mad.”

“Mad, is he?” snapped King George. “Then I only hope he will bite some
others of my generals!”

Colonel Wolfe was as keen and wise as he was brave; so the king
appointed him general and commanded him to capture Quebec.

James Wolfe was as devoted to his mother as Montcalm was to his--even
more so, for Wolfe had neither wife nor child to divide his affection.
He wrote home often about his army life, his hopes, and his aims. With
all his successes and honors, General Wolfe was a very modest young man.

He sailed up the St. Lawrence with a small army--only nine thousand men.
Of these he wrote to William Pitt:

“Our troops are good, and if valor can make amends for the want of
numbers, we shall probably succeed.”

To the astonishment of Montcalm and the French army and people, the
British ships sailed up to the Isle of Orleans opposite Quebec as if
there were no dangerous rocks in the rapid river there. Wolfe had taken
some Canadian pilots on board farther down the St. Lawrence, and had
threatened to hang them if one of the ships ran upon a rock.

Still, Montcalm told the people that there could be no danger. The hated
English had only run into a trap. They could go neither upstream nor
down, and when winter came their ships would be frozen in the ice and
become an easy prey. So the French general refused to risk an attack. He
decided to play a waiting game and let time and nature fight for France.
On the day when Wolfe’s fleet arrived, a violent storm came up, and
several British ships and floats were dashed on the rocks and badly
damaged. After that, Montcalm sent out burning ships to set fire to the
English fleet and destroy it. But Wolfe’s men bravely towed the French
fire-ships out of the way, and the only men lost were the Canadian
captain in charge of the fire-ships and six of his sailors, who were
burned to death.

Next Wolfe tried to enter the country on the Quebec side of the river,
near the Falls of Montmorency, where the water falls two hundred and
fifty feet over high cliffs. These falls are so beautiful that some of
the English risked being shot by the Canadians in order to see them. The
region between the Falls of Montmorency and Quebec was so well guarded
by French and Canadians that Montcalm was sure the English could never
get behind Quebec. He sent word to the British general: “You will, no
doubt, demolish the town, but you shall never get inside of it.” Wolfe
answered back: “I will have Quebec if I stay here till the end of
November.” But every English attack failed, and even the brave young
commander became discouraged. He had never known good health, and he
was now quite ill.

When he was urged to attack the English general and capture or drive him
back, Montcalm said with a smile, “Let him amuse himself where he is. If
we drive him off he may go to some place where he can do us harm.”

But the French made another attempt to set fire to the British fleet
with seventy rafts, small boats, and schooners. Again they failed, and
the French themselves explained that this was due only to the courage of
the English sailors, who swarmed out in little boats to fight the fire
before it could do any harm to their fleet.

In August General Wolfe was ill in bed, and it was reported in the
British army that he was not likely to live long. But even while he was
so ill, the young commander’s one thought was the capture of Quebec. On
the last day of August he said to his physician that he now had a plan
to carry out if he could only live to lead his army in person. “I know
too well that you cannot cure me,” he continued, “but pray make me so
that I may be without pain for a few days, and able to do my duty. That
is all I want.”

In his letter to his mother that day he wrote:

     “The enemy puts nothing to risk, and I can’t in conscience put the
     whole army to risk. He has wisely shut himself up so that I can’t
     get at him without spilling a torrent of blood, and that perhaps to
     little or no purpose. The Marquis de Montcalm is at the head of a
     great number of bad soldiers, and I am at the head of a small
     number of good ones that wish for nothing so much as to fight him,
     but the wary old fellow avoids an action.”

Early in September Wolfe seemed himself again, though he realized that
he had only a few days to live. The French saw the British fleet pass
their fort on the way up the river at night, although the cannon of the
fort belched lightnings and bellowed thunder at them. Montcalm wondered
what the English were going to try to do, after all. “They mean to land
somewhere,” he said.

Wolfe did “mean to land somewhere,” and that somewhere was the very
place Montcalm did not dream of, a steep cliff back of the town. When
any one spoke of the danger of the capture of Quebec, the French general
would shrug and smile and say, “But the English cannot fly!”

One night when it was very dark, sixteen hundred British soldiers came
floating down the river in their ships’ boats till they came opposite
the town. Wolfe was with them in person, as he had hoped and prayed to
be. As they were slowly floating, the young commander repeated the
familiar lines by Gray,

    “The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
     And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
     Await alike the inevitable hour--
     The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

“I would rather have written those lines,” he said with deep feeling,
“than take Quebec to-morrow!”

As their boats stole in to the shore, a sentinel called out in French,
“Who goes there?”

“France,” answered a voice in French.

“What regiment?”

“The Queen’s,” again in good French, by a Scotchman who had seen service
in France.

A little later another sentryman challenged them.

“What is that?”

The Scotchman whispered, “Provision boats. _Sh!_ the English will hear

In this way they reached a point at the foot of the steep cliff.
Twenty-four men started to climb up where it seemed impossible. As they
kept on, others started up after them. Then came others, General Wolfe
among the number. In a short time quite a large company, in red coats
and Scotch kilts, had reached the top and dragged several small cannon
after them. The French felt so safe from attack that the small guard on
the Plains of Abraham, as the level top was called, was taken by
surprise and easily overcome.


_From the painting by Alonzo Chappel_]

An alarm spread. A Frenchman on horseback came dashing over to
Montcalm’s headquarters, gasping: “The English--on the Plains of

There was a great fight on top of that cliff. Wolfe was seen
here--there--everywhere! But before the British drove the French back,
the young general had fallen--shot three times.

“Shall I go for a surgeon?” asked an Englishman.

“There’s no need,” Wolfe whispered. “It’s all over with me.”

A little later a man shouted, “See how they run!”

“Who run?” repeated Wolfe, opening his eyes.

“The enemy, sir. They are giving way everywhere!”

Wolfe roused up long enough to send a brief order to the next in
command, telling him just how to go ahead and capture the fort. Then he
lay down wearily, smiling as he closed his eyes. “Now God be praised, I
shall die in peace,” he said.

The French hero of Quebec also was shot through the body in that last
short fight. “How long have I to live?” he asked.

“Not more than twelve hours,” said the surgeon in charge.

“So much the better,” said the dying Montcalm. “I am happy that I shall
not live to see the surrender of Quebec.”


Of all the great American hunters, trappers, and Indian fighters, Daniel
Boone was the leader. He was born in Pennsylvania, but while still a boy
he moved with his parents to North Carolina. Besides learning to do farm
work and help his father at the loom and the forge, the


_From the painting by Chappel_]

Boone boy found time for trapping, hunting, and learning the arts of a
woodsman. Father Boone, though of Quaker descent, encouraged this son to
go hunting and to learn the woodcraft of the Indians. When the lad was
twelve his heart was delighted by the gift of a light rifle from his
sensible father.

Of course, Daniel did not have much chance to go to school, but he
acquired mathematics enough to fit him for the business of backwoods
life and to make him a fair land surveyor. But he never had the gift of
spelling. For many years a giant beech-tree was pointed out where he had
had a bear-fight; it was a kind of monument to Daniel’s poor spelling.
In the bark, high on its trunk, he had cut these crooked letters: “D.
Boon cilled a bar on this tree in the year 1760.” Yet, although he did
not spell even his own name correctly, Daniel Boone was the best
educated of all the pioneers, for he had just the kind of knowledge that
his country needed most at that time.

When Daniel was twenty-one a call came to North Carolina for men to help
the soldiers of General Braddock, who had been sent by the king of
England to fight the French and Indians. The English wished to keep
control of the country north and south of the Ohio River. Young Boone
volunteered and was in the battle of Fort Duquesne, when Braddock was
defeated and killed, and when young Major George Washington led the
colonial troops, who fought Indian fashion and saved a small part of
Braddock’s army from being killed and scalped. This fight proved a
turning point in the life of the North Carolina soldier, for he met in
the ranks a scout named John Finley, who had been on a hunting trip in
the wild country south of the Ohio. Finley drew a picture of this wild
region that warmed the heart of Daniel Boone. One of the chief beauties
there for the born hunter was that the Indians did not inhabit the
country. They only went back and forth across it, so that they did not
kill or scare away the game.

Daniel went home to North Carolina and married a beautiful girl of
seventeen, and they kept house in a cabin the young husband had built
with his own hands. He lived there several years with his wife and
little boy, near his father’s family. But he was restless, going on
hunting trips farther and farther from home, until he had followed the
game over the mountains into the region of the Tennessee River.

The friend of the French and Indian War, John Finley, came to visit the
Boones one fall, and they made him stay all that winter. “The call of
the wild” was too strong to let Boone stay at home long after that. In
the spring he and Finley, with four other men, on six horses, with
bedding and a small cooking outfit on six packhorses, started off, early
one bright morning, on their wonderful shooting and trapping trip. They
were armed with hunting-knives, tomahawks and their trusty rifles.

When they had crossed the mountains they hunted the bear, buffalo, elk,
and deer, and trapped little fur animals with such success that they
soon had quite a fortune in furs. As they prepared to start east with
these, a band of Indians appeared on the scene, broke up their little
camp, and captured everything they had. The savages spared the white
men’s lives; but they made signs that they would kill them all if they
found them there again, and they took Boone and another man prisoners.
The rest of the party, badly frightened, took up their weary march for
home, empty-handed. Boone, and his companion, when they escaped, only
went far enough to make the Indians think they also were afraid; then
they came back and hunted alone in all that wild region.

After long, lonely months, Boone’s brother came and brought gunpowder
and supplies, and the Boones hunted and trapped there two years longer.
They started home with a rich store of furs, but some Indians came along
and robbed them again. The red men afterward killed the brother, but
Daniel, after hairbreadth escapes, reached North Carolina, safe and
sound, but poorer than when he went away.

Still, Daniel Boone was rich in wood lore and Indian craft. He gave such
attractive accounts of the beautiful country and the chances to get rich
quickly that quite a number of heroic people were persuaded to go back
with him and settle in the land. He started over the mountains again
with ten in his own family, besides neighbors and friends. No one could
have followed the way but a cunning scout like Daniel Boone, to whom
every leaf, every sound, every mark in the earth had its own secret
message. During the journey the party were attacked by Indians, and
Boone’s eldest son, a lad of seventeen, was killed.

This experience discouraged the others and they tried to induce their
leader to go back with them. He sturdily refused, saying, “There are
nearly a hundred of us. We can beat the Indians yet.” Nevertheless, it
seemed wiser to wait awhile before pushing on across the mountains; so
they went back a little way and settled for a year or two on a little
mountain river.

By this time many people in the Carolinas and Virginia had heard about
the Promised Land of Daniel Boone. He was engaged to mark the way or
“blaze the trail” through to Kentucky. This trail was afterwards
traveled so much that it was called the Wilderness Road. Taking thirty
men with him, Boone once more set out on the way to settle Kentucky.
They came to a halt in the heart of that country, and built a stockade
on the Kentucky River. This enclosure, a little longer than a square,
with a fort at each of the four corners and eight smaller cabins in the
space inside, was surrounded by a high fence of sharpened logs standing
upright. To this strong stockade the rest of the party gave the name of
Boonesboro, in honor of the Kentucky pioneer. Later, Boone returned for
his family and brought them to their new home.

Many and exciting were the adventures of the settlers. One afternoon two
girls went out canoeing on the river with the daughter of Daniel Boone.
When the three girls had passed a bend in the river and were too far
away for their shrieks to be heard at the fort, a fierce-looking Indian
sprang out from the bushes on the farther bank and pulled in their
canoe. Other savages stifled the girls’ cries and plunged with them into
the darkening forest.

Before long the absent ones were missed and the alarm was given. The
empty canoe was found, and a search party was formed, led by the fathers
of the missing girls. The hunt lasted two days and two nights. On the
morning of the third day the anxious fathers saw smoke rising from an
Indian camp. As the camp was over fifty miles from Boonesboro, the
savages had become careless. Boone and two other men crept up near the
camp and shot the two Indians guarding their three white captives. The
other red men jumped and ran for the woods. The happy fathers and their
friends returned to their anxious families at Boonesboro with the
daughters unhurt.

While Washington and his little armies were waging the War for
Independence along the eastern coast, Daniel Boone and his pioneers were
fighting just as bravely for their country. Though they did not realize
it then, the Backwoods Territory formed by far the greater part of the
future United States. Boone was the leader who remained on guard while
others did the things which are oftener described in the history of the
country. He helped the pioneers with his advice, and defended the
families of the men who went out and fought in the historic battles.

One reason why the Indians feared and revered this “White Chief” was
that Daniel Boone, as if by magic, had often escaped death at their
hands. But once his good fortune seemed to fail him. Near Boonesboro was
a salt “lick,” or a spring of salt water, where salt was left spread
around the spring like frost or a white powder on the ground. Deer,
buffalo, and other animals often came there to lick up the salt, and
pioneers often hid near by and shot them. Boone and thirty men had come
from the fort to gather a supply of salt to have on hand in case they
should be attacked by Indians. Boone and his men were surrounded and
captured; and, as this was during the War for Independence, they were
taken to Detroit to be dealt with by the British Governor Hamilton. On
the way through deep snows and zero weather they were all in danger of
starving. At a solemn council some of the Indians proposed to get rid of
their prisoners by torturing and burning them to death. There were one
hundred and twenty of the savages, and the vote stood fifty-nine for the
killing to sixty-one against. There was no doubt that the Indians’
regard for Daniel Boone saved the lives of all those white men. Though
this seemed to have been done by a single vote, it was a strange thing
that sixty-one hostile savages were willing to keep alive and feed their
prisoners at the risk of starving themselves.

At Detroit, Hamilton offered the Indians five hundred dollars if they
would let Daniel Boone go free, as he wanted to use him as a British
scout. The savages refused and took him to their chief village in the
Ohio country. Boone knew their language, but he pretended not to
understand a word they said among themselves. He seemed to be very fond
of their mode of life and acted pleased when they told him they were
going to make him a chief. He won their good will by not wincing when
they tortured him to see if he could prove himself worthy of that great

The white chief was the best marksman in all the tribe. When they let
him go off hunting by himself they counted the bullets and measured the
gunpowder they gave him. But he cut the bullets in two and used very
small charges of powder, thus saving nearly half to use when he should
find a chance to escape. Hearing the others talking of an attack they
were going to make on Boonesboro, he slipped away one morning while out
hunting, when he would not be missed till night. Not daring to shoot
game for food, nor wishing to waste time to dress and cook it, he was
nearly starved when he reached the Kentucky fort, after going one
hundred and sixty miles through a region full of hostile tribes.

The Indians must have wasted many days searching for him, as it was six
weeks before his adopted tribe and other savages arrived at Boonesboro.
Daniel Boone held the fort for ten days, with fifty white men and boys
and twenty-five women and children, against four hundred and fifty red
men. Several times the Indians set fire to the fort, but the brave
white men put out the fire at great risk to their lives. The Indians
tried to tunnel under the log fence, but the cunning white chief met and
beat them back at every point. At last the savages gave up the fight and
slunk away.

Now that so many settlers had moved to Kentucky, the old hero found that
country too crowded to suit him, so he and his family moved to a wilder
region on the Missouri River, “to find elbow room,” he said. After
hundreds of thrilling adventures and narrow escapes, the Indian hunter
died in bed, with his wife and three of his children around him. A
friend who was near him in his latter days said of Daniel Boone: “Never
was old age more green nor gray hairs more graceful.”


Soon after the beginning of the War for Independence, George Rogers
Clark, a tall, broad-shouldered, red-haired, blue-eyed young man of
twenty-four, left his home in Virginia and went over the mountains to
join the settlers in Kentucky. He had already had some adventures in the
wilderness along the Ohio River, hunting wild game and fighting wilder
Indians. Not long after Clark’s arrival, the pioneers joined together
and sent him and another man back to Virginia to see if they could have
Kentucky adopted as a county of that state. Virginia had just been
declared one of the thirteen United States. Clark and his companion were
also to try to get the legislature to grant them money enough to buy
gunpowder, which was now the greatest need of the Kentucky settlers in
fighting the Indians.

When the two young delegates, in coonskin caps and leather leggings,
arrived at the Virginia capital they found to their dismay that the
legislators of the new state had just adjourned and gone home. Patrick
Henry, the fiery orator who had shouted in that very capitol building,
“Give me liberty or give me death!” was now governor of Virginia. The
young men from Kentucky went and told him they must not go back without
that powder; so Governor Henry got them five hundred pounds, and
arranged to make it all right when the State legislature should meet
again. Clark succeeded also in having Kentucky made a county of


While the battles of the Revolution were being fought along the Atlantic
coast, there was a terrible state of affairs in the great valley of the
Ohio. Henry Hamilton, the British governor at Detroit, then in charge
of the forts and trading posts on the Wabash and Mississippi rivers, was
doing one thing that made the settlers’ blood boil wherever they heard
of it. He had hired all the Indians he could to fight on the British
side by furnishing them with scalping-knives and paying them a bounty,
or money prize, on every scalp they brought in to prove that they had
killed an American man, woman, or child. The savages went everywhere on
the warpath, murdering as many people as they could to earn as much
bounty money as possible.

In the midst of this horrible warfare a bright idea came to George
Rogers Clark, but he kept it to himself. He sent two men across the Ohio
and up the Mississippi and Wabash rivers to see what was going on at the
British trading-posts there. The word they brought back made the young
man start at once for Virginia--this time alone. He called again on
Governor Patrick Henry and on his old neighbor, Thomas Jefferson. Both
of those great patriots approved his plan and charged him on no account
to let it leak out before he was ready to act, for fear some wily Indian
or dishonest Frenchman might give warning and spoil it all.

When George Rogers Clark started again from Virginia he wore the badge
of a colonel in the Continental army; and he had the promised support of
the state. He went west by way of the Ohio River as far as what is now
Louisville. The settlement he started there owes its name to the news
which Clark heard from some men who joined him there; that the king and
the people of France had pledged money, men, and ships to help the
United States in the War for Independence. The new town was named in
honor of the French king.

The first thing the young commander had to do was to raise a company of
about two hundred men for his secret purpose. All he told his recruits
was that they were to go on a mission to put a stop to the terrible
outrages of the “British” Indians upon the settlers. It was not until
they were again floating down the Ohio River toward the Mississippi that
he told them that they were out to capture three towns on the
Mississippi and the Wabash, which, as his two friends had found out for
him, were not well guarded by the British. Most of the people in these
towns were French settlers, but were under British rule. When they had
nearly reached the place where the Ohio flows into the Mississippi, they
left their boats and marched through tangled forests and across the
plains toward Kaskaskia, the nearest of the three towns. They arrived on
the Fourth of July, 1778, the second anniversary of American
independence. They hid for a whole day in a clump of trees and bushes on
the shore of the Mississippi. After nightfall Clark detailed half his
men to surround the village, and led the rest to the fort, where he
found the French commander of the fort giving a dance by the flaring
light of several torches. Some of the women of the settlement and
several Indians were present. The young Virginian went right in and
stood there smiling--it was so different from what he had
expected!--when an Indian spied him and gave an ear-splitting warwhoop.

The dancers stopped as if shot. All stared at the tall young officer
with the keen but kindly eyes. After a moment the newcomer raised his
voice and said, “Go on with the dancing, but I wish to announce that you
are no longer subjects of King George. This fort and this place now
belong to the State of Virginia.” As he spoke, his men burst in and
took the French officers prisoner. Clark added, to the village people,

“You can go to your homes, but you must stay there. All who leave their
houses to-night will do so under pain of death. The town is guarded by
my men.”

The French settlers spent the night in fear, for Clark disarmed the
village at once. Some of their chief men came to him next day to beg him
to spare their lives. The young commander shook hands with them and told
them that they need not be afraid of any one but the British. “King
Louis of France,” he explained, “is the friend of America. He is going
to help us in our fight for liberty.”

The French were all glad to hear the good news and lost no time in
swearing to be true to the United States government.

In his record, Clark went on:

     “The scene was changed from almost dejection to that of joy in the
     extreme--the bells ringing, the church crowded, returning
     thanks--in short, every appearance of extravagant joy that could
     fill a place with almost confusion.”

To Colonel George Rogers Clark and his sturdy pioneers this easy
campaign so far seemed like a pleasure excursion. They were well
received also at Fort Cahokia, on the Mississippi across from St. Louis.
Then a French volunteer took a few men to Fort Sackville at Vincennes
and placed them on guard there. Thus the three scattered strongholds of
the British in the Northwest Territory came to belong to the new State
of Virginia.

When Governor Hamilton got word, by Indian runner, of all that had
happened, he came down from Detroit to Vincennes on the Wabash with five
hundred English and Indians in canoes. He easily retook Fort Sackville,
for Clark had not been able to spare more than half a dozen men to hold

By that time winter had come on, and the Wabash began to rise and flood
its banks. The river overflowed this part of the country so regularly
that the region was called “the drowned lands.” The flood, of course,
made it impossible for Hamilton to march his men to the Mississippi. He
announced that he would wait until spring before retaking the other
forts. So he sent away his Indian allies and ordered part of his troops
back to winter quarters at Detroit.

When the young Kentucky colonel heard of this he saw a chance to spring
another surprise. He started out with one hundred and seventy men to
travel two hundred and fifty miles through, rather than over, trails
almost impossible to pass because of snow, ice, and overflowing streams.
The worst part of all the journey was at the last, near Vincennes, where
the whole country looked like a large lake. Clark himself led the way,
feeling out the path with his feet. He placed the tall, stalwart men
among those who were smaller and weaker. Sometimes they had to wade in
the icy waters up to their necks. Only the hardiest of the pioneers
could endure long hours in such cold water. Some of the men became numb
and unconscious. Their robust companions carried them in their arms or
held them on floating logs until they came to a dry knoll like an oasis
in the desert. There the active men would rub and warm the chilled
bodies of the rest. Meantime a meal would be prepared of duck, venison,
or other game, which Clark and his more able-bodied men had been able to
shoot, dress, and cook in the ways best approved by hungry pioneers.
After they had eaten and dried their clothes, they would make up lost
sleep. Clark himself was a wonder of endurance, cheerfulness, and tact.
He started his men singing the favorite songs of the frontier, like,
“Keep Your Powder Dry,” and encouraged and animated them by every means
in his power.

It took five days to wade the last nine miles. Washington’s crossing the
Delaware in boats was a short and easy passage compared with this feat
of George Rogers Clark. But the humor of the American pioneer, who made
a joke of his hardest experiences, saved the day. Clark wrote of the
“antic little drummer-boy” who floated across a river on his drum; but
he did not tell how a tall soldier took that drummer on his shoulder and
led the way through deep waters, while the boy beat a merry march for
that shivering, laughing company.

Near Vincennes they met a man out shooting ducks. From him they learned
that Hamilton and his garrison did not dream of being attacked. By this
man Clark sent in to the people of the settlement this warning:

     “To the Inhabitants of Post Vincennes:

     “_Gentlemen_: Being now within two miles of your village with my
     army, determined to take your fort this night, and not willing to
     surprise you, I take this method to request such of you as are true
     citizens and willing to enjoy the liberty I bring you, to remain in
     your houses; and those, if any there be, that are friends to the
     king, will instantly repair to the fort, and join the _hair-buyer
     general and fight like men_! Those who are true friends of liberty
     may depend on being well treated; and I once more request them to
     keep out of the streets, for every one I find in arms on my arrival
     I shall treat as an enemy.

(Signed) G. R. CLARK.”

As a result of this notice, the Indians took to the woods and the French
villagers shut themselves in their homes. Clark and his men soon rushed
into the town and surrounded Fort Sackville. The next day a party of
“British” Indians came into town on their ponies, grinning and shaking
the scalps they had taken from a number of Kentucky settlers. These
Indians on the warpath did not know of the presence of the little
American army until some wrathful Kentuckians fell upon and killed every
one of them in plain view of Hamilton and his soldiers. The besieged
garrison fought desperately for days, but the pioneer sharpshooters with
their deadly aim forced them to surrender.

The British never attempted to take the little river fortresses again.
And when the treaty of peace was signed between the young United States
and old England, that vast Northwest Territory was safe in the hands of
the new nation. But for the great thought so heroically carried out by
George Rogers Clark and his men, that western empire--now occupied by
the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin--would at
the end of the war have belonged to England. As Clark said to Governor
Patrick Henry when he outlined his plan of capturing the three river
forts and holding all that territory for the United States of America:
“A country which is not worth defending is not worth claiming.”


William Lewis, a nephew of General Washington’s sister Betty, lived near
Thomas Jefferson’s beautiful estate in Albemarle County, Virginia. Two
years before Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, a boy was
born into the Lewis family. This baby was given his mother’s maiden
name, Meriwether.

Twenty-five years after writing the Declaration Jefferson became
President of the United States and went to live in the still unfurnished
White House in the new city of Washington. Then he chose for his
secretary Meriwether Lewis, whom he had seen grow up from boyhood. He
was such a remarkable young man that later ex-President Jefferson wrote,
in a story of the life of his former secretary:

     “When only eight years of age, he often went out in the dead of
     night alone with his dogs into the forest, to hunt the raccoon and
     opossum (which, seeking their food in the night, can then only be
     taken), plunging through the winter’s snows and frozen streams in
     pursuit of his object.

     “His talent for seeing things led him to a true knowledge of plants
     and animals of his own country. At the age of twenty, yielding to
     the ardor of youth and a passion for more dazzling pursuits, he
     engaged as a volunteer in a body of militia called out by President
     Washington. At twenty-three he was promoted to a captaincy and
     appointed paymaster of his regiment.”

In 1803, President Jefferson, acting for the United States, bought of
France, through Napoleon, all the country west of the Mississippi, which
LaSalle had claimed and named Louisiana. That vast region was sold for
fifteen million dollars, which amounted to only two and a half cents an
acre. This act is known as the Louisiana Purchase. The new country,
called Louisiana Territory, was an unknown region thousands of miles in
extent. Traders had gone up the Missouri River a few hundred miles, and
voyagers along the Pacific coast had traded with the Indians at the
mouth of the Columbia River; but no one knew much about the wide expanse
of territory lying between, or of the rise and course of either of those
great rivers. So it was decided that some one should undertake the long
and dangerous journey among savage tribes and wild beasts,


_From an old painting_]

and find out all about the region. Young Lewis had wished years before
to explore that country and had been kept from going, so now he begged
the President to let him take charge of the great hunt for facts. The
President had good reasons for consenting. He knew that Captain Lewis
was brave, firm, and persevering, and that nothing could turn him from
his purpose. He was well acquainted with the character and customs of
the Indians, and was used to the hunting life. He had carefully studied
the plants and animals of his own country. Above all, he was honest,
fair-minded, and truthful, so that whatever he might report would be
sure to be true. For these reasons the President felt no hesitation in
trusting Captain Lewis to do so important a task.

With fatherly pride ex-President Jefferson afterward wrote that young
Lewis was not certain that he could do this great work right; so he
attended a scientific school to learn more about plants, animals,
minerals, physical geography and astronomy. He wanted all he should see
to be of the highest value to his own country and to the other nations
which claimed the great tracts next to the vast territory he had been
appointed to explore. Besides, he went to a factory where firearms were
made, so as to gain the working knowledge he might need some time to
save the lives of his party.

He started down the Ohio by boat from Pittsburgh. At Louisville he
picked up his former neighbor, William Clark, brother of George Rogers
Clark. He had been a mighty hunter and Indian fighter, and had served
his country under General Anthony Wayne. Captain Lewis thought it best
that there should be two leaders, in case of any accident to himself.
The two captains were real comrades and generous commanders, keeping the
respect and friendship of their men through the many hardships of their
wanderings in the wilderness.

They started out from St. Louis in May, 1804, with thirty-two
experienced hunters, scouts, and woodsmen, on their great adventure.
They had only a barge with sails and two smaller boats to go up the
“Big Muddy,” as the Indians called the Missouri River. With the aid,
later, of a few Indian canoes they were to find their way to the
far-distant purple mountains and into the hazy regions of mystery
beyond. The President had charged his two young neighbors: “Keep in
peace and good-will with the savages,” so the wise partners and their
picked men joined in councils and powwows with the various Indian tribes
all the way up the long river. They had brought with them bright medals
which the chiefs admired. Though the red men could not read the words
printed on them, “Peace and Friendship,” they could understand the two
clasped hands, one red and the other white, under the lettering, for
that was the way they expressed the same thought in the Indian sign
language. And the big chiefs hung the shining medals around their sturdy
necks, and grasped the white captains’ hands in token of their lasting

The Indians were experts in signs. When a red scout came to invite the
white travelers to join in a council with the chief men of his tribe, he
would hold a folded blanket above his head, and, with a slow flourish,
unfold it. Then he bent forward and spread it on the ground like a
carpet, sat on it himself and motioned to the white “chiefs” to do the
same. Then he would tell them, with signs, that his chief had invited
them to come and join in a solemn “peace-smoke talk” at the Indian
lodge. The city which stands on the place of one of these friendly
powwows is called Council Bluffs.

Captains Lewis and Clark made careful records of the adventures they had
and the strange things they saw and heard as they journeyed and camped
across half the continent. Their diaries fill three thrilling volumes.
During the first summer, Captain Clark jotted down in his journal: “The
mosquitoes were so numerous that I could not keep them off my gun long
enough to take sight, and by that means missed.” One morning Captain
Lewis, who was away exploring by himself, awoke to find that he had a
huge rattlesnake for a bedfellow. Another time they all lay down to
sleep on a soft, dry sandbar, in the middle of the river. In the night
the men on watch woke them. The strangest thing was happening. Whether
they were lying on a quicksand or over an ancient volcano, their sandbar
was sinking. It was so uncanny to feel the earth giving way under them
that they trembled as they got into the boats--just in time to save
their lives!

Of all the dwellers in those western wilds the grizzly bears seemed most
to object to the white strangers who prowled about their country. Unlike
the Indians, the grizzlies attacked the explorers. The great, angry
brutes rushed up and stood on their hind legs, threatening the strangers
with wicked eyes and red, wide-open jaws, and striking with their great
clumsy paws. Some of the party brought back big bearskins as trophies of
their hairbreadth escapes. The buffalo were almost as eager to look at
their white visitors as the strangers were curious about them. A few of
the awkward beasts would follow the travelers about as if fascinated.
One night a blundering buffalo bull came into the camp, sniffing right
and left, between the rows of sleepers. The travelers waked up and tried
to teach that big bison better manners than to call on strange gentlemen
at such unseemly hours.

The captains made several copies of the records of the trip and placed
them in charge of different members of the party. One of these was
carefully written on a kind of birch-bark paper which they believed
would stand the hardest tests of time, dampness, and rough usage. They
explored for a little distance up every river flowing into the Missouri
and put down on their maps what they found out. They shot deer,
antelope, and buffalo, and noted down what they could about all the
small animals, and the birds, trees, fruits, flowers, soil, and minerals
they found.

It took the explorers nearly six months to examine sixteen hundred miles
of the Missouri Valley. They went into winter quarters among the Mandan
tribe of Indians, building a stockade like a high picket-fence of logs,
with cabins inside, near where Bismarck, North Dakota, now stands, and
naming it Fort Mandan.

If they had not had so much to do in exploring and making friends with
the redskins, the party might have moaned, like the Indian in
“Hiawatha,” “O the long and dreary winter!” But Lewis and Clark found
plenty for one and all to do. They met the chiefs of the neighboring
tribes around their council fires. They told all about the “Great
Father” in Washington who loved the red men as his own children, and
showed them a portrait of kindly, gray-haired President Jefferson. At
these love-feasts the savages rubbed cheeks with the white men. Of
course, the greasy red paint rubbed off, and the explorers must have
laughed at one another in secret, for they did look funny with their
faces all smeared and mottled. But the Indians were so in earnest that
they would have been deeply offended if a white man had dared to smile.
After a love-feast they had another kind of feast, on buffalo meat,
venison, and wild duck. Then they exchanged presents. The white men gave
the Indians beads--blue and white were the colors the red men liked
best--with knives, guns, pewter mirrors, and trinkets. And the Indians
made return presents of ponies, and of Indian corn and other
food-stuffs. Then the travelers showed the Indians how white people
danced, and the red braves gravely performed their war, peace, scalp,
and snake dances for their guests. Big Indians solemnly played a game in
which one side passed around a piece of bone while the rest tried to
guess where it was, as in the children’s game of “Button, button, who’s
got the button?”

The Mandan tribe told the strangers about the fierce Sioux, the
Shoshones, the Blackfeet, and other tribes farther west. As the great
river grew shallower and was obstructed by falls and rapids, Lewis and
Clark tried to buy Indian ponies for the trip over the mountains. At
Fort Mandan they found a French scout whom they engaged as their guide
and interpreter for the rest of the way. He had a young Indian wife,
Sacajawea, or Bird Woman, who insisted on going with him. She had a
funny little papoose, only two months old, that could not be left
behind, of course. Absurd as it seemed to take a weak woman with a
little baby on such a hard and dangerous journey, the party soon found
that they could not have gone much farther without her. She was most
useful as an interpreter. In some places, for example, Captain Clark
would say in English what he wished to tell a certain chief. One of the
other men would repeat this in French. The Indian woman’s French husband
would translate that into an Indian dialect she spoke. She would then
repeat it in another language which an Indian in the strange chief’s
party understood; and he, in turn, would translate into the dialect of
the chief to whom Captain Clark had addressed his original remark.
Roundabout as this method was, it was far better than not to be able to
talk at all and make friends of the red strangers.

The Bird Woman’s greatest service was yet to come. They had finally
discovered the source of the Missouri--a cool, clear, crystal brook,
very different from the “Big Muddy” a thousand miles below. An Irishman
in the party stood astride this narrow streamlet and called out, “Sure,
an’ I never thought to see the day I could stand a-straddle of the big
Missouri River!”

Captain Clark and other men of the party started out in different
directions to “forage for facts,” and try to find the small beginning of
the other river which the Indians said would take them down to the great
western sea. One day Lewis met a party of Shoshones and tried to
persuade them to go with him and act as guides. He needed help moving
the baggage over the mountains which are called “the Great Divide”
because they separate the rivers which flow east into the Mississippi
River from those which run west to the Pacific Ocean. Though he offered
the Shoshones presents and other favors, they still refused to go. Then
he appealed to the Indians’ curiosity by telling them that if they would
come with him he would show them a black man with curly hair, for
Captain Clark’s negro servant was one of the party; also that there was
an Indian woman of their own tribe in the white men’s camp. This was
more than the chief and several of his braves could resist, so they
returned with Lewis. To the surprise and joy of all, the Shoshone
chieftain discovered that the Bird Woman was his long-lost sister, who
had been carried away by a hostile tribe, many years before. The Bird
Woman helped her own tribe to a better understanding of the white men,
and persuaded them to furnish horses, canoes, guides, and helpers over
the Divide to the headwaters of the Snake River, which empties into the

When they were in their canoes, floating down this beautiful stream,
they laughed to think how much easier it is to go down than to pull up
against the current. But their speed greatly increased the danger. They
rushed into rapids and nearly plunged over falls. One canoe ran upon a
rock and they had a hard time rescuing from the boiling waters several
men who, strange to say, could not swim. Once Lewis and one of the men,
while climbing cliffs, slipped over the brink of a lofty precipice and
narrowly escaped being dashed to pieces on the rocks far below.

When they were floating down the Columbia they saw their first live
salmon, and the Indians cooked some for them. At one place a great rock
jutted far out into the channel, leaving it very narrow and swift, so
that the water swirled about in dangerous rapids and whirlpools. The
cliffs on each side were so high and slippery that the two captains
decided to risk “shooting” or steering a canoe through these rapids,
though several passing Indians had warned them not to attempt it.
Landing the rest of their party and their precious records, Lewis and
Clark made the trial trip and shot through without an accident. After
this they steered the other boats and men through in perfect safety.

Before long they noticed that the water was a little salt, showing them
that tidewater from the Pacific came up there. Farther down they saw
three European ships at anchor near the mouth of the river. On the 7th
of November, 1805, they reached a point from which they could see the
surf heaving and rolling in the west. The happy young captain wrote of
this first view:

     “The fog cleared off, and we enjoyed the prospect of the
     ocean--that ocean, the object of all our labors. This cheering view
     exhilarated the spirits of all the party, who were still more
     delighted on hearing the distant roar of the breakers and went on
     with great cheerfulness.”

They built seven wooden huts on the shore of the Pacific, calling this
winter camp Fort Clatsop. They made friends with the Indians of the
Columbia River region, and gathered data for the government and supplies
for their return trip. As instructed by President Jefferson, they sent
two of their number back around the world on a ship by way of China and
the Cape of Good Hope, with copies of records and information they had
thus far collected. In March, 1806, Lewis and Clark started back on
their journey of more than four thousand miles, reaching St. Louis in
six months, after many more thrilling adventures and hairbreadth
escapes. They had been gone from St. Louis two years and four months,
and during that time had traveled altogether a distance of almost eight
thousand five hundred miles. Often the party suffered terrible hardships
and were in almost constant danger from wild animals, the winter cold
and the lack of supplies and comforts. For fourteen months they were
shut off from all communication with the world and their friends were
very anxious about their safety.

Lewis and Clark had accomplished great things by their expedition. They
had made friends of the natives and learned many things about the
wonderful regions they explored. Their work helped to keep Russia and
England out of the valley of the Columbia River and to give that rich
country to the United States. The task of opening up the west, begun so
long before by brave French explorers, was now completed by those
American patriot partners, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.


Most of the great men in the new West a hundred years ago were born
poor; but few were ever as poor as little Davy Crockett. His father
seemed to be unable to get along well and was always in debt. When Davy
was still a lad he was hired out for twenty-five cents a day, but he did
not receive the pay himself; it was given to his father.

Once a drover to whom Davy’s father owed money hired Davy to help drive
cattle from the Crocketts’ log cabin in East Tennessee over the
mountains to a place in Virginia, four hundred miles away. Though Davy
had had a poor place to live, it made him homesick to stay away from
there long. He knew what that lonely man meant when he wrote, while a
stranger in a foreign land,

    “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

The drover wanted Davy to stay and work for him in another part of the
country, but he did not treat the boy very well, thinking that a
twelve-year-old lad four hundred miles from home could not help himself.
But that hard-hearted man did not know Davy Crockett. The boy found a
man who was going in a wagon to a place within a hundred miles of his
home in Tennessee. Davy planned to meet this man very early one morning,
about seven miles from where he worked.

The lad did not sleep much that night, and at four o’clock next morning
he was on his way to keep his word, though he had to wade seven miles
through the deep snow in a blinding blizzard. He met the man with the
wagon and was soon happy in being headed for home. The roads were rough
and the heavy cart jolted over logs and stumps. The boy could not stand
it, not because it was rough, but because they went so slowly. He soon
got off to walk the two or three hundred miles that remained. But after
he had hurried on foot a hundred miles or so, he saw, to his great joy,
a drover whom he recognized, for the man had stopped at his father’s log
tavern in Tennessee. The drover took him about a hundred miles on his
way, but turned off before reaching the place where Davy lived. The boy
had to walk on quite a distance farther, swimming rivers and wading
swamps. He did not mind that, for his heart was light--he was going
home! He had a happy time telling the family--Davy had seven brothers
and sisters--all about his strange journey over the mountains and back.


_From the painting by A. L. de Rose_]

The boy was soon hired to pay another of his father’s debts. When Davy
expected to be paid in money, the man gave him a note instead. But Davy
was glad to be able to help in this way. Another time he went and hired
out on purpose to pay a bill his father owed. As his wages were small,
it took a long time to pay a few dollars.

When Davy was thirteen he could not read nor write. At that time he was
working for a good Quaker neighbor. The boy asked permission to work two
days a week, just to pay his board, and spend the other days in school.
Young Crockett learned “the three R’s--Readin’, ’Ritin’,
’Rithmetic”--well enough to do the simple business of pioneer life.

Davy’s highest ambition was to own a horse and a gun. When he had a
rifle and a pony he thought he was old enough to marry a girl of
seventeen. He seems not to have thought much about having a home of his
own. The boy bridegroom took possession of a deserted log cabin. The
bride’s father gave them a cow, and the good Quaker lent the young
couple fifteen dollars to start housekeeping. Davy Crockett wrote, after
they had bought many fine things with that fifteen dollars, “We were
then fixed up pretty grand, so we thought.”

After three years the young Crocketts owned, besides the horse and gun,
two cows, two calves, two colts and two children. But now that he had a
home of his own, the young hunter was too restless to stay in it. When
that region became so thickly settled that neighbors lived within a mile
or two of one another, the nervous young pioneer moved hundreds of
miles, to a newer country where he could find “elbow room.” His devoted
wife took their little children and went with him to the rougher region
among Indians, bears, and other wild animals.

Davy Crockett found friends wherever he went. He was happy-hearted and
full of funny stories. He had a humorous way of saying things that
pleased those rough-and-ready western people. His homely yarns had a
meaning deeper than the surface, like those told twenty years later by
a young man named Abe Lincoln. Crockett’s backwoods stories and western
slang were quoted all over the country. He told of “treeing a coon”
once, and of how, as he was about to shoot, the raccoon exclaimed,
“Don’t shoot, I’ll come right down. I know I’m a gone coon!” “I’ll come
right down” and “I’m a gone coon” became popular expressions everywhere.

Crockett became a great hunter. He killed all the bears in the country
around him and had exciting times hunting big game wherever he lived. He
was wise and sensible in helping and advising his neighbors. The people
in that pioneer country elected David Crockett a justice of the peace.
They did not care whether he knew much about common law so long as he
was possessed of common sense.

When the Creeks and other Indians in the southern states went on the
warpath and murdered hundreds of people, General Jackson, the great man
of Tennessee, led thousands of white men to kill all the Indians known
to have taken part in that massacre, just as he would have tried to rid
the country of dangerous bears or snakes. When Davy Crockett got the
word he told his patient little wife, “I’m going to help fight the

“Oh, Davy,” she exclaimed, “what will become of us--hundreds of miles
from all my friends? The Indians will come and kill us while you are

But Davy Crockett could not stay. “I’ve got to go,” he said. “My country
needs me, and if we don’t fight and kill the Indians they will come and
kill us all, that’s sure.”

Even when fighting in General Jackson’s army, Davy Crockett was “a law
unto himself.” The officers decided to let him do as he liked, for he
seemed to wish to do the right thing by them all. He would be missing
for hours, and then come back with some game, big or little, to feast
the company. Food was very scarce on the long march. When they got to
fighting the Indians, Crockett knew exactly what to do. His aim was as
sure then as it was when hunting bear or deer. Many a time when a big
brave had his tomahawk raised to kill a fallen white man, the savage
suddenly dropped dead where he stood. The astonished soldier would rise,
look around, and mutter, “Davy Crockett must be somewhere around.”
Davy’s bear-hunting, sharpshooting, and Indian fighting were so
remarkable that his life was a strong proof of the saying, “Truth is
stranger than fiction.”

After General Jackson had put all the hostile savages out of the way and
made it safe to live in those western states, the people were so
grateful to Davy Crockett for his part in it that they put him up for
election to Congress. Rival candidates, who felt much more fitted to go
to Washington, made all manner of fun of Davy Crockett, and said the
people ought to be ashamed to send a man like that to represent them in
Congress. But the people said, “Davy Crockett ain’t much on
book-l’arnin’ an’ spoutin’ poetry, but neither are we. He knows our life
and just what we want. He ain’t much of a lawyer, but he’s got good
sense, an’ he can represent us better’n a dozen lawyers.”

Those people knew what they were doing. Though Davy Crockett did not
know much about books, he was not ignorant, for he was well-educated in
the real life of that western frontier. So the people elected him three
times to Congress, and he came to be loved and admired there for his
homely wisdom and his quaint way of making others understand just what
he meant. While he was a member of Congress he traveled up and down the
eastern states. Wherever he went he was cheered and feasted. In
Philadelphia, the home of American independence, the people presented
him with a beautiful rifle and a hunting-knife and tomahawk of razor
steel. He told the people he would love and cherish that rifle as he
would a daughter. Then and there he named the gun “Betsy.”

While he was away in Congress and the east, Crockett’s enemies worked
against him, and he was defeated in the fourth election. The boyish
longing for home came over him then, and he wrote:

     “In a short time I set out for my own home; yes, my own home, my
     own soil, and my own humble dwelling; my own family, my own hearts,
     my own ocean of love and affection which nothing else nor time can
     dry up. Here, like the wearied bird, let me settle down for a while
     and shut out the world.”

Yet, much as Davy Crockett loved his home, he loved his country more.
With this spirit he had also such reckless love of adventure that he
could not bear to live at ease when his country needed him.

The American settlers were having terrible times down in Texas.
Thousands of Americans in that country were struggling with the
Mexicans, to decide who should control and own the Texas territory.
General Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, had sent thousands of
soldiers into that region, captured a brave little army of Americans,
and, when these had been disarmed, coolly shot them down as if they had
been cattle in a slaughter-house.

All these things were more than Davy Crockett’s flesh and blood could
bear. In his opinion “such cattle as those Mexicans” should be treated
like bears or murderous Indians. Armed with “Betsy,” his new rifle, “to
use if need be for his country’s glory,” he was ready to leave for
Texas. He was now fifty-four years old, but his heart was young. When
his friends tried to convince him that the trouble in Texas was no
affair of his, Crockett replied that the news from those struggling
heroes down there wrung his heart. “Sorrow will make even an oyster feel
poetical,” and Davy left behind him a farewell poem, of which this is a
small part:

    “The home I forsake where my offspring arose;
     The graves I forsake where my children repose;
     The home I redeemed from the savage and wild;
     The home I have loved as a father his child;
     The corn that I planted, the fields that I cleared,
     The flocks that I raised, and the cabin I reared;
     The wife of my bosom--Farewell to ye all!
     In the land of the stranger I rise or I fall.”

When Davy Crockett arrived at San Antonio, Colonel Travis, the commander
of the Americans, had turned an old Spanish mission called the Alamo
into a fort. Santa Anna was near at hand with a large army to capture
the one hundred and eighty men who were waiting in the Alamo.

It would have made the hearts of that brave garrison glad if they could
have looked into the future far enough to see that General Sam Houston
would soon come there and drive the Mexicans out of the country; and
that with the war-cry, “Remember the Alamo!” American soldiers would
free Texas from Mexico’s cruel rule, and finally add the vast territory
of Texas, New Mexico, and California to the United States. But they only
knew that Santa Anna was near with five thousand Mexican soldiers and
that there was no hope of relief.

When Santa Anna and his army had arrived and surrounded the flimsy
Spanish convent-fort, he called on Colonel Travis to surrender. The
American answer was a cannon-shot. Then the Mexicans raised a red flag
as a signal that “no quarter” would be given; that is, that no American
could expect anything but death at their hands.

Then the battle began. The walls of the Alamo were not strong, for the
convent was not built for a fort. Yet it took that great Mexican army
eleven days to capture it. Among the Americans were thirteen backwoods
hunters like David Crockett and Colonel James Bowie, the inventor of the
famous Bowie knife then much used in frontier fighting. Bowie was ill,
but he fought like a hero, as did each of the others, to sell his life
as dearly as possible. On the last day Colonel Travis offered to let the
few men who were left go out with a white flag and ask the Mexicans to
spare their lives, but not a man would go.

At last the walls of their frail fortress were battered down and four
thousand Mexicans came rushing in. They found Crockett with only five
men left--their backs to the wall fighting to the bitter end. It is said
that Crockett was the last to fall. When beset by too many Mexicans to
reload and fire “Betsy,” he took his gun by the barrel and clubbed
several Mexicans to death before they shot him down.

The Alamo fell on the 6th of March, 1836.

When they found the journal Davy Crockett had kept during the fight,
they read his last words in it, written late the night before:

     “March 5. Pop, pop, pop! Bom, bom, bom!--throughout the day. No
     time for memorandums now. Go ahead! Liberty and independence



Eli Whitney began to make things when he was a small boy. He was called
a genius because he was so ingenious. But he was not satisfied with
doing things with his hands. He had a strong desire to make the most of
his mind. So he went to Yale College and studied philosophy. One day the
professor said he could not show a certain method to the class because
the machine he kept for the purpose was broken. He could not teach that
lesson until a new apparatus could be brought from England or France.
But the ingenious student looked at the machine, and said, “Let me fix
it.” The professor thought it could do no harm to let him try. Eli made
the fine machine work just as well as it did when it was new.

One of the bravest officers in the Revolutionary War, which ended a few
years before this time, was General Nathanael Greene. After the war
General Greene lived on a beautiful estate near Savannah, Georgia, and
died there. When young Whitney finished his college course, he was
engaged to teach a school in Savannah; but when he went down there he
found that the school was not what he expected. So he acted as tutor in
the family of General Greene’s widow.

While he was tutor, Whitney made playthings for the children, and fixed
many handy things for Mrs. Greene to use about the house. She told him
he ought to make a machine that would take the seeds out of the bolls,
or fluffy heads, of the cotton plant. Great machines had been contrived
for spinning and weaving cotton, but it took a man or a woman all day to
pick the seeds out of a pound of cotton wool.


Eli Whitney went to work to make something that would do what in those
days seemed impossible. He not only had to invent a cotton-gin, as the
new machine was called, but he was obliged to make tools for making the
machine itself, and even tools for making the other tools. But within a
short time he had invented and built a machine which worked quite well.
Still he was not satisfied. He locked himself up in a room and worked
day and night until he had built a perfect cotton-gin which would work
very fast and would clear out all the fine cotton seeds. This was in
1793, while Washington was President, and Philadelphia was the capital
of the United States.

Whitney would not let any one but Mrs. Greene and a friend named Miller
see the model, or pattern, of his cotton-gin until he could take out a
patent for it. But before he could get money enough to have his gin
patented, someone broke into his little shop and carried off his
precious model.

Then the poor inventor had to begin again and make another machine, to
prove to the officials in the Patent Office that the cotton-gin was his
invention, before they could make out for him the patent right, which
said he was the only person allowed to make and sell that machine in the
United States. Before he could get this patent he found that others were
making, selling, and trying to get a patent for machines made like the
stolen pattern.


Young Whitney’s friend Miller furnished him money, not only to secure
his patent rights and make the machines, but to go into the courts and
fight those who were trying to steal his rights as they had stolen his
model. These people made him so much trouble and expense that it took
thirteen years to beat them by lawsuits. A patent protected an inventor,
by keeping others from making and selling that machine, for only
fourteen years. When his rivals were beaten, Whitney had but one year
left in which he and his friends could sell the machine so as to pay for
all his time, labor, and expense. In that year he just made his
cotton-gin pay for itself. But he had the great satisfaction of making
the land in the southern states known as the cotton belt (because cotton
could be grown in those states) worth hundreds of millions of dollars
more than before. The raising of cotton grew to be such a great industry
that negro slavery became more and more necessary in the cotton-growing
states. So, without knowing it, Eli Whitney, by increasing the
production of cotton, increased the number of black slaves in the south,
and helped to cause the struggle for and against slavery, many years
later. But as the inventor did not know that his cotton-gin would make
slavery a curse to the United States, he was not to blame.

After his patent had run out and he could make no more money by selling
his cotton-gins, Whitney got a government contract for the making of
guns. He invented new machinery to make the parts of his guns and was
the first to have each part made by a different man according to an
exact pattern. When the parts were put together to make a complete gun
no special fitting was necessary because each piece was exactly like
every other piece for that same part. If a part of the gun was broken it
could be replaced with a new one without any difficulty. Before that
when one man made an entire gun all the parts were specially fitted and
if one got broken a new one had to be made and fitted by hand, which
took a long time and made repairs very expensive. His factories and the
homes of his workmen formed a suburb of New Haven called Whitneyville.

Eli Whitney furnished hundreds of thousands of men with the weapons they
used in putting down the slavery which his cotton-gin had been made the
innocent cause of increasing.


Robert Fulton was a Pennsylvania boy. His father, a Quaker, died when
Robert was a baby. His mother was a beautiful Irish lady, whose mind was
as lovely as her face. She taught little Robert, and he knew much that
was worth while before he began to go to school at the age of eight

In those days school teachers were often strict and harsh with young
children. Parents seemed to think their children would not learn fast
unless they were whipped or beaten with a ruler. Though little Robert
was not a bad boy in school, he sometimes seemed to be idle because he
was thinking of something else. So his strict Quaker teacher punished
him one day by striking his hands with a ferule. Robert’s boyish sense
of fairness rose up within him, and he exclaimed, “I came here, sir, to
have something beaten into my _head_--not my _hands_!”


One of the pupils brought some artist’s brushes and paints to school,
and Robert, who already showed real talent for drawing, was allowed to
use them. He made such fine pictures that the other boy gave him the
paints. This was the beginning of young Fulton’s career as a painter.
But Robert was not content with painting pictures. He was always trying
to make things, or to find ways of doing things more easily.

Robert was eleven when the American colonies went into the War for
Independence. During this war, when candles were scarce, people were
warned not to waste them in lighting up for the Fourth of July. It was
to be a saving rather than a safe and sane holiday. The Fulton boy made
up his mind to celebrate the day. So he got some gunpowder and
pasteboard and made little tubes with a stick pointing out at one end of
each. The neighbors were astonished on the night of the Fourth of July
to see these tubes, one after another, go whizzing up in the sky,
leaving a trail of sparks behind them. They said to one another, “That
Fulton boy’s a genius!” Robert had made the first skyrockets these
Americans had ever seen.

Robert Fulton afterward became acquainted with Dr. Benjamin Franklin and
learned much from the kind old inventor. When Fulton was a young man he
went to London and studied painting with Benjamin West, the greatest
American painter up to that time. He went also to France to study art.
Meantime he kept on inventing things. The French were at war with many
of the countries of Europe at that time. Fulton had always been
interested in boats; and we have seen that he knew how to use gunpowder.
He planned a new kind of boat, which he thought would help the French in
their war. It was a submarine, and was provided with torpedoes which
could be shot under water. They would have pierced the wooden sides of
the best ships built in those days. Fulton’s diving boat was shown to
the French minister of war, but the government experts could not
understand its great value in war and refused to make use of it in the
war. Shortly after, a British officer remarked that Napoleon’s loss of
Fulton’s diving boat was the most important event of the century.

Napoleon, who was then emperor of the French, wrote to one of his own

     “I have just received the project of Citizen Fulton, which you have
     sent me too late--since it may change the face of the world!”

But, harmful as Fulton’s submarine might have proven to Napoleon’s
enemies, the chance which Napoleon missed was not important compared
with the results of Robert Fulton’s next invention.

Robert Fulton had, as a lad, gone fishing with some neighbors on a
flatboat in the river. This craft they had to push along with poles,
which was very slow, hard work. Bob began at once to try to fix
something which would make the boat go faster and more easily. He
arranged paddles at the stern which worked quite well. Then he improved
this by making paddle wheels. After that he attached the wheels to an
engine. He went on working with engines and wheels until at last, while
he was in Paris, he succeeded in building a boat with a steam-engine to
make it go. He tried it on the River Seine, which flows through Paris.
The boat did go a little; but the engine was too heavy, and the watching
crowds saw Fulton’s queer boat sink to the bottom.

After he returned to America, Fulton went on improving his steamboat
until he had built one which he thought would run up the Hudson River
from New York City to Albany. He named this odd-looking craft the
_Clermont_, and invited a few of his friends to make the trial trip. A
great crowd came down to the wharf in New York City to have a little fun
watching “Fulton’s Folly,” as they called the steamboat. People laughed
at the idea that a heavy iron engine could make a boat go anywhere but
to the bottom.

Even Fulton’s friends, waiting on the deck of the queer-looking vessel,
felt foolish and looked anxious. The boat, however, started off, and the
people on the shore began to cheer. Out in the river it stopped like a
balky horse, and the cheers were turned to jeers. Fulton looked
hurriedly at the engine, found out what was the trouble, and soon fixed
it. Then the boat went puffing away up the river against the current at
the rate of six miles an hour, and the friends on deck thought they were
going very fast, as there were no railroads then and this was faster
than a sailboat could go. Fulton kept on improving his boats so that
within a few years there were steamboats on other rivers of the country.
Within a century “ocean greyhounds” were racing across the Atlantic, and
“superdreadnoughts,” the largest battleships, were being built for the
great navies of the world. Submarines were used by many nations in the
World War, but their invention, important as it was, could not well be
called the greatest event of the century. It was the sailing of
“Fulton’s Folly” which might have been said to change the face of the
world, because it was the first step on the way to the wonderful
steamships of to-day.

Just as that ingenious little boy tried to help his friends by making
their flatboat run faster so Robert Fulton, as a man, had made the
people of the world richer, happier, and better for all the ages to



Into the family of Doctor Morse, a much respected minister living on the
side of the hill on which the battle of Bunker Hill was fought, there
came a little baby boy. They named him Samuel Finley for his
great-grandfather, a president of Princeton College. To this was added
Breese, the maiden name of the boy’s mother. When this baby grew up, he
was known all over the world as S. F. B. Morse.

This Morse boy had the best kind of schooling at home. His father was a
teacher as well as a preacher, and wrote the Morse geographies which
were used in the schools of that day. Finley, as he was called at home,
showed real talent as a boy for drawing and painting. One of his first
pictures showed the Morse family around a table, with the father
teaching them from a large globe showing all the countries of the world.

Finley Morse was sent to Yale College, where he was much interested in
science and philosophy. But he kept at his drawing and coloring, and
became a successful painter. That was years before any one knew how to
take photographs; so Mr. Morse painted a great many portraits and did
such good work that he received high prices for them. Believing that the
artists of America could help one another, he influenced some of them to
organize the National Academy of the Arts of Design, and they elected
him their first president. When Lafayette, who had been a young officer
on General Washington’s staff nearly fifty years before, came to America
again as an old man, the people of America wished to have the best
portrait that could be painted of the Frenchman who had helped the
Americans in the War


for Independence. Finley Morse was chosen to paint this picture of
General Lafayette.

While Mr. Morse was in Washington at work on this picture, he received
word from his home in New Haven that his young wife had died suddenly of
heart disease. Before he could receive the letter she was buried. People
in those days traveled by stage-coach, and it took at least a week for a
letter to go from Boston to Washington. When the sorrowing father went
home to arrange for the care of his three motherless children, he spoke
of the slowness of sending word from place to place, and said he hoped
the time would come when news could be sent long distances in an
instant. But of course he had no idea then that he would have anything
to do with bringing that blessing to mankind.

When Morse was returning from one of his visits to Europe to study art,
several of his friends on the ship were talking at the table about what
someone had done by way of sending signals like lightning by means of
electricity. “If they can do that,” said Mr. Morse, “why could we not
write letters in a second or two from New York to Charleston with it?”
The others laughed at the idea.

“Why not?” kept ringing in Mr. Morse’s ears. He stayed in his stateroom
to study and think. He remembered what he had learned from his
professors in college about electricity. With such materials as he could
get together on shipboard, he made magnets and electrical appliances. By
the time the ship sailed up New York harbor, Mr. Morse had not only a
good idea of the way to go to work to make a telegraph apparatus, but he
had made up the “dot-and-dash code,” now in use in telegraphy.

The idea took such a hold on his mind that he could no longer paint
pictures. But when he talked to others about it, it all seemed
impossible--“too good to be true”--and he could not find wealthy men who
would lend money enough to enable him to prove that a message could be
sent a long distance in a moment of time by telegraph.

While Mr. Morse was waiting and struggling to start “the
electro-magnetic telegraph” he made a bare living by taking the first
photographic likenesses, called daguerreotypes, in America.

After eleven years of hard work and poverty so keen that he had to go
hungry sometimes, Mr. Morse’s friends in Congress passed a bill in the
House to furnish him government money enough for a trial line forty
miles long. But on the last day of the session, which was to end at
midnight, there were over a hundred bills ahead of his in the Senate.
Mr. Morse went home that night utterly discouraged.

In the morning Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of the Commissioner
of Patents, came to congratulate him. His bill had been passed just
before midnight and the President had signed it, giving Mr. Morse all
the money he needed to show how he could “send letters by lightning.”


The overjoyed inventor told Miss Ellsworth that when his line was all
ready she should send the first message over it.

It was decided that the trial line should be put up between Washington
and Baltimore. It was completed before the 24th of May, 1844. One end of
it was in the Capitol at Washington and the other at Baltimore. Miss
Ellsworth’s first message, flashed by S. F. B. Morse to his partner, Mr.
Vail, in Baltimore, was this text of Scripture:

    “What hath God wrought!”

The first news sent out to the whole country was that of James K. Polk’s
nomination at the Convention in Baltimore as the Democratic candidate
for President of the United States.

Mr. Morse’s struggles were now over. The telegraph became a wonderful
success and he was honored by presidents, kings, and princes with
medals, stars, crosses, and other decorations. The inventor now turned
his attention to running telegraph lines under water, and laid a cable
under New York harbor. About twenty years later another man, Cyrus W.
Field, succeeded in connecting America with Europe by laying a cable
beneath the Atlantic Ocean.

So S. F. B. Morse’s words were realized: “If I can make the telegraph
work ten miles, I can make it go around the globe.” He really made true
these words of Puck, one of Shakespeare’s fairies:

    “I’ll put a girdle round about the earth
     In forty minutes.”

Men soon began trying to talk without connecting wires. Marconi invented
the radio-telegraph in 1896 and the radio-phone followed. Now it is
possible to send wireless messages almost around the world.


When little Abraham Lincoln was three days old in Kentucky, Cyrus H.
McCormick was born in Virginia. When the McCormick boy was seven he used
to go out to a shed and watch his father working at a machine to take
the place of the scythe which was then used in cutting grain. Father
McCormick was never satisfied, the neighbors said. He was “always
fussing and trying to invent and improve something.”

After working for years to make a machine to harvest grain, Farmer
McCormick gave it up, saying that it could not be done. Meanwhile young
Cyrus, who had inherited his father’s inventive turn of mind, went to
the fields to work with the men. He found it very hard to keep up with
them, so he invented a cradle, or improved scythe, which made his work
so much easier that he was able to do as much as a grown man. When he
was twenty-two, Cyrus McCormick had invented a plough that would throw
up a furrow on whichever side the farmer desired. Two years later he
made the first self-sharpening plough.

Although the neighbors had laughed at his father for being so foolish as
to wish to invent a labor-saving machine for harvesting, and in spite of
his father’s warnings that such a thing could never be made, the idea of
a reaper haunted the young man’s mind. He began to work at it as a boy
and kept it up until he was a grown man. He had improved the cradle and
his two ploughs without much difficulty, but the reaping machine was a
hard problem. It was more difficult because the grain is often lodged,
or matted down, and it is necessary not only to cut it but to lay it in
even rows, so that it can be bound in sheaves ready for threshing.

But in 1831, the same year in which he made his double-furrow plough,
McCormick built a machine that would reap quite well. He had made every
part of it by hand. This machine had vibrating blades which cut against
each other in about the same manner as shears. It also had a reel to
draw the standing grain within reach of the moving blades, and a
platform to catch the grain as fast as it was cut. He first tried the
machine by reaping several acres of oats. The next year he harvested
seventy-five acres of wheat, to the great astonishment of the
neighboring farmers, and his father’s pride.

Cyrus McCormick was not satisfied to let well enough alone. He spent
nine more years in making his reaper do everything just right before he
was willing to sell it. The farmers admired the clever machine, but they
were not ready to buy it, because they thought it would take work from
many laborers. The money panic of 1837 occurred during this time, and
young McCormick went into the iron-smelting business to make a living
during the hard times.



_From a model_]

In 1840 he had put his reaper into more perfect shape and now began to
manufacture it, first in Cincinnati, then in Chicago. The farmers in the
western prairies could not hire laborers enough to harvest their great
fields of grain by hand. So the McCormick reaper began to be used in
that part of the country. Cyrus H. McCormick, unlike most inventors, was
a successful business man. He had to enlarge his factories. To his
harvester he kept adding devices until it gathered the grain into
sheaves, bound the sheaves with twine, and tossed them out sideways on
the ground. He made them so that they would mow grass also.

After his reapers and mowers became well known in America, the
successful inventor and manufacturer went abroad to introduce them in
Europe. He showed the machine at the first World’s Fair in London, in
1851. People in England laughed, and the London _Times_ reported that
the reaper was a “cross between a chariot, a wheelbarrow, and a flying

But when the object of their laughter was taken out harvesting in
England, the joke was on the men who had made fun of a machine they
could not understand. The newspapers then began to praise the inventor
they had ridiculed, and Cyrus H. McCormick awoke one morning and found
himself famous. He not only received the Great Medal from the World’s
Fair, but was elected an officer of the Legion of Honor in Paris, and
received the high honor of being made a member of the French Academy of

So the McCormick boy, who did not mind being laughed at and was never
content with doing less than his very best, became not only one of the
wealthiest men in America, but added many hundreds of millions of
dollars to the wealth of his country, and gave an immense benefit to the


Elias Howe was the son of a poor miller. He had to go to work when he
was six years old. He was a lame, sickly boy and could never do heavy
work. When he was old enough he went away to work in the mills. But as
he grew up, his health was still so poor that he had to go back and live
with his father.

Elias married when he was twenty-one and, within a few years, he had a
wife and three children to support. Once when he was ill, his wife took
in sewing to support their little family. As the young father lay on the
bed watching his wife slowly plying her needle, he thought what a
blessing it would be if a machine could be invented to sew much faster
and better than by hand. The idea seemed to fill his mind, for he was an
ingenious man. He said to himself, “I can’t do heavy work, but perhaps I
can invent that machine.” At first he said nothing about it to his wife,
but he watched her taking stitch after stitch for hours at a stretch.

[Illustration: ELIAS HOWE.]

When he was out of bed he made a model of the machine which he had been
planning. In this rude affair he first had the needle with an eye in the
middle. This needle was pointed at both ends, and worked sideways
through the cloth, which was held upright. The stitches on this first
machine were made like a chain, and the thread raveled out too easily.

Howe kept patiently at work until he hit upon the idea of laying the
cloth to be sewed on a small table, and making the needle go up and down
through it. He thought of a way to have the cloth pulled along as it was
sewn. But the trouble was to get a stitch that would not rip or pull
out. At last he tried a shuttle, which looped another thread with that
in the needle so that the two made a lock-stitch. When he had done this,
he had invented the sewing machine.

Like most inventors, Elias Howe was poor. He found a coal dealer named
Fisher, who agreed to keep Howe and his family, and furnish five hundred
dollars to pay for the first machines and have them patented. For this
Fisher was to receive a half interest in the patents, and the sewing
machine business afterward.

At first no one would buy the machine. Tailors thought it would throw
too many men out of work. Mr. Fisher grew tired of his bargain and the
Howes had to leave his house. There seemed to be a better chance to sell
sewing machines in England; so the family went across the sea to London.
But the inventor was again disappointed. He was glad to come back to his
father’s house in America with his sick wife and his small children.


_Photo. Brown Bros., N. Y._]

The wife died soon after their return and the inventor had to do
something to support his motherless children. He hired out to help an
engineer on one of the first railroads in the United States. While he
was working at that, a friend offered to see what he could do in
selling sewing-machines in New York City. They found that others were
making and selling machines very much like Howe’s.

Money was furnished to sue those dealers. Howe’s rights to his patents
were confirmed by the courts in 1846, and all other makers of sewing
machines were made to pay him a certain amount, called a royalty, on
every machine they sold. In this way Elias Howe soon became a very
wealthy man.

After the Civil War broke out, Howe enlisted as a private, and when the
government was slow in paying the soldiers’ wages, he lent the money
himself for the men in his company. He died before he was fifty years
old with medals and honors from many countries. He had brought a great
blessing to the women of the world, just as he had wished to do when he
lay on his bed watching his tired wife sewing, hour after hour, to
support him and their three little children.


Thomas Alva Edison was born in the little village of Milan, Ohio. His
father was a mechanic, who could turn his hand to anything. While Alva,
as they called him at home, was a small boy, the family moved to Port
Huron. Here the lad was sent to school, but he asked so many questions
that the teacher sent him home.

Then Alva’s mother, who had been a school teacher, tried to educate him.
She had great patience with his questions, but there were so many that
neither she nor his father could answer that he took to reading books.
He had the same desire to “know the why” of everything that other great
men have shown when they were boys.

Though the Edison boy had no taste for school, he was fond of reading.
When he learned how much he could find out from books, he started in,
boy-like, to read all the books in a public library. He had worried
through several great sets of volumes when he discovered that not all
books were of interest to him. After that he chose only those on
subjects he liked to read about.

His father was a poor man, and as Alva was not in school he wanted to do
his part toward making a living for the family. He began by selling
papers around home. Then he had a chance to be train boy on the old
Grand Trunk railroad between Port Huron and Detroit. His mother was
afraid to have him run on trains and be away from home, but he showed
that he could take care of himself. It was during this time that he
began taking books from the Detroit Public Library.

He was such a wide-awake, good-natured lad that the trainmen liked him.
He found that he had a good deal of time to spare; so he got some old
type from a printer and, in a corner of the baggage car, began to print
a four-page newspaper about the size of a small handkerchief, which he
named _The Grand Trunk Herald_. The trainmen and their families and
friends liked this young Edison’s news. Soon he had about five hundred
subscribers, so he made about ten dollars a week from his little paper.

Meanwhile he attended strictly to business. During the Civil War he
would find out when there had been a battle and have the telegraph
operator send word of the event ahead of the train to the towns where
the trains would stop. This brought hundreds of people down to the
stations at


train-time to learn the news of the battle. Young Edison would sell
hundreds--once he sold a thousand--newspapers at ten to twenty-five
cents apiece.

He was always trying to do something new. After his little paper became
well known, he began to buy chemicals and keep them in bottles in his
printing office in the car. One day the phosphorus jar fell off the
shelf and broke. This set fire to the floor of the car. While Alva was
putting out the fire the conductor came through. It made him so angry to
have a boy around who might burn up the train with his experiments, that
he threw out bottles, printing-press, and type, and pushed the boy after

Alva did not hold a grudge against that conductor. He only wondered that
the trainmen had stood that sort of thing so long. He saved all he could
out of the ruins and set up his printing plant in the cellar of his
father’s house. He went back to work as though nothing had happened, and
attended only to selling papers. One day while waiting on the platform
of a station he saw the station agent’s child on the tracks and an
express train coming. Throwing down his newspapers he jumped, seized the
child, and sprang across the track just in time to save its life and his

The station man wept as he seized the heroic newsboy’s hand. “I am a
poor man,” he said, “so I can’t repay you for saving my child’s life;
but I can teach you telegraphy.”

Edison was delighted. He stopped at that station several times a week
and learned very soon to send and receive messages. It is harder to take
than to send telegraph dispatches. Young Edison invented a machine which
would run more slowly than the telegraph and which gave him time to
write out the words while the “dots and dashes” of the telegraph
alphabet were clicking away. But sometimes it is impossible to attach
this appliance; so young Edison practised till he could receive the
fastest news story.

He knocked about the country, hiring out as telegraph operator, but he
was always trying to make new machines and improvements. This was more
interesting to him than telegraphing. After living in several western
cities the young telegrapher and inventor applied for a job in the
Western Union office in Boston. Here is Mr. Edison’s own account of his
first experience there:

     “I had been four days and nights on the road, and, having had very
     little sleep, I did not present a very fresh or stylish appearance.
     The manager asked me when I was ready to go to work. ‘Now,’ I
     replied. I was then told to return at 5.30 P.M., and punctually at
     that hour I entered the main room and was introduced to the night
     manager. My appearance caused much mirth, and, as I afterwards
     learned, the night operators consulted together how they might put
     up a job on the jay from the woolly West. I was assigned to New
     York No. 1 wire.

     “After waiting upwards of one hour I was told to come over to a
     certain table and take a special report for the _Boston Herald_,
     the conspirators having arranged to have one of the fastest senders
     in New York send the dispatch and ‘salt’ the new man. I sat down
     without suspecting and the New York man started slowly. I had
     perfected myself in a simple and rapid style of handwriting,
     without flourishes, which could be increased from forty-five to
     fifty-four words a minute by reducing the size of the lettering.
     This was several words faster than any other operator in the United
     States could write.

     “Soon the New York man increased his speed and I easily adapted my
     pace to his. This put my rival on his mettle, and he was soon doing
     his fastest work. At this point I happened to look up, and saw the
     operators all looking over my shoulder with their faces shining
     with fun and excitement. I knew then that they were trying to put a
     job on me, but I kept my own counsel and went on placidly with my
     work--even sharpening a pencil now and then, as an extra

     “The New York man then commenced to slur over his words, running
     them together, and sticking the signals; but I had been used to
     this style of telegraphy in taking reports and was not in the least
     discomfited. At last, when I thought the fun had gone far enough, I
     opened the key and clicked back to him: ‘Say, young man, change off
     and send with the other foot!’ This broke the New York man all up,
     and he turned the job over to another man to finish.”

Young Edison got the greatest benefit he could from the Boston Public
Library. The following year he went to New York and found work with the
Gold Reporting Telegraph Company, where he invented the “ticker” now so
common in stockbrokers’ offices. He was employed at a salary of three
hundred dollars a month. He now began to devote all his time to
inventing. In a short time he had devised and constructed several
machines and improvements for which he was offered forty thousand
dollars. This enabled him to begin inventing and manufacturing on a
large scale. He built a factory and employed three hundred men to carry
out his fast-increasing ideas and make the necessary machines and
drawings for securing his patents.

He improved the telegraph so that six messages could be sent at once
over the same wire. He made improvements in electric and other motor
cars, as well as in the telephone. He also made a delicate instrument to
measure the heat of the stars, which he called the tasimeter. Out of
more than fourteen hundred different inventions, any one of which would
have made him famous, the best known are the incandescent electric
light, the phonograph and the moving-picture machine.

Thomas A. Edison is the greatest inventor that ever lived. He has done
more for the world’s wealth, comfort, and happiness than any other man
save, perhaps, Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Yet he is one of the most modest
of men. When he was invited to a dinner at which several distinguished
men wished to pay him some of the high honors due him, he said:

“I would not sit and listen to an hour of such talk for a hundred
thousand dollars!”

When asked how he gained his great success, Mr. Edison replied:

“By not looking at the clock.”



When Benjamin Franklin was a little boy he lived in Boston, where his
father was a maker of soap and candles. Little Ben was only ten years
old when his father took him out of school and set him at work in his
shop. Dipping candles all day long is hard, disagreeable work and Ben,
who loved books, often wished that he was back in school. His uncle
Benjamin sometimes tried to cheer the lad at his tiresome toil by
telling him: “It is not so much what you do in life as how you do it.”

One day Ben’s uncle brought a Bible into the smoky soapfat room and read
from it: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand
before kings.”

Ben Franklin was a thoughtful boy. While he was bending over the little
vat of hot tallow all that long day, he could not help thinking of what
his uncle had read to him. Half smothered by the burning grease he
whispered to himself: “‘Stand before kings?’ I’m so tired, and my back
is so lame when night comes that I can hardly stand at all!”

After Ben had worked at home for two long years, his father said to him,

“My son, you have been so faithful that I cannot bear to let you dip
candles all your life. You are fit for something better. What trade
would you like to learn?”

Ben was delighted. He was so fond of books that he felt sure he would
like to learn how to make them. He answered his father’s question by
saying, “I would like to be a printer.”

When a boy went to learn a trade in those days, he had to serve as an
apprentice. That is, he was bound out by law to work for a master until
he was twenty-one. At first he received nothing for his work but his
board and clothes, and when he was nineteen or twenty he was given very
small wages. At that time James Franklin, Ben’s older brother, had a
printing office in Boston. It was soon arranged that Ben should be his
brother James’s apprentice, and work for nine years to learn the
printing business.

Ben was clever and willing. The work of a printing office boy was very
hard. More than this, James Franklin was a hard master. He sometimes
boxed Ben’s ears and treated him very unkindly. The more the young
brother tried to please, the crosser James seemed to be.

Ben bore this abuse for five years. He soon learned to set type well,
and to run the “hand”--or foot--press, which was hard even for a man to
do. James was so mean to him at home that the boy asked for just half
the money it cost his brother to feed him, so that he might board
himself. Of course, James was pleased with such a bargain.

The boy was so eager to learn that he saved half of that small sum to
buy books. He ate no meat--only bread and a few plain vegetables.
Instead of going out, as the men and the other apprentices did, to get a
good dinner, he stayed in the shop at noon to eat his dry bread and
read. Benjamin Franklin liked books, which other boys thought too dry,
even better than good things to eat.

Besides being studious, Ben was ingenious. He had the knack of finding
out what was wrong with things and making them right. When the printing
press would not work, he fixed it and set it going again. He soon wrote
pieces for his brother’s newspaper. He was so bright, willing, and
useful that every one praised him--except his brother, who, instead of
being proud of Ben, was jealous, and treated him worse than ever.

So Ben had to run away--not to sea, but to Philadelphia, where he could
get printing work to do. He quickly found a place there and worked with
a royal will. If ever a young man was “diligent in his business,” it was
Benjamin Franklin. When he was about twenty-one, he became the owner of
the largest printing business in America. He was soon editing and
publishing the best newspaper in the country. Before long he also
started “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” a sort of yearly magazine containing
Franklin’s maxims, or short, wise sayings. These have been translated
into many languages and are quoted all over the world.

Franklin founded the first library in Philadelphia, and started the
University of Pennsylvania. He kept on improving and inventing useful
things. He made printers’ type and presses better than they were before.
One night his whale-oil lamp smoked. He went to work to fix it. To do
this he had to find out what made it smoke like that. Before he finished
he had invented the best lamp in the world. With his new knowledge of
the action of drafts, he went on and invented a stove, to take the place
of the fireplace, which before this time was generally used for heating
and cooking.

Many people thought the most striking thing that Franklin did was to
make a silk kite with a steel wire projecting from the end of the long
cross-stick to fly in the clouds during a thunderstorm. When the
lightning struck the steel wire, it ran down the kite string to a big
iron key which Franklin had hung there for that purpose. He then put the
key into a big, wide-mouthed glass jar. This was like catching the
lightning in a trap. In this simple way, Benjamin Franklin proved that
lightning is nothing but electricity flashing up in the clouds.

Thus, by studying into things every chance he had, Benjamin Franklin
became not only one of the most learned men in the world, but the
greatest inventor of his time. He was honored with the title of Doctor
of Philosophy by the greatest universities in Europe. Better than this,
he was known and loved by the people all over the world.

While the War for Independence was under way, the leaders of the new
nation, called the United States of America, came to Doctor Franklin and
urged him to go to France and persuade the king and the people to help
the United States. Doctor Franklin said he would see what could be done.
When he reached Paris he received a more wonderful welcome than was ever
given to a king. “The good Doctor Franklin’s” portrait and his stove
were seen in nearly every home in France. He became “the fashion” in
Paris, “the city of fashion.” Storekeepers were selling “Franklin” hats,
“Franklin” canes, “Franklin” snuffboxes and so on. While he was
entertained by the king of France, the kings of four other nations came
to see him. Not only did he “stand before kings,” but he sat at table
with the rulers of five great nations of Europe. The French government
supplied him with money, men, and ships to help to win the independence
of the United States. Then he stayed in France and signed the treaty of
peace, which he brought home to America.

He arrived at the old wharf in Philadelphia where he had landed many
years before--a poor, hungry lad of seventeen, running away from his
cruel brother. This time he was welcomed by thousands of people,
cheering. Cannon were booming. The bells of the city were ringing. Above
them all tolled the great Liberty Bell of Independence Hall. The happy
people shouted to one another--

“Hurrah for Doctor Franklin! Hurrah for peace!”

And Benjamin Franklin told some of them about the words his uncle had
read to him when he was a boy:

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before


When George Washington was a little boy there was no such country as the
United States. The part of America where he was born was called
Virginia, but it was not a state then. It was a colony, or new country,
settled by people from England.

These colonists lived along the eastern shore. Back from the sea coast
were beautiful valleys and high hills covered with woods. That region
was called a “howling wilderness,” because there were tribes of Indians
roaming through its forests, hunting bears and wolves, war-whooping, and
killing and scalping one another. Sometimes they stole up to a lone
cabin or settlement to murder a few white people who were brave enough
to try to live there, and set fire to their little home.

The wealthy Virginia colonists built handsome houses on their large
estates. “The First Families of Virginia,” as they came to be called,
owned negroes that had been stolen from the jungles of Africa and sold
to the planters. These slaves worked in the tobacco fields and did other
work on the farms. Then there were also white men who had broken the
laws in England, and were condemned to hard labor in the fields of
Virginia instead of being shut up in the prisons of England. As most of
the labor on their farms and plantations was done by black slaves and
white convicts, the young gentlemen of the colony thought all that kind
of work was too low for them to do. So, instead of laboring to improve
their new country, as men did in other colonies, the strong young men of
Virginia led lives of ease--drinking, carousing, gambling, and horse

Little George Washington’s father was a wealthy planter who owned three
plantations. He was a member of a great English company buying up vast
tracts of land in the new country. He also owned a big interest in some
iron mines. And besides all these, he was owner and master of a ship
which took his tobacco and iron to London and brought back cargoes of
silks, furniture, tea, coffee, and many other things not then made or
raised in Virginia. Mr. Washington sometimes sailed to England on his
ship and commanded his crew. From this he was called “Captain.”

Captain Washington’s oldest son, Lawrence, fourteen years older than
George, had enlisted in the army while at school in England, and was now
a captain fighting the Spaniards under Admiral Vernon.

When George was seven years old the Washington house was burned down,
and the family had to move about fifty miles in a sailboat to another
estate named “Ferry Farm,” on the Rappahannock River. From there George
went to school, riding several miles a day on his own pony.

The schoolhouse was a mere shed in the center of a wornout tobacco
field. George did not learn much there, but he did have a great time
playing soldier. Small as he was, he was captain of the “white men.” The
other “men” were Spaniards, French, or Indians, for England was at war
with all these people most of the time. So, just then, there were three
“captains” in the Washington family--Augustine, the father, Lawrence,
the soldier son, and George, the school leader.

When George was eleven his father died, leaving the best part of his
wealth to Lawrence. By English law the most of the property went to the
eldest son; so the people of Virginia felt that this was the right thing
to do. But George’s mother thought it was all wrong, when the oldest son
of her husband’s first wife was made a rich man and her oldest son was
left a poor boy by their father’s will. As for George, he believed it
must be right because his father had willed it so. Instead of being
jealous or grudging his half-brother such good fortune, George began to
plan how to earn his own living. In this way the boy George Washington
was preparing for the great War for Independence.

To keep his little brother from going to work, Lawrence persuaded his
stepmother to let him find George a good place where he might become an
officer in the English navy. He could do so through Admiral Vernon, for
whom Lawrence had named the mansion he had built where his father’s
house had burned down. But when the time came for parting with her
oldest son and stand-by, stern, dignified Mary Washington broke down and
cried, pleading with George not to leave his mother alone in her
widowhood and poverty. It was so hard for George to give up what he
thought was his only chance in life, that his face turned white. But for
his mother’s sake, he gave it all up. Taking


off his bright “middy” uniform, he folded it away in his new sailor
chest, never to be worn again. When he saw the warship, which had been
anchored below Mount Vernon, sailing away in the morning sunshine, young
George Washington’s future looked as dark as ever it could to a
heartbroken lad of fifteen. But who would have led the colonists in
their rebellion against England if George Washington had entered the
English navy then, and had later become a British admiral instead of
commanding general of the American army?

By the time George was twenty-one his brother Lawrence was dead and, as
his father had willed it, most of the property, including “Mount
Vernon,” belonged to the oldest son of the second wife. George at once
provided for his mother against worry or want in future. But he had to
tell her that he was a man now and that his devotion to country must
come first--even before his duty to his mother.

The English governor of Virginia sent him, still little more than a boy,
as messenger of the British government to the French and Indian
commanders in the distant Ohio region. This was a lonely journey of many
hundred miles through frozen and pathless forests full of cruel savages.
George had several hairbreadth escapes, once from drowning in an icy
river, and once from being shot by a treacherous Indian guide. A great
writer says of his wonderful success on this difficult and dangerous
errand through that western wilderness: “He went in a schoolboy, he came
out the first soldier in the colonies.”

The brave youth was appointed Major Washington, and given command of a
little army to fight the French and Indians. He soon gained a victory
which was called “the first blow” in a war which lasted, in America and
Europe, more than fifty years. As a member of General Braddock’s staff
young Washington saved the remaining part of the British army at Fort

He was Colonel Washington when he was sent to the Congress which adopted
the Declaration of Independence. While there he was made
commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the War for Independence.
His faith and courage and patience endeared him so to the country that
no other man could be thought of for the first President of the United
States except the “Father of his Country.”


On the little island of Nevis, in the West Indies, lived a small boy who
had lost his mother, a bright young woman from France. His father, James
Hamilton, who was a Scotch planter, soon left the island, and the boy,
Alexander, heard little of him after that. No one knows to-day what
became of the father of Alexander Hamilton, but his grandfather was a
Scottish laird, or lord.

The next that is known of Alexander is that he was a clerk in the store
of a merchant on Santa Cruz, a smaller island, and that the lad was not
contented there. When he was twelve he wrote back to a friend in Nevis,
“I would be willing to risk my life, but not my character, to exalt my

Alexander studied with a minister of Santa Cruz who did all he could to
help the boy to improve his position in life. As Alexander was a devout
lad it is believed that the good man was trying to fit him to be a

The first thing young Hamilton did to win credit was to write a
wonderful description of a hurricane, or violent wind storm, that did
great damage on the island. The article was printed in a London
newspaper. When the people who knew the lad read his account, they could
hardly believe that one so young could have written it and several
wealthy planters decided to give such a bright boy a chance “to exalt
his station” by sending him to school in America.

Soon the little Scotch lad who could speak French and write splendid
stories in English was on his way to Boston in a British packet boat. It
is stated that on that voyage he first heard of George Washington. When
Alexander Hamilton reached Boston, he found the people up in arms
because the British government had sent soldiers to keep order in that
rebellious city; but the boy had been brought up to think that the king
and the great men of England were always right.

The little Britisher from the West Indies was first sent to a grammar
school not far from New York to prepare for college. He was so keen and
studied so hard that he was fitted to enter King’s College in New York
City at the age of sixteen. After the war against the king the name of
the college was changed from King’s to Columbia.

After a year in college, the British-bred youth went to Boston again.
This was about the time when the “Sons of Liberty” dressed up as Indians
and threw the taxed tea overboard into Boston harbor. This act was
intended to show the king and the English statesmen that the Americans
would not pay taxes when they had nothing to say in the government as
to what taxes they should pay. No doubt Alexander, while studying for
college, had learned something of the history and the spirit of the
people in America, so that he did not feel so sure that all the king did
was right. After he returned to New York, there was a great mass meeting
in “the Fields” to talk about the unjust acts of the king of England. In
the city were many Tories, loyal to the king. Young Hamilton went down
from college to hear the discussion, and it was not long before he was
answering a rich Tory in a sharp, vigorous way. The people shouted to
him to go up on the platform, and the brilliant West Indian youth of
seventeen made a strong speech that became the talk of New York City.

A little while after this the students called on the president of King’s
College. He was a Tory, and very bitter against the people who were
fighting for their rights as British subjects. He scolded the students
roundly, calling them traitors, rascals, and other hard names. This made
the young men so angry that it might have gone hard with the old
gentleman if young Hamilton had not jumped up on the porch and spoken
earnestly in his defense. The president, seeing who was speaking, and
thinking that the youth was talking against the Tories again, put his
angry red face out of an upper window and shouted: “It’s a lie! Don’t
believe a word that rogue says. He’s crazy!”

As Hamilton was really taking their foolish president’s part, this made
the students shout and laugh. The young orator, taking advantage of
this, kept on talking till the old Tory made his escape by a back way to
a British man-of-war in the river near by. After this Hamilton wrote
pamphlets and newspaper articles about the rights of the people.
Events began to happen thick and fast. Washington was elected
commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and drove the British
soldiers out of Boston. Then the Americans decided to separate from
England; so the Declaration of Independence was written and signed.
Young Hamilton was soon in the midst of the fight--in command of an
artillery company. When Washington and his ragged Continentals were
retreating from New York, he saw a youth in charge of a battery keeping
the red-coats from crossing a wide river, so that the American
commander-in-chief and his little army could keep on their way to

“Who is that young man?” asked Washington.

“That, your Excellency, is Alexander Hamilton.”

The great general was so pleased with the skill and courage of the young
officer that he soon invited him to become his _aide_ and secretary,
with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The commander-in-chief liked to
have bright young men around him. Colonel Hamilton was now twenty.
Colonel Aaron Burr was a year older. “Light-Horse Harry” Lee was about
the same age; and General Lafayette, who was added to General
Washington’s staff that summer, was only nineteen. Colonel Hamilton was
such a discreet and faithful secretary that it was said, “The pen of the
army is held by Hamilton.” In some ways Hamilton’s pen was mightier than
his sword.

At Brandywine, where Lafayette was wounded, Hamilton’s horse was shot
under him; but he kept at the head of his regiment, on foot. At Valley
Forge young Hamilton had occasion to remember the language his mother
used in talking with him when he was a baby on the island of Nevis, for
he often spoke French with young Marquis de Lafayette. The West Indian
colonel was welcome wherever


_From an old print_]

he went. He was thoughtful and kind to the sick, writing beautiful
letters home for disabled and dying soldiers.

One day when the young staff officer was hurrying to meet his chief,
Lafayette detained him. Finally breaking away from the friendly young
Frenchman, Hamilton found Washington waiting for him. The
commander-in-chief said, “Colonel Hamilton, you have kept me waiting
these ten minutes! I must tell you, sir, that you treat me with

The young _aide_ flushed scarlet and replied: “I am not conscious of it,
sir; but since you have thought it necessary to tell me so, we part.”

“Very well, sir, if it be your choice,” said Washington.

With face still aflame, Hamilton turned and left the commander-in-chief.
Within an hour the general was sorry he had been so severe with “my boy”
as he called his _aide_, and sent for him, asking that their too hasty
words might be forgotten. But even then Hamilton could not quite forgive
his chief for reproving him. So Alexander Hamilton was placed in command
of a detachment in the south, where “Light-Horse Harry” and Lafayette
were officers also. At Yorktown, the last battle in the War for
Independence, Colonel Hamilton was the first man of the American army to
mount the wall before the town, where he was quickly followed by his
devoted men. Within a very few minutes the American flag was floating
over Yorktown.

After the war, Hamilton returned to New York City to practise law. He
had married the daughter of General Schuyler, one of the richest men in
that state. Attorney Hamilton soon became successful and prosperous.
When the time came to frame the Constitution which was to bind the
thirteen states into one Union and make them true to their name, the
_United_ States, Alexander Hamilton was one of the leaders in that great

After that, his former chief was elected the first President. One of the
first acts of President Washington was to send for Alexander Hamilton to
be the first Secretary of the Treasury. The young Secretary had to
create success for the new nation, like making “bricks without straw.”
There was no national treasury. Continental money was without value, so
that when anything was considered worthless it was said to be--“not
worth a continental.”

Rival states had been jealous of one another, and as there was no head,
nothing was owned in common by the whole country--but debts. Money had
been borrowed of other nations, and of patriotic people in America, to
carry on the War for Independence. Many good people thought it would be
impossible for the new government, just starting, to pay its debts,
besides building up a new government and meeting the running expenses.
But Alexander Hamilton, still a young man, saw that a country in debt
could never be independent, and that if the government of the United
States did not pay all it owed, it could not go on, any more than a
bankrupt business which could not pay its bills. The only way to secure
credit was to pay every dollar it owed.

Hamilton devised ways and means to do all this with such success that,
in the street parades which the people arranged in different cities to
celebrate the new Constitution, wherever a float represented the
_Constitution_, the only man’s name on the ship of state was “Hamilton.”
The plans of the young Secretary of the Treasury worked like magic, and
the new government was soon on a solid foundation.

Daniel Webster, the greatest orator who ever lived in America, in
speaking of Hamilton’s work, compared it to two miracles told of in the
Bible; one, that of Moses when he drew water from a rock for the thirsty
Israelites in the wilderness; the other, the raising of a dead man to
life by Elijah. These are Webster’s words:

“Hamilton smote the rock of the national resources and abundant streams
of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of public credit,
and it sprang upon its feet.”

Alexander Hamilton continued to act as the first President’s private
secretary. It is generally believed that it was he who wrote out
Washington’s immortal “Farewell Address.” When he gave up the office of
Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton returned to the practise of law. He
had gladly given up a large income and served his country for about
one-third the amount of money he had been receiving from his law

In New York Hamilton’s chief rival was Aaron Burr, whom Washington had
disliked and allowed to retire from his military staff. But Colonel Burr
was a brilliant lawyer and a popular politician. When Thomas Jefferson
was elected President of the United States by the House of
Representatives, Aaron Burr might have been chosen President if three
men had voted the other way. Burr was bitterly disappointed, and blamed
Hamilton for his defeat. Nursing revenge in his heart Burr practised
shooting. As Hamilton continued to oppose Burr’s schemes, Burr easily
found an excuse to challenge him to fight a duel.

Dueling was still a common means of deciding questions of honor.
Hamilton’s eldest son had been killed in that way. As a man was called a
coward if he did not fight, Hamilton accepted Burr’s challenge, though
he felt sure it would mean death to himself. The place chosen for the
shooting was the spot where Hamilton’s son had lately been killed. When
the signal was given, Alexander Hamilton pointed his pistol upward and
fired into a tree to avoid hitting Burr, whose aim was as true as when
shooting at a target. Hamilton fell, face downward, and died next day,
declaring that he forgave the enemy who had planned and practised to
kill him.

This duel did more than anything else to show the wickedness of the duel
as a way of settling disputes. Aaron Burr later was accused of being a
traitor to the country which Hamilton had given his great and noble life
to place upon a firm foundation. What is true of dueling is also true of
war--the unworthy party may succeed by wicked means. But America
remembers Aaron Burr as a curse, and Alexander Hamilton as a blessing to
his country.


Thomas Jefferson was born on his father’s many-thousand-acre farm near
Charlottesville, Virginia, on the banks of River Anna, whose name was
shortened to “Rivanna.” Thomas’s father, Colonel Peter Jefferson, had
come over the sea from Wales, and his mother was Jane Randolph, a
daughter of one of the “F. F. V.’s,” or First Families of Virginia.

The Jefferson boy grew up tall, thin, awkward, freckled and red-haired.
His father, like George Washington’s, was a wealthy planter, who died
while Thomas was yet a lad. But young Jefferson’s mother was not left
poor like Washington’s; she was able to send her son to William and
Mary College. Though Thomas was always reading and studying, he was very
fond of playing the violin. Several stories are told about Jefferson and
his “fiddle,” as they called it then. One is that he played duets with
Patrick Henry; another is that he once performed with George Washington,
who played quite well on the flute.

Thomas was so eager to learn and so afraid of wasting time in college
that he took the four years’ course in two years, graduating at
nineteen. Besides the regular college branches, he studied architecture,
and after graduating devoted some time to that profession before fully
deciding to study law.

Young Jefferson was not admitted to practise law until five years after
finishing his college course. This was because he was not content merely
with “reading law,” but he read many books on other subjects and
continued his study of music.

While he was attending court at Charlottesville, his home at Shadwell
was burned to the ground. An old negro house-servant came to tell the
young master all about the fire. Lawyer Jefferson thought first of his
large library and asked if his precious books had been saved.

“No, massa,” said the old slave. “Dem books is all burnt up, but de fire
didn’t cotch your dear old fiddle. I carried dat out, myse’f, I did.”

Perhaps the best story of all that are still told of Jefferson and his
fiddle is that about two young men admirers of the young and beautiful
widow Skelton. They called on her one evening and found “Tom” Jefferson
there already. He was playing his violin while she accompanied him on
her spinet--an old-fashioned piano. They listened a moment and laughed.
“We won’t play ‘second fiddle’ or break up their duet,” said one of the
callers. So they went away without leaving their names. It was not long
before Thomas Jefferson, like George Washington, married a wealthy widow
and brought her to live on one of the largest and finest estates in old

Thomas Jefferson had planned and built a new house in place of the one
which had been burned down. He chose a high hill on the plantation, from
which, across the surrounding country, the town of Charlottesville could
be seen miles away. He named the estate “Monticello,” the Italian word
for “little mountain.”

About the time the Jeffersons were married the whole country was stirred
by the Stamp Act and other taxes demanded by England of the American
colonies. These taxes seemed unjust, because the people were not allowed
the right to send men from America to help make the laws which they had
to obey. Jefferson wrote a pamphlet on the subject, which he called “A
Summary View of the Rights of British America.” In it he said, “The God
who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”

When the people of the colonies in America were fully aroused, they sent
men to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia to decide what to do
about the unjust acts of the British king and his wrong advisers. George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Henry Lee were among the men,
called delegates, sent from “Old Virginia.”

One day in the Congress, Richard Henry Lee arose and made this motion:

     “_Resolved_, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to
     be, free and independent states.”

After discussing Lee’s resolution for three days, the


Congress voted to have a statement drawn up to send to King George the
Third, declaring that the people of the United Colonies could not stand
wrong treatment any longer. Thomas Jefferson was appointed chairman of a
committee of five to write this paper, which came to be called the
Declaration of Independence. This is one of the four greatest legal
papers ever written. In it were these lines, which will be repeated as
long as there are people living in the world who love liberty:

     “We hold these truths to be self-evident--that all men are created
     equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
     unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the
     pursuit of happiness.”

     “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our
     sacred honor.”

When the War for Independence was won, Thomas Jefferson was sent to
France to represent the young American republic. Then when Washington
was President he was called home to be Secretary of State. After
Washington died, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third President of the
United States. Instead of being fond of show in using the power given to
him by the people, Thomas Jefferson was very simple in his tastes. When
he came to be inaugurated President he did not drive through the streets
of Washington in a coach with six horses and outriders and escorts, as
other Presidents had done, but walked with a few friends from his
boarding-house to the new Capitol, then building, where he delivered his
Inaugural Address and took the oath of office.

This so-called “Jeffersonian simplicity” seemed strange then, because he
was a man of wealth and lived in a beautiful mansion. Many people did
not like his simple ways. They thought the President of the United
States should show more dignity. The minister from Great Britain was
offended because, when he came to present his respects and those of the
king of England, President Jefferson received him in a dressing-gown and
slippers and heavy yarn socks. But the sensible people thought so much
of the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence that they did not
mind what kind of stockings Thomas Jefferson wore.

While he was President, Jefferson saw that the country’s interests would
be hampered while New Orleans, near the mouth of the Mississippi River,
belonged to France. It was like having another nation own and control
the south door of the United States. So Jefferson sent men to purchase
from the French government New Orleans and the right of way out of the
Mississippi. Napoleon was then in power, and as he needed money to carry
on his war with England, he offered to sell to the United States, for
fifteen million dollars, not only New Orleans, but all the western
country which France had claimed since the days of La Salle and other
explorers. This was a great bargain and the men whom President Jefferson
had sent bought the land without waiting to hear from home. This was
called the Louisiana Purchase, and the people were more than glad to
approve what the President had done.

The expedition of Lewis and Clark was sent out by Jefferson to explore
and make maps of the Louisiana Purchase.

So Thomas Jefferson not only wrote the Declaration of Independence but
he was the means of doubling the size and wealth of the country, making
it extend from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the
Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.


About ten years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence,
two Irish linen weavers, Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson, came across the
Atlantic to a backwoods settlement in North Carolina. There the young
settlers built a cabin, but before they had lived long in their rude
little home, Andrew Jackson died, leaving his wife with two small sons,
Hugh and Robert. The young widow went to live with a sick sister a few
miles away, and when the third baby boy was born to her here, she named
him Andrew for his dead father. The house in which little Andrew Jackson
was born was so near the boundary line between North and South Carolina
that years afterwards both states claimed him as their son.

Elizabeth Jackson had to keep house for her sister to support herself
and her three little boys. Andrew was in his tenth year when the War for
Independence broke out in the north. Three years later the British came
to fight near the Jacksons’ home in the south. Hugh, the oldest, now a
lad of seventeen, fought in the battle of Stono, and died, soon after,
of heat and exhaustion.

Then the British troops came nearer, and Widow Jackson, with Robert and
Andrew, was driven from her poor home. These terrible experiences
developed in the tall, red-haired, freckled, thirteen-year-old
Scotch-Irish lad a deep hatred of the “red-coats,” as the British
soldiers were called.

As if Andrew had not already reasons enough for hating his enemies, a
squad of dragoons surprised him with his brother Robert and a cousin,
Lieutenant Thomas Crawford, at the home of the Crawfords, where they had
brought Tom, wounded and ill, for his mother’s care. After capturing
the young American “soldiers three,” the British cavalrymen broke the
Crawfords’ dishes, tore their clothing, ripped open feather beds,
insulted the frightened mother and abused the little children. Then, as
if for a crowning insult, the British officer ordered Andy to clean his
boots. The young Irish soldier drew himself up and said proudly,

“Sir, I am not a servant, but a prisoner of war, and I claim to be
treated as such.”

The angry dragoon struck at the youth’s head with his saber. Andy threw
up his hand and saved his own life by breaking the force of the stroke,
but received deep cuts on his forehead and hand. He wore the two scars
to his dying day.

Andrew’s brother Robert was commanded to perform the same low service
and refused with the same proud spirit; he also received a sword-cut on
his head which nearly killed him. The two Jackson youths were then taken
away to a prison pen at Camden, South Carolina, where American soldiers
were treated like beasts and where many were already dying of smallpox.

While the Jackson brothers were in this prison, a battle was fought near
by. Young Andrew whittled a hole through a board with an old razor, so
that he could watch the battle that was raging around them.

When the poor mother heard that her wounded sons were confined in a
filthy prison where they were exposed to smallpox, she walked forty
miles to Camden and managed to have them exchanged for some British
soldiers the Americans had captured. Begging the use of two horses, she
placed Robert on one of them, as he was very ill with smallpox. She rode
the other horse to hold her son in his saddle; and young Andrew, “weak
and wounded, sick and sore,” staggered along behind them on foot.
Robert died two days after reaching home, but Andrew recovered after a
long and severe illness.

After nursing her only remaining son back to health, that brave,
unselfish mother heard that many American soldiers were sick and dying
in the British prison ship in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.
She walked more than one hundred and fifty miles to nurse and help them
as she had nursed her own sons. She took the ship fever and died, giving
her devoted life for freedom and for country.

So Andrew Jackson, now a tall, thin youth of fourteen with a “shock of
sandy hair,” was without father, mother, brothers, money, or near
friends--but with a bitter grudge against Britain as the cause of all
his troubles and sorrows. His life was made better by his deep love of
his brave, noble mother’s memory. When he grew up and became the most
popular man in the United States, Andrew Jackson often said with a smile
of pride:

“_That_ I learned from my good old mother!”

Andrew Jackson had but few chances to go to school, and then only a few
weeks at a time. He learned the saddler’s trade and studied when he
could take the time from hard work. Little as he learned from books, he
knew more than most of his neighbors. He taught school sometimes to add
to what he earned at his trade, so that he could study law. Even North
Carolina, wild as that new country was, became too “civilized” for
Andrew Jackson, and he crossed the mountains into Tennessee and settled
at Nashville, where he began to practise law. In that rough country he
soon became a leader. In the midst of the wild life in which the chief
“sports” were horse-racing, Indian shooting, fighting duels, and the
like, young “Judge” Jackson was “hail-fellow, well met!” He soon was
elected to Congress, but he found life at the capital entirely too
“genteel” for him. When the southern Indians went on the warpath and
massacred white settlers, General Jackson and his troops from Tennessee
drove them from place to place and killed nearly all the savage
murderers. He was called the Hero of the War of 1812, because he won the
Battle of New Orleans, the greatest land victory in that war.

The people loved General Jackson because he was a bluff, warm-hearted
man, and because, whether he fought with the Indians or the British, “he
thrashed ’em every time!” He was named “Old Hickory” because he was
about as tough in fiber and as rough on the outside as the hickory tree.
He was probably the most popular hero that ever lived in America, for
more boys were named Andrew Jackson than even George Washington or
Abraham Lincoln. January eighth, the date of Jackson’s victory at New
Orleans, is still celebrated as Jackson Day. Jackson was called “the Man
of the People,” including the “rough and ready” people of the great, new
west; Jefferson represented the more educated classes; while Washington
was the man of the upper class of people. Still, Jackson stood for the
white people only. It was Abraham Lincoln who came thirty years later
and stood for all the people, black and white.

General Jackson was elected and carried to the White House by a great
wave of popularity. The people were so pleased to have him for their
President that they crowded into the White House and stood on the new
satin covered furniture in their muddy boots. They broke the china and
glassware and spilled punch on the velvet carpets. In their


_From the painting by D. M. Carter_]

frantic efforts to shake hands with their hero-president they nearly
crushed him to death.

President Jackson treated his political enemies as he did the Indians
and the English. He turned thousands of men out of office and appointed
his friends in their places. “To the victors belong the spoils,” he
said, but most people to-day believe the warlike President had the wrong
idea in treating public service as “spoils of war.” After serving his
country as President, Andrew Jackson lived at the Hermitage, a beautiful
mansion he had built near Nashville, Tennessee.

When the aged ex-President knew he was dying, he called his friends and
slaves around his bed and told them he wanted them all to meet him in
heaven. When the simple but grand old hero died, they found his dead
wife’s miniature close to his heart where he had worn it for many years.

Then they remembered that, rough and violent as he often had been with
men, he had never spoken a cross or cruel word to his wife or any of his
own household.

     “The bravest are the tenderest.”


“There were giants in those days,” a hundred years ago in the United
States of America; not giants in body, but in mind and heart. Besides
the Presidents and the generals in the War of 1812 and the Indian wars,
the greatest men in America were Webster, Clay, and Calhoun, who were in
Congress together. Daniel Webster was the man of New England, Henry
Clay of the west, and John C. Calhoun of the south.

Daniel Webster was born among the hills of New Hampshire, the ninth of
the ten children of his father. He had a huge head, a high forehead, and
great, deep, inquiring eyes. Webster once said that he did not remember
when he could not read the Bible. He learned chapter after chapter of it
by heart and remembered them all his life.


(From left to right.)

_From the painting by A. Tholey_]

Daniel’s father lived on a rocky farm in New Hampshire and had a hard
time to educate his growing family. He was called Captain Webster
because he had been an officer in the War for Independence. His children
used to delight in hearing about General Washington. After Daniel grew
to be a great man he was proud to tell how the Father of his Country had
trusted his father. Once he said,

“I should rather have it said upon my father’s tombstone that he had
guarded the person of George Washington and was worthy of such a trust,
than to have carved upon it the greatest title that the world could

Captain Webster said to his son one day after a gentleman who was riding
by had stopped to speak to him:

“Dan, that man beat me by a few votes when I ran against him for
Congress, and all because he had a better education. For that reason I
intend you shall have a good education, and I hope to see you work your
way up to Congress.”

Daniel’s next older brother’s name was Ezekiel. He was larger and
stronger than Daniel who, because of his poor health, was not expected
to do hard work on the farm. This gave Daniel time to read and improve
his mind. Yet he was not allowed to be idle; he was expected to do
“chores” and other light work about the place. One day Captain Webster
went away, after giving both boys a certain task to do while he was
gone. The lads, boy-like, spent the day having a good time, so that when
their father came home he found the work not done.

“Zeke,” he said sternly, “what have you been doing all day?”

“Nothing,” said Zeke sheepishly.

“And what have _you_ been doing, Dan?” asked Captain Webster.

“Helping Zeke!” said the younger boy with a grin.

After that when any one was idle, it was said that he was “helping

When the time came for Father Webster to send Daniel away to school, as
he had promised, the younger boy said he would not go unless Zeke could
have the same chance. So Captain Webster mortgaged the farm to raise the
money to educate both boys. Even then the sons had to stay out of school
at times to earn money to help themselves through the academy and

In mental work Daniel proved stronger and better able to earn money than
his older brother. A good story is told of Daniel’s coming, after
teaching a term of school, to see Ezekiel at college and giving his
brother one hundred dollars--nearly all he had earned, keeping only
three dollars for himself until he could earn more. That was Daniel
Webster’s best way of “helping Zeke.”

Daniel was the more brilliant of the two, so that he was through college
as soon as his brother, though he had not spent so much time there.
Their father explained one difference between the two sons:

“Ezekiel could not tell half he knew; but Daniel could tell more than he

By the time Daniel was out of college his father had become a county
judge, and was able to offer his youngest son a position as clerk of the
court at fifteen hundred dollars a year, which was a large salary for
that time and place. But Daniel refused the place, saying: “I intend to
be a lawyer myself and not to spend my life jotting down other men’s

“‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,’” said Judge Webster,
reminding his son that there were already too many lawyers for them all
to make a good living.

“There’s always room at the top,” said young Daniel Webster.

He went to Boston to study law, and his fame as attorney and orator
spread far and wide. The two sons soon paid their father’s debts, and
proud old Judge Webster soon saw his son Daniel not only in Congress,
but acknowledged to be the greatest man in the Senate.

Ezekiel Webster did not have so brilliant a career as his younger
brother, but Daniel always yielded to “Zeke’s” better judgment, even in
the greatest public affairs. Ezekiel did not live to see Daniel’s
highest success, and it was said that a new look of sadness came into
the great Webster’s face, and never left it, after hearing of “Zeke’s”
sudden death.

Although Daniel Webster was not six feet tall, his high, full, square
brow and dignified bearing made him seem a giant. Carlyle, the great
Scottish philosopher, met him in London and said: “Webster is a walking

When Daniel Webster was still a small boy on his father’s “rock-ribb’d”
farm in New Hampshire, a thin, homely youth of fifteen came into the
Court of Chancery in Richmond, Virginia. He was so awkward and bashful
and dressed so queerly that the clerks winked at one another and
snickered behind his back. That youth, whose name was Henry Clay, had
come to Richmond from a low, swampy region called “the Slashes,” where
he lived with his widowed mother. Because he used to ride a poor old
horse to a mill near his home to get a little corn ground, Henry Clay
was afterward called “the Mill Boy of the Slashes.”

Henry’s mother married again and moved out to Kentucky when it was still
a western wilderness. Young Clay stayed in Virginia to study law and was
soon admired because of his brightness. He improved his time, as well as
his appearance, so that when he was eighteen, he was a popular orator
and “the bright, particular star” of the Richmond Debating Society.

Then, instead of finding “room higher up” in his home state, Henry went
west to be near his mother, and to “grow up with the country.” The
twenty-one-year-old attorney hung out his sign in the new and growing
town of Lexington, Kentucky. He was good-natured and thoughtful. He
understood law very well for so young a man. As he was an eloquent
speaker, he became a successful attorney. He married and settled down on
a 600-acre estate which he named “Ashland.” This estate is still known
all over the world as “the home of Henry Clay.”

The year before the War of 1812 began, Henry Clay was sent to Congress
from Kentucky and was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
He raised his eloquent voice against England and bore a strong part in
supporting President Madison in carrying on the war. He was so earnest
in this that he was known as a leader of “the War Hawks.” When the war
was over, Henry Clay was one of five men sent to Europe by the United
States to arrange the terms of peace with Great Britain--a peace which
has not been broken for more than a hundred years.

Henry Clay was three times a candidate for the presidency. He had done
so much for the country that he had made enemies of many whom he had to
oppose at different times. So each time he was defeated by a man not
nearly so great or powerful, but for whom more people were willing to

While Webster and Clay were leaders in Congress there was great
excitement because that body passed a tariff law which the southern
people did not like. Many of the southern leaders, especially those of
South Carolina, said that Congress had no right to pass such a law and
that each state might declare the objectionable law null and void or of
no effect within its borders. Such action by a state was called
“nullification.” There was talk that some of the states would withdraw
from the Union if the President tried to enforce the hated law. Such
withdrawal on the part of a state was called “secession.”

About the time these mutterings of disunion were in the air, Robert Y.
Hayne, a great orator from South Carolina, made a strong speech in the
Senate of the United States, maintaining the right of his state to
“nullify” and withdraw from the Union. Daniel Webster, the champion of
the Union, delivered one of the greatest appeals ever made by any
orator, in his famous reply to Hayne. It closed with these now familiar

     “Let my last feeble and lingering glance behold the glorious ensign
     of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still
     full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their
     original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star
     obscured; bearing for its motto no such miserable question as,
     ‘What is all this worth?’ or those other words of delusion and
     folly, ‘Liberty first and Union afterwards;’ but everywhere, spread
     all over in characters of living light, blazing in all its ample
     folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, that other
     sentiment, dear to every true American heart--_Liberty and Union,
     now and forever, one and inseparable_.”

The greatest leader in the south and champion of the right of his state,
South Carolina, was John C. Calhoun. He also was an eloquent speaker. He
declared in the Senate of the United States, in speaking of the tariff
law meant to tax goods which people needed, “We look upon it as a dead
law, null and void, and will not obey it.” South Carolina nullified the
tariff law and threatened to secede from the Union.

General Andrew Jackson, the bluff old Indian fighter and hero of the War
of 1812, was then President. He declared, “The Union must and shall be
preserved!” John C. Calhoun and all others acquainted with “Old
Hickory,” as the President was nicknamed, knew that he meant just what
he said. It seemed that civil war was about to begin when Henry Clay,
who loved the Union, averted the danger by proposing a plan of
compromise which both sides could accept.


Little Abe Lincoln lived in a log cabin in Kentucky. When he was seven,
his family moved across the Ohio River into Indiana, and lived all
winter in an open shed called a “half-faced camp,” before his father
built a better cabin, with bare earth for its floor. Tom Lincoln, Abe’s
father, was “a mighty hunter.” He liked to shoot game better than the
hard work of clearing land and farming. He thought Abe was timid because
he did not like to kill harmless animals or see them suffer.

During the fourteen years Abe lived in southern Indiana, he went to
school a few weeks at a time--less than a year in all. A girl who went
to school when he did, used to tell, after she became an old woman, that
Abe’s first “composition” was against cruelty to animals. She always
remembered how he read this sentence in it: “An ant’s life is as sweet
to it as ours is to us.”

One day Abe caught several lads laughing at a turtle as it moved slowly
about, showing, as well as a dumb animal could, the misery it was in.
For there were burning coals on its back, and the biggest boy stood by
with a smoking shingle in his hand. This showed Abe how the hot coals
came upon the terrapin’s back. Snatching the shingle from the big
bully’s hand, he brushed them off and began


to paddle the cruel boy with it, calling him a cowardly fellow for
hurting a helpless turtle.

Just before Abe was twenty-one, Father Lincoln moved to newer country in
Illinois. Abe’s step-sisters were now married, so there was a big family
going west in a lumbering wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen. One of the
step-sisters took with her a pet dog. It was in the midst of winter, and
some of the rivers they had to cross were covered with ice. One day the
little dog strayed away from the wagon and failed to come back until the
Lincoln party had forded a shallow stream. After crossing, Abe, who was
then driving the oxen, saw the poor little fellow jumping about and
whining, afraid of being left behind. It was growing dark and they had
to make their camp for the night. All the others were for leaving the
“troublesome cur” to its fate. Mr. Lincoln, in telling of their moving
to Illinois, said of this:

     “But I could not endure the idea of abandoning even a dog. Pulling
     off shoes and socks, I waded across the stream and triumphantly
     returned with the shivering animal under my arm. His frantic leaps
     of joy and other evidences of a dog’s gratitude amply repaid me for
     all the exposure I had undergone.”

Many other stories are told of Abraham Lincoln’s kindness of heart. When
he was a country lawyer he had to ride from one county seat to another,
attending court. The judge and several attorneys rode from place to
place where court was to be held. Lawyer Lincoln was the most popular
man of them all, because of his good nature and his ready fund of funny

The Illinois roads were then nearly always very dusty or very muddy. One
day their party saw a hog stuck in a deep mudhole, squealing loudly. The
party rode by and laughed at the pig’s plight, but no one took the
trouble to help it out. But those despairing squeals touched the heart
of Abraham Lincoln.

He soon fell behind and galloped back to rescue the animal. Taking
several rails from the roadside fence, he used one to pry over, and
another to lift the pig out. By taking care and plenty of time, he
managed to place the end of a rail under the hog without hurting it. The
animal was now so weak that this took a long time, and Lawyer Lincoln’s
clothes were badly smeared with mud.

At last, when the pig realized that it was free, it started off toward
the farmhouse where it belonged, flopping its big ears and grunting
gratefully. Mr. Lincoln did not catch up with his friends until they had
arrived at the tavern in the next town.

When they saw his mud-plastered clothes, they all began to laugh, for
Lawyer Lincoln did not often have a new suit of clothes. When they
stopped chaffing him about helping his “dear brother” in distress,
Lincoln said soberly,

“That farmer’s children might have to go barefoot next winter if he lost
his hog.”

Another day Lincoln was missing. One of the party explained,

“I saw him an hour ago over the fence in a grove with a young bird
screaming in each hand, while he was going around hunting for their

It took a long time to find it. Lawyer Lincoln had to let one bird go
while he climbed the tree to put the other in its nest. Then he had to
climb up again to put the other bird in. So it was after dark when he
rejoined his friends at the tavern table. It seemed so absurd for a big
man like Lincoln to waste hours on two birds that had fallen out of
their nest, that even the judge scolded him. Mr. Lincoln replied with
deep feeling,

“Gentlemen, you may laugh, but I could not have slept well to-night if I
had not saved those birds. Their cries would have rung in my ears.”

The spring after he was twenty-one, Abraham Lincoln helped to build a
flatboat and went on it to New Orleans to buy stock for a store in the
village. While in the southern city with two companions, he witnessed
the sale of a mulatto girl in a slave market. The sight filled his
righteous soul with wrath. Clenching his fists, he exclaimed:

“Boys, let’s get away from this. If I ever get a chance to _hit that
thing_ (slavery) _I’ll hit it hard_!”

So Lawyer Lincoln became the champion of the negro and lifted his voice
against slavery. “This country cannot exist half slave and half free,”
he exclaimed. His ringing words in the famous debates with Senator
Douglas pleased the people of the north so much that Lincoln was elected
President next time. Within six weeks after he went to live in the White
House, the Civil War broke out.

The tender heart of President Lincoln was often hurt when the news of a
battle came to Washington with its list of killed and wounded. He tried
to keep up his own spirits and the heart of the nation by his constant
flow of stories which made the people smile through their tears. To him
it was an awful thing for his brothers in the north to be fighting and
slaying their brothers down south.

When Abraham Lincoln saw that the time was right, he gave out the
Emancipation Proclamation--his order to free four million slaves. He now
had “a chance to hit that thing,” and he did “hit it hard.”

Grand as it was to write that great paper and free all the slaves, it
was even greater to show the people of the United States and of the
whole world how to look on the bright side of the hardest trials, and
even to laugh in the face of trouble.

President Lincoln had the supreme joy of seeing the purpose of the war
accomplished. His Gettysburg Address--which every boy and girl should
know by heart--and the words from the Second Inaugural, “With malice
toward none; with charity for all,” are ever-living witnesses of the
kind heart and unselfish spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

William Cullen Bryant, one of the first of American poets, wrote these
lines for the Martyr President’s funeral:

    “O, slow to smite and swift to spare,
       Gentle and merciful and just!
     Who in the fear of God didst bear
       The sword of power, a nation’s trust.

     Pure was thy life; its bloody close
       Has placed thee with the Sons of Light,
     Among the noble hearts of those
       Who perished in the cause of Right.”


“This poor little boy has no name!” exclaimed Miss Simpson, the aunt who
was visiting the Grant family at Point Pleasant, overlooking the Ohio
River, about twenty miles east of Cincinnati.

The rest of the family agreed that it would be a shame to let the baby
go a day longer without a name.

“Let’s name him now,” said the aunt; “let’s vote on it.”

The others consented, and each wrote a preferred name on a bit of paper.
Then a hat was passed and all put their


slips in it. The aunt took out a ballot which read, “Ulysses.” This name
was on several slips, because Grandfather Grant had just been reading
the story of the siege of Troy. “Hiram” and “Albert” were on two other
ballots. At last they decided to call the baby Hiram Ulysses Grant.

When “Baby Lysses,” as the family called him, was about a year old, the
Grants moved to Georgetown, a village about ten miles farther from
Cincinnati, and ten miles back from the Ohio. Here little Ulysses grew
and began to go to school, and some of the boys called him “Hug,” from
his initials, H. U. G. Other boys, just to be funny, called him

Ulysses’ father was a tanner and leather worker. The boy did not like
tanning hides because it was dirty, bad-smelling work; but he did like
horses. Besides his tannery, Mr. Grant owned a small farm. So Ulysses,
while he was a boy, learned to plow and harrow, and to haul logs to the
creek near by, where they were floated to the sawmill to be cut up into
boards and timber. The lad found a good way to make a horse do the heavy
work of lifting or rolling logs on to the sled, so that he and the horse
could do that better than two or three men.

A visitor in Georgetown was astonished one day to see a boy dash by,
standing on the back of a horse on the run.

“Circus rider?” the stranger asked.

“No--only ‘Useless’ Grant,” was the reply.

When a circus did come to Georgetown, the Grant boy was there to see the
trained horses and the fancy riding. There was a trick pony that had
been trained not to allow a man or even a boy to stay on its back. The
manager came to the side of the ring and called out that a prize of five
dollars in gold would be given to any one who could ride the pony five
times around the ring. Some of the men and boys in the crowd shouted,
“Lyss Grant can do it. Try it! Oh, go ahead, Lyss!”

Although Ulysses was a bashful lad and hated to make a show of himself,
the prize and his desire to see what he could do were too tempting to
resist. So he went to the ringside and began to pat the pony. Then he
sprang lightly upon its back. The vicious little beast began to rear and
tear around to shake or rub the rider off, but Ulysses hung on in spite
of all its frantic efforts. He won the prize, but that five dollars was
of small value compared with the lesson he learned of trying hard and
not giving up anything he attempted.

The Grant boy’s mastery of horses and his way of finishing whatever he
started out to do made his services valuable to the neighbors. He rode
hundreds of miles on important business errands. One time he was driving
two young ladies and their baggage on a long journey where they had to
ford a swollen stream. The ladies, seeing the horses were swimming and
that the wagon was full of water, began to scream and take hold of his

“Keep quiet, please,” said Ulysses calmly. “I’ll take you through safe.”
And the Grant lad was as good as his word.

Sometimes he was asked to break a horse to trot or to pace. The wildest
animal would soon become tame and gentle and would do whatever he
wished. People thought he would be a horse-trainer or jockey, or keep a
racing stable, but Ulysses Grant, much as he enjoyed training horses,
had a mind above doing that all his life.

He was studious at school and excelled in games and sports. One day,
while playing with a neighbor boy, he batted the ball through the
window of a neighboring house. Instead of running away or pretending
that another boy had done it, Ulysses went at once and knocked at the
door of the house, and said to the lady when she came out, “I have
broken your window, but I’m going to get a pane of glass and have it put
right in.”

The woman, who had seen how it happened, told the Grant boy to go back
and play, and she would attend to the glass. In telling about the
accident, she said Ulysses was no more to blame than the other boy, and
ended her story with, “I like Lyss Grant; he’s such a square, manly
little fellow.”

The school at Georgetown was not advanced enough to suit Ulysses’
father; so the lad was sent away to a private school at Marysville. When
he came home, though he did not like the tannery, he worked faithfully
there. He told his father plainly that he would work at tanning hides
until he was twenty-one--“but not one day after that!”

“What _would_ you like to do?” his father asked.

“I’d like to be a planter, or a river merchant, or--or--get an
education,” stammered the boy.

Father Grant smiled and sent his son off to another school. He knew it
would be very wrong to expect a real man to work all his life at
something he did not like. While Ulysses was away this time, his father
obtained an appointment for his son to go to West Point. Ulysses himself
has written about this:

     “I was attending school at Ripley, only ten miles distant from
     Georgetown, but spent the Christmas holidays at home. During this
     vacation my father received a letter from the United States Senator
     from Ohio. When he read it he said to me, ‘Ulysses, I believe you
     are going to receive the appointment.’

     “‘What appointment?’ I inquired.

     “‘To West Point. I have applied for it.’

     “‘But I won’t go,’ I said.

     “He said _he_ thought I _would, and I thought so too, if he did_!”

Young Grant had such a high idea of the requirements at West Point that
he was sure he could never pass the entrance examinations. He began to
study algebra and other branches to fit him better, but he said he never
gave up hoping something would happen--even that the Military Academy
might burn down!--so he would not have to go. He was afraid he would
fail. The neighbors also thought his father was making a mistake to send
the boy to West Point when he seemed so little fitted for a soldier.
But, soon after his seventeenth birthday, the neighbors bade Ulysses
good-bye, expecting him to come home because he could not pass.

Ulysses found the West Point buildings still standing when he arrived.
He registered, and, to his surprise, was permitted to enter as a cadet.
They made a mistake in recording his name, writing it Ulysses _S_.,
instead of H. Ulysses Grant. He was tired of being called “Hug,” and, as
it seemed too much trouble to correct the error, he let it go, accepting
the S. for his middle initial. As his mother’s maiden name was Simpson,
he let them name him Ulysses Simpson Grant, in honor of the U. S.
government and his little mother. But even then the boys made fun of his
initials, “U. S.,” calling him “United States” and “Uncle Sam” Grant.
From this he was nicknamed “Sam.”

Cadet Ulysses did well enough in his studies, and developed a taste for
drawing and painting. He thought he would rather be a water-color artist
than a soldier. The idea of shooting at men was shocking to him. The
sight of blood made him sick--“Just like a girl!” the fellows said. But
there were horses at the Academy, so the young cadet managed to be quite
happy. He learned to ride like an Indian and to leap from one horse to
the back of another as he met it running in the opposite direction. The
one thing for which he was remembered by the other cadets was the great
feat of jumping York, a huge horse, over a bar. Every one was afraid the
vicious horse, if forced to clear such a height, might kill his rider.
“I can’t die but once,” remarked Cadet Grant coolly, and made the horse
jump over the bar without the least harm to horse or rider. The record
of “Grant on York,” then made, has never been beaten since.

The people of Ulysses’ home town had changed their minds about him when
he came home after two years, in his mid-course furlough, as a cadet in
full uniform with gold lace and gilt buttons. After he had been
President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant said this summer
vacation was the happiest time in his whole life, because every one was
so kind, and his family were so proud of him.

When he finished his course at the Military Academy and was graduated,
it was said of him: “There is ‘Sam’ Grant. He is a splendid fellow; a
good, honest man against whom nothing can be said, and from whom
everything may be expected.”

Lieutenant Grant went home for a while, and then entered military
service near St. Louis. Here he became acquainted with Miss Julia Dent,
who afterward became Mrs. Grant, wife of the great general and President
of the United States. He had the usual experiences of young army
officers in the southwest, with wild beasts and savage Indians. He tells
of being wakened early one morning by hearing shots near at hand.
Getting up, he learned that two men had been fighting a duel. He
afterward wrote:

     “I don’t believe I ever could have the courage to fight a duel. If
     I should do another man such a wrong as to justify him in killing
     me, I would make any reasonable amends in my power, if convinced of
     the wrong done. I place my opposition to dueling on higher grounds.
     No doubt, most of the duels have been fought _for want of moral
     courage_, on the part of those engaged, to decline.”

Lieutenant Grant’s friends thought it strange for the bravest man they
ever met to say, “I don’t believe I ever could have the courage to fight
a duel.” But some things that seemed heroic to others did not seem so to
Ulysses S. Grant. He spoke almost with scorn of mere physical courage.
It is moral courage that counts--the heroism that will face a sneer and
bravely say, “That is not right and I will not do it.” He had shown this
kind of courage as a boy, when other lads dared him to come out with
them at night and disobey his little mother.

In the Mexican War, while fighting desperately in Monterey, the
Americans ran short of powder. Who would dare to go back through the
streets of the town held by the enemy, and carry the request for more
ammunition and reinforcements? “Sam” Grant volunteered, and rode, Indian
fashion, keeping his horse between him and the Mexicans’ bullets. He
made the dangerous run with both his horse and himself unhurt, relieved
the Americans, and thus helped to save the day at Monterey.

When the Civil War broke out, Captain Grant was in business. He had
withdrawn from the army, and had been mentioned as a “military dead
beat,” working in his father’s leather store at fifty dollars a month.
He at once enlisted as a volunteer, and was sent to command a brigade in
Missouri. Within a year the name of General U. S. Grant was on every
tongue. He had won the battles of Fort Donelson and Fort Henry, and had
made his famous demand of “Unconditional Surrender,” words which meant
that they were to yield without asking any favors. After that, people
said his initials, U. S., stood for “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. He
went from one triumph to another until his enemies in the west were
beaten. Then President Lincoln called him to end the war in the east, a
thing which five northern generals before him had failed to do.

Though he won great victories for his country and became the most
successful general of his day, the greatest thing General Grant ever
said was, “Let us have peace,” When Richmond was captured he refused to
enter the city as its conqueror. When General Lee surrendered, the
northern commander treated the enemy general as a friend and a brother.

A grateful nation elected General Grant twice to the presidency of the
United States. After he left the White House, he and Mrs. Grant made a
trip around the world and became the guests of kings, queens, princes,
prime ministers, and peoples.

Wherever General Grant went, he went as a man of peace. When he visited
Prince Bismarck, “the man of blood and iron” who taught the Germans that
everything they did would be right if they only had the power to do it,
General Grant apologized for his record as a soldier. In this way, the
greatest living general became the foremost man in the world for peace.
He had learned to regard war as a duel between nations. He thought that
was quite as wrong as dueling between men, and that war was due to moral
cowardice rather than to courage.

General Grant gave this as his belief:

     “Though I have been trained as a soldier and have taken part in
     many battles, there never has been a time when, in my opinion, some
     way could not have been found to prevent the drawing of the sword.”


Robert E. Lee’s father, Colonel Henry Lee, was a hero of the
Revolutionary War. He was commander of the famous company known as
“Lee’s Legion.” He was called “Light-Horse Harry” because he was so
ready and alert with his cavalry regiment. He was such a friend of the
commander-in-chief that it was said: “General Washington loves Harry Lee
as if he were his own son.”

Therefore, when the Father of his Country died, Robert E. Lee’s father
was chosen by Congress to deliver the great oration in his memory. It
was in this brilliant address that Colonel Henry Lee used the now
familiar words describing Washington as “First in war, first in peace,
and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

Like George Washington, Robert Lee was born in Virginia, near the
Potomac River, in a huge brick house which looked like a mansion, a
castle, and a fort, all in one. When Robert was four, his father moved
to Alexandria, near the new city of Washington, to send the boy, with
his brothers and sisters, to school.

The next year the War of 1812, often called the Second War for
Independence, was declared. The father’s rank was raised at once from
Colonel to General Henry Lee. But General Lee was badly hurt while
defending a friend from a mob in Baltimore. It was very hard for a brave
man like “Light-Horse Harry” to be sent away for his health instead of
leading in another fight for his country’s liberties. The general did
not become better and, after five years of absence and longing, he
started home to die. But the end came while he was on his way, and the
Lee children were told, one sad day, that they would never see the dear
father’s face again.

Robert was now eleven, the same age as George Washington when he lost
his father. Mrs. Lee was not left so poor as Washington’s mother, but
she was an invalid.

The oldest Lee son was in Harvard College, and the next was a midshipman
in the Naval Academy at Annapolis. So Robert was left at home to take
care of his mother. He nursed her

    “With a hand as gentle as woman’s,”

yet in his strong, manly arms he carried her out to the family coach,
when she was well enough to go for a drive. No mother ever had more
reason to be proud of her tall, handsome son than the widow of Henry
Lee. Feeling that his mother could not afford to send him to college,
young Robert studied hard to enter West Point Military Academy. Because
the country was still new and settlers had to defend their homes and
lives from Indians, and also because the nations were always at war,
such boys as George Washington and Robert Lee said to themselves, “When
I’m a man I’ll be a soldier.”

When Robert was eighteen he became a West Point cadet. After he left
home his brave little mother exclaimed, “How _can_ I do without Robert?
He is both son and daughter to me!”

Cadet Lee’s life was without doubt the bravest any young man ever led at
West Point. Young Jefferson Davis, who was there at the same time, fell
off a cliff and nearly lost his life while breaking the rules of the
Academy. Young Ulysses Grant wrote home ten years later that it was
impossible to get through at West Point without demerits. But Robert E.
Lee went through the whole four years without a single “black mark”!
More than this, he did


_From the painting by J. Steeple Davis, © 1897, by The Woolfall Co_]

not drink, though young gentlemen of that day thought the serving of
wine necessary in polite society. He did not even smoke.

It was a wonder that the other cadets did not hate a young man who
seemed to feel that he must behave better than the rest of them. What
kept them all from calling him a “goody-goody boy,” a snob or a prig? It
was the love of his kind heart, which they could see shining through his
strange courage. Robert Lee fully realized that he had come to West
Point to learn, at his country’s expense, how to be a soldier, and that
the first duty of a soldier is to obey. If he had left his post and
sneaked off the Academy grounds to drink, or gamble, or break some other
rule, he would have been a deserter who, in real army life, would have
deserved to be shot. But he never acted as if he felt above the rest,
and so his fellow cadets did not sneer at Robert E. Lee. One of them
said of him afterward:

“He was the only one of all the men I have known who could laugh at the
faults and follies of others without losing their affection.”

At graduation, Lieutenant Lee was the most popular man at West Point; he
ranked second in his class, and received the highest military honor in
the course.

The physical courage of Robert E. Lee was put to the supreme test in the
Mexican War. On a dark night he found the way across a dangerous lava
field cracked in all directions by deep crevices--“without light,
without a companion or guide, where scarcely a step could be taken
without fear of death.” General Scott, then chief in command, reported
this act to be “the greatest feat of physical and moral courage
performed by any one in the campaign.” In his official statement about
the whole war, this general stated that the United States’ “success in
Mexico was largely due to the skill, valor, and courage of Robert E.
Lee, the greatest military genius in America.”

Colonel Lee’s high military reputation made it natural for President
Lincoln to offer him the highest command of the United States army when
the Civil War broke out. But Colonel Lee did not accept the honor. He
did not believe in slavery, and did not think it was right for any of
the states to secede, or leave the Union. But he was a Virginian, and he
could not bring himself to lead an army to burn his own home or to kill
or drive out his relatives, friends, and neighbors. He had heard his
father, who was once governor of the state, say with deepest feeling,
“Virginia is my country; her will I obey, no matter how sad my fate may
be.” So, when his native state went out of the Union, Robert E. Lee
resigned as colonel in the United States army and went with her.

The southern people soon made Lee their general and it became, as he
thought, his duty to defend the homes and lives of the people not only
of Virginia, but also of the other states of the south.

General Lee soon proved that he was, as General Scott had said, “the
greatest military genius in America.” With smaller armies and poorer
supplies and weapons than those of the north, he gained great
victories--the second battle of Manassas, or Bull Run, Fredericksburg,
and Chancellorsville. He defeated five northern generals, one after
another. It took Grant, the sixth general sent against him, a whole year
to “hammer” and surround Lee’s ragged, starving heroes, and capture them
at last, when they were almost as helpless as a little flock of shorn
sheep. And so noble and dignified was his character that he was honored
and admired by north and south alike.

The motto of West Point Military Academy is “Duty, Honor, Country.” All
through his life, in all that he did, Robert E. Lee showed that he
respected Honor, loved his Country, and almost worshiped Duty. He
expressed this thought when he wrote, “Duty is the sublimest word in our


After the War of Independence, there lived in a cabin among the
mountains of Tennessee a Spaniard named Farragut, who had come to
America to help the people in their fight for liberty. He had married a
brave little Scotch woman. While her husband was away one day several
skulking Indians hung around and watched for a chance to get into the
cabin. The mother had seen them and sent her two little boys up under
the roof, while she stood inside the door for hours, with an ax in her
small hands, to kill the first Indian who tried to enter. After a long
watch, the red men stole away, as much afraid of the fire in that little
woman’s eye as of the ax in her hands. One of the two boys who crouched
in almost breathless silence up in the cabin loft was Davy Farragut.

When this lad was seven his father was appointed sailing master in the
navy, and moved with his family to live by the large lake near New
Orleans. When off duty, Farragut took his boys sailing on the lake. One
day when he was out fishing he found an old man lying in the bottom of a
rowboat, alone and unconscious. Farragut took the sick man home for his
wife to nurse. In a few days the stranger died of yellow fever. The good
wife caught the dread disease and died, too. The poor father was left to
care for five motherless children under ten years of age.

It turned out that Captain David Porter, who was then in command of the
naval station at New Orleans, was the dead man’s son. In gratitude for
the care of his dying father, Captain Porter offered to adopt one of the
Farragut boys. David was chosen, and the naval officer took the sturdy
little lad to his home in New Orleans, and afterward to Washington,
where he was sent to a good school.

In Washington the Secretary of the Navy saw what a bright, honest,
pleasant-faced lad Davy Farragut was and, when he was ten years old,
appointed him a midshipman on his adopted father’s ship. This was early
in the War of 1812. After Porter’s warship, the _Essex_, had captured a
British ship, the _Alert_, Middy Davy, lying awake in his hammock, saw a
sailor of the _Alert_ standing near, with a cocked pistol in his hand.
Davy pretended to be asleep and the man passed on. The boy got up, crept
into Captain Porter’s cabin, and whispered to him what he had just seen.

“Fire! Fire!” shouted the captain, and the sailors of the _Essex_ came
scrambling up on deck. Porter ordered them down to capture the
imprisoned sailors of the _Alert_, who were preparing to kill the
American crew and take the ship to England. Before any damage was done,
the astonished Britishers were all in irons, thanks to the wide-awake
shrewdness of eleven-year-old Midshipman Farragut.

Captain Porter was ordered to sail around South America into the Pacific
Ocean to warn American crews that there was a war going on between the
United States and Great Britain. He was also to capture British ships as
prizes. Over one of these ships he placed in command David
Farragut--then a boy of twelve. When Davy ordered the British sailors to
“fill away the maintopsail,” the former captain of the ship was angry.
It was bad enough to be captured and have his ship taken into a South
American port as a prize; but to have his crew ordered about by an
American boy of twelve seemed too much for an English captain to bear.

Shouting that he would shoot any Englishman who dared to touch a rope
without his orders, the former captain went below to get his pistols to
carry out his threat. Captain Farragut sent one of his men to follow the
swearing captain down and tell him that if he came back on deck with a
pistol in his hand he would himself be shot and pitched overboard. The
man decided not to come back. Young David brought the British ship into
port and reported to his proud foster-father what he had done.

The _Essex_ fought a great battle with two British warships, and
Farragut himself has left a description of the sights in his first great
sea fight:

     “I shall never forget the horrid impression made upon me at the
     sight of the first man I had ever seen killed. It staggered me at
     first, but they soon began to fall so fast that it all appeared
     like a dream, and produced no effect on my nerves.

     “Some gun-primers [for loading the cannon] were wanted and I was
     sent after them. In going below, while I was on the ward-room
     ladder, the captain of the gun directly opposite the hatchway was
     struck full in the face by an eighteen-pound shot, and fell back on
     me. We tumbled down the hatch together.

     “I lay for some moments stunned by the blow, but soon recovered
     consciousness enough to rush up on deck. The captain, seeing me
     covered with blood, asked if I were wounded; to which I replied, ‘I
     believe not, sir.’

     “‘Then,’ said he, ‘where are the primers?’ This brought me to my
     senses, and I ran below again and brought up the primers.”

After being powder boy and doing all sorts of service on a man-of-war,
the little middy was taken prisoner, but was released at the close of
the war.

When Farragut was fifteen he went on a cruise in the _Washington_ to
watch for pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. While anchored off Naples he
witnessed an eruption of the great volcano, Vesuvius. A naval chaplain,
then American consul at Tunis, begged to have the Farragut youth stay
with him, and study French, Italian, literature, and mathematics. While
on a horseback journey to the Desert of Sahara, David suffered a
sunstroke, which hurt his eyes so that he was unable to read much

On his return home, Farragut passed the necessary examinations and at
eighteen received the rank of lieutenant in the navy. Then he went to
New Orleans and found that his father was dead and that his own sister
did not know him. Here he was exposed to yellow fever and was very ill
of it in a hospital after his return to Washington.

Lieutenant Farragut was married, soon after his recovery, and spent most
of his time on shore until the breaking out of the Civil War. At that
time he was living in Norfolk, Virginia. He did not, however, approve of
the act of Virginia in withdrawing from the Union. People told him, that
if he thought that, it would not be safe for him to live in Virginia. He
replied coolly, “Well then, I can live somewhere else”; and he and his
wife packed up and went to live on the Hudson River above New York City.

Though born and bred in the South, Farragut was a Union man and offered
his services to his country. He was appointed to take New Orleans. It
was the largest city in the South, and an important seaport. Its capture
would cut short the war by preventing the South from selling cotton.
Also, it would open the Mississippi, so that the western states could
have that outlet to the sea. It was a dangerous undertaking, but
Farragut was glad of the chance to risk his life for his country. He
said as he started out, “If I die in the attempt, it will only be what
every officer has to expect.”

Captain Farragut now commanded a fleet of forty-eight ships, carrying
over two hundred guns. In six days and nights his mortars threw nearly
six thousand shells on the two forts barring his way, one on each side
of the Mississippi. The enemy sent five blazing rafts to set fire to his
fleet, but Farragut’s men either dodged the burning craft or towed them
out of the way. One heroic deed was the cutting, under fire from the
forts, of the great chain which had been stretched across the
Mississippi to keep the ships from coming up to New Orleans.

This was one of the greatest naval battles in the war; for, with a few
wooden ships, Farragut ran against the current and past the two forts,
meeting fire-rafts and fighting with a large fleet above the forts. Two
of the enemy’s warships were ironclads. He finally captured the city of
New Orleans after great loss of life on both sides. The next day the
happy victor wrote home:


     “I am so agitated that I can scarcely write, and shall only tell
     you that it pleased Almighty God to preserve my life through a fire
     such as the world has scarcely known. He has permitted me to make a
     name for my dear boy’s inheritance, as well as for my comfort and
     that of my family.”

“The Hero of New Orleans” was soon made Rear Admiral for this, splendid
service to the country. But there was to be still another test of the
courage of David Glasgow Farragut. It came two years later in Mobile
Bay, which he entered with fourteen ships and four monitors, or small
ironclad boats. He saw his monitor, the _Tecumseh_, sinking with all on


“What’s the trouble?” came through his speaking trumpet to the men on
the monitor nearest the sinking craft.

“Torpedoes!” was the reply.

What was to be done? Should he risk the whole fleet in a harbor filled
with lurking mines? The good admiral sought help from above. “O God,” he
whispered, “direct me what to do.”

Farragut heard the answer in his heart. Without an instant’s delay he
shouted to the captain of his own ship, the _Hartford_, “Go ahead! give
her all the steam you’ve got.”

The _Hartford_ took the lead and became the chief target of forts and
batteries on shore as well as of the Southern gunboats in the harbor. As
if that was not dangerous enough, the heroic admiral took his place in
plain sight high above the deck, where he could better direct the
battle; and so that he could still keep his commanding place if struck
by a cannon-ball, his devoted men lashed him to the rigging.

That is one of the heroic pictures in the history of patriotism: Admiral
Farragut tied up in the rigging of his flagship and borne amid the
whizzing of cannon-balls and the bursting of shells, carrying the
Stars-and-Stripes through the fire and smoke of battle to one of the
grandest victories ever won in naval warfare.


Theodore Roosevelt’s father was a well-to-do business man in New York
City. His forefathers were Dutchmen from Holland, who had come over when
the country was new. The Roosevelts had been wealthy and well known for
two hundred years. Though Theodore’s


father was able to give his family everything they needed or desired, he
could not give this little son health and strength, for the baby was
born frail and weakly. He suffered so with asthma that his anxious
parents feared he could not live long. One dark night when Baby Teddy
was gasping for breath, they took him driving fifteen miles into the
country where he could have pure air.

While yet in his childhood, Theodore Roosevelt began the long, sturdy
fight to conquer his weak body and “make the most of himself.” He was a
“self-made man” even more than if he had been born poor but healthy in a
log cabin. As a tiny child he tried to do what he saw well, strong boys
do. As soon as he could run about the house he would climb up and
perform such daring feats that the neighbors were often frightened. His
father fitted up a gymnasium on a porch for him so that he could have
fresh air while taking his health exercises.

It was a long, hard fight, but young Theodore’s brave spirit won the
victory over his frail body. While his body grew big and strong his
brave heart seemed to grow larger too, and he showed a broad, unselfish
spirit. Thus his big, warm, strong heart conquered his poor, puny body.

Almost in babyhood Teddy began to read. His sister tells how he came to
her one day, still wearing a stiff white dress and his curly hair long,
dragging a book that was too big to carry in his little arms, to ask her
what “foraging ants” were. While learning to walk, ride horseback, and
swim, Theodore Roosevelt was reading books and finding out all he could
about birds, butterflies, and other insects by watching and catching
them. He and several other small boys at Oyster Bay, where the family
spent many summers, collected and mounted specimens, and started what
the boys called the “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History.”

While preparing a butterfly for his “museum,” Theodore happened to look
at it through a small glass and found that he could not see as well as
other boys. His father had spectacles fitted to his eyes, and everything
looked so much clearer and brighter that he went about laughing and
shouting “I can _see_!--_I can see!_”

The year when Theodore was eleven, the family traveled in Europe and
Egypt. During their trip up the Nile he made quite a collection of the
bright birds of that country for his “museum.” His brother scolded
because Theodore kept live specimens and mounting materials in the
washbowls and pitchers in the rooms of the hotels where they were
staying. The boys lived and studied in Germany long enough for Theodore
to learn to speak German quite well.

At sixteen, young Roosevelt went to Harvard University. He was a good
student, yet he spent much of his time in athletic sports. He would tie
his glasses tight to his head and box with the biggest fellows he could
find who would fight with him. Of these “misfit matches” the other
students said, “Roosevelt has a bad handicap, but what he lacks in size
and strength he makes up in pluck.”

He spent his college vacations in the backwoods of Maine, and when he
was graduated, at twenty-one, he had not only shown himself to be a good
student, but he had gained much in health and strength. Also he read
much more than was required in his college studies, and had begun to
write his first big book, “The History of the Naval War of 1812.”

After graduation, Theodore began to study law, and decided to go into
politics. Many of the ward headquarters of New York City were in
saloons. As he went about with the ward workers, they expected their
“silk stocking” candidate, as they called young Roosevelt, to favor the
saloons and to use his “roll” (of money) freely. But instead of this,
Theodore Roosevelt told them plainly that, if elected, he would fight
against them and their bad methods.

He was elected and he kept his word. He began as a reformer, exposing
and opposing bribery and other wicked things that were being carried on
in politics. As Police Commissioner of New York he found much that was
wrong and fought and struggled to make it right. He was Assistant
Secretary of the Navy when the war was declared against Spain. He could
not rest day or night because he found so much to do in getting ready to
carry on the war. It was he who sent the word to Admiral Dewey on the
other side of the world which prepared him for battle and helped the
United States with the famous victory of Manila Bay. He was so keen and
active that President McKinley said to his Cabinet: “Roosevelt has the
whole program of the war mapped out.” But he resigned from his office to
become a colonel of the Rough Riders, and was soon leading his brave
company of cowboys and college men up San Juan Hill in the face of a
blazing Spanish battery.

Although Colonel Roosevelt was by no means highest in military rank, he
became the hero of the United States’ war with Spain. When that war was
over he was elected governor of New York. All the “bosses” hated this
man who would not consent to their robbing or cheating the people. They
asked him to run for Vice-President of the United States, thinking that
his hands would be tied, for a vice-president has very little to say as
to how the government shall be conducted. But in a few months President
McKinley, with whom Roosevelt was elected Vice-President, was shot and
killed. This made Theodore Roosevelt President of the United States.
Four years later he was elected President again. His courageous spirit
and true heart, with his active brain and tireless body, made him one of
the greatest presidents of the United States.

He had kept himself in good health and spirits by his constant labors
and many risks as a cowboy on his own ranches, and by hunting grizzly
bears and other big game in the Far West. Even while living in the White
House, he showed his friends and fellow-workers in the government what
he meant by “the strenuous life.”

Many expressions first used by Theodore Roosevelt are now heard in
common conversation. This is the first use he made of the words, “the
strenuous life”:

     “I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the
     doctrine of the strenuous life--the life of toil and effort.”

The “square deal” was another expression of his, as in this statement:

     “The labor unions shall have a square deal, and the corporations
     shall have a square deal, and, in addition, all private citizens
     shall have a square deal.”

The “big stick,” another phrase of Roosevelt’s, was not so well
understood. He said of this:

     “There is a homely old adage which runs, ‘Speak softly and carry a
     big stick and you will go far.’”

Other words of his--such as “mollycoddle,” “pussyfoot,” “hit the line
hard,” and “one hundred per cent American”--almost explain their own

A year after leaving the White House, Colonel Roosevelt went hunting big
game--elephants, lions, rhinos, and so forth--through the heart of
Africa. On the way back he was the guest of kings, emperors, and
important citizens of Europe.

After his return home he went on a dangerous trip of adventure and
discovery in South America. From all these hunting trips he brought home
many rare specimens for collections called by his name in the finest
Natural History museum in the United States. It was even proposed to
name the wonderful Panama Canal, which he did most to put through, the
“Roosevelt Canal.”

His last years were spent in urging the patriotic men and women of
America to take the part of human freedom, and force the “square deal”
among the nations of Europe. Among his last words were: “He who is not
willing to die for his country is not worthy to live in his country.”

He believed in preventing war by being fit and prepared to fight. One of
the best things he did was to help in arranging the peace treaty between
Japan and Russia. Theodore Roosevelt’s life motto, as expressed by his
actions, was:

     “In time of peace prepare for war; and in time of war prepare for


Miss Clara Barton, a quiet little old lady, used to tell stories of her
childhood among the hills of central Massachusetts. She remembered how
she was taken to the village school for the first time, and how the
teacher, a tall, kind-looking man, put her in the spelling class with
the smallest children, to study such words as _dog_ and _cat_.

“I don’t spell there,” said little Clara; “I spell in _Artichoke_.” And
the small three-year-old showed her contempt for words of three letters
by turning the leaves of her spelling book till she came to a page of
wide three-syllable columns beginning with “Artichoke.” The teacher had
to hide his smile from the small girl who could spell such long words.

Clara was very fond of her handsome big brother. “My brother David was
very fond of horses,” she said, telling about him in later life. “He was
the ‘Buffalo Bill’ of that part of the country. It was his delight to
take me, a little girl five years old, to the field, seize a couple of
beautiful young horses, and, gathering the reins of both bridles in one
hand, throw me on the back of one colt, then spring upon the other
himself; catching me by one foot, and bidding me ‘cling fast to the
mane,’ we would go galloping away over field and fen, in and out among
the other colts, in wild glee like ourselves.

“They were merry rides we took. This was my riding school. I never had
any other, but it served me well. To this day my seat on a saddle or on
the bare back of a horse is as secure and tireless as in a
rocking-chair--and far more fun!

“Sometimes, in later years, when I found myself suddenly on a strange
horse in a trooper’s saddle, flying for life or liberty, I blessed my
baby lessons and wild gallops among the beautiful colts.”

By the words, “riding for life on a strange horse in a trooper’s
saddle,” Miss Barton referred to her life as an army nurse, when she,
with the mounted soldiers, sometimes found herself in great danger when
the enemy’s cavalry was close behind.

At the age of eleven, Clara had her first chance to learn to be a nurse
and fit herself for her life work. Her brother


David, then a young man, fell from the ridgepole of a large barn he was
helping to build. The shock of this fall affected his mind, besides
making him ill in body. He wanted no one near him but the brave little
sister he had taught “to ride like the wind.”

So Clara stayed with her big brother, day and night, for two long years.
She was thirteen when he was well again. Miss Barton told, long
afterward, of the strange feeling she had at that time:

“I was again free, my work done, I wondered that my father took me to
ride so much, and that my mother hoped she could make me some new
clothes now--for in those two years I had not grown an inch!

“My shut-in life had made me the more bashful. I had grown even more
timid, shrinking, and sensitive in the presence of others; also I was
afraid of giving trouble by making my wants known. Instead of feeling
that my freedom gave me time for play, it seemed to me like time wasted,
and I looked about, anxious to find something useful to do.”

Then the family sent Clara away to school, hoping to conquer her painful
shyness. She studied so hard that, at the age of fifteen, she became a
teacher. There were not many public schools in those days, twenty-five
years before the Civil War; and the few free schools were looked down on
by well-to-do people as “charity” schools.

Clara Barton began with one of these schools where she had at first only
six poor children to teach. But she was such a good teacher that before
long six hundred came there to be pupils under her charge. She tried
very hard to help everyone she could; at the end of eighteen years’
service as a teacher she had become almost an invalid and had lost her

Still she could not bear to be idle while she had the use of her hands.
From early girlhood her handwriting had been plain and neat. This, with
her great desire to work, helped her to find a place in the Patent
Office in Washington. Clara Barton was one of the first women to hold a
position in the employ of the United States government. This gave
offense to some of the men in that department. In those days most people
thought it improper for a woman to work in an office; so these men
stared at the new clerk, making remarks in her hearing about “brazen,
strong-minded, ‘woman’s-rights’ women,” adding that such a creature was
not fit to associate with gentlemen like themselves.

Sensitive and shrinking though she was, Miss Barton kept on. She was
soon promoted to a position of trust. It was not long before she found
that some of the very men who had insulted her were “patent thieves,”
guilty of selling government secrets. Her duty to the country, rather
than a wish for revenge, obliged her to report the wrongs that these
ungallant “gentlemen” had done, and they were promptly dismissed from
the service they had betrayed.

During the years of her humdrum life as a government clerk, Miss Barton
was thrilled by the stories she read in the newspapers of the noble work
of Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse in the Crimean War between
Great Britain and Russia. It was said that the English soldiers adored
Nurse Nightingale almost as if she were an angel from heaven, and some
of them kissed her shadow when it fell upon their pillows as she passed

When Fort Sumter was fired on and President Lincoln began calling for
soldiers to defend the country, Clara Barton was soon found at the
front, in places of great danger. Fitting up a house or even an old barn
for a hospital, she went about on the battlefields looking for wounded
men, and doing all she could to relieve and help them. She ministered to
the dying, writing many a last letter to give comfort to the sorrowing
ones at home. Corresponding with newspapers in the north, she did
wonders in obtaining medicines, hospital supplies, and comforts for her
sick and wounded brothers in the army. She was appointed “lady manager”
of all the hospitals at the front in Virginia. Those who knew most about
her great work declared that her services to her country were wider
reaching even than those of Florence Nightingale, the greatest nurse the
world had yet known. Then it was that the grateful soldiers called Clara
Barton “the Angel of the Battlefield.”

During the last weeks of his life, President Lincoln sent for Miss
Barton and asked her to undertake the difficult task of finding out in
as many cases as possible what had become of the eighty thousand
soldiers reported missing from the Union army. At this memorable meeting
the Great Heart of the White House stood face to face with one of the
greatest-hearted women in the world of that day.

Clara Barton spent four years more tracing out the fate of thirty
thousand missing men. To her great joy she learned that thousands upon
thousands of those who had been reported as deserters had bravely given
their lives for their country.

Miss Barton then went to Europe to rest awhile and regain the health she
had lost by overwork. While there she studied the work of a Swiss who
was trying to found a new society for nursing and caring for the sick
and wounded soldiers of all nations. Because it had a red cross on a
white ground for badge and flag, it was named the Red Cross Society.

When war broke out between France and Prussia, Clara Barton became known
as “the Angel of the Battlefields” of France. After her return to the
United States she began to organize the American Red Cross Society,
which has since become the greatest power in the world for the relief of

Wherever there was a calamity or a pestilence--the great forest fire in
Michigan; the earthquake at Charleston, South Carolina; yellow fever in
Florida; the Johnstown flood in Pennsylvania; the Turkish massacres in
Armenia--there Clara Barton, though now an old woman, was always “the
first to come and the last to go.”

Though she was seventy-seven in the year of the war with Spain, she was
active in sharing the hardships of the American soldiers in Cuba,
nursing Roosevelt’s Rough Riders along with the rest of the sick and
wounded at the front.

Though she lived to be over ninety, honored and beloved by millions for
her constant labors of love and mercy, Clara Barton did not live to see,
in the World War, the most wonderful carrying out of all her plans for
soldiers on the field and in the hospital. The beautiful woman known as
“the World Mother,” pictured on the poster displayed to raise money and
supplies for the Red Cross work in America, might well have been the
portrait of Clara Barton, for no woman in all history has done more to
relieve and heal the sufferings of mankind. The millions upon millions
of men, women, and children now numbered in the membership of the
American Red Cross Society, by giving, knitting, rolling bandages, or
buying Red Cross stamps and Christmas seals, are carrying on the work
begun by the frail, sickly, bashful little girl whose yearning heart and
busy hands gave her the name of the “Angel of the Battlefield.”


Living in Portland, Maine, a town of rare beauty, Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow could hardly have helped being a poet, even if he had tried.
He was born in a big, square, three-story house, close to the edge of
Casco Bay, one of the largest and loveliest harbors in the world.
Portland stands on several wooded hills, overlooking the bay, which is
said to contain three hundred and sixty-five small islands--one for
every day in the year. On the blue water the green islands sparkle like
emeralds on a shining sea of sapphire.

From the highest point on Great Diamond, one of the larger islands in
the harbor, little Henry could see, sometimes, as the sun was setting
behind the hills of Portland, the hazy blue and pink outlines of the
White Mountains, more than a hundred miles away. Any boy with eyes and
heart to take in the deep meaning of it all would have wanted to be a
poet. Henry’s inner nature throbbed in response to the beauties of
Nature without, and because he had the gift of putting his feelings into
words, he was a poet long before he or those around him realized it.

Like the boy Benjamin Franklin and the boy George Washington, who lived
about a hundred years before him, the Longfellow boy had the best
chances to hear the sailors who came into port tell their tales of the
sea--of pirates and hairbreadth adventures.

Henry’s grandfather--his mother’s father--was bluff old General Peleg
Wadsworth, a hero of the Revolutionary War. He could tell stories of the
struggle for independence that would have fired the soul of any boy.


In the War of 1812, when the little Longfellow lad was only five, a
company of American soldiers was stationed in the fort at Portland to
defend the town against attacks from British warships. Young as Henry
was, he understood what all the excitement meant. When he was in his
seventh year, he heard the booming of the cannon in the great sea battle
between the American brig _Enterprise_ and the British schooner _Boxer_.
Both commanders were killed and buried on one of the hills of Portland.
There was a sensation when the _Enterprise_ towed the _Boxer_ into port
as a prize of war. In the poem, “My Lost Youth,” nearly fifty years
after the battle, Longfellow wrote:

    “I remember the sea-fight far away
       How it thundered o’er the tide!
     And the dead captains as they lay
     In their graves o’erlooking the tranquil bay
       Where they in battle died.”

Out near Hiram, Maine, where the Wadsworth family lived, there was a
little lake known as Lovell’s Pond. On one of his visits to his
grandfather’s, young Henry heard the story of a battle which had taken
place there during the French and Indian War. When he was thirteen he
wrote four stanzas which he named “The Battle of Lovell’s Pond.” Signing
it “Henry,” he left it at the office of the Portland _Gazette_, telling
only his sister what he had done. A writer has told a story of the way
Henry’s first published poem was received:

“In the morning how slowly the father unfolded the damp sheet, and how
carefully he dried it at the open fire before he began to read it! And
how much foreign news there seemed to be in it!

“At last, Henry and the sister who shared his secret peeped over their
parent’s shoulder--and the poem was there! They spent most of the day
reading it. In the evening they went to play with a son of Judge Mellen,
and while the judge was sitting by the fire in the twilight with the
young folk and a few older neighbors around him, he said,

“Did you see the piece in to-day’s paper? Very stiff, remarkably stiff!
Moreover, it is all borrowed--every word of it!”

When Henry was fifteen, his father sent him to Bowdoin College, at
Brunswick, Maine, with his older brother, Stephen. Though the father was
himself a graduate of Harvard, he was a director of this new college in
his own state. Henry was graduated at eighteen and, young though he was,
the trustees of the college invited him to come back, a few years later,
as their professor of modern languages.

So the young graduate traveled in Europe to gain a speaking knowledge of
all the languages he would have to teach. At the age of twenty-two, he
became a professor at Bowdoin.

After five years at his own college, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was
chosen Professor of Modern Languages at Harvard. He spent the first year
in Europe. The next year he began his work as a Harvard professor. He
boarded at the Craigie mansion, which had been General Washington’s
headquarters during the first year of the War for Independence, sixty
years before. Indeed, he slept in the same room occupied by the Father
of his Country as a bedroom.

Although he had published several books of poetry, Longfellow’s poems
did not begin to be popular till “A Psalm of Life” was published, in
his thirty-third year. This poem made many people talk about him.
Ministers preached about it, and the lines were set to music. Here is
one stanza of this famous poem:

    “Lives of great men all remind us
       We can make our lives sublime,
     And, departing, leave behind us
       Footprints in the sands of time.”

Then such short poems as “Excelsior,” “The Village Blacksmith,” “The
Rainy Day,” “The Arrow and the Song,” “The Day Is Done,” and many
others, were recited in schools and sung in thousands of homes.

Of Longfellow’s longer poems, “Evangeline” and “The Courtship of Miles
Standish” are, perhaps, the most popular. It is said that more people
know of the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth through the latter poem than by
reading the history of the country. It is a story of the lovely
Priscilla and her true lover, John Alden, who came to ask her to marry
Miles Standish. That little captain was brave enough to fight with
savages, but he shrank from the bright eyes of Priscilla Mullens. John
Alden was a true soldier and delivered his captain’s message, but
Priscilla, knowing his loyal heart, only smiled at him and asked: “Why
don’t you speak for yourself, John?” And one of the
great-great-great-grandsons of John Alden and his lovely wife,
Priscilla, was the poet Longfellow!

“Hiawatha,” the poem about the Indian tribes, is also a great favorite,
especially with the children. This is because of its descriptions of
Indian customs and legends. It is the life history of the Indian boy,
Hiawatha, from the time when he was a funny little papoose till he had
grown to sturdy manhood.

When the little Indian boy was old enough he was sent out on a lone hunt
through the wilderness to fit himself to become a true Indian brave.
Here is what he did and saw and heard at that time:

      “Forth into the forest straightway
    All alone walked Hiawatha
    Proudly, with his bow and arrows;
    And the birds sang round him, o’er him:
    ‘Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!’
    Sang the robin, the Opeechee,
    Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa,
    ‘Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!’

      “Up the oak-tree close behind him,
    Sprang the squirrel, Adjidaumo,
    In and out among the branches,
    Coughed and chattered from the oak-tree,
    Laughed, and said between his laughing,
    ‘Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!’”

Some of the Indian tribes of the Great Northwest were so delighted with
“Hiawatha” that they voted to make the poet one of their great chiefs;
and after Longfellow himself had gone to the “Happy Hunting Grounds”
across the River of Death, the Indians went through a formal service
making the poet’s daughter Alice a girl chief.

It must have been because he was so fond of children that Longfellow
became known as the “Children’s Poet.” In the hall of quaint old Craigie
House, which became the poet’s home, stood the stately “Old Clock on the
Stairs,” solemnly ticking: “Forever, never! Never, forever!” In the
early morning the spacious rooms were made bright with the merry
laughter of Longfellow’s three little daughters, running down to spend
an hour with their kindly, white-haired poet father. Of this he wrote in
a poem named “The Children’s Hour”:

    “From my study I see in the lamplight,
       Descending the broad hall stair,
     Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
       And Edith with golden hair.”

Longfellow’s last poem was about “The Bells of San Blas,” which appeared
in print just a few days before he died. The close of this--the last
poetry he ever wrote--were these three lines:

    “Out of the shadow of night
     The world rolls into light--
     It is daybreak everywhere.”



āte, sen*ate, râre, căt, loc*al, fär, åsk, p_å_rade; scēne, *event,
ĕdge, nov*el, refḛr; rîght, sĭn; cōld, *obey, côrd, stŏp, c*ompare;
ūnit, *unite, bûrn, cŭt, foc*us, menü; bōōt, fŏŏt; f=ou=nd; b=oi=l;
fuṅction; =ch=ase; =g=ood; =j=oy; _th_en, =th=ick; hw = wh as in
when; zh = z as in azure; kh = ch as in loch.


Aaron (ā´r*on), 3

Aboukir (_å_-bōō-kēr´) Bay, 75

Achilles (å-kĭl´ēz), 12

Acre (ä´kêr), (see _Akka_)

Africa (ăf´rĭ-k_å_), 32

Akka (ä´kå), 49

Albany (ôl´b_å_-nĭ), 118

Alciun (*al´sĭ-ŭn), 33

Alden (ôl´dĕn), John, 162

Alexander (ăl´´ĕg-zăn´dĕr) the Great, 20-24;
  conquers Persia, 22

Alexandria (ăl´´ĕg-zăn´drĭ-_å_), 24

Alfred (ăl´frĕd), King, 37, 41

Alfred the Great, (see _Alfred, King_)

Alps (ălps) Mountains, 69

Annapolis (ă-nåp´*o-lĭs), 342

“Apology of Socrates,” 19

Arden (är´dĕn), Mary, 58

“Ashland,” 325

Asia Minor (ā´sh_å_ mī´nḛr), 26

Athens (ăth´ĕnz), 15

Aztecs (ăz´tĕks), 90


Baltimore (bôl´tĭ-mōr), (See _Calvert, George_)

Barton (bär´tŭn), Clara, 358-364

Battle Hill, 44

Beacon Hill, 174

Blackstone, William, 173

_Bon Homme Richard_ (b*o-n*om rē´´-shär´), 212

Boone (bōōn), Daniel, 232-240

Boulogne (bōō-lŏn´; Fr. bōō´´lō´ṅy), 36

Bowdoin (bō´d’n) College, 368

Bowie (bō´*e), Colonel James, 265

Braddock (brăd´*ok), General Edward, 301

Bradford (brăd´fḛrd), William, 162

Brandywine (brăn´dĭ-wīn´´), battle of, 205, 304

Brewster (brōō´stḛr), Elder, 161

Britain (brit´_å_n), 28

Bryant (brē´_å_nt), William Cullen, 332

Bull Run, battle of, 345

Burr (bŭr), Colonel Aaron, 304, 308


Cabot (kă´b*ot), John, 145

Cadiz (kā´dĭz), 113

Cæsar (sē´z_å_r), Julius, 24-31

Calhoun (kăl-hōōn´), John C., 320-327

Calvert (kăl´vûrt), Cecil, 180-185

Calvert (kăl´vûrt), Leonard, 180-185

Cape Cod, 162

Cartier (kär´tyå´), Jacques, 151

Carver (kär´vḛr), John, 161

Cassandra (kă-săn´dr_å_), 13

Cathay (cå´thā), (see _China_)

Champlain (shăm-plān´), Samuel, sieur de, 151-160

Charlemagne (shär´lĕ-mān), (see _Charles the Great_)

Charles the Great, 33-36

Charles Martel, Duke, 32

China (chī´n_å_), 79

Circe (sûr´sē), 14

Claiborne (klā´bûrn), William, 183

Clarence, Duke of, (see _William the Fourth_)

Clark (klärk), George Rogers, 240-247

Clark, William, 250-257

Clay (klā), Henry, 320-325

Code Napoleon, 69

Columbus (k*o-lŭm´b*us), Christopher, 78-84

Congo (kŏn´gō), 132

Constantinople (kŏn´´stăn-tĭ-nō´pl), 36

Cook, Frederick A., 139

Copenhagen (kō´´p*en-hā´g*en), 76

Cornwallis (kôrn-wăl´´ĭs), General Charles, 206, 217

Corsica (kôr´sĭ-k_å_), 66

Cortes (kōr´´tās´) Hernando, 89-95

Cotton-gin (kŏt´n-jĭn), 267

Crockett (krŏk´ĕt), David, 258-265

Cromwell (krŏm´wĕl), Oliver, 61-65

Crusades (krōō-sāds´), 48

Cyclops (sē´klŏps), 13

Czar (zär), 31


Danes (dāns), 38

Darien (dā´rĭ-ĕn), 105

Darius (dă-rī´ŭs), King of Persia, 21

Dark Ages, 32

Dauphin (dô´fĭn), 52

David (dā´vĭd), 6-10, 40;
  kills Goliath, 8

Davis (dā´vĭs), Jefferson, 342

Declaration of Independence, 184, 188, 301, 313

Denmark (dĕn´märk), 76

De Soto (dē´sō´to), Hernando, 96-101

Dewey (dū´ĭ), Admiral George, 356

Dictator (dĭk´tā-tḛr), 29

Domesday (dōōms´dā), Book, 46

Douglas (dŭg´lis), Stephen A., 331

Drake (drāk), Sir Francis, 102-109

Duke Charles, (see _Charles Martel_)

Dutch East India Company, 115


Edison (ĕd´ĭ-s*un), Thomas Alva, 285-291

Edward the Confessor, King, 43

Egypt (ē´jĭpt), 22

Egyptians (*e-jĭp´sh*ans), 3

El Dorado (*el d*o-rä´dō), 113

Eliab (*e-lī´_å_b), 7

Elijah (*e-li´j_å_), 308

Elizabeth (*e-lĭz´_å_-beth), Queen, 61, 105, 109

Emancipation Proclamation, 331

England (ĭn´gl*and), 108

Epic (ĕp´ĭk), 12

“Et tu Brute!”, 30

Europe (ū´r*op), 32

Exodus (ĕk´s*o-dŭs), 4


Farragut (făr´_å_-gŭt), David, 346-352

Ferdinand (fḛr´dĭ-nănd), King, 80

Field, Cyrus W., 278

Fort Donelson (dŏn´*el-s*un), battle of, 339

Fort Duquesne (dōō-kān´), 234, 301

Fort Henry (hĕn´rĭ), battle of, 339

Fort Sumter (sŭm´tḛr), 362

Forum (fō´rŭm), Roman, 26

Fox (fŏks), George, 185

Franklin (frănk´lĭn), Benjamin, 203, 271, 290, 292-296

Franks (frăṅks), 32

French (frĕnsh), 32

Fulton (fōōl´t*un), Robert, 270-273


Gama (gä´mä), Vasco da, 84

Gauls (gâls), 27

Genoa (jĕn´ō-å), 78

George the Third, King, 313

Germans (jûr´m*ans), 36

Gettysburg (gĕt´tĭs-bŭrg) Address, Lincoln’s, 332

Gibraltar (jī-brâl´tēr), 152

“Give me Liberty or give me Death,” 194

Gladiators (glăd´ĭ-ā´´-tḛr), 27

Gods and Goddesses, 12

“Golden Hind,” The, 105

Golden Rule, 177

Goliath (g*o-lī´ăth), 8

Good Hope, Cape of, 84

Gordian (gôr´dĭ-ăn) knot, 22

Graces (grā´s*ez), The, 15

Grant (grănt), General Ulysses S., 332-340

Greece (grēs), 10

Greene (grēn), General Nathanael, 266

Guerrilla (gĕ-rĭl´_å_) warfare, 219


Hamilton (hăm´ĭl-t*un), Alexander, 301-309

Hamilton, Henry, 241

Hampden (håmp´d*en), John, 64

Hale (hāl), Captain Nathan, 194-201

“Halfmoon,” The, 115

Harold, King, 44

Harvard (här´v_å_rd), University, 342, 355

Hastings (hās´tĭngz), battle of, 44

Hawkins (hô´kĭnz), Sir John, 103

Hayne (hān), Robert Y., 326

Hector (hĕk´tḛr), 12

Helen (hĕl´ĕn) of Troy, 12

Henry of Navarre, King, (see _Henry the Fourth_)

Henry the Fourth, King, 151

Henry, Patrick, 190-194, 242

Henson (hĕn´sŭn), Matthew, 139

Homer (hō´mḛr), 10

Horn, Cape, 105

House of Burgesses, Virginia, 193

Houston (hūs´t*un), General Sam, 264

Howe (how), Elias, 282-285

Howe, General William, 196

Hudson (hŭd´s*un), Henry, 115-120


“I have not yet begun to fight,” 214

“Iliad,” the, 12

Ilium (ĭl´ĭ-*um), (see _Troy_)

India (ĭn´dĭ-_å_), 79, 84

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” 201

Iroquois (ĭr´´*o-kwoī´), 154

Isabella (ĭz´´_å_-bĕl´_å_), Queen, 80

Israel (ēs´´rä-ĕl), 7

Italy (ĭt´_å_-lĭ; It. Italia), 78

Ithaca (ĭth´_å_-k_å_), 13


Jackson (jăk´s*un), Andrew, 260, 315-320

Jefferson (jĕf´ḛr-s*un), Thomas, 242, 309-314

Jerusalem (j*e-rōō´s_å_-lĕm), 48

Joan (jō´ăn) of Arc, 52-57

John, King, 47

Joliet (zh*o´´ly*a´), Louis, 121

Jonathan (jŏn´ă-th*an), 10

Jones (jōns), John Paul, 208-216


Kaiser (kī´zḛr), 31

Kent Island, 183

King’s College, 302


Ladrone (lă-drōn´) Islands, 88

Lafayette (lä´fā-yet´´), Marquis de, 201-208, 276, 304

La Plata (lä plä´tä) River, 86

La Salle (lä säl), Robert, Cavalier de, 120

Latin (lăt´ĭn), 25

Lee, Richard Henry, 193, 311

Lee, General Robert E., 340, 341-346

Lewis (lōō´ĭs) and Clark (klärk) Expedition, 247-257, 314

Lewis (lōō´is), Meriwether, 248

Lincoln (lĭng´kŭn), Abraham, 318, 327-332

Lion-hearted Richard, 47-51

Livingstone (lĭv´ĭng-stŭn), David, 126-136

Lombards (lŏm´bărds), 33

Longfellow (lŏng´fĕl-*o), Henry Wadsworth, 167, 356-371

Louisiana (Lōō´´ē-zē-ă´n_å_) Purchase, 314


Macedon (măs´*e-dŏn), 20

Madison (măd´ĭ-s*un), President James, 325

Magellan (må-jĕl´_å_n), Ferdinand, 84-89

Manassas, battle of, (see _Bull Run_)

Manhattan, 116

Marconi (mär-kō´nĭ), Guglielmo, 278

Marengo (mă-rĕng´*o), battle of, 69

Marianne (see _Ladrone Islands_)

Marie Antoinette (mă´´rē´ ăn´´twå-nĕt´), Queen, 76

Marion (măr´ē-*on), General Francis, 217-223

Marquette (mär´kĕt´´), Father Jacques, 121

Maryland (mĕr´ĭ-l_å_nd), 182

“Mayflower”, the, 160

McCormick (m_å_-kôr´mĭk), Cyrus H., 279-282

McKinley (mā-kĭn´lĭ), President William, 356

Mexican (mĕks´ĭ-kăn) War, 339

“Might makes Right,” 31

Milton (mĭl´tŭn), John, 170

Miriam (mĭr´ē-ăm), 1

Mississippi (mĭs´´ĭs-sĭp´pĭ) River, 101, 120

Mobile (mŏ-bēl´) Bay, battle of, 350

Moffatt (mŏf´ĕt), Doctor Robert, 128

Mohammed (mō-hăm´ĕd), 32

Moluccas (mō-lŭk´_å_z), (see _Spice Islands_)

Monroe (mŏn-rō´), President James, 207

Montcalm (môn´´käm´), Marquis de, 225

Monterey (mŏn-tĕ-rā´), battle of, 339

Montezuma (mŏn´´t*e-zōō´m_å_), Emperor, 91

“Monticello” (mŏn´´tĭ-sĕl´ō), 311

Montreal (mŏn´´trē-ôl´), 120, 152

Morse (mŏrs), Samuel Finley Breese, 274-278

Moses, 1-6, 308;
  in the bulrushes, 1

Mount Sinai (Sī´nī), 6

Mount Vernon (vûr´nŭn), 300


Naples (nā´plz), Queen of, 76

Napoleon Bonaparte (nå-pō´lē-on bō´n_å_-pärt), 65-72, 314

Naval Academy, U. S., 342

Nebo (nē´bō), 6

Nelson (nĕl´s*un), Admiral Horatio, 72-77

New Netherland (nĕth´ḛr-lănd), 116

New Orleans (ôr´l*e-_å_nz), 314, 349;
  battle of, 318

Niagara (nī-ă´g_å_-rå) Falls, 122

Nightingale (nīt´ĭn-gāl), Florence, 362

Nile (nīl) River, 24

Northmen, 38

North Pole, discovery of, 137


“Odyssey,” the, 12

“Old Hickory,” 318

Oliver (ŏl´ĭ-vûr), 34

Orleans (ôr´l*e-_å_nz), 53

Oxford (ŏks´fḛrd), University, 185


paladins (păl´_å_-dĭns), 34

Panama (păn-_å_-mä´), Isthmus of, (see _Darien_)

Paris (Pă´rĭs; Fr. pä´´rē´), 12

Passover (pås´ō´´vḛr), 4

Patagonia (pă´´t_å_-gō´nĭ-_å_), 87

Patrician (p_å_-trĭsh´*an), 26

Patroclus (p_å_-trō´klŭs), 12

Peary (pē´rĭ), Marie Snowbaby, 141
  Admiral Robert E., 137

Penelope (p*e-nĕl´*o-p*e), 14

Pennsylvania (pĕn´´sĭl-vā´nĭ-_å_), 185

Penn (pĕn), Admiral Sir William, 185;
  William, 152, 178, 185

Pericles (pĕr´ĭ-klēs), 15

Persia (pḛr´zh_å_), 21

Pharaoh (fā´rō; fā´r*a-ō), 1, 5

Philadelphia (fĭl´´_å_-dĕl´fĭ-_å_), 188

Philip (fĭl´ĭp) King of Macedon, 20

Philistines (fĭ-lĭs´tĭns; fĭl´ĭs-tĭns), 7

philosophers (fĭ-lŏs´*o-fḛrs), 16

Pilgrims (pĭl´grĭms), 150, 161

Plato (plā´tō), 19

Plymouth (plĭ´m*uth), 108, 160

Pocahontas (pō´´c_å_-hŏn´t_å_s), 150

Pompey (pŏm´pĭ), 28

Ponce de Leon (pōn´thā dā lā´on), 96

“Poor Richard’s Almanac,” 294

Pope (pōp), 33;
  Leo, 36

Portugal (pôr´t*u-g_å_l), 78

Priam (prī´ăm), King, 12

Providence (prŏv´ĭ-d*ens), 180

Psalms (säms), 10

Putnam (pŭt´n_å_m), General Israel, 196


Quakers (kwāk´ḛrs), 177, 185

Quebec (kwē-bĕk´), 151, 224


Raleigh (rô´lĭ), Sir Walter, 109

Ranger (rān´jḛr), 209

Red Sea, 4

Rheims (räṅs; Eng. rēmz), 52

Richard, King, 47

Robert, Duke of Normandy, 42

Roland, 34

Rolfe, John, 150

Rome (rōm), 24, 25

Roosevelt (rō´z*e-vĕlt), Theodore, 352

Rouen (rü´´äṅ´), 57, 120

Rubicon (rōō´bĭ-kŏn), 29


St. Helena (h*e-lē´n_å_), 71

St. Lawrence (lô´r*ens) River, 120

Saladin (săl´ă-dĭn), 49

Samuel, 7

Saracens (săr´_å_-sĕns), 32

Saul (sôl), King, 7, 40

schools of philosophy, 16

Schuyler (skī´lḛr), General Philip, 306

Scylla (sĭl´_å_) and Charybdis (k_å_-rĭb´dĭs), 14

Senate (sĕn´*at), (Roman), 28

Senlac (sĕn´lăk) Hill (see _Battle Hill_)

Shakespeare (shāk´-spēr), William, 30, 58

Sirens (sī´rĕnz), 14

Smith, Captain John, 116, 145-150

Society of Friends, (see _Quakers_)

Socrates (sŏk´r_å_-tĕz), 15

“Socratic method,” 17

Solomon (sŏl´*o-m*un), King, 10, 24

“Song of Roland,” 34

South Sea, (see _Pacific Ocean_)

Spain (spān), 27, 32, 113

Spanish Armada (är-mā´d_å_), 109

Spice (spīs) Islands, 84

Stamp Act, 311

Standish (stănd´ĭsh), Myles, 160

Stanley (stăn´lĭ), Henry M., 134

Stratford-on-Avon (ā´v*on), 58

Stuart (stū´_å_rt), James, 62, 113


tablets, 6, 26

Ten Commandments, 6

Tierra del Fuego (t*e-ĕr´rå dĕl fwā´g*o), 88

Tories (tō´rĭz), 197, 217

Tours (tōōrz), 32

Trafalgar (tr_å_-făl´g_å_r) battle of, 72

Travis, Colonel William Barrett, 264

Trojan (trō´j*an) horse, 13

Trojans, 13

Troy (troi), 12;
  war against, 12


Ulysses (*u-lĭs´ēz), 13

Ulysses’ bow, 15


Valley Forge (fôrj), 205, 304

Valparaiso (văl´´p_å_-rī´sō), 106

Venice (vĕn´ĭs), 78

“Veni, Vidi, Vici,” 30

Vera Cruz (vĕr´_å_ krōōz), 91

Victoria (vĭk-tō´rĭ-_å_) Falls, 132

Virginia (vĭr-jĭn´ĭ-_å_) Company, 146


War for Independence, 195

Washington (wôsh´ĭng-tŭn), George, 193, 224, 296-301

Waterloo (wô´tḛr-lōō´), battle of, 71

Wayne (wān), General “Mad” Anthony, 250

Webster (wĕb´stḛr), Daniel, 308, 320-327

West, Benjamin, 271

Westminster Abbey, 136

West Point, 336

Military Academy, 342

Whitney (hwĭt´nĭ), Eli, 266, 269

William and Mary College, 310

William of Normandy, 42-47

William the Conqueror, 45

Williams, Roger, 176-180

Winthrop, Governor John, 170-175

witan (wĭt´ăn), 44

Wolfe (wŭlf), General James, 227

Wolf-hearted John, 47

wooden horse, (see _Trojan horse_)


Yale (yāl) College, 194, 266, 274


Zambesi (zåm-bā´z*e) River, 131

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

within a few miles of Jersualem=> within a few miles of Jerusalem {pg

We mutally pledge=> We mutually pledge {pg 313}

Gama (gä´mä), Vascoda, 84=> Gama (gä´mä), Vasco da, 84 {pg 374}

Gilbraltar (jī-brâl´tēr), 152=> Gibraltar (jī-brâl´tēr), 152 {pg 374}

Alciun (*al´sĭ-ŭn), 33=> Alcuin (*al´sĭ-ŭn), 33 {pg 373}

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