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Title: America - A history
Author: Mackenzie, R. Shelton (Robert Shelton)
Language: English
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                          BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

                           _Tenth Thousand._

    8vo, Cloth Antique. Price 7s. 6d.

    Presenting in a handy form a history of the great events
    and movements of the present century, in our own country,
    throughout the British Empire, on the Continent of Europe, and
    in America.

    _THE TIMES._--“A valuable addition to the library.”

    _THE SCOTSMAN._--“The central idea of the work and the chief
    aim of the writer is displayed in his very evident design to
    trace the growth of free institutions in the different States
    of Europe, and particularly in England.… No more instructive
    or more useful book could be put into the hands of the rising
    generation of the present day. The book is written in a terse
    and pointed style. The movement is rapid throughout; and though
    the scene frequently changes, its central thought--that of the
    education of the race in the spirit of freedom--is never lost
    sight of for a moment.”

    _DAILY REVIEW._--“Written with rare power and skill;
    from beginning to end the book is highly interesting and
    instructive. It is a political guide as well as a history, and
    a safer guide with a more captivating manner will not easily be



                              A History.

                         I.--THE UNITED STATES.
                        II.--DOMINION OF CANADA.
                       III.--SOUTH AMERICA, &c.

                         _By ROBERT MACKENZIE_


                       EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.


                       [_All Rights Reserved._]


                          THE UNITED STATES.

                              BOOK FIRST.

       I. DISCOVERY,                                                  11

      II. COLONIZATION,                                               18

     III. VIRGINIA,                                                   22

      IV. NEW ENGLAND,                                                28

       V. THE NEW ENGLAND PERSECUTIONS,                               38

      VI. WITCHCRAFT IN NEW ENGLAND,                                  43

     VII. THE INDIANS,                                                46

    VIII. NEW YORK,                                                   48

      IX. PENNSYLVANIA,                                               51

       X. GEORGIA,                                                    54

      XI. SLAVERY,                                                    58

     XII. EARLY GOVERNMENT,                                           64

                             BOOK SECOND.

       I. GEORGE WASHINGTON,                                          67

      II. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,                                          71

     III. THE VALLEY OF THE OHIO,                                     73

      IV. AMERICA ON THE EVE OF THE REVOLUTION,                       81

       V. BUNKER HILL,                                                96

      VI. INDEPENDENCE,                                              104

     VII. AT WAR,                                                    107

    VIII. SYMPATHY BEYOND THE SEA,                                   112

      IX. THE WAR CONTINUES,                                         114

       X. THE SURRENDER AT SARATOGA,                                 117

      XI. HELP FROM EUROPE,                                          119

     XII. MAJOR ANDRÉ,                                               123

    XIII. THE CLOSE OF THE WAR,                                      127

     XIV. THE THIRTEEN STATES BECOME A NATION,                       132

      XV. THE WAR WITH GREAT BRITAIN,                                141

                              BOOK THIRD.

       I. KING COTTON,                                               154

      II. SLAVERY,                                                   158

     III. MISSOURI,                                                  164

      IV. HOPE FOR THE NEGRO,                                        166

       V. TEXAS,                                                     170

      VI. THE WAR WITH MEXICO,                                       173

     VII. CALIFORNIA,                                                176

    VIII. KANSAS,                                                    179

      IX. THE UNDERGROUND RAILWAY,                                   183

       X. JOHN BROWN,                                                186

      XI. EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND SIXTY,                                190

     XII. SECESSION,                                                 196

    XIII. THE TWO PRESIDENTS,                                        200

                             BOOK FOURTH.

       I. THE FIRST BLOW STRUCK,                                     204

      II. THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN,                                    211

     III. “ON TO RICHMOND,”                                          213

      IV. LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVE,                                    224

       V. CONFEDERATE SUCCESSES,                                     228

      VI. THE WAR CONTINUES,                                         231

     VII. GETTYSBURG,                                                236

    VIII. THE LAST CAMPAIGN,                                         242

      IX. THE MURDER OF THE PRESIDENT,                               256

       X. THE LOSSES AND THE GAINS OF THE WAR,                       259

      XI. AFTER THE WAR,                                             262


                              BOOK FIFTH.

       I. REUNITED AMERICA,                                          270

      II. ENGLAND AND AMERICA,                                       278

     III. INDUSTRIAL AMERICA,                                        283

      IV. EDUCATION IN AMERICA,                                      293

       V. EUROPE AND AMERICA,                                        299

    POSTSCRIPT--PRESIDENT GARFIELD,                                  303

                        THE DOMINION OF CANADA.

       I. THE DAWN OF CANADIAN HISTORY,                              311

      II. SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN,                                       317

     III. THE JESUITS IN CANADA,                                     324

      IV. THE VALLEY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,                             333


      VI. COLONIZATION BY FRANCE AND BY ENGLAND,                     348

     VII. AFTER THE CONQUEST,                                        354

    VIII. CANADA DURING THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE,                     361

      IX. CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT,                                 364

       X. THE WAR OF 1812,                                           368

      XI. DOMESTIC STRIFE,                                           373

     XII. THE CANADIAN REVOLUTION,                                   380

    XIII. CONFEDERATION,                                             394

     XIV. THE MARITIME PROVINCES,                                    399

      XV. THE PROVINCES OF THE NORTH-WEST,                           409

     XVI. THE PROGRESS OF THE CANADIAN NATION,                       426

                            SOUTH AMERICA.

       I. DISCOVERY AND CONQUEST,                                    439

      II. THE INDIANS OF SPANISH AMERICA,                            466

     III. SPANISH GOVERNMENT OF THE NEW WORLD,                       479

      IV. REVOLUTION,                                                494

       V. INDEPENDENCE,                                              511

      VI. THE CHURCH OF ROME IN SPANISH AMERICA,                     534

     VII. BRAZIL,                                                    544


Book First.



It was late in the history of the world before Europe and America
became known to each other. During the first fifteen centuries of the
Christian era Europe was unaware of the vast continent which lay beyond
the sea. Asia had ceased to influence her. Africa had not begun. Her
history was waiting for the mighty influence which America was to
exercise in her affairs through all the future ages.

Men had been slow to establish completely their dominion over the sea.
They learned very early to build ships. They availed themselves very
early of the surprising power which the helm exerts over the movements
of a ship. But, during many ages, they found no surer guidance upon
the pathless sea than that which the position of the sun and the stars
afforded. When clouds intervened to deprive them of this uncertain
direction, they were helpless. They were thus obliged to keep the land
in view, and content themselves with creeping timidly along the coast.

But at length there was discovered a stone which the wise Creator had
endowed with strange properties. It was observed that a needle brought
once into contact with that stone pointed ever afterwards steadfastly
to the north. Men saw that with a needle thus influenced they could
guide themselves at sea as surely as on land. The Mariners’ Compass
untied the bond which held sailors to the coast, and gave them liberty
to push out into the sea.

Just when sailors were slowly learning to put confidence in the
mariners’ compass, there arose in Europe a vehement desire for the
discovery of unknown countries. A sudden interest sprang up in all that
was distant and unexplored. The strange fables told by travellers were
greedily received. The human mind was beginning to cast off the torpor
of the Middle Ages. As intelligence increased, men became increasingly
eager to ascertain the form and extent of the world in which they
dwelt, and to acquaint themselves with those unknown races who were
their fellow-inhabitants.

Portugal and Spain, looking out upon the boundless sea, were powerfully
stirred by the new impulse. The Courts of Lisbon and Madrid swarmed
with adventurers who had made discoveries, or who wished the means
to make them. Conspicuous among these was an enthusiast, who during
eighteen years had not ceased to importune incredulous monarchs for
ships and men that he might open up the secrets of the sea. He was a
tall man, of grave and gentle manners, and noble though saddened look.
His eye was gray, “apt to enkindle” when he spoke of those discoveries
in the making of which he felt himself to be Heaven’s chosen agent.
He had known hardship and sorrow in his youth, and at thirty his hair
was white. He was the son of a Genoese wool-comber, and his name was
Christopher Columbus. In him the universal passion for discovery rose
to the dignity of an inspiration.

No sailor of our time would cross the Atlantic in such ships as were
given to Columbus. In size they resembled the smaller of our river and
coasting vessels. Only one of them was decked. The others were open,
save at the prow and stern, where cabins were built for the crew. The
sailors went unwillingly and in much fear--compelled by an order from
the King. With such ships and such men Columbus left the land behind
him and pushed out into these unknown waters. To him there were no
dangers, no difficulties--God, who had chosen him to do this work,
would sustain him for its accomplishment. He sailed on the 3rd of
August 1492. On the 12th of October, in the dim light of early morning,
he gazed out from the deck of his little ship upon the shores of a new
world. His victory was gained; his work was done. How great it was he
himself never knew. He died in the belief that he had merely discovered
a shorter route to India. He never enjoyed that which would have been
the best recompense for all his toil--the knowledge that he had added a
vast continent to the possessions of civilized men.

The revelation by Columbus of the amazing fact that there were lands
beyond the great ocean, inhabited by strange races of human beings,
roused to a passionate eagerness the thirst for fresh discoveries.
The splendours of the newly-found world were indeed difficult to be
resisted. Wealth beyond the wildest dreams of avarice could be had, it
was said, for the gathering. The sands of every river sparkled with
gold. The very colour of the ground showed that gold was profusely
abundant. The meanest of the Indians ornamented himself with gold and
jewels. The walls of the houses glittered with pearls. There was a
fountain, if one might but find it, whose waters bestowed perpetual
youth upon the bather. The wildest romances were greedily received, and
the Old World, with its familiar and painful realities, seemed mean and
hateful beside the fabled glories of the New.

Europe then enjoyed a season of unusual calm--a short respite from the
habitual toil of war--as if to afford men leisure to enter on their new
possession. The last of the Moors had taken his last look at Granada,
and Spain had rest from her eight centuries of war. In England, the
Wars of the Roses had ceased. After thirty years of hard fighting and
huge waste of life and property, the fortunate English had been able to
determine which branch of a certain old family was to rule over them.
Henry VII., with his clear, cold head, and his heavy hand, was guiding
his people somewhat forcibly towards the victories of peace. Even
France tasted the joy of repose. The Reformation was at hand. While
Columbus was holding his uncertain way across the great Atlantic, a boy
called Martin Luther was attending school in a small German town. The
time was not far off, but as yet the mind of Europe was not engrossed
by those religious strifes which were soon to convulse it.

The men whose trade was fighting turned gladly in this idle time to
the world where boundless wealth was to be wrung from the grasp of
unwarlike barbarians. England and France had missed the splendid prize
which Columbus had won for Spain. They hastened now to secure what they
could. A merchant of Bristol, John Cabot, obtained permission from the
King of England to make discoveries in the northern parts of America.
Cabot was to bear all expenses, and the King was to receive one-fifth
of the gains of the adventure. Taking with him his son Sebastian, John
Cabot sailed straight westward across the Atlantic. [Sidenote: 1497
A.D.] He reached the American continent, of which he was the undoubted
discoverer. The result to him was disappointing. He landed on the coast
of Labrador. Being in the same latitude as England, he reasoned that
he should find the same genial climate. To his astonishment he came
upon a region of intolerable cold, dreary with ice and snow. John Cabot
had not heard of the Gulf Stream and its marvellous influences. He did
not know that the western shores of northern Europe are rescued from
perpetual winter, and warmed up to the enjoyable temperature which
they possess, by an enormous river of hot water flowing between banks
of cold water eastward from the Gulf of Mexico. The Cabots made many
voyages afterwards, and explored the American coast from extreme north
to extreme south.

The French turned their attention to the northern parts of the New
World. The rich fisheries of Newfoundland attracted them. A Frenchman
sailed up the great St. Lawrence river. After some failures a French
settlement was established there, and for a century and a half the
French peopled Canada, until the English relieved them of the ownership.

Spanish adventurers never rested from their eager search after the
treasures of the new continent. An aged warrior called Ponce de
Leon fitted out an expedition at his own cost. He had heard of the
marvellous fountain whose waters would restore to him the years of
his wasted youth. He searched in vain. The fountain would not reveal
itself to the foolish old man, and he had to bear without relief the
burden of his profitless years. But he found a country hitherto unseen
by Europeans, which was clothed with magnificent forests, and seemed
to bloom with perpetual flowers. He called it Florida. He attempted
to found a colony in the paradise he had discovered. But the natives
attacked him, slew many of his men, and drove the rest to their ships,
carrying with them their chief, wounded to death by the arrow of an

       *       *       *       *       *

Ferdinand de Soto had been with Pizarro in his expedition to Peru,
and returned to Spain enriched by his share of the plunder. He did
not doubt that in the north were cities as rich and barbarians as
confiding. An expedition to discover new regions, and plunder their
inhabitants, was fitted out under his command. No one doubted that
success equal to that of Cortes and Pizarro would attend this new
adventure. The youth of Spain were eager to be permitted to go, and
they sold houses and lands to buy them the needful equipment. Six
hundred men, in the prime of life, were chosen from the crowd of
applicants, and the expedition sailed, high in courage, splendid in
aspect, boundless in expectation. [Sidenote: 1539 A.D.] They landed on
the coast of Florida, and began their march into the wilderness. They
had fetters for the Indians whom they meant to take captive. They had
bloodhounds, lest these captives should escape. The camp swarmed with
priests, and as they marched the festivals and processions enjoined by
the Church were devoutly observed.

From the outset it was a toilsome and perilous enterprise; but to the
Spaniard of that time danger was a joy. The Indians were warlike, and
generally hostile. De Soto had pitched battles to fight and heavy
losses to bear. Always he was victorious, but he could ill afford the
cost of many such victories. The captive Indians amused him with tales
of regions where gold abounded. They had learned that ignorance on that
subject was very hazardous. De Soto had stimulated their knowledge
by burning to death some who denied the existence of gold in that
country. The Spaniards wandered slowly northwards. They looked eagerly
for some great city, the plunder of whose palaces and temples would
enrich them all. They found nothing better than occasionally an Indian
town, composed of a few miserable huts. It was all they could do to get
needful food. At length they came to a magnificent river. European eyes
had seen no such river till now. It was about a mile in breadth, and
its mass of water swept downward to the sea with a current of amazing
strength. It was the Mississippi. The Spaniards built vessels and
ferried themselves to the western bank.

There they resumed their wanderings. De Soto would not yet admit that
he had failed. He still hoped that the plunder of a rich city would
reward his toils. For many months the Spaniards strayed among the
swamps and dense forests of that dreary region. The natives showed
at first some disposition to be helpful. But the Spaniards, in their
disappointment, were pitiless and savage. They amused themselves by
inflicting pain upon the prisoners. They cut off their hands; they
hunted them with bloodhounds; they burned them at the stake. The
Indians became dangerous. De Soto hoped to awe them by claiming to be
one of the gods, but the imposture was too palpable. “How can a man be
God when he cannot get bread to eat?” asked a sagacious savage. It was
now three years since De Soto had landed in America. The utter failure
of the expedition would no longer conceal, and the men wished to return
home. Broken in spirit and in frame, De Soto caught fever and died.
His soldiers felled a tree and scooped room within its trunk for the
body of the ill-fated adventurer. They could not bury their chief on
land, lest the Indians should dishonour his remains. In the silence
of midnight the rude coffin was sunk in the Mississippi, and the
discoverer of the great river slept beneath its waters. The Spaniards
promptly resolved now to make their way to Cuba. They had tools, and
wood was abundant. They slew their horses for flesh; they plundered
the Indians for bread; they struck the fetters from their prisoners to
reinforce their scanty supply of iron. They built ships enough to float
them down the Mississippi. Three hundred ragged and disheartened men
were all that remained of the brilliant company whose hopes had been so
high, whose good fortune had been so much envied.



For many years European adventurers continued to resort to the American
coast in the hope of finding the way to immediate wealth. Some feeble
attempts had been made to colonize. Here and there a few families had
been planted, but hunger or the Indians always extinguished those
infant settlements. The great idea of colonizing America was slow to
take possession of European minds. The Spaniard sought for Indians
to plunder. The Englishman believed in gold-mines and the north-west
passage to India. It was not till America had been known for a hundred
years that men began to think of finding a home beyond the Atlantic.

The courage and endurance of the early voyagers excite our wonder.
Few of them sailed in ships so large as a hundred tons burden. The
merchant ships of that time were very small. The royal navies of Europe
contained large vessels, but commerce was too poor to employ any but
the smallest. The commerce of imperial Rome employed ships which even
now would be deemed large. St. Paul was wrecked in a ship of over
five hundred tons burden. Josephus sailed in a ship of nearly one
thousand tons. Europe contented herself, as yet, with vessels of a very
different class. A ship of forty or fifty tons was deemed sufficient by
the daring adventurers who sought to reach the Land of Promise beyond
the great sea. Occasionally toy-ships of twenty or twenty-five tons
were used. The brother of Sir Walter Raleigh crossed the Atlantic in
such a ship, and perished in it as he attempted to return to England.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was not a pleasant world which the men and women of Europe had
to live in during the sixteenth century. Fighting was the constant
occupation of the Kings of that time. A year of peace was a rare
and somewhat wearisome exception. Kings habitually, at their own
unquestioned pleasure, gathered their subjects together, and marched
them off to slay and plunder their neighbours. Civil wars were
frequent. In these confused strifes men slew their acquaintances and
friends as the only method they knew of deciding who was to fill the
throne. Feeble Commerce was crushed under the iron heel of War. No
such thing as security for life or property was expected. The fields
of the husbandman were trodden down by the march of armies. Disbanded
or deserted soldiers wandered as “masterless men” over the country,
and robbed and murdered at their will. Highwaymen abounded--although
highways could scarcely be said to exist. Epidemic diseases of strange
type, the result of insufficient feeding and the poisonous air of
undrained lands and filthy streets, desolated all European countries.
Under what hardships and miseries the men of the sixteenth century
passed their days, it is scarcely possible for us now to conceive.

The English Parliament once reminded James I. of certain “undoubted
rights” which they possessed. The King told them, in reply, that he
“did not like this style of talking, but would rather hear them say
that all their privileges were derived by the grace and permission of
the sovereign.” Europe, during the sixteenth century, had no better
understanding of the matter than James had. It was not supposed that
the King was made for the people; it seemed rather to be thought that
the people were made for the King. Here and there some man wiser than
ordinary perceived the truth, so familiar to us, that a King is merely
a great officer appointed by the people to do certain work for them.
There was a Glasgow professor who taught in those dark days that the
authority of the King was derived from the people, and ought to be
used for their good. Two of his pupils were John Knox the reformer,
and George Buchanan the historian, by whom this doctrine, so great and
yet so simple, was clearly perceived and firmly maintained. But to the
great mass of mankind it seemed that the King had divine authority to
dispose of his subjects and their property according to his pleasure.
Poor patient humanity still bowed in lowly reverence before its Kings,
and bore, without wondering or murmuring, all that it pleased them to
inflict. No stranger superstition has ever possessed the human mind
than this boundless mediæval veneration for the King--a veneration
which follies the most abject, vices the most enormous, were not able
to quench.

But as this unhappy century draws towards its close, the elements of a
most benign change are plainly seen at work. The Bible has been largely
read. The Bible is the book of all ages and of all circumstances. But
never, surely, since its first gift to man was it more needful to any
age than to that which now welcomed its restoration with wonder and
delight. It took deep hold on the minds of men. It exercised a silent
influence which gradually changed the aspect of society. The narrative
portions of Scripture were especially acceptable to the untutored
intellect of that time; and thus the Old Testament was preferred to
the New. This preference led to some mistakes. Rules which had been
given to an ancient Asiatic people were applied in circumstances for
which they were never intended or fitted. It is easy to smile at
these mistakes. But it is impossible to over-estimate the social and
political good which we now enjoy as a result of this incessant reading
of the Bible by the people of the sixteenth century.

In nearly all European countries the King claimed to regulate the
religious belief of his subjects. Even in England that power was still
claimed. The people were beginning to suspect that they were entitled
to think for themselves--a suspicion which grew into an indignant
certainty, and widened and deepened till it swept from the throne the
unhappy House of Stuart.

A little way into the seventeenth century America became the refuge of
those who would not receive their faith at the bidding of the King.
The best part of American colonization resulted from the foolish and
insolent oppressions of Europe. At the beginning, however, it was not
so. It was from an impulse of vagrant blackguardism that the first
American colony sprang.



Sir Walter Raleigh spent a large fortune in attempting to colonize
Virginia. He succeeded in directing the attention of his countrymen
to the region which had kindled his own enthusiasm, but his colonies
never prospered. Sometimes the colonists returned home disgusted by the
hardships of the wilderness. Once they were massacred by the Indians.
When help came from England the infant settlement was in ruins. The
bones of unburied men lay about the fields; wild deer strayed among the
untenanted houses. Once a colony wholly disappeared. To this day its
fate is unknown.

Sir Walter was enduring his long captivity in the Tower, writing his
“History of the World,” and moaning piteously over the havoc which
prison-damps wrought upon his handsome frame. The time had now come,
and his labours were about to bear fruit. The history of Virginia
was about to open. It opened with meagre promise. [Sidenote: 1606
A.D.] A charter from the King established a Company whose function
was to colonize--whose privilege was to trade. The Company sent out
an expedition which sailed in three small vessels. It consisted of
one hundred and five men. Of these one-half were gentlemen of broken
fortune; some were tradesmen; others were footmen. Only a very few
were farmers, or mechanics, or persons in any way fitted for the life
they sought. Morally the aspect of the expedition was even more
discouraging. “An hundred dissolute persons” were on board the ships.
The respectable portions of the expedition must have gone into very
little room.

But, happily for Virginia, there sailed with these reprobate founders
of a new empire a man whom Providence had highly gifted with fitness to
govern his fellow-men. His name was John Smith. No writer of romance
would have given his hero this name; but, in spite of his name, the
man was truly heroic. He was still under thirty, a strong-limbed,
deep-chested, massively-built man. From boyhood he had been a
soldier--roaming over the world in search of adventures, wherever hard
blows were being exchanged. He was mighty in single combat. Once, while
opposing armies looked on, he vanquished three Turks, and, like David,
cut off their heads, and bore them to his tent. Returning to England
when the passion for colonizing was at its height, he caught at once
the prevailing impulse. He joined the Virginian expedition; ultimately
he became its chief. His fitness was so manifest, that no reluctance on
his own part, no jealousies on that of his companions, could bar him
from the highest place. Men became Kings of old by the same process
which now made Smith a chief.

The “dissolute persons” sailed in their ships up the James river.
Landing there, they proceeded to construct a little town, which they
named Jamestown, in honour of the King. This was the first colony which
struck its roots in American soil. The colonists were charmed with
the climate and with the luxuriant beauty of the wilderness on whose
confines they had settled. But as yet it was only a wilderness. The
forest had to be cleared that food might be grown. The exiled gentlemen
laboured manfully, but under grievous discouragements. “The axes so oft
blistered their tender fingers, that many times every third blow had a
loud oath to drown the echo.” Smith was a man upon whose soul there lay
a becoming reverence for sacred things. He devised how to have every
man’s oaths numbered; “and at night, for every oath, to have a can of
water poured down his sleeve.” Under this treatment the evil assuaged.

The emigrants had landed in early spring. Summer came with its burning
heat; supplies of food ran low. “Had we been as free from all sins
as from gluttony and drunkenness,” Smith wrote, “we might have been
canonized as saints.” The colonists sickened and died. From those poor
blistered fingers dropped for ever the unaccustomed axe. Before autumn
every second man had died. But the hot Virginian sun, which proved so
deadly to the settlers, ripened the wheat they had sowed in the spring,
and freed the survivors from the pressure of want. Winter brought them
a healthier temperature and abundant supplies of wild-fowl and game.

When the welfare of the colony was in some measure secured, Smith set
forth with a few companions to explore the interior of the country. He
and his followers were captured by the Indians, and the followers were
summarily butchered. Smith’s composure did not fail him in the worst
extremity. He produced his pocket-compass, and interested the savages
by explaining its properties. He wrote a letter in their sight--to
their infinite wonder. They spared him, and made a show of him in all
the settlements round about. He was to them an unfathomable mystery.
He was plainly superhuman. Whether his power would bring to them good
or evil, they were not able to determine. After much hesitation they
chose the course which prudence seem to counsel. They resolved to
extinguish powers so formidable, regarding whose use they could obtain
no guarantee. Smith was bound and stretched upon the earth, his head
resting upon a great stone. The mighty club was uplifted to dash out
his brains. But Smith was a man who won golden opinions of all. The
Indian chief had a daughter, Pocahontas, a child of ten or twelve
years. She could not bear to see the pleasing Englishman destroyed.
As Smith lay waiting the fatal stroke, she caught him in her arms
and interposed herself between him and the club. Her intercession
prevailed, and Smith was set free.

Five years later, “an honest and discreet” young Englishman called
John Rolfe loved this young Indian girl. He had a sore mental struggle
about uniting himself with “one of barbarous breeding and of a cursed
race.” But love triumphed. He laboured for her conversion, and had the
happiness of seeing her baptized in the little church of Jamestown.
Then he married her. After a time he took her home to England. Her
appearance was pleasing; her mind was acute; her piety was sincere; her
manners bore picturesque evidence of her forest upbringing. The English
King and Court regarded her with lively interest as the first-fruits
of the wilderness. Great hopes were founded on this union of the two
races. She is the brightest picture--this young Virginian wife and
mother--which the history of the doomed native races presents to us.
But she did not live to revisit her native land. Death parted her very
early from her husband and her child.

When Smith returned from captivity the colony was on the verge of
extinction. Only thirty-eight persons were left, and they were
preparing to depart. With Smith, hope returned to the despairing
settlers. They resumed their work, confident in the resources of their
chief. Fresh arrivals from England cheered them. The character of
these reinforcements had not as yet improved. “Vagabond gentlemen”
formed still a large majority of the settlers--many of them, we are
told, “packed off to escape worse destinies at home.” The colony, thus
composed, had already gained a very bad reputation: so bad that some,
rather than be sent there, “chose to be hanged, _and were_.” Over
these most undesirable subjects Smith ruled with an authority which no
man dared or desired to question. But he was severely injured by an
accidental explosion of gunpowder. Surgical aid was not in the colony.
Smith required to go to England, and once more hungry ruin settled
down upon Virginia. [Sidenote: 1610 A.D.] In six months the five
hundred men whom Smith had left dwindled to sixty. These were already
embarked and departing, when they were met by Lord Delaware, the new
governor. Once more the colony was saved.

Years of quiet growth succeeded. Emigrants--not wholly now of the
dissolute sort--flowed steadily in. Bad people bore rule in England
during most of the seventeenth century, and they sold the good people
to be slaves in Virginia. The victims of the brutal Judge Jeffreys--the
Scotch Covenanters taken at Bothwell Bridge--were shipped off to this
profitable market. In 1688 the population of Virginia had increased
to 50,000. The little wooden capital swelled out. Other little wooden
towns established themselves. Deep in the unfathomed wilderness rose
the huts of adventurous settlers, in secluded nooks, by the banks of
nameless Virginian streams. A semblance of roads connected the youthful
communities. The Indians were relentlessly suppressed. The Virginians
bought no land; they took what they required--slaying or expelling
the former occupants. Perhaps there were faults on both sides. Once
the Indians planned a massacre so cunningly that over three hundred
Englishmen perished before the bloody hand of the savages could be

The early explorers of Virginia found tobacco in extensive use
among the Indians. It was the chief medicine of the savages. Its
virtues--otherwise unaccountable--were supposed to proceed from a
spiritual presence whose home was in the plant. Tobacco was quickly
introduced into England, where it rose rapidly into favour. Men who had
heretofore smoked only hemp knew how to prize tobacco. King James wrote
vehemently against it. He issued a proclamation against trading in an
article which was corrupting to mind and body. He taxed it heavily when
he could not exclude it. The Pope excommunicated all who smoked in
churches. But, in defiance of law and reason, the demand for tobacco
continued to increase.

The Virginians found their most profitable occupation in supplying
this demand. So eager were they, that tobacco was grown in the squares
and streets of Jamestown. In the absence of money tobacco became the
Virginian currency. Accounts were kept in tobacco. The salaries of
members of Assembly, the stipends of clergymen, were paid in tobacco;
offences were punished by fines expressed in tobacco. Absence from
church cost the delinquent fifty pounds; refusing to have his child
baptized, two thousand pounds; entertaining a Quaker, five thousand
pounds. When the stock of tobacco was unduly large, the currency was
debased, and much inconvenience resulted. The Virginians corrected this
evil in their monetary system by compelling every planter to burn a
certain proportion of his stock.

Within a few years of the settlement the Virginians had a written
Constitution, according to which they were ruled. They had a Parliament
chosen by the burghs, and a Governor sent them from England. The
Episcopal Church was established among them, and the colony divided
into parishes. A college was erected for the use not only of the
English, but also of the most promising young Indians. But they never
became an educated people. The population was widely scattered, so that
schools were almost impossible. In respect of education, Virginia fell
far behind her sisters in the North.



A little more than two centuries ago New England was one vast forest.
Here and there a little space was cleared, a little corn was raised; a
few Indian families made their temporary abode. The savage occupants
of the land spent their profitless lives to no better purpose than
in hunting and fighting. The rivers which now give life to so much
cheerful industry flowed uselessly to the sea. Providence had prepared
a home which a great people might fitly inhabit. Let us see whence
and how the men were brought who were the destined possessors of its

The Reformation had taught that every man is entitled to read his Bible
for himself, and guide his life by the light he obtains from it. But
the lesson was too high to be soon learned. Protestant princes no more
than Popish could permit their subjects to think for themselves. James
I. had just ascended the English throne. His were the head of a fool
and the heart of a tyrant. He would allow no man to separate himself
from the Established Church. He would “harry out of the land” all who
attempted such a thing; and he was as good as his word. Men would
separate from the Church, and the King stretched out his pitiless hand
to crush them.

On the northern border of Nottinghamshire stands the little town of
Scrooby. Here there were some grave and well-reputed persons, to whom
the idle ceremonies of the Established Church were an offence. They
met in secret at the house of one of their number, a gentleman named
Brewster. They were ministered to in all scriptural simplicity by the
pastor of their choice--Mr. Robinson, a wise and good man. But their
secret meetings were betrayed to the authorities, and their lives were
made bitter by the persecutions that fell upon them. They resolved to
leave their own land and seek among strangers that freedom which was
denied them at home.

They embarked with all their goods for Holland. But when the ship was
about to sail, soldiers came upon them, plundered them, and drove them
on shore. They were marched to the public square of Boston, and there
the Fathers of New England endured such indignities as an unbelieving
rabble could inflict. After some weeks in prison they were suffered to
return home.

Next spring they tried again to escape. This time a good many were on
board, and the others were waiting for the return of the boat which
would carry them to the ship. Suddenly dragoons were seen spurring
across the sands. The shipmaster pulled up his anchor and pushed out to
sea with those of his passengers whom he had. The rest were conducted
to prison. After a time they were set at liberty, and in little groups
they made their way to Holland. Mr. Robinson and his congregation were
reunited, and the first stage of the weary pilgrimage from the Old
England to the New was at length accomplished.

Eleven quiet and not unprosperous years were spent in Holland. The
Pilgrims worked with patient industry at their various handicrafts.
[Sidenote: 1609 A.D.] They quickly gained the reputation of doing
honestly and effectively whatever they professed to do, and thus they
found abundant employment. Mr. Brewster established a printing-press,
and printed books about liberty, which, as he had the satisfaction of
knowing, greatly enraged the foolish King James. The little colony
received additions from time to time as oppression in England became
more intolerable.

The instinct of separation was strong within the Pilgrim heart. They
could not bear the thought that their little colony was to mingle with
the Dutchmen and lose its independent existence. But already their sons
and daughters were forming alliances which threatened this result. The
Fathers considered long and anxiously how the danger was to be averted.
They determined again to go on pilgrimage. They would seek a home
beyond the Atlantic, where they could dwell apart and found a State in
which they should be free to think.

[Sidenote: 1620 A.D.] On a sunny morning in July the Pilgrims kneel
upon the sea-shore at Delfthaven, while the pastor prays for the
success of their journey. Out upon the gleaming sea a little ship lies
waiting. Money has not been found to transplant the whole colony, and
only a hundred have been sent. The remainder will follow when they
can. These hundred depart amid tears and prayers and fond farewells.
Mr. Robinson dismissed them with counsels which breathed a pure and
high-toned wisdom. He urged them to keep their minds ever open for the
reception of new truths. “The Lord,” he said, “has more truth to break
forth out of his holy Word. I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition
of the Reformed Churches, who are come to a period in religion,
and will go at present no further than the instruments of their
reformation. Luther and Calvin were great and shining lights in their
times, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God, but, were
they now living, would be as willing to embrace further light as that
which they first received. I beseech you, remember that you be ready to
receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written Word
of God.”

Sixty-eight years later, another famous departure from the coast of
Holland took place. It was that of William, Prince of Orange, coming to
deliver England from tyranny, and give a new course to English history.
A powerful fleet and army sailed with the prince. The chief men of the
country accompanied him to his ships. Public prayers for his safety
were offered up in all the churches. Insignificant beside this seems
at first sight the unregarded departure of a hundred working-men and
women. It was in truth, however, not less, but even more memorable. For
these poor people went forth to found a great empire, destined to leave
as deep and as enduring a mark upon the world’s history as Rome or even
as England has done.

The _Mayflower_, in which the Pilgrims made their voyage, was a ship
of one hundred and sixty tons. The weather proved stormy and cold; the
voyage unexpectedly long. It was early in September when they sailed;
it was not till the 11th November that the _Mayflower_ dropped her
anchor in the waters of Cape Cod Bay.

It was a bleak-looking and discouraging coast which lay before them.
Nothing met the eye but low sand-hills, covered with ill-grown wood
down to the margin of the sea. The Pilgrims had now to choose a place
for their settlement. About this they hesitated so long that the
captain threatened to put them all on shore and leave them. Little
expeditions were sent to explore. At first no suitable locality could
be found. The men had great hardships to endure. The cold was so
excessive that the spray froze upon their clothes, and they resembled
men cased in armour. At length a spot was fixed upon. The soil appeared
to be good, and abounded in “delicate springs” of water. On the 23rd
December the Pilgrims landed, stepping ashore upon a huge boulder of
granite, which is still reverently preserved by their descendants. Here
they resolved to found their settlement, which they agreed to call New

The winter was severe, and the infant colony was brought very near
to extinction. They had been badly fed on board the _Mayflower_, and
for some time after going on shore there was very imperfect shelter
from the weather. Sickness fell heavily on the worn-out Pilgrims.
Every second day a grave had to be dug in the frozen ground. By the
time spring came in there were only fifty survivors, and these sadly
enfeebled and dispirited.

But all through this dismal winter the Pilgrims laboured at their heavy
task. The care of the sick, the burying of the dead, sadly hindered
their work; but the building of their little town went on. They found
that nineteen houses would contain their diminished numbers. These they
built. Then they surrounded them with a palisade. Upon an eminence
beside their town they erected a structure which served a double
purpose. Above, it was a fort, on which they mounted six cannon; below,
it was their church. Hitherto the Indians had been a cause of anxiety,
but had done them no harm. Now they felt safe. Indeed there had never
been much risk. A recent epidemic had swept off nine-tenths of the
Indians who inhabited that region, and the discouraged survivors could
ill afford to incur the hostility of their formidable visitors.

The Pilgrims had been careful to provide for themselves a government.
They had drawn up and signed, in the cabin of the _Mayflower_, a
document forming themselves into a body politic, and promising
obedience to all laws framed for the general good. Under this
constitution they appointed John Carver to be their governor. They
dutifully acknowledged King James, but they left no very large place
for his authority. They were essentially a self-governing people. They
knew what despotism was, and they were very sure that democracy could
by no possibility be so bad.

The welcome spring came at length, and “the birds sang in the woods
most pleasantly.” The health of the colony began somewhat to improve,
but there was still much suffering to endure. The summer passed not
unprosperously. They had taken possession of the deserted clearings of
the Indians, and had no difficulty in providing themselves with food.
But in the autumn came a ship with a new company of Pilgrims. This
was very encouraging; but unhappily the ship brought no provisions,
and the supplies of the colonists were not sufficient for this
unexpected addition. For six months there was only half allowance to
each. Such straits recurred frequently during the first two or three
years. Often the colonists knew not at night “where to have a bit in
the morning.” Once or twice the opportune arrival of a ship saved
them from famishing. They suffered much, but their cheerful trust in
Providence and in their own final triumph never wavered. They faced the
difficulties of their position with undaunted hearts. Slowly but surely
the little colony struck its roots and began to grow.

       *       *       *       *       *

The years which followed the coming of the Pilgrims were years through
which good men in England found it bitter to live. Charles I. was upon
the throne; Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury. Bigotry as blind and
almost as cruel as England had ever seen thus sat in her high places.
Dissent from the Popish usages, which prevailed more and more in the
Church, was at the peril of life. A change was near. John Hampden was
farming his lands in Buckinghamshire. A greater than he--his cousin,
Oliver Cromwell--was leading his quiet rural life at Huntingdon, not
without many anxious and indignant thoughts about the evils of his
time. John Milton was peacefully writing his minor poems, and filling
his mind with the learning of the ancients. The Men had come, and the
Hour was at hand. But as yet King Charles and Archbishop Laud had it
all their own way. They fined and imprisoned every man who ventured
to think otherwise than they wished him to think: they slit his nose,
they cut off his ears, they gave him weary hours in the pillory. They
ordered that men should not leave the kingdom without the King’s
permission. Eight ships lay in the Thames, with their passengers on
board, when that order was given forth. The soldiers cleared the ships,
and the poor emigrants were driven back, in poverty and despair, to
endure the misery from which they were so eager to escape.

New England was the refuge to which the wearied victims of this
senseless tyranny looked. The Pilgrims wrote to their friends at home,
and every letter was regarded with the interest due to a “sacred
script.” They had hardships to tell of at first; then they had
prosperity and comfort; always they had liberty. New England seemed a
paradise to men who were denied permission to worship God according
to the manner which they deemed right. Every summer a few ships
were freighted for the settlements. Many of the silenced ministers
came. Many of their congregations came, glad to be free, at whatever
sacrifice, from the tyranny which disgraced their native land. The
region around New Plymouth became too narrow for the population. From
time to time a little party would go forth, with a minister at its
head. With wives and children and baggage they crept slowly through
the swampy forest. By a week or two of tedious journeying they reached
some point which pleased their fancy, or to which they judged that
Providence had sent them. There they built their little town, with its
wooden huts, its palisade, its fort, on which one or two guns were
ultimately mounted. Thus were founded many of the cities of New England.

For some years the difficulties which the colonists encountered were
almost overwhelming. There seemed at times even to be danger that
death by starvation would end the whole enterprise. But they were
a stout-hearted, patient, industrious people, and labour gradually
brought comfort. The virgin soil began to yield them abundant harvests.
They fished with such success that they manured their fields with
the harvest of the sea. They spun and they weaved. They felled the
timber of their boundless forests. They built ships, and sent away
to foreign countries the timber, the fish, the furs which were not
required at home. [Sidenote: 1643 A.D.] Ere many years a ship built
in Massachusetts sailed for London, followed by “many prayers of the
churches.” Their infant commerce was not without its troubles. They had
little or no coin, and Indian corn was made a legal tender. Bullets
were legalized in room of the farthings which, with their other coins,
had vanished to pay for foreign goods. But no difficulty could long
resist their steady, undismayed labour.

They were a noble people who had thus begun to strike their roots in
the great forests of New England. Their peculiarities may indeed amuse
us. The Old Testament was their statute-book, and they deemed that the
institutions of Moses were the best model for those of New England.
They made attendance on public worship compulsory. They christened
their children by Old Testament names. They regulated female attire by
law. They considered long hair unscriptural, and preached against veils
and wigs.

The least wise among us can smile at the mistakes into which the
Puritan Fathers of New England fell. But the most wise of all ages
will most profoundly reverence the purity, the earnestness, the
marvellous enlightenment of these men. From their incessant study of
the Bible they drew a love of human liberty unsurpassed in depth and
fervour. Coming from under despotic rule, they established at once
a government absolutely free. They felt--what Europe has not even
yet fully apprehended--that the citizens of a State should be able
to guide the affairs of that State without helpless dependence upon
a few great families; that the members of a Church ought to guide
the affairs of that Church, waiting for the sanction of no patron,
however noble and good. It was one of their fundamental laws that all
strangers professing the Christian religion and driven from their
homes by persecutors, should be succoured at the public charge. The
education of children was almost their earliest care. The Pilgrims bore
with them across the sea a deep persuasion that their infant State
could not thrive without education. Three years after the landing,
it was reported of them among the friends they had left in London,
that “their children were not catechised, nor taught to read.” The
colonists felt keenly this reproach. They utterly denied its justice.
They owned, indeed, that they had not yet attained to a school, much
as they desired it. But all parents did their best, each in the
education of his own children. In a very few years schools began to
appear. Such endowment as could be afforded was freely given. Some
tolerably qualified brother was fixed upon, and “entreated to become
schoolmaster.” And thus gradually the foundations were laid of the
noble school system of New England. Soon a law was passed that every
town containing fifty householders must have a common school; every
town of a hundred householders must have a grammar school. Harvard
College was established within fifteen years of the landing.

The founders of New England were men who had known at home the value
of letters. Brewster carried with him a library of two hundred and
seventy-five volumes, and his was not the largest collection in the
colony. The love of knowledge was deep and universal. New England has
never swerved from her early loyalty to the cause of education.

Every colonist was necessarily a soldier. The State provided him with
arms, if poor; required him to provide himself, if rich. His weapons
were sword, pike, and matchlock, with a forked stick on which to rest
his artillery in taking aim. The people were carefully trained to
the use of arms. In the devout spirit of the time, their drills were
frequently opened and closed with prayer.

Twenty-three years after the landing of the Pilgrims the population
of New England had grown to twenty-four thousand. Forty-nine little
wooden towns, with their wooden churches, wooden forts, and wooden
ramparts, were dotted here and there over the land. There were four
separate colonies, which hitherto had maintained separate governments.
They were Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven. There
appeared at first a disposition in the Pilgrim mind to scatter widely,
and remain apart in small self-governing communities. For some years
every little band which pushed deeper into the wilderness settled
itself into an independent State, having no political relations
with its neighbours. But this isolation could not continue. The
wilderness had other inhabitants, whose presence was a standing menace.
Within “striking distance” there were Indians enough to trample out
the solitary little English communities. On their frontiers were
Frenchmen and Dutchmen--natural enemies, as all men in that time
were to each other. [Sidenote: 1643 A.D.] For mutual defence and
encouragement, the four colonies joined themselves into the United
Colonies of New England. This was the first confederation in a land
where confederations of unprecedented magnitude were hereafter to be



The Puritans left their native England and came to the “outside of the
world,” as they called it, that they might enjoy liberty to worship
God according to the way which they deemed right. They had discovered
that they themselves were entitled to toleration. They felt that the
restraints laid upon themselves were very unjust and very grievous. But
their light as yet led them no further. They had not discovered that
people who differed from them were as well entitled to be tolerated
as they themselves were. We have no right to blame them for their
backwardness. Simple as it seems, men have not all found out, even yet,
that every one of them is fully entitled to think for himself.

[Sidenote: 1631 A.D.] And thus it happened that, before the Pilgrims
had enjoyed for many years the cheerful liberty of their new home,
doctrines raised their heads among them which they felt themselves
bound to suppress. One February day there stepped ashore at Boston a
young man upon whose coming great issues depended. His name was Roger
Williams. He was a clergyman--“godly and zealous”--a man of rare virtue
and power. Cromwell admitted him, in later years, to a considerable
measure of intimacy. He was the friend of John Milton--in the bright
days of the poet’s youth, ere yet “the ever-during dark” surrounded
him. From him Milton acquired his knowledge of the Dutch language.
He carried with him to the New World certain strange opinions. Long
thought had satisfied him that in regard to religious belief and
worship man is responsible to God alone. No man, said Williams, is
entitled to lay compulsion upon another man in regard to religion.
The civil power has to do only with the “bodies and goods and outward
estates” of men; in the domain of conscience God is the only ruler.
New England was not able to receive these sentiments. Williams became
minister at Salem, where he was held in high account. In time his
opinions drew down upon him the unfavourable notice of the authorities.
The General Court of Massachusetts brought him to trial for the errors
of his belief. His townsmen and congregation deserted him. His wife
reproached him bitterly with the evil he was bringing upon his family.
Mr. Williams could do no otherwise. He must testify with his latest
breath, if need be, against the “soul oppression” which he saw around
him. The court heard him, discovered error in his opinions, declared
him guilty, and pronounced upon him sentence of banishment.

All honour to this good and brave, if somewhat eccentric man. He of all
the men of his time saw most clearly the beauty of absolute freedom in
matters of conscience. He went forth from Salem. He obtained a grant
of land from the Indians, and he founded the State of Rhode Island.
Landing one day from a boat in which he explored his new possessions,
he climbed a gentle slope, and rested with his companions beside a
spring. It seemed to him that the capital of his infant State ought
to be here. He laid the foundations of his city, which he named
Providence, in grateful recognition of the Power which had guided
his uncertain steps. His settlement was to be “a shelter for persons
distressed for conscience.” Most notably has it been so. Alone of all
the States of Christendom, Rhode Island has no taint of persecution
in her statute-book or in her history. Massachusetts continued to
drive out her heretics; Rhode Island took them in. They might err in
their interpretation of Scripture. Pity for themselves if they did
so. But while they obeyed the laws, they might interpret Scripture
according to the light they had. Many years after, Mr. Williams
became President of the colony which he had founded. The neighbouring
States were at that time sharply chastising the Quakers with lash and
branding-iron and gibbet. Rhode Island was invited to join in the
persecution. Mr. Williams replied that he had no law whereby to punish
any for their belief “as to salvation and an eternal condition.” He
abhorred the doctrines of the Quakers. In his seventy-third year he
rowed thirty miles in an open boat to wage a public debate with some
of the advocates of the system. Thus and thus only could he resist
the progress of opinions which he deemed pernicious. In beautiful
consistency and completeness stands out to the latest hour of his long
life this good man’s loyalty to the absolute liberty of the human

[Sidenote: 1651 A.D.] And thus, too, it happened that when seven or
eight men began to deny that infants should be baptized, New England
never doubted that she did right in forcibly trampling out their
heresy. The heretics had started a meeting of their own, where they
might worship God apart from those who baptized their infants. One
Sabbath morning the constable invaded their worship and forcibly bore
them away to church. Their deportment there was not unsuitable to the
manner of their inbringing. They audaciously clapped on their hats
while the minister prayed, and made no secret that they deemed it sin
to join in the services of those who practised infant baptism. For this
“separation of themselves from God’s people” they were put on trial.
They were fined, and some of the more obdurate among them were ordered
to be “well whipped.” We have no reason to doubt that this order was
executed in spirit as well as in letter. And then a law went forth that
every man who openly condemned the baptizing of infants should suffer
banishment. Thus resolute were the good men of New England that the
right which they had come so far to enjoy should not be enjoyed by
any one who saw a different meaning from theirs in any portion of the
Divine Word.

[Sidenote: 1656 A.D.] Thus, too, when Massachusetts had reason to
apprehend the coming of certain followers of the Quaker persuasion,
she was smitten with a great fear. A fast-day was proclaimed, that
the alarmed people might “seek the face of God in reference to the
abounding of errors, especially those of the Ranters and Quakers.” As
they fasted, a ship was nearing their shores with certain Quaker women
on board. These unwelcome visitors were promptly seized and lodged in
prison; their books were burned by the hangman; they themselves were
sent away home by the ships which brought them. All ship-masters were
strictly forbidden to bring Quakers to the colony. A poor woman, the
wife of a London tailor, left her husband and her children, to bring,
as she said, a message from the Lord to New England. Her trouble was
but poorly bestowed; for they to whom her message came requited her
with twenty stripes and instant banishment. The banished Quakers
took the earliest opportunity of finding their way back. Laws were
passed dooming to death all who ventured to return. A poor fanatic
was following his plough in distant Yorkshire, when the word of the
Lord came to him saying, “Go to Boston.” He went, and the ungrateful
men of Boston hanged him. Four persons in all suffered death. Many
were whipped; some had their ears cut off. [Sidenote: 1661 A.D.] But
public opinion, which has always been singularly humane in America,
began to condemn these foolish cruelties. And the Quakers had friends
at home--friends who had access at Court. There came a letter in the
King’s name directing that the authorities of New England should
“forbear to proceed further against the Quakers.” That letter came by
the hands of a Quaker who was under sentence of death if he dared to
return. The authorities could not but receive it--could not but give
effect to it. The persecution ceased; and with it may be said to close,
in America, all forcible interference with the right of men to think
for themselves.

The Quakers, as they are known to us, are of all sects the least
offensive. A persecution of this serene, thoughtful, self-restrained
people, may well surprise us. But, in justice to New England, it must
be told that the first generation of Quakers differed extremely from
succeeding generations. They were a fanatical people--extravagant,
disorderly, rejecters of lawful authority. A people more intractable,
more unendurable by any government, never lived. They were guided by
an “inner light,” which habitually placed them at variance with the
laws of the country in which they lived, as well as with the most
harmless social usages. George Fox declared that “the Lord forbade
him to put off his hat to any man.” His followers were inconveniently
and provokingly aggressive. They invaded public worship. They openly
expressed their contempt for the religion of their neighbours. They
perpetually came with “messages from the Lord,” which it was not
pleasant to listen to. They appeared in public places very imperfectly
attired, thus symbolically to express and to rebuke the spiritual
nakedness of the time. After a little, when their zeal allied itself
with discretion, they became a most valuable element in American
society. But we can scarcely wonder that they created alarm at first.
The men of New England took a very simple view of the subject. They
had bought and paid for every acre of soil which they occupied. Their
country was a homestead from which they might exclude whom they
chose. They would not receive men whose object was to overthrow all
their institutions, civil and religious. It was a mistake, but a most
natural mistake. Long afterwards, when New England saw her error,
she nobly made what amends she could, by giving compensation to the
representatives of those Quakers who had suffered in the evil times.



When the Pilgrims left their native land, the belief in witchcraft was
universal. England, in much fear, busied herself with the slaughter
of friendless old women who were suspected of an alliance with Satan.
King James had published his book on Demonology a few years before, in
which he maintained that to forbear from putting witches to death was
an “odious treason against God.” England was no wiser than her King.
All during James’s life, and long after he had ceased from invading the
kingdom of Satan, the yearly average of executions for witchcraft was
somewhere about five hundred.

The Pilgrims carried with them across the Atlantic the universal
delusion, which their way of life was fitted to strengthen. They lived
on the verge of vast and gloomy forests. The howl of the wolf and the
scream of the panther sounded nightly around their cabins. Treacherous
savages lurked in the woods watching the time to plunder and to slay.
Every circumstance was fitted to increase the susceptibility of the
mind to gloomy and superstitious impressions. But for the first quarter
of a century, while every ship brought news of witch-killing at home,
no Satanic outbreak disturbed the settlers. The sense of brotherhood
was yet too strong among them. Men who have braved great dangers and
endured great hardships together, do not readily come to look upon
each other as the allies and agents of the Evil One.

In 1645 four persons were put to death for witchcraft. During the next
half century there occur at intervals solitary cases, when some unhappy
wretch falls a victim to the lurking superstition. It was in 1692 that
witch-slaying burst forth in its epidemic form, and with a fury which
has seldom been witnessed elsewhere.

In the State of Massachusetts there is a little town, then called
Salem, sitting pleasantly in a plain between two rivers; and in the
town of Salem there dwelt at that time a minister whose name was Paris.
In the month of February the daughter and niece of Mr. Paris became
ill. It was a dark time for Massachusetts; for the colony was at war
with the French and Indians, and was suffering cruelly from their
ravages. The doctors sat in solemn conclave on the afflicted girls, and
pronounced them bewitched. Mr. Paris, not doubting that it was even so,
bestirred himself to find the offenders. Suspicion fell upon three old
women, who were at once seized. And then, with marvellous rapidity, the
mania spread. The rage and fear of the distracted community swelled
high. Every one suspected his neighbour. Children accused their
parents; parents accused their children. The prisons could scarcely
contain the suspected. The town of Falmouth hanged its minister, a man
of intelligence and worth. Some near relations of the Governor were
denounced. Even the beasts were not safe. A dog was solemnly put to
death for the part he had taken in some satanic festivity.

For more than twelve months this mad panic raged in the New England
States. It is just to say that the hideous cruelties which were
practised in Europe were not resorted to in the prosecution of American
witches. Torture was not inflicted to wring confession from the victim.
The American test was more humane, and not more foolish, than the
European. Those suspected persons who denied their guilt, were judged
guilty and hanged; those who confessed were, for the most part, set
free. Many hundreds of innocent persons, who scorned to purchase life
by falsehood, perished miserably under the fury of an excited people.

The fire had been kindled in a moment; it was extinguished as suddenly.
The Governor of Massachusetts only gave effect to the reaction
which had occurred in the public mind, when he abruptly stopped all
prosecutions against witches, dismissed all the suspected, pardoned all
the condemned. The House of Assembly proclaimed a fast--entreating that
God would pardon the errors of his people “in a late tragedy raised by
Satan and his instruments.” One of the judges stood up in church in
Boston, with bowed down head and sorrowful countenance, while a paper
was read, in which he begged the prayers of the congregation, that
the innocent blood which he had erringly shed might not be visited on
the country or on him. The Salem jury asked forgiveness of God and
the community for what they had done under the power of “a strong and
general delusion.” Poor Mr. Paris was now at a sad discount. He made
public acknowledgment of his error. But at his door lay the origin of
all this slaughter of the unoffending. His part in the tragedy could
not be forgiven. The people would no longer endure his ministry, and
demanded his removal. Mr. Paris resigned his charge, and went forth
from Salem a broken man.

If the error of New England was great and most lamentable, her
repentance was prompt and deep. Five-and-twenty years after she had
clothed herself in sackcloth, old women were still burned to death for
witchcraft in Great Britain. The year of blood was never repeated in



The great continent on which the Pilgrims had landed was the home of
innumerable tribes of Indians. They had no settled abode. The entire
nation wandered hither and thither as their fancy or their chances of
successful hunting directed. When the wood was burned down in their
neighbourhood, or the game became scarce, they abandoned their villages
and moved off to a more inviting region. They had their great warriors,
their great battles, their brilliant victories, their crushing
defeats--all as uninteresting to mankind as the wars of the kites and
crows. They were a race of tall, powerful men--copper-coloured, with
hazel eye, high cheek-bone, and coarse black hair. In manner they
were grave, and not without a measure of dignity. They had courage,
but it was of that kind which is greater in suffering than in doing.
They were a cunning, treacherous, cruel race, among whom the slaughter
of women and children took rank as a great feat of arms. They had
almost no laws, and for religious beliefs a few of the most grovelling
superstitions. They worshipped the Devil because he was wicked, and
might do them an injury. Civilization could lay no hold upon them. They
quickly learned to use the white man’s musket; they never learned to
use the tools of the white man’s industry. They developed a love for
intoxicating drink passionate and irresistible beyond all example.
The settlers behaved to them as Christian men should. They took no
land from them; what land they required they bought and paid for.
Every acre of New England soil was come by with scrupulous honesty.
The friendship of the Indians was anxiously cultivated--sometimes from
fear, oftener from pity. But nothing could stay their progress towards
extinction. Inordinate drunkenness and the gradual limitation of their
hunting-grounds told fatally on their numbers. And occasionally the
English were forced to march against some tribe which refused to be at
peace, and to inflict a defeat which left few survivors.

[Sidenote: 1646 A.D.] Early in the history of New England, efforts
were made to win the Indians to the Christian faith. The Governor of
Massachusetts appointed ministers to carry the gospel to the savages.
Mr. John Eliot, the Apostle of the Indians, was a minister near Boston.
Moved by the pitiful condition of the natives, he acquired the language
of some of the tribes in his neighbourhood. He went and preached to
them in their own tongue. He printed books for them. The savages
received his words. Many of them listened to his sermons in tears.
Many professed faith in Christ, and were gathered into congregations.
He gave them a simple code of laws. It was even attempted to establish
a college for training native teachers; but this had to be abandoned.
The slothfulness of the Indian youth, and their devouring passion for
strong liquors, unfitted them for the ministry. These vices seemed
incurable in the Indian character. No persuasion could induce them to
labour. They could be taught to rest on the Sabbath; they could not
be taught to work on the other six days. And even the best of them
would sell all they had for spirits. These were grave hindrances; but,
in spite of them, Christianity made considerable progress among the
Indians. The hold which it then gained was never altogether lost. And
it was observed that in all the misunderstandings which arose between
the English and the natives, the converts steadfastly adhered to their
new friends.



During the first forty years of its existence, the great city which
we call New York was a Dutch settlement, known among men as New
Amsterdam. [Sidenote: 1609 A.D.] That region had been discovered for
the Dutch East India Company by Henry Hudson, who was still in search,
as Columbus had been, of a shorter route to the East. The Dutch have
never displayed any aptitude for colonizing. But they were unsurpassed
in mercantile discernment, and they set up trading stations with much
judgment. Three or four years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth,
the Dutch West India Company determined to enter into trading relations
with the Indians along the line of the Hudson river. They sent out
a few families, who planted themselves at the southern extremity of
Manhattan Island. A wooden fort was built, around which clustered a
few wooden houses--just as in Europe the baron’s castle arose and the
huts of the baron’s dependants sheltered beside it. The Indians sold
valuable furs for scanty payment in blankets, beads, muskets, and
intoxicating drinks. The prudent Dutchmen grew rich, and were becoming
numerous. [Sidenote: 1643 A.D.] But a fierce and prolonged war with the
Indians broke out. The Dutch, having taken offence at something done by
the savages, expressed their wrath by the massacre of an entire tribe.
All the Indians of that region made common cause against the dangerous
strangers. All the Dutch villages were burned down. Long Island became
a desert. The Dutchmen were driven in to the southern tip of the island
on which New York stands. They ran a palisade across the island in the
line of what is now Wall Street. To-day, Wall Street is the scene of
the largest monetary transactions ever known among men. The hot fever
of speculation rages there incessantly, with a fury unknown elsewhere.
But then, it was the line within which a disheartened and diminishing
band of colonists strove to maintain themselves against a savage foe.

[Sidenote: 1645 A.D.] The war came to an end as wars even then required
to do. For twenty years the colony continued to nourish under the
government of a sagacious Dutchman called Petrus Stuyvesant. Petrus
had been a soldier, and had lost a leg in the wars. He was a brave and
true-hearted man, but withal despotic. When his subjects petitioned for
some part in the making of laws, he was astonished at their boldness.
He took it upon him to inspect the merchants’ books. He persecuted the
Lutherans and “the abominable sect of Quakers.”

It cannot be said that his government was faultless. The colony
prospered under it, however, and a continued immigration from Europe
increased its importance. But in the twentieth year, certain English
ships of war sailed up the bay, and, without a word of explanation,
anchored near the settlement. Governor Petrus was from home, but they
sent for him, and he came with speed. He hastened to the fort and
looked out into the bay. There lay the ships--grim, silent, ominously
near. Appalled by the presence of his unexpected visitors, the Governor
sent to ask wherefore they had come. His alarm was well founded; for
Charles II. of England had presented to his brother James of York a
vast stretch of territory, including the region which the Dutch had
chosen for their settlement. It was not his to give, but that signified
nothing either to Charles or to James. These ships had come to take
possession in the Duke of York’s name. A good many of the colonists
were English, and they were well pleased to be under their own
Government. They would not fight. The Dutch remembered the Governor’s
tyrannies, and they would not fight. Governor Petrus was prepared to
fight single-handed. He had the twenty guns of the fort loaded, and
was resolute to fire upon the ships. So at least he professed. But the
inhabitants begged him, in mercy to them, to forbear; and he suffered
himself to be led by two clergymen away from the loaded guns. It was
alleged, to his disparagement, afterwards, that he had “allowed himself
to be persuaded by ministers and other chicken-hearted persons.” Be
that as it may, King Charles’s errand was done. The little town of
fifteen hundred inhabitants, with all the neighbouring settlements,
passed quietly under English rule. And the future Empire City was named
New York, in honour of one of the meanest tyrants who ever disgraced
the English throne. With the settlements on the Hudson there fell also
into the hands of the English those of New Jersey, which the Dutch had
conquered from the Swedes.



It was not till the year 1682 that the uneventful but quietly
prosperous career of Pennsylvania began. The Stuarts were again upon
the throne of England. They had learned nothing from their exile; and
now, with the hour of their final rejection at hand, they were as
wickedly despotic as ever.

William Penn was the son of an admiral who had gained victories for
England, and enjoyed the favour of the royal family as well as of the
eminent statesmen of his time. The highest honours of the State would
in due time have come within the young man’s reach, and the brightest
hopes of his future were reasonably entertained by his friends. To the
dismay of all, Penn became a Quaker. It was an unspeakable humiliation
to the well-connected admiral. He turned his son out of doors, trusting
that hunger would subdue his intractable spirit. After a time, however,
he relented, and the youthful heretic was restored to favour. His
father’s influence could not shield him from persecution. Penn had
suffered fine, and had lain in the Tower for his opinions.

Ere long the admiral died, and Penn succeeded to his possessions. It
deeply grieved him that his brethren in the faith should endure such
wrongs as were continually inflicted upon them. He could do nothing at
home to mitigate the severities under which they groaned, therefore
he formed the great design of leading them forth to a new world.
King Charles owed to the admiral a sum of £16,000, and this doubtful
investment had descended from the father to the son. Penn offered to
take payment in land, and the King readily bestowed upon him a vast
region stretching westward from the river Delaware. Here Penn proposed
to found a State free and self-governing. It was his noble ambition
“to show men as free and as happy as they can be.” He proclaimed to
the people already settled in his new dominions that they should be
governed by laws of their own making. “Whatever sober and free men can
reasonably desire,” he told them, “for the security and improvement of
their own happiness, I shall heartily comply with.” He was as good as
his word. The people appointed representatives, by whom a Constitution
was framed. Penn confirmed the arrangements which the people chose to

Penn dealt justly and kindly with the Indians, and they requited him
with a reverential love such as they evinced to no other Englishman.
The neighbouring colonies waged bloody wars with the Indians
who lived around them--now inflicting defeats which were almost
exterminating--now sustaining hideous massacres. Penn’s Indians were
his children and most loyal subjects. No drop of Quaker blood was ever
shed by Indian hand in the Pennsylvanian territory. Soon after Penn’s
arrival he invited the chief men of the Indian tribes to a conference.
The meeting took place beneath a huge elm-tree. The pathless forest has
long given way to the houses and streets of Philadelphia, but a marble
monument points out to strangers the scene of this memorable interview.
Penn, with a few companions, unarmed, and dressed according to the
simple fashion of their sect, met the crowd of formidable savages.
They met, he assured them, as brothers “on the broad pathway of good
faith and good will.” No advantage was to be taken on either side. All
was to be “openness and love;” and Penn meant what he said. Strong in
the power of truth and kindness, he bent the fierce savages of the
Delaware to his will. They vowed “to live in love with William Penn and
his children as long as the moon and the sun shall endure.” They kept
their vow. Long years after, they were known to recount to strangers,
with deep emotion, the words which Penn had spoken to them under the
old elm-tree of Shakamaxon.

The fame of Penn’s settlement went abroad in all lands. Men wearied
with the vulgar tyranny of Kings heard gladly that the reign of freedom
and tranquillity was established on the banks of the Delaware. An
asylum was opened “for the good and oppressed of every nation.” Of
these there was no lack. Pennsylvania had nothing to attract such
“dissolute persons” as had laid the foundations of Virginia. But grave
and God-fearing men from all the Protestant countries sought a home
where they might live as conscience taught them. The new colony grew
apace. Its natural advantages were tempting. Penn reported it as “a
good land, with plentiful springs, the air clear and fresh, and an
innumerable quantity of wild-fowl and fish; what Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob would be well-contented with.” During the first year, twenty-two
vessels arrived, bringing two thousand persons. In three years,
Philadelphia was a town of six hundred houses. It was half a century
from its foundation before New York attained equal dimensions.

When Penn, after a few years, revisited England, he was able truly to
relate that “things went on sweetly with Friends in Pennsylvania; that
they increased finely in outward things and in wisdom.”



The thirteen States which composed the original Union were, Virginia,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Delaware,
Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Georgia.

[Sidenote: 1732 A.D.] Of these the latest born was Georgia. Only fifty
years had passed since Penn established the Quaker State on the banks
of the Delaware. But changes greater than centuries have sometimes
wrought had taken place. The Revolution had vindicated the liberties
of the British people. The tyrant house of Stuart had been cast out,
and with its fall the era of despotic government had closed. The real
governing power was no longer the King, but the Parliament.

Among the members of Parliament during the rule of Sir Robert Walpole
was one almost unknown to us now, but deserving of honour beyond most
men of his time. His name was James Oglethorpe. He was a soldier, and
had fought against the Turks and in the great Marlborough wars against
Louis XIV. In advanced life he became the friend of Samuel Johnson.
Dr. Johnson urged him to write some account of his adventures. “I know
no one,” he said, “whose life would be more interesting: if I were
furnished with materials I should be very glad to write it.” Edmund
Burke considered him “a more extraordinary person than any he had ever
read of.” John Wesley “blessed God that ever he was born.” Oglethorpe
attained the great age of ninety-six, and died in the year 1785. The
year before his death he attended the sale of Dr. Johnson’s books, and
was there met by Samuel Rogers the poet. “Even then,” says Rogers, “he
was the finest figure of a man you ever saw; but very, very old--the
flesh of his face like parchment.”

In Oglethorpe’s time it was in the power of a creditor to imprison,
according to his pleasure, the man who owed him money and was not able
to pay it. It was a common circumstance that a man should be imprisoned
during a long series of years for a trifling debt. Oglethorpe had a
friend upon whom this hard fate had fallen. His attention was thus
painfully called to the cruelties which were inflicted upon the
unfortunate and helpless. He appealed to Parliament, and after inquiry
a partial remedy was obtained. The benevolent exertions of Oglethorpe
procured liberty for multitudes who but for him might have ended their
lives in captivity.

This, however, did not content him. Liberty was an incomplete gift to
men who had lost, or perhaps had scarcely ever possessed, the faculty
of earning their own maintenance. Oglethorpe devised how he might carry
these unfortunates to a new world, where, under happier auspices, they
might open a fresh career. [Sidenote: 1732 A.D.] He obtained from King
George II. a charter by which the country between the Savannah and the
Alatamaha, and stretching westward to the Pacific, was erected into
the province of Georgia. It was to be a refuge for the deserving poor,
and next to them for Protestants suffering persecution. Parliament
voted £10,000 in aid of the humane enterprise, and many benevolent
persons were liberal with their gifts. In November the first exodus
of the insolvent took place. Oglethorpe sailed with one hundred and
twenty emigrants, mainly selected from the prisons--penniless, but
of good repute. He surveyed the coasts of Georgia, and chose a site
for the capital of his new State. He pitched his tent where Savannah
now stands, and at once proceeded to mark out the line of streets and

Next year the colony was joined by about a hundred German Protestants,
who were then under persecution for their beliefs. The colonists
received this addition to their numbers with joy. A place of residence
had been chosen for them which the devout and thankful strangers
named Ebenezer. They were charmed with their new abode. The river and
the hills, they said, reminded them of home. They applied themselves
with steady industry to the cultivation of indigo and silk; and they

The fame of Oglethorpe’s enterprise spread over Europe. All struggling
men against whom the battle of life went hard looked to Georgia as
a land of promise. They were the men who most urgently required to
emigrate; but they were not always the men best fitted to conquer the
difficulties of the immigrant’s life. The progress of the colony was
slow. The poor persons of whom it was originally composed were honest
but ineffective, and could not in Georgia more than in England find out
the way to become self-supporting. Encouragements were given which drew
from Germany, from Switzerland, and from the Highlands of Scotland, men
of firmer texture of mind--better fitted to subdue the wilderness and
bring forth its treasures.

[Sidenote: 1736 A.D.] With Oglethorpe there went out, on his second
expedition to Georgia, the two brothers John and Charles Wesley.
Charles went as secretary to the Governor. John was even then, although
a very young man, a preacher of unusual promise. He burned to spread
the gospel among the settlers and their Indian neighbours. He spent two
years in Georgia, and these were unsuccessful years. His character was
unformed; his zeal out of proportion to his discretion. The people felt
that he preached “personal satires” at them. He involved himself in
quarrels, and at last had to leave the colony secretly, fearing arrest
at the instance of some whom he had offended. He returned to begin his
great career in England, with the feeling that his residence in Georgia
had been of much value to himself, but of very little to the people
whom he sought to benefit.

Just as Wesley reached England, his fellow-labourer George Whitefield
sailed for Georgia. There were now little settlements spreading
inland, and Whitefield visited these, bearing to them the word of
life. He founded an Orphan-House at Savannah, and supported it by
contributions--obtained easily from men under the power of his
unequalled eloquence. He visited Georgia very frequently, and his love
for that colony remained with him to the last.

Slavery was, at the outset, forbidden in Georgia. It was opposed to the
gospel, Oglethorpe said, and therefore not to be allowed. He foresaw,
besides, what has been so bitterly experienced since, that slavery must
degrade the poor white labourer. But soon a desire sprung up among
the less scrupulous of the settlers to have the use of slaves. Within
seven years from the first landing, slave-ships were discharging their
cargoes at Savannah.



In the month of December 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers landed from the
_Mayflower_. Their landing takes rank among our great historical
transactions. The rock which first received their footsteps is a
sacred spot, to which the citizens of great and powerful States make
reverential pilgrimages. And right it should be so; for the vast
influence for good which New England exerts, and must ever exert, in
the world’s affairs, has risen upon the foundation laid by these sickly
and storm-wearied Pilgrims.

A few months previously another landing had taken place, destined in
the fulness of time to bear the strangest of fruits. In the month of
August a Dutch ship of war sailed up the James river and put twenty
negroes ashore upon the Virginian coast. It was a wholly unnoticed
proceeding. No name or lineage had these sable strangers. No one cared
to know from what tribe they sprang, or how it fared with them in their
sorrowful journeying. Yet these men were Pilgrim Fathers too. They were
the first negro slaves in a land whose history, during the next century
and a half, was to receive a dark, and finally a bloody, colouring from
the fact of Negro Slavery.

       *       *       *       *       *

The negro slave trade was an early result of the discovery of
America. To utilize the vast possessions which Columbus had bestowed
upon her, Spain deemed that compulsory labour was indispensable.
The natives of the country naturally fell the first victims to this
necessity. Terrible desolations were wrought among the poor Indians.
Proud and melancholy, they could not be reconciled to their bondage.
They perished by thousands under the merciless hand of their new

[Sidenote: 1542 A.D.] Charles V. heard with remorse of this ruin of the
native races. Indian slavery was at once and peremptorily forbidden.
But labourers must be obtained, or those splendid possessions would
relapse into wilderness. Spanish merchants traded to the coasts of
Africa, where they bought gold dust and ivory for beads and ribands
and scarlet cloaks. They found there a harmless idle people, whose
simple wants were supplied without effort on their part; and who, in
the absence of inducement, neither laboured nor fought. The Spaniards
bethought them of these men to cultivate their fields, to labour in
their mines. They were gentle and tractable; they were heathens, and
therefore the proper inheritance of good Catholics; by baptism and
instruction in the faith their souls would be saved from destruction.
Motives of the most diverse kinds urged the introduction of the negro.
At first the traffic extended no further than to criminals. Thieves and
murderers, who must otherwise have been put to death, enriched their
chiefs by the purchase-money which the Spaniards were eager to pay. But
on all that coast no rigour of law could produce offenders in numbers
sufficient to meet the demand. Soon the limitation ceased. Unoffending
persons were systematically kidnapped and sold. The tribes went to
war in the hope of taking prisoners whom they might dispose of to the

England was not engaged in that traffic at its outset. Ere long her
hands were as deeply tainted with its guilt as those of any other
country. But for a time her intercourse with Africa was for blameless
purposes of commerce. And while that continued the English were
regarded with confidence by the Africans. [Sidenote: 1557 A.D.] At
length one John Lok, a shipmaster, stole five black men and brought
them to London. The next Englishman who visited Africa found that that
theft had damaged the good name of his countrymen. His voyage was
unprofitable, for the natives feared him. When this was told in London
the mercantile world was troubled, for the African trade was a gainful
one. The five stolen men were conveyed safely home again.

This was the opening of our African slave-trade. Then, for the first
time, did our fathers feel the dark temptation, and thus hesitatingly
did they at first yield to its power. The traffic in gold dust and
ivory continued. Every Englishman who visited the African coast had
occasion to know how actively and how profitably Spain, and Portugal
too, traded in slaves. He knew that on all that rich coast there was no
merchandise so lucrative as the unfortunate people themselves. It was
not an age when such seductions could be long withstood. The English
traders of that day were not the men to be held back from a gainful
traffic by mere considerations of humanity.

[Sidenote: 1562 A.D.] Sir John Hawkins made the first English venture
in slave-trading. He sailed with three vessels to Sierra Leone. There,
by purchase or by violence, he possessed himself of three hundred
negroes. With this freight he crossed the Atlantic, and at St. Domingo
he sold the whole to a great profit. The fame of his gains caused
sensation in England, and he was encouraged to undertake a second
expedition. Queen Elizabeth and many of her courtiers took shares in
the venture. After many difficulties, Hawkins collected five hundred
negroes. His voyage was a troublous one. He was beset with calms; water
ran short, and it was feared that a portion of the cargo must have been
flung overboard. “Almighty God, however,” says this devout man-stealer,
“who never suffers his elect to perish,” brought him to the West Indies
without loss of a man. But there had arrived before him a rigorous
interdict from the King of Spain against the admission of foreign
vessels to any of his West Indian ports. Hawkins was too stout-hearted
to suffer such frustration of his enterprise. After some useless
negotiation, he landed a hundred men with two pieces of cannon; landed
and sold his negroes; paid the tax which he himself had fixed; and soon
in quiet England divided his gains with his royal and noble patrons.
Thus was the slave-trade established in England. Three centuries after,
we look with horror and remorse upon the results which have followed.

In most of the colonies there was unquestionably a desire for
the introduction of the negro. But ere many years the colonists
became aware that they were rapidly involving themselves in grave
difficulties. The increase of the coloured population alarmed them.
Heavy debts, incurred for the purchase of slaves, disordered their
finances. The production of tobacco, indigo, and other articles of
Southern growth, exceeded the demand, and prices fell ruinously low.
There were occasionally proposals made--although not very favourably
entertained--with a view to emancipation. But the opposition of the
colonists to the African slave-trade was very decided. Very frequent
attempts to limit the traffic were made even in the Southern colonies,
where slave labour was most valuable. [Sidenote: 1787 A.D.] Soon after
the Revolution, several Slave-owning States prohibited the importation
of slaves. The Constitution provided that Congress might suppress the
slave-trade after the lapse of twenty years. But for the resistance of
South Carolina and Georgia the prohibition would have been immediate.
[Sidenote: 1807 A.D.] And at length, at the earliest moment when it was
possible, Congress gave effect to the general sentiment by enacting
“that no slaves be imported into any of the thirteen United Colonies.”

And why had this not been done earlier? If the colonists were sincere
in their desire to suppress this base traffic, why did they not
suppress it? The reason is not difficult to find. England would
not permit them. England forced the slave-trade upon the reluctant
colonists. The English Parliament watched with paternal care over
the interests of this hideous traffic. During the first half of the
eighteenth century Parliament was continually legislating to this
effect. Every restraint upon the largest development of the trade was
removed with scrupulous care. Everything that diplomacy could do to
open new markets was done. When the colonists sought by imposing a
tax to check the importation of slaves, that tax was repealed. Land
was given free, in the West Indies, on condition that the settler
should keep four negroes for every hundred acres. Forts were built
on the African coast for the protection of the trade. So recently as
the year 1749 an Act was passed bestowing additional encouragements
upon slave-traders, and emphatically asserting “the slave-trade is
very advantageous to Great Britain.” There are no passages in all our
history so humiliating as these.

It is marvellous that such things were done--deliberately, and with all
the solemnities of legal sanction--by men not unacquainted with the
Christian religion, and humane in all the ordinary relations of life.
The Popish Inquisition inflicted no suffering more barbarously cruel
than was endured by the victim of the slave-trader. Hundreds of men
and women, with chains upon their limbs, were packed closely together
into the holds of small vessels. There, during weeks of suffering, they
remained, enduring fierce tropical heat, often deprived of water and of
food. They were all young and strong, for the fastidious slave-trader
rejected men over thirty as uselessly old. But the strength of the
strongest sunk under the horrors of this voyage. Often it happened that
the greater portion of the cargo had to be flung overboard. Under the
most favourable circumstances, it was expected that one slave in every
five would perish. In every cargo of five hundred, one hundred would
suffer a miserable death. And the public sentiment of England fully
sanctioned a traffic of which these horrors were a necessary part.

At one time the idea was prevalent in the colonies that it was contrary
to Scripture to hold a baptized person in slavery. The colonists did
not on that account liberate their slaves. They escaped the difficulty
in the opposite direction. They withheld baptism and religious
instruction. England took some pains to put them right on this
question. The bishops of the Church and the law-officers of the Crown
issued authoritative declarations, asserting the entire lawfulness of
owning Christians. The colonial legislatures followed with enactments
to the same effect. The colonists, thus reassured, gave consent that
the souls of their unhappy dependants should be cared for.

Up to the Revolution it was estimated that three hundred thousand
negroes had been brought into the country direct from Africa. The
entire coloured population was supposed to amount to nearly half a



There was at the outset considerable diversity of pattern among the
governments of the colonies. As time wore on, the diversity lessened,
and one great type becomes visible in all. There is a Governor
appointed by the King. There is a Parliament chosen by the people.
Parliament holds the purse-strings. The Governor applies for what
moneys the public service seems to him to require. Parliament, as a
rule, grants his demands; but not without consideration, and a distinct
assertion of its right to refuse should cause appear. As the Revolution
drew near, the function of the Governor became gradually circumscribed
by the pressure of the Assemblies. When the Governor, as representing
the King, fell into variance with the popular will, the representatives
of the people assumed the whole business of government. The most loyal
of the colonies resolutely defied the encroachments of the King or his
Governor. They had a pleasure and a pride in their connection with
England; but they were at the same time essentially a self-governing
people. From the government which existed before the Revolution it was
easy for them to step into a federal union. The colonists had all their
interests and all their grievances in common. It was natural for them,
when trouble arose, to appoint representatives who should deliberate
regarding their affairs. These representatives required an executive
to give practical effect to their resolutions. The officer who was
appointed for that purpose was called, not King, but President; and was
chosen, not for life, but for four years. By this simple and natural
process arose the American Government.

At first Virginia was governed by two Councils, one of which was
English and the other Colonial. Both were entirely under the King’s
control. In a very few years the representative system was introduced,
and a popular assembly, over whose proceedings the Governor retained
the right of veto, regulated the affairs of the colony. Virginia was
the least democratic of the colonies. Her leanings were always towards
monarchy. She maintained her loyalty to the Stuarts. Charles II.
ruled her in his exile, and was crowned in a robe of Virginian silk,
presented by the devoted colonists. The baffled Cavaliers sought refuge
in Virginia from the hateful triumph of Republicanism. Virginia refused
to acknowledge the Commonwealth, and had to be subjected by force. When
the exiled House was restored, her joy knew no bounds.

The New England States were of different temper and different
government. While yet on board the _Mayflower_, the Pilgrims, as
we have seen, formed themselves into a body politic, elected their
Governor, and bound themselves to submit to his authority, “confiding
in his prudence that he would not adventure upon any matter of moment
without consent of the rest.” Every church member was an elector. For
sixty years this democratic form of government was continued, till the
despotic James II. overturned it in the closing years of his unhappy
reign. The Pilgrims carried with them from England a bitter feeling
of the wrongs which Kings had inflicted on them, and they arrived in
America a people fully disposed to govern themselves. They cordially
supported Cromwell. Cromwell, on his part, so highly esteemed the
people of New England, that he invited them to return to Europe, and
offered them settlements in Ireland. They delayed for two years to
proclaim Charles II. when he was restored to the English throne. They
sheltered the regicides who fled from the King’s vengeance. They hailed
the Revolution, by which the Stuarts were expelled and constitutional
monarchy set up in England. Of all the American colonies, those of New
England were the most democratic, and the most intolerant of royal
interference with their liberties.

New York was bestowed upon the Duke of York, who for a time appointed
the Governor. Pennsylvania was a grant to Penn, who exercised the
same authority. Ultimately, however, in all cases, the appointment of
Governor rested with the King, while the representatives were chosen by
the people.

Book Second.



In the year 1740 there fell out a great European war. There was some
doubt who should fill the Austrian throne. The emperor had just died,
leaving no son or brother to inherit his dignities. His daughter, Maria
Theresa, stepped into her father’s place, and soon made it apparent
that she was strong enough to maintain what she had done. Two or three
Kings thought they had a better right than she to the throne. The other
Kings ranged themselves on this side or on that. The idea of looking
on while foolish neighbours destroyed themselves by senseless war, had
not yet been suggested. Every King took part in a great war, and sent
his people forth to slay and be slain, quite as a matter of course. So
they raised great armies, fought great battles, burned cities, wasted
countries, inflicted and endured unutterable miseries, all to settle
the question about this lady’s throne. But the lady was of a heroic
spirit, well worthy to govern, and she held her own, and lived and died
an empress.

During these busy years, a Virginian mother, widowed in early life,
was training up her eldest son in the fear of God--all unaware, as
she infused the love of goodness and duty into his mind, that she was
giving a colour to the history of her country throughout all its
coming ages. That boy’s name was George Washington. He was born in
1732. His father--a gentleman of good fortune, with a pedigree which
can be traced beyond the Norman Conquest--died when his son was eleven
years of age. Upon George’s mother devolved the care of his upbringing.
She was a devout woman, of excellent sense and deep affections; but
a strict disciplinarian, and of a temper which could brook no shadow
of insubordination. Under her rule--gentle, and yet strong--George
learned obedience and self-control. In boyhood he gave remarkable
promise of those excellences which distinguished his mature years. His
schoolmates recognized the calm judicial character of his mind, and
he became in all their disputes the arbiter from whose decision there
was no appeal. He inherited his mother’s love of command, happily
tempered by a lofty disinterestedness and a love of justice, which
seemed to render it impossible that he should do or permit aught that
was unfair. His person was large and powerful. His face expressed the
thoughtfulness and serene strength of his character. He excelled in all
athletic exercises. His youthful delight in such pursuits developed his
physical capabilities to the utmost, and gave him endurance to bear the
hardships which lay before him.

Young gentlemen of Virginia were not educated then so liberally as
they have been since. It was presumed that Washington would be a mere
Virginian proprietor and farmer, as his father had been; and his
education was no higher than that position then demanded. He never
learned any language but his own. The teacher of his early years
was also the sexton of the parish. And even when he was taken to an
institution of a more advanced description, he attempted no higher
study than the keeping of accounts and the copying of legal and
mercantile papers. A few years later, it was thought he might enter the
civil or military service of his country; and he was put to the study
of mathematics and land-surveying.

George Washington did nothing by halves. In youth, as in manhood, he
did thoroughly what he had to do. His school exercise books are models
of neatness and accuracy. His plans and measurements made while he
studied land-surveying were as scrupulously exact as if great pecuniary
interests depended upon them. In his eighteenth year he was employed
by Government as surveyor of public lands. Many of his surveys were
recorded in the county offices, and remain to this day. Long experience
has established their unvarying accuracy. In all disputes to which they
have any relevancy, their evidence is accepted as decisive. During the
years which preceded the Revolution he managed his estates, packed and
shipped his own tobacco and flour, kept his own books, conducted his
own correspondence. His books may still be seen. Perhaps no clearer or
more accurate record of business transactions has been kept in America
since the Father of American Independence rested from book-keeping.
The flour which he shipped to foreign ports came to be known as his,
and the Washington brand was habitually exempted from inspection. A
most reliable man; his words and his deeds, his professions and his
practice, are ever found in most perfect harmony. By some he has
been regarded as a stolid, prosaic person, wanting in those features
of character which captivate the minds of men. It was not so. In an
earlier age George Washington would have been a true knight-errant with
an insatiable thirst for adventure and a passionate love of battle.
He had in high degree those qualities which make ancient knighthood
picturesque. But higher qualities than these bore rule within him. He
had wisdom beyond most, giving him deep insight into the wants of his
time. He had clear perceptions of the duty which lay to his hand. What
he saw to be right, the strongest impulses of his soul constrained him
to do. A massive intellect and an iron strength of will were given to
him, with a gentle, loving heart, with dauntless courage, with purity
and loftiness of aim. He had a work of extraordinary difficulty to
perform. History rejoices to recognize in him a revolutionary leader
against whom no questionable transaction has ever been alleged.

The history of America presents, in one important feature, a very
striking contrast to the history of nearly all older countries. In
the old countries, history gathers round some one grand central
figure--some judge, or priest, or king--whose biography tells all
that has to be told concerning the time in which he lived. That one
predominating person--David, Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon--is among his
people what the sun is in the planetary system. All movement originates
and terminates in him, and the history of the people is merely a record
of what he has chosen to do or caused to be done. In America it has not
been so. The American system leaves no room for predominating persons.
It affords none of those exhibitions of solitary, all-absorbing
grandeur which are so picturesque, and have been so pernicious. Her
history is a history of her people, and of no conspicuous individuals.
Once only in her career is it otherwise. During the lifetime of George
Washington her history clings very closely to him; and the biography
of her great chief becomes in a very unusual degree the history of the



While Washington’s boyhood was being passed on the banks of the
Potomac, a young man, destined to help him in gaining the independence
of the country, was toiling hard in the city of Philadelphia to earn an
honest livelihood. His name was Benjamin Franklin; his avocations were
manifold. He kept a small stationer’s shop; he edited a newspaper; he
was a bookbinder; he made ink; he sold rags, soap, and coffee. He was
also a printer, employing a journeyman and an apprentice to aid him in
his labours. He was a thriving man; but he was not ashamed to convey
along the streets, in a wheelbarrow, the paper which he bought for the
purposes of his trade. As a boy he had been studious and thoughtful;
as a man he was prudent, sagacious, trustworthy. His prudence was,
however, somewhat low-toned and earthly. He loved and sought to marry a
deserving young woman, who returned his affection. There was in those
days a debt of one hundred pounds upon his printing-house. He demanded
that the father of the young lady should pay off this debt. The father
was unable to do so. Whereupon the worldly Benjamin decisively broke
off the contemplated alliance.

When he had earned a moderate competency he ceased to labour at his
business. Henceforth he laboured to serve his fellow-men. Philadelphia
owes to Franklin her university, her hospital, her fire-brigade, her
first and greatest library.

He earned renown as a man of science. It had long been his thought that
lightning and electricity were the same; but he found no way to prove
the truth of his theory. [Sidenote: 1752 A.D.] At length he made a
kite fitted suitably for his experiment. He stole away from his house
during a thunder-storm, having told no one but his son, who accompanied
him. The kite was sent up among the stormy clouds, and the anxious
philosopher waited. For a time no response to his eager questioning was
granted, and Franklin’s countenance fell. But at length he felt the
welcome shock, and his heart thrilled with the high consciousness that
he had added to the sum of human knowledge.

[Sidenote: 1766 A.D.] When the troubles arose in connection with the
Stamp Act, Franklin was sent to England to defend the rights of the
colonists. The vigour of his intellect, the matured wisdom of his
opinions, gained for him a wonderful supremacy over the men with whom
he was brought into contact. He was examined before Parliament. Edmund
Burke said that the scene reminded him of a master examined by a
parcel of schoolboys, so conspicuously was the witness superior to his

[Sidenote: 1777 A.D.] Franklin was an early advocate of independence,
and aided in preparing the famous Declaration. In all the councils of
that eventful time he bore a leading part. He was the first American
Ambassador to France; and the good sense and vivacity of the old
printer gained for him high favour in the fashionable world of Paris.
He lived to aid in framing the Constitution under which America has
enjoyed prosperity so great. [Sidenote: 1799 A.D.] Soon after he passed
away. A few months before his death he wrote to Washington:--“I am now
finishing my eighty-fourth year, and probably with it my career in this
life; but in whatever state of existence I am placed hereafter, if I
retain any memory of what has passed here, I shall with it retain the
esteem, respect, and affection with which I have long regarded you.”



The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which gave a brief repose to Europe, left
unsettled the contending claims of France and England upon American
territory. [Sidenote: 1748 A.D.] France had possessions in Canada
and also in Louisiana, at the extreme south, many hundreds of miles
away. She claimed the entire line of the Mississippi river, with its
tributaries; and she had given effect to her pretensions by erecting
forts at intervals to connect her settlements in the north with those
in the south. Her claim included the Valley of the Ohio. This was a
vast and fertile region, whose value had just been discovered by the
English. It was yet unpeopled; but its vegetation gave evidence of
wealth unknown to the colonists in the eastern settlements. The French,
to establish their claim, sent three hundred soldiers into the valley,
and nailed upon the trees leaden plates which bore the royal arms of
France. They strove by gifts and persuasion to gain over the natives,
and expelled the English traders who had made their adventurous way
into those recesses. The English, on their part, were not idle. A
great trading company was formed, which, in return for certain grants
of land, became bound to colonize the valley, to establish trading
relations with the Indians, and to maintain a competent military force.
This was in the year 1749. In that age there was but one solution of
such difficulties. Governments had not learned to reason; they could
only fight. Early in 1751 both parties were actively preparing for war.
That war went ill with France. When the sword was sheathed in 1759, she
had lost not only Ohio, but the whole of Canada.

[Sidenote: 1754 A.D.] When the fighting began it was conducted on
the English side wholly by the colonists. Virginia raised a little
army. Washington, then a lad of twenty-one, was offered the command,
so great was the confidence already felt in his capacity. It was war
in miniature as yet. The object of Washington in the campaign was to
reach a certain fort on the Ohio, and hold it as a barrier against
French encroachment. He had his artillery to carry with him, and to
render that possible he had to make a road through the wilderness. He
struggled heroically with the difficulties of his position, but he
could not advance at any better speed than two miles a-day; and he was
not destined to reach the fort on the Ohio. After toiling on as he best
might for six weeks, he learned that the French were seeking him with
a force far outnumbering his. He halted, and hastily constructed a
rude intrenchment, which he called Fort Necessity, because his men had
nearly starved while they worked at it. He had three hundred Virginians
with him, and some Indians. The Indians deserted so soon as occasion
arose for their services. The French attack was not long withheld.
Early one summer morning a sentinel came in bleeding from a French
bullet. All that day the fight lasted. At night the French summoned
Washington to surrender. The garrison were to march out with flag and
drum, leaving only their artillery. Washington could do no better, and
he surrendered. Thus ended the first campaign in the war which was to
drive France from Ohio and Canada. Thus opened the military career
of the man who was to drive England from the noblest of her colonial

But now the English Government awoke to the necessity of vigorous
measures to rescue the endangered Valley of the Ohio. A campaign
was planned which was to expel the French from Ohio, and wrest from
them some portions of their Canadian territory. The execution of this
great design was intrusted to General Braddock, with a force which
it was deemed would overbear all resistance. Braddock was a veteran
who had seen the wars of forty years. Among the fields on which he
had gained his knowledge of war was Culloden, where he had borne a
part in trampling out the rebellion of the Scotch. He was a brave and
experienced soldier, and a likely man, it was thought, to do the work
assigned to him. But that proved a sad miscalculation. Braddock had
learned the rules of war; but he had no capacity to comprehend its
principles. In the pathless forests of America he could do nothing
better than strive to give literal effect to those maxims which he had
found applicable in the well-trodden battle-grounds of Europe.

The failure of Washington in his first campaign had not deprived him
of public confidence. Braddock heard such accounts of his efficiency
that he invited him to join his staff. Washington, eager to efface the
memory of his defeat, gladly accepted the offer.

[Sidenote: 1755 A.D.] The troops disembarked at Alexandria. The
colonists, little used to the presence of regular soldiers, were
greatly emboldened by their splendid aspect and faultless discipline,
and felt that the hour of final triumph was at hand. After some delay,
the army, with such reinforcements as the province afforded, began
its march. Braddock’s object was to reach Fort Du Quesne, the great
centre of French influence on the Ohio. It was this same fort of which
Washington endeavoured so manfully to possess himself in his disastrous
campaign of last year.

Fort Du Quesne had been built by the English, and taken from them
by the French. It stood at the confluence of the Alleghany and
Monongahela; which rivers, by their union at this point, form the Ohio.
It was a rude piece of fortification, but the circumstances admitted
of no better. The fort was built of the trunks of trees; wooden huts
for the soldiers surrounded it. A little space had been cleared in the
forest, and a few patches of wheat and Indian corn grew luxuriantly in
that rich soil. The unbroken forest stretched all around. Three years
later the little fort was retaken by the English, and named Fort Pitt.
Then in time it grew to be a town, and was called Pittsburg. And men
found in its neighbourhood boundless wealth of iron and of coal. To-day
a great and fast-growing city stands where, a century ago, the rugged
fort with its cluster of rugged huts were the sole occupants. And the
rivers, then so lonely, are ploughed by many keels; and the air is dark
with the smoke of innumerable furnaces. The judgment of the sagacious
Englishmen who deemed this a locality which they would do well to get
hold of, has been amply borne out by the experience of posterity.

Braddock had no doubt that the fort would yield to him directly he
showed himself before it. Benjamin Franklin looked at the project with
his shrewd, cynical eye. He told Braddock that he would assuredly
take the fort if he could only reach it; but that the long slender
line which his army must form in its march “would be cut like thread
into several pieces” by the hostile Indians. Braddock “smiled at his
ignorance.” Benjamin offered no further opinion. It was his duty to
collect horses and carriages for the use of the expedition, and he did
what was required of him in silence.

The expedition crept slowly forward, never achieving more than three
or four miles in a day; stopping, as Washington said, “to level every
mole-hill, to erect a bridge over every brook.” It left Alexandria on
the 20th April. On the 9th July Braddock, with half his army, was near
the fort. There was yet no evidence that resistance was intended. No
enemy had been seen; the troops marched on as to assured victory. So
confident was their chief, that he refused to employ scouts, and did
not deign to inquire what enemy might be lurking near.

The march was along a road twelve feet wide, in a ravine, with high
ground in front and on both sides. Suddenly the Indian war-whoop
burst from the woods. A murderous fire smote down the troops. The
provincials, not unused to this description of warfare, sheltered
themselves behind trees and fought with steady courage. Braddock,
clinging to his old rules, strove to maintain his order of battle on
the open ground. A carnage, most grim and lamentable, was the result.
His undefended soldiers were shot down by an unseen foe. For three
hours the struggle lasted; then the men broke and fled in utter rout
and panic. Braddock, vainly fighting, fell mortally wounded, and was
carried off the field by some of his soldiers. The poor pedantic man
never got over his astonishment at a defeat so inconsistent with the
established rules of war. “Who would have thought it?” he murmured,
as they bore him from the field. He scarcely spoke again, and died in
two or three days. Nearly eight hundred men, killed and wounded, were
lost in this disastrous encounter--about one-half of the entire force

All the while England and France were nominally at peace. But now war
was declared. The other European powers fell into their accustomed
places in the strife, and the flames of war spread far and wide. On
land and on sea the European people strove to shed blood and destroy
property, and thus produce human misery to the largest possible
extent. At the outset every fight brought defeat and shame to England.
English armies under incapable leaders were sent out to America and
ignominiously routed by the French. On the continent of Europe the
uniform course of disaster was scarcely broken by a single victory.
Even at sea, England seemed to have fallen from her high estate, and
her fleets turned back from the presence of an enemy.

The rage of the people knew no bounds. The admiral who had not fought
the enemy when he should have done so, was hanged. The Prime Minister
began to tremble for his neck. One or two disasters more, and the
public indignation might demand a greater victim than an unfortunate
admiral. The Ministry resigned, and William Pitt, afterwards Earl of
Chatham, came into power.

And then, all at once, the scene changed, and there began a career
of triumph more brilliant than even England had ever known. The
French fleets were destroyed; French possessions all over the world
were seized; French armies were defeated. Every post brought news of
victory. For once the English people, greedy as they are of military
glory, were satisfied.

[Sidenote: 1759 A.D.] One of the most splendid successes of Pitt’s
administration was gained in America. The colonists had begun to lose
respect for the English army and the English Government, but Pitt
quickly regained their confidence. They raised an army of 50,000 men to
help his schemes for the extinction of French power. A strong English
force was sent out, and a formidable invasion of Canada was organized.

Most prominent among the strong points held by the French was the city
of Quebec. Thither in the month of June came a powerful English fleet,
with an army under the command of General Wolfe. Captain James Cook,
the famous navigator, who discovered so many of the sunny islands
of the Pacific, was master of one of the ships. Quebec stands upon
a peninsula formed by the junction of the St. Charles and the St.
Lawrence rivers. The lower town was upon the beach; the upper was on
the cliffs, which at that point rise precipitously to a height of two
hundred feet. Wolfe tried the effect of a bombardment. He laid the
lower town in ruins very easily, but the upper town was too remote from
his batteries to sustain much injury. It seemed as if the enterprise
would prove too much for the English, and the sensitive Wolfe was
thrown by disappointment and anxiety into a violent fever. But he
was not the man to be baffled. The shore for miles above the town was
carefully searched. An opening was found whence a path wound up the
cliffs. Here Wolfe would land his men, and lead them to the Heights of
Abraham. Once there, they would defeat the French and take Quebec, or
die where they stood.

On a starlight night in September the soldiers were embarked in boats
which dropped down the river to the chosen landing-place. As the boat
which carried Wolfe floated silently down, he recited to his officers
Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard,” then newly received from
England; and he exclaimed at its close, “I would rather be the author
of that poem than take Quebec to-morrow.” He was a man of feeble bodily
frame, but he wielded the power which genius in its higher forms
confers. Amid the excitements of impending battle he could walk, with
the old delight, in the quiet paths of literature.

The soldiers landed and clambered, as they best might, up the rugged
pathway. All through the night armed men stepped silently from the
boats and silently scaled those formidable cliffs. The sailors
contrived to drag up a few guns. When morning came, the whole army
stood upon the Heights of Abraham ready for the battle.

[Sidenote: 1759 A.D.] Montcalm, the French commander, was so utterly
taken by surprise that he refused at first to believe the presence
of the English army. He lost no time in marching forth to meet his
unexpected assailants. The conflict which followed was fierce but not
prolonged. The French were soon defeated and put to flight; Quebec
surrendered. But Montcalm did not make that surrender, nor did Wolfe
receive it. Both generals fell in the battle. Wolfe died happy that the
victory was gained. Montcalm was thankful that death spared him the
humiliation of giving up Quebec. They died as enemies; but the men of
a new generation, thinking less of the accidents which made them foes
than of the noble courage and devotedness which united them, placed
their names together upon the monument which marks out to posterity the
scene of this decisive battle.

France did not quietly accept her defeat. Next year she made an attempt
to regain Quebec. It was all in vain. In due time the success of the
English resulted in a treaty of peace, under which France ceded to
England all her claims upon Canada. Spain at the same time relinquished
Florida. England had now undisputed possession of the western
continent, from the region of perpetual winter to the Gulf of Mexico.



A century and a half had now passed since the first colony had been
planted on American soil. The colonists were fast ripening into
fitness for independence. They had increased with marvellous rapidity.
Europe never ceased to send forth her superfluous and needy thousands.
America opened wide her hospitable arms and gave assurance of liberty
and comfort to all who came. The thirteen colonies now contained a
population of about three million.

They were eminently a trading people, and their foreign commerce was
already large and lucrative. New England built ships with the timber of
her boundless forests, and sold them to foreign countries. She caught
fish and sent them to the West Indies. She killed whales and sent the
oil to England. New York and Pennsylvania produced wheat, which Spain
and Portugal were willing to buy. Virginia clung to the tobacco-plant,
which Europe was not then, any more than she is now, wise enough to
dispense with. The swampy regions of Carolina and Georgia produced rice
sufficient to supply the European demand. As yet cotton does not take
any rank in the list of exports. But the time is near. Even now Richard
Arkwright is brooding over improvements in the art of spinning cotton.
When these are perfected the growing of cotton will rise quickly to a
supremacy over all the industrial pursuits.

England had not learned to recognize the equality of her colonists
with her own people. The colonies were understood to exist not for
their own good so much as for the good of the mother country. Even
the chimney-sweepers, as Lord Chatham asserted, might be heard in the
streets of London talking boastfully of their subjects in America.
Colonies were settlements “established in distant parts of the world
for the benefit of trade.” As such they were most consistently
treated. The Americans could not import direct any article of foreign
production. Everything must be landed in England and re-shipped thence,
that the English merchant might have profit. One exemption only was
allowed from the operation of this law--the products of Africa, the
unhappy negroes, were conveyed direct to America, and every possible
encouragement was given to that traffic. Notwithstanding the illiberal
restrictions of the home government, the imports of America before the
Revolution had risen almost to the value of three million sterling.

New England had, very early, established her magnificent system of
Common Schools. For two or three generations these had been in full
operation. The people of New England were now probably the most
carefully instructed people in the world. There could not be found a
person born in New England unable to read and write. It had always been
the practice of the Northern people to settle in townships or villages
where education was easily carried to them. In the South it had not
been so. There the Common Schools had taken no root. It was impossible
among a population so scattered. The educational arrangements of the
South have never been adequate to the necessities of the people.

In the early years of America, the foundations were laid of those
differences in character and interest which have since produced
results of such magnitude. The men who peopled the Eastern States had
to contend with a somewhat severe climate and a comparatively sterile
soil. These disadvantages imposed upon them habits of industry and
frugality. Skilled labour alone could be of use in their circumstances.
They were thus mercifully rescued from the curse of slavery--by the
absence of temptation, it may be, rather than by superiority of virtue.
Their simple purity of manners remained long uncorrupted. The firm
texture of mind which upheld them in their early difficulties remained
unenfeebled. Their love of liberty was not perverted into a passion for
supremacy. Among them labour was not degraded by becoming the function
of a despised race. In New England labour has always been honourable.
A just-minded, self-relying, self-helping people, vigorous in acting,
patient in enduring--it was evident from the outset that they, at
least, would not disgrace their ancestry.

The men of the South were very differently circumstanced. Their climate
was delicious; their soil was marvellously fertile; their products were
welcome in the markets of the world; unskilled labour was applicable
in the rearing of all their great staples. Slavery being exceedingly
profitable, struck deep roots very early. It was easy to grow rich. The
colonists found themselves not the employers merely, but the owners of
their labourers. They became aristocratic in feeling and in manners,
resembling the picturesque chiefs of old Europe rather than mere
prosaic growers of tobacco and rice. They had the virtues of chivalry,
and also its vices. They were generous, open-handed, hospitable; but
they were haughty and passionate, improvident, devoted to pleasure and
amusement more than to work of any description. Living apart, each on
his own plantation, the education of children was frequently imperfect,
and the planter himself was bereft of that wholesome discipline to
mind and to temper which residence among equals confers. The two great
divisions of States--those in which slavery was profitable, and those
in which it was unprofitable--were unequally yoked together. Their
divergence of character and interest continued to increase, till it
issued in one of the greatest of recorded wars.

Up to the year 1764, the Americans cherished a deep reverence and
affection for the mother country. They were proud of her great place
among the nations. They gloried in the splendour of her military
achievements; they copied her manners and her fashions. She was in
all things their model. They always spoke of England as “home.” To be
an Old England man was to be a person of rank and importance among
them. They yielded a loving obedience to her laws. They were governed,
as Benjamin Franklin stated it, at the expense of a little pen and
ink. When money was asked from their Assemblies, it was given without
grudge. “They were led by a thread,”--such was their love for the land
which gave them birth.

Ten or twelve years came and went. A marvellous change has passed
upon the temper of the American people. They have bound themselves by
great oaths to use no article of English manufacture--to engage in no
transaction which can put a shilling into any English pocket. They
have formed “the inconvenient habit of carting,”--that is, of tarring
and feathering and dragging through the streets such persons as avow
friendship for the English Government. They burn the Acts of the
English Parliament by the hands of the common hangman. They slay the
King’s soldiers. They refuse every amicable proposal. They cast from
them for ever the King’s authority. They hand down a dislike to the
English name, of which some traces lingered among them for generations.

By what unhallowed magic has this change been wrought so swiftly? By
what process, in so few years, have three million people been taught to
abhor the country they so loved?

The ignorance and folly of the English Government wrought this evil.
But there is little cause for regret. Under the fuller knowledge of our
modern time, colonies are allowed to discontinue their connection with
the mother country when it is their wish to do so. Better had America
gone in peace. But better she went, even in wrath and bloodshed, than
continued in paralyzing dependence upon England.

For many years England had governed her American colonies harshly, and
in a spirit of undisguised selfishness. America was ruled, not for her
own good, but for the good of English commerce. She was not allowed
to export her products except to England. No foreign ship might enter
her ports. Woollen goods were not allowed to be sent from one colony
to another. At one time the manufacture of hats was forbidden. In a
liberal mood Parliament removed that prohibition, but decreed that no
maker of hats should employ any negro workman, or any larger number of
apprentices than two. Iron-works were forbidden. Up to the latest hour
of English rule the Bible was not allowed to be printed in America.

The Americans had long borne the cost of their own government and
defence. But in that age of small revenue and profuse expenditure on
unmeaning continental wars, it had been often suggested that America
should be taxed for the purposes of the home Government. Some one
proposed that to Sir Robert Walpole in a time of need. The wise Sir
Robert shook his head. It must be a bolder man than he was who would
attempt that. A man bolder, because less wise, was found in due time.

[Sidenote: 1764 A.D.] The Seven Years’ War had ended, and England
had added a hundred million to her national debt. The country was
suffering, as countries always do after great wars, and it was no
easy matter to fit the new burdens on to the national shoulder. The
hungry eye of Lord Grenville searched where a new tax might be laid.
The Americans had begun visibly to prosper. Already their growing
wealth was the theme of envious discourse among English merchants. The
English officers who had fought in America spoke in glowing terms of
the magnificent hospitality which had been extended to them. No more
need be said. The House of Commons passed a resolution asserting their
right to tax the Americans. No solitary voice was raised against this
fatal resolution. Immediately after, an Act was passed imposing certain
taxes upon silks, coffee, sugar, and other articles. The Americans
remonstrated. They were willing, they said, to vote what moneys the
King required of them, but they vehemently denied the right of any
Assembly in which they were not represented to take from them any
portion of their property. They were the subjects of the King, but they
owed no obedience to the English Parliament. Lord Grenville went on his
course. He had been told the Americans would complain but submit, and
he believed it. Next session an Act was passed imposing Stamp Duties
on America. The measure awakened no interest. Edmund Burke said he had
never been present at a more languid debate. In the House of Lords
there was no debate at all. With so little trouble was a continent rent
away from the British Empire.

[Sidenote: 1765 A.D.] Benjamin Franklin told the House of Commons that
America would never submit to the Stamp Act, and that no power on earth
could enforce it. The Americans made it impossible for Government
to mistake their sentiments. Riots, which swelled from day to day
into dimensions more “enormous and alarming,” burst forth in the New
England States. Everywhere the stamp distributers were compelled to
resign their offices. One unfortunate man was led forth to Boston
Common, and made to sign his resignation in presence of a vast crowd.
Another, in desperate health, was visited in his sick-room and obliged
to pledge that if he lived he would resign. A universal resolution was
come to that no English goods would be imported till the Stamp Act
was repealed. The colonists would “eat nothing, drink nothing, wear
nothing that comes from England,” while this great injustice endured.
The Act was to come into force on the 1st of November. That day the
bells rang out funereal peals, and the colonists wore the aspect of men
on whom some heavy calamity has fallen. But the Act never came into
force. Not one of Lord Grenville’s stamps was ever bought or sold in
America. Some of the stamped paper was burned by the mob; the rest was
hidden away to save it from the same fate. Without stamps, marriages
were null; mercantile transactions ceased to be binding; suits at law
were impossible. Nevertheless the business of human life went on. Men
married; they bought, they sold; they went to law;--illegally, because
without stamps. But no harm came of it.

England heard with amazement that America refused to obey the law.
There were some who demanded that the Stamp Act should be enforced by
the sword. But it greatly moved the English merchants that America
should cease to import their goods. William Pitt--not yet Earl of
Chatham--denounced the Act, and said he was glad America had resisted.
[Sidenote: 1766 A.D.] Pitt and the merchants triumphed, and the Act was
repealed. There was illumination in the city that night. The city bells
rang for joy; the ships in the Thames displayed all their colours. The
saddest heart in all London was that of poor King George, who never
ceased to lament “the fatal repeal of the Stamp Act.” All America
thrilled with joy and pride when news arrived of the great triumph.
They voted Pitt a statue; they set apart a day for public rejoicing;
all prisoners for debt were set free. A great deliverance had been
granted, and the delight of the gladdened people knew no bounds. The
danger is over for the present; but whosoever governs America now has
need to walk warily.

It was during the agitation arising out of the Stamp Act that the idea
of a General Congress of the States was suggested. A loud cry for union
had arisen. “Join or die” was the prevailing sentiment. The Congress
met in New York. It did little more than discuss and petition. It
is interesting merely as one of the first exhibitions of a tendency
towards federal union in a country whose destiny, in all coming time,
this tendency was to fix.

The repeal of the Stamp Act delayed only for a little the fast-coming
crisis. A new Ministry was formed, with the Earl of Chatham at its
head. But soon the great Earl lay sick and helpless, and the burden
of government rested on incapable shoulders. Charles Townshend, a
clever, captivating, but most indiscreet man, became the virtual
Prime Minister. The feeling in the public mind had now become more
unfavourable to America. Townshend proposed to levy a variety of taxes
from the Americans. The most famous of his taxes was one of threepence
per pound on tea. All his proposals became law.

This time the more thoughtful Americans began to despair of justice.
The boldest scarcely ventured yet to suggest revolt against England,
so powerful and so loved. But the grand final refuge of independence
was silently brooded over by many. The mob fell back on their customary
solution. Great riots occurred. To quell these disorders English
troops encamped on Boston Common. The town swarmed with red-coated
men, every one of whom was a humiliation. Their drums beat on Sabbath,
and troubled the orderly men of Boston, even in church. At intervals
fresh transports dropped in, bearing additional soldiers, till a great
force occupied the town. The galled citizens could ill brook to be
thus bridled. The ministers prayed to Heaven for deliverance from the
presence of the soldiers. The General Court of Massachusetts called
vehemently on the Governor to remove them. The Governor had no powers
in that matter. He called upon the court to make suitable provision for
the King’s troops,--a request which it gave the court infinite pleasure
to refuse.

[Sidenote: 1770 A.D.] The universal irritation broke forth in frequent
brawls between soldiers and people. One wintry moonlight night in
March, when snow and ice lay about the streets of Boston, a more than
usually determined attack was made upon a party of soldiers. The mob
thought the soldiers dared not fire without the order of a magistrate,
and were very bold in the strength of that belief. It proved a mistake.
The soldiers did fire, and the blood of eleven slain or wounded
persons stained the frozen streets. This was “the Boston Massacre,”
which greatly inflamed the patriot antipathy to the mother country.

Two or three unquiet years passed, and no progress towards a settlement
of differences had been made. From all the colonies there came, loud
and unceasing, the voice of complaint and remonstrance. It fell upon
unheeding ears, for England was committed. To her honour be it said, it
was not in the end for money that she alienated her children. The tax
on tea must be maintained to vindicate the authority of England. But
when the tea was shipped, such a drawback was allowed that the price
would actually have been lower in America than it was at home.

The Americans had, upon the whole, kept loyally to their purpose of
importing no English goods, specially no goods on which duty could
be levied. Occasionally, a patriot of the more worldly-minded sort
yielded to temptation, and secretly despatched an order to England.
He was forgiven, if penitent. If obdurate, his name was published,
and a resolution of the citizens to trade no more with a person so
unworthy soon brought him to reason. But, in the main, the colonists
were true to their bond, and when they could no longer smuggle they
ceased to import. The East India Company accumulated vast quantities of
unsaleable tea, for which a market must be found. [Sidenote: 1773 A.D.]
Several ships were freighted with tea, and sent out to America.

Cheaper tea was never seen in America; but it bore upon it the abhorred
tax which asserted British control over the property of Americans.
Will the Americans, long bereaved of the accustomed beverage, yield to
the temptation, and barter their honour for cheap tea? The East India
Company never doubted it; but the Company knew nothing of the temper of
the American people. The ships arrived at New York and Philadelphia.
These cities stood firm. The ships were promptly sent home--their
hatches unopened--and duly bore their rejected cargoes back to the

When the ships destined for Boston showed their tall masts in the bay,
the citizens ran together to hold council. It was Sabbath, and the
men of Boston were strict. But here was an exigency, in presence of
which all ordinary rules are suspended. The crisis has come at length.
If that tea is landed it will be sold, it will be used, and American
liberty will become a byword upon the earth.

Samuel Adams was the true King in Boston at that time. He was a
man in middle life, of cultivated mind and stainless reputation--a
powerful speaker and writer--a man in whose sagacity and moderation
all men trusted. He resembled the old Puritans in his stern love of
liberty--his reverence for the Sabbath--his sincere, if somewhat
formal, observance of all religious ordinances. He was among the first
to see that there was no resting-place in this struggle short of
independence. “We are free,” he said, “and want no King.” The men of
Boston felt the power of his resolute spirit, and manfully followed
where Samuel Adams led.

It was hoped that the agents of the East India Company would have
consented to send the ships home; but the agents refused. Several
days of excitement and ineffectual negotiation ensued. People flocked
in from the neighbouring towns. The time was spent mainly in public
meeting; the city resounded with impassioned discourse. But meanwhile
the ships lay peacefully at their moorings, and the tide of patriot
talk seemed to flow in vain. Other measures were visibly necessary.
One day a meeting was held, and the excited people continued in hot
debate till the shades of evening fell. No progress was made. At length
Samuel Adams stood up in the dimly-lighted church, and announced, “This
meeting can do nothing more to save the country.” With a stern shout
the meeting broke up. Fifty men disguised as Indians hurried down to
the wharf, each man with a hatchet in his hand. The crowd followed.
The ships were boarded; the chests of tea were brought on deck, broken
up, and flung into the bay. The approving citizens looked on in
silence. It was felt by all that the step was grave and eventful in the
highest degree. So still was the crowd that no sound was heard but the
stroke of the hatchet and the splash of the shattered chests as they
fell into the sea. All questions about the disposal of those cargoes of
tea at all events are now solved.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is what America has done; it is for England to make the next move.
Lord North was now at the head of the British Government. It was his
lordship’s belief that the troubles in America sprang from a small
number of ambitious persons, and could easily, by proper firmness, be
suppressed. “The Americans will be lions while we are lambs,” said
General Gage. The King believed this, and Lord North believed it. In
this deep ignorance he proceeded to deal with the great emergency.
He closed Boston as a port for the landing and shipping of goods. He
imposed a fine to indemnify the East India Company for their lost teas.
He withdrew the Charter of Massachusetts. He authorized the Governor to
send political offenders to England for trial. Great voices were raised
against these severities. Lord Chatham, old in constitution now, if
not in years, and near the close of his career, pled for measures of
conciliation. Edmund Burke justified the resistance of the Americans.
Their opposition was fruitless. All Lord North’s measures of repression
became law; and General Gage, with an additional force of soldiers,
was sent to Boston to carry them into effect. Gage was an authority
on American affairs. He had fought under Braddock. Among blind men
the one-eyed man is king; among the profoundly ignorant, the man with
a little knowledge is irresistibly persuasive. “Four regiments sent
to Boston,” said the hopeful Gage, “will prevent any disturbance.”
He was believed; but, unhappily for his own comfort, he was sent to
Boston to secure the fulfilment of his own prophecy. He threw up some
fortifications and lay as in a hostile city. The Americans appointed a
day of fasting and humiliation. They did more. They formed themselves
into military companies; they occupied themselves with drill; they laid
up stores of ammunition. Most of them had muskets, and could use them.
He who had no musket now got one. They hoped that civil war would be
averted, but there was no harm in being ready.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sept. 5, 1774 A.D.] While General Gage was throwing up his
fortifications at Boston, there met in Philadelphia a Congress of
delegates, sent by the States, to confer in regard to the troubles
which were thickening round them. Twelve States were represented.
Georgia as yet paused timidly on the brink of the perilous enterprise.
They were notable men who met there, and their work is held in enduring
honour. “For genuine sagacity, for singular moderation, for solid
wisdom,” said the great Earl of Chatham, “the Congress of Philadelphia
shines unrivalled.” The low-roofed quaint old room in which their
meetings were held, became one of the shrines which Americans delight
to visit. George Washington was there, and his massive sense and
copious knowledge were a supreme guiding power. Patrick Henry, then
a young man, brought to the council a wisdom beyond his years, and a
fiery eloquence, which, to some of his hearers, seemed almost more
than human. He had already proved his unfitness for farming and for
shop-keeping. He was now to prove that he could utter words which swept
over a continent, thrilling men’s hearts like the voice of the trumpet,
and rousing them to heroic deeds. John Routledge from South Carolina
aided him with an eloquence little inferior to his own. Richard Henry
Lee, with his Roman aspect, his bewitching voice, his ripe scholarship,
his rich stores of historical and political knowledge, would have
graced the highest assemblies of the Old World. John Dickenson, the
wise farmer from the banks of the Delaware, whose Letters had done so
much to form the public sentiment--his enthusiastic love of England
overborne by his sense of wrong--took regretful but resolute part in
withstanding the tyranny of the English Government.

We have the assurance of Washington that the members of this Congress
did not aim at independence. As yet it was their wish to have wrongs
redressed and to continue British subjects. Their proceedings give
ample evidence of this desire. They drew up a narrative of their
wrongs. As a means of obtaining redress, they adopted a resolution that
all commercial intercourse with Britain should cease. They addressed
the King, imploring his majesty to remove those grievances which
endangered their relations with him. They addressed the people of Great
Britain, with whom, they said, they deemed a union as their greatest
glory and happiness; adding, however, that they would not be hewers of
wood and drawers of water to any nation in the world. They appealed
to their brother colonists of Canada for support in their peaceful
resistance to oppression. But Canada, newly conquered from France,
was peopled almost wholly by Frenchmen. A Frenchman of that time was
contented to enjoy such an amount of liberty and property as his King
was pleased to permit. And so from Canada there came no response of
sympathy or help.

Here Congress paused. Some members believed, with Washington, that
their remonstrances would be effectual. Others, less sanguine, looked
for no settlement but that which the sword might bring. They adjourned,
to meet again next May. This is enough for the present. What further
steps the new events of that coming summer may call for, we shall be
prepared, with God’s help, to take.

England showed no relenting in her treatment of the Americans. The
King gave no reply to the address of Congress. The Houses of Lords
and of Commons refused even to allow that address to be read in their
hearing. The King announced his firm purpose to reduce the refractory
colonists to obedience. Parliament gave loyal assurances of support to
the blinded monarch. All trade with the colonies was forbidden. All
American ships and cargoes might be seized by those who were strong
enough to do so. The alternative presented to the American choice was
without disguise--the Americans had to fight for their liberty, or
forego it. The people of England had, in those days, no control over
the government of their country. All this was managed for them by a few
great families. Their allotted part was to toil hard, pay their taxes,
and be silent. If they had been permitted to speak, their voice would
have vindicated the men who asserted the right of self-government--a
right which Englishmen themselves were not to enjoy for many a long

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1775 A.D.] General Gage had learned that considerable stores
of ammunition were collected at the village of Concord, eighteen
miles from Boston. He would seize them in the King’s name. Late one
April night eight hundred soldiers set out on this errand. They hoped
their coming would be unexpected, as care had been taken to prevent
the tidings from being carried out of Boston. But as they marched,
the clang of bells and the firing of guns gave warning far and near
of their approach. In the early morning they reached Lexington. Some
hours before, a body of militia awaited them there. But the morning was
chill and the hour untimely, and the patriots were allowed to seek the
genial shelter of the tavern, under pledge to appear at beat of drum.
Seventy of them did so, mostly, we are told, “in a confused state.”
Major Pitcairn commanded them to disperse. The patriots did not at once
obey the summons. It was impossible that seventy volunteers could mean
to fight eight hundred British soldiers; it is more likely they did
not clearly understand what was required of them. Firing ensued. The
Americans say that the first shot came from the British. Major Pitcairn
always asserted that he himself saw a countryman give the first fire
from behind a wall. It can never be certainly known, but there was now
firing enough. The British stood and shot, in their steady unconcerned
way, at the poor mistaken seventy. The patriots fled fast. Eighteen
of their number did not join the flight. These lay in their blood on
the village green, dead or wounded men. Thus was the war begun between
England and her colonies.

The British pushed on to Concord, and destroyed all the military stores
they could find. It was not much, for there had been time to carry off
nearly everything. By noon the work was done, and the wearied troops
turned their faces towards Boston.

They were not suffered to march alone. All that morning grim-faced
yeomen--of the Ironside type, each man with a musket in his hand--had
been hurrying into Concord. The British march was mainly on a road cut
through dense woods. As they advanced, the vengeful yeomanry hung upon
their flanks and rear. On every side there streamed forth an incessant
and murderous fire, under which the men fell fast. No effort could
dislodge those deadly but almost unseen foes. During all the terrible
hours of that return march the fire of the Americans never flagged, and
could seldom be returned. It was sunset ere the soldiers, half dead
with fatigue, got home to Boston. In killed, wounded, and prisoners,
this fatal expedition had cost nearly three hundred men. The blood shed
at Lexington had been swiftly and deeply avenged.



The encounters at Lexington and Concord thoroughly aroused the American
people. The news rang through the land that blood had been spilt--that
already there were martyrs to the great cause. Mounted couriers
galloped along all highways. Over the bustle of the market-place--in
the stillness of the quiet village church--there broke the startling
shout, “The war has begun.” All men felt that the hour had come, and
they promptly laid aside their accustomed labour that they might gird
themselves for the battle. North Carolina, in her haste, threw off the
authority of the King, and formed herself into military companies.
Timid Georgia sent gifts of money and of rice, and cheering letters,
to confirm the bold purposes of the men of Boston. In aristocratic and
loyal Virginia there was a general rush to arms. From every corner
of the New England States men hurried to Boston. Down in pleasant
Connecticut an old man was ploughing his field one April afternoon.
His name was Israel Putnam. He was now a farmer and tavern-keeper--a
combination frequent at that time in New England, and not at all
inconsistent, we are told, “with a Roman character.” Formerly he had
been a warrior. He had fought the Indians, and had narrowly escaped
the jeopardies of such warfare. Once he had been bound to a tree, and
the savages were beginning to toss their tomahawks at his head, when
unhoped-for rescue found him. As rugged old Israel ploughed his field,
some one told him of Lexington. That day he ploughed no more. He sent
word home that he had gone to Boston. Unyoking his horse from the
plough, in a few minutes he was mounted and hastening towards the camp.

Boston and its suburbs stand on certain islets and peninsulas, access
to which, from the mainland, is gained by one isthmus which is called
Boston Neck, and another isthmus which is called Charlestown Neck. A
city thus circumstanced is not difficult to blockade. The American
Yeomanry blockaded Boston. There were five thousand soldiers in the
town; but the retreat from Concord inclined General Gage to some
measure of patient endurance, and he made no attempt to raise the

The month of May was wearing on, and still General Gage lay inactive.
Still patriot Americans poured into the blockading camp. They were
utterly undisciplined, and wholly without uniform. The English scorned
them as a rabble “with calico frocks and fowling-pieces.” But they were
Anglo-Saxons with arms in their hands, and a fixed purpose in their
minds. It was very likely that the unwise contempt of their enemies
would not be long unrebuked.

On the 25th, several English ships of war dropped their anchors in
Boston Bay. It was rumoured that they brought large reinforcements
under Howe, Burgoyne, and Clinton--the best generals England possessed.
Shortly it became known that Gage now felt himself strong enough to
break out upon his rustic besiegers. But the choice of time and place
for the encounter was not to be left with General Gage.

On Charlestown peninsula, within easy gun-shot of Boston, there are two
low hills, one of which, the higher, is called Bunker Hill, and the
other Breed’s Hill. In a council of war the Americans determined to
seize and fortify one of these heights, and there abide the onslaught
of the English. There was not a moment to lose. It was said that Gage
intended to occupy the heights on the night of the 18th June. But
Gage was habitually too late. On the 16th, a little before sunset,
twelve hundred Americans were mustered on Cambridge Common for special
service. Colonel Prescott, a veteran who had fought against the French,
was in command. Putnam was with him, to be useful where he could,
although without specified duties. Prayers were said; and the men,
knowing only that they went to battle, and perhaps to death, set forth
upon their march. They marched in silence, for their way led them under
the guns of English ships. They reached the hill-top undiscovered by
the supine foe. It was a lovely June night--warm and still. Far down
lay the English ships--awful, but as yet harmless. Across the Charles
river, Boston and her garrison slept the sleep of the unsuspecting. The
“All’s well” of the sentinel crept, from time to time, dreamily up the
hill. Swift now with spade and mattock, for the hours of this midsummer
night are few and precious--swift, but cautious, too, for one ringing
stroke of iron upon stone may ruin all!

When General Gage looked out upon the heights next morning, he saw a
strong intrenchment and swarms of armed men where the untrodden grass
had waved in the summer breeze a few hours before. He looked long
through his glass at this unwelcome apparition. A tall figure paced to
and fro along the rude parapet. It was Prescott. “Will he fight?” asked
Gage eagerly. “Yes, sir,” replied a bystander; “to the last drop of his

It was indispensable that the works should be taken, and a plan of
attack was immediately formed. It was sufficiently simple. No one
supposed that the Americans would stand the shock of regular troops.
The English were therefore to march straight up the hill and drive the
Americans away. Meanwhile reinforcements were sent to the Americans,
and supplies of ammunition were distributed. A gill of powder, to
be carried in a powder-horn or loose in the pocket, two flints and
fifteen balls, were served out to each man. To obtain even the fifteen
balls, they had to melt down the organ-pipes of an Episcopal church at

At noon English soldiers to the number of two thousand crossed
over from Boston. The men on the hill-top looked out from their
intrenchments upon a splendid vision of bright uniforms and bayonets
and field-pieces flashing in the sun. They looked with quickened pulse
but unshaken purpose. To men of their race it is not given to know fear
on the verge of battle.

The English soldiers paused for refreshments when they landed on
the Charlestown peninsula. The Americans could hear the murmur of
their noisy talk and laughter. They saw the pitchers of grog pass
along the ranks. And then they saw the Englishmen rise and stretch
themselves to their grim morning’s work. From the steeples and
house-tops of Boston--from all the heights which stand round about the
city--thousands of Americans watched the progress of the fight.

The soldiers had no easy task before them. The day was “exceeding hot,”
the grass was long and thick, the up-hill march was toilsome, the enemy
watchful and resolute. As if to render the difficulty greater, the men
carried three days’ provision with them in their knapsacks. Each man
had a burden which weighed one hundred and twenty pounds in knapsack,
musket, and other equipments. Thus laden they began their perilous

While yet a long way from the enemy they opened a harmless fire of
musketry. There was no reply from the American lines. Putnam had
directed the men to withhold their fire till they could see the white
of the Englishmen’s eyes, and then to aim low. The Englishmen were very
near the works when the word was given. Like the left-handed slingers
of the tribe of Benjamin, the Americans could shoot to a hairbreadth.
Every man took his steady aim, and when they gave forth their volley
few bullets sped in vain. The slaughter was enormous. The English
recoiled in some confusion, a pitiless rain of bullets following them
down the hill. Again they advanced almost to the American works, and
again they sustained a bloody repulse. And now, at the hill-foot, they
laid down their knapsacks and stripped off their great-coats. They
were resolute this time to end the fight by the bayonet. The American
ammunition was exhausted, and they could give the enemy only a single
volley. The English swarmed over the parapet. The Americans had no
bayonets, but for a time they waged unequal war with stones and the
butt-ends of their muskets. They were soon driven out, and fled down
the hill and across the Neck to Cambridge, the English ships raking
them with grape-shot as they ran.

They had done their work. Victory no doubt remained with the English.
Their object was to carry the American intrenchments, and they had
carried them. Far greater than this was the gain of the Americans.
It was proved that, with the help of some slight field-works, it was
possible for undisciplined patriots to meet on equal terms the best
troops England could send against them. Henceforth the success of the
Revolution was assured. “Thank God,” said Washington, when he heard
of the battle, “the liberties of the country are safe.” Would that
obstinate King George could have been made to see it! But many wives
must be widows, and many children fatherless, before those dull eyes
will open to the unwelcome truth.

Sixteen hundred men lay, dead or wounded, on that fatal slope. The
English had lost nearly eleven hundred; the Americans nearly five
hundred. Seldom indeed in any battle has so large a proportion of the
combatants fallen.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Americans, who had thus taken up arms and resisted and slain the
King’s troops, were wholly without authority for what they had done.
No governing body of any description had employed them or recognized
them. What were still more alarming deficiencies, they were without a
general, and without adequate supply of food and ammunition. [Sidenote:
1775 A.D.] Congress now, by a unanimous vote, adopted the army, and
elected George Washington Commander-in-Chief of the patriot forces.
They took measures to enlist soldiers, and to raise money for their

When Washington reached the army before Boston, he found it to consist
of fourteen thousand men. They were quite undisciplined, and almost
without ammunition. Their stock of powder would afford only nine rounds
to each man. They could thus have made no use of their artillery. Their
rude intrenchments stretched a distance of eight or nine miles. At any
moment the English might burst upon them, piercing their weak lines,
and rolling them back in hopeless rout. But the stubborn provincials
were, as yet, scarcely soldiers enough to know their danger.
Taking counsel only of their own courage, they strengthened their
intrenchment, and tenaciously maintained their hold on Boston.

From a convenient hill-top Washington looked at his foe. He saw a
British army of ten thousand men, perfect in discipline and equipment.
It was a noble engine, but, happily for the world, it was guided by
incompetent hands. General Gage tamely endured siege without daring to
strike a single blow at the audacious patriots. It was no easy winter
in either army. The English suffered from small-pox. Their fleet failed
to secure for them an adequate supply of food. They had to pull down
houses to obtain wood for fuel, at the risk of being hanged if they
were discovered. They were dispirited by long inaction. They knew
that in England the feeling entertained about them was one of bitter
disappointment. Poor Gage was recalled by an angry Ministry, and
quitted in disgrace that Boston where he had hoped for such success.
General Howe succeeded to his command, and to his policy of inactivity.

Washington on his side was often in despair. His troops were mainly
enlisted for three months only. Their love of country gave way
under the hardships of a soldier’s life. Washington was a strict
disciplinarian, and many a free-born back was scored by the lash.
Patriotism proved a harder service than the men counted for. Fast as
their time of service expired they set their faces homeward. Washington
plied them with patriotic appeals, and even caused patriot songs to be
sung about the camp. Not thus, however, could the self-indulgent men
of Massachusetts and Connecticut be taught to scorn delights and live
laborious days. “Such dearth of public spirit,” Washington writes, “and
such want of virtue, such fertility in all the low arts, I never saw
before.” [Sidenote: 1776 A.D.] When January came he had a new army,
much smaller than the old, and the same weary process of drilling began
afresh. He knew that Howe was aware of his position. The inactivity
of the English general astonished Washington. He could explain it no
otherwise than by believing that Providence watched over the liberties
of the American people.

In February liberal supplies of arms and ammunition reached him. There
came also ten regiments of militia. Washington was now strong enough to
take a step.

To the south of Boston city lie the Heights of Dorchester. If the
Americans can seize and hold these heights, the English must quit
Boston. The night of the 4th of March was fixed for the enterprise. A
heavy fire of artillery occupied the attention of the enemy. By the
light of an unclouded moon a strong working-party took their way to
Dorchester Heights. A long train of waggons accompanied them, laden
with hard-pressed bales of hay. These were needed to form a breastwork,
as a hard frost bound the earth, and digging alone could not be relied
upon. The men worked with such spirit, that by dawn the bales of hay
had been fashioned into various redoubts and other defences of most
formidable aspect. A thick fog lay along the heights, and the new
fortress looked massive and imposing in the haze. “The rebels,” said
Howe, “have done more work in one night than my whole army would have
done in a month.”

And now the English must fight, or yield up Boston. The English chose
to fight. They were in the act of embarking to get at the enemy when
a furious east wind began to blow, scattering their transports and
compelling the delay of the attack. All next day the storm continued to
rage, and the English, eager for battle, lay in unwilling idleness. The
vigorous Americans never ceased to dig and build. On the third day the
storm abated. But it was now General Howe’s opinion that the American
position was impregnable. It may be that he was wisely cautious; it
may be that he was merely fearful. But he laid aside his thoughts of
battle, and prepared to evacuate Boston. On the 17th the last English
soldier was on board, and all New England was finally wrested from King



Even yet, after months of fighting, the idea of final separation from
Great Britain was distasteful to a large portion of the American
people. To the more enlightened it had long been evident that no
other course was possible, but very many still clung to the hope
of a friendly settlement of differences. Some, who were native
Englishmen, loved the land of their birth better than the land of their
adoption. The Quakers and Moravians were opposed to war as sinful,
and would content themselves with such redress as could be obtained
by remonstrance. Some, who deeply resented the oppressions of the
home Government, were slow to relinquish the privilege of British
citizenship. Some would willingly have fought had there been hope of
success, but could not be convinced that America was able to defend
herself against the colossal strength of England. The subject was
discussed long and keenly. The intelligence of America was in favour
of separation. All the writers of the colonies urged incessantly that
to this it must come. Endless pamphlets and gazette articles set forth
the oppressions of the old country, and the need of independence in
order to the welfare of the colonies. Conspicuous among those whose
writings aided in convincing the public mind stands the unhonoured
name of Thomas Paine the infidel. Paine had been only a few months in
the colonies, but his restless mind took a ready interest in the great
question of the day. He had a surprising power of direct, forcible
argument. He wrote a pamphlet styled “Common Sense,” in which he urged
the Americans to be independent. His treatise had, for those days, a
vast circulation, and an extraordinary influence.

[Sidenote: 1776 A.D.] The time was now ripe for the consideration by
Congress of the great question of Independence. It was a grave and most
eventful step, which no thinking man would lightly take, but it could
no longer be shunned. On the 7th of June a resolution was introduced,
declaring “That the United Colonies are and ought to be free and
independent.” The House was not yet prepared for a measure so decisive.
Many members still paused on the threshold of that vast change.
Pennsylvania and Delaware had expressly enjoined their delegates to
oppose it; for the Quakers were loyal to the last. Some other States
had given no instructions, and their delegates felt themselves bound,
in consequence, to vote against the change. Seven States voted for
the resolution; six voted against it. Greater unanimity than this was
indispensable. With much prudence it was agreed that the matter should
stand over for two or three weeks.

On the 4th of July the Declaration of Independence was adopted, with
the unanimous concurrence of all the States. In this famous document
the usurpations of the English Government were set forth in unsparing
terms. The divinity which doth hedge a King did not protect poor King
George from a rougher handling than he ever experienced before. His
character, it was said, “was marked by every act which can define a
tyrant.” And then it was announced to the world that the Thirteen
Colonies had terminated their political connection with Great Britain,
and entered upon their career as free and independent States.

The vigorous action of Congress nerved the colonists for their great
enterprise. The paralyzing hope of reconciliation was extinguished.
The quarrel must now be fought out to the end, and liberty must be
gloriously won or shamefully lost. Everywhere the Declaration was
hailed with joy. It was read to the army amidst exulting shouts. The
soldiers in New York expressed their transference of allegiance by
taking down a leaden statue of King George and casting it into bullets
to be used against the King’s troops. Next day Washington, in the
dignified language which was habitual to him, reminded his troops of
their new duties and responsibilities. “The general,” he said, “hopes
and trusts that every officer and soldier will endeavour so to live and
act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and
liberties of his country.”



England put forth as much strength as she deemed needful to subdue her
rebellious colonists. She prepared a strong fleet and a strong army.
She entered into contracts with some of the petty German princes to
supply a certain number of soldiers. It was a matter of regular sale
and purchase. England supplied money at a fixed rate; the Duke of
Brunswick and some others supplied a stipulated number of men, who
were to shed their blood in a quarrel of which they knew nothing. Even
in a dark age these transactions were a scandal. Frederick of Prussia
loudly expressed his contempt for both parties. When any of the hired
men passed through any part of his territory he levied on them the toll
usually charged for cattle--like which, he said, they had been sold!

       *       *       *       *       *

So soon as the safety of Boston was secured, Washington moved with
his army southwards to New York. Thither, in the month of June, came
General Howe. Thither also came his brother, Lord Howe, with the
forces which England had provided for this war. These reinforcements
raised the British army to twenty-five thousand men. Lord Howe brought
with him a commission from King George to pacify the dissatisfied
colonists. He invited them to lay down their arms, and he assured them
of the King’s pardon. His proposals were singularly inopportune. The
Declaration of Independence had just been published, and the Americans
had determined to be free. They were not seeking to be forgiven, and
they rejected with scorn Lord Howe’s proposals. The sword must now
decide between King George and his alienated subjects.

Lord Howe encamped his troops on Staten Island, a few miles from New
York. His powerful fleet gave him undisputed command of the bay, and
enabled him to choose his point of attack. The Americans expected that
he would land upon Long Island, and take possession of the heights near
Brooklyn. He would then be separated from New York only by a narrow arm
of the sea, and he could with ease lay the city in ruins. Washington
sent a strong force to hold the heights, and throw up intrenchments
in front of Brooklyn. General Putnam was appointed to the command of
this army. Staten Island lies full in view of Brooklyn. The white tents
of the English army, and the formidable English ships lying at their
anchorage, were watched by many anxious eyes, for the situation was
known to be full of peril. Washington himself did not expect success
in the coming fight, and hoped for nothing more than that the enemy’s
victory would cost him dear.

After a time it was seen that a movement was in progress among the
English. One by one the tents disappeared. One by one the ships shook
their canvas out to the wind, and moved across the bay. Then the
Americans knew that their hour of trial was at hand.

[Sidenote: Aug. 27, 1776 A.D.] Putnam marched his men out from their
lines to meet the English. At daybreak the enemy made his appearance.
The right wing of the American army was attacked, and troops were
withdrawn from other points to resist what seemed the main attack.
Meanwhile a strong English force made its way unseen round the
American left, and established itself between the Americans and their
intrenchments. This decided the fate of the battle. The Americans made
a brave but vain defence. They were driven within their lines after
sustaining heavy loss.

Lord Howe could easily have stormed the works, and taken or destroyed
the American army. But his lordship felt that his enemy was in his
power, and he wished to spare his soldiers the bloodshed which an
assault would have caused. He was to reduce the enemy’s works by
regular siege. It was no part of Washington’s intention to wait for the
issue of these operations. During the night of the 29th he silently
withdrew his broken troops, and landed them safely in New York. So
skilfully was this movement executed, that the last boat had pushed off
from the shore before the British discovered that their enemies had

But now New York had to be abandoned. Washington’s army was utterly
demoralized by the defeat at Brooklyn. The men went home, in some
instances, by entire regiments. Washington confessed to the President
of Congress with deep concern that he had no confidence “in the
generality of the troops.” To fight the well-disciplined and victorious
British with such men was worse than useless. He marched northwards,
and took up a strong position at Haerlem, a village nine miles from
New York. But the English ships, sweeping up the Hudson river, showed
themselves on his flank and in his rear; the English army approached
him in front. There was no choice but retreat. Washington crossed his
soldiers over to the Jersey side of the river. The English followed
him, after storming a fort in which nearly three thousand men had been
left, the whole of whom were made prisoners.

The fortunes of the revolted colonies were now at the very lowest ebb.
Washington had only four thousand men under his immediate command. They
were in miserable condition--imperfectly armed, poorly fed and clothed,
without blankets, or tents, or shoes. An English officer said of them,
without extreme exaggeration, “In a whole regiment there is scarce one
pair of breeches.” This was the army which was to snatch a continent
from the grasp of England! As they marched towards Philadelphia the
people looked with derision upon their ragged defenders, and with
fear upon the brilliant host of pursuers. Lord Howe renewed his offer
of pardon to all who would submit. This time his lordship’s offers
commanded some attention. Many of the wealthier patriots took the oath,
and made their peace with a Government whose authority there was no
longer any hope of throwing off.

Washington made good his retreat to Philadelphia, so hotly pursued that
his rear-guard, engaged in pulling down bridges, were often in sight
of the British pioneers sent to build them up. When he crossed the
Delaware he secured all the boats for a distance of seventy miles along
the river-course. Lord Howe was brought to a pause, and he decided to
wait upon the eastern bank till the river should be frozen.

Washington knew well the desperate odds against him. He expected to
be driven from the Eastern States. It was his thought, in that case,
to retire beyond the Alleghanies, and in the wilderness to maintain
undying resistance to the English yoke. Meantime he strove like a
brave strong man to win back success to the patriot cause. It was only
now that he was able to rid himself of the evil of short enlistments.
Congress resolved that henceforth men should be enlisted to serve out
the war.

Winter came, but Lord Howe remained inactive. He himself was in New
York; his army was scattered about among the villages of New Jersey,
fearing no evil from the despised Americans. All the time Washington
was increasing the number of his troops, and improving their condition.
But something was needed to chase away the gloom which paralyzed the
country. Ten miles from Philadelphia was the village of Trenton, held
by a considerable force of British and Hessians. At sunset on Christmas
evening Washington marched out from Philadelphia, having prepared
a surprise for the careless garrison of Trenton. The night was dark
and tempestuous, and the weather was so intensely cold that two of
the soldiers were frozen to death. The march of the barefooted host
could be tracked by the blood-marks which they left upon the snow.
At daybreak they burst upon the astonished Royalists. The Hessians
had drunk deep on the previous day, and they were ill prepared to
fight. Their commander was slain as he attempted to bring his men up
to the enemy. After his fall the soldiers laid down their arms, and
surrendered at discretion.

[Sidenote: 1777 A.D.] A week after this encounter three British
regiments spent a night at Princeton, on their way to Trenton to
retrieve the disaster which had there befallen their Hessian allies.
Washington made another night march, attacked the Englishmen in
the early morning, and after a stubborn resistance defeated them,
inflicting severe loss.

These exploits, inconsiderable as they seem, raised incalculably the
spirits of the American people. When triumphs like these were possible
under circumstances so discouraging, there was no need to despair of
the Commonwealth. Confidence in Washington had been somewhat shaken
by the defeats which he had sustained. Henceforth it was unbounded.
Congress invested him with absolute military authority for a period of
six months, and public opinion confirmed the trust. The infant Republic
was delivered from its most imminent jeopardy by the apparently trivial
successes of Trenton and Princeton.



France still felt, with all the bitterness of the vanquished, her
defeat at Quebec and her loss of Canada. She had always entertained the
hope that the Americans would avenge her by throwing off the English
yoke. To help forward its fulfilment, she sent occasionally a secret
agent among them, to cultivate their good-will to the utmost. When
the troubles began she sent secret assurances of sympathy, and secret
offers of commercial advantages. She was not prepared as yet openly
to espouse the American cause. But it was always safe to encourage
the American dislike to England, and to connive at the fitting out of
American privateers, to prey upon English commerce.

The Marquis de Lafayette was at this time serving in the French army.
He was a lad of nineteen, of immense wealth, and enjoying a foremost
place among the nobility of France. The American revolt had now become
a topic at French dinner-tables. Lafayette heard of it first from the
Duke of Gloucester, who told the story at a dinner given to him by
some French officers. That conversation changed the destiny of the
young Frenchman. “He was a man of no ability,” said Napoleon. “There
is nothing in his head but the United States,” said Marie Antoinette.
These judgments are perhaps not unduly severe. But Lafayette had the
deepest sympathies with the cause of human liberty. They may not have
been always wise, but they were always generous and true. No sooner
had he satisfied himself that the American cause was the cause of
liberty than he hastened to ally himself with it. He left his young
wife and his great position, and he offered himself to Washington. His
military value may not have been great; but his presence was a vast
encouragement to a desponding people. He was a visible assurance of
sympathy beyond the sea. America is the most grateful of nations; and
this good, impulsive, vain man has ever deservedly held a high place
in her love. Washington once, with tears of joy in his eyes, presented
Lafayette to his troops. Counties are named after him, and cities and
streets. Statues and paintings hand down to successive generations of
Americans the image of their first and most faithful ally.

Lafayette was the lightning-rod by which the current of republican
sentiments was flashed from America to France. He came home when the
war was over and America free. He was the hero of the hour. A man who
had helped to set up a Republic in America was an unquiet element for
old France to receive back into her bosom. With the charm of a great
name and boundless popularity to aid him, he everywhere urged that men
should be free and self-governing. Before he had been long in France
he was busily stirring up the oppressed Protestants of the south to
revolt. Happily the advice of Washington, with whom he continued to
correspond, arrested a course which might have led the enthusiastic
Marquis to the scaffold. Few men of capacity so moderate have been
so conspicuous, or have so powerfully influenced the course of human



Spring-time came--“the time when Kings go out to battle”--but General
Howe was not ready. Washington was contented to wait, for he gained by
delay. [Sidenote: 1777 A.D.] Congress sent him word that he was to
lose no time in totally subduing the enemy. Washington could now afford
to smile at the vain confidence which had so quickly taken the place of
despair. Recruits flowed in upon him in a steady, if not a very copious
stream. The old soldiers whose terms expired were induced, by bounties
and patriotic appeals, to re-enlist for the war. By the middle of June,
when Howe opened the campaign, Washington had eight thousand men under
his command, tolerably armed and disciplined, and in good fighting
spirit. The patriotic sentiment was powerfully reinforced by a thirst
to avenge private wrongs. Howe’s German mercenaries had behaved very
brutally in New Jersey--plundering and burning without stint. Many of
the Americans had witnessed outrages such as turn the coward’s blood to

Howe wished to take Philadelphia, then the political capital of the
States. But Washington lay across his path, in a strong position, from
which he could not be enticed to descend. Howe marched towards him, but
shunned to attack him where he lay. Then he turned back to New York,
and embarking his troops, sailed with them to Philadelphia. The army
was landed on the 25th August, and Howe was at length ready to begin
the summer’s work.

The American army waited for him on the banks of a small river called
the Brandywine. The British superiority in numbers enabled them to
attack the Americans in front and in flank. The Americans say that
their right wing, on which the British attack fell with crushing
weight, was badly led. One of the generals of that division was a
certain William Alexander--known to himself and the country of his
adoption as Lord Stirling--a warrior brave but foolish; “aged, and a
little deaf.” The Americans were driven from the field; but they had
fought bravely, and were undismayed by their defeat.

A fortnight later a British force, with Lord Cornwallis at its head,
marched into Philadelphia. The Royalists were strong in that city of
Quakers--specially strong among the Quakers themselves. The city was
moved to unwonted cheerfulness. On that September morning, as the
loyal inhabitants looked upon the bright uniforms and flashing arms
of the King’s troops, and listened to the long-forbidden strains of
“God save the King,” they felt as if a great and final deliverance
had been vouchsafed to them. The patriots estimated the fall of the
city more justly. It was seen that if Howe meant to hold Philadelphia,
he had not force enough to do much else. Said the sagacious Benjamin
Franklin,--“It is not General Howe that has taken Philadelphia; it is
Philadelphia that has taken General Howe.”

The main body of the British were encamped at Germantown, guarding
their new conquest. So little were the Americans daunted by their
late reverses, that, within a week from the capture of Philadelphia,
Washington resolved to attack the enemy. At sunrise on the 4th
October the English were unexpectedly greeted by a bayonet-charge
from a strong American force. It was a complete surprise, and at
first the success was complete. But a dense fog, which had rendered
the surprise possible, ultimately frustrated the purpose of the
assailants. The onset of the eager Americans carried all before it. But
as the darkness, enhanced by the firing, deepened over the combatants,
confusion began to arise. Regiments got astray from their officers.
Some regiments mistook each other for enemies, and acted on that
belief. Confusion swelled to panic, and the Americans fled from the

Winter was now at hand, and the British army returned to quarters in
Philadelphia. Howe would have fought again, but Washington declined to
come down from the strong position to which he had retired. His army
had again been suffered to fall into straits which threatened its very
existence. A patriot Congress urged him to defeat the English, but
could not be persuaded to supply his soldiers with shoes or blankets,
or even with food. He was advised to fall back on some convenient town
where his soldiers would find the comforts they needed so much. But
Washington was resolute to keep near the enemy. He fixed on a position
at Valley Forge, among the hills, twenty miles from Philadelphia.
Thither through the snow marched his half-naked army. Log-huts were
erected with a rapidity of which no soldiers are so capable as
Americans. There Washington fixed himself. The enemy was within reach,
and he knew that his own strength would grow. The campaign which had
now closed had given much encouragement to the patriots. It is true
they had been often defeated, but they had learned to place implicit
confidence in their commander. They had learned also that in courage
they were equal, in activity greatly superior, to their enemies. All
they required was discipline and experience, which another campaign
would give. There was no longer any reason to look with alarm upon the



In the month of June, when Howe was beginning to win his lingering way
to Philadelphia, a British army set out from Canada to conquer the
northern parts of the revolted territory. [Sidenote: 1777 A.D.] General
Burgoyne was in command. He was resolute to succeed. “This army must
not retreat,” he said, when they were about to embark. The army did not
retreat. On a fair field general and soldiers would have played a part
of which their country would have had no cause to be ashamed. But this
was a work beyond their strength.

Burgoyne marched deep into the New England States. But he had to do
with men of a different temper from those of New York and Philadelphia.
At his approach every man took down his musket from the wall and
hurried to the front. Little discipline had they, but a resolute
purpose and a sure aim. Difficulties thickened around the fated army.
At length Burgoyne found himself at Saratoga. It was now October. Heavy
rains fell; provisions were growing scanty; the enemy was in great
force, and much emboldened by success. Gradually it became evident
that the British were surrounded, and that no hope of fighting their
way out remained. Night and day a circle of fire encompassed them.
Burgoyne called his officers together. They could find no place for
their sorrowful communing beyond reach of the enemy’s musketry, so
closely was the net already drawn. There was but one thing to do,
and it was done. The British army surrendered. Nearly six thousand
brave men, in sorrow and in shame, laid down their arms. The men who
took them were mere peasants, no two of whom were dressed alike. The
officers wore uncouth wigs, and most of them carried muskets and large
powder-horns slung around their shoulders. No humiliation like this had
ever befallen the British arms.

These grotesque American warriors behaved to their conquered enemies
with true nobility. General Gates, the American commander, kept his men
strictly within their lines, that they might not witness the piling
of the British arms. No taunt was offered, no look of disrespect was
directed against the fallen. “All were mute in astonishment and pity.”

England felt acutely the shame of this great disaster. Her people
were used to victory. For many years she had been fighting in Europe,
in India, in Canada, and always with brilliant success. Her defeat
in America was contrary to all expectation. It was a bitter thing
for a high-spirited people to hear that their veteran troops had
surrendered to a crowd of half-armed peasantry. Under the depressing
influence of this calamity it was determined to redress the wrongs of
America. Parliament abandoned all claim to tax the colonies. Every
vexatious enactment would be repealed; all would be forgiven, if
America would return to her allegiance. Commissioners were sent bearing
the olive-branch to Congress. Too late--altogether too late! Never
more can America be a dependency of England. With few words Congress
peremptorily declined the English overtures. America had chosen her
course; for good or for evil she would follow it to the end.



A great war may be very glorious, but it is also very miserable. Twenty
thousand Englishmen had already perished in this war. [Sidenote: 1778
A.D.] Trade languished, and among the working-classes there was want
of employment and consequent want of food. American cruisers swarmed
upon the sea, and inflicted enormous losses upon English commerce. The
debt of the country increased. And for all these evils there was no
compensation. There was not even the poor satisfaction of success in
our unprofitable undertaking.

If it was any comfort to inflict even greater miseries than she
endured, England did not fight in vain. The sufferings of America were
very lamentable. The loss of life in battle and by disease, resulting
from want and exposure, had been great. The fields in many districts
were unsown. Trade was extinct; the trading classes were bankrupt.
English cruisers had annihilated the fisheries and seized the greater
part of the American merchant ships. Money had well-nigh disappeared
from the country. Congress issued paper-money, which proved a very
indifferent substitute. The public had so little confidence in the
new currency, that Washington declared, “A waggon-load of money will
scarcely purchase a waggon-load of provisions.”

But the war went on. It was not for England, with her high place among
the nations, to retire defeated from an enterprise on which she had
deliberately entered. As for the Americans, after they had declared
their resolution to be independent, they could die, but they could not

The surrender of Burgoyne brought an important ally to the American
side. The gods help those who help themselves. So soon as America
proved that she was likely to conquer in the struggle, France offered
to come to her aid. France had always looked with interest on the war;
partly because she hated England, and partly because her pulses already
throbbed with that new life, whose misdirected energies produced, a few
years afterwards, results so lamentable. Even now a people contending
for their liberties awakened the sympathies of France. America had
sent three Commissioners--one of whom was Benjamin Franklin--to Paris,
to cultivate as opportunity offered the friendship of the French
Government. For a time they laboured without visible results. But when
news came that Burgoyne and his army had surrendered, hesitation was at
an end. A treaty was signed by which France and America engaged to make
common cause against England. The King opposed this treaty so long as
he dared, but he was forced to give way. England, of course, accepted
it as a declaration of war.

Spain could not miss the opportunity of avenging herself upon England.
Her King desired to live at peace, he said, and to see his neighbours
do the same. But he was profoundly interested in the liberties of the
young Republic, and he was bound by strong ties to his good brother
of France. Above all, England had in various quarters of the world
grievously wronged him, by violating his territory and interfering
with the trade of his subjects. And so he deemed it proper that he
should waste the scanty substance of his people in equipping fleets
and armies. When his preparations were complete he joined France and
America in the league, and declared war against England.

The fleets of France and Spain appeared in the English Channel, and
England had to face the perils of invasion. The spirit of her people
rose nobly to meet the impending trial. The southern counties were
one great camp. Voluntary contributions from all parts of the country
aided Government to equip ships and soldiers. The King was to head his
warlike people, should the enemy land, and share their danger and their
glory. But the black cloud rolled harmlessly away, and the abounding
heroism of the people was not further evoked. The invading admirals
quarrelled. One of them wished to land at once; the other wished first
to dispose of the English fleet. They could not agree upon a course,
and therefore they sailed away home each to his own country, having
effected nothing.

The war spread itself over a very wide surface. In the north, Paul
Jones with three American ships alarmed the Scotch coast and destroyed
much shipping. Spain besieged Gibraltar, but failed to regain that
much-coveted prize. On the African coast, the French took Senegal
from the English, and the English took Goree from the French. In the
West Indies, the French took St. Vincent and Granada. On the American
Continent, from New York to Savannah, the same wasteful and bloody
labour was ruthlessly pursued.

The remaining years of the war were distinguished by few striking
or decisive enterprises. The fleet sent by France sailed hither and
thither in a feeble manner, accomplishing nothing. When General
Howe was made aware of its approach, he abandoned Philadelphia and
retired to New York. Washington followed him on his retreat, but
neither then nor for some time afterwards could effect much. Congress
and the American people formed sanguine expectations of the French
alliance, and ceased to put forth the great efforts which distinguished
the earlier period of the war. The English overran Georgia and
the Carolinas. The Americans captured two or three forts. The war
degenerated into a series of marauding expeditions. Some towns,
innumerable farm-houses, were burned by the English. Occasional
massacres took place. With increasing frequency, prisoners were, under
a variety of pretexts, put to death. On both sides feeling had become
intensely bitter. On both sides cruelties of a most savage type were

To the very end Washington’s army was miserably supplied, and endured
extreme hardships. Congress was a weak, and, it must be added, a very
unwise body. The ablest men were in the army, and Congress was composed
of twenty or thirty persons of little character or influence. They had
no authority to impose taxes. They tried to borrow money in Europe, and
failed. They had only one resource--the issue of paper currency, and
this was carried to such a wild excess that latterly a colonel’s pay
would not buy oats for his horse. Washington ceased to have the means
of purchasing. Reluctantly, and under pressure of extreme necessity, he
forcibly exacted supplies of meat and flour from the neighbourhood. Not
otherwise could he save his army from dissolution and the country from

But there was one respect in which the cause grew constantly in
strength. Men do not fight for eight years, in a war like this, without
learning to hate each other. With a deep and deadly hatred the American
people hated the power which ruthlessly inflicted upon them such cruel
sufferings. Under the growing influence of this hatred, men became
soldiers with increasing alacrity. The hardships of soldier-life
no longer daunted them, so long as they had the English to resist.
The trouble of short enlistments had ceased, and Washington was at
length at the head of an army, often ill fed and always ill clad, but
disciplined and invincibly resolved that their country should be free.



The Americans had a strong fortress at West Point, on the Hudson
river. It was one of the most important places in the country, and its
acquisition was anxiously desired by the English. Possession of West
Point would have given them command of the Hudson, up which their ships
of war could have sailed for more than a hundred miles. But that fort,
sitting impregnably on rocks two hundred feet above the level of the
river, was hard to win; and the Americans were careful to garrison
effectively a position so vitally important.

In the American army was an officer named Arnold, who had served, not
without distinction, from the beginning of the war. He had fought
in Canada when the Americans unsuccessfully invaded that province.
His courage and skill had been conspicuous in the engagements which
led to the surrender of Burgoyne. He was, however, a vain, reckless,
unscrupulous person. He had by extravagance in living involved himself
in debt, which he aggravated hopelessly by ill-judged mercantile
speculations. He had influence with Washington to obtain the command of
West Point. There is little doubt that when he sought the appointment
it was with the full intention of selling that important fortress to
the enemy. He opened negotiations at once with Sir Henry Clinton, then
in command of the English army at New York.

Clinton sent Major André to arrange the terms of the contemplated
treachery. A mournful interest attaches to the name of this young
officer: the fate which befell him was so very sad. He was of French
descent--high-spirited, accomplished, affectionate, merry-hearted. It
was a service which a high-principled man would scarcely have coveted.
But André desired eagerly to have the merit of gaining West Point, and
he volunteered for this perilous enterprise.

[Sidenote: Sept. 1780 A.D.] At midnight Major André landed from the
boat of a British ship of war, at a lonely place where Arnold waited
him. Their conference lasted so long that it was deemed unsafe for
André to return to the ship. He was conducted to a place of concealment
within the American lines, to await the return of darkness. He
completed his arrangement with Arnold, and received drawings of the
betrayed fortress. His mission was now accomplished. The ship from
which he had come lay full in view. Would that he could reach her!
But difficulties arose, and it was resolved that he must ride to New
York, a distance of fifty miles. Disguising himself as he best could,
André reluctantly accepted this very doubtful method of escape from his
fearful jeopardy.

Within the American lines he had some narrow escapes, but the pass
given by Arnold carried him through. He was at length beyond the lines.
His danger might now be considered at an end, and he rode cheerfully on
his lonely journey. He was crossing a small stream--thick woods on his
right hand and his left enhanced the darkness of the night. Three armed
men stepped suddenly from among the trees and ordered him to stand.
From the dress of one of them, André thought he was among friends.
He hastened to tell them he was a British officer, on very special
business, and he must not be detained. Alas for poor Major André, they
were not friends; and the dress which deceived him had been given to
the man who wore it when he was a prisoner with the English, in place
of a better garment of which his captors had stripped him.

André was searched; but at first nothing was found. It seemed as
if he might yet be allowed to proceed, when one of the three men
exclaimed, “Boys, I am not satisfied. His boots must come off.” André’s
countenance fell. His boots were searched, and Arnold’s drawings of
West Point were discovered. The men knew then that he was a spy. He
vainly offered them money; they were incorruptible. He was taken to
the nearest military station, and the tidings were at once sent to
Washington, who chanced to be then at West Point. Arnold had timely
intimation of the disaster, and fled for refuge to a British ship of

André was tried by a court formed of officers of the American army.
He gave a frank and truthful account of his part in the unhappy
transaction--bringing into due prominence the circumstance that he
was brought, without intention or knowledge on his part, within
the American lines. The court judged him on his own statement, and
condemned him to be hanged as a spy.

His capture and sentence caused deep sensation in the English army, and
every effort was made to save him. But Washington was resolute that he
should die. The danger to the patriot cause had been too great to leave
any place for relenting. There were dark intimations of other treasons
yet unrevealed. It was needful to give emphatic warning of the perils
which waited on such unlawful negotiations. André begged that he might
be allowed to die a soldier’s death. Even this poor boon was refused to
the unhappy young man. Since the awful lesson must be given, Washington
considered that no circumstance fitted to enhance its terrors should be
withheld. But this was mercifully concealed from André to the very last.

Ten days after his arrest, André was led forth to die. He was under
the impression that his last request had been granted, and that he
would die by the bullet. It was a fresh pang when the gibbet, with its
ghastly preparations, stood before him. “How hard is my fate,” he said;
“but it will soon be over.” He bandaged his own eyes; with his own
hands adjusted the noose to his neck. The cart on which he stood moved
away, and poor Major André was no longer in the world of living men.
Forty years afterwards his remains were brought home to England and
laid in Westminster Abbey.



During the later years of the war the English kept possession of the
Southern States, which, as we have seen, they had gained so easily.
[Sidenote: 1781 A.D.] When the last campaign opened, Lord Cornwallis
with a strong force represented British authority in the South, and did
all that he found possible for the suppression of the patriots. But
the time was past when any real progress in that direction could be
made. A certain vigorous and judicious General Greene, with such rough
semblance of an army as he could draw together, gave Lord Cornwallis
many rude shocks. The English gained little victories occasionally,
but they suffered heavy losses, and the territory over which they held
dominion was upon the whole becoming smaller.

About midsummer, the joyous news reached Washington that a powerful
French fleet, with an army on board, was about to sail for America.
With this reinforcement, Washington had it in his power to deliver
a blow which would break the strength of the enemy, and hasten the
close of the war. Clinton held New York, and Cornwallis was fortifying
himself in Yorktown. The French fleet sailed for the Chesapeake, and
Washington decided in consequence that his attack should be made on
Lord Cornwallis. With all possible secrecy and speed the American
troops were moved southwards to Virginia. They were joined by the
French, and they stood before Yorktown a force twelve thousand strong.
Cornwallis had not expected them, and he called on Clinton to aid him.
But it was too late. He was already in a grasp from which there was no

Throughout the war, the weakness of his force often obliged Washington
to adopt a cautious and defensive policy, which grievously disappointed
the expectations of his impatient countrymen. It is not therefore to
be imagined that his leadership was wanting in vigour. Within his calm
and well-balanced mind there lurked a fiery energy, ready to burst
forth when occasion required. The siege of Yorktown was pushed on
with extraordinary vehemence. The English, as their wont is, made a
stout defence, and strove by desperate sallies to drive the assailants
from their works. But in a few days the defences of Yorktown lay in
utter ruin, beaten to the ground by the powerful artillery of the
Americans. The English guns were silenced; the English shipping was
fired by red-hot shot from the French batteries. Ammunition began to
grow scarce. The place could not be held much longer, and Clinton still
delayed his coming. Lord Cornwallis must either force his way out and
escape to the North, or surrender. One night he began to embark his men
in order to cross the York river and set out on his desperate march to
New York; but a violent storm arose and scattered his boats. The men
who had embarked got back with difficulty, under fire from the American
batteries. All hope was now at an end. In about a fortnight from the
opening of the siege, the British army, eight thousand strong, laid
down its arms.

The joy of America over this great crowning success knew no bounds. One
highly emotional patriot was said to have expired from mere excess of
rapture. Some others lost their reason. In the army, all who were under
arrest were at once set at liberty. A day of solemn thanksgiving was
proclaimed and devoutly observed throughout the rejoicing States.

[Sidenote: 1782 A.D.] Well might the colonists rejoice, for their
long and bitter struggle was now about to close. Stubborn King George
would not yield yet. But England and her Parliament were sick of this
hopeless and inglorious war. The House of Commons voted that all who
should advise the continuance of the war were enemies to the country.
A new Ministry was formed, and negotiations with a view to peace were
begun. The King had no doubt that if America were allowed to go, the
West Indies would go--Ireland would go--all his foreign possessions
would go; and discrowned England would sink into weakness and contempt.
But too much heed had already been given to the King and his fancies.
[Sidenote: Jan. 20, 1783 A.D.] Peace was concluded with France and
Spain, and the independence of America was at length recognized.

       *       *       *       *       *

Eight years had passed since the first blood was shed at Lexington.
Thus long the unyielding English, unused to failure, had striven to
regain the lost ascendency. Thus long the colonists had borne the
miseries of invasion, not shaken in their faith that the independence
which they had undertaken to win was well worth all it cost them. And
now they were free, and England was the same to them as all the rest
of the world,--“in peace, a friend; in war, a foe.” They had little
left them but their liberty and their soil. They had been unutterably
devastated by those eight bloody years. Their fields had been wasted;
their towns had been burned; commerce was extinct; money had almost
disappeared from the country. Their public debt reached the large
sum of one hundred and seventy million dollars. The soldiers who had
fought out the national independence were not paid till they showed
some disposition to compel a settlement. There was nothing which
could be called a Government. There were thirteen sovereign States,
loosely knit together by a Congress. That body had power to discuss
questions affecting the general good; to pass resolutions; to request
the several States to give effect to these resolutions. The States
might or might not comply with such request. Habitually they did not,
especially when money was asked for. Congress had no power to tax. It
merely apportioned among the States the amounts required for the public
service, and each State was expected to levy a tax for its proportion.
But in point of fact it became utterly impossible to get money by this

[Sidenote: 1786 A.D.] Great hardships were endured by the labouring
population. The impatience of a suffering people expressed itself
in occasional sputterings of insurrection. Two thousand men of
Massachusetts rose in arms to demand that the collection of debts
should be suspended. It was some weeks before that rising could be
quelled, as the community generally sympathized with the insurgents.
During four or five years the miseries of the ungoverned country seemed
to warrant the belief that her war of independence had been a mistake.

But a future of unparalleled magnificence lay before this sorely vexed
and discouraged people. The boundless corn-lands of the west, the
boundless cotton-fields of the south, waited to yield their wealth.
Pennsylvania held unimagined treasures of coal and iron--soon to be
evoked by the irresistible spell of patient industry. America was a
vast store-house, prepared by the Great Father against the time when
his children would have need of it. The men who are the stewards over
its opulence have now freed themselves from some entanglements and
hindrances which grievously diminished their efficiency, and stand
prepared to enter in good earnest upon that high industrial vocation to
which Providence has called them.

There had been periods during the war when confidence in Washington’s
leadership was shaken. He sustained many reverses. He oftentimes
retreated. He adhered tenaciously to a defensive policy, when
Congress and people were burning with impatience to inflict crushing
defeat upon the foe. The deplorable insufficiency of his resources
was overlooked, and the blame of every disaster fell on him. And
when at length the cause began to prosper, and hope brightened into
triumph, timid people were apt to fear that Washington was growing
too powerful. He had become the idol of a great army. He had but to
signify his readiness to accept a throne, and his soldiers would have
crowned him King. It was usual in the revolutions of the world that a
military chief should grasp at supreme power; and so it was feared that
Washington was to furnish one example more of that lawless and vulgar
lust of power by which human history has been so largely dishonoured.

But Washington sheathed his sword, and returned gladly to his home
on the banks of the Potomac. He proposed to spend his days “in
cultivating the affections of good men, and in the practice of the
domestic virtues.” He hoped “to glide gently down the stream which
no human effort can ascend.” He occupied himself with the care of
his farm, and had no deeper feeling than thankfulness that he was at
length eased of a load of public care. The simple grandeur of his
character was now revealed beyond possibility of misconception. The
measure of American veneration for this greatest of all Americans was
full. Henceforth Mount Vernon was a shrine to which pilgrim feet were
ever turned--evoking such boundless love and reverence as never were
elsewhere exhibited on American soil.



Washington saw from the beginning that his country was without a
government. Congress was a mere name. There were still thirteen
sovereign States--in league for the moment, but liable to be placed at
variance by the differences which time would surely bring. Washington
was satisfied that without a central government they could never be
powerful or respected. Such a government, indeed, was necessary in
order even to their existence. European powers would, in its absence,
introduce dissensions among them. Men’s minds would revert to that form
of government with which they were familiar. Some ambitious statesman
or soldier would make himself King, and the great experiment, based
upon the equality of rights, would prove an ignominious failure.

The more sagacious Americans shared Washington’s belief on this
question. Conspicuous among these was Alexander Hamilton--perhaps,
next to Washington, the greatest American of that age. Hamilton was a
brave and skilful soldier, a brilliant debater, a persuasive writer,
a wise statesman. In his nineteenth year he entered the army, at the
very beginning of the war. The quick eye of Washington discovered the
remarkable promise of the lad. He raised him to high command in the
army, and afterwards to high office in the government. It was Hamilton
who brought order out of the financial chaos which followed the war.
It was Hamilton who suggested the convention to consider the framing
of a new Constitution. Often, during the succeeding years, Hamilton’s
temperate and sagacious words calmed the storms which marked the
infancy of the great Republic. His career had a dark and bloody close.
[Sidenote: 1804 A.D.] In his forty-seventh year he stood face to face,
one bright July morning, with a savage politician named Aaron Burr--a
grandson of Jonathan Edwards the great divine. Burr had fastened a
quarrel upon him, in the hope of murdering him in a duel. Hamilton had
resolved not to fire. Burr fired with careful aim, and Hamilton fell,
wounded to death. One of the ablest men America has ever possessed was
thus lost to her.

[Sidenote: 1783 A.D.] Immediately after the close of the war, Hamilton
began to discuss the weakness of the existing form of government. He
was deeply convinced that the union of the States, in order to be
lasting, must be established on a solid basis; and his writings did
much to spread this conviction among his fellow-countrymen. Washington
never ceased from his retirement to urge the same views. Gradually the
urgent need of a better system was recognized. It indeed soon became
too obvious to be denied. Congress found it utterly impossible to get
money. Between 1781 and 1786, ten million dollars were called for from
the States, but only two million and a half were obtained. The interest
on the debt was unpaid; the ordinary expenses of the government were
unprovided for. The existing form of government was an acknowledged
failure. Something better had to be devised, or the tie which bound the
thirteen States would be severed.

[Sidenote: 1787 A.D.] Hamilton obtained the sanction of Congress to
his proposal that a convention of delegates from the several States
should be held. This convention was to review the whole subject of the
governing arrangement, and to recommend such alterations as should be
considered adequate to the exigencies of the time. Philadelphia, as
usual, was the place of meeting. Thither, in the month of May, came
the men who were charged with the weighty task of framing a government
under which the thirteen States should become a nation.

Fifty-five men composed this memorable council. Among them were the
wisest men of whom America, or perhaps any other country, could boast.
Washington himself presided. Benjamin Franklin brought to this--his
latest and his greatest task--the ripe experience of eighty-two years.
New York sent Hamilton--regarding whom Prince Talleyrand said, long
afterwards, that he had known nearly all the leading men of his time,
but he had never known one on the whole equal to Hamilton. With these
came many others whose names are held in enduring honour. Since the
meeting of that first Congress which pointed the way to independence,
America had seen no such Assembly.

The convention sat for four months. The great work which occupied
it divided the country into two parties. One party feared most the
evils which arise from weakness of the governing power, and sought
relief from these in a close union of the States under a strong
government. Another party dwelt more upon the miserable condition of
the over-governed nations of Europe, and feared the creation of a
government which might grow into a despotism. The aim of the one was
to vest the largest possible measure of power in a central government.
Hamilton, indeed--to whom the British Constitution seemed the most
perfect on earth--went so far as to desire that the States should
be merely great municipalities, attending only, like an English
corporation, to their own local concerns. The aim of the other was
to circumscribe the powers accorded to the general government--to
vindicate the sovereignty of the individual States, and give to it the
widest possible scope. These two sets of opinions continued to exist
and conflict for three-quarters of a century, till that which assigned
an undue dominion to what were called State Rights, perished in the
overthrow of the great Rebellion.

Slowly and through endless debate the convention worked out its plan
of a government. The scheme was submitted to Congress, and thence sent
down to the several States. Months of fiery discussion ensued. Somewhat
reluctantly, by narrow majorities, in the face of vehement protests,
the Constitution was at length adopted under which the thirteen States
were to become so great.

       *       *       *       *       *

Great Britain has no written Constitution. She has her laws; and it
is expected that all future laws shall be in tolerable harmony with
the principles on which her past legislation has been founded. But if
Parliament were to enact, and the Sovereign to sanction, any law at
variance with these principles, there is no help for it. Queen, Lords,
and Commons are our supreme authority, from whose decisions there lies
no appeal. In America it is different. There the supreme authority is a
written Constitution. Congress may unanimously enact, and the President
may cordially sanction, a new law. Two or three judges, sitting in
the same building where Congress meets, may compare that law with the
Constitution. If it is found at variance with the Constitution, it
is unceremoniously declared to be no law, and entitled to no man’s
obedience. With a few alterations, this Constitution remains in full
force now--gathering around it, as it increases in age, the growing
reverence of the people. The men who framed it must have been very
wise. The people for whom it was framed must possess in high degree
the precious Anglo-Saxon veneration for law. Otherwise the American
paper Constitution must long ago have shared the fate of the numerous
documents of this class under which the French vainly sought rest
during their first Revolution.

Each of the thirteen States was sovereign, and the government of
America hitherto had been merely a league of independent powers. Now
the several States parted with a certain amount of their sovereignty,
and vested it in a General Government. The General Government was
to levy taxes, to coin money, to regulate commercial relations with
foreign countries, to establish post-offices and post-roads, to
establish courts of law, to declare war, to raise and maintain armies
and navies, to make treaties, to borrow money on the credit of the
United States. The individual States expressly relinquished the right
to perform these sovereign functions.

These powers were intrusted to two Houses of Legislation and a
President. The House of Representatives is composed of two hundred and
forty-three members. The members hold their seats for two years, and
are paid five thousand dollars annually. Black men and Indians were
not allowed to vote; but all white men had a voice in the election of
their representatives. To secure perfect equality of representation,
members are distributed according to population. Thus, in 1863 a member
was given to every 124,000 inhabitants. Every ten years a readjustment
takes place, and restores the equality which the growth of the
intervening period has disturbed.

The large States send necessarily a much larger number of members
to the Lower House than the small States do. Thus New York sends
thirty-one, while Rhode Island sends only two, Delaware and Florida
only one. The self-love of the smaller States was wounded by an
arrangement which resembled absorption into the larger communities. The
balance was redressed in the constitution of the Upper Chamber--the
Senate. That body is composed of seventy-six members, elected by the
legislatures of the States. Every State, large or small, returns two
members. The small States were overborne in the Lower House, but in the
Senate they enjoyed an importance equal to that of their most populous
neighbours. The senators are elected for six years, and are paid at the
same rate as the members of the House of Representatives.

The head of the American Government is the President. He holds office
for four years. Each State chooses a number of persons equal to the
total number of members whom it returns to the Houses of Legislation.
These persons elect the President. They elect also a Vice-President,
lest the President should be removed by death or otherwise during
his term of office. All laws enacted by Congress must be submitted
to the President. He may refuse to pass them--sending them back with
a statement of his objections. But should both Houses, by a vote of
two-thirds of their number, adhere to the rejected measures, they
become law in spite of the President’s veto. The President appoints
his own Cabinet Ministers, and these have no seats in Congress. Their
annual reports upon the affairs of their departments are communicated
to Congress by the President, along with his own Message. The President
is Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy. With concurrence of the
Senate, he appoints ambassadors, judges of the Supreme Court, and other
public officers.

Every State has a government after the same pattern, composed of
two Houses of Legislation and a Governor. These authorities occupy
themselves with the management of such affairs as exclusively concern
their own State, and have, therefore, not been relinquished to the
General Government. They legislate in regard to railway and other
public companies. They see to the administration of justice within
their own territory, unless in the case of crimes committed against
the Government. They pass such laws as are required in regard to
private property and rights of succession. Above all, they retained
all the powers of which they were ever possessed in regard to slavery.
The Constitution gave Congress authority to suppress the importation
of slaves after the year 1808. Not otherwise was the slave-question
interfered with. That remained wholly under the control of the
individual States.

But the men who framed this Constitution, however wise, were liable
to err. And if they were found in after years to have erred, what
provision--other than a revolution--was made for correcting their
mistakes? A very simple and very effective one. When two-thirds of
both Houses of Legislation deem it necessary that some amendment of
the Constitution should be made, they propose it to the legislatures
of the several States. When three-fourths of these judicatories adopt
the proposal, it becomes a part of the Constitution. There have been
in all fifteen amendments adopted, most of them very soon after the
Constitution itself came into existence.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now the conditions of the great experiment are adjusted. Three
million Americans have undertaken to govern themselves. Europe does
not believe that any people can prosper in such an undertaking. Europe
still clings to the belief that, in every country, a few Heaven-sent
families must guide the destinies of the incapable, child-like
millions. America--having no faith in Heaven-sent families--believes
that the millions are the best and safest guides of their own
destinies, and means to act on that belief. On her success great issues
wait. If the Americans show that they can govern themselves, all the
other nations will gradually put their hands to the same ennobling work.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1789 A.D.] The first step to be taken under the new
Constitution was to elect a President. There was but one man who
was thought of for this high and untried office. George Washington
was unanimously chosen. Congress was summoned to meet in New York
on the 4th of March. But the members had to travel far on foot, or
on horseback. Roads were bad, bridges were few; streams, in that
spring-time, were swollen. It was some weeks after the appointed time
before business could be commenced.

That Congress had difficult work to do, and it was done patiently,
with much plain sense and honesty. As yet there was no revenue, while
everywhere there was debt. The General Government had debt, and each
of the States had debt. There was the Foreign Debt--due to France,
Holland, and Spain. There was the Army Debt--for arrears of pay and
pensions. There was the Debt of the Five Great Departments--for
supplies obtained during the war. There was a vast issue of paper money
to be redeemed. There were huge arrears of interest. And, on the other
hand, there was no provision whatever for these enormous obligations.

Washington, with a sigh, asked a friend, “What is to be done about
this heavy debt?” “There is but one man in America can tell you,” said
his friend, “and that is Alexander Hamilton.” Washington made Hamilton
Secretary to the Treasury. The success of his financial measures was
immediate and complete. “He smote the rock of the national resources,”
said Daniel Webster, “and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth.
He touched the dead corpse of the public credit, and it sprang upon
its feet.” All the war debts of the States were assumed by the General
Government. Efficient provision was made for the regular payment of
interest, and for a sinking fund to liquidate the principal. Duties
were imposed on shipping, on goods imported from abroad, and on
spirits manufactured at home. The vigour of the Government inspired
public confidence, and commerce began to revive. In a few years the
American flag was seen on every sea. The simple manufactures of the
country resumed their long interrupted activity. A National Bank
was established. Courts were set up, and judges were appointed. The
salaries of the President and the great functionaries were settled. A
home was chosen for the General Government on the banks of the Potomac;
where the capital of the Union was to supplant the little wooden
village--remote from the agitations which arise in the great centres
of population. Innumerable details connected with the establishment of
a new government were discussed and fixed. Novel as the circumstances
were, little of the work then done has required to be undone.
Succeeding generations of Americans have approved the wisdom of their
early legislators, and continue unaltered the arrangements which were
framed at the outset of the national existence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thirty years of peace succeeded the War of Independence. There were,
indeed, passing troubles with the Indians, ending always in the sharp
chastisement of those disagreeable savages. [Sidenote: 1804 A.D.] There
was an expedition against Tripoli, to avenge certain indignities which
the barbarians of that region had offered to American shipping. There
was a misunderstanding with the French Directory, which was carried to
a somewhat perilous extreme. [Sidenote: 1789 A.D.] A desperate fight
took place between a French frigate and an American frigate, resulting
in the surrender of the former. But these trivial agitations did not
disturb the profound tranquillity of the nation, or hinder its progress
in that career of prosperity on which it had now entered.

Washington was President during the first eight years of the
Constitution. [Sidenote: 1799 A.D.] He survived his withdrawal from
public life only three years, dying, after a few hours’ illness, in the
sixty-eighth year of his age. His countrymen mourned him with a sorrow
sincere and deep. Their reverence for him has not diminished with the
progress of the years. Each new generation of Americans catches up the
veneration--calm, intelligent, but profound--with which its fathers
regarded the blameless Chief. To this day there is an affectionate
watchfulness for opportunities to express the honour in which his name
is held. To this day the steamers which ply upon the Potomac strike
mournful notes upon the bell as they sweep past Mount Vernon, where
Washington spent the happiest days of his life, and where he died.



America was well contented during many years to be merely a spectator
of the Great European War. In spite of some differences which had
arisen, she still cherished a kindly feeling towards France--her friend
in the old time of need. She had still a bitter hatred to England, her
tyrant, as she deemed, and her cruel foe. But her sympathies did not
regulate her policy. She had no call to avenge the dishonour offered
to royalty by the people of France. As little was it her business to
strengthen France against the indignation of outraged monarchs. Her
distance exempted her from taking any part in the bloody politics of
Europe, and she was able to look quietly on while the flames of war
consumed the nations of the Old World. Her ships enjoyed a monopoly.
She traded impartially with all the combatants. The energies of Europe
were taxed to the uttermost by a gigantic work of mutual destruction.
The Americans conveyed to the people thus unprofitably occupied the
foreign articles of which they stood in need, and made great gain of
their neighbours’ madness.

[Sidenote: 1806 A.D.] But the time came when France and England were
to put forth efforts more gigantic than before, to compass the ruin of
each other. England gave out a decree announcing that all the coasts
of France and her allies were in a state of blockade, and that any
vessels attempting to trade with the blockaded countries were liable
to seizure. At that time nearly all the Continent was in alliance with
France. Napoleon replied by declaring the British Isles in a state of
blockade. These decrees closed Europe against American vessels. Many
captures were made, especially by English cruisers. American merchants
suffered grievous losses, and loudly expressed their just wrath against
the wicked laws which wrought them so much evil.

There was another question out of which mischief arose. England has
always maintained that any person who has once been her subject
can never cease to be so. He may remove to another country; he may
become the citizen of another state. English law recognizes no
such transaction. England claims that the man is still an English
subject--entitled to the advantages of that relation, and bound
by its obligations. America, on the other hand, asserted that men
could lay down their original citizenship, and assume another--could
transfer their allegiance--could relinquish the privileges and absolve
themselves from the obligations which they inherited. The Englishmen
who settled on her soil were regarded by her as American citizens and
as nothing else.

Circumstances arose which bestowed dangerous importance upon these
conflicting doctrines. England at that time obtained sailors by
impressment. That is to say, she seized men who were engaged on board
merchant vessels, and compelled them to serve on board her ships of
war. It was a process second only to the slave-trade in its iniquity.
The service to which men were thus introduced could not but be hateful.
There was a copious desertion, as opportunity offered, and America was
the natural refuge. English ships of war claimed the right to search
American vessels for men who had deserted; and also for men who, as
born English subjects, were liable to be impressed. It may well be
believed that this right was not always exercised with a strict regard
to justice. It was not always easy to distinguish an Englishman from
an American. Perhaps the English captains were not very scrupulous as
to the evidence on which they acted. The Americans asserted that six
thousand men, on whom England had no shadow of claim, were ruthlessly
carried off to fight under a flag they hated; the English Government
admitted the charge to the extent of sixteen hundred men. The American
people vehemently resented the intolerable pretension of England.
Occasionally an American ship resisted it, and blood was freely shed.

[Sidenote: 1807 A.D.] When England and France decreed the closing of
all European ports against commerce, America hastened to show that she
could be as unwise as her neighbours. Congress prohibited commerce with
the European powers which had so offended. The people, wiser than their
rulers, disapproved this measure; but the Government enforced it. The
President was empowered to call out militia and employ armed vessels
to prevent cargoes of American produce from leaving the country. It
was hoped that England and France, thus bereaved of articles which
were deemed necessary, would be constrained to repeal their injurious

Thus for four years commerce was suspended, and grass grew on the idle
wharves of New York and Philadelphia. The cotton and tobacco of the
Southern States, the grain and timber of the North, were stored up to
await the return of reason to the governing powers of the world. Tens
of thousands of working people were thrown idle. The irritation of the
impoverished nation was fast ripening towards war.

America wanted now the wise leadership which she enjoyed at the period
of her revolutionary struggle. Washington had never ceased to urge
upon his countrymen the desirableness of being on good terms with
England. But Washington was dead, and his words were not remembered.
Franklin was dead, Hamilton had fallen by the murdering hand of Aaron
Burr. There was a strong party eager for war. The commercial towns on
the sea-board dreaded the terrible ships of England, and desired to
negotiate for redress of grievances. The people of the interior, having
no towns to be bombarded, preferred to try their strength with England
in battle. Some attempts at negotiation resulted in failure. [Sidenote:
June 18, 1812 A.D.] At length Congress ended suspense by passing a Bill
which declared war against Great Britain.

It was a bolder challenge than America supposed it to be. England,
indeed, had her hands full, for the power of her great foe seemed to be
irresistible. But even then the axe was laid to its roots. In that same
month of June Napoleon crossed the river Niemen and entered Russia upon
his fatal march to Moscow. A few weeks before, the Duke of Wellington
had wrenched from his grasp the two great frontier fortresses of Spain,
and was now beginning to drive the French armies out of the Peninsula.
England would soon have leisure for her new assailant; but all this was
as yet unseen.

When war was declared, England possessed one thousand ships of war, and
America possessed twenty. Their land forces were in like proportion.
England had nearly a million of men under arms. America had an army
reckoned at twenty-four thousand, many of them imperfectly disciplined
and not yet to be relied upon in the field. Her treasury was empty. She
was sadly wanting in officers of experience. She had declared war, but
it was difficult to see what she could do in the way of giving effect
to her hostile purposes.

But she held to these purposes with unfaltering tenacity. Four days
after Congress had resolved to fight, England repealed those blockading
decrees which had so justly offended the Americans. There remained
now only the question of the right of search. The British Minister at
Washington proposed that an attempt should be made to settle peaceably
this sole remaining ground of quarrel. The proposal was declined. The
American war party would not swerve from its unhappy determination.
The first efforts of the Americans were signally unsuccessful. They
attacked Canada with an army of two thousand five hundred men. But this
force had scarcely got upon Canadian ground when it was driven back.
[Sidenote: August, 1812 A.D.] It was besieged in Fort Detroit by an
inferior British army and forced to surrender. The unfortunate General
Hull, who commanded, was brought to trial by his angry countrymen and
sentenced to be shot. He was pardoned, however, in consideration of
former services.

A second invasion followed, closed by a second surrender. During
two other campaigns the Americans prosecuted their invasion. Ships
were built and launched upon the great lakes which lie between the
territories of the combatants. Sea-fights were fought, in one of which
the American triumph was so complete that all the British vessels
surrendered. Many desperate engagements took place on shore. Some
forts were captured; some towns were burned. Many women and children
were made homeless; many brave men were slain. But the invaders made
no progress. Everywhere the Canadians, with the help of the regular
troops, were able to hold their own. It was a coarse method of solving
the question which was in dispute between the countries, and it was
utterly fruitless.

At sea a strange gleam of good fortune cheered the Americans. It was
there England felt herself omnipotent. She, with her thousand ships,
might pardonably despise the enemy who came against her with twenty.
But it was there disaster overtook her.

[Sidenote: 1812 A.D.] During the autumn months a series of encounters
took place between single British and American ships. In every instance
victory remained with the Americans. Five English vessels were taken or
destroyed. The Americans were in most of these engagements more heavily
manned and armed than their enemies. But the startling fact remained.
Five British ships of war had been taken in battle by the Americans;
five defeats had been sustained by England. Her sovereignty of the sea
had received a rude shock.

The loss of a great battle would not have moved England more profoundly
than the capture of these five unimportant ships. It seemed to many
to foretell the downfall of her maritime supremacy. She had ruled the
seas because, heretofore, no other country produced sailors equal to
hers. But a new power had now arisen, whose home, equally with that of
Britannia herself, was upon the deep. If America could achieve these
startling successes while she had only twenty ships, what might she not
accomplish with that ampler force which she would hereafter possess?
England had many enemies, all of whom rejoiced to see in these defeats
the approaching decay of her envied greatness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among English sailors there was a burning eagerness to wipe out
the unlooked-for disgrace which had fallen upon the flag. A strict
blockade of American ports was maintained. On board the English ships
which cruised on the American coasts impatient search was made for
opportunities of retrieving the honour of the service.

Two English ships lay off Boston in the summer of 1813, under the
command of Captain Broke. Within the bay the American frigate
_Chesapeake_ had lain for many months. Captain Broke had bestowed
especial pains upon the training of his men, and he believed he had
made them a match for any equal force. He and they vehemently desired
to test their prowess in battle. He sent away one of his ships,
retaining only the _Shannon_, which was slightly inferior to the
_Chesapeake_ in guns and in men. And then he stood close in to the
shore, and sent to Captain Lawrence of the _Chesapeake_ an invitation
to come forth that they might “try the fortune of their respective

From his mast-head Captain Broke watched anxiously the movements of
the hostile ship. Soon he saw her canvas shaken out to the breeze. His
challenge was accepted. The stately _Chesapeake_ moved slowly down the
bay, attended by many barges and pleasure-boats. To the over-sanguine
men of Boston it seemed that Captain Lawrence sailed out to assured
victory. They crowded to house-top and hill to witness his success.
They prepared a banquet to celebrate his triumphant return.

[Sidenote: June 1, 1813 A.D.] Slowly and in grim silence the
hostile ships drew near. No shot was fired till they were within a
stone’s-throw of each other, and the men in either could look into
the faces of those they were about to destroy. Then began the horrid
carnage of a sea-fight. The well-trained British fired with steady
aim, and every shot told. The rigging of their enemy was speedily
ruined; her stern was beaten in; her decks were swept by discharges of
heavy guns loaded with musket-balls. The American firing was greatly
less effective. After a few broadsides, the ships came into contact.
The _Shannon_ continued to fire grape-shot from two of her guns. The
_Chesapeake_ could now reply feebly, and only with musketry. Captain
Broke prepared to board. Over decks heaped with slain and slippery with
blood, the Englishmen sprang upon the yielding foe. The American flag
was pulled down, and resistance ceased.

The fight lasted but a quarter of an hour. So few minutes ago the two
ships, peopled by seven hundred men in the pride of youth and strength,
sailed proudly over seas which smiled in the peaceful sunlight of that
summer evening. Now their rigging lies in ruins upon the cumbered
decks; their sides are riven by shot; seventy-one dead bodies wait to
be thrown overboard; one hundred and fifty-seven men lie wounded and in
anguish--some of them to die, some to recover and live out cheerless
lives, till the grave opens for their mutilated and disfigured forms.
Did these men hate each other with a hatred so intense that they could
do no less than inflict these evils upon each other? They had no
hatred at all. Their Governments differed, and this was their method
of ascertaining who was in the right! Surely men will one day be wise
enough to adopt some process for the adjustment of differences less
wild in its inaccuracy, less brutish in its cruelty than this.

This victory, so quickly won and so decisive, restored the confidence
of England in her naval superiority. The war went on with varying
fortune. The Americans, awakening to the greatness of the necessity,
put forth vigorous efforts to increase both army and navy. Frequent
encounters between single ships occurred. Sometimes the American ship
captured or destroyed the British; more frequently now the British ship
captured or destroyed the American. The superb fighting capabilities of
the race were splendidly illustrated, but no results of a more solid
character can be enumerated.

[Sidenote: 1814 A.D.] Meanwhile momentous changes had occurred in
Europe. Napoleon had been overthrown, and England was enjoying the
brief repose which his residence in Elba afforded. She could bestow
some attention now upon her American quarrel. Several regiments of
Wellington’s soldiers were sent to America, under the command of
General Ross, and an attack upon Washington was determined. The force
at General Ross’s disposal was only three thousand five hundred men.
With means so inconsiderable, it seemed rash to attack the capital
of a great nation. But the result proved that General Ross had not
under-estimated the difficulties of the enterprise.

The Americans utterly failed in the defence of their capital. They
were forewarned of the attack, and had good time to prepare. The
militia of Pennsylvania and Virginia had promised their services, but
were not found when they were needed. Only seven thousand men could
be drawn together to resist the advance of the English. These took
post at Bladensburg, where there was a bridge over the Potomac. The
English were greatly less numerous, but they were veterans who had
fought under Wellington in many battles. To them it was play to rout
the undisciplined American levies. They dashed upon the enemy, who,
scarcely waiting to fire a shot, broke and fled towards Washington in
hopeless confusion.

That same evening the British marched quietly into Washington. General
Ross had orders to destroy or hold to ransom all public buildings.
He offered to spare the national property, if a certain sum of money
were paid to him; but the authorities declined his proposal. Next day
a great and most unjustifiable ruin was wrought. The Capitol, the
President’s residence, the Government offices, even the bridge over the
Potomac--all were destroyed. The Navy-yard and Arsenal, with some ships
in course of building, were set on fire by the Americans themselves.
The President’s house was pillaged by the soldiers before it was
burned. These devastations were effected in obedience to peremptory
orders from the British Government, on whom rests the shame of
proceedings so reprehensible and so unusual in the annals of civilized
war. On the same day the British withdrew from the ruins of the burning
capital, and retired towards the coast.

The Americans were becoming weary of this unmeaning war. Hope of
success there was none, now that Britain had no other enemy to engage
her attention. America had no longer a ship of war to protect her
coasts from insult. Her trade was extinct. Her exports, which were
fourteen million sterling before the war, had sunk to one-tenth of that
amount. Two-thirds of the trading classes were insolvent. Most of the
trading ships were taken. The revenue hitherto derived from customs had
utterly ceased. The credit of the country was not good, and loans could
not be obtained. Taxation became very oppressive, and thus enhanced
extremely the unpopularity of the war. Some of the New England States
refused to furnish men or money, and indicated a disposition to make
peace for themselves, if they could not obtain it otherwise.

[Sidenote: Feb. 11, 1815 A.D.] Peace was urgently needed, and happily
was near at hand. Late one Saturday night a British sloop-of-war
arrived at New York bearing a treaty of peace, already ratified by
the British Government. The cry of “Peace! peace!” rang through the
gladdened streets. The city burst into spontaneous illumination. The
news reached Boston on Monday morning, and Boston was almost beside
herself with joy. A multitude of idle ships had long lain at her
wharves. Before night carpenters were at work making them ready to
go to sea. Sailors were engaged; cargoes were being passed on board.
Boston returned without an hour’s delay to her natural condition of
commercial activity.

British and American Commissioners had met at Ghent, and had agreed
upon terms of peace. The fruitlessness of war is a familiar discovery
when men have calmness to review its losses and its gains. Both
countries had endured much during these three years of hostilities;
and now the peace left as they had been before the questions whose
settlement was the object of the war.

[Sidenote: 1814 A.D.] The treaty was concluded on the 24th December.
Could the news have been flashed by telegraph across the Atlantic, much
brave life would have been saved. But seven weeks elapsed before it was
known in the southern parts of America that the two countries were at
peace. And meanwhile one of the bloodiest fights of the war had been

New Orleans--a town of nearly twenty thousand inhabitants--was then, as
it is now, one of the great centres of the cotton trade, and commanded
the navigation of the Mississippi. The capture of a city so important
could not fail to prove a heavy blow to America. An expedition for
this purpose was organized. Just when the Commissioners at Ghent were
felicitating themselves upon the peace they had made, the British army,
in storm and intolerable cold, was being rowed on shore within a few
miles of New Orleans.

Sir Edward Pakenham, one of the heroes of the Peninsula, commanded
the English. The defence of New Orleans was intrusted to General
Jackson. Jackson had been a soldier from his thirteenth year, and had
spent a youth of extraordinary hardship. He was now a strong-willed,
experienced, and skilful leader, in whom his soldiers had boundless
confidence. Pakenham, fresh from the triumphs of the Peninsula, looked
with mistaken contempt upon his formidable enemy.

Jackson’s line of defence was something over half a mile in length. The
Mississippi covered his right flank, an impassable swamp and jungle
secured his left. Along his front ran a deep broad ditch, topped by a
massive wall of earth. In this strong position the Americans waited the
coming of the enemy.

[Sidenote: 1815 A.D.] At daybreak on the 8th January the British, six
thousand strong, made their attack. The dim morning light revealed to
the Americans the swift advance of the red-coated host. A murderous
fire of grape and round shot was opened from the guns mounted on the
bastion. Brave men fell fast, but the assailants passed on through the
storm and reached the American works. It was their design to scale
the ramparts, and, once within, to trust to their bayonets, which had
never deceived them yet. But at the foot of the ramparts it was found
that the fascines and scaling-ladders, which had been prepared for the
assault, were now amissing! The men mounted on each other’s shoulders,
and thus some of them forced their way into the works, only to be shot
down by the American riflemen. All was vain. A deadly fire streamed
incessant from that fatal parapet upon the defenceless men below. Sir
Edward Pakenham fell mortally wounded. The carnage was frightful, and
the enterprise visibly hopeless. The troops were withdrawn in great
confusion, having sustained a loss of two thousand men. The Americans
had seven men killed and the same number wounded.

Thus closed the war. Both countries look with just pride upon the
heroic courage so profusely displayed in battle, and upon the patient
endurance with which great sacrifices were submitted to. It is pity
these high qualities did not find a more worthy field for their
exercise. The war was a gigantic folly and wickedness, such as no
future generation, we may venture to hope, will ever repeat.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the Fourth of July 1826 all America kept holiday. On that day, fifty
years before, the Declaration of Independence was signed, and America
began her great career as a free country. Better occasion for jubilee
the world has seldom known. The Americans must needs do honour to the
Fathers of their Independence, most of whom have already passed away;
two of whom--John Adams and Thomas Jefferson--died on this very day.
They must pause and look back upon this amazing half century. The world
had never seen growth so rapid. There were three million of Americans
who threw off the British yoke; now there were twelve million. The
thirteen States had increased to twenty-four. The territory of the
Union had been prodigiously enlarged. [Sidenote: 1803 A.D.] Louisiana
had been sold by France; [Sidenote: 1820 A.D.] Florida had been ceded
by Spain. Time after time tribes of vagrant Indians yielded up their
lands and enrolled themselves subjects of the Great Republic. The Gulf
of Mexico now bounded the Union on the south, and the lakes which
divide her from Canada on the north. From the Atlantic on the east, she
already looked out upon the Pacific on the west. Canals had been cut
leading from the great lakes to the Hudson, and the grain which grew on
the corn-lands of the west, thousands of miles away, was brought easily
to New York. Innumerable roads had been made. The debt incurred in
the War of Independence had been all paid; and the still heavier debt
incurred in the second war with England was being rapidly extinguished.
A steady tide of emigration flowed westward. Millions of acres of
the fertile wilderness which lay towards the setting sun had been at
length made profitable to mankind. Extensive manufactories had been
established, in which cotton and woollen fabrics were produced. The
foreign trade of the country amounted to forty million sterling.

The Marquis Lafayette, now an old man, came to see once more before he
died the country he had helped to save, and took part with wonder in
the national rejoicing. The poor colonists, for whose liberties he had
fought, had already become a powerful and wealthy nation. Everywhere
there had been expansion. Everywhere there were comfort and abundance.
Everywhere there were boundless faith in the future, and a vehement,
unresting energy, which would surely compel the fulfilment of any
expectations, however vast.

Book Third



When Europeans first visited the southern parts of America, they found
in abundant growth there a plant destined to such eminence in the
future history of the world as no other member of the vegetable family
ever attained. It was an unimportant-looking plant, two or three feet
in height, studded with pods somewhat larger than a walnut. In the
appropriate season these pods opened, revealing a wealth of soft white
fibre, embedded in which lay the seeds of the plant. This was Cotton.
It was not unknown to the Old World, for the Romans used cotton fabrics
before the Christian era. India did so from a still remoter period. But
the extent to which its use had been carried was trivial. Men clothed
themselves as they best might in linen or woollen cloth, or simply
in the skins of the beasts which they slew. The time was now at hand
when an ampler provision for their wants was to be disclosed to them.
Socially and politically, cotton has deeply influenced the course of
human affairs. The mightiest conquerors sink into insignificance in
presence of King Cotton.

The English began to cultivate a little cotton very soon after their
settlement in America. But it was a difficult crop for them to handle.
The plants grew luxuriantly, and when autumn came the opening pods
revealed a most satisfying opulence. The quantity of cotton produced
excited the wonder of the planters. But the seeds of the plant adhered
tenaciously to the fibre. Before the fibre could be used the seeds had
to be removed, and this was a slow and therefore a costly process. It
was as much as a man could do in a day to separate one pound of cotton
from the seeds. Cotton could never be abundant or cheap while this was
the case.

But in course of time things came to pass in England which made it
indispensable that cotton should be both abundant and cheap. In 1768
Richard Arkwright invented a machine for spinning cotton vastly
superior to anything hitherto in use. Next year a greater than
he--James Watt--announced a greater invention--his Steam Engine.
England was ready now to begin her great work of weaving cotton for the
world. But where was the cotton to be found?

Three or four years before Watt patented his Engine, and Arkwright
his Spinning-frame, there was born in a New England farm-house a boy
whose work was needed to complete theirs. His name was Eli Whitney.
Eli was a born mechanic; it was a necessity of his nature to invent
and construct. As a mere boy he made nails, pins, and walking-canes by
novel processes, and thus earned money to support himself at college.
In 1792 he went to Georgia to visit Mrs. Greene, the widow of that
General Greene who so troubled Lord Cornwallis in the closing years
of the War of Independence. In that primitive society, where few of
the comforts of civilized life were yet enjoyed, no visits were so
like those of the angels as the visits of a skilful mechanic. Eli
constructed marvellous amusements for Mrs. Greene’s children. He
overcame all household difficulties by some ingenious contrivance. Mrs.
Greene learned to wonder at him, and to believe nothing was impossible
for him. One day Mrs. Greene entertained a party of her neighbours.
The conversation turned upon the sorrows of the Planter. That unhappy
tenacity with which the seeds of cotton adhered to the fibre was
elaborately bemoaned. With an urgent demand from England for cotton,
with boundless lands which grew nothing so well as cotton, it was hard
to be so utterly baffled.

Mrs. Greene had unlimited faith in her friend Eli. She begged him to
invent a machine which should separate the seeds of cotton from the
fibre. Eli was of Northern upbringing, and had never even seen cotton
in seed. He walked to Savannah, and there, with some trouble, obtained
a quantity of uncleaned cotton. He shut himself up in his room and
brooded over the difficulty which he had undertaken to conquer.

All that winter Eli laboured--devising, hammering, building up,
rejecting, beginning afresh. He had no help; he could not even get
tools to buy, but had to make them with his own hands. At length his
machine was completed--rude-looking, but visibly effective. Mrs. Greene
invited the leading men of the State to her house. She conducted them
in triumph to the building in which the machine stood. The owners of
unprofitable cotton lands looked on with a wild flash of hope lighting
up their desponding hearts. Possibilities of untold wealth to each of
them lay in that clumsy structure. The machine was put in motion. It
was evident to all that it could perform the work of hundreds of men.
Eli had gained a great victory for mankind. In that rude log-hut of
Georgia, Cotton was crowned King, and a new era opened for America and
the world.

Ten years after Whitney’s Cotton-gin was invented, a huge addition
was made to the cotton-growing districts of America. In 1803 Europe
enjoyed a short respite from the mad Napoleon wars. France had recently
acquired from Spain vast regions bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, and
stretching far up the valley of the Mississippi, and westward to the
Pacific. It was certain that peace in Europe would not last long. It
was equally certain that when war was resumed France could not hold
these possessions against the fleets of England. America wished to
acquire, and was willing to pay for them. It was better to sell to the
Americans, and equip soldiers with the price, than wait till England
was ready to conquer. Napoleon sold, and America added Louisiana to her
vast possessions.

Mark well these two events--the invention of a machine for cheaply
separating the seeds of cotton from the fibre, and the purchase of
Louisiana from the French. Out of these events flows the American
history of the next half century. Not any other event since the War of
Independence--not all other events put together, have done so much to
shape and determine the career of the American people.



When America gained her independence slavery existed in all the
colonies. No State was free from the taint; even the New England
Puritans held slaves. At an early period they had learned to enslave
their Indian neighbours. The children of the Pilgrims owned Indians,
and in due time owned Africans, without remorse. But the number of
slaves in the North was always small. At first it was not to the higher
principle or clearer intelligence of the Northern men that this limited
prevalence of slavery was due. The North was not a region where slave
labour could ever be profitable. The climate was harsh, the soil rocky
and bleak; and labour required to be directed by intelligence. In that
comparatively unproductive land the mindless and heartless toil of the
slave would scarcely defray the cost of his support. At the Revolution
there were half a million of slaves in the colonies, and of these only
thirty to forty thousand were in the North.

It was otherwise in the sunny and luxuriant South. The African was at
home there, for the climate was like his own. The rich soil yielded
its wealth to labour in the slightest and least intelligent form. The
culture of rice, and tobacco, and cotton supplied the very kind of
work which a slave was fitted to perform. The South found profitable
employment for as many Africans as the slave-traders were able to

And yet at the Revolution slavery enjoyed no great degree of favour.
The free spirit enkindled by the war was in violent opposition to
the existence of a system of bondage. The presence of the slaves
had disabled the South from taking the part she ought in the War of
Independence. The white men had to stay at home to watch the black.
Virginia, Washington’s State, furnished a reasonable proportion
of troops; but the other Southern States were almost worthless.
Everywhere in the North slavery was regarded as an objectionable and
decaying institution. The leaders of the Revolution, themselves mainly
slave-owners, were eagerly desirous that slavery should be abolished.
Washington was utterly opposed to the system, and provided in his will
for the emancipation of his own slaves. Hamilton was a member of an
association for the gradual abolition of slavery. John Adams would
never own a slave. Franklin, Patrick Henry, Madison, Munroe, were
united in their reprobation of slavery. Jefferson, a Virginian, who
prepared the Declaration of Independence, said that in view of slavery
“he trembled for his country, when he reflected that God was just.”

In the convention which met to frame a Constitution for America the
feeling of antagonism to slavery was supreme. Had the majority followed
their own course, provision would have been made then for the gradual
extinction of slavery. But there arose here a necessity for one of
those compromises by which the history of America has been so sadly
marked. When it was proposed to prohibit the importation of slaves, all
the Northern and most of the Southern States favoured the proposal. But
South Carolina and Georgia were insatiable in their thirst for African
labour. They decisively refused to become parties to a Union in which
there was to be no importation of slaves. The other States yielded.
Instead of an immediate abolition of this hateful traffic, it was
agreed merely that after twenty years Congress should be at liberty to
abolish the slave-trade if it chose. By the same threat of disunion
the Slave States of the extreme South gained other advantages. It was
fixed by the Constitution that a slave who fled to a Free State was not
therefore to become a free man. He must be given back to his owner. It
was yet further conceded that the Slave States should have increased
political power in proportion to the number of their slaves. A black
man did not count for so much as a white. Every State was to send
members to the House of Representatives according to its population,
and in reckoning that population five negroes were to be counted as

And yet at that time, and for years after, the opinion of the
South itself regarded slavery as an evil--thrust upon them by
England--difficult to be got rid of--profitable, it might be, but
lamentable and temporary. No slave-holder refused to discuss the
subject or to admit the evils of the system. No violence was offered to
those who denounced it. The clergy might venture to preach against it.
Hopeful persons might foretell the approach of liberty to those unhappy
captives. Even the lowest of the slave-holding class did not yet resent
the expression of such hopes.

But a mighty change was destined to pass upon the tone of Southern
opinion. The purchase of Louisiana opened a vast tract of the most
fertile land in the world to the growth of cotton; Whitney’s invention
made the growth of cotton profitable. Slave-holding became lucrative.
It was wealth to own a little plantation and a few negroes; and
there was an eager race for the possession of slaves. Importation
alone could not supply the demand. Some of the more northerly of the
Southern States turned their attention to the breeding of slaves for
the Southern markets. Kentucky and Virginia became rich and infamous by
this awful commerce.[1] While iniquity was not specially profitable,
the Southern States were not very reluctant to be virtuous. When the
gains of wickedness became, as they now did, enormous, virtue ceased to
have a footing in the South.

During many years the leader of the slave-owners was John C. Calhoun.
He was a native of South Carolina--a tall, slender, gipsy-looking man,
with an eye whose wondrous depth and power impressed all who came into
his presence. Calhoun taught the people of the South that slavery was
good for the slave. It was a benign, civilizing agency. The African
attained to a measure of intelligence in slavery greatly in advance
of that which he had ever reached as a free man. To him, visibly, it
was a blessing to be enslaved. From all this it was easy to infer that
Providence had appointed slavery for the advantage of both races;
that opposition to this Heaven-ordained institution was profane; that
abolition was merely an aspect of infidelity. So Calhoun taught; so the
South learned to believe. [Sidenote: 1850 A.D.] Calhoun’s last speech
in Congress warned the North that opposition to slavery would destroy
the Union. His latest conversation was on this absorbing theme. A few
hours after, he had passed where all dimness of vision is removed, and
errors of judgment become impossible!

It was very pleasant for the slave-owners to be taught that slavery
enjoyed divine sanction. The doctrine had other apostles than Mr.
Calhoun. Unhappily it came to form part of the regular pulpit teaching
of the Southern churches. It was gravely argued out from the Old
Testament that slavery was the proper condition of the negro. Ham was
to be the servant of his brethren; hence all the descendants of Ham
were the rightful property of white men. The slave who fled from his
master was guilty of the crime of theft in one of its most heinous
forms. So taught the Southern pulpit. Many books, written by grave
divines for the enforcement of these doctrines, remain to awaken the
amazement of posterity.

The slave-owners inclined a willing ear to these pleasing assurances.
They knew slavery to be profitable; their leaders in Church and State
told them it was right. It was little wonder that a fanatical love
to slavery possessed their hearts. In the passionate, ill-regulated
minds of the slave-owning class it became in course of years almost a
madness, which was shared, unhappily, by the great mass of the white
population. Discussion could no longer be permitted. It became a
fearful risk to express in the South an opinion hostile to slavery. It
was a familiar boast that no man who opposed slavery would be suffered
to live in a Slave State; and the slave-owners made their word good.
Many who were suspected of hostile opinions were tarred and feathered,
and turned out of the State. Many were shot; many were hanged; some
were burned. The Southern mobs were singularly brutal, and the
slave-owners found willing hands to do their fiendish work. The law did
not interfere to prevent or punish such atrocities. The churches looked
on and held their peace.

As slave property increased in value, a strangely horrible system of
laws gathered around it. The slave was regarded, not as a person, but
as a thing. He had no civil rights; nay, it was declared by the highest
legal authority that a slave had no rights at all which a white man was
bound to respect. The most sacred laws of nature were defied. Marriage
was a tie which bound the slave only during the master’s pleasure. A
slave had no more legal authority over his child “than a cow has over
her calf.” It was a grave offence to teach a slave to read. A white
man might expiate that offence by fine or imprisonment; to a black man
it involved flogging. The owner might not without challenge murder
an unoffending slave; but a slave resisting his master’s will might
lawfully be slain. A slave who would not stand to be flogged, might be
shot as he ran off. The master was blameless if his slave died under
the administration of reasonable correction--in other words, if he
flogged a slave to death. A fugitive slave might be killed by any means
which his owner chose to employ. On the other hand, there was a slender
pretext of laws for the protection of the slave. Any master, for
instance, who wantonly cut out the tongue or put out the eyes of his
slave, was liable to a small fine. But as no slave could give evidence
affecting a white man in a court of law, the law had no terrors for the

The practice of the South in regard to her slaves was not unworthy
of her laws. Children were habitually torn away from their mothers.
Husbands and wives were habitually separated, and forced to contract
new marriages. Public whipping-houses became an institution. The
hunting of escaped slaves became a regular profession, and dogs were
bred and trained for that special work. Slaves who were suspected of an
intention to escape were branded with red-hot irons. When the Northern
armies forced their way into the South, many of the slaves who fled
to them were found to be scarred or mutilated. The burning of a negro
who was accused of crime was a familiar occurrence. It was a debated
question whether it was more profitable to work the slaves moderately,
and so make them last, or to take the greatest possible amount of work
from them, even although that would quickly destroy them. Some favoured
the plan of overworking, and acted upon it without scruple.

These things were done, and the Christian churches of the South were
not ashamed to say that the system out of which they flowed enjoyed
the sanction of God! It appeared that men who had spent their lives in
the South were themselves so brutalized by their familiarity with the
atrocities of slavery, that the standard by which they judged it was no
higher than that of the lowest savages.



When the State of Louisiana was received into the Union in 1812, there
was left out a large proportion of the original purchase from Napoleon.
As yet this region was unpeopled. It lay silent and unprofitable--a
vast reserve prepared for the wants of unborn generations. It was
traversed by the Missouri river. The great Mississippi was its boundary
on the east. It possessed, in all, a navigable river-line of two
thousand miles. Enormous mineral wealth was treasured up to enrich
the world for centuries to come. There were coal-fields greater than
those of all Europe. There was iron piled up in mountains, one of
which contained two hundred million tons of ore. There was profusion
of copper, of zinc, of lead. There were boundless forests. There was
a soil unsurpassed in fertility. The climate was kindly and genial,
marred by neither the stern winters of the North nor the fierce heats
of the South. The scenery was often of rare beauty and grandeur.

This was the Territory of Missouri. Gradually settlers from the
neighbouring States dropped in. Slave-holders came, bringing their
chattels with them. They were first in the field, and they took secure
possession. The free emigrant turned aside, and the slave-power reigned
supreme in Missouri. The wealth and beauty of this glorious land were
wedded to the most gigantic system of evil which ever established
itself upon the earth.

By the year 1818 there were sixty thousand persons residing in
Missouri. The time had come for the admission of this Territory into
the Union as a State. It was the first great contest between the Free
and the Slave States. The cotton-gin, the acquisition of Louisiana,
the teaching of Calhoun, had done their work. The slave-owners were
now a great political power--resolute, unscrupulous, intolerant of
opposition. The next half century of American history takes its tone
very much from their fierce and restless energy. Their policy never
wavered. To gain predominance for slavery, with room for its indefinite
expansion, these were their aims. American history is filled with their
violence on to a certain April morning in 1865, when the slave-power
and all its lawless pretensions lay crushed among the ruins of Richmond.

When the application of Missouri for admission into the Union came
to be considered in Congress, an attempt was made to shut slavery
wholly out of the new State. A struggle ensued which lasted for nearly
three years. The question was one of vital importance. At that time
the number of Free States and the number of Slave States were exactly
equal. Whosoever gained Missouri gained a majority in the Senate. The
North was deeply in earnest in desiring to prevent the extension of
slavery. The South was equally resolute that no limitation should be
imposed. The result was a compromise, proposed by the South. Missouri
was to be given over to slavery. But it was agreed that, excepting
within the limits of Missouri herself, slavery should not be permitted
in any part of the territory purchased from France, north of a line
drawn eastward and westward from the southern boundary of that State.
Thus far might the waves of this foul tide flow, but no further. So
ended the great controversy, in the decisive victory of the South.



The North participated in the gains of slavery. The cotton-planter
borrowed money at high interest from the Northern capitalist. He bought
his goods in Northern markets; he sent his cotton to the North for
sale. The Northern merchants made money at his hands, and were in no
haste to overthrow the peculiar institution out of which results so
pleasant flowed. They had no occasion, as the planter had, to persuade
themselves that slavery enjoyed special divine sanction. But it did
become a very general belief in the North that without slave-labour
the cultivation of Southern lands was impossible. It was also very
generally alleged that the condition of the slave was preferable to
that of the free European labourer.

All looked very hopeless for the poor negro. The South claimed to hold
him by divine right. She looked to a future of indefinite expansion.
The boundless regions which stretched away from her border, untrodden
by man, were marked out for slave territory. A powerful sentiment in
the North supported her claims. She was able to exercise a controlling
influence over the Federal Government. It seemed as if all authority in
the Union was pledged to uphold slavery, and assert for ever the right
of the white man to hold the black man as an article of merchandise.

But even then the awakening of the Northern conscience had begun. On
the 1st of January 1831, a journeyman printer, William Lloyd Garrison,
published in Boston the first number of a paper devoted to the
abolition of slavery. This is perhaps the earliest prominent incident
in the history of Emancipation. It was indeed a humble opening of a
noble career. Garrison was young and penniless. He wrote the articles,
and he also, with the help of a friend, set the types. He lived mainly
on bread and water. Only when a number of the paper sold particularly
well, he and his companion indulged in a bowl of milk. The Mayor of
Boston was asked by a Southern magistrate to suppress the paper. He
replied that it was not worth the trouble. The office of the editor
was “an obscure hole; his only visible auxiliary a negro boy; his
supporters a few insignificant persons of all colours.” The lordly
Southerners need not be uneasy about this obscure editor and his paltry

But the fulness of time had come, and every word spoken against slavery
found now some willing listener. In the year after Garrison began his
paper the American Anti-slavery Society was formed. It was composed
of twelve members. Busy hands were scattering the seed abroad, and it
sprang quickly. Within three years there were two hundred anti-slavery
societies in America; in seven years more these had increased to two
thousand. The war against slavery was now begun in earnest.

The slave-owners and their allies in the North regarded with rage
unutterable this formidable invasion. Everywhere they opposed violence
to the arguments of their opponents. Large rewards were offered for the
capture of prominent abolitionists. Many Northern men, who unwarily
strayed into Southern States, were murdered on the mere suspicion
that they were opposed to slavery. [Sidenote: 1835 A.D.] President
Jackson recommended Congress to forbid the conveyance to the South,
by the mails, of anti-slavery publications. In Boston a mob of
well-dressed and respectable citizens suppressed a meeting of female
abolitionists. While busied about that enterprise, they were fortunate
enough to lay hold of Garrison, whose murder they designed, and would
have accomplished, had not a timely sally of the constables rescued
him from their grasp. [Sidenote: 1833 A.D.] In Connecticut a young
woman was imprisoned for teaching negro children to read. Philadelphia
was disgraced by riots in which negroes were killed and their houses
burned down. Throughout the Northern States anti-slavery meetings were
habitually invaded and broken up by the allies of the slave-owners.
The abolitionists were devoured by a zeal which knew no bounds and
permitted no rest. The slave-owners met them with a deep, remorseless,
murderous hatred, which gradually possessed and corroded their whole
nature. In this war, as it soon became evident, there could be no
compromise. Peace was impossible otherwise than by the destruction of
one or other of the contending parties.

The spirit in which the South defended her cherished institution was
fairly exemplified in her treatment of a young clergyman, Mr. Lovejoy,
who offended her by his antipathy to slavery. Mr. Lovejoy established
himself in Alton, a little town of Illinois, where he conducted a
newspaper. Illinois was itself a Free State; but Missouri was near, and
the slave-power was supreme in all that region. Mr. Lovejoy declared
himself in his newspaper against slavery. He was requested to withdraw
from that neighbourhood; but he maintained his right of free speech,
and chose to remain. The mob sacked his printing-office, and flung his
press into the river. [Sidenote: 1837 A.D.] Mr. Lovejoy bought another
press. The arrival of this new machine highly displeased the ruffianism
of the little town of Alton. It was stored for safety in a well-secured
building, and two or three well-disposed citizens kept armed watch over
it. The mob attacked the warehouse. Shots were exchanged, and some of
the rioters were slain. At length the mob succeeded in setting fire to
the building. When Mr. Lovejoy showed himself to the crowd he was fired
at, and fell pierced by five bullets. The printing-press was broken;
the newspaper was silenced; the hostile editor was slaughtered. The
offended majesty of the slave-power was becomingly vindicated.



The decaying energies of Spain were sorely wasted by the wars which
Napoleon forced upon her. Invaded, conquered, occupied, fought for
during years by great armies, Spain issued from the struggle in a state
of utter exhaustion. It was impossible that a country so enfeebled
could maintain a great colonial dominion. Not long after the Battle of
Waterloo all her American dependencies chose to be independent, and
Spain could do nothing to prevent it. Among the rest, Mexico won for
herself the privilege of self-government, of which she has thus far
proved herself so incapable.

Lying between the Mississippi and the Rio Grande was a vast wilderness
of undefined extent and uncertain ownership, which America, with some
hesitation, recognized as belonging to Mexico. It was called Texas.
The climate was genial; the soil was of wondrous fertility. [Sidenote:
1829 A.D.] America coveted this fair region, and offered to buy it from
Mexico. Her offer was declined.

The great natural wealth of Texas, combined with the almost total
absence of government, were powerful attractions to the lawless
adventurers who abounded in the South-Western States. A tide of vagrant
blackguardism streamed into Texas. Safe from the grasp of justice,
the murderer, the thief, the fraudulent debtor, opened in Texas a new
and more hopeful career. Founded by these conscript fathers, Texan
society grew apace. [Sidenote: 1836 A.D.] In a few years Texas felt
herself strong enough to be independent. Her connection with Mexico was
declared to be at an end.

The leader in this revolution was Sam Houston, a Virginian of massive
frame--energetic, audacious, unscrupulous--in no mean degree fitted to
direct the storm he had helped to raise. For Houston was a Southerner,
and it was his ambition to gain Texas for the purposes of the
slave-owners. Mexico had abolished slavery. Texas could be no home for
the possessor of slaves till she was severed from Mexico.

When independence was declared, Texas had to defend her newly-claimed
liberties by the sword. General Houston headed the patriot forces, not
quite four hundred in number, and imperfectly armed. Santa Anna came
against them with an army of five thousand. The Texans retreated, and
having nothing to carry, easily distanced their pursuers. At the San
Jacinto, Houston was strengthened by the arrival of two field-pieces.
He turned like a lion upon the unexpectant Mexicans, whom he caught
in the very act of crossing the river. He fired grape-shot into their
quaking ranks. His unconquerable Texans clubbed their muskets--they had
no bayonets--and rushed upon the foe. The Mexicans fled in helpless
rout, and Texas was free. The grateful Texans elected General Houston
President of the republic which he had thus saved.

[Sidenote: 1837 A.D.] No sooner was Texas independent than she offered
to join herself to the United States. Her proposals were at first
declined. But the South warmly espoused her cause and urged her claims.
Once more North and South met in fiery debate. Slavery had already a
sure footing in Texas. If Texas entered the Union, it was as a Slave
State. On that ground avowedly the South urged the annexation; on that
ground the North resisted it. “We all see,” said Daniel Webster,
“that Texas will be a slave-holding country; and I frankly avow my
unwillingness to do anything which shall extend the slavery of the
African race on this continent, or add another Slave-holding State to
the Union.” “The South,” said the Legislature of Mississippi, speaking
of slavery, “does not possess a blessing with which the affections of
her people are so closely entwined, and whose value is more highly
appreciated. By the annexation of Texas an equipoise of influence
in the halls of Congress will be secured, which will furnish us a
permanent guarantee of protection.”

It was the battle-ground on which all the recent great battles of
American political history have been fought. It ended, as such battles
at that time usually did, in Southern victory. In March 1845 Texas was
received into the Union. The slave-power gained new votes in Congress,
and room for a vast extension of the slave-system.



Mexico was displeased with the annexation of Texas, but did not
manifest so quickly as it was hoped she would any disposition to avenge
herself. Mr. Polk, a Southern man, was now President, and he governed
in the interest of the South. A war with Mexico was a thing to be
desired, because Mexico must be beaten, and could then be plundered of
territory which the slave-owners would appropriate. [Sidenote: 1846
A.D.] To provoke Mexico the Unready, an army of four thousand men was
sent to the extreme south-western confines of Texas. A Mexican army
of six thousand lay near. The Americans, with marvellous audacity,
erected a fort within easy range of Matamoras, a city of the Mexicans,
and thus the place was in their power. After much hesitation the
Mexican army attacked the Americans, and received, as they might well
have anticipated, a severe defeat. Thus, without the formality of any
declaration, the war was begun.

President Polk hastened to announce to Congress that the Mexicans had
“invaded our territory, and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens.”
Congress voted men and money for the prosecution of the war, and
volunteers offered themselves in multitudes. Their brave little army
was in peril--far from help, and surrounded by enemies. The people
were eager to support the heroes, of whose victory they were so proud.
And yet opinion was much divided. Many deemed the war unjust and
disgraceful. Among these was a young lawyer of Illinois, destined in
later years to fill a place in the hearts of his countrymen second only
to that of Washington. Abraham Lincoln entered Congress while the war
was in progress, and his first speech was in condemnation of the course
pursued by the Government.

The war was pushed with vigour at first under the command of General
Taylor, who was to become the next President; and finally under General
Scott, who, as a very young man, had fought against the British at
Niagara, and, as a very old man, was Commander-in-Chief of the American
Army when the great war between North and South began. Many officers
were there whose names became famous in after years. General Lee and
General Grant gained here their first experience of war. They were not
then known to each other. They met for the first time, twenty years
after, in a Virginian cottage, to arrange terms of surrender for the
defeated army of the Southern Confederacy!

The Americans resolved to fight their way to the enemy’s capital, and
there compel such a peace as would be agreeable to themselves. The
task was not without difficulty. The Mexican army was greatly more
numerous. They had a splendid cavalry force and an efficient artillery.
Their commander, Santa Anna, unscrupulous even for a Mexican, was yet
a soldier of some ability. The Americans were mainly volunteers who
had never seen war till now. The fighting was severe. At Buena-Vista
the American army was attacked by a force which outnumbered it in the
proportion of five to one. The battle lasted for ten hours, and the
invaders were saved from ruin by their superior artillery. The mountain
passes were strongly fortified, and General Scott had to convey his
army across chasms and ravines which the Mexicans, deeming them
impracticable, had neglected to defend. Strong in the consciousness of
their superiority to the people they invaded--the same consciousness
which supported Cortes and his Spaniards three centuries before--the
Americans pressed on. At length they came in sight of Mexico, at the
same spot where Cortes had viewed it. [Sidenote: Sept. 14, 1847 A.D.]
Once more they routed a Mexican army of greatly superior force; and
then General Scott marched his little army of six thousand men quietly
into the capital. The war was closed, and a treaty of peace was with
little delay negotiated.



America exacted mercilessly the penalty which usually attends defeat.
Mexico was to receive fifteen million dollars; but she ceded an
enormous territory stretching westward from Texas to the Pacific.

One of the provinces which composed this magnificent prize was
California. The slave-owners had gone to war with Mexico that they
might gain territory which slavery should possess for ever. They sought
to introduce California into the Union as a Slave State. But Providence
interposed to shield her from a destiny so unhappy.

[Sidenote: 1848 A.D.] Just about the time that California became an
American possession, it was discovered that her soil was richly endowed
with gold. On one of the tributaries of the Sacramento river an old
settler was peacefully digging a trench--caring little, it may be
supposed, about the change of citizenship which he had undergone--not
dreaming that the next stroke of his spade was to influence the
history, not merely of California, but of the world. Among the sand
which he lifted were certain shining particles. His wondering eye
considered them with attention. They were Gold! Gold was everywhere--in
the soil, in the river-sand, in the mountain-rock; gold in dust, gold
in pellets, gold in lumps! It was the land of old fairy tale, where
wealth could be had by him who chose to stoop down and gather!

Fast as the mails could carry it the bewildering news thrilled the
heart of America. To the energetic youth of the Northern States the
charm was irresistible. It was now, indeed, a reproach to be poor, when
it was so easy to be rich.

The journey to the land of promise was full of toil and danger. There
were over two thousand miles of unexplored wilderness to traverse.
There were mountain ranges to surmount, lofty and rugged as the Alps
themselves. There were great desolate plains, unwatered and without
vegetation. Indians, whose dispositions there was reason to question,
beset the path. But danger was unconsidered. That season thirty
thousand Americans crossed the plains, climbed the mountains, forded
the streams, bore without shrinking all that want, exposure, and
fatigue could inflict. Cholera broke out among them, and four thousand
left their bones in the wilderness. The rest plodded on undismayed.
Fifty thousand came by sea. From all countries they came--from quiet
English villages, from the crowded cities of China. Before the year
was out California had gained an addition of eighty thousand to her

These came mainly from the Northern States. They had no thought
of suffering in their new home the evil institution of the South.
[Sidenote: 1850 A.D.] They settled easily the constitution of their
State, and California was received into the Union free from the taint
of slavery.

It was no slight disappointment to the men of the South. They had
urged on the war with Mexico in order to gain new Slave States, new
votes in Congress, additional room for the spread of slavery. They had
gained all the territory they hoped for; but this strange revelation
of gold had peopled it from the North, and slavery was shut out for
ever. To soothe their irritation, Henry Clay proposed a very black
concession, under the disgrace of which America suffered for years
in the estimation of all Christian nations. The South was angry, and
hinted even then at secession. The North was prosperous. Her merchants
were growing rich; her farmers were rapidly overspreading the country
and subduing waste lands to the service of man. Every year saw vast
accessions to her wealth; and her supreme desire was for quietness. In
this frame of mind she assented to the passing of the Fugitive Slave
Law. Heretofore it had been lawful for the slave-owner to reclaim his
slave who had escaped into a Free State; but although lawful, it was
in practice almost impossible. Now the officers of the Government,
and all good citizens, were commanded to give to the pursuer all
needful help. In certain cases Government was to defray the expense of
restoring the slave to the plantation from which he had fled. In any
trial arising under this law, the evidence of the slave himself was not
to be received; the oath of his pursuer was almost decisive against
him. Hundreds of Southern ruffians hastened to take vile advantage of
this shameful law. They searched out coloured men in the Free States,
and swore that they were escaped slaves. In too many instances they
were successful, and many free negroes as well as escaped slaves were
borne back to the miseries of slavery. The North erred grievously
in consenting to a measure so base. It is just, however, to say,
that although Northern politicians upheld it as a wise and necessary
compromise, the Northern people in their hearts abhorred it. The law
was so unpopular that its execution was resisted in several Northern
cities, and it quickly passed into disuse.



The great Louisiana purchase from Napoleon was not yet wholly portioned
off into States. Westward and northward of Missouri was an enormous
expanse of the richest land in the Union, having as yet few occupants
more profitable than the Indians. Two great routes of travel--to the
west and to the south-west--traversed it. The eager searcher for gold
passed that way on his long walk to California. The Mormon looked with
indifference on its luxuriant vegetation as he toiled on to his New
Jerusalem by the Great Salt Lake. In the year 1853 it was proposed
to organize this region into two Territories, under the names of
Kansas and Nebraska. Here once more arose the old question--Shall the
Territories be Slave or Free? The Missouri Compromise had settled that
slavery should never come here. But the slave-owners were able to
cancel this settlement. [Sidenote: 1854 A.D.] A law was enacted under
which the inhabitants were left to choose between slavery and freedom.
The vote of a majority would decide the destiny of these magnificent

And now both parties had to bestir themselves. The early inhabitants
of the infant States were to fix for all time whether they would admit
or exclude the slave-owner with his victims. Everything depended,
therefore, on taking early possession.

The South was first in the field. Missouri was near, and her citizens
led the way. Great slave-owners took possession of lands in Kansas,
and loudly invited their brethren from other States to come at once,
bringing their slaves with them. But their numbers were small, while
the need was urgent. The South had no population to spare fitted for
the work of colonizing, but she had in large numbers the class of “mean
whites.” In the mean white of the Southern States we are permitted to
see how low it is possible for our Anglo-Saxon humanity to fall. The
mean white is entirely without education. His house is a hovel of the
very lowest description. Personally he walks in rags and filth. He
cannot stoop to work, because slavery has rendered labour disreputable.
He supports himself as savages do--by shooting, by fishing, by the
plunder of his industrious neighbours’ fields and folds. The negro, out
of the unutterable degradation to which he has been subjected, looks
with scorn upon the mean white.

[Sidenote: 1855 A.D.] The mean whites of Missouri were easily
marshalled for a raid into Kansas. The time came when elections were
to take place--when the great question of Slave or Free was to be
answered. Gangs of armed ruffians were marched over from Missouri.
Such a party--nearly a thousand strong, accompanied by two pieces of
cannon--entered the little town of Lawrence on the morning of the
election day. The ballot-boxes were taken possession of, and the
peaceful inhabitants were driven away. The invaders cast fictitious
votes into the boxes, outnumbering ten or twenty times the lawful roll
of voters. A legislature wholly in the interests of slavery was thus
elected, and in due time that body began to enact laws. No man whose
opinions were opposed to slavery was to be an elector in Kansas. Any
man who spoke or wrote against slavery was to suffer imprisonment with
hard labour. Death was the penalty for aiding the escape of a slave.
All this was done while the enemies of slavery were an actual majority
of the inhabitants of Kansas!

And then the Border ruffians overran the country--working their own
wicked will wherever they came. The outrages they committed read like
the freaks of demons. A man betted that he would scalp an abolitionist.
He rode out from the little town of Leavensworth in search of a victim.
He met a gentleman driving in a gig, shot him, scalped him, rode back
to town, showed his ghastly trophy, and received payment of his bet.
Men were gathered up from their work in the fields, ranged in line, and
ruthlessly shot to death, because they hated slavery. A lawyer who had
protested against frauds at an election was tarred and feathered; thus
attired, he was put up to auction and sold to the highest bidder. The
town of Lawrence was attacked by eight hundred marauders, who plundered
it to their content--bombarding with artillery houses which displeased
them--burning and destroying in utter wantonness.

But during all this unhappy time the steady tide of Northern
immigration into Kansas flowed on. From the very outset of the strife
the North was resolute to win Kansas for freedom. She sought to do
this by colonizing Kansas with men who hated slavery. Societies were
formed to aid poor emigrants. In single families, in groups of fifty to
a hundred persons, the settlers were promptly moved westward. Some of
these merely obeyed the impulse which drives so many Americans to leave
the settled States of the east and push out into the wilderness. Others
went that their votes might prevent the spread of slavery. There was no
small measure of patriotism in the movement. Men left their comfortable
homes in the east and carried their families into a wilderness, to the
natural miseries of which was added the presence of bitter enemies.
They did so that Kansas might be a Free State. Cannon were planted on
the banks of the Missouri to prevent their entrance into Kansas. Many
of them were plundered and turned back. Often their houses were burned
and their fields wasted. But they were a self-reliant people, to whom
it was no hardship to be obliged to defend themselves. When need arose
they banded themselves together and gave battle to the ruffians who
troubled them. And all the while they were growing stronger by constant
reinforcements from the east. There were building, and clearing, and
ploughing, and sowing. In spite of Southern outrage Kansas was fast
ripening into a free and orderly community. [Sidenote: 1859 A.D.] In
a few years the party of freedom was able to carry the elections. A
constitution was adopted by which slavery was excluded from Kansas.
[Sidenote: 1861 A.D.] And at length, just when the great final struggle
between slavery and freedom was commencing, Kansas was received as a
Free State. Her admission raised the number of States in the Union to



The conflict deepened as years passed. The Abolitionists became more
irrepressible, the Slave-holders more savage. There seemed no hope of
the law becoming just. The American people have a deep reverence for
law, but here it was overborne by their sense of injustice. The wicked
law was habitually set at defiance, and plans were carefully framed for
aiding the escape of slaves. It was whispered about among the negroes
that at certain points they were sure to find friends, shelter, and
safe conveyance to Canada. Around every plantation there stretched
dense jungles, swamps, pathless forests. The escaping slave fled to
these gloomy solitudes. They hunted him with bloodhounds, and many a
poor wretch was dragged back to groan under deeper brutalities than
before. If happily undiscovered, he made his way to certain well-known
stations, a chain of which passed him safely on to the protection of
the British flag. This was the Underground Railway. Now and then its
agents were discovered. In that miserable time it was a grave offence
to help a slave to escape. The offender was doomed to heavy fine or
long imprisonment. Some died in prison of the hardships they endured.
But the Underground Railway never wanted agents. No sooner had the
unjust law claimed its victim than another stepped into his place.
During many years the average number of slaves freed by this agency was
considerably over a thousand.

The slave-holders made it unsafe for Northerners of anti-slavery
opinions to remain in the South. Acts of brutal violence--very
frequently resulting in murder--became very common. [Sidenote: 1860
A.D.] During one year eight hundred persons were robbed, whipped,
tarred and feathered, or murdered for suspected antipathy to slavery.
The possession of an anti-slavery newspaper or book involved expulsion
from the State; and the circulation of such works could scarcely be
expiated by any punishment but death. In Virginia and Maryland it was
gravely contemplated to drive the free negroes from their homes, or
to sell them into slavery and devote the money thus obtained to the
support of the common schools! Arkansas did actually expel her free
negroes. The slave-holders were determined that nothing which could
remind their victims of liberty should be suffered to remain.

[Sidenote: 1858 A.D.] It was well said by Mr. Seward that they greatly
erred who deemed this collision accidental or ephemeral. It was “an
irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces.” All
attempts at compromise would be short-lived and vain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most influential advocate of the numerous compromises by which the
strife was sought to be calmed, was Henry Clay of Kentucky. Clay was
much loved for his genial dispositions, much honoured and trusted in
for his commanding ability. For many years of the prolonged struggle he
seemed to stand between North and South--wielding authority over both.
Although Southern, he hated slavery, and the slave-holders had often to
receive from his lips emphatic denunciations of their favourite system.
But he hated the doctrines of the abolitionists, too, and believed they
were leading towards the dissolution of the Union. He desired gradual
emancipation, and along with it the return of the negroes to Africa.
His aim was to deliver his country from the taint of slavery; but he
would effect that great revolution step by step, as the country could
bear it. At every crisis he was ready with a compromise. His proposals
soothed the angry passions which were aroused when Missouri sought
admission into the Union. [Sidenote: 1850 A.D.] His, too, was that
unhappy compromise, one feature of which was the Fugitive Slave Bill.
If compromise could have averted strife, Henry Clay would have saved
his country. But the conflict was irrepressible.

       *       *       *       *       *

The slave-power grew very bold during the later years of its existence.
The re-opening of the slave-trade became one of the questions of the
day in the Southern States. The Governor of South Carolina expressly
recommended this measure. Southern newspapers supported it; Southern
ruffians actually accomplished it. Numerous cargoes of slaves were
landed in the South in open defiance of law, and the outrage was
unrebuked. [Sidenote: 1859 A.D.] Political conventions voted their
approval of the traffic, and associations were formed to promote
it. Agricultural societies offered prizes for the best specimens
of newly imported live Africans. It was even proposed that a prize
should be offered for the best sermon in favour of the slave-trade!
Advertisements like this were frequent in Southern newspapers--“For
sale, four hundred negroes, lately landed on the coast of Texas.” It
was possible to do such things then. A little later--in the days of
Abraham Lincoln--a certain ruffianly Captain Gordon made the perilous
experiment of bringing a cargo of slaves to New York. He was seized,
and promptly hanged, and there was no further attempt to revive the
slave-trade. Thus appropriately was this hideous traffic closed.



The hatred of the North to slavery was rapidly growing. In the eyes
of some, slavery was an enormous sin, fitted to bring the curse of
God upon the land. To others, it was a political evil, marring the
unity and hindering the progress of the country. To very many, on the
one ground or the other, it was becoming hateful. Politicians sought
to delay by concessions the inevitable crisis. Simple men, guiding
themselves by their conviction of the wickedness of slavery, were
growing ever more vehement in their abhorrence of this evil thing.

John Brown was such a man. The blood of the Pilgrim Fathers flowed
in his veins; the old Puritan spirit guided all his actions. From
his boyhood he abhorred slavery; and he was constrained by his duty
to God and man to spend himself in this cause. There was no hope of
advantage in it; no desire for fame; no thought at all for himself
or for his children. He saw a huge wrong, and he could not help
setting himself to resist it. He was no politician. He was powerless
to influence the councils of the nation, but he had the old Puritan
aptitude for battle. He went to Kansas with his sons to help in the
fight for freedom; and while there was fighting to be done, John Brown
was at the front. He was a leader among the free settlers, who felt
his military superiority, and followed him with confidence in many a
bloody skirmish. He retired habitually into deep solitudes to pray. He
had morning and evening prayers, in which all his followers joined. He
would allow no man of immoral character in his camp. He believed that
God directed him in visions; he was God’s servant, and not man’s. The
work given him to do might be bitter to the flesh, but since it was
God’s work he dared not shrink from it.

When the triumph of freedom was secured in Kansas, John Brown moved
eastward to Virginia. He was now to devote himself in earnest to
the overthrow of the accursed institution. The laws of his country
sanctioned an enormous wickedness. He declared war against his country,
in so far as the national support of slavery was concerned. He prepared
a constitution and a semblance of government. He himself was the head
of this singular organization. Associated with him were a Secretary of
State, a Treasurer, and a Secretary of War. Slavery, he stated, was
a barbarous and unjustifiable war, carried on by one section of the
community against another. His new government was for the defence of
those whom the laws of the country wrongfully left undefended. He was
joined by a few enthusiasts like-minded with himself, and he laid up
a store of arms. He and his friends hung about plantations, and aided
the escape of slaves to Canada. Occasionally the horses and cattle of
the slave-owner were laid under contribution to support the costs of
the campaign. Brown meditated war upon a somewhat extensive scale, and
only waited the reinforcements of which he was assured, that he might
proclaim liberty to all the captives in his neighbourhood. But reason
appeared for believing that his plans had been betrayed to the enemy,
and Brown was hurried into measures which brought swift destruction
upon himself and his followers.

Harper’s Ferry was a town of five thousand inhabitants, nestling amid
steep and rugged mountains, where the Shenandoah unites its waters with
those of the Potomac. The National Armoury was here, and an arsenal
in which were laid up enormous stores of arms and ammunition. Brown
resolved to seize the arsenal. It was his hope that the slaves would
hasten to his standard when the news of his success went abroad. And he
seems to have reckoned that he would become strong enough to make terms
with the Government, or, at the worst, to secure the escape to Canada
of his armed followers.

[Sidenote: 1859 A.D.] One Sunday evening in October he marched
into Harper’s Ferry with a little army of twenty-two men--black
and white--and easily possessed himself of the arsenal. He cut the
telegraph wires; he stopped the trains which here cross the Potomac; he
made prisoners of the workmen who came in the morning to resume their
labours at the arsenal. His sentinels held the streets and bridges.
The surprise was complete, and for a few hours his possession of the
Government works was undisputed.

When at length the news of this amazing rebellion was suffered to
escape, and America learned that old John Brown had invaded and
conquered Harper’s Ferry, the rage and alarm of the slave-owners
and their supporters knew no bounds. The Virginians, upon whom the
affront fell most heavily, took prompt measures to avenge it. By
noon on Monday a force of militiamen surrounded the little town, to
prevent the escape of those whom, as yet, they were not strong enough
to capture. Before night fifteen hundred men were assembled. All that
night Brown held his conquest, till nearly all his men were wounded
or slain. His two sons were shot dead. Brown, standing beside their
bodies, calmly exhorted his men to be firm, and sell their lives as
dearly as possible. On Tuesday morning the soldiers forced an entrance,
and Brown, with a sabre-cut in his head, and two bayonet-stabs in his
body, was a prisoner. He was tried, and condemned to die. Throughout
his imprisonment, and even amid the horrors of the closing scene, his
habitual serenity was undisturbed. He “humbly trusted that he had the
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, to rule in his heart.”

To the enraged slave-owners John Brown was a detestable rebel. To the
abolitionists he was a martyr. To us he is a true, earnest, but most
ill-judging man. His actions were unwise, unwarrantable; but his aims
were noble, his self-devotion was heroic.



In this year America made her decennial enumeration of her people and
their possessions. The industrial greatness which the census revealed
was an astonishment, not only to the rest of the world, but even to
herself. The slow growth of the old European countries seemed absolute
stagnation beside this swift multiplication of men and of beasts, and
of wealth in every form.

The three million colonists who had thrown off the British yoke had
now increased to thirty-one and a half million! Of these, four million
were slaves, owned by three hundred and fifty thousand persons. This
great population was assisted in its toils by six million horses and
two million working oxen. It owned eight million cows, fifteen million
other cattle, twenty-two million sheep, and thirty-three million
hogs. The products of the soil were enormous. The cotton crop of
this year was close upon one million tons. It had more than doubled
within the last ten years. The grain crop was twelve hundred million
bushels--figures so large as to pass beyond our comprehension. Tobacco
had more than doubled since 1850--until now America actually yielded
a supply of five hundred million pounds. There were five thousand
miles of canals, and thirty thousand miles of railroad--twenty-two
thousand of which were the creation of the preceding ten years. The
textile manufactures of the country had reached the annual value of
forty million sterling. America had provided for the education of her
children by erecting one hundred and thirteen thousand schools and
colleges, and employing one hundred and fifty thousand teachers. Her
educational institutions enjoyed revenues amounting to nearly seven
million sterling, and were attended by five and a half million pupils.
Religious instruction was given in fifty-four thousand churches, in
which there was accommodation for nineteen million hearers. The daily
history of the world was supplied by four thousand newspapers, which
circulated annually one thousand million copies.

There belonged to the American people nearly two thousand million
acres of land. They had not been able to make any use of the greater
part of this enormous heritage. Only four hundred million acres had as
yet become in any measure available for the benefit of man. The huge
remainder lay unpossessed--its power to give wealth to man growing
always greater during the long ages of solitude and neglect. The
ownership of this prodigious expanse of fertile land opened to the
American people a future of unexampled prosperity. They needed only
peace and the exercise of their own vigorous industry. But a sterner
task was in store for them.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the last few years the divisions between North and South had
become exceedingly bitter. The North was becoming ever more intolerant
of slavery. The unreasoning and passionate South resented with growing
fierceness the Northern abhorrence of her favoured institution. In
the Senate House one day a member was bending over his desk, busied
in writing. His name was Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts. He was
well known for the hatred which he bore to slavery, and his power
as an orator gave him rank as a leader among those who desired the
overthrow of the system. While this senator was occupied with his
writing, there walked up to him two men whom South Carolina deemed
not unworthy to frame laws for a great people. One of them--a ruffian,
although a senator--whose name was Brooks, carried a heavy cane. With
this formidable weapon he discharged many blows upon the head of the
unsuspecting Sumner, till his victim fell bleeding and senseless to
the floor. For this outrage a trifling fine was imposed on Brooks. His
admiring constituents eagerly paid the amount. Brooks resigned his
seat, and was immediately re-elected. Handsome canes flowed in upon him
from all parts of the slave country. The South, in a most deliberate
and emphatic manner, recorded its approval of the crime which he had

To such a pass had North and South now come. Sumner vehemently
attacking slavery; Brooks vehemently smiting Sumner upon his
defenceless head--these men represent with perfect truthfulness the
feeling of the two great sections. This cannot last.

A new President fell to be elected in 1860. Never had an election taken
place under circumstances so exciting. The North was thoroughly aroused
on the slave question. The time for compromises was felt to have
passed. It was a death-grapple between the two powers. Each party had
to put forth its strength and conquer, or be crushed.

The enemies of slavery announced it as their design to prevent slavery
from extending to the Territories. They had no power to interfere
in States where the system already existed. But, they said, the
Territories belong to the Union. The proper condition of the Union is
freedom. The Slave States are merely exceptional. It is contrary to the
Constitution to carry this irregularity where it does not already exist.

The Territories, said the South, belong to the Union. All citizens
of the Union are free to go there with their property. Slaves are
property. Slavery may therefore be established in the Territories, if
slave-owners choose to settle there.

On this issue battle was joined. The Northern party nominated Abraham
Lincoln as their candidate. The Southerners, with their friends in
the North--of whom there were many--divided their votes among three
candidates. They were defeated, and Abraham Lincoln became President.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Lincoln was the son of a small and not very prosperous farmer.
He was born in 1809 in the State of Kentucky, but his youth was
passed mainly in Indiana. His father had chosen to settle on the
farthest verge of civilization. Around him was a dense, illimitable
forest, still wandered over by the Indians. Here and there in the
wilderness occurred a rude wooden hut like his own, the abode of some
rough settler regardless of comfort and greedy of the excitements of
pioneering. The next neighbour was two miles away. There were no roads,
no bridges, no inns. The traveller swam the rivers he had to cross, and
trusted, not in vain, to the hospitality of the settlers for food and
shelter. Now and then a clergyman passed that way, and from a hasty
platform beneath a tree the gospel was preached to an eagerly-listening
audience of rugged woodsmen. Many years after, when he had grown
wise and famous, Mr. Lincoln spoke, with tears in his eyes, of a
well-remembered sermon which he had heard from a wayfaring preacher in
the great Indiana wilderness. Justice was administered under the shade
of forest trees. The jury sat upon a log. The same tree which sheltered
the court, occasionally served as a gibbet for the criminal.

In this society--rugged, but honest and kindly--the youth of the
future President was passed. He had little schooling; indeed there was
scarcely a school within reach, and if all the days of his school-time
were added together they would scarcely make up one year. His father
was poor, and Abraham was needed on the farm. There was timber to fell,
there were fences to build, fields to plough, sowing and reaping to
be done. Abraham led a busy life, and knew well, while yet a boy,
what hard work meant. Like all boys who come to anything great, he had
a devouring thirst for knowledge. He borrowed all the books in his
neighbourhood, and read them by the blaze of the logs which his own axe
had split.

This was his upbringing. When he entered life for himself, it was as
clerk in a small store. He served nearly a year there, conducting
faithfully and cheerfully the lowly commerce by which the wants of the
settlers were supplied. Then he comes before us as a soldier, fighting
a not very bloody campaign against the Indians, who had undertaken,
rather imprudently, to drive the white men out of that region. Having
settled in Illinois, he commenced the study of law, supporting himself
by land-surveying during the unprofitable stages of that pursuit.
Finally he applied himself to politics, and in 1834 was elected a
member of the Legislature of Illinois.

He was now in his twenty-fifth year; of vast stature, somewhat
awkwardly fashioned, slender for his height, but uncommonly muscular
and enduring. He was of pleasant humour, ready and true insight. After
such a boyhood as his, difficulty had no terrors for him, and he was
incapable of defeat. His manners were very homely. His lank, ungainly
figure, dressed in the native manufacture of the backwoods, would have
spread dismay in a European drawing-room. He was smiled at even in the
uncourtly Legislature of Illinois. But here, as elsewhere, whoever came
into contact with Abraham Lincoln felt that he was a man framed to
lead other men. Sagacious, penetrating, full of resource, and withal
honest, kindly, conciliatory, his hands might be roughened by toil, his
dress and ways might be those of the wilderness, yet was he quickly
recognized as a born king of men.

During the next twenty-six years Mr. Lincoln applied himself to the
profession of the law. During the greater portion of those years he
was in public life. He had part in all the political controversies of
his time. Chief among these were the troubles arising out of slavery.
From his boyhood Mr. Lincoln was a steady enemy to slavery, as at once
foolish and wrong. He would not interfere with it in the old States,
for there the Constitution gave him no power; but he would in noway
allow its establishment in the Territories. He desired a policy which
“looked forward hopefully to the time when slavery, as a wrong, might
come to an end.” He gained in a very unusual degree the confidence of
his party, who raised him to the presidential chair, as a true and
capable representative of their principles in regard to the great
slavery question.



South Carolina was the least loyal to the Union of all the States. She
estimated very highly her own dignity as a sovereign State. She held in
small account the allegiance which she owed to the Federal Government.
Twenty-eight years ago Congress had enacted a highly protective
tariff. [Sidenote: 1832 A.D.] South Carolina, disapproving of this
measure, decreed that it was not binding upon her. Should the Federal
Government attempt to enforce it, South Carolina announced her purpose
of quitting the Union and becoming independent. General Jackson, who
was then President, made ready to hold South Carolina to her duty by
force; but Congress modified the tariff, and so averted the danger.
Jackson believed firmly that the men who then held the destiny of South
Carolina in their hands wished to secede. “The tariff,” he said, “was
but a pretext. The next will be the slavery question.”

[Sidenote: 1860 A.D.] The time predicted had now come, and South
Carolina led her sister States into the dark and bloody path. A
convention of her people was promptly called, and on the 20th of
December an Ordinance was passed dissolving the Union, and declaring
South Carolina a free and independent republic. When the Ordinance was
passed the bells of Charleston rang for joy, and the streets of the
city resounded with the wild exulting shouts of an excited people.
Dearly had the joy of those tumultuous hours to be paid for. Four
years later, when Sherman quelled the heroic defence of the rebel
city, Charleston lay in ruins. Her people, sorely diminished by war
and famine, had been long familiar with the miseries which a strict
blockade and a merciless bombardment can inflict.

The example of South Carolina was at once followed by other
discontented States. Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and
Florida hastened to assert their independence, and to league themselves
into a new Confederacy. They adopted a Constitution, differing from
the old mainly in these respects, that it contained provisions against
taxes to protect any branch of industry, and gave effective securities
for the permanence and extension of slavery. They elected Mr. Jefferson
Davis President for six years. They possessed themselves of the
Government property within their own boundaries. It was not yet their
opinion that the North would fight, and they bore themselves with a
high hand in all the arrangements which their new position seemed to
call for.

After the Government was formed, the Confederacy was joined by other
Slave States who at first had hesitated. Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas, after some delay, gave in their
adhesion. The Confederacy in its completed form was composed of eleven
States, with a population of nine million; six million of whom were
free, and three million were slaves. Twenty-three States remained loyal
to the Union. Their population amounted to twenty-two million.

It is not to be supposed that the free population of the seceding
States were unanimous in their desire to break up the Union. On the
contrary, there is good reason to believe that a majority of the people
in most of the seceding States were all the time opposed to secession.
In North Carolina the attempt to carry secession was at first defeated
by the people. In the end that State left the Union reluctantly,
under the belief that not otherwise could it escape becoming the
battle-ground of the contending powers. Thus, too, Virginia refused
at first by large majorities to secede. In Georgia and Alabama the
minorities against secession were large. In Louisiana twenty thousand
votes were given for secession, and seventeen thousand against it. In
many cases it required much intrigue and dexterity of management to
obtain a favourable vote; and the resolution to quit the Union was
received in sorrow by very many of the Southern people. But everywhere
in the South the idea prevailed that allegiance was due to the State
rather than to the Federation. And thus it came to pass that when the
authorities of a State resolved to abandon the Union, the citizens of
that State felt constrained to secede, even while they mourned the
course upon which they were forced to enter.

It has been maintained by some defenders of the seceding States
that slavery was not the cause of secession. On that question there
can surely be no authority so good as that of the seceding States
themselves. A declaration of the reasons which influenced their
action was issued by several States, and acquiesced in by the others.
South Carolina was the first to give reasons for her conduct. These
reasons related wholly to slavery, no other cause of separation being
hinted at. The Northern States, it was complained, would not restore
runaway slaves. They assumed the right of “deciding on the propriety
of our domestic institutions.” They denounced slavery as sinful. They
permitted the open establishment of anti-slavery societies. They
aided the escape of slaves. They sought to exclude slavery from the
Territories. Finally, they had elected to the office of President,
Abraham Lincoln, “a man whose opinions and purposes are hostile to

Some of the American people had from the beginning held the opinion
that any State could leave the Union at her pleasure. That belief was
general in the South. The seceding States did not doubt that they had
full legal right to take the step which they had taken, and they stated
with perfect frankness what was their reason for exercising this
right. They believed that slavery was endangered by their continuance
in the Union. Strictly speaking, they fought in defence of their right
to secede. But they had no other motive for seceding than that slavery
should be preserved and extended. The war which ensued was therefore
really a war in defence of slavery. But for the Southern love and the
Northern antipathy to slavery, no war could have occurred. The men of
the South attempted to break up the Union because they thought slavery
would be safer if the Slave-owning States stood alone. The men of the
North refused to allow the Union to be broken up. They did not go to
war to put down slavery. They had no more right to put down slavery in
the South than England has to put down slavery in Cuba. The Union which
they loved was endangered, and they fought to defend the Union.



Mr. Lincoln was elected, according to usage, early in November, but did
not take possession of his office till March. In the interval President
Buchanan remained in power. This gentleman was Southern by birth, and,
as it has always been believed, by sympathy. He laid no arrest upon
the movements of the seceding States; nay, it has been alleged that he
rather sought to remove obstacles from their path. During all these
winter months the Southern leaders were suffered to push forward their
preparations for the approaching conflict. The North still hoped for
peace, and Congress busied itself with vain schemes of conciliation.
Meetings were held all over the country, at which an anxious desire
was expressed to remove causes of offence. The self-willed Southerners
would listen to no compromise. They would go apart, peacefully if they
might; in storm and bloodshed if they must.

[Sidenote: 1861 A.D.] Early in February Mr. Lincoln left his home in
Illinois on his way to Washington. His neighbours accompanied him to
the railroad depôt, where he spoke a few parting words to them. “I know
not,” he said, “how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon
me, which is, perhaps, greater than that which has devolved upon any
other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded
except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times
relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same divine aid which
sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for
support; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive
that divine assistance without which I cannot succeed, but with which
success is certain.”

With these grave, devout words, he took his leave, and passed on to
the fulfilment of his heavy task. His inauguration took place as usual
on the 4th of March. A huge crowd assembled around the Capitol. Mr.
Lincoln had thus far kept silence as to the course he meditated in
regard to the seceding States. Seldom had a revelation involving issues
so momentous been waited for at the lips of any man. The anxious crowd
stood so still, that to its utmost verge the words of the speaker were
distinctly heard.

He assured the Southerners that their fears were unfounded. He had no
lawful right to interfere with slavery in the States where it existed;
he had no purpose and no inclination to interfere. He would, on the
contrary, maintain them in the enjoyment of all the rights which the
Constitution bestowed upon them. But he held that no State could quit
the Union at pleasure. In view of the Constitution and the laws, the
Union was unbroken. His policy would be framed upon that belief. He
would continue to execute the laws within the seceding States, and
would continue to possess Federal property there, with all the force at
his command. That did not necessarily involve conflict or bloodshed.
Government would not assail the discontented States, but would suffer
no invasion of its constitutional rights. With the South, therefore, it
lay to decide whether there was to be peace or war.

       *       *       *       *       *

A week or two before Mr. Lincoln’s inauguration Jefferson Davis had
entered upon his career as President of the Southern Republic. Mr.
Davis was an old politician. He had long advocated the right of an
aggrieved State to leave the Union; and he had largely contributed, by
speech and by intrigue, to hasten the crisis which had now arrived. He
was an accomplished man, a graceful writer, a fluent and persuasive
speaker. He was ambitious, resolute, and of ample experience in
the management of affairs; but he had many disqualifications for
high office. His obstinacy was blind and unreasoning. He had little
knowledge of men, and could not distinguish “between an instrument and
an obstacle.” His moral tone was low. He taught Mississippi, his native
State, to repudiate her just debts. A great English statesman, who made
his acquaintance some years before the war broke out, pronounced him
one of the ablest and one of the most wicked men in America.

In his Inaugural Address Mr. Davis displayed a prudent reserve.
Speaking for the world to hear--a world which, upon the whole, abhorred
slavery--he did not name the grievances which rendered secession
necessary. He maintained the right of a discontented State to secede.
The Union had ceased to answer the ends for which it was established;
and in the exercise of an undoubted right they had withdrawn from
it. He hoped their late associates would not incur the fearful
responsibility of disturbing them in their pursuit of a separate
political career. If so, it only remained for them to appeal to arms,
and invoke the blessing of Providence on a just cause.

Alexander H. Stephens was the Vice-President of the Confederacy. His
health was bad, and the expression of his face indicated habitual
suffering. He had nevertheless been a laborious student, and a patient,
if not a very wise, thinker on the great questions of his time. In
the early days of secession he delivered at Savannah a speech which
quickly became famous, and which retains its interest still as the most
candid explanation of the motives and the expectations of the South.
The old Government, he said, was founded upon sand. It was founded
upon the assumption of the equality of races. Its authors entertained
the mistaken belief that African slavery was wrong in principle. “Our
new Government,” said the Vice-President, “is founded upon exactly the
opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon
the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man--that
slavery is his natural and normal condition.” Why the Creator had made
him so could not be told. “It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom
of His ordinances, or to question them.” With this very clear statement
by the Vice-President, we are freed from uncertainty as to the designs
of the Southern leaders, and filled with thankfulness for the ruin
which fell upon their wicked enterprise.

It is a very curious but perfectly authenticated fact, that
notwithstanding the pains taken by Southern leaders to show that they
seceded merely to preserve and maintain slavery, there were many
intelligent men in England who steadfastly maintained that slavery had
little or nothing to do with the origin of the Great War.

Book Fourth.



When his Inaugural Address was delivered, Mr. Lincoln was escorted
by his predecessor in office back to the White House, where they
parted--Buchanan to retire, not with honour, into a kindly oblivion;
Lincoln to begin that great work which had devolved upon him. During
all that month of March and on to the middle of April the world heard
very little of the new President. He was seldom seen in Washington.
It was rumoured that intense meditation upon the great problem had
made him ill. It was asserted that he endured the pains of indecision.
In the Senate attempts were made to draw forth from him a confession
of his purposes--if indeed he had any purposes. But the grim silence
was unbroken. The South persuaded herself that he was afraid--that
the peace-loving, money-making North had no heart for fight. She was
even able to believe, in her vain pride, that most of the Northern
States would ultimately adopt her doctrines and join themselves to her
Government. Even in the North there was a party which wished union
with the seceding States, on their own principles. There was a general
indisposition to believe in war. The South had so often threatened,
and been so often soothed by fresh concessions, it was difficult to
believe now that she meant anything more than to establish a position
for advantageous negotiation. All over the world men waited in anxious
suspense for the revelation of President Lincoln’s policy. Mercantile
enterprise languished. Till the occupant of the White House chose to
open his lips and say whether it was peace or war, the business of the
world must be content to stand still.

Mr. Lincoln’s silence was not the result of irresolution. He had doubt
as to what the South would do; he had no doubt as to what he himself
would do. He would maintain the Union;--by friendly arrangement and
concession, if that were possible; if not, by war fought out to the
bitter end.

He nominated the members of his Cabinet--most prominent among whom was
William H. Seward, his Secretary of State. Mr. Seward had been during
all his public life a determined enemy to slavery. He was in full
sympathy with the President as to the course which had to be pursued.
His acute and vigorous intellect and great experience in public affairs
fitted him for the high duties which he was called to discharge.

       *       *       *       *       *

So soon as Mr. Lincoln entered upon his office the Southern Government
sent ambassadors to him as to a foreign power. These gentlemen formally
intimated that the six States had withdrawn from the Union, and now
formed an independent nation. They desired to solve peaceably all the
questions growing out of this separation, and they desired an interview
with the President, that they might enter upon the business to which
they had been appointed.

Mr. Seward replied to the communication of the Southern envoys. His
letter was framed with much care, as its high importance demanded. It
was calm and gentle in its tone, but most clear and decisive. He could
not recognize the events which had recently occurred as a rightful
and accomplished revolution, but rather as a series of unjustifiable
aggressions. He could not recognize the new Government as a government
at all. He could not recognize or hold official intercourse with its
agents. The President could not receive them or admit them to any
communication. Within the unimpassioned words of Mr. Seward there
breathed the fixed, unalterable purpose of the Northern people, against
which, as many persons even then felt, the impetuous South might
indeed dash herself to pieces, but could by no possibility prevail.
The baffled ambassadors went home, and the angry South quickened her
preparations for war.

       *       *       *       *       *

Within the bay of Charleston, and intended for the defence of that
important city, stood Fort Sumpter, a work of considerable strength,
and capable, if adequately garrisoned, of a prolonged defence. It was
not so garrisoned, however, when the troubles began. It was held by
Major Anderson with a force of seventy men, imperfectly provisioned.
The Confederates wished to possess themselves of Fort Sumpter, and
hoped at one time to effect their object peaceably. When that hope
failed them, they cut off Major Anderson’s supply of provisions, and
quietly began to encircle him with batteries. For some time they
waited till hunger should compel the surrender of the fort. But word
was brought to them that President Lincoln was sending ships with
provisions. [Sidenote: April 11, 1861 A.D.] Fort Sumpter was promptly
summoned to surrender. Major Anderson offered to go in three days, if
not relieved. In reply he received intimation that in one hour the
bombardment would open.

About daybreak on the 12th the stillness of Charleston bay was
disturbed by the firing of a large mortar and the shriek of a shell as
it rushed through the air. The shell burst over Fort Sumpter, and the
war of the Great Rebellion was begun. The other batteries by which the
doomed fortress was surrounded quickly followed, and in a few minutes
fifty guns of the largest size flung shot and shell into the works.
The guns were admirably served, and every shot told. The garrison had
neither provisions nor an adequate supply of ammunition. They were
seventy, and their assailants were seven thousand. All they could do
was to offer such resistance as honour demanded. Hope of success there
was none.

The garrison did not reply at first to the hostile fire. They
quietly breakfasted in the security of the bomb-proof casemates.
Having finished their repast, they opened a comparatively feeble and
ineffective fire. All that day and next the Confederate batteries
rained shell and red-hot shot into the fort. The wooden barracks caught
fire, and the men were nearly suffocated by the smoke. Barrels of
gunpowder had to be rolled through the flames into the sea. The last
cartridge had been loaded into the guns; the last biscuit had been
eaten; huge clefts yawned in the crumbling walls. Enough had been done
for honour; to prolong the resistance was uselessly to endanger the
lives of brave men. Major Anderson surrendered the ruined fortress, and
the garrison marched out with the honours of war. Curiously enough,
although heavy firing had continued during thirty-four hours, no man on
either side was injured!

It was a natural mistake that South Carolina should deem the capture
of Fort Sumpter a glorious victory. The bells of Charleston chimed
triumphantly all the day; guns were fired; the citizens were in the
streets expressing with many oaths the rapture which this great success
inspired, and their confident hope of triumphs equally decisive in
time to come; ministers gave thanks; ladies waved handkerchiefs; male
patriots quaffed potent draughts to the welfare of the Confederacy. On
that bright April Sunday all was enthusiasm and boundless excitement in
the city of Charleston. Alas for the vanity of human hopes! There were
days near at hand, and many of them too, when these rejoicing citizens
should sit in hunger and sorrow and despair among the ruins of their
city and the utter wreck of their fortunes and their trade.

       *       *       *       *       *

By many of the Southern people war was eagerly desired. The Confederacy
was already established for some months, and yet it included only
six States. There were eight other Slave States, whose sympathies
it was believed were with the seceders. These had been expected to
join, but there proved to exist within them a loyalty to the Union
sufficiently strong to delay their secession. Amid the excitements
which war would enkindle, this loyalty, it was hoped, would disappear,
and the hesitating States would be constrained to join their fortunes
to those of their more resolute sisters. The fall of Fort Sumpter was
more than a military triumph. It would more than double the strength
of the Confederacy, and raise it at once to the rank of a great power.
Everywhere in the South, therefore, there was a wild, exulting joy. And
not without reason; for Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas,
and Texas now joined their sisters in secession.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the North, the hope had been tenaciously clung to that the peace
of the country was not to be disturbed. This dream was rudely broken
by the siege of Fort Sumpter. The North awakened suddenly to the
awful certainty that civil war was begun. There was a deep feeling of
indignation at the traitors who were willing to ruin their country that
slavery might be secure. There was a full appreciation of the danger,
and an instant universal determination that, at whatever cost, the
national life must be preserved. Personal sacrifice was unconsidered;
individual interests were merged in the general good. Political
difference, ordinarily so bitter, was for the time almost effaced.
Nothing was of interest but the question how this audacious rebellion
was to be suppressed and the American nation upheld in the great place
which it claimed among men.

Two days after the fall of Fort Sumpter, Mr. Lincoln intimated, by
proclamation, the dishonour done to the laws of the United States, and
called out the militia to the extent of seventy-five thousand men.
The Free States responded enthusiastically to the call. So prompt was
their action, that on the very next day several companies arrived
in Washington. Flushed by their easily-won victory, the Southerners
talked boastfully of seizing the capital. In a very short space there
were fifty thousand loyal men ready to prevent that, and the safety of
Washington was secured.

The North pushed forward with boundless energy her warlike
preparations. Rich men offered money with so much liberality that in
a few days nearly five million sterling had been contributed. The
school-teachers of Boston dedicated fixed proportions of their incomes
to the support of the Government, while the war should last. All
over the country the excited people gathered themselves into crowded
meetings, and breathed forth in fervid resolutions their determination
to spend fortune and life in defence of the Union. Volunteer companies
were rapidly formed. In the cities ladies began to organize themselves
for the relief of sick and wounded soldiers. It had been fabled that
the North would not fight. With a fiery promptitude unknown before in
modern history the people sprang to arms.

       *       *       *       *       *

Even yet there was on both sides a belief that the war would be a short
one. The South, despising an adversary unpractised in war, and vainly
trusting that the European powers would interfere in order to secure
their wonted supplies of cotton, expected that a few victories more
would bring peace. The North still regarded secession as little more
than a gigantic riot, which she proposed to extinguish within ninety
days. The truth was strangely different from the prevailing belief of
the day. A high-spirited people, six million in number, occupying a
fertile territory nearly a million square miles in extent, had risen
against the Government. The task undertaken by the North was to conquer
this people, and by force of arms to bring them and their territory
back to the Union. This was not likely to prove a work of easy



When the North addressed herself to her task, her own capital was still
threatened by the rebels. Two or three miles down the Potomac, and full
in view of Washington, lies the old-fashioned decaying Virginian town
of Alexandria, where the unfortunate Braddock had landed his troops a
century before. The Confederate flag floated over Alexandria. A rebel
force was marching on Harper’s Ferry, forty miles from Washington; and
as the Government works there could not be defended, they were burned.
Preparations were being made to seize Arlington Heights, from which
Washington could be easily shelled. At Manassas Junction, thirty miles
away, a rebel army lay encamped. It seemed to many foreign observers
that the North might lay aside all thought of attack, and be well
pleased if she succeeded in the defence of what was still left to her.

But the Northern people, never doubting either their right or their
strength, put their hand boldly to the work. The first thing to be
done was to shut the rebels in so that no help could reach them from
the world outside. They could grow food enough; but they were a people
who could make little. They needed from Europe supplies of arms and
ammunition, of clothing, of medicine. They needed money, which they
could only get by sending away their cotton. To stop their intercourse
with Europe was to inflict a blow which would itself prove almost
fatal. Four days after the fall of Fort Sumpter, Mr. Lincoln announced
the blockade of all the rebel ports. It was a little time after till
he had ships enough to make the blockade effective. But in a few
weeks this was done, and every rebel port was closed. The grasp thus
established was never relaxed. So long as the war lasted, the South
obtained foreign supplies only from vessels which carried on the
desperate trade of blockade-running.

Virginia completed her secession on the 23rd April. Next morning
Federal troops seized and fortified Alexandria and the Arlington
Heights. In the western portions of Virginia the people were so little
in favour of secession that they wished to establish themselves as a
separate State, loyal to the Union. With no very serious trouble the
rebel forces were driven out of this region, and Western Virginia was
restored to the Union. Desperate attempts were made by the disloyal
Governor of Missouri to carry his State out of the Union, against the
wish of a majority of the people. It was found possible to defeat the
efforts of the secessionists and retain Missouri. Throughout the war
this State was grievously wasted by Southern raids, but she held fast
her loyalty.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus at the opening of the war substantial advantages had been gained
by the North. They were not, however, of a sufficiently brilliant
character fully to satisfy the expectations of the excited people.
A great battle must be won. Government, unwisely yielding to the
pressure, ordered their imperfectly disciplined troops to advance and
attack the rebels in their position at Manassas Junction.

       *       *       *       *       *

General Beauregard lay at Manassas with a rebel force variously
estimated at from thirty thousand to forty thousand men. In front of
his position ran the little stream of Bull Run, in a narrow, wooded
valley--the ground rising on both sides into “bluffs,” crowned with
frequent patches of dense wood. General M’Dowell moved to attack him,
with an army about equal in strength. [Sidenote: July 21, 1861 A.D.]
It was early Sunday morning when the army set out from its quarters at
Centreville. The march was not over ten miles, but the day was hot,
and the men not yet inured to hardship. It was ten o’clock when the
battle fairly opened. From the heights on the northern bank of the
stream the Federal artillery played upon the enemy. The Southern line
stretched well nigh ten miles, and M’Dowell hoped, by striking with an
overwhelming force at a point on the enemy’s right, to roll back his
entire line in confusion. Heavy masses of infantry forded the stream
and began the attack. The Southerners fought bravely and skilfully,
but at the point of attack they were inferior in number, and they were
driven back. The battle spread away far among the woods, and soon every
copse held its group of slain and wounded men. By three o’clock the
Federals reckoned the battle as good as won, for the enemy, though
still fighting, was falling back. But at that hour railway trains ran
close up to the field of battle with fifteen thousand Southerners
fresh and eager for the fray. This new force was hurried into action.
The wearied Federals could not endure the vehemence of the attack;
they broke, and fled down the hill-side. With inexperienced troops a
measured and orderly retreat is impossible; defeat is quickly followed
by panic. The men who had fought so bravely all the day now hurried in
wild confusion from the field. The road was choked with a tangled mass
of baggage-waggons, artillery, soldiers and civilians frenzied by fear,
and cavalry riding wildly through the quaking mob. But the Southerners
attempted no pursuit, and the panic passed away. Scarcely an attempt,
however, was made to stop the flight. Order was not restored till the
worn-out men made their way back to Washington.

This was the first great battle of the war, and its results were of
prodigious importance. By the sanguine men of the South it was hailed
as decisive of their final success. President Davis counted upon the
immediate recognition of the Confederacy by the Great Powers of Europe
as now certain. The newspapers accepted it as a settled truth that
“one Southerner was equal to five Yankees.” Intrigues began for the
succession to the presidential chair--six years hence. A controversy
arose among the States as to the location of the Capital. The success
of the Confederacy was regarded as a thing beyond doubt. Enlistment
languished; it was scarcely worth while to undergo the inconvenience of
fighting for a cause which was already triumphant.

       *       *       *       *       *

The defeat at Manassas taught the people of the North that the task
they had undertaken was a heavier task than they supposed, but it did
not shake their steady purpose to perform it. On the day after the
battle--while the routed army was swarming into Washington--Congress
voted five hundred million dollars, and called for half a million of
volunteers. A few days later, Congress unanimously resolved that the
suppression of the rebellion was a sacred duty, from the performance
of which no disaster should discourage; to which they pledged the
employment of every resource, national and individual. “Having chosen
our course,” said Mr. Lincoln, “without guile, and with pure purpose,
let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with
manly hearts.” The spirit of the North rose as the greatness of the
enterprise became apparent. No thought was there of any other issue
from the national agony than the overthrow of the national foe. The
youth of the country crowded into the ranks. The patriotic impulse
possessed rich and poor alike, and the sons of wealthy men shouldered
a musket side by side with the penniless children of toil. Once, by
some accident, the money which should have paid a New England regiment
failed to arrive in time. A private in the regiment gave his cheque
for a hundred thousand dollars, and the men were paid. The Christian
churches yielded an earnest support to the war. In some western
churches the men enlisted almost without exception. Occasionally their
ministers accompanied them. Sabbath-school teachers and members of
young men’s Christian associations were remarkable for the eagerness
with which they obeyed the call of their country. It was no longer a
short war and an easy victory which the North anticipated. The gigantic
character of the struggle was at length recognized; and the North,
chastened, but undismayed, made preparations for a contest on the issue
of which her existence depended.



General M’Dowell had led the Northern army to a defeat which naturally
shook public confidence in his ability to command. A new general was
indispensable. When the war broke out, a young man--George B. M’Clellan
by name--was resident in Cincinnati, peacefully occupied with the
management of a railroad. He was trained at West Point, and had a high
reputation for soldiership. Several years before, Mr. Cobden was told
by Jefferson Davis that M’Clellan was one of the best generals the
country possessed. He was skilful to construct and organize, but his
power to direct successfully the movements of great armies engaged in
actual warfare was still unproved.

General M’Clellan was appointed to the command of the army a few days
after the defeat at Bull Run, and sanguine hopes were entertained
that he was about to give the people victory over their enemies. He
addressed himself at once to his task. From every State in the North
men hastened to his standard. He disciplined them and perfected their
equipment for the field. In October he was at the head of two hundred
thousand men--the largest army ever yet seen on the American continent.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rebel Government, which at first chose for its home the city of
Montgomery in Alabama, moved to Richmond so soon as Virginia gave
in her reluctant adherence to the secession cause. Richmond, the gay
capital of the Old Dominion, sits queen-like upon a lofty plateau,
with deep valleys flanking her on east and west, and the James river
rushing past far below upon the south--not many miles from the point
where the “dissolute” fathers of the colony had established themselves
two centuries and a half ago. To Washington the distance is only one
hundred and thirty miles. The warring Governments were within a few
hours’ journey of each other.

The supreme command of the rebel forces was committed to General
Robert E. Lee--one of the greatest of modern soldiers. He was a calm,
thoughtful, unpretending man, whose goodness gained for him universal
love. He was opposed to secession, but believing, like the rest, that
he owed allegiance wholly to his own State, he seceded with Virginia.
It was his difficult task to contend nearly always with forces stronger
than his own, and to eke out by his own skill and genius the scanty
resources of the Confederacy. His consummate ability maintained the war
long after all hope of success was gone; and when at length he laid
down his arms, even the country against which he had fought was proud
of her erring but noble son.

Thomas Jackson--better known as “Stonewall Jackson”--was the most
famous of Lee’s generals. In him we have a strange evidence of the
influence which slavery exerts upon the best of men. He was of truly
heroic mould--brave, generous, devout. His military perception was
unerring; his decision swift as lightning. He rose early in the morning
to read the Scriptures and pray. He gave a tenth part of his income
for religious uses; he taught a Sunday class of negro children; he
delivered lectures on the authenticity of Scripture; when he dropped a
letter into the post-office, he prayed for a blessing on the person to
whom it was addressed. As his soldiers marched past his erect, unmoving
figure, to meet the enemy, they saw his lips move, and knew that their
leader was praying for them to Him who “covereth the head in the
day of battle.” And yet this good man caused his negroes--male and
female--to be flogged when he judged that severity needful. And yet he
recommended that the South should “take no prisoners”--in other words,
that enemies who had ceased to resist should be massacred. To the end
of his life he remained of opinion that the rejection of this policy
was a mistake. So fatally do the noblest minds become tainted by the
associations of slave society.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the autumn and early winter of 1861 the weather was unusually
fine, and the roads were consequently in excellent condition for the
march of an army. The rebel forces were scattered about Virginia--some
of them within sight of Washington. Around Richmond it was understood
there were few troops. It seemed easy for M’Clellan, with his
magnificent army, to trample down any slight resistance which could be
offered, and march into the rebel capital. For many weeks the people
and the Government waited patiently. They had been too hasty before;
they would not again urge their general prematurely into battle. But
the months of autumn passed, and no blow was struck. Winter was upon
them, and still “all was quiet on the Potomac.” M’Clellan, in a series
of brilliant reviews, presented his splendid army to the admiration of
his countrymen; but he was not yet ready to fight. The country bore
the delay for six months. Then it could be endured no longer, and in
January Mr. Lincoln issued a peremptory order that a movement against
the enemy should be made. M’Clellan now formed a plan of operations,
and by the end of March was ready to begin his work.

       *       *       *       *       *

South-eastward from Richmond the James and the York rivers fall into
Chesapeake bay at a distance from each other of some twenty miles.
The course of the rivers is nearly parallel, and the region between
them is known as the Peninsula. M’Clellan conveyed his army down the
Potomac, landed at Fortress Monroe, and prepared to march upon Richmond
by way of the Peninsula.

Before him lay the little town of Yorktown--where, eighty years before,
the War of Independence was closed by the surrender of the English
army. Yorktown was held by eleven thousand rebels. M’Clellan had over
one hundred thousand well-disciplined men eager for battle. But he
deemed it injudicious to assault the place, and preferred to operate in
the way of a formal siege. The rebels waited till he was ready to open
his batteries--and then quietly marched away.

M’Clellan moved slowly up the Peninsula. In six weeks he was within
a few miles of Richmond, and in front of the forces which the rebels
had been actively collecting for the defence of their capital. These
forces were now so strong that M’Clellan deemed himself outnumbered,
and sought the protection of his gunboats on the James river. The
emboldened rebels dashed at his retreating ranks. His march to the
James river occupied seven days, and on every day there was a battle.
Nearly always the Federals had the advantage in the fight. Always after
the fight they resumed their retreat. Once they drove back the enemy,
inflicting upon him a crushing defeat. Their hopes rose with success,
and they demanded to be led back to Richmond. M’Clellan shunned the
great enterprise which opened before him, and never rested from his
march till he lay in safety, sheltered by the gunboats on the James
river. He had lost fifteen thousand men; but the rebels had suffered
even more. It was said that the retreat was skilfully conducted, but
the American people were in no humour to appreciate the merits of a
chief who was great only in flight. Their disappointment was intense.
The Southern leaders devoutly announced “undying gratitude to God” for
their great success, and looked forward with increasing confidence to
their final triumph over an enemy whose assaults it seemed so easy to

Nor was this the only success which crowned the rebel arms. The most
remarkable battle of the war was fought while M’Clellan was preparing
for his advance; and it ended in a rebel victory.

At the very beginning of the war the Confederates bethought them of
an iron-clad ship of war. They took hold of an old frigate which the
Federals had sunk in the James river. They sheathed her in iron plates;
they roofed her with iron rails. At her prow, beneath the water-line,
they fitted an iron-clad projection, which might be driven into the
side of an adversary. They armed her with ten guns of large size.

The mechanical resources of the Confederacy were defective, and this
novel structure was eight months in preparation. [Sidenote: 1862 A.D.]
One morning in March she steamed slowly down the James river, attended
by five small vessels of the ordinary sort. A powerful Northern fleet
lay guarding the mouth of the river. The _Virginia_--as the iron-clad
had been named--came straight towards the hostile ships. She fired no
shot; no man showed himself upon her deck. The Federals assailed her
with well-aimed discharges; but the shot bounded harmless from her
sides. She steered for the _Cumberland_, into whose timbers she struck
her armed prow. A huge cleft opened in the _Cumberland’s_ side, and the
gallant ship went down with a hundred men of her crew on board. The
_Virginia_ next attacked the Federal ship _Congress_. At a distance of
two hundred yards she opened her guns upon this ill-fated vessel. The
_Congress_ was aground, and could offer no effective resistance. After
sustaining heavy loss, she was forced to surrender. Night approached,
and the _Virginia_ drew off, intending to resume her work on the morrow.

Early next morning--a bright Sunday morning--she steamed out, and made
for the _Minnesota_--a Federal ship which had been grounded to get
beyond her reach. The _Minnesota_ was still aground, and helpless.
Beside her, however, as the men on board the _Virginia_ observed, lay
a mysterious structure, resembling nothing they had ever seen before.
Her deck was scarcely visible above the water, and it supported nothing
but an iron turret nine feet high. This was the _Monitor_, designed by
Captain Ericsson;--the first of the class of iron-clad turret-ships. By
a singular chance she had arrived thus opportunely. The two iron-clads
measured their strength in combat, but their shot produced no
impression, and after two hours of heavy but ineffective firing, they
separated, and the _Virginia_ retired up the James river.

This fight opened a new era in naval warfare. The Washington Government
hastened to build turret-ships. All European Governments, perceiving
the worthlessness of ships of the old type, proceeded to reconstruct
their navies according to the light which the action of the _Virginia_
and the _Monitor_ afforded them.

       *       *       *       *       *

The efforts of the North to crush the rebel forces in Virginia had
signally failed. But military operations were not confined to Virginia:
in this war the battle-field was the continent. Many hundreds of miles
from the scene of M’Clellan’s unsuccessful efforts, the banner of the
Union was advancing into the revolted territory. The North sought to
occupy the Border States, and to repossess the line of the Mississippi,
thus severing Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas from the other members of
the secession enterprise, and perfecting the blockade which was now
effectively maintained on the Atlantic coast. There were troops enough
for these vast operations. By the 1st of December 1861, six hundred
and forty thousand men had enrolled themselves for the war. The North,
thoroughly aroused now, had armed and drilled these enormous hosts.
Her foundries worked night and day, moulding cannon and mortars. Her
own resources could not produce with sufficient rapidity the gunboats
which she needed to assert her supremacy on the western waters, but she
obtained help from the building-yards of Europe. All that wealth and
energy could do was done. While the Confederates were supinely trusting
to the difficulties of the country and the personal prowess of their
soldiers, the North massed forces which nothing on the continent could
long resist. In the south and west results were achieved not unworthy
of these vast preparations.

[Sidenote: 1861 A.D.] During the autumn a strong fleet was sent
southward to the Carolina coast. Overcoming with ease the slight
resistance which the rebel forts were able to offer, the expedition
possessed itself of Port Royal, and thus commanded a large tract of
rebel territory. It was a cotton-growing district, worked wholly by
slaves. The owners fled, but the slaves remained. The first experiment
was made here to prove whether the negro would labour when the lash did
not compel, and the results were most encouraging. The negroes worked
cheerfully and patiently, and many of them became rich from the easy
gains of labour on that rich soil.

In the west the war was pushed vigorously and with success. To General
Grant--a strong, tenacious, silent man, destined ere long to be
Commander-in-Chief and President--was assigned the work of driving the
rebels out of Kentucky and Tennessee. His gunboats ran up the great
rivers of these States and took effective part in the battles which
were fought. The rebels were forced southward, till in the spring of
1862 the frontier line of rebel territory no longer enclosed Kentucky.
Even Tennessee was held with a loosened and uncertain grasp.

[Sidenote: March 1862 A.D.] In Arkansas, beyond the Mississippi, was
fought the Battle of Pea Ridge, which stretched over three days, and in
which the rebels received a sharp defeat. Henceforth the rebels had no
footing in Missouri or in Arkansas.

New Orleans fell in April. Admiral Farragut with a powerful fleet
forced his way past the forts and gunboats which composed the
insufficient defence of the city. There was no army to resist him. He
landed a small party of marines, who pulled down the Secession flag and
restored that of the Union. The people looked on silently, while the
city passed thus easily away for ever from Confederate rule.

There was gloom in the rebel capital as the tidings of these disasters
came in. But the spirit of the people was unbroken, and the Government
was encouraged to adopt measures equal to the emergency. A law was
enacted which placed at the disposal of the Government every man
between eighteen and thirty-five years of age. Enlistment for short
terms was discontinued. Henceforth the business of Southern men must
be war, and every man must hold himself at his country’s call. This
law yielded for a time an adequate supply of soldiers, and ushered in
those splendid successes which cherished the delusive hope that the
Slave-power was to establish itself as one of the Great Powers of the



The slave question, out of which the rebellion sprang, presented
for some time grave difficulties to the Northern Government. As the
Northern armies forced their way southwards, escaped slaves flocked
to them. These slaves were loyal subjects; their owners were rebels
in arms against the Government. Could the Government recognize the
right of the rebel to own the loyal man? Again: the labour of the
slaves contributed to the support of the rebellion. Was it not a clear
necessity of war that Government should deprive the rebellion of this
support by freeing all the slaves whom its authority could reach?
But, on the other hand, some of the Slave States remained loyal. Over
their slaves Government had no power, and much care was needed that no
measure should be adopted of which they could justly complain.

The President had been all his life a steady foe to slavery, but he
never forgot that, whatever his own feelings might be, he was strictly
bound by law. His duty as President was, not to destroy slavery, but to
save the Union. When the time came to overthrow this accursed system,
he would do it with gladdened heart. Meanwhile he said, “If I could
save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could
save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save
it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would do it.”

From the very beginning of the war escaped slaves crowded within the
Federal lines. They were willing to perform any labour, or to fight
in a cause which they all knew to be their own. But the North was not
yet freed from her habitual tenderness for Southern institutions. The
negroes could not yet be armed. Nay, it was permitted to the owners of
escaped slaves to enter the Northern lines and forcibly to carry back
their property. [Sidenote: May 26, 1861 A.D.] General M’Clellan pledged
himself not only to avoid interference with slaves, but to crush with
an iron hand any attempt at insurrection on their part. [Sidenote:
Aug. 31.] General Fremont, commanding in Missouri, issued an order
which gave liberty to the slaves of persons who were fighting against
the Union. The President, not yet deeming that measure indispensable,
disallowed it. A little later it was proposed to arm the blacks, but to
that also the President objected. He would do nothing prematurely which
might offend the loyal Slave States, and so hinder the restoration of
the Union.

But in War opinion ripens fast. Men quickly learned, under that stern
teacher, to reason that, as slavery had caused the rebellion, slavery
should be extinguished. Congress met in December, with ideas which
pointed decisively towards Abolition. Measures were passed which marked
a great era in the history of slavery. The slaves of men who were in
arms against the Government were declared to be free. Coloured men
might be armed and employed as soldiers. Slavery was abolished within
the District of Columbia. Slavery was prohibited for ever within all
the Territories. Every slave escaping to the Union armies was to be
free. Wherever the authority of Congress could reach, slavery was now
at an end.

But something yet remained. Public sentiment in the North grew strong
in favour of immediate and unconditional emancipation of all slaves
within the revolted States. This view was pressed upon Lincoln. He
hesitated long; not from reluctance, but because he wished the public
mind to be thoroughly made up before he took this decisive step. At
length his course was resolved upon. [Sidenote: July, 1862 A.D.] He
drew up a Proclamation, which gave freedom to all the slaves in the
rebel States. He called a meeting of his Cabinet, which cordially
sanctioned the measure. After New Year’s Day of 1863 all persons held
to slavery within the seceded territory were declared to be free. “And
upon this act”--thus was the Proclamation closed--“sincerely believed
to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military
necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the
gracious favour of Almighty God.”

This--one of the most memorable of all State papers--gave freedom
to over three million slaves. It did not touch slavery in the loyal
States; for there the President had no authority to interfere. But all
men knew that it involved the abolition of slavery in the loyal as well
as in the rebellious States. Henceforth slavery became impossible on
any portion of American territory.

The deep significance of this great measure was most fully recognized
by the Northern people. The churches gave thanks to God for this
fulfilment of their long-cherished desire. Congress expressed its
cordial approval. Innumerable public meetings resolved that the
President’s action deserved the support of the country. Bells pealed
joyfully in the great cities and quiet villages of the east, and in
the infant settlements of the distant west. Charles Sumner begged from
the President the pen with which the Proclamation had been signed. The
original draft of the document was afterwards sold for a large sum, at
a fair held in Chicago for the benefit of the soldiers.

The South, too, understood this transaction perfectly. It was the
triumphant and final expression of that Northern abhorrence to slavery
which had provoked the slave-owners to rebel. It made reconciliation
impossible. President Davis said to his Congress that it would calm
the fears of those who apprehended a restoration of the old Union.

It is a painful reflection that the English Government utterly
misunderstood this measure. Its official utterance on the subject was
a sneer. Earl Russell, the Foreign Secretary of that day, wrote to our
ambassador at Washington that the Proclamation was “a measure of a
very questionable kind.” “It professes,” he continued, “to emancipate
slaves where the United States cannot make emancipation a reality, but
emancipates no one where the decree can be carried into effect.” Thus
imperfectly had Earl Russell yet been able to comprehend this memorable
page of modern history.



M’Clellan’s ignominious failure disappointed but did not dishearten the
Northern people. While M’Clellan was hasting away from Richmond, the
Governors of seventeen States assured the President of the readiness
of their people to furnish troops. The President issued a call for an
additional three hundred thousand men; and his call was promptly obeyed.

M’Clellan lay for two months, secure but inglorious, beside his
gunboats on the James river. General Lee, rightly deeming that there
was little to fear from an army so feebly led, ranged northwards with a
strong force and threatened Washington. The Federal troops around the
capital were greatly inferior in number. President Lincoln summoned
M’Clellan northwards. M’Clellan was, as usual, unready; and a small
Federal army under General Pope was left to cope unaided with the
enemy. Pope received a severe defeat at Manassas, and retired to the
fortifications of Washington.

[Sidenote: Sept. 17, 1862 A.D.] General Lee was strong enough now to
carry the war into Northern territory. He captured Harper’s Ferry,
and passed into Maryland. M’Clellan was at length stimulated to
action, and having carried his troops northwards, he attacked Lee at
Antietam. The Northern army far outnumbered the enemy. The battle was
long and bloody. When darkness sank down upon the wearied combatants
no decisive advantage had been gained. M’Clellan’s generals urged a
renewal of the attack next morning. But this was not done, and General
Lee crossed the Potomac and retired unmolested into Virginia. M’Clellan
resumed his customary inactivity. The President ordered him to pursue
the enemy and give battle. He even wished him to move on Richmond,
which he was able to reach before Lee could possibly be there. In vain.
M’Clellan could not move. His horses had sore tongues and sore backs;
they were lame; they were broken down by fatigue. Lincoln had already
been unduly patient. But the country would endure no more. [Sidenote:
Nov. 5, 1862 A.D.] General M’Clellan was removed from command of that
army whose power he had so long been able to neutralize; and his place
was taken by General Burnside.

Burnside at once moved his army southwards, for it was not yet too late
for a Virginian campaign. He reached the banks of the Rappahannock,
beside the little town of Fredericksburg. He had to wait there for many
weary days till he obtained means to cross the river. While he lay,
impatient, General Lee concentrated all the forces under his command
upon the heights which rose steeply from the opposite bank of the
stream. He threw up earthworks and strongly intrenched his position.
There he waited in calmness for the assault which he knew he could

When Burnside was able to cross the Rappahannock, he lost no time in
making his attack. One portion of his force would strike the enemy
on his right flank; the rest would push straight up the heights and
assault him in front. A slight success in the flanking movement cheered
General Burnside. But in the centre his troops advanced to the attack
under a heavy fire of artillery which laid many brave men low. The
Northern soldiers fought their way with steady courage up the height.
They were superior in numbers, but the rebels fought in safety within
a position which was impregnable. The battle was no fair trial of skill
and courage, but a useless waste of brave lives. Burnside drew off his
troops and re-crossed the Rappahannock, with a loss of twelve thousand
men--vainly sacrificed in the attempt to perform an impossibility.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the west there had been no great success to counter-balance the long
train of Confederate victories in the east. The year closed darkly
upon the hopes of those who strove to preserve the Union. The South
counted with certainty that her independence was secure. The prevailing
opinion of Europe regarded the enterprise which the North pursued
so resolutely, as a wild impossibility. But the Northern people and
Government never despaired of the Commonwealth. At the gloomiest period
of the contest a Bill was passed for the construction of a railroad
to the Pacific. The Homestead Act offered a welcome to immigrants in
the form of a free grant of one hundred and sixty acres of land to
each. And the Government, as with a quiet and unburdened mind, began
to enlarge and adorn its Capitol on a scale worthy of the expected
greatness of the reunited country.



Hitherto the men who had fought for the North had been volunteers.
They had come when the President called, willing to lay down their
lives for their country. Already volunteers had been enrolled to the
number of one million and a quarter. But that number had been sadly
reduced by wounds, sickness, and captivity, and the Northern armies
had not proved themselves strong enough to crush the rebellion.
[Sidenote: 1863 A.D.] A Bill was now passed which subjected the entire
male population, between eighteen and forty-five, to military duty when
their service was required. Any man of suitable age could now be forced
into the ranks.

The blockade of the Southern ports had effected for many months an
almost complete isolation of the Confederates from the world outside.
Now and then a ship, laden with arms and clothing and medicine, ran
past the blockading squadron, and discharged her precious wares in a
Southern port. Now and then a ship laden with cotton stole out and
got safely to sea. But this perilous and scanty commerce afforded no
appreciable relief to the want which had already begun to brood over
this doomed people. The Government could find soldiers enough; but it
could not find for them arms and clothing. The railroads could not be
kept in working condition in the absence of foreign iron. Worst of all,
a scarcity of food began to threaten. [Sidenote: April 10, 1863 A.D.]
Jefferson Davis begged his people to lay aside all thought of gain, and
devote themselves to the raising of supplies for the army. Even now the
army was frequently on half supply of bread. The South could look back
with just pride upon a long train of brilliant victories, gained with
scanty means, by her own valour and genius. But, even in this hour of
triumph, it was evident that her position was desperate.

The North had not yet completely established her supremacy upon the
Mississippi. Two rebel strongholds--Vicksburg and Port Hudson--had
successfully resisted Federal attack, and maintained communication
between the revolted provinces on either side the great river. The
reduction of these was indispensable. General Grant was charged with
the important enterprise, and proceeded in February to begin his work.

Grant found himself with his army on the wrong side of the city. He
was up stream from Vicksburg, and he could not hope to win the place
by attacks on that side. Nor could he easily convey his army and siege
appliances through the swamps and lakes which stretched away behind the
city. It seemed too hazardous to run his transports past the guns of
Vicksburg. He attempted to cut a new channel for the river, along which
he might convey his army safely. Weeks were spent in the vain attempt,
and the country, which had not yet learned to trust in Grant, became
impatient of the unproductive toil. Grant, undismayed by the failure
of his project, adopted a new and more hopeful scheme. He conveyed his
soldiers across to the western bank of the Mississippi, and marched
them southward till they were below Vicksburg. There they were ferried
across the river; and then they stood within reach of the weakest
side of the city. The transports were ordered to run the batteries of
Vicksburg and take the chances of that enterprise.

When Grant reached the position he sought, he had a difficult task
before him. One large army held Vicksburg; another large army was
gathering for the relief of the endangered fortress. Soon Grant lay
between two armies which, united, greatly outnumbered his. But he had
no intention that they should unite. He attacked them in detail, and in
every action he was successful. The Confederates were driven back upon
the city, which was then closely invested.

For six weeks Grant pressed the siege with a fiery energy which allowed
no rest to the besieged. General Johnston was not far off, mustering
an army for the relief of Vicksburg, and there was not an hour to
lose. Grant kept a strict blockade upon the scantily-provisioned city.
From his gunboats and from his own lines he maintained an almost
ceaseless bombardment. The inhabitants crept into caves in the hill to
find shelter from the intolerable fire. They slaughtered their mules
for food. They patiently endured the inevitable hardships of their
position; and their daily newspaper, printed on scraps of such paper as
men cover their walls with, continued to the end to make light of their
sufferings, and to breathe defiance against General Grant. But all was
vain. On the 4th of July--the anniversary of Independence--Vicksburg
was surrendered with her garrison of twenty-three thousand men much
enfeebled by hunger and fatigue.

The fall of Vicksburg was the heaviest blow which the Confederacy had
yet sustained. Nearly one-half of the rebel territory lay beyond the
Mississippi. That river was now firmly held by the Federals. The rebel
States were cut in two, and no help could pass from one section to the
other. There was deep joy in the Northern heart. The President thanked
General Grant for “the almost inestimable service” which he had done to
the country.

       *       *       *       *       *

But long before Grant’s triumph at Vicksburg another humiliation had
fallen upon the Federal arms in Virginia.

Soon after the disaster at Fredericksburg, the modest Burnside had
asked to be relieved of his command. General Hooker took his place.
The new chief was familiarly known to his countrymen as “fighting Joe
Hooker,”--a title which sufficiently indicated his dashing, reckless
character. Hooker entered on his command with high hopes. “By the
blessing of God,” he said to the army, “we will contribute something to
the renown of our arms and the success of our cause.”

After three months of preparation, General Hooker announced that his
army was irresistible. The Northern cry was still, “On to Richmond;”
the dearest wish of the Northern people was to possess the rebel
capital. Hooker marched southward, nothing doubting that he was to
fulfil the long frustrated desire of his countrymen. His confidence
seemed not to be unwarranted; for he had under his command a
magnificent army, which greatly outnumbered that opposed to him. But,
unhappily for Hooker, the hostile forces were led by General Lee and
Stonewall Jackson.

On the 1st of May, Hooker was in presence of the enemy on the line
of the Rappahannock. Lee was too weak to give or accept battle; but
he was able to occupy Hooker with a series of sham attacks. All the
while Jackson was hasting to assail his flank. His march was through
the Wilderness--a wild country thick with ill-grown oaks and a dense
undergrowth--where surprise was easy. Towards evening, on the 2nd,
Jackson’s soldiers burst upon the unexpectant Federals. The fury of the
attack bore all before it. The Federal line fell back in confusion and
with heavy loss.

In the twilight Jackson rode forward with his staff to examine the
enemy’s position. As he returned, a North Carolina regiment, seeing
a party of horsemen approach, presumed it was a charge of Federal
cavalry. They fired, and Jackson fell from his horse, with two bullets
in his left arm and one through his right hand. They placed him on a
litter to carry him from the field. One of the bearers was shot down
by the enemy, and the wounded general fell heavily to the ground. The
sound of musketry wakened the Federal artillery, and for some time
Jackson lay helpless on ground swept by the cannon of the enemy. When
his men learned the situation of their beloved commander, they rushed
in and carried him from the danger.

Jackson sunk under his wounds. He bore patiently his great suffering.
“If I live, it will be for the best,” he said; “and if I die, it will
be for the best. God knows and directs all things for the best.” He
died eight days after the battle, to the deep sorrow of his countrymen.
He was a great soldier; and although he died fighting for an evil
cause, he was a true-hearted Christian man.

During two days after Jackson fell the battle continued at
Chancellorsville. Lee’s superior skill in command more than compensated
for his inferior numbers. He attacked Hooker, and always at the point
of conflict he was found to be stronger. Hooker discovered that he
must retreat, lest a worse thing should befall him. After three days’
fighting he crossed the river in a tempest of wind and rain, and along
the muddy Virginian roads carried his disheartened troops back to their
old positions. He had been baffled by a force certainly not more than
one-half his own. The splendid military genius of Lee was perhaps never
more conspicuous than in the defeat of that great army which General
Hooker himself regarded as invincible.



The Confederate Government had always been eager to carry the contest
into Northern territory. It was satisfying to the natural pride of the
South, and it was thought that some experience of the evils of war
might incline the Northern mind to peace. Lee was ordered to march
into Pennsylvania. He gathered all the troops at his disposal, and
with seventy-five thousand men he crossed the Potomac, and was once
more prepared to face the enemy on his own soil. The rich cities of
the North trembled. It was not unlikely that he should possess himself
of Baltimore and Philadelphia. Could he once again defeat Hooker’s
army, as he had often done before, no further resistance was possible.
Pennsylvania and New York were at his mercy.

Lee advanced to the little Pennsylvanian town of Gettysburg. Hooker,
after marching his army northwards, had been relieved of the command.
A battle was near; and in face of the enemy a new commander had to
be chosen. Two days before the hostile armies met, General Meade was
appointed. Meade was an experienced soldier, who had filled with honour
the various positions assigned to him; but it was seemingly a hopeless
task which he was now asked to perform. With an oft-defeated army of
sixty thousand to seventy thousand men, to whom he was a stranger,
he had to meet Lee with his victorious seventy-five thousand. Meade
quietly undertook the work appointed to him, and did it, too, like a
brave, prudent, unpretending man.

[Sidenote: July 1, 1863 A.D.] The battle lasted for three days. On the
first day the Confederates had some advantage. Their attack broke and
scattered a Federal division with considerable loss. But that night the
careful Meade took up a strong position on a crescent-shaped line of
heights near the little town. Here he would lie, and the Confederates
might drive him from it if they could.

[Sidenote: July 2.] Next day Lee attempted to dislodge the enemy. The
key of the Federal position was Cemetery Hill, and there the utmost
strength of the Confederate attack was put forth. Nor was it in vain;
for part of the Federal line was broken, and at one point an important
position had been taken by the Confederates. Lee might fairly hope
that another day’s fighting would complete his success and give him
undisputed possession of the wealthiest Northern States. His loss had
been small, while the Federals had been seriously weakened.

Perhaps no hours of deeper gloom were ever passed in the North than
the hours of that summer evening when the telegraph flashed over the
country the news of Lee’s success. The lavish sacrifice of blood and
treasure seemed in vain. A million of men were in arms to defend the
Union, and yet the northward progress of the rebels could not be
withstood. Should Lee be victorious on the morrow, the most hopeful
must despond.

[Sidenote: July 3.] The day on which so much of the destiny of America
hung opened bright and warm and still. The morning was occupied by Lee
in preparations for a crushing attack upon the centre of the Federal
position; by Meade, in carefully strengthening his power of resistance
at the point where he was to win or to lose this decisive battle.
About noon all was completed. Over both armies there fell a marvellous
stillness--the silence of anxious and awful expectation. It was broken
by a solitary cannon-shot, and the shriek of a Whitworth shell as
it rushed through the air. That was the signal at which one hundred
and fifty Confederate guns opened their fire. The Federal artillery
replied, and for three hours a prodigious hail of shells fell upon
either army. No decisive supremacy was, however, established by the
guns on either side, although heavy loss was sustained by both. While
the cannonade still continued, Lee sent forth the columns whose errand
it was to break the Federal centre. They marched down the low range
of heights on which they had stood, and across the little intervening
valley. As they moved up the opposite height the friendly shelter of
Confederate fire ceased. Terrific discharges of grape and shell smote
but did not shake their steady ranks. As the men fell, their comrades
stepped into their places, and the undismayed lines moved swiftly on.
Up to the low stone wall which sheltered the Federals, up to the very
muzzles of guns whose rapid fire cut every instant deep lines in their
ranks, the heroic advance was continued.

General Lee from the opposite height watched, as Napoleon did at
Waterloo, the progress of his attack. Once the smoke of battle was for
a moment blown aside, and the Confederate flag was seen to wave within
the enemy’s position. Lee’s generals congratulate him that the victory
is gained. Again the cloud gathers around the combatants. When it lifts
next, the Confederates are seen broken and fleeing down that fatal
slope, where a man can walk now without once putting his foot upon the
grass, so thick lie the bodies of the slain. The attack had failed; the
battle was lost; the Union was saved.

General Lee’s business was now to save his army. “This has been a sad
day for us,” he said to a friend, “a sad day; but we can’t expect
always to gain victories.” He rallied his broken troops, expecting to
be attacked by the victorious Federals; but Meade did not follow up
his success. Next day Lee began his retreat. In perfect order he moved
towards the Potomac, and safely crossed the swollen river back into

The losses sustained in this battle were terrible. Forty-eight thousand
men lay dead or wounded on the field. Lee’s army was weakened by
over forty thousand men killed, wounded, and prisoners. Meade lost
twenty-three thousand. For miles around, every barn, every cottage
contained wounded men. The streets of the little town were all dabbled
with blood. Men were for many days engaged in burying the dead, of
whom there were nearly eight thousand. The wounded of both armies,
who were able to be removed, were at once carried into hospitals and
tenderly cared for. There were many so mangled that their removal was
impossible. These were ministered to on the field till death relieved
them from their pain.

The tidings of the victory at Gettysburg came to the Northern people
on the 4th of July, side by side with the tidings of the fall of
Vicksburg. The proud old anniversary had perhaps never before been
celebrated by the American people with hearts so thankful and so glad.
Mr. Lincoln, who had become grave and humble and reverential under the
influence of those awful circumstances amid which he lived, proclaimed
a solemn day of thanksgiving for the deliverance granted to the nation,
and of prayer that God would lead them all, “through the paths of
repentance and submission to the divine will, to unity and fraternal

The deep enthusiasm which, in those anxious days, thrilled the American
heart, sought in song that fulness of expression which speech could not
afford. Foremost among the favourite poetic utterances of the people
was this:--


    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
                    His Truth is marching on.

    I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
    They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
    I have read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
                    His Day is marching on.

    I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel--
    “As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal;”
    Let the Hero born of woman crush the serpent with His heel,
                    Since God is marching on.

    He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
    Oh! be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet,--
                    Our God is marching on.

    In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
    With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
    As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
                    While God is marching on.

These strangely musical verses were sung at all public meetings in
the North, the audience ordinarily starting to their feet and joining
in the strain, often interrupted by emotion too deeply stirred to be
concealed. President Lincoln has been seen listening to the hymn with
tears rolling down his face. When the Battle of Gettysburg was fought
there were many hundreds of Northern officers captive in the Libby
prison--a huge, shapeless structure, once a tobacco factory, standing
by the wayside in a suburb of Richmond. A false report was brought to
them that the rebels had gained. There were many sleepless eyes and
sorrowing hearts that night among the prisoners. But next morning an
old negro brought them the true account of the battle. The sudden joy
was too deep for words. By one universal impulse the gladdened captives
burst into song. Midst weeping and midst laughter the Battle-Hymn of
the Republic was caught up until five hundred voices were joining in
the strain. There as elsewhere it was felt with unutterable joy and
thankfulness that the country was saved.

The victory at Gettysburg lifted a great load from the hearts of
the Northern people. There was yet a work--vast and grim--to be
accomplished before a solid peace could be attained, but there was now
a sure hope of final success. It was remarked by President Lincoln’s
friends that his appearance underwent a noticeable change after
Gettysburg. His eye grew brighter; his bowed-down form was once more
erect. In the winter after the battle part of the battle-ground was
consecrated as a cemetery, into which were gathered the remains of
the brave men who fell. Lincoln took part in the ceremony, and spoke
these memorable words: “It is for us the living to be dedicated here to
the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly
advanced. It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us; that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to
that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that
we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and
that government of the people--by the people and for the people--shall
not perish from the earth.”



Even before the disasters of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and while
General Lee was still pursuing a course of dazzling success, it had
become evident to many that the cause of the South was hopeless. A
strict blockade shut her out from the markets of Europe. Her supplies
of arms were running so low, that even if she could have found men in
sufficient numbers to resist the North, she could not have equipped
them. Food was becoming scarce. Already the pangs of hunger had been
experienced in Lee’s army. Elsewhere there was much suffering, even
among those who had lately been rich. The soldiers were insufficiently
provided with clothing. As winter came on, they deserted and went home
in crowds so great that punishment was impossible.

The North had a million men in the field. She had nearly six hundred
ships of war, seventy-five of which were iron-clads. She had boundless
command of everything which could contribute to the efficiency and
comfort of her soldiers. The rolls of the Southern armies showed only
four hundred thousand men under arms, and of these it was said that
from desertion and other causes seldom more than one-half were in the

Money was becoming very scarce. The Confederate Government borrowed
all the money it could at home, but the supply received was wholly out
of proportion to the expenditure. A loan was attempted in England;
and there proved to be there a sufficient number of rich but unwise
persons to furnish three million sterling--most of which will remain
for ever unpaid to the lenders. No other measure remained but to print,
as fast as machinery could do it, Government promises to pay at some
future time, and to force these upon people to whom the Government
owed money. These promises gradually fell in value. In 1862, when the
rebellion was young and hopes were high, one dollar and twenty cents in
Government money would purchase a dollar in gold. In January 1863 it
required three dollars to do that. After Gettysburg it required twenty
dollars. Somewhat later it required sixty paper dollars to obtain the
one precious golden coin.

It became every day more apparent that the resources of the South were
being exhausted. Even if the genius of her generals should continue
to gain victories, the South must perish from want of money and
want of food. There was a touching weakness in many of her business
arrangements. Government appealed to the people for gifts of jewellery
and silver plate, and published in the Richmond newspapers lists of
the gold rings and silver spoons and teapots which amiable enthusiasts
bestowed upon them! When iron-clad ships of war were needed and iron
was scarce, an association of ladies was formed to collect old pots
and pans for the purpose! The daring of these people and the skill
of their leaders might indeed gain them victories; but it was a wild
improbability that they should come successfully out of a war in which
the powerful and sagacious North was resolute to win.

[Sidenote: 1864 A.D.] The Northern Government, well advised of the
failing resources of the South, hoped that one campaign more would
close the war. Bitter experience had corrected their early mistakes,
and they had at length found a general worthy of his high place. Grant
was summoned eastward to direct the last march on Richmond. The spirit
of the country was resolute as ever. The soldiers had now the skill of
veterans; enormous supplies were provided; everything that boundless
resources, wisely administered, could do, was now done to bring the
awful contest to a close.

When the campaign opened, Grant with one hundred and twenty thousand
men faced Lee, whose force was certainly less by one-half. The little
river Rapidan flowed between. The Wilderness--a desolate region of
stunted trees and dense undergrowth--stretched for many miles around.
At midnight on the 3rd of May, Grant began to cross the river, and
before next evening his army stood on the southern side. Lee at once
attacked him. During the next eight days there was continuous fighting.
The men toiled all day at the work of slaughter, lay down to sleep at
night, and rose to resume their bloody labour in the morning, as men
do in the ordinary peaceful business of life. Lee directed his scanty
force with wondrous skill. It was his habit to throw up intrenchments,
within which he maintained himself against the Federal assault. Grant
did not allow himself to be hindered in his progress to Richmond.
When he failed to force the Confederate position he marched southward
round its flank, continually obliging Lee to move forward and take up
a new position. His losses were terrible. From the 5th to the 12th of
May he had lost thirty thousand men in killed, wounded, and missing.
The wounded were sent to Washington, and trains of ambulances miles
in length, laden with suffering men, passed continually through the
capital, filling all hearts with sadness and gloomy apprehension. The
cost was awful, but General Grant knew that the end was being gained.
He knew that Lee was weakened irrecoverably by the slaughter of these
battles, and he wrote that he would “fight it out on this line, if it
should take all summer.”

Grant found that a direct attack on Richmond was as yet hopeless, and
he marched southwards past the rebel capital to the little town of
Petersburg, twenty-two miles off. His plan was to wear down the rebel
army by the continual attack of superior forces, and also to cut the
railways by which provisions were brought into Richmond. By the middle
of June he was before Petersburg, which he hoped to possess before Lee
had time to fortify the place against him. It might have been taken by
a vigorous assault; but the attacking force was feebly led, and the
opportunity was missed.

And now there began the tedious bloody siege of Petersburg. The armies
had chosen their positions for the final conflict. The result was
not doubtful. General Lee was of opinion, some time before, that the
fortunes of the Confederacy were desperate. The Northern Government and
military leaders knew that success was certain. Indeed General Grant
stated afterwards that he had been at the front from the very beginning
of the war, and that he had never entertained any doubt whatever as to
the final success of the North.

All around Petersburg, at such distance that the firing did not very
seriously affect the little city, stretched the earthworks of the
combatants. Before the end there were forty miles of earthworks. The
Confederates established a line of defence. The Federals established
a line of attack, and gradually, by superior strength, drove their
antagonists back. Lee retired to a new series of defences, where the
fight was continued. The Federals had a railway running to City Point,
eleven miles away, where their ships brought for them the amplest
supplies. Lee depended upon the railways which communicated with
distant portions of Confederate territory. These it was the aim of
Grant to cut, so that his adversary might be driven by want of food
from his position. The outposts of the armies were within talking
distance of each other. The men lay in rifle-pits or shallow ditches,
watching opportunity to kill. Any foe who incautiously came within
range died by their unerring fire. For ten long months the daily
occupation of the combatants had been to attack each the positions of
the other. The Confederates, by constant sallies, attempted to hinder
the advance of their powerful assailant. Grant never relaxed his hold.
He “had the rebellion by the throat,” and he steadily tightened his
grasp. By City Point he was in easy communication with the boundless
resources of the North. Men and stores were supplied as he needed them
by an enthusiastic country. On the rebel side the last available man
was now in the field. Half the time the army wanted food. Desertions
abounded. It was not that the men shunned danger or hardship, but they
knew the cause was hopeless. Many of them knew also that their families
were starving. They went home to help those who were dearer to them
than that desperate enterprise whose ruin was now so manifest. The
genius of Lee was the sole remaining buttress of the Confederate cause.

Once the Federals ran an enormous mine under a portion of the enemy’s
works. In this mine they piled up twelve thousand pounds of gunpowder.
They had a strong column ready to march into the opening which the
explosion would cleave. Early one summer morning the mine was fired.
A vast mass of earth, mingled with bodies of men, was thrown high
into air. The Confederate defence at that point was effaced, and
the attacking force moved forward. But from some unexplained reason
they paused and sheltered themselves in the huge pit formed by the
explosion. The Confederates promptly brought up artillery and rained
shells into the pit, where soon fifteen hundred men lay dead. The
discomfited Federals retired to their lines.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Grant began his march to Richmond, he took care that the enemy
should be pressed in other quarters of his territory. General Sherman
marched from Tennessee down into Georgia. Before him was a strong
Confederate army, and a country peculiarly favourable for an army
contented to remain on the defensive; but Sherman overcame every
obstacle. He defeated his enemy in many battles and bloody skirmishes.
His object was to reach Atlanta, the capital of Georgia. Atlanta
was of extreme value to the rebels. It commanded railroads which
conveyed supplies to their armies; it had great factories where they
manufactured cannon and locomotives; great foundries where they
laboured incessantly to produce shot and shell. Sherman, by brilliant
generalship and hard fighting, overcame all resistance, and entered
Atlanta, September 2. It was a great prize, but it was not had cheaply.
During those four months he had lost thirty thousand men.

When Sherman had held Atlanta for a few weeks, he resolved to march
eastward through Georgia to the sea. He had a magnificent army of sixty
thousand men, for whom there was no sufficient occupation where they
lay. On the sea-coast there were cities to be taken. And then his army
could march northwards to join Grant before Petersburg.

[Sidenote: Nov. 15, 1864 A.D.] When all was ready Sherman put the
torch to the public buildings of Atlanta, telegraphed northwards that
all was well, and cut the telegraph wires. Then he started on his
march of three hundred miles across a hostile country. For a month
nothing was heard of him. When he re-appeared it was before Savannah,
of which he quickly possessed himself. His march through Georgia
had been unopposed. He severely wasted the country for thirty miles
on either side of the line from Atlanta to Savannah. He carried off
the supplies he needed; he destroyed what he could not use; he tore
up the railroads; he proclaimed liberty to the slaves, many of whom
accompanied him eastward. He proved to all the world how hollow a thing
was now the Confederacy, and how rapidly its doom was approaching.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the north, in the valley of the Shenandoah, a strong Confederate
army, under the habitually unsuccessful General Early, confronted the
Federals under Sheridan. Could Sheridan have been driven away, the
war might again have been carried into Pennsylvania or Maryland, and
the North humbled in her career of victory. But Sheridan was still
triumphant. [Sidenote: Oct. 19, 1864 A.D.] At length General Early
effected a surprise. He burst upon the Federals while they looked not
for him. His sudden attack disordered the enemy, who began to retire.
Sheridan was not with his army; he had gone to Winchester, twenty
miles away. The morning breeze from the south bore to his startled ear
the sounds of battle. Sheridan mounted his horse, and rode with the
speed of a man who felt that upon his presence hung the destiny of the
fight. His army was on the verge of defeat, and already stragglers were
hurrying from the field; but when Sheridan galloped among them, the
battle was restored. Under Sheridan the army was invincible. The rebels
were defeated with heavy loss, and were never again able to renew the
war in the valley of the Shenandoah.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Slave question was not yet completely settled. The Proclamation
had made free the slaves of all who were rebels, and nothing remained
between them and liberty but those thin lines of gray-coated hungry
soldiers, upon whose arms the genius of Lee bestowed an efficacy
not naturally their own. But the Proclamation had no power to free
the slaves of loyal citizens. In the States which had not revolted,
slavery was the same as it had ever been. The feeling deepened rapidly
throughout the North that this could not continue. Slavery had borne
fruit in the hugest rebellion known to history. It had proclaimed
irreconcilable hostility to the Government; it had brought mourning
and woe into every house. The Union could not continue half-slave and
half-free. The North wisely and nobly resolved that slavery should

Most of the loyal Slave States freed themselves by their own choice
of this evil institution. Louisiana, brought back to her allegiance
not without some measure of force, led the way. Maryland followed,
and Tennessee, and Missouri, and Arkansas. In Missouri, whence
the influence issued which murdered Lovejoy because he was an
abolitionist--which supplied the Border ruffians in the early days of
Kansas--the abolition of slavery was welcomed with devout prayer and
thanksgiving, with joyful illuminations and speeches and patriotic

One thing was yet wanting to the complete and final extinction of
slavery. The Constitution permitted the existence of the accursed
thing. If the Constitution were so amended as to forbid slavery upon
American soil, the cause of this huge discord which now convulsed the
land would be removed. A Constitutional Amendment to that effect was
submitted to the people. In the early months of 1865, while General
Lee--worthy to fight in a better cause--was still bravely toiling to
avert the coming doom of the Slave Empire, the Northern States joyfully
adopted the Amendment. Slavery was now at length extinct. This was
what Providence had mercifully brought out of a rebellion whose avowed
object it was to establish slavery more firmly and extend it more

But freedom was not enough. Many of the black men had faithfully
served the Union. Nearly two hundred thousand of them were in the
ranks--fighting manfully in a cause which was specially their own.
There were many black men, as Lincoln said, who “could remember that
with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised
bayonet, they had helped mankind to save liberty in America.” But the
coloured people were child-like and helpless. They had to be looked
upon as “the wards of the nation.” [Sidenote: 1864 A.D.] A Freedmen’s
Bureau was established, to be the defence of the defenceless blacks.
General Howard--a man peculiarly fitted to give wise effect to the
kind purposes of the nation--became the head of this department. It
was his duty to provide food and shelter for the slaves who were set
free by military operations in the revolted States. He settled them,
as he could, on confiscated lands. After a time he had to see to the
education of their children. In all needful ways he was to keep the
negroes from wrong till they were able to keep themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

Four years had now passed since Lincoln’s election furnished the
slave-owners with a pretext to rebel. Another election had to be
made, and Lincoln was again proposed as the Republican candidate.
The Democratic party nominated General M’Clellan. The war, said the
Democrats, is a failure; let us have a cessation of hostilities, and
endeavour to save the Union by peaceful negotiation. Let us put down
slavery and rebellion by force, said the Republicans; there is no other
way. These were the simple issues on which the election turned. Mr.
Lincoln was re-elected by the largest majority ever known. “It is not
in my nature,” he said, “to triumph over any one; but I give thanks to
Almighty God for this evidence of the people’s resolution to stand by
free government and the rights of humanity.”

[Sidenote: March 4, 1865 A.D.] He was inaugurated according to the
usual form. His Address was brief, but high-toned and solemn, as
beseemed the circumstances. Perhaps no State paper ever produced so
deep an impression upon the American people. It closed thus:--“Fondly
do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war
may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all
the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of
unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with
the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword--as was said
three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of
the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’ With malice towards none,
with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see
the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s
wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his
widow and his orphans--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just
and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

[Sidenote: 1864-5 A.D.] During the winter months it became very
plain that the Confederacy was tottering to its fall. These were the
bitterest months through which Virginia had ever passed. The army was
habitually now on short supply. Occasionally, for a day, there was
almost a total absence of food. One day in December Lee telegraphed
to Richmond that his army was without meat, and dependent on a little
bread. And yet the soldiers were greatly better off than the citizens.
Provisions were seized for the army wherever they could be found, and
the owners were mercilessly left to starve. The suffering endured among
the once cheerful homes of Virginia was terrible.

Every grown man was the property of the Government. It was said the
rich men escaped easily, but a poor man could not pass along a street
in Richmond without imminent risk of being seized and sent down to
the lines at Petersburg. At railroad stations might be constantly
seen groups of squalid men on their way to camp--caught up from their
homes and hurried off to fight for a cause which they all knew to be
desperate--in the service of a Government which they no longer trusted.
It was, of course, the earliest care of these men to desert. They went
home, or they surrendered to the enemy. The spirit which made the
Confederacy formidable no longer survived.

General Lee had long before expressed his belief that without the help
of the slaves the war must end disastrously. But all men knew that a
slave who had been a soldier could be a slave no longer. The owners
were not prepared to free their slaves, and they refused therefore to
arm them. In November--with utter ruin impending--a Bill was introduced
into the Confederate Congress for arming two hundred thousand negroes.
It was debated till the following March. Then a feeble compromise was
passed, merely giving the President power to accept such slaves as were
offered to him. So inflexibly resolute were the leaders of the South
in their hostility to emancipation. It was wholly unimportant. At that
time Government could have armed only another five thousand men; and
could not feed the men it had.

The finances of the Confederacy were an utter wreck. Government itself
sold specie at the rate of one gold dollar for sixty dollars in paper
money. [Sidenote: Feb. 17, 1864 A.D.] Mr. Davis, by a measure of
partial repudiation, relieved himself for a short space from some of
his embarrassments; but no device could gain public confidence for the
currency of a falling power. A loaf of bread cost three dollars. It
took a month’s pay to buy the soldier a pair of stockings. The misery
of the country was deep, abject, unutterable. President Davis came to
be regarded with abhorrence, as the cause of all this wretchedness.
Curses, growing ever deeper and louder, were breathed against the
unsuccessful chief.

General Grant, well aware of the desperate condition of the
Confederates, pressed incessantly upon their enfeebled lines. He had
one hundred and sixty thousand men under his command. Sheridan joined
him with a magnificent force of cavalry. Sherman with his victorious
army was near. Grant began to fear that Lee would take to flight,
and keep the rebellion alive on other fields. [Sidenote: March 29,
1865 A.D.] A general movement of all the forces around Richmond was
decided upon. Lee struggled bravely, but in vain, against overwhelming
numbers. His right was assailed by Sheridan, and driven back with
heavy loss--five thousand hungry and disheartened men laying down
their arms. [Sidenote: April 1.] On that same night Grant opened, from
all his guns, a terrific and prolonged bombardment. [Sidenote: April
2.] At dawn the assault was made. Its strength was directed against
one of the Confederate forts. The fight ceased elsewhere, and the
armies looked on. There was a steady advance of the blue-coated lines;
a murderous volley from the little garrison; wild cheers from the
excited spectators. Under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry the
soldiers of the Union rush on; they swarm into the ditch and up the
sides of the works. Those who first reach the summit fall back slain
by musket-shot or bayonet-thrust, but others press fiercely on. Soon
their exulting cheers tell that the fort is won. Lee’s army is cut in
two, and his position is no longer tenable. He telegraphed at once to
President Davis that Richmond must be evacuated.

It was Communion Sunday in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and President
Davis was in his pew among the other worshippers. No intelligence from
the army had been allowed to reach the public for some days. But the
sound of Grant’s guns had been heard, and the reserve of the Government
was ominous. Many a keen eye sought to gather from the aspect of
the President some forecast of the future; but in vain. That serene
self-possessed face had lost nothing of its habitual reticence. In all
that congregation there was no worshipper who seemed less encumbered
by the world, more absorbed by the sacred employment of the hour,
than President Davis. The service proceeded, and the congregation
knelt in prayer. As President Davis rose from his knees the sexton
handed him a slip of paper. He calmly read it. Then he calmly lifted
his prayer-book, and with unmoved face walked softly from the church.
It was Lee’s message he had received. Jefferson Davis’s sole concern
now was to escape the doom of the traitor and the rebel. He fled at
once, by special train, towards the south. Then the work of evacuation
commenced. The gunboats on the river were blown up; the bridges were
destroyed; the great warehouses in the city were set on fire, and in
the flames thus wickedly kindled a third part of the city was consumed.
All who had made themselves prominent in the rebellion fled from the
anticipated vengeance of the Federals. The soldiers were marched off,
plundering as they went. Next morning Richmond was in possession of
the Northern troops. Among the first to enter the capital of the rebel
slave-owners was a regiment of negro cavalry.

[Sidenote: April 4, 1865 A.D.] About midnight on Sunday Lee began his
retreat from the position which he had kept so well. Grant promptly
followed him. On the Tuesday morning Lee reached a point where he had
ordered supplies to wait him. By some fatal blunder the cars laden with
the food which his men needed so much had been run on to Richmond, and
were lost to him. Hungry and weary the men toiled on, hotly pursued
by Grant. Soon a hostile force appeared in their front, and it became
evident that they were surrounded.

[Sidenote: April 7.] General Grant wrote to General Lee asking the
surrender of his army, to spare the useless effusion of blood. Lee did
not at first admit that surrender was necessary, and Grant pressed the
pursuit with relentless energy. Lee wrote again to request a meeting,
that the terms of surrender might be arranged. [Sidenote: April 9.]
The two leaders met in a wayside cottage. They had never seen each
other before, although they had both served in the Mexican War, and
Lee mentioned pleasantly that he remembered the name of his antagonist
from that time. Grant drew up and presented in writing the terms
which he offered. The men were to lay down their arms, and give their
pledge that they would not serve against the American Government till
regularly exchanged. They were then to return to their homes, with a
guarantee that they would not be disturbed by the Government against
which they had rebelled. Grant asked if these terms were satisfactory.
“Yes,” said Lee, “they are satisfactory. The truth is, I am in such
a position that any terms offered to me _must_ be satisfactory.” And
then he told how his men had been for two days without food, and begged
General Grant to spare them what he could. Grant, generously eager to
relieve his fallen enemies, despatched instantly a large drove of oxen
and a train of provision waggons. In half an hour there were heard in
the Federal camp the cheers with which the hungry rebels welcomed those
precious gifts.

Lee rode quietly back to his army, where the surrender was expected.
When its details became known, officers and men crowded around their
much-loved chief, to assure him of their devotion, and to obtain a
parting grasp of his hand. Lee was too deeply moved to say much. “Men,”
he said, with his habitual simplicity, “we have fought through the war
together, and I have done the best I could for you.” A day or two later
the men stacked their arms and went to their homes. The history of the
once splendid Army of Northern Virginia had closed.

Lee’s surrender led the way to the surrender of all the Confederate
armies. Within a few days there was no organized force of any
importance in arms against the Union. The War of the Great Rebellion
was at an end.



When the closing operations against Richmond were being arranged,
President Lincoln went down to General Grant’s head-quarters at City
Point, and remained there till Lee’s surrender. He visited Richmond on
the day it was taken, and walked through the streets with his little
boy in his hand. The freed slaves crowded to welcome their deliverer.
They expressed in a thousand grotesque ways their gratitude to the good
“Father Abraham.” There had been dark hints for some time that there
were those among the Confederates who would avenge their defeat by the
murder of the President. Mr. Lincoln was urged to be on his guard, and
his friends were unwilling that he should visit Richmond. He himself
cared little, now that the national cause had triumphed.

[Sidenote: April 9, 1865 A.D.] He returned unharmed to Washington on
the evening of Lee’s surrender. The next few days were perhaps the
brightest in his whole life. He had guided the nation through the
heaviest trial which had ever assailed it. On every side were joy and
gladness. Flags waved, bells rang, guns were fired, houses were lighted
up; the thanks of innumerable grateful hearts went up to God for this
great deliverance. No heart in all the country was more joyful and
more thankful than Mr. Lincoln’s. He occupied himself with plans for
healing the wounds of his bleeding country, and bringing back the
revolted States to a contented occupation of their appointed places
in the Union. No thought of severity was in his mind. Now that armed
resistance to the Government was crushed, the gentlest measures which
would give security in the future were the measures most agreeable to
the good President.

On the 14th he held a meeting of his Cabinet, at which General Grant
was present. The quiet cheerfulness and hopefulness of the President
imparted to the proceedings of the council a tone long remembered
by those who were present. After the meeting he drove out with Mrs.
Lincoln, to whom he talked of the good days in store. They had had a
hard time, he said, since they came to Washington; but now, by God’s
blessing, they might hope for quieter and happier years.

In the evening he drove, with Mrs. Lincoln and two or three friends,
to a theatre where he knew the people expected his coming. As the play
went on the audience were startled by a pistol-shot in the President’s
box. A man brandishing a dagger was seen to leap from the box on to the
stage, and with a wild cry--“The South is avenged!”--disappeared behind
the scenes. The President sat motionless, his head sunk down upon his
breast. He was evidently unconscious. When the surgeon came, it was
found that a bullet had pierced the brain, inflicting a deadly wound.
He was carried to a house close by. His family and the great officers
of State, by whom he was dearly loved, sat around the bed of the dying
President. He lingered till morning, breathing heavily, but in entire
unconsciousness, and then he passed away.

At the same hour the President was murdered a ruffian broke into the
sick-room of Mr. Seward, who was suffering from a recent accident,
and stabbed him almost to death as he lay in bed. His bloody work was
happily interrupted, and Mr. Seward recovered.

The assassin of Mr. Lincoln was an actor called Booth, a fanatical
adherent of the fallen Confederacy. His leg was broken in the leap on
to the stage, but he was able to reach a horse which stood ready at
the theatre door. He rode through the city, crossed the Potomac by a
bridge, in the face of the sentinels posted there, and passed safely
beyond present pursuit. A week later he was found hid in a barn, and
well armed. He refused to surrender, and was preparing to fire, when a
soldier ended his miserable existence by a bullet.

The grief of the American people for their murdered President was
beyond example deep and bitter. Perhaps for no man were there ever
shed so profusely the tears of sorrow. Not in America alone, but in
Europe also--where President Lincoln was at length understood and
honoured--his loss was deeply mourned. It was resolved that he should
be buried beside his old home in Illinois. The embalmed remains were to
be conveyed to their distant resting-place by a route which would give
to the people of the chief Northern cities a last opportunity to look
upon the features of the man they loved so well. The sad procession
moved on its long journey of nearly two thousand miles, traversing the
States of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana,
and Illinois. Everywhere, as the funeral train passed, the weeping
people sought to give expression to their reverential sorrow. At the
great cities the body lay in state, and all business was suspended.

At length Springfield was reached. The body was taken to the State
House. His neighbours looked once more upon that well-remembered face,
wasted, indeed, by years of anxious toil, but wearing still, as of old,
its kind and placid expression.

Four years before, Lincoln said to his neighbours, when he was leaving
them, “I know not how soon I shall see you again. I go to assume a task
more difficult than that which has devolved upon any other man since
the days of Washington.” He had nobly accomplished his task; and this
was the manner of his home-coming.



The Great Rebellion was at an end. It was not closed by untimely
concessions which left a discontented party, with its strength
unbroken, ready to renew the contest at a more fitting time. It was
fought out to the bitter end. The slave-power might be erring, but it
was not weak. The conflict was closed by the utter exhaustion of one of
the combatants. Lee did not surrender till his army was surrounded by
the enemy and had been two days without food. The great questions which
had been appealed to the sword were answered conclusively and for ever.

The cost had been very terrible. On the Northern side, two million
seven hundred thousand men bore arms at some period of the war. Of
these there died in battle, or in hospital of wounds received in
battle, ninety-six thousand men. There died in hospital of disease, one
hundred and eighty-four thousand. Many went home wounded, to die among
the scenes of their infancy. Many went home stricken with lingering and
mortal disease. Of these there is no record but in the sad memories
which haunt nearly every Northern home.

The losses on the Southern side have not been accurately ascertained.
The white population of the revolted States numbered about a fourth of
the loyal Northern population. At the close of the war the North had a
full million of men under arms. The Southern armies which surrendered
numbered one hundred and seventy-five thousand. When to this is added
the number who went home without awaiting the formality of surrender,
it appears probable that the Southern armies bore to the Northern the
same proportion that the population did. Presumably the loss bore a
larger proportion, as the deaths from disease, owing to the greater
hardships to be endured, must have been excessive in the rebel army.
It must be under the truth to say that one hundred and fifty thousand
Southerners perished in the field or in the hospital.

The war cost the North in money seven hundred million sterling. It is
impossible to state what was the cost to the South. The Confederate
debt was supposed to amount at the close to thirty-five hundred million
dollars; but the dollar was of so uncertain value that no one can tell
the equivalent in any sound currency. Besides this, there was the
destruction of railroads, the burning of houses, the wasting of lands,
and, above all, the emancipation of four million slaves, who had been
purchased by their owners for three or four hundred million sterling.
It has been estimated that the entire cost of the war, on both sides,
was not less than eighteen hundred million pounds sterling.

Great wars ordinarily cost much and produce little. What results had
the American people to show for their huge expenditure of blood and

They had freed themselves from the curse of slavery. That unhappy
system made them a byword among Christian nations. It hindered the
progress of the fairest section of the country. It implanted among the
people hatreds which kept them continually on the verge of civil war.
Slavery was now extinct.

For three-quarters of a century the belief possessed Southern minds
that they owed allegiance to their State rather than to the Union.
Each State was sovereign. Having to-day united itself with certain
sister sovereignties, it was free to-morrow to withdraw and enter into
new combinations. America was in this view no nation, but a mere
incoherent concourse of independent powers. This question had been
raised when the Constitution was framed, and it had been debated ever
since. It was settled now. The blood shed in a hundred battles, from
Manassas to Petersburg, expressed the esteem in which the Northern
people held their national life. The doctrine of States’ Rights was
conclusively refuted by the surrender of Lee’s army, and the right of
America to be deemed a nation was established for ever.

It was often said during the war that republican institutions were
upon their trial. It was possible for the war to have resulted so that
government by the people would ever after have been deemed a failure.
It has not been so. The Americans have proved conspicuously the
capacity of a free people to guide their own destinies in war as well
as in peace. They have shown that the dependence of the many upon the
few is as unnecessary as it is humiliating. They have rung the knell
of personal government, and given the world encouragement to hope that
not the Anglo-Saxon race alone, but all other races of men will yet be
found worthy to govern themselves.

Terrible as the cost of the war has been, have not its gains been
greater? The men who gave their lives so willingly have not died
in vain. America and the world will reap advantage, through many
generations, by the blood so freely shed in the great war against the
Southern slave-owners.



In all civil strifes, until now, the woe which waits upon the
vanquished has been mercilessly inflicted. After resistance has ceased,
the grim scaffold is set up, and brave men who have escaped the sword
stoop to the fatal axe. It was assumed by many that the Americans would
avenge themselves according to the ancient usage. Here, again, it was
the privilege of America to present a noble example to other nations.
Nearly every Northern man had lost relative or friend, but there was
no cry for vengeance; there was no feeling of bitterness. Excepting in
battle, no drop of blood was shed by the Northern people. The Great
Republic had been not merely strong, resolute, enduring--it was also
singularly and nobly humane.

Jefferson Davis fled southward on that memorable Sunday when the sexton
of St. Paul’s Church handed to him General Lee’s message. He had need
to be diligent, for a party of American cavalry were quickly upon
his track. They followed him through gaunt pine wildernesses, across
rivers and dreary swamps, past the huts of wondering settlers, until
at length they came upon him near a little town in Georgia. [Sidenote:
May 10, 1865 A.D.] They quietly surrounded his party. Davis assumed
the garments of his wife, and the soldiers saw at first nothing more
formidable than an elderly and not very well-dressed female. But the
unfeminine boots which he wore led to closer inspection, and quickly
the fallen President stood disclosed to his deriding enemies.

There was at first suspicion that Davis encouraged the assassination
of the President. Could that have been proved, he would have died, as
reason was, by the hand of the hangman. But it became evident, on due
examination being made, that he was not guilty of that crime. For a
time the American people regarded Davis with just indignation, as the
chief cause of all the bloodshed which had taken place. Gradually their
anger relaxed into a kind of grim, contemptuous playfulness. He was to
be put upon his trial for treason. Frequently a time was named when the
trial would begin; but the time never came. Ultimately Davis was set at

       *       *       *       *       *

What were the Americans to do with the million of armed men now in
their employment? It was believed in Europe that these men would never
return to peaceful labour. Government could not venture to turn them
loose upon the country. Military employment must be found for them, and
would probably be found in foreign wars.

While yet public writers in Europe occupied themselves with these dark
anticipations, the American Government, all unaware of difficulty,
ordered its armies to march on Washington. [Sidenote: May 23, 24, 1865
A.D.] During two days the bronzed veterans who had followed Grant
and Sherman in so many bloody fights passed through the city. Vast
multitudes from all parts of the Union looked on with a proud but
chastened joy. And then, just as quickly as the men could be paid the
sums which were due to them, they gave back the arms they had used
so bravely, and returned to their homes. It was only six weeks since
Richmond fell, and already the work of disbanding was well advanced.
The men who had fought this war were, for the most part, citizens who
had freely taken up arms to defend the national life. They did not
love war, and when their work was done they thankfully resumed their
ordinary employments. Very speedily the American army numbered only
forty thousand men. Europe, when she grows a little wiser, will follow
the American example. The wasteful folly of maintaining huge standing
armies in time of peace is not destined to disgrace us for ever.

       *       *       *       *       *

What was the position of the rebel States when the war closed? Were
they provinces conquered by the Union armies, to be dealt with as the
conquerors might deem necessary; or were they, in spite of all they
had done, still members of the Union, as of old? The rebels themselves
had no doubt on the subject. They had tried their utmost to leave
the Union. It was impossible to conceal that. But they had not been
permitted to leave it, and they had never left it. As they were not out
of the Union, it was obvious they were in it. And so they claimed to
resume their old rights, and re-occupy their places in Congress, as if
no rebellion had occurred.

Mr. Lincoln’s successor was Andrew Johnson, a man whose rough vigour
had raised him from the lowly position of tailor to the highest office
in the country. He was imperfectly educated, of defective judgment,
blindly and violently obstinate. He supported the rebels in their
extravagant pretensions. He clung to the strictly logical view that
there could be no such thing as secession; that the rebel States had
never been out of the Union; that now there was nothing required but
that the rebels, having accepted their defeat, should resume their old
positions, as if “the late unpleasantness” had not occurred.

The American people were too wise to give heed to the logic of the
President and the baffled slave-owners. They had preserved the life of
their nation through sacrifices which filled their homes with sorrow
and privation, and they would not be tricked out of the advantages
which they had bought with so great a price. The slave-owners had
imposed upon them a great national peril, which it cost them infinite
toil to avert. They would take what securities it was possible to
obtain that no such invasion of the national tranquillity should occur

It was out of the position so wrongfully assigned to the negro race
that this huge disorder had arisen. The North, looking at this with
eyes which long and sad experience had enlightened, resolved that the
negro should never again divide the sisterhood of States. No root of
bitterness should be left in the soil. Citizenship was no longer to be
dependent upon colour. The long dishonour offered to the Fathers of
Independence was to be cancelled; henceforth American law would present
no contradiction to the doctrine that “all men are born equal.” All men
now, born or naturalized in America, were to be citizens of the Union
and of the State in which they resided. No State might henceforth pass
any law which should abridge the privileges of any class of American

An Amendment of the Constitution was proposed by Congress to give
effect to these principles. [Sidenote: March 30, 1870 A.D.] It was
agreed to by the States--not without reluctance on the part of some.
The Revolution--so vast and so benign--was now complete. The negro, who
so lately had no rights at all which a white man was bound to respect,
was now in full possession of every right which the white man himself
enjoyed. The successor of Jefferson Davis in the Senate of the United
States was a negro!

The task of the North was now to “bind up the nation’s wounds”--the
task to which Mr. Lincoln looked forward so joyfully, and which he
would have performed so well. Not a moment was lost in entering upon
it. No feeling of resentment survived in the Northern mind. The South
was utterly exhausted and helpless--without food, without clothing,
without resources of any description. The land alone remained.
Government provided food--without which provision there would have
been in many parts of the country a great mortality from utter want.
The proud Southerners, tamed by hunger, were fain to come as suppliants
for their daily bread to the Government they had so long striven to

With little delay nearly all the rebels received the pardon of the
Government, and applied themselves to the work of restoring their
broken fortunes. Happily for them the means lay close at hand.
Cotton bore still an extravagantly high price. The negroes remained,
although no longer as slaves. They had now to be dealt with as free
labourers, whose services could not be obtained otherwise than by the
inducement of adequate wages. In a revolution so vast, difficulties
were inevitable; but, upon the whole, the black men played their part
well. It had been said they would not consent to labour when they were
free to choose. That prediction was not fulfilled. When kindly treated
and justly paid, they showed themselves anxious to work. Very soon it
began to dawn upon the planters that slavery had been a mistake. Those
of their number who were able to command the use of capital found
themselves growing rich with a rapidity unknown before. Under the old
and wasteful system, the growing crop of cotton was generally sold
to the Northern merchant and paid for to the planter before it was
gathered. Now it had become possible to carry on the business of the
plantation without being in debt at all. Five years after the close of
the war, it is perhaps not too much to say that the men of the South
would have undergone the miseries of another war rather than permit the
re-imposition of that system which they, erringly, endured so much to



Wars have been, in general, made by Kings to serve the purposes of
their own ambition or revenge. This war was made by the American
people, and willingly fought out by their own hands. The men who fought
were nearly all Americans, and mainly volunteers. They were regarded
with the deepest interest by those who remained at home. Ordinarily,
the number of soldiers who die of diseases caused by the hardships
they endure is greater than the number of those who die of wounds. The
Americans were eager to save their soldiers from the privations which
waste so many brave lives. They erected two great societies, called the
Sanitary Commission and the Christian Commission. Into the coffers of
these societies they poured money and other contributions to the amount
of four million sterling. The Sanitary Commission sent medical officers
of experience into the armies to guide them in the choice of healthy
situations for camps; to see that drainage was not neglected; to watch
over the food of the soldiers, and also their clothing; to direct the
attention of the Government to every circumstance which threatened evil
to the health of the army. Its agents followed the armies with a line
of waggons containing all manner of stores. Everything the soldier
could desire issued in profusion from those inexhaustible waggons.
There were blankets and great-coats and every variety of underclothing.
There were crutches for the lame, fans to soothe the wounded in the
burning heat of summer, bandages, and sponges, and ice, and even
mosquito-netting for the protection of the poor sufferers in hospital.
Huge wheeled-caldrons rolled along in the rear, and ever, at the close
of battle or toilsome march, dispensed welcome refreshment to the
wearied soldiers.

The Christian Commission undertook to watch over the spiritual wants
of the soldiers. Its president was George H. Stuart, a merchant of
Philadelphia, whose name is held in enduring honour as a symbol of all
that is wise and energetic in Christian beneficence. Under the auspices
of this society thousands of clergymen left their congregations and
went to minister to the soldiers. A copious supply of Bibles, tracts,
hymn-books, and similar reading matter was furnished. The agents of
the Commission preached to the soldiers, conversed with them, supplied
them with books, aided them in communicating with friends at home. But
they had sterner duties than these to discharge. They had to seek the
wounded on the field and in the hospital; to bind up their wounds; to
prepare for them such food or drink as they could use;--in every way
possible to soothe the agony of the brave men who were giving their
lives that the nation might be saved. Hundreds of ladies were thus
engaged tending the wounded and sick, speaking to them about their
spiritual interests, cooking for them such dishes as might tempt the
languid appetite. The dying soldier was tenderly cared for. The last
loving message was conveyed to the friends in the far-off home. Nothing
was left undone which could express to the men who gave this costly
evidence of their patriotism the gratitude with which the country
regarded them.

It resulted from the watchful care of the American Government and
people, that the loss of life by disease was singularly small in the
Northern army. There never was a war in which the health of the army
was so good, and the waste of life by disease so small.

When the war was over, the Americans addressed themselves, sadly and
reverently, to the work of gathering into national cemeteries the
bones of those who had fallen. The search was long and toilsome, for
the battle-ground had been a continent, and men were buried where they
died. Every battle-field was searched. Every line by which an army
had advanced, or by which the wounded had been removed, was searched.
Sometimes a long train of ambulances had carried the wounded to
hospitals many miles away. At short intervals, during that sad journey,
it was told that a man had died. The train was stopped; the dead man
was lifted from beside his dying companions; a shallow grave was dug,
and the body, still warm, was laid in it. A soldier cut a branch from
a tree, flattened its end with his knife, and wrote upon it the dead
man’s name. This was all that marked his lowly resting-place. The
honoured dead, scattered thus over the continent, were now piously
gathered up. For many miles around Petersburg the ground was full of
graves. During several years men were employed in the melancholy search
among the ruins of the wide-stretching lines. In some cemeteries lie
ten thousand, in others twenty thousand of the men who died for the
nation. An iron tablet records the name of the soldier and the battle
in which he died. Often, alas! the record is merely that of “Unknown
Soldier.” Over the graves floats the flag which those who sleep below
loved so well. Nothing in America is more touching than her national
cemeteries. So much brave young life given freely, that the nation
might be saved! So much grateful remembrance of those who gave this
supreme evidence of their devotion!

Book Fifth.



Long ago thoughtful men had foreseen that a permanent union between
slave communities and free communities was impossible. Wise Americans
knew that their country could not continue “half slave and half
free.” Slavery was a fountain out of which strife flowed perpetual.
There was an incessant conflict of interests. There was a still more
formidable conflict of feeling. The North was humiliated by the
censure which she had to share with her erring sisters. The South was
imbittered by the knowledge that the Christian world abhorred her most
cherished institution. The Southern character became ever more fierce,
domineering, unreasoning. Some vast change was known to be near.
Slavery must cease in the South, or extend itself into the North. There
was no resting-place for the country between that universal liberty
which was established in the North, and the favourite doctrine of the
South that the capitalist should own the labourer.

The South appealed to the sword, and the decision was against her. She
frankly and wisely accepted it. She acknowledged that the labouring-man
was now finally proved to be no article of merchandise, but a free and
responsible citizen. That acknowledgment closed the era of strife
between North and South. There was no longer anything to strive
about. There was no longer North or South, in the old hostile sense,
but a united nation, with interests and sympathies rapidly becoming
identical. It has been foretold that America will yet break up into
several nations. What developments may await America in future ages we
do not know. But we do know that the only circumstance which threatened
disruption among the sisterhood of States has been removed, and that
the national existence of America rests upon foundations at least as
assured as those which support any nation in the world.

The South had laid aside all thought of armed resistance, and in
perfect good faith had acquiesced in the overthrow of slavery. Her
leaders did not, however, consent readily to those guarantees of
future tranquillity which the North demanded. At the close of the war
eleven States were without legal State government; and the North would
not permit the restoration of the forfeited privilege until those
constitutional changes were accepted by which the political equality
of the negro was secured. It had become an easy thing to consent that
the negro should be free; it was very hard to consent that he should
sit in the State Legislatures, and exercise an influential voice
in framing laws for those who had lately owned him. Several States
withheld their concurrence from arrangements which humiliated them
so deeply, desperately choosing rather to deny themselves for the
time the privilege of self-government and to live under a government
in whose creation they had no part. Very grave evils resulted from
their pertinacious adherence to this unwise choice. Their affairs
were necessarily taken charge of by the Federal executive, and
President Grant sent them rulers from Washington. Unworthy persons
were able by dexterous intrigue to gain positions of control, and
hastened southwards, with no purpose to heal the wounds of the war;
intent merely to plunder for their own advantage the impoverished
and suffering States. The finances of the South were in extreme
disorder. Public debt had increased enormously during the war; but the
North averted the difficulty which this increase might have caused
by insisting that no debt incurred for the purposes of the rebellion
should be recognized as a public obligation. The temporary rulers of
the South gave prompt attention to the possibility of obtaining loans,
ostensibly for the restoration of railroads and other necessary works.
It was not yet realized how fatally wasted the South had been, and men
hastily concluded that her advantages of soil and climate must secure
for her a rapid financial recovery. Cherishing such expectations,
capitalists on both sides of the Atlantic were found willing to make
loans on the credit of various Southern States. These moneys were
applied only in very small measure to the uses of the States in
whose name they were obtained; the larger portion was feloniously
appropriated by the unscrupulous persons whose position gave them the
opportunity of doing so. Afterwards, when the fraud was fully exposed,
the defrauded States repudiated the obligation to repay moneys which
they had not received, and which, as they averred, had been borrowed
by persons who were in no sense their servants. The good name of the
South suffered deeply and her recovery was seriously hindered by these
unhappy transactions.

The inevitable difficulties of reconstruction were seriously aggravated
by the violent conflict of opinion which raged between President
Johnson and Congress. The President would not sanction the conditions
which Congress considered it necessary to make with the South, and he
steadily vetoed all measures which were at variance with his theory
that the rebels were entitled to be received without stipulation. His
resistance was not practically important, for the country was united,
and Congress was able to pass all its measures over the veto of the
President. The irritation caused by his opposition to the public wish
grew, however, so intense, that it led to his impeachment and trial
before the Senate, with a view to his forcible removal from office. His
enemies failed to secure a conviction, although they came so near that
one additional hostile vote would have brought Mr. Johnson’s presidency
to an abrupt close. So smoothly does the constitutional machinery of
America now move, that the trial and expected deposition of the head of
the government were not felt either by the commercial interests of the
country or in the carrying on of public business.

For five years after the end of the war some of the Southern States
continued to refuse the terms insisted upon by the inflexible North,
and continued to endure the evils of military rule. Gradually,
however, as time soothed the bitterness of defeat, they withdrew their
refusal and consented to resume their position in the Union on the
conditions which were offered to them. In 1870 President Grant was
able to announce the completed restoration of the Union which his own
leadership had done so much to save.

The industrial recovery of the South was unexpectedly slow. The
industrial arrangements of the country were utterly overthrown.
Population had diminished; capital had disappeared; cultivation,
excepting of articles necessary for food, had ceased; many of the
coloured labourers had fled northwards, and the labour of those
who remained had to be arranged for on conditions altogether new
and unknown. The reconstruction of the shattered fragments of an
industrial system was inevitably a tedious and difficult work. But the
wholesome pressure of necessity,--laid equally on white men and on
black,--obliged both to adapt themselves to the circumstances in which
they were placed. The planters drew together as many labourers as they
could obtain and were able to pay for, and cultivated such portions of
their lands as they could thus overtake. The negroes were always ready
to serve any man who paid regular wages; but it very often happened, at
the outset, that there was no man with money enough to do that. In such
cases the negroes cultivated for their own behoof. The progress made
in reconquering the neglected soil was very slow. But in that fertile
land no effort of man is suffered to go without a bountiful reward.
Every succeeding crop left the cultivator a little richer than he had
been before. Every seed-time witnessed a larger area under cultivation,
until at length the quantity of cotton produced is as large as it had
ever been before the war, and promises steadily to increase. A new and
better industrial system gradually arose--less picturesque than that
which had been destroyed, but no longer founded in wrong, and therefore
more enduring and more beneficial to master as well as to servant.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rebellion had drawn forth into energetic exercise among the
Northern people a patriotic sentiment which nerved them for every
measure of self-devotion. But war cherishes also into exceptional
strength the evil that is in humanity, and this patriot war exerted
an influence not less unhallowed than other wars have done. The
fluctuating value of the currency and consequently of all commodities,
the unprecedented opportunities of acquiring sudden wealth, fostered
widespread corruption in the cities. Reckless personal extravagance,
a frantic haste to become rich by whatever means, and a general decay
of commercial morality, characterized the years which followed the
restoration of peace. Political society, at no time distinguished by
its elevation of moral tone, was deeply tainted. Even among the men
whom President Grant had chosen as worthy of his fullest confidence
there were some who yielded to the prevailing influence, and the
President had the mortification of finding that several members of
his Cabinet had incurred the shame of corrupt transactions. Habitual
embezzlement was practised in the management of the finances of large
cities. The municipal government of New York had fallen into hands
exceptionally rapacious and base, and the career of the plunderers was
not arrested till the city had been robbed of many million dollars.

For several years after the close of the war the industrial interests
of America seemed to prosper exceedingly. Her foreign trade increased
rapidly. The thriving people purchased freely of the costly luxuries
imported from Europe, and the gains of merchants were liberal. New
factories arose; villages swelled into towns; emigrants to the number
of three hundred and fifty thousand annually hastened to exchange the
poverty of Europe for the plenty of this land of promise; a million
persons were added every year to the population. New railways were laid
down at the rate of five to six thousand miles annually, involving an
annual expenditure of thirty to forty million sterling. The confiding
capitalists of Europe furnished the means requisite to sustain this
perilously rapid increase. The census of 1870 reported that during
ten years the wealth of the people had nearly doubled, and that their
annual earnings now amounted to two thousand million sterling. It
seemed as if, for the first time in history, a prolonged and costly war
had been waged without pecuniary disadvantage to the combatants.

But the inevitable retribution was not abandoned; it was only delayed.
[Sidenote: Sept. 1873 A.D.] While the currents of commercial activity
still flowed with unwonted swiftness and smoothness, the failure of a
large financial house in New York gave the signal for a panic, which
speedily assumed an aspect of unprecedented severity. Business stood
still; the exchanges were closed; the banks ceased to give out money;
the payment of debts became impossible. In a short time the intensity
of the excitement passed away, leaving a deep-seated depression,
which continued for six years. It was now discovered that men had
been deluding themselves with a merely visionary prosperity--that all
values had been wildly inflated; and it became the sad and surprising
experience of very many that their fancied wealth had, in part or
wholly, disappeared. Factories were closed; artisans were unable to
obtain employment; wages fell, step by step, till in many industries
they had undergone reductions which were not less than forty per cent.
All stocks and every description of property sank lamentably in value;
railway companies and other borrowers of foreign capital discontinued
payment of the promised interest; immigration almost ceased--for who
would now seek a home in this afflicted and impoverished land?

America emerged from those miserable years with her vitality
undiminished; with her financial position improved; with her industrial
system organized, for the first time, upon a basis of rigorous economy;
with the views of her people corrected, and their character braced
by adversity. The operatives who were unable to find employment in
the cities of the east had made their way westward, and were now
contributing to the greatness of the nation by cultivating the soil.
Personal extravagance ceased, and the imports of foreign commodities
fell one-third. On the other hand, the exports increased largely.
America had for many years been accustomed to use an amount of foreign
goods very much larger than she was able to pay for by her own surplus
productions. In settlement of the excess, she endured a drain upon her
store of the precious metals, or she neutralized it for the time by
the loans which her people obtained abroad. Now all this was changed.
America exported so largely of her manufactures and of the products
of her soil, and restricted so carefully her purchase of foreign
commodities, that now she has to receive from foreigners an annual
balance which exceeds fifty million sterling. And during the painful
years through which she passed, while nearly all European countries
continued to add to their public indebtedness, America continued to
reduce hers. Her debt, which at the close of the war amounted to six
hundred million sterling, thirteen years later was only four hundred
million.[2] And whereas at one period an amount equal to one-half of
her present debt was owing to foreigners, it is now, to the extent of
five-sixths, owing to her own citizens. Her currency, which had been
long at a discount, rose in value, step by step, till it stood at par.
After seventeen years of an inconvertible currency specie payments were
resumed, without the slightest inconvenience to the commerce of the



America looked to England for sympathy when the rebellion began.
England had often reproached her, often admonished her, in regard to
the question of Slavery. The war which threatened her existence was a
war waged by persons who desired to perpetuate slavery, and who feared
the growing Northern dislike to the institution. The North expected
the countenance of England in her time of trial. It was reasonable to
expect that the deep abhorrence of slavery which had long ruled in the
mind of the English people would suffice to decide that people against
the effort to establish a great independent slave-empire.

Most unfortunately, that expectation was not wholly fulfilled. The
working-men of England perceived, as by intuition, the merits of the
dispute, and gave their sympathy unhesitatingly to the North. In the
cotton-spinning districts grievous suffering was endured, because
the Northern ships shut in the cotton of the South and deprived the
mills of their accustomed supply. It was often urged that the English
Government should take measures to raise the Northern blockade. Hunger
persuades men to unwise and evil courses; but hunger itself could never
persuade the men of Lancashire to take any part against the North. So
genuine and so deep was their conviction that the Northern cause was

But among the aristocratic and middle classes of England it was
different. Their sympathy was in large measure given to the South. They
were misled by certain newspapers, in which they erringly trusted. They
were misled by their admiration of a brave people struggling against
an enemy of overwhelming strength. They were misled by an unworthy
jealousy of the greatness of America. Thus unhappily influenced, they
gave their good wishes to the defenders of the slave-system. The North
felt deeply the unlooked-for repulse; and a painful alienation of
feeling resulted.

A variety of circumstances occurred which strengthened this feeling.
A few weeks after the fall of Fort Sumpter, England, having in view
that there had been set up in the South a new Government which was
exercising the functions of a Government, whether rightfully or
otherwise, acknowledged in haste the undoubted fact, and recognized the
South as a belligerent power. This the North highly resented; asserting
that the action of the South was merely a rebellion, with which
foreign countries had nothing to do. A few months later the British
mail-steamer _Trent_ was stopped by a rash American captain, and two
gentlemen, commissioners to England from the rebel Government, were
made prisoners. The captives were released, but the indignity offered
to the British flag awakened a strong sentiment of indignation which
did not soon pass away. Yet further: there was built in a Liverpool
dockyard a steam-ship which it was understood was destined to serve
the Confederacy by destroying the merchant shipping of the North. The
American Ambassador requested the British Government to detain the
vessel. So hesitating was the action of Government, that the vessel
sailed before the order for her detention was issued. For two years the
_Alabama_, and some other ships also fitted in English ports, scoured
the seas, burning and sinking American ships, and inflicting enormous
loss upon American commerce. These circumstances increased the bitter
feeling which prevailed.

The American Government held that England had failed to perform the
duty imposed upon her by international law, and had therefore made
herself responsible for the depredations of the _Alabama_. English
lawyers of eminence expressed the same unacceptable opinion; and a few
years after the war closed the English Government wisely determined
to seek the settlement of the question. [Sidenote: 1869 A.D.] There
was arranged by the Foreign Secretary and the American Minister a
treaty, in terms of which the subject was disposed of by a reference
to the arbitration of impartial persons. This treaty was sent to
Washington for confirmation, according to the judicious American rule
that treaties with foreign powers must receive the sanction of the
Senate. But American feeling was not yet prepared for any adjustment
of differences which had wounded the nation so deeply. It was not
that the terms of the proposed settlement were objected to; it was
rather that no immediate settlement was desired. The American people
chose that the question should, for the time, remain an open question.
Their irritation had not yet subsided, and many of them solaced their
angry minds with the purpose that, when England was again involved in
some one of those European embarrassments which habitually beset her,
this matter of the _Alabama_ should be pressed to a settlement. The
Senate gave effect to the general wish by withholding sanction from
the treaty, and President Grant instructed his minister at the English
Court to abstain from further negotiation.

[Sidenote: 1871 A.D.] But the passage of a little time calmed the
irritation of the not implacable Americans. England renewed her
proposal to refer the dispute to arbitration, coupling the offer with
an expression of regret that injuries so grave had been inflicted upon
the shipping of America. She further consented that the arbitrators
should guide themselves by a definition of neutral duties so framed
that, in effect, it condemned her conduct, and made an adverse decision
inevitable. America accepted the proposal, and a dispute which at an
earlier period would have brought upon two nations the miseries of
a great war was found to come easily within the scope of a peaceful
arbitration. The transaction is of high importance, for it is the
largest advance which has yet been made towards the settlement of
national differences by reason rather than by brute force.

The arbitrators were five persons, named by the Queen, the President,
the King of Italy, the President of Switzerland, and the Emperor
of Brazil. Their deliberations were conducted in the tranquil city
of Geneva, remote from the influence of the disputants. America
presented a statement of her wrongs, and of the compensation to which
she deemed herself entitled. Her case was stated with much ability,
and it produced numerous and painful evidences that the neutrality
with which England regarded the conflict had been a neutrality very
full of sympathy with the slave-holders. But the claim tabled was
extravagantly large. America argued that England should indemnify
her for the expenses of the war-ships which were employed to pursue
the piratical cruisers. She argued that, since her ship-owners had
been compelled to sell their ships to foreigners, England should bear
the losses arising from these enforced sales. Above all, she alleged
that the prolongation of the war after the battle of Gettysburg was
traceable to the influence of the pirate-ships; and she made the huge
demand that England should refund to her the cost of nearly two years
of fighting. The arbitrators gave judgment that England was responsible
for the property destroyed by the _Alabama_ and the other cruisers, and
ordained that she should repair the wrong by a payment of three million
sterling. The claim for losses arising indirectly out of these unhappy
transactions was rejected.

When the claims of sufferers by the piratical vessels were investigated
it was found that the arbitrators had over-estimated them. The American
Government, having satisfied every authenticated demand, found itself
still in possession of about one million of the English money. It was
the wish of many Americans that this sum should be restored to England,
but Congress did not rise to the height of this generosity.

When the _Alabama_ dispute was closed, there remained no cause of
alienation between the two countries. All good men on both sides of
the Atlantic desire earnestly that England and America should be fast
friends. It was possible for England, by bestowing upon the North that
sympathy which we now recognize to have been due, to have bound the
two countries inalienably to each other. Unhappily the opportunity
was missed, and a needless estrangement was caused. But this was not
destined to endure, and it has long ago passed wholly away. England
and America now understand each other as they have never done before.
The constant intercourse of their citizens is a bond of union already
so strong that no folly of Governments could break it. It may fairly
be hoped that the irritations which arose during the war have been
succeeded by an enduring concord between the two great sections of the
Anglo-Saxon family.



The chosen career of the American people is a career of peaceful
industry. Wisely shunning the glories and calamities of war, they have
devoted themselves to the worthier labour of developing the resources
of the continent which is their magnificent heritage. During four
years they had been obliged to give their energies to a war, on the
successful issue of which the national existence depended. When those
sad years were over, and the conflict ceased, they turned with renewed
vigour to their accustomed pursuits.

The industrial greatness of America is still, in large measure,
agricultural. Nearly one-half of her people live by the cultivation
of the soil. Upwards of three-fourths of the commodities which she
sells to foreigners are agricultural products. The total value of the
crops which she gathered in 1878 was not less than £400,000,000. The
strangers who help to build up her power are drawn to her shores by the
hope of obtaining easy possession of fertile land. Her progress in the
manufacturing arts has been very rapid, but it cannot rival the giant
growth of her agriculture.

The agricultural system of America is eminently favourable to cheap
production. Unoccupied lands are the property of the nation, and are
made over to cultivators on easy terms, and in many cases gratuitously.
A rent-paying farmer is practically unknown; the farmer owns the land
which he tills. His farm has cost him little, and as the invariable
improvement in value cancels even that, it may be said that it has cost
him nothing. The average farm of the Western States is one hundred
and sixty acres. It is cultivated almost without outlay of money. The
farmer and his family perform the work of the farm, with the help of
a neighbour at the great eras of sowing and reaping. This help is
requited in kind, and therefore costs nothing in money. The rich, deep,
virgin soil asks for no manure during many years. The sole burden
upon the farm is the maintenance of the farmer and his family, and of
the four oxen or mules which share his toils. His local taxation is
trivial. His national taxation is less than one-half of that which the
English farmer bears.[3] The evil of distance from the great markets
of the world is neutralized by the low charge for which his grain is
carried on railway or canal.[4] His husbandry is careless, insomuch
that two acres of land in the valley of the Mississippi yield no more
than one acre yields in England.[5] But if his agriculture is rude it
is constantly improving; and, meanwhile, it is so inexpensive that
he can send its products to England, four thousand miles away, and
undersell the farmer there. A vast revolution, whose results we as
yet imperfectly appreciate, is in progress around us. The antiquated,
semi-feudal land-system of England totters to its fall, unable to
sustain itself in presence of the more free and natural system of the

Immigration languished during the earlier years of the war. The
distracted condition of the country, and the fears in regard to its
future so widely entertained in Europe, formed sufficient reason
why men who were in search of a home should avoid America. But when
success crowned the efforts of the North, her old attractiveness to
the emigrating class resumed its power. It came then to be pressed
upon the public mind that the progress of the West was frustrated
by want of adequate communication. There was no railway beyond the
Missouri river. From that point westward to the Pacific communication
depended upon a rude system of stage-coaches, or the waggon of an
adventurous pioneer. It was a journey of nearly two thousand miles,
across an unpeopled wilderness. The hardship was extreme, and the
dangers not inconsiderable; for the way was beset by hostile Indians,
and the traveller must be in constant readiness to fight. This vast
region, composed mainly of rich prairie land, was practically closed
against progress. The resources of the country, as it seemed, could not
be developed excepting near the margins of the continent, or by the
borders of her great navigable rivers.

It was now determined to construct a railway which should connect
the Atlantic with the Pacific, and open for the use of man the vast
intervening expanse of fertile soil. Stimulated by liberal grants of
national land, two companies began to build--one eastward from San
Francisco, the other westward from the Missouri. As the extent of land
given was in strict proportion to the length of line laid down, each
of the companies pushed its operations to the utmost. The work was
done in haste, and, as many then thought, slightly; but experience
has proved its sufficiency. [Sidenote: 1869 A.D.] In due time the
lines met; the last rail was laid down, not without emotion, such as
befitted the completion of a work so great. By the help of electricity
the blows of the hammer which drove home the last spike were made
audible in the chief cities of the east. The union of east and west
was now complete, and many millions of acres of rich land, hitherto
inaccessible, were added to the heritage of man. The savage occupants
of these lands were remorselessly pushed aside. The Indians had been
dangerously hostile to the workmen who constructed the railway, and
they showed some disposition to offer unpleasant interruption to the
trains which ran upon it. They were now gathered up and placed in
certain “reservations,” which it was well understood would be reserved
for Indians only till white men had need of them. When the railroad
was newly opened, travellers could occasionally look out from the
windows upon a vast plain dark with innumerable multitudes of buffaloes
plodding sullenly on their customary migrations. Herds of antelopes
were seen fleeing before this new invader of their quiet lives. The
prairie-dog, sitting upon his mound of earth, watched with curious eye
the unwonted disturbance. All wild creatures were now wantonly slain,
or driven far away. A steady tide of emigration flowed to the west. In
the neighbourhood of the railway, the little wooden farm-house became
frequent; beside stopping-places, villages arose, and swelled out
into little towns; the towns of the olden time increased rapidly and
prospered. The settlers planted trees of quick growth, and gradually,
as the line of settlement stretched westward, the monotony of those
dreary plains was brightened with groves, and dwellings, and cultivated

Iowa, Indiana, Illinois ceased to be regarded as belonging to the
west, and took rank as old and fully settled central States. Beyond
the Missouri a new career opened for Kansas and Nebraska. Down to the
beginning of the war these States had been claimed and fought for by
the slave-power. Day by day now the railway brought long trains laden
with immigrants--Russian Mennonites fleeing from persecution in Church
and despotism in State; Germans escaping from military conscription;
Englishmen and Irishmen leaving lands where the ownership of the soil
was impossible excepting to a few.

Texas--once the refuge of men seeking exemption from the restraints
which criminal law imposes--even Texas prospered, and under the genial
influence of prosperity became respectable. Her population has risen
in eight years from eight hundred thousand to two million. Much of her
vast area[6] still lies untilled; but much of it has been reclaimed
for the use of man. Her railways still traverse dreary forests, and
great, unpeopled plains; but they also carry the traveller past many
smiling villages, and many thriving cities where a prosperous commerce
is maintained, where schools and churches abound. They reveal to him
well-appointed farm-buildings; fields rich with bountiful crops;
jungles where the peach, the orange, the banana, the pomegranate grow
luxuriantly under the fostering heat of a semi-tropical sun; vast
areas roamed over by myriads of slight, active-looking Texan cattle,
the rearing of which yields wealth to the people. In many of the Texan
cities two contrasted types of civilization--the old Mexican and the
young American--live peaceably side by side. The palace-car meets
the ox-team and the donkey with his panniers. The blanketed Indian,
the Mexican in poncho and sombrero, the American in his faultless
broadcloth, mingle harmoniously in the streets. Handsome mansions such
as abound in the suburbs of eastern cities are near neighbours to
antique Mexican dwellings, built of adobe, with loopholed battlements,
and walls which show still the bullet-marks of forgotten strifes.

As the enormous mineral resources of the Rocky Mountains became more
certainly ascertained, crowds were attracted in hope of sudden wealth,
and the States which include the richer portions of the range became
the home of a large population. In the remote north-west wheat crops of
astonishing opulence rewarded the simple husbandry of the settler. The
law that cultivated plants are most productive near the northern limit
of their growth was illustrated in the happy experience of Dakotah
and northern Minnesota, where the growing of wheat has now become
one of the most lucrative of industrial occupations. The railways
of those States are being extended with all possible rapidity, and
each extension is followed by a fresh influx of settlers. Farmers of
experience from the older and less productive States are drawn to the
north-west by the unrivalled advantages which soil and climate present.
During the year 1878 not less than five million acres of land were
purchased in northern Minnesota for immediate cultivation.[7]

       *       *       *       *       *

America has never been satisfied with mere agricultural greatness.
The ambition to manufacture was coeval with her origin, and has grown
with her growing strength. Twenty years after the landing of the
Pilgrim Fathers there were bounties offered in Massachusetts for the
encouragement of the manufacture of linen, woollen, and cotton cloths.
When the Arkwright spinning machinery was introduced into England,
the Americans were eager to possess themselves of an improvement so
valuable. But the English law which prohibited the export of machinery
was inflexibly administered, and the models prepared in secret for
shipment to America were seized and confiscated. But no discouragement
repressed the enterprising colonists. The beginnings of their great
textile industries were sufficiently humble. The earliest motive-power
applied to cotton machinery was the hand; next to it, and as an
important advance, came the use of animal-power.[8] But the growth of
demand was rapid, and before the close of last century the application
of water-power was universal.

The increase of consumption was more rapid in America than the increase
of production, and it had to be met by considerable imports of English
goods. England, with abundant capital and low-priced labour, was
able to produce more cheaply than America, and the struggling native
manufacturer had to complain of a competition against which he was not
able to support himself. He appealed to the Government for protection,
and was influential enough to obtain that which he desired. For many
years the subject of the tariff was keenly disputed. The Northern
manufacturers were habitually seeking increased protection, which the
Southern planters, having no kindred interests to protect, were often
unwilling to grant. The rates imposed rose or fell with the strength
of the contending parties and the political exigencies of the time.
[Sidenote: 1861 A.D.] At length, immediately after the representatives
of the South had quitted Congress, and the friends of protection were
absolute, a highly protective tariff was enacted. Duties, the mass of
which range from thirty to fifty per cent., with some very much larger,
were imposed on nearly all foreign commodities landed at American
ports. Under this law, with only slight modification, the foreign
commerce of America has been conducted for the last eighteen years,
and there has not yet manifested itself any change in American opinion
which warrants the expectation of an early return to a more liberal

The large protection now enjoyed, and the active demand occasioned by
the war, stimulated the increase of productive power. Within twelve
years the machinery engaged in cotton-spinning had doubled, rising from
five to ten million spindles. The increase in many other industries
was equally rapid. Side by side with this undue development there
appeared the customary fruits of a protective policy. There was a
general disregard of economy, a prevailing wastefulness which seemed to
neutralize the advantages enjoyed, and leave the manufacturer still in
need of additional protection. But a new competition had now arisen,
against which protection could not be gained. It was no longer foreign
competition which marred the fortune of the native manufacturer; it
was the still more deadly competition which resulted from excessive
production at home. Especially when the panic of 1873 diminished so
suddenly the purchasing power of the American people, it was seen that
even if the manufactures of Europe had been wholly excluded, America
could no longer consume the commodities which her machinery was able to

During the years of misery which followed the panic, American
manufacturers gained experience of the “sweet uses” of adversity. It
was incumbent upon them now above all things to study cheapness. Wages
were reduced; improved appliances by which cost might be lessened
were eagerly and successfully sought for; economy in every detail was
studied with anxious care. The result gained was of high national
importance. In a few years the American manufacturers found, in regard
to many articles of general consumption, that they were now able to
produce as cheaply as their rivals in England, and that they were
wholly independent of that legislative protection which hitherto had
been regarded as indispensable.

As the skill and care of the native producer increased, the purchases
which America required to make from foreigners underwent large
diminution. Her imports in 1878 were smaller by one-third than they
had been in 1873. She ceased to purchase railroad iron, and diminished
by more than eight-tenths her purchases of other descriptions of iron.
She almost ceased to use European watches, having signally distanced
us in that branch of industry. She diminished by nearly one-half her
use of foreign books and other publications. Where formerly she had
required the earthen and glass wares of Europe to the value of thirteen
million dollars, seven million now sufficed. Her use of foreign carpets
fell to one-tenth; of foreign cottons and woollens to one-half; of
manufactures of wood to one-third; of manufactures of steel to a little
over one-third. [Sidenote: April, 1879 A.D.] And in explanation of this
record of decay our Secretary of Legation at Washington contributes
the ominous suggestion:--“The decreased importation of the articles
referred to has been due in a great measure to the substitution in the
markets of this country of articles of American manufacture.”

But the Americans were not contented with this limitation of their
purchases from foreign producers. A desire to become themselves
exporters of manufactured articles sprang up during the years of
depression which followed the panic. Under the pure democracy of
America a general desire translates itself very quickly into Government
action. [Sidenote: 1877 A.D.] The Secretary of State addressed to his
consuls in all parts of the world a request that they would collect for
him all information fitted to be useful to American manufacturers who
sought markets for their wares in foreign countries. The answers have
put him in possession of a mass of information such as no Government
ever before took the trouble to gather regarding the conditions of
foreign markets, and the openings which existed or might be created
in each for American manufactures. The growth of this trade has thus
far been steady, but not rapid, and even now it has reached only
moderate dimensions. In 1870 American manufactures were exported to
the value of fifteen million sterling, while in 1878 the value had
risen to twenty-seven million. Chief among the articles which make
up this respectable aggregate are cotton cloths, manufactures of
wood, of leather, of iron and steel, including machinery, tools, and
agricultural implements. America sells to foolish nations which have
not yet grown out of their fighting period, fire-arms, cartridges,
gunpowder, and shell, to the extent of nearly a million and a half
sterling. The multiplicity of articles which leave her ports show how
keenly her foreign trade is being prosecuted. She sends household
furniture, made by machinery, and sells it at prices which to the
British cabinet-maker seem to be ruinous. She sends cutlery and tools
of finish and price which fill the men of Sheffield with dismay, but
do not apparently stimulate them to improvement. She sends watches
manufactured by processes so superior to those still practised in
Europe that the Swiss manufacturers have explicitly acknowledged
hopeless defeat. She sends medicines, combs, perfumery, soap, spirits,
writing-paper, musical instruments, glass-ware, carriages. All these
are articles for which, but a few years ago, she herself was indebted
to Europe. Now she supplies her own requirements, and has an increasing
surplus for which she seeks markets abroad. Her policy of protection
has been costly beyond all calculation; but those who upheld it now
point with reasonable pride to the splendid place which America has
taken among the manufacturing nations of the Earth.



The Pilgrim Fathers carried with them to New England a deep persuasion
that the people of the State which they went to found must be
universally educated. Not otherwise could the enduring success of
their great enterprise be hoped for. It was their care from the very
outset to provide in such manner as circumstances enabled them for
the education of their children. The germ of a free-school system is
to be found in each of their youthful settlements. The records of the
European countries of the time would be searched in vain for evidence
of a sentiment so deeply seated, so widely prevalent, so enlightened
as the New England desire that all children should be educated. Its
sincerity was proved by the willingness of the people to submit to
taxation in the cause. In the early days of Connecticut one-fourth of
the revenues of the colony was applied to the support of schools. Long
before the revolution, schools maintained by public funds and free of
charge to the pupils had extended widely over the New England States.
This love of education has never cooled. When the colonists gained
their independence and established themselves as an association of
freemen, conducting their own public affairs, a new urgency was added
to the necessity that all should be educated. It was clearly seen,
even then, that while ignorant men might be serviceable subjects of a
despotism, only educated citizens were capable of self-government.
Northern America sought to build the fabric of republican institutions
upon the solid and durable foundation of universal enlightenment.

In the Southern States the aristocratic tendencies which the
slave-system fostered were adverse to the education of the poor. The
slave-owners desired submission; their property was not improved
in value, but the reverse, by education. While America was still a
dependency, a question was put to the Governor of Virginia by the
English Commissioners for Foreign Plantations. “I thank God,” replied
the Governor, “there are no free schools or printing-presses, and I
hope we shall not have these hundred years.” The Governor’s hope was
more than fulfilled. The common-school system was almost unknown in
the South while slavery existed. It became criminal to teach a slave
to read; the poor white had no desire to learn, and no one sought to
teach him. At the close of the rebellion the mass of the Southern
population were as little educated as the Russian peasants are to-day.
But peace was no sooner restored than the eager desire of the negroes
for education was met by the generous efforts of the North. Northern
teachers were quickly at work among the negro children. So soon as
the means of the ruined States permitted, the common-school system of
the North was set up. It entailed burdens which they were then ill
able to bear. But these burdens have been borne with a willingness
which is evidence that the South now recognizes her need of education.
Notwithstanding their poverty, some of the States yield for school
purposes a rate of taxation larger for each member of the population
than is that of England.

The American people manifest a profound and, as recent reports
indicate, an increasing interest in their system of common schools.
It is not merely or chiefly the personal advantage of the individual
citizen which concerns them. It is the greatness and permanence of the
State.[9] “Free education for all is the prime necessity of republics.”
Institutions which rest altogether upon popular support demand, as
essential to their safety, the support of an instructed people. It was
the same conviction which impressed itself upon Great Britain when,
having conceded household suffrage, she hastened to set up a compulsory
and universal system of education, that the dangers likely to arise
from the ignorance of the new electors might be averted. Moreover, the
Americans believe firmly that without educated labour eminence in the
industrial arts is not attainable. According to an estimate which has
grown out of the experience of employers, the educated labourer is
more valuable by twenty-five per cent. than his ignorant rival. Here
is a source of national wealth which no wise State will disregard. It
is the American theory that the State--the associated citizens--has
a proprietary interest in each of its members. For the good of the
community, it is entitled to insist that every citizen shall become
as effective as it is possible to make him; to expend public funds in
order to that result is therefore a warrantable and remunerative outlay.

Looking thus upon the value of public instruction, the American people
have borne willingly the heavy costs of the common school. They suffer
taxation ungrudgingly at a rate which, for the smaller population
of England and Wales, would amount to nine million sterling instead
of the four million actually expended. Nor is this the easy product
of lands set apart for educational purposes at a time when land was
valueless. Many of the States wisely set apart one-sixteenth of their
land to uphold their schools. But in many of the old States the
appropriation was not respected; too often, especially in the South,
the endowment was applied to other uses. The revenue derived now from
any description of endowment does not exceed five per cent. of the
whole; the remainder comes from State or local taxation. At one time,
in some of the States, fees were charged from the pupils. But the
opinion came to be widely entertained that this charge impaired in many
ways the efficiency of the system. Six or eight years ago fees were
discontinued, and now the schools of the nation are free to all. The
Americans witness with approbation the increase of their expenditure
on education. During the ten years which preceded the rebellion this
expenditure was doubled; again, during the ten years which followed it
was trebled. It has now grown to nearly eighteen million sterling--a
sum larger than all the nations of Europe unitedly expend for the
same purpose. Large as it is, however, it is equal to no more than
two-thirds of the sum which Britain still expends upon her military and
naval preparations.

The common school is used by all classes of the American people. At
one time there existed among the rich a disposition to have their
children educated with others of their own social position, and many
private schools sprang up to meet their demand. As the common schools
have increased in efficiency, and consequently in public favour, this
disposition has weakened, and private schools have decayed. Their
number is much smaller now than it was ten years ago, and continues
to diminish. With one unhappy exception, the common school satisfies
the requirements of the American people. The leaders of the Roman
Catholic body perceive that its influences are adverse to the growth of
their tenets, and do not cease to demand the means of educating their
children apart from the children of those who hold religious beliefs
differing from theirs. But their proposals meet with no favour beyond
the limits of their own denomination, and even there only partial
support is given. The American Roman Catholic is more apt than his
brethren in Europe to fall into the disloyal practice of independent
judgment. It has not been found possible to alienate him wholly from
the common school.

It is of interest to inquire in what measure the American people have
been requited by the success of their common-school system for the
vast sums which they expend on its maintenance. At first sight the
statistics of the subject seem to return a discouraging reply to such
an inquiry. When the census of 1870 was taken it disclosed a high
percentage of illiteracy. Seventeen adult males and twenty-three adult
females in every hundred were wholly uneducated--numbers almost as high
as those of England at the same period. But the special circumstances
of the country explain these figures in a manner which relieves the
common school of all blame. The larger portion of this illiteracy had
its home in the Southern States and among the coloured population,
whose ignorance had been carefully preserved by wicked laws and a
corrupted public feeling. Again, America had received during the ten
years which preceded the census an immigration of four and a half
million persons. The educational condition of those strangers was low,
and their presence therefore bore injuriously upon the averages which
were reported. The common school must be judged in the Northern States
and among the native white population, for there only has it had full
opportunity to act. And there it has achieved magnificent success. In
the New England States there is not more than one uneducated native of
ten years and upwards in every hundred. In the other Northern States
the average is scarcely so favourable. The uneducated number from two
up to four in every hundred.

It thus appears that the common school has banished illiteracy from
the North. The native American of the Northern States is almost
invariably a person who has received, at the lowest, a sound primary
education. The efforts by which this result has been reached began with
the foundation of each State, and have been continued uninterruptedly
throughout its whole history. In the rising industrial competition of
the time, it must count for much that American artisans are not only
educated men and women, but are the descendants of educated parents. A
nation which expends upon education a sum larger than all the nations
of Europe unitedly expend; which contents itself with an army of
twenty-five thousand soldiers; whose citizens are exempt from the curse
of idle years laid by the governments of Continental Europe upon their
young men,--such a nation cannot fail to secure a victorious position
in the great industrial struggle which all civilized States are now
compelled to wage for existence.



From the very dawn of her history, America has been a powerful factor
in the solution of many great European problems. In the early days
of her settlement she offered a welcome refuge from the oppression
and poverty of the Old World. Her assertion of independence inflamed
the impulses which were preparing the French Revolution with all its
unforeseen and incalculable consequences, and hastened the coming of
that tremendous occurrence. Throughout the half century of struggle
by which Europe vindicated her freedom, it was a constant stimulus
to patriot effort to know that, beyond the sea, there was a country
where men were at liberty to prosecute their own welfare unimpeded by
the restraints which despotism imposes. A constant light was thrown
by American experience upon the questions which agitated Europe. Men
accustomed to be told that they were unfit to bear any part in the
government of their country, saw men such as they themselves were
enjoying political privileges in America, and governing a continent to
the general advantage. Men accustomed to be told that State support was
indispensable to the existence of the Church, saw religion becomingly
upheld in America by the spontaneous offerings of the people. Methods
of government altogether unlike those of Europe were practised in
America; and Europe had constant opportunity of judging how far these
methods surpassed or fell short of her own. Europe lived under a
system of government which scarcely regarded individual rights, and
cared supremely for the interests of the State--meaning ordinarily by
that the interests or caprices of a very few persons. In America the
State was an organization whose purpose was mainly the protection of
individual rights. On the eastern shores of the Atlantic the belief
still prevailed that in every nation the Almighty had conveyed to some
one man the right to deal as he pleased with the lives and property of
all the others. On the western shores of the Atlantic a great nation
acted on the theory that national interests were merely the interests
which the aggregated individual citizens had in common,[10] and that
government was nothing more than an association of persons whose duty
it was to guide those interests in conformity with the public desire.
The American doctrine extended into Europe, and contributed in no
inconsiderable degree to the growth of liberal ideas and the overthrow
of despotism. The sustained exhibition upon a scale so vast of freedom
in thought and action, with its happy results in contentment and
prosperity, could not fail to impress deeply the oppressed nations
of Europe. Here were a people who made their own laws, who obeyed no
authority which was not of their own appointment, to whom decrees,
and ukases, and all the hateful utterances of despotism were unknown.
Here were millions of men enjoying perfect equality of opportunity
to seek their own welfare; here was life free from the burden of a
class inaccessibly superior to the great mass of the people. The daily
influences of American life sapped the fabric of privilege, and helped
the European people to vindicate the rights of which they had been

The influence which America exerts upon the currents of European
history must continue to increase in power. Her population, reinforced
as it is by emigration from less happily circumstanced countries,
grows more rapidly than any European population. Her artisans are
better educated than those of any other country, and they are therefore
more effective for industrial purposes. They are free from the burden
of military service, which in Continental Europe absorbs those years
of a young man’s life when the hands gain expertness and the mind
forms habits of industry. In the capacity of mechanical invention--the
breath of life to an industrial nation--they are manifestly superior
to Europe. The competition of this intelligent, ingenious, rapidly
increasing people, fired by an ambition to become great as a
manufacturing nation, cannot fail to influence directly and powerfully
the industrial future of the European nations.

As the population and the wealth of America increase, the testimony
which her example bears in favour of individual right and absolute
freedom of thought will become more conspicuous and influential. The
rebuke which her attitude of universal peace and her inconsiderable
military expenditure administer to the diseased suspicions and
measureless waste of Europe will become more emphatic, perhaps even in
some degree more effective, than it has yet proved to be. Thus far,
the teaching of America in regard to the maintenance of huge armies
in time of peace has been rejected as inapplicable to the existing
circumstances of Europe. But it may fairly be hoped that in course
of years the industrial competition of a great people who have freed
themselves from heavy burdens which their competitors still bear will
enforce upon Europe economies of which neither governments nor people
are as yet sufficiently educated to perceive the necessity.

       *       *       *       *       *

America has still something to learn from the riper experience and more
patient thinking of England. But it has been her privilege to teach to
England and the world one of the grandest of lessons. She has asserted
the political rights of the masses. She has proved to us that it is
safe and wise to trust the people. She has taught that the government
of the people should be “by the people and for the people.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Let our last word here be a thankful acknowledgment of the inestimable
service which she has thus rendered to mankind.



The reconstruction of the Union was completed during General Grant’s
term of office. The Presidentship of his successor, Mr. Rutherford B.
Hayes, was uneventful. It was not on that account the less fruitful
in good results. The complete amalgamation of the North and the South
could only be the work of time. President Hayes helped forward this
useful work. He visited the South in his first year of office, and was
everywhere well received.

The Census of 1880 showed the population of the United States to be
upwards of fifty million. The increase during the previous ten years
had been eleven million and a half, or at the extraordinary rate of
more than a million a year.

During Mr. Hayes’ Presidentship, two questions became prominent, and
sharply divided political parties. These were, the resumption of cash
payments, and the reform of the Civil Service.

[Sidenote: 1878 A.D.] The Currency Controversy is remarkable for having
brought the President into conflict with Congress. The Bland Silver
Bill, making the silver dollar a legal tender, was passed by large
majorities both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
President Hayes had no faith in the doctrine of bi-metallism, and he
vetoed the Bill. The Bill was re-passed in both Houses by a two-thirds
majority, and became law in spite of the presidential veto. The
conflict subjected the Constitution to a severe strain. But the crisis
passed quietly, showing how well-grounded is the faith of the Americans
in the fitness of their Constitution to meet all exigencies.

The demand for a reform in the Civil Service had been growing
for years. The revelations of electoral corruption filled men of
independent spirit with shame and confusion. The evil practices were
not confined to a particular party. Republicans and Democrats were
equally unscrupulous. It was proved by strict inquiry that in two
States the majority for President Hayes himself had been obtained by
fraudulent means. The constitutional custom which makes every office
in the Civil Service, from the highest to the lowest, change hands
whenever power is transferred from one party to another, was felt to be
the root of the evil.

[Sidenote: 1881 A.D.] When President James Garfield assumed office in
March 1881, he announced his intention of dealing firmly and earnestly
with the question of administrative reform. Garfield’s election to the
dignity of President was unexpected. The chief Republican candidates
were General Grant, who had previously held the office for two terms,
Secretary Sherman, and Senator Blaine. In the Republican convention
held at Chicago for the selection of a candidate, General Garfield
acted as manager of the party which supported Sherman. When he was
first proposed he declined to become a candidate. It was only when
Sherman’s success was seen to be impossible, and when all the parties
opposed to Grant coalesced in favour of Garfield, that his name came
to the front. He was ultimately chosen unanimously as the Republican
candidate, on the ground that he divided the party the least. In the
election itself, which was mainly determined by the vote of New York
State, Garfield defeated his Democratic opponent General Hancock by 219
votes to 185.

Comparatively little was known about the new President before he was
elected. Even in America his selection was a surprise. The chief fact
that was known about him was that he had risen, like Abraham Lincoln,
from the humblest origin. He had been born in a log-hut in the forest
of Ohio. He had begun life on the tow-path as a driver of mules which
dragged a canal boat between Cleveland and Pittsburg. By his own energy
alone he had risen. He had been a professor, a preacher, a successful
soldier, a practical lawyer, a bold and ready party leader. Throughout
life he had been noted for fearless honesty. In his public career, no
taint of corruption was found attaching to any part of his conduct. The
man who should undertake to reform the abuses in the official system of
America must himself have clean hands, and Garfield’s hands were clean.

General Garfield’s election was held to be a great triumph for the
Republican party, but especially for that section of it which advocated
Civil Service reform. He had made no secret of his opinions on that
subject. In the outline of his political creed which he issued soon
after his selection as Republican candidate he expressed his agreement
with those who urged the necessity of “placing the Civil Service on
a better basis.” The remedy to which he pointed was that “Congress
should devise a method that will determine the tenure of office.” In
his inaugural address on assuming office, he intimated his intention of
taking steps to apply this remedy. Two objects, he said, must be aimed
at. The one was to protect the executive against “the waste of time and
the obstruction to public business caused by the inordinate pressure
for place.” The other was to protect the holders of office “against
intrigue and wrong.” To effect both objects, he would “at the proper
time ask Congress to fix the tenure of the minor offices of several
executive departments, and prescribe grounds upon which removals shall
be made.” Further, he announced his purpose “to demand rigid economy
in all expenditures of the Government, and to require honest and
faithful service of all the executive officers, remembering that their
offices were created, not for the benefit of the incumbents or their
supporters, but for the service of the Government.”

These declarations did not give unmixed satisfaction to the Republican
party. The anti-reform section of it, which still holds by President
Jackson’s maxim, “The spoils to the victors,” regarded them as in
some sense a declaration of war. It is certain that to the hopes of
place-hunters they were a serious blow. For his honest desire to rid
the public offices of these pests, and at the same time to purify the
Government, the President was made to pay a terrible penalty. Within
the railway station at Washington he was shot in the back by a man
named Charles Guiteau, who for several days had been importuning the
authorities at White House for place.

The useless and utterly wanton crime sent a thrill of horror through
America, through England, through the civilized world. The shot did not
at once prove fatal; but that only made the cruelty of the deed the
more intense. For eleven weeks through the heat of summer (July 2 till
September 19) the President’s life trembled in the balance. He bore his
sufferings with marvellous patience and fortitude. The calamity brought
out the manly strength and the simple beauty of his character with the
brilliancy of sunset.

            “In the reproof of chance
    Lies the true proof of men.”

Seldom if ever before has there been so striking an instance of
misfortune raising a good man to world-wide renown. Hardly less
beautiful than the President’s cheerful endurance was the heroic
devotion of his wife. “It is no exaggeration to say,” said Mr.
James Russell Lowell, the American Minister in London, “that the
recent profoundly-touching spectacle of womanly devotedness, in its
simplicity, its constancy, and its dignity, has moved the heart of
mankind in a manner without any precedent in living memory.”

During the whole of these “eleven agonizing weeks” the bed of the
dying President was the centre of interest to men and women of all
ranks in both hemispheres. “The whole civilized world,” said Mr.
Lowell, “gathered about it; and in the breathless suspense of anxious
solicitude listened to the difficult breathing, counted the fluttering
pulse, was cheered by the momentary rally, and saddened by the
inevitable relapse.”

At length the end came with startling suddenness. It was followed by a
universal wail. All humanity mourned, as if it had lost a brother. The
sentiment pervaded all classes, from crowned heads to humble peasants.
The Queen of England was foremost in her offers of sympathy, not only
with the sorrowing widow and mother, but also with the bereaved nation;
and stanch Republicans were fain to acknowledge “how true a woman’s
heart may beat under the royal purple.” The English Court was ordered
to go into mourning, as for one of royal blood and ancient lineage.
The act was as graceful and as wise as it was unprecedented. The head
of the young Republic was, by the spontaneous act of the head of the
ancient Kingdom, recognized in his due place as one of the community of
monarchs and princes. A hundred years ago, who could have anticipated
such an event?

It would be a mistake to suppose that the death of President Garfield
created the warm feelings of sympathy between England and America which
the event revealed. It is true, however, that the event opened at once
the hearts and the eyes of both peoples, and brought to light the depth
and the strength of their brotherhood, in a way that nothing else could
have done. The brotherly feelings on the part of England were heartily
and even touchingly reciprocated in America. After the coffin of the
deceased President had been closed, only one wreath was allowed to
rest on it; and that was the wreath sent by the Queen of England. To
the world this was a token of peace and good-will firmly established
between England and America--of the oneness of the English-speaking
race, in their common homage to President and to Queen. If the result
shall be to strengthen permanently the bond between the kindred
peoples--to root out jealousies and smooth over asperities, to
produce generosity in the midst of rivalry and co-operation in good
works--President Garfield will not have died in vain.

“He was no common man,” said Mr. Lowell, in his graceful and eloquent
panegyric, “who could call forth, and justly call forth, an emotion so
universal, an interest so sincere and so human.” And that is no common
country which can produce such a man, and give him the opportunity
of achieving greatness. Garfield’s career teaches many lessons; but
it shows nothing more clearly than the great possibilities which his
country opens up to honesty and persevering labour. “The poor lad who
at thirteen could not read, dies at fifty the tenant of an office
second in dignity to none on earth; and the world mourns his loss as
that of a personal relative.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The soil out of which such men as he were made is good to be born on,
good to live on, good to die for and to be buried in.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The peace and naturalness with which Vice-President Arthur at once
succeeded to the presidential functions, without shock to the political
system and without detriment to the national honour, justifies the
pride of the Americans in the stability of their institutions.


[1] During the ten years, from 1840 to 1850, the annual export of
slaves from the Border States to the South averaged 23,500. These,
at an average value of £150, amounted to three million and a quarter

[2] The local indebtedness of America has increased largely since the
war, and is now equal to one-half of the Federal debt. In many of
the States the Constitution now prohibits the State Legislature from
contracting debt excepting for war and other urgent purposes. There
is a growing opinion that this wise restriction should be universally

[3] State and county taxation in the west ranges from five to
twenty-five cents per acre--2½d. to 12½d. National taxation is in
America 20s., and in Britain 47s. 2d., for each of the population.

[4] Wheat is now carried from Chicago to New York by lake and canal for
2s. 6d. per quarter, and by rail for 4s. From the northern parts of
Minnesota carriage to New York is 8s. per quarter.

[5] The American average is fourteen bushels of wheat per acre; the
English average is twenty-eight bushels; the Scotch average, under high
farming, is thirty-four bushels.

[6] Equal to three times the area of Great Britain.

[7] To the north of Minnesota and across the Canadian frontier lies the
province of Manitoba, a section of the North-West Territories recently
acquired by the Canadian Government from the Hudson Bay Company. In the
capability of a large portion of its soil to produce wheat Manitoba is
unsurpassed, perhaps unequalled, by any part of the world. An active
immigration is in progress: during the year 1879, when navigation was
open, the daily arrivals numbered four hundred. When communication by
rail and river is more adequate, Manitoba may be expected to take the
highest place as a wheat-producing country.

[8] The use of animal-power was not confined to America. In England
the earliest of Cartwright’s power-looms are said to have owed their
movement to the labour of a bull.

[9] “We regard [the education of the people] as a wise and liberal
system of police by which property and life and the peace of society
are secured.”--_Daniel Webster._

[10] “This country with its institutions belongs to the people who
inhabit it.”--_President Lincoln._

[11] This short chapter has been added since the author’s death, by
another hand.




The dazzling success which had crowned the efforts of Columbus
awakened in Europe an eager desire to make fresh discoveries. Henry
VII. of England had consented to equip Columbus for his voyage; but
the consent was withheld too long, and given only when it was too
late. Lamenting now the great mischance by which the glory and the
profit of these marvellous discoveries passed away from him, Henry
lost no time in seeking to possess himself of such advantage as Spain
had not yet appropriated. There was living then in Bristol a Venetian
merchant named John Cabot. This man and his son Sebastian shared their
great countryman’s love of maritime adventure. [Sidenote: 1496 A.D.]
Under the patronage of the King, who claimed one-fifth of the gains
of their enterprise, they fitted out, at their own charge, a fleet of
six ships, and sailed westward into the ocean whose terrors Columbus
had so effectually tamed. They struck a northerly course, and reached
Newfoundland. [Sidenote: 1497 A.D.] Still bending northwards, they
coasted Labrador, hoping as Columbus did to gain an easy passage to
the East. They pierced deeper into the unknown north than any European
had done before. But day by day, as they sailed and searched, the cold
became more intense; the floating masses of ice became more frequent
and more threatening; the wished-for opening which was to conduct them
to Cathay did not reveal itself. Cabot, repulsed by unendurable cold,
turned and sought the more genial south. He steered his course between
the island of Newfoundland and the mainland, and explored with care
the gulf afterwards called by the name of St. Lawrence. Still moving
southwards, he passed bleak and desolate coasts which to-day are the
home of powerful communities, the seat of great and famous cities.
He had looked at the vast sea-board which stretches from Labrador to
Florida. He had taken no formal possession; his foot had scarcely
touched American soil. But when he reported to Henry what he had seen,
the King at once claimed the whole as an English possession.

Many years passed before the claim of England was heard of any more.
The stormy life of Henry came to its close. His son, around whose
throne there surged the disturbing influences of the Reformation, and
who was obliged in this anxious time to readjust the ecclesiastical
relations of himself and of his people, had no thought to spare for
those distant and unknown regions. The fierce Mary was absorbed in the
congenial employment of trampling out Protestantism by the slaughter
of its followers. The America upon which John Cabot--now an almost
forgotten name--had looked fourscore years before, was nearly as much
forgotten as its discoverer. But during the more tranquil reign of
Elizabeth there began that search for a north-west route to the East
which Europe has prosecuted from that time till now with marvellous
persistence and intrepidity. [Sidenote: 1576 A.D.] Martin Frobisher,
going forth on this quest, pierced further into the north than any
previous explorer had done. He looked again upon the bleak, ice-bound
coasts of Labrador and of southern Greenland. [Sidenote: 1583 A.D.]
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, acting under the Queen’s authority, visited
Newfoundland, and planted there an inconsiderable and unenduring
settlement. Another generation passed before England began to concern
herself about the shadowy and well-nigh forgotten claim which she had
founded upon the discoveries of John Cabot. It was indeed a shadowy
claim; but, even with so slender a basis of right, the power and
determination of England proved ultimately sufficient to establish and
maintain it against the world. The Pope had long ago bestowed upon the
Kings of Spain and Portugal the whole of the New World, with all its
“cities and fortifications;” but England gave no heed to the enormous
pretension which even France refused to acknowledge.[12]

Meanwhile, disregarding the dormant claims of England, France had made
some progress in establishing herself upon the new continent. She too
had in her service a mariner on whose visit to the West a claim was
founded. Thirty years after Cabot’s first voyage, John Verazzani--an
Italian, like most of the explorers--sailed from North Carolina to
Newfoundland; scenting, or believing that he scented, far out at sea
the fragrance of southern forests; welcomed by the simple natives of
Virginia and Maryland, who had not yet learned to dread the terrible
strangers who brought destruction to their race; visiting the Bay of
New York, and finding it thronged with the rude and slender canoes
of the natives; looking with unpleased eye upon the rugged shores of
Massachusetts and Maine, and not turning eastward till he had passed
for many miles along the coast of Newfoundland. When Verazzani reported
what he had done, France assumed, too hastily as the event proved, that
the regions thus explored were rightfully hers.

But her claim obtained a more substantial support than the hasty visit
of Verazzani was able to bestow upon it. [Sidenote: 1534 A.D.] Ten
years later, Jacques Cartier, a famous sea-captain, sailed on a bright
and warm July day into the gulf which lies between Newfoundland and
the mainland. He saw a great river flowing into the gulf with a width
of estuary not less than one hundred miles. It was the day of St.
Lawrence, and he opened a new prospect of immortality for that saint by
giving his name to river and to gulf. He erected a large cross, thirty
feet high, on which were imprinted the insignia of France; and thus he
took formal possession of the country in the King’s name. He sailed
for many days up the river, between silent and pathless forests; past
great chasms down which there rolled the waters of tributary streams;
under the gloomy shadow of huge precipices; past fertile meadow-lands
and sheltered islands where the wild vine flourished. The Indians in
their canoes swarmed around the ships, giving the strangers welcome,
receiving hospitable entertainment of bread and wine. At length they
came where a vast rocky promontory, three hundred feet in height,
stretched far into the river. Here the chief had his home; here, on
a site worthy to bear the capital of a great State, arose Quebec;
here, in later days, England and France fought for supremacy, and it
was decided by the sword that the Anglo-Saxon race was to guide the
destinies of the American continent.

Cartier learned from the Indians that, much higher up the river, there
was a large city, the capital of a great country; and the enterprising
Frenchman lost no time in making his way thither. Standing in the midst
of fields of Indian corn, he found a circular enclosure, strongly
palisaded, within which were fifty large huts, each the abode of
several families. This was Hochelaga, in reality the capital of an
extensive territory. Hochelaga was soon swept away; and in its place,
a century later, Jesuit enthusiasts established a centre of missionary
operations under the protection of the Holy Virgin. It too passed
away, to be succeeded by the city of Montreal, the seat of government
of an Anglo-Saxon nation.

The natives entertained Cartier hospitably, and were displeased that
he would not remain longer among them. He returned to Quebec to winter
there. Great hardships overtook him. The winter was unusually severe;
his men were unprovided with suitable food and clothing. Many died; all
were grievously weakened by exposure and insufficient nourishment; and
when their condition was at the lowest, Cartier was led to suspect that
the natives meditated treachery. So soon as the warmth of spring thawed
the frozen river, Cartier sailed for France, lawlessly bearing with
him, as a present to the King, the chief and three natives of meaner

The results of Carrier’s visits disappointed France. A country which
lies buried under deep snow for half the year had no attractions for
men accustomed to the short and ordinarily mild winters of France. The
King expected gold and silver mines and precious stones; but Cartier
brought home only a few savages and his own diminished and diseased
band of followers. There were some, however, to whom the lucrative
trade in furs was an object of desire; there were others, in that
season of high-wrought religious zeal, who were powerfully moved to
bear the Cross among the heathens of the West. Under the influence
of these motives, feeble efforts at colonization were from time to
time made. The fishermen of Normandy and Brittany resorted to the
shores of Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and plied their
calling there with success such as had not rewarded their efforts in
European waters. The persecuted Calvinists sought to give effect to a
proposal made by Admiral Coligny, and find rest from the malignity of
their enemies among the forests of Canada. But the French have little
aptitude for colonizing. Down far beyond the close of the century
France had failed to establish any permanent footing on the American
continent. A few mean huts at Quebec, at Montreal, and at two or three
other points, were all that remained to represent the efforts and the
sufferings of nearly a hundred years. There is evidence that in the
year 1629 “a single vessel” was expected to take on board “all the
French” in Canada; and the vessels of those days were not large.



The fierce strifes which raged between Catholic and Protestant during
the latter half of the sixteenth century engrossed the mind of France
to the exclusion of all that concerned her remote and discouraging
possession. But while the strong hand of Henry IV. held the reins of
government, these strifes were calmed. The hatred remained, ready to
break forth when circumstances allowed; but meantime the authority
of the King imposed salutary restraint upon the combatants, and the
country had rest. During this exceptional quiet the project of founding
a New France on the gulf and river of St. Lawrence again received

Among the favourite servants of the King was Samuel de Champlain. This
man was a sailor from his youth, which had been passed on the shores
of the Bay of Biscay. He had fought for his King on sea and on land.
He was brave, resolute, of high ability, of pure and lofty impulses,
combining the courage with the gentleness and courtesy of the true
knight-errant. In him there survived the passionate love of exploring
strange lands which prevailed so widely among the men of a previous
generation. He foresaw a great destiny for Canada, and he was eager
to preserve for France the neglected but magnificent heritage. Above
all, he desired to send the saving light of faith to the red men of the
Canadian forests; for although a bigoted Catholic, he was a sincere
Christian. “The salvation of one soul,” he was accustomed to say, “is
of more value than the conquest of an empire.”

This man was the founder of Canada. During thirty years he toiled
incessantly to plant and foster settlements, to send out missionaries,
to repel the inroads of the English, to protect the rights of France
in the fur-trade and in the fisheries of Newfoundland. The immediate
success which attended his labours was inconsiderable. His settlements
refused to make progress; the savage tribes for whose souls he cared
were extirpated by enemies whose hostility he had helped to incur; the
English destroyed ships which were bringing him supplies; they besieged
and captured Quebec itself. He died without seeing the greatness of the
colony which he loved, but which, nevertheless, owed the beginnings of
its greatness to him.

One of the earliest concerns of Champlain was to choose a site for
the capital of the French empire in the West. As Cartier had done
three-quarters of a century before, he chose the magnificent headland
of Quebec. [Sidenote: 1608 A.D.] At the foot of the rock he erected
a square of buildings, enclosing a court, surrounded by a wall and a
moat, and defended by a few pieces of cannon. This rude fort became the
centre of French influence in Canada during the next hundred and fifty
years, till the English relieved France of responsibility and influence
on the American continent.

Champlain received cordial welcome from the Huron Indians, who were his
neighbours. These savages were overmatched by their ancient enemies
the Iroquois, and they besought the Frenchmen to lend them the help
of their formidable arms. Champlain consented--moved in part by his
love of battle, in part by his desire to explore an unknown country.
He and some of his men accompanied his new allies on their march.
The Iroquois warriors met them confidently, expecting the customary
victory. They were received with a volley of musketry, which stretched
some on the ground, and caused panic and flight of the whole force. But
Champlain had reason to regret the foreign policy which he had adopted.
The Hurons took many prisoners, whom, as their practice was, they
proceeded to torture to death. In a subsequent expedition the allies
were defeated, and Champlain himself was wounded--circumstances which,
for a time, sensibly diminished his authority. And the hostility of the
Iroquois, thus unwisely provoked, resulted in the utter destruction of
the Hurons, and involved the yet unstable colony in serious jeopardy.

Champlain enjoyed the support of King Henry IV., who listened to
his glowing accounts of the country in which he was so profoundly
interested, who praised the wisdom of his government, and encouraged
him to persevere. But despite of royal favour, his task was a heavy
one. There were in his company both Romanists and Calvinists, who
bore with them into the forest the discords which then made France
miserable. Champlain tells that he has seen a Protestant minister and
a curé attempting to settle with blows of the fist their controversial
differences. Such occurrences, he points out, were not likely to
yield fruit to the glory of God among the infidels whom he desired to
convert. At home his prerogatives were the playthings of political
parties. To-day he obtained vast powers and rich grants of land;
to-morrow some court intrigue swept these all away. There was an
“Association of Merchants” who had received a valuable trading monopoly
under pledge that they would send out men to colonize and priests to
instruct. But the faithless merchants sought only to purchase furs at
low prices from the Indians. It was to their advantage that the Indian
and the wild creatures which he pursued should continue to occupy
the continent, undisturbed by the coming in of strangers. And thus
they thwarted to the utmost all Champlain’s efforts. In defiance of
authority, they paid in fire-arms and brandy for the furs which were
brought to them; and the red men, whose souls Champlain so earnestly
desired to save, were being corrupted and destroyed by the greed of his

Some years after Champlain’s first expedition, a few Englishmen landed
in mid-winter on the coast of Massachusetts, and, without help of kings
or nobles, began to grow strong by their own inherent energy and the
constant accession to their number of persons dissatisfied at home. It
was not so with the French settlements on the St. Lawrence. Champlain
was continually returning to France to entreat the King for help; to
seek a new patron among the nobles; to compel the merchants to fulfill
their compact by sending out a few colonists. No Frenchman was desirous
to find a home beyond the sea; all bore in quietness a despotism worse
than that from which the more impatient Englishmen had fled. The
natural inaptitude of France for the work of colonizing was vividly
illustrated in the early history of Canada.

[Sidenote: 1629 A.D.] Near the close of Champlain’s life the capital of
the State which he had founded was torn away from him. An English ship,
commissioned by Charles I. and commanded by a piratical Scotchman,
appeared before the great rock of Quebec, and summoned the city to
surrender. Champlain, powerless to resist, yielded to fate and gave
up his capital. When the conquerors landed to seek the plunder for
which they had come, they found a few old muskets and cannon and fifty
poorly-fed men. The growth of twenty years had done no more for Quebec
than this.

The loss of Canada caused no regret in France. There were public men
who regarded that loss as in reality a gain, and advised that France
should make no effort to regain her troublesome dependency. But
Champlain urged upon the Government the great value of the fur trade
and fisheries; he showed that the difficulties of the settlement were
now overcome, and that progress in the future must be more rapid than
in the past; he pled that the savages who were beginning to receive
the light of the true faith should not be given over to heretics.
[Sidenote: 1632 A.D.] His urgency prevailed; and England, not more
solicitous to keep than France was to regain this unappreciated
continent, readily consented that it should be restored to its former

Three years afterwards Champlain died. He saw nothing of the greatness
for which he had prepared the way. The colonists numbered yet only a
few hundreds. The feeble existence of the settlement depended upon the
good-will of the Englishmen who were their neighbours on the south,
and of the fierce savages who lived in the forests around them. But
Champlain was able to estimate, in some measure, the results of the
work which he had done. He sustained himself to the end with the
hope that the Canada which he loved would one day be prosperous and
strong--peopled by good Catholics from France, and by savages rescued
from destruction by baptism and the exhibition of the cross.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Canada of Champlain’s day was a region stretching thirteen hundred
miles northward from the frontier line of the New England settlements,
and seven hundred miles westward from the mouth of the St. Lawrence.
Besides Canada, France possessed Newfoundland and Nova Scotia; and
she claimed all the unknown territory to the north, the character and
extent of which were veiled from human knowledge by cold so intense
that men had not yet dared to encounter it. The great river with
its tributaries, and the vast lakes out of which it flows, opened
convenient access into the heart of the country, and made commerce
easy. On the high lands were dense forests of oak and pine and maple;
beech, chestnut, and elm. In the plains were great areas of rich
agricultural land capable of supporting a large population, but useless
as yet; for the Indians deemed agriculture effeminate, and chose to
live mainly by the chase. The climate is severe and the winter long,
especially towards the mouth of the St. Lawrence, where at certain
seasons the cold becomes greater than the human frame can endure.
Everywhere the heat of summer is great, and the transition from the
fierce extreme of cold to the warmth of the delightful Canadian spring
is sudden. The desolate woods burst into rich green foliage; the
valleys clothe themselves as by magic with grass and flowers. The great
heat of summer follows with equal suddenness, and the harvest of grain
or of fruits ripens as quickly as it sprang.

The cold of the Canadian winter was greatly more influential than the
heat of the Canadian summer in fixing the character and pursuits of
the savages who occupied the country. In a climate where frost rends
asunder rocks and trees, and gives to iron power to burn as if it were
red hot, life could not be sustained without a special defence against
the intolerable severity. Nature had amply provided for the welfare of
the wild creatures which she had called into being. The buffalo and
musk ox which wandered over the plains were endowed with masses of
shaggy hair which defied the cold even of a Canadian winter. The bear
which prepared for himself a resting-place in the hollow trunk of an
old tree, where he could sleep out the tedious months of frost, was
clothed suitably to his circumstances. The beaver which built his house
in the centre of Canadian streams was wrapped in rich, warm, glossy
fur. The fox, the wolverine, the squirrel, and many others, enjoyed
the same effective protection. The Indians needed the skins of these
creatures for clothing, their flesh for food. And thus it came to pass
that the French found in Canada only wild things, which walked the
forests in coverings of beautiful and valuable fur; and human beings,
but one degree higher in intelligence, who lived by slaying them.
One of the strongest impulses which drew Europeans to Canada was not
her rich soil, nor the timber of her inexhaustible forests, nor her
treasures of copper and of iron, but the skins of the beasts which
frequented her valleys and her woods.

Numerous tribes of savages inhabited the Canadian wilderness. They
ordinarily lived in villages built of logs, and strongly palisaded
to resist the attack of enemies. They were robust and enduring, as
the climate required; daring in war, friendly and docile in peace.
The torture of an enemy was their highest form of enjoyment: when
the victim bore his sufferings bravely, the youth of the village ate
his heart in order that they might become possessed of his virtues.
They had orators, politicians, chiefs skilled to lead in their rude
wars. Most of their weapons were of flint. They felled the great
pines of their forests with stone axes supplemented by the use of
fire. Their canoes were made of the bark of birch or elm. They wore
breastplates of twigs. It was their habit to occupy large houses, in
some of which as many as twenty families lived together without any
separation. Licentiousness was universal and excessive. Their religion
was a series of grovelling superstitions. There was not in any Indian
language a word to express the idea of God: their heaven was one vast
banqueting-hall where men feasted perpetually.

The origin of the American savage awakened at one time much controversy
among the learned. Had there been a plurality of creative acts? Had
Europeans at some remote period been driven by contrary winds across
the great sea? If not, where did the red man arise, and by what means
did he reach the continent where white men found him? When these
questions were debated, it was not known how closely Asia and America
approach each other at the extreme north. A narrow strait divides the
two continents, and the Asiatic savage of the far north-east crosses
it easily. The red men are Asiatics, who, by a short voyage without
terrors to them, reached the north-western coasts of America, and
gradually pushed their way over the continent. The great secret which
Columbus revealed to Europe had been for ages known to the Asiatic
tribes of the extreme north.



The Reformation had made so large progress in France that at the
beginning of the seventeenth century the Protestants were able
to regard themselves as forming one-half of the nation. They had
accomplished this progress in the face of terrible difficulties. The
false maxim prevailed in France, as in other countries, that as there
was but one king and one government, there should be but one faith.
Vast efforts were made to regain this lost uniformity. The vain pursuit
cost France thirty-five years of civil war, and two million French
lives. At its close half her towns were in ashes; her industries
had perished; her fields were desolated. The law gave no protection
to Protestants: a Catholic noble riding with his followers past a
Protestant meeting-place occasionally paused to slaughter the little
congregation, and then resumed his journey, not doubting that he had
done to God and to the State an acceptable service. The Protestants
undertook their own armed defence; made laws for themselves; maintained
in so far as it was possible a government distinct from that of their
persecutors. There were two nations of not extremely unequal strength
living on the soil of France, with fierce mutual hatred raging in
their hearts, and finding expression in incessant war, assassination,
massacre. [Sidenote: 1598 A.D.] At length these horrors were allayed
by the Edict of Nantes, which conceded full liberty of conscience.
The Pope cursed this hateful concession; but the strong arm of Henry
IV. maintained it. For a time the ferocity of religious strife was
mitigated, and the adherents of the new faith enjoyed unwonted calm.

The sword was no longer a weapon of theological war; the deep and
irrepressible antagonism of the old and the new beliefs found
now its inadequate expression by pen and by speech. The interest
which prevailed regarding disputed ecclesiastical questions became
exceptionally strong. Theological dogmas filled an influential place
in the politics of the time. The Protestant Synod adopted in its
Confession of Faith an article which charged the Pope with being
Antichrist. His Holiness manifested “a grand irritation;” the King
declared that this article threatened to destroy the peace of the
kingdom. For four years a fierce contest raged, till another Synod
withdrew the offending article by express order of the King, after
having with unanimous voice declared that the charge was true.
Philippe de Mornay, one of the King’s most trusted advisers, and a
devoted adherent of Protestantism, had written a treatise against
the Real Presence, supporting his argument by five or six thousand
quotations, which he had laboriously gathered from the writings of the
early Fathers. One of the bishops impugned his accuracy, and Mornay
challenged him to a public discussion. The meeting-place was the grand
hall of the palace of Fontainebleau. The combatants debated in presence
of the King, before a brilliant audience of great officers of State, of
lords and ladies who formed the royal court, of all great dignitaries
of the kingdom. So effectively, for the time, had the Reformation and
its consequences dispelled the religious apathy of France.

It had, indeed, left unaffected the manners of a large portion of
French society. The great lords retained professional assassins among
their followers. It was as easy then to get the address of a stabber
or a poisoner as it is now to get that of a hotel. In the highest
places licentiousness was unconcealed and unrebuked. Crime associated
itself with superstition, and the courtiers made wax figures of their
enemies, which they transfixed with pins, hoping thus to destroy those
whom the figures represented. The religious zeal which burned in every
heart and retained its vigour amidst this enormous wickedness was
nowhere stronger than among the members of the Society of Jesus. It
moulded into very dissimilar forms, and guided into widely different
lines of action, those sworn servants of the Church. For the most
part it revealed itself in nothing higher than a readiness to serve
the purposes of the Church, however unworthy, by any conduct, however
criminal. But among the Jesuits too there were men of pure and noble
nature, whose religious zeal found its sole gratification in toil
and danger and self-sacrifice to promote the glory of God and save
perishing heathen souls.

Champlain had never ceased to press upon the spiritual chiefs of
France the claims of those savages for whose welfare he himself cared
so deeply. For many years he spoke almost in vain, and his toilsome
and frustrated career had nearly reached its close before the Jesuits
entered in good earnest upon the work of Indian conversion. [Sidenote:
1632 A.D.] Six priests and two lay-brothers, sworn to have no will but
that of their superiors, laid the foundation of the great enterprise.
Under the shadow of the rock on which Quebec stands arose a one-story
building of planks and mud, thatched with grass, and affording but poor
shelter from rain and wind. This was the residence of Our Lady of the
Angels--the cradle of the influence which was to change the savage red
men of Canada into followers of the Cross. The Father Superior of the
Mission was Paul le Jeune, a man devoted in every fibre of mind and
heart to the work on which he had come. He utterly scorned difficulty
and pain. He had received the order to depart for Canada “with
inexpressible joy at the prospect of a living or dying martyrdom.”
Among his companions was Jean de Brébœuf, a man noble in birth and
aspect, of strong intellect and will, of zeal which knew no limit, and
recognized no obstacle in the path of duty.

The winter was unusually severe. The snow-drift stood higher than the
roof of the humble Residence; the fathers, sitting by their log-fire,
heard the forest trees crack with loud report under the power of
intense frost. Le Jeune’s earliest care was to gain some knowledge of
the savage tongue spoken by the tribes around him. He was commended,
for the prosecution of that design, to a withered old squaw, who
regaled him with smoked eels while they conversed. After a time, he
obtained the services of an interpreter, a young Indian known as
Pierre, who could speak both languages. Pierre had been converted and
baptized; but the power of good influences within him was not abiding,
and his frequent backslidings grieved the Father Superior. A band
of savages invited Le Jeune to accompany them on a winter hunting
expedition; and he did so, moved by the hope that he might gain their
hearts as well as acquire their language. Among the supplies which
his friends persuaded him to carry, was a small keg of wine. Scarcely
had the expedition set out when the apostate Pierre found opportunity
to tap the keg, and appeared in the camp hopelessly and furiously
intoxicated. The sufferings of the good father from hunger and from
cold were excessive.[13] His success in instructing the savages was
not considerable. He endured much from Pierre’s brother, who followed
the occupation of sorcerer. This deceptive person, being employed to
assist Le Jeune in preparing addresses, constantly palmed off upon him
very foul words, which provoked the noisy mirth of the assembled wigwam
and grievously diminished the efficacy of his teaching. The missionary
regained his home at Quebec after five months of painful wandering.
He had accomplished little; but he had learned to believe that his
labour was wasted among these scanty wandering tribes, and that it
was necessary to find access to one of the larger and more stable
communities into which the Indians were divided.

Far in the west, beside a great lake of which the Jesuits had vaguely
heard, dwelt the Hurons, a powerful nation with many kindred tribes
over which they exercised influence. The Jesuits resolved to found a
mission among the Hurons. Once in every year a fleet of canoes came
down the great river, bearing six or seven hundred Huron warriors,
who visited Quebec to dispose of their furs, to gamble and to steal.
[Sidenote: 1634 A.D.] Brébœuf and two companions took passage with
the returning fleet, and set out for the dreary scene of their new
apostolate. The way was very long--scarcely less than a thousand miles;
it occupied thirty toilsome days. The priests journeyed separately,
and were able to hold no conversation with one another or with their
Indian companions. They were barefooted, as the use of shoes would
have endangered the frail bark canoe. Their food was a little Indian
corn crushed between two stones and mixed with water. At each of
the numerous rapids or falls which stopped their way, the voyagers
shouldered the canoe and the baggage and marched painfully through the
forest till they had passed the obstacle. The Indians were often spent
with fatigue, and Brébœuf feared that his strong frame would sink under
the excessive toil.

The Hurons received with hospitable welcome the black-robed strangers.
The priests were able to repay the kindness with services of high
value. They taught more effective methods of fortifying the town in
which they lived. They promised the help of a few French musketeers
against an impending attack by the Iroquois. They cured diseases; they
bound up wounds. They gave simple instruction to the young, and gained
the hearts of their pupils by gifts of beads and raisins. The elders
of the people came to have the faith explained to them: they readily
owned that it was a good faith for the French, but they could not be
persuaded that it was suitable for the red man. The fathers laboured
in hope, and the savages learned to love them. Their gentleness, their
courage, their disinterestedness, won respect and confidence, and they
had many invitations from chiefs of distant villages to come and live
with them. It was feared that the savages regarded them merely as
sorcerers of unusual power; and they were constantly applied to for
spells, now to give victory in battle, now to destroy grasshoppers.
They were held answerable for the weather; they had the credit or the
blame of what good or evil fortune befell the tribe. They laboured
in deep earnestness; for to them heaven and hell were very real, and
very near. The unseen world lay close around them, mingling at every
point with the affairs of earth. They were visited by angels; they were
withstood by manifest troops of demons. St. Joseph, their patron, held
occasional communication with them; even the Virgin herself did not
disdain to visit and cheer her servants. Once, as Brébœuf walked cast
down in spirit by threatened war, he saw in the sky, slowly advancing
towards the Huron territory, a huge cross, which told him of coming and
inevitable doom.

Some of their methods of conversion were exceedingly rude. A letter
from Father Garnier has been preserved in which pictures are ordered
from France for the spiritual improvement of the Indians. Many
representations of souls in perdition are required, with appropriate
accompaniment of flames and triumphant demons tearing them with
pincers. One picture of saved souls would suffice, and “a picture of
Christ without beard.”[14] They were consumed by a zeal for the baptism
of little children. At the outset the Indians welcomed this ceremonial,
believing that it was a charm to avert sickness and death. But when
epidemics wasted them they charged the calamity against the mysterious
operations of the fathers, and refused now to permit baptism. The
fathers recognized the hand of Satan in this prohibition, and refused
to submit to it. They baptized by stealth. A priest visited the hut
where a sick child lay--the mother watching lest he should perform the
fatal rite. He would give the child a little sugared water. Slyly and
unseen he dips his finger in the water, touches the poor wasted face,
mutters the sacramental words, and soon “the little savage is changed
into a little angel.”

The missionaries were subjected to hardship such as the human frame
could not long endure. They were men accustomed to the comforts and
refinements of civilized life; they had tasted the charms of French
society in its highest forms. Their associations now were with men
sunk till humanity could fall no lower. They followed the tribes in
their long winter wanderings in quest of food. They were in perils,
often from hunger, from cold, from sudden attack of enemies, from the
superstitious fears of those whom they sought to save. They slept on
the frozen ground, or, still worse, in a crowded tent, half suffocated
by smoke, deafened by noise, sickened by filth. Self-sacrifice more
absolute the world has never seen. A love of perishing heathen souls
was the impulse which animated them; a deep and solemn enthusiasm
upheld them under trials as great as humanity has ever endured.
That they were themselves the victims of erring religious belief is
most certain; but none the less do their sublime faith, their noble
devotedness, and patience and gentleness claim our admiration and our

[Sidenote: 1640 A.D.] The Huron Mission had now been established for
five years. During those painful years the missionaries had laboured
with burning zeal and absolute forgetfulness of self; but they had not
achieved any considerable success. The children whom they baptized
either died or they grew up in heathenism. There were some adult
converts, one or two of whom were of high promise; but the majority
were eminently disappointing. Once the infant church suffered a
grievous rent by the withdrawal of converts who feared a heaven in
which, as they were informed, tobacco would be denied to them. The
manners of the nation had experienced no amelioration. No limitation
in the number of wives had been conceded to the earnest remonstrances
of the missionaries. Captive enemies were still tortured and eaten by
the assembled nation. In time, the patient, self-denying labour of the
fathers might have won those discouraging savages to the Cross; but
a fatal interruption was at hand. A powerful and relentless enemy,
bent on extermination, was about to sweep over the Huron territory,
involving the savages and their teachers in one common ruin.

Thirty-two years had passed since those ill-judged expeditions in
which Champlain had given help to the Hurons against the Iroquois. The
unforgiving savages had never forgotten the wrong. A new generation
inherited the feud, and was at length prepared to exact the fitting
vengeance. The Iroquois had trading relations with the Dutchmen of
Albany on the Hudson, who had supplied them with fire-arms. About
one-half of their warriors were now armed with muskets, and were able
to use them. [Sidenote: 1642 A.D.] They overran the country of the
Hurons; they infested the neighbourhood of the French settlements.
Boundless forests stretched all around; on the great river forest trees
on both sides dipped their branches in the stream. When Frenchmen
travelled in the woods for a little distance from their homes, they
were set upon by the lurking savages and often slain; when they
sailed on the river, hostile canoes shot out from ambush. No man now
could safely hunt or fish or till his ground. The Iroquois attacked
in overwhelming force the towns of their Huron enemies; forced the
inadequate defences; burned the palisades and wooden huts; slaughtered
with indescribable tortures the wretched inhabitants. In one of
these towns they found Brébœuf and one of his companions. They bound
the ill-fated missionaries to stakes; they hung around their necks
collars of red-hot iron; they poured boiling water on their heads;
they cut stripes of flesh from their quivering limbs and ate them in
their sight. To the last Brébœuf cheered with hopes of heaven the
native converts who shared his agony. And thus was gained the crown of
martyrdom for which, in the fervour of their enthusiasm, these good men
had long yearned.

In a few years the Huron nation was extinct; famine and small-pox
swept off those whom the Iroquois spared. The Huron Mission was closed
by the extirpation of the race for whom it was founded. Many of the
missionaries perished; some returned to France. Their labour seemed
to have been in vain; their years of toil and suffering had left
no trace. It was their design to change the savages of Canada into
good Catholics, industrious farmers, loyal subjects of France. If
they had been successful, Canada would have attracted a more copious
immigration, and a New France might have been solidly established on
the American continent. The feudal system would have cumbered the
earth for generations longer; Catholicism, the irreconcilable enemy to
freedom of thought and to human progress, would have overspread and
blighted the valley of the St. Lawrence. For once the fierce Iroquois
were the allies and vindicators of liberty. Their cruel arms gave a new
course to Canadian history. They frustrated plans whose success would
have wedded Northern America to despotism in Church and in State. They
prepared a way for the conquest of New France by the English, and thus
helped, influentially, to establish free institutions over those vast
regions which lie to the northward of the Great Lakes.



The discovery of the Mississippi by Ferdinand de Soto was not
immediately productive of benefit. For nearly a century and a half
after this ill-fated explorer slept beneath the waters which he had
been the first to cross, the “Father of Rivers” continued to flow
through unpeopled solitudes, unvisited by civilized men. The French
possessed the valley of the St. Lawrence. The English had thriving
settlements on the Atlantic sea-board; but the Alleghany Mountains,
which shut them in on the west, allowed room for the growth of many
years, and there was yet therefore no reason to seek wider limits. The
valley of the Mississippi remained a hunting-ground for the savages who
had long possessed it.

In course of years it became evident that England and France must
settle by conflict their claims upon the American continent. The
English still maintained their right, originating in discovery, to
all the territory occupied by the French; and from time to time they
sent out expeditions to re-assert by invasion the dormant claim. To
the French, magnificent possibilities offered themselves. The whole
enormous line of the Mississippi and its tributaries, from the Great
Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, could be seized and held; a military
settlement could secure the mouth of the river; the English could be
hemmed in between the Alleghanies and the ocean, and the increase of
their settlements frustrated.

[Sidenote: 1671 A.D.] Nicholas Perrot, a French officer, met, on the
King’s business, a gathering of Indian delegates, at a point near the
northern extremity of Lake Michigan. There he was told of a vast river,
called by some Mechasepé, by others Mississippi. In what direction
it flowed the savages could not tell, but they were sure it did not
flow either to the north or to the east. The acute Frenchman readily
perceived that this mysterious stream must discharge its waters into
the Pacific or into the Gulf of Mexico, and that in either case its
control must be of high value to France.

[Sidenote: 1673 A.D.] An exploring party, composed of six men and
furnished with two slight bark canoes, undertook the search. They
ascended the Fox River from the point where it enters Lake Michigan;
they crossed a narrow isthmus; and launching upon the River Wisconsin,
they floated easily downwards till they came out upon the magnificent
waters of the Mississippi. Their joy was great: the banks of the
river seemed to their gladdened eyes rich and beautiful; the trees
were taller than they had ever seen before; wild cattle in vast herds
roamed over the flowery meadows of this romantic land. For many days
the adventurers followed the course of the river. They came where the
Missouri joins its waters to those of the Mississippi. They passed the
Ohio and the Arkansas, and looked with wonder upon the vast torrents
which reinforced the mighty river. They satisfied themselves that the
Mississippi fell into the Gulf of Mexico; and then, mistrusting the
good-will of the Spaniards, they turned back and toilsomely reascended
the stream.

[Sidenote: 1680 A.D.] Some years later, a young and energetic
Frenchman--Sieur de la Salle--completed the work which these explorers
had begun. The hope entertained by Columbus, that he would discover
a better route to the East, had only now, after two hundred years of
disappointment, begun to fade out of the hearts of his followers,
and it was still eagerly cherished by La Salle. He traversed the
Mississippi from the mouth of the Illinois River to the Gulf. He
saw the vast and dreary swamps which lie around the outlet of the
Mississippi. He erected a shield bearing the arms of France; he claimed
the enormous region from the Alleghany Mountains to the Pacific, from
the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, as the possession of the French

For a full half century France took no action to secure the vast
possession which she claimed. The later years of Louis XIV. were full
of disaster. England, persuaded by King William that French ambition
was a standing menace to Europe, waged wars which brought France to
the verge of ruin. Her colonial possessions could receive little care
when France was fighting for existence in Europe. [Sidenote: 1746 A.D.]
A wise Governor of Canada--the Compte de la Galissonnière--perceived
the rapid growth of the English settlements and the growing danger to
France which their superior strength involved. He proposed that the
line of the Mississippi should be fortified, and that ten thousand
peasants should be sent out to form settlements on the banks of
the great lakes and rivers. In time, the growing strength of these
settlements would give to France secure possession of the valley of
the Mississippi; while the English colonists, confined within the
narrow region eastward of the Alleghany Mountains, must lie exposed to
the damaging assault of their more powerful neighbours. So reasoned
the Governor; but his words gained no attention from the pre-occupied
Government of France. To the utmost of his means he sought to carry
out the policy which would preserve for France her vast American
possessions. He endeavoured to exclude English traders, and to persuade
the Indians to adopt a similar course. He marked out the confines of
French territory by leaden plates bearing the arms of France, sunk in
the earth or nailed upon trees. He brought a few settlers from Nova
Scotia. But all his efforts were in vain. The Anglo-Saxons were the
appointed rulers of the American continent; and the time was near when,
brushing aside the obstruction offered by Frenchmen and by Indians,
they were to enter into full possession of their magnificent heritage.



The first English settlement which became permanent in Virginia was
founded in 1606. Seven years later--while the settlement was still
struggling for existence--the colonists began to form purposes of
aggression against their still feebler neighbours in the far north. It
was their custom to send annually to the great banks of Newfoundland
a fleet of fishing-boats under convoy of an armed ship. Once the
commander of this escort was a warlike person named Samuel Argall,
whose lofty aims could not be restricted to the narrow sphere which
had been assigned to him. While the boats which were his charge
industriously plied their calling, Argall turned his thoughts to the
larger pursuit of national aggrandizement. [Sidenote: 1613 A.D.] He
affirmed the right of England to all the lands in his neighbourhood.
The French had an armed vessel on the coast: Argall attacked and
captured her. The French had formed a very feeble settlement on
Penobscot Bay: Argall landed and laid in ruins the few buildings which
composed it. He crammed seventeen of his prisoners into an open boat
and turned them adrift at sea. The others were carried to Jamestown,
where they came near to being hanged as pirates.

Thus early and thus lawlessly opened the strife which was to close,
a century and a half later, with the victory of the English on the
Heights of Abraham and the expulsion of French rule from the American
continent. During the greater portion of that time England and France
were at war, and the infant settlements of Acadie and Canada formed
a natural prey to English adventurers. [Sidenote: 1628 A.D.] King
James bestowed Acadie upon a countryman whom he befriended, and this
new proprietor sent out a fleet to establish his claims. The lawless
commander of this expedition did not scruple, in a time of peace, to
possess himself of Quebec. Three times the English took Acadie: once
they held it jointly with France for eleven years; then they restored
it. [Sidenote: 1713 A.D.] Finally, it became theirs by the Treaty of
Utrecht, and was henceforth known as Nova Scotia. As the New England
colonies increased in strength they waged independent war with Canada.
[Sidenote: 1664 A.D.] A little farther on the English conquered New
York, and gradually extended their occupation northward to the Great
Lakes. The Frenchmen of the St. Lawrence were their natural enemies.
The English sought to possess themselves of the Canadian fur trade,
and to that end made alliance with the Iroquois Indians, who were then
a controlling power in the valley of the Hudson. There were perpetual
border wars--cruel and wasteful. Often the Englishmen of New York
attacked the Frenchmen of Canada; still more frequently they stimulated
the Indians to hostility. Always there was strife, which made the
colonies weak, and often threatened their extinction. It was not at
first that England cared to possess Canada; it was rather that she
could not witness the undisturbed possession by France of any territory
which France seemed to prize.

As years passed and the enormous value to European Powers of the
American continent was more fully discovered, the inevitable conflict
awakened fiercer passions and called forth more energetic effort. The
English were resolute to frequent the valley of the Ohio for trading
purposes; the French were resolute to prevent them. Governors of the
English colonies, scorning the authority of France, granted licences
to traders; when traders bearing such licences appeared on the banks
of the Ohio, they were arrested and their goods were confiscated. The
English highly resented these injuries. Attempts were made to reach
a pacific adjustment of disputes, and commissioners met for that
purpose. But the temper of both nations was adverse to negotiation; the
questions which divided them were too momentous. It was the destiny of
a continent which the rival powers now debated. Men have not even yet
found that the peaceable settlement of such questions is possible.

The English colonies had increased rapidly, and now contained a
population upwards of a million. From France there had been almost no
voluntary emigration, and the valley of the St. Lawrence was peopled
to the extent of only sixty-five thousand. The English were strong
enough to trample out their rivals. But they were scattered at vast
distances, and conflicting opinions hindered them from uniting their
strength. [Sidenote: 1754 A.D.] And France, at this time, began to send
out copious military stores and reinforcements, as if in preparation
for immediate aggression. The two countries were still at peace, but
the inevitable conflict was seen to be at hand. The English Governors
begged earnestly for the help of regular soldiers, in whose prowess
they had unbounded confidence. Two regiments were granted to their
prayers, and they themselves provided a strong body of bold but
imperfectly disciplined troops. They were too powerful to wait for the
coming of the enemy. A campaign was designed whose success would have
shaken the foundations of French authority on the continent. One army
under General Braddock was to cross the Alleghany Mountains and destroy
Fort du Quesne, the centre of French power on the Ohio. Two armies
would operate against the French forts on the Great Lakes; yet another
force moved against the French settlements in the Bay of Fundy. To
crown the whole, a British fleet cruised off the banks of Newfoundland
watching the proceedings of a rival force.

[Sidenote: 1755 A.D.] Ruin, speedy and complete, overwhelmed the
unwisely-guided armament which followed General Braddock through the
Virginian forests.[15] In the north there were fought desperate and
bloody battles. The English forced on board their ships three thousand
French peasants--peaceful inhabitants of Nova Scotia--and scattered
them among the southern colonies. The Indian allies of the French
surprised many lonely hamlets, slaughtered many women and children,
tortured to death many fighting-men. The English fleet captured two
French ships. But no decisive advantage was gained on either side.
The problem of American destiny was solving itself according to the
customary methods--by the desolation of the land, by the slaughter and
the anguish of its inhabitants; but the results of this bloody campaign
did not perceptibly hasten the solution after which men so painfully

During the next two years success was mainly with the French. The
English were without competent leadership. An experienced and skilled
officer--the Marquis de Montcalm--commanded the French, and gained
important advantage over his adversaries. He took Fort William Henry,
and his allies massacred the garrison. He took and destroyed two
English forts on Lake Ontario. He made for himself at Ticonderoga a
position which barred the English from access to the western lakes.
The war had lasted for nearly three years; and Canada not merely kept
her own, but, with greatly inferior resources, was able to hold her
powerful enemy on the defensive.

But now the impatient English shook off the imbecile Government under
which this shame had been incurred, and the strong hand of William
Pitt assumed direction of the war. [Sidenote: 1757 A.D.] When England
took up in earnest the work of conquest, France could offer but
feeble resistance. The Canadians were few in number, and weakened
by discontent and dissension. Their defensive power lay in a few
inconsiderable forts, a few thousand French soldiers, and five ships of
war. The insignificance of their resources had been concealed by the
skilful leadership of Montcalm.

Pitt proposed, as the work of the first campaign, to take
Louisburg--the only harbour which France possessed on the Atlantic; to
take Fort du Quesne, in the valley of the Ohio; and Ticonderoga, in
the north. He was able to accomplish more than he hoped. Louisburg was
taken; Cape Breton and the island of St. John became English ground.
Communication between France and her endangered colony was henceforth
impossible. The French ships were captured or destroyed, and the flag
of France disappeared from the Canadian coast. Fort du Quesne fell into
English hands, and assumed the English name of Pittsburg, under which
it has become famous as a centre of peaceful industry. France had no
longer a footing in the Mississippi valley. [Sidenote: 1758 A.D.] At
Ticonderoga, incapable generalship caused shameful miscarriage: the
English attack failed, and a lamentable slaughter was sustained. But
the progress which had been made afforded ground to expect that one
campaign more would terminate the dominion of France on the American

The spirit of the British nation rose with the return of that success
to which they had long been strangers. Pitt laid his plans with
the view of immediate conquest. Parliament expressed strongly its
approbation of his policy and his management, and voted liberal sums to
confirm the zeal of the colonists. The people gave enthusiastic support
to the war. Their supreme concern for the time was to humble France by
seizing all her American possessions. The men of New England and New
York lent their eager help to a cause which was peculiarly their own.
The internal condition of Canada prepared an easy way for a resolute
invader. The harvest had been scanty; no supply could now be hoped for
from abroad, for the English ships maintained strict blockade; food was
scarce; a corrupt and unpopular Government seized, under pretence of
public necessity, grain which was needed to keep in life the families
of the unhappy colonists. There were no more than fifteen thousand
men fit to bear arms in the colony, and these were for the most part
undisciplined and reluctant to fight. The Governor vainly endeavoured
to stimulate their valour by fiery proclamations. The gloom and apathy
of approaching overthrow already filled their hearts.

[Sidenote: 1759 A.D.] It was the design of Pitt to attack
simultaneously all the remaining strongholds of France. An army of
eleven thousand men, moving northward from New York by the valley of
the Hudson, took with ease the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point;
and the fair region which lies around Lake Champlain and Lake George
passed for ever away from the dominion of France. A smaller force
attacked Fort Niagara, the sole representative now of French authority
on Lake Ontario. This stronghold fell, and France had no longer a
footing on the shores of the Great Lakes.

In the east the progress of the British arms was less rapid. Montcalm
held Quebec, strongly fortified, but insufficiently provided with food.
He had a force of twelve thousand men under his command--heartless and
ill-armed, and swarms of allied Indians lurked in the woods, waiting
their opportunity. Before Quebec there lay a powerful British fleet,
and a British army of eight thousand men. Pitt knew that here lay the
chief difficulty of the campaign; that here its crowning success must
be gained. He found among his older officers no man to whom he could
intrust the momentous task. Casting aside the routine which has brought
ruin upon so many fair enterprises, he promoted to the chief command a
young soldier of feeble health, gentle, sensitive, modest, in whom his
unerring perception discovered the qualities he required. That young
soldier was James Wolfe, who had already in subordinate command evinced
courage and high military genius. To him Pitt intrusted the forces
whose arms were now to fix the destiny of a continent.

The long winter of Lower Canada delayed the opening of the campaign,
and June had nearly closed before the British ships dropped their
anchors off the Isle of Orleans, and Wolfe was able to look at the
fortress which he had come to subdue. His survey was not encouraging.
The French flag waved defiantly over tremendous and inaccessible
heights, crowned with formidable works, which stretched far into the
woods and barred every way of approach. Wolfe forced a landing, and
established batteries within reach of the city. For some weeks he
bombarded both the upper and the lower town, and laid both in ruins.
But the defensive power of Quebec was unimpaired. The misery of the
inhabitants was extreme. “We are without hope and without food,” wrote
one: “God has forsaken us.” Regardless of their sufferings, the French
general maintained his resolute defence.

The brief summer was passing, and Wolfe perceived that no real progress
had been made. He knew the hopes which his countrymen entertained;
and he felt deeply that the exceptional confidence which had been
reposed in him called for a return of exceptional service. [Sidenote:
July 31, 1759 A.D.] He resolved to carry his men across the river and
force the French intrenchments. But disaster fell, at every point, on
the too hazardous attempt. His transports grounded; the French shot
pierced and sunk some of his boats; a heavy rain-storm damped the
ammunition of the troops; some of his best regiments, fired by the wild
enthusiasm of battle, dashed themselves against impregnable defences
and were destroyed. The assault was a complete failure, and the baffled
assailants withdrew, weakened by heavy loss.

The agony of mind which resulted from this disaster bore with crushing
weight upon Wolfe’s enfeebled frame, and for weeks he lay fevered and
helpless. During his convalescence he invited his officers to meet for
consultation in regard to the most hopeful method of attack. One of
the officers suggested, and the others recommended, a scheme full of
danger, but with possibilities of decisive success. It was proposed
that the army should be placed upon the high ground to the westward
of the upper town and receive there the battle which the French would
be forced to offer. The assailants were largely outnumbered by the
garrison; escape was impossible, and defeat involved ruin. But Wolfe
did not fear that the French could inflict defeat on the army which he
led. The enterprise had an irresistible attraction to his daring mind.
He trusted his soldiers, and he determined to stake the fortune of
the campaign upon their power to hold the position to which he would
conduct them.

The Heights of Abraham stretch westward for three miles from the
defences of the upper town, and form a portion of a lofty table-land
which extends to a distance from the city of nine miles. They are
from two to three hundred feet above the level of the river. Their
river-side is well-nigh perpendicular and wholly inaccessible, save
where a narrow footpath leads to the summit. It was by this path--on
which two men could not walk abreast--that Wolfe intended to approach
the enemy. The French had a few men guarding the upper end of the path;
but the guard was a weak one, for they apprehended no attack here.
Scarcely ever before had an army advanced to battle by a track so

[Sidenote: Sept. 12, 1759 A.D.] The troops were all received on board
the ships, which sailed for a few miles up stream. During the night
the men re-embarked in a flotilla of boats and dropped down with the
receding tide. They were instructed to be silent. No sound of oar
was heard, or of voice, excepting that of Wolfe, who in a low tone
repeated to his officers the touching, and in his own case prophetic,
verses of Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.” Quickly the
landing-place was reached, and the men stepped silently on shore. One
by one they climbed the narrow woodland path. As they neared the summit
the guard, in panic, fired their muskets down the cliff and fled. The
ships had now dropped down the river, and the boats plied incessantly
between them and the landing-place. All night long the landing
proceeded. The first rays of the morning sun shone upon an army of
nearly five thousand veteran British soldiers solidly arrayed upon the
Heights of Abraham, eager for battle and confident of victory. Wolfe
marched them forward till his front was within a mile of the city, and
there he waited the attack of the French.

Montcalm had been wholly deceived as to the purposes of the British,
and was unprepared for their unwelcome appearance on the Heights. He
had always shunned battle; for the larger portion of his troops were
Canadian militia, on whom little reliance could be placed. He held them
therefore within his intrenchments, and trusted that the approaching
winter would drive away the assailants and save Canada. Even now he
might have sheltered himself behind his defences, and delayed the
impending catastrophe. But his store of provisions and of ammunition
approached exhaustion; and as the English ships rode unopposed in the
river, he had no ray of hope from without. Montcalm elected that the
great controversy should be decided by battle and at once.

He marched out to the attack with seven thousand five hundred men,
of whom less than one-half were regular soldiers, besides a swarm
of Indians, almost worthless for fighting such as this. The French
advanced firing, and inflicted considerable loss upon their enemy. The
British stood immovable, unless when they silently closed the ghastly
openings which the bullets of the French created. At length the hostile
lines fronted each other at a distance of forty yards, and Wolfe gave
the command to fire. From the levelled muskets of the British lines
there burst a well-aimed and deadly volley. That fatal discharge gained
the battle, gained the city of Quebec--gained dominion of a continent.
The Canadian militia broke and fled. Montcalm’s heroic presence held
for a moment the soldiers to their duty; but the British, flushed with
victory, swept forward on the broken and fainting enemy: Montcalm fell
pierced by a mortal wound; the French army in hopeless rout sought
shelter within the ramparts of Quebec.

Both generals fell. Wolfe was thrice struck by bullets, and died upon
the field, with his latest breath giving God thanks for this crowning
success. Montcalm died on the following day, pleased that his eyes were
not to witness the surrender of Quebec. The battle lasted only for a
few minutes; and having in view the vast issues which depended on it,
the loss was inconsiderable. Only fifty-five British were killed and
six hundred wounded; the loss of the French was twofold that of their

A few days after the battle, Quebec was surrendered into the hands
of the conquerors. But the French did not at once recognize absolute
defeat. [Sidenote: 1760 A.D.] In the spring of the following year a
French army of ten thousand men gained a victory over the British
garrison of Quebec on the Heights of Abraham, and laid siege to the
city. But this appearance of reviving vigour was delusive. The speedy
approach of a few British ships broke up the siege and compelled a
hasty retreat. Before the season closed, a British army, which the
French had no power to resist, arrived before Montreal and received the
immediate surrender of the defenceless city. Great Britain received,
besides this, the surrender of all the possessions of France in Canada
from the St. Lawrence to the unknown regions of the north and the west.
The militia and the Indians were allowed to return unmolested to their
homes. The soldiers were carried back to France in British ships.
All civil officers were invited to gather up their papers and other
paraphernalia of government and take shipping homewards. For French
rule in Canada had ceased, and the Anglo-Saxon reigned supreme from
Florida to the utmost northern limit of the continent.



A century and a half had elapsed since Champlain laid the foundations
of French empire among the forests of the St. Lawrence valley. During
those years the nations of Western Europe were possessed by an eager
desire to extend their authority over the territories which recent
discovery had opened. On the shores of the Northern Atlantic there
were a New France, a New Scotland, a New England, a New Netherlands,
a New Sweden. Southwards stretched the vast domain for whose future
the occupation by Spain had already prepared deadly and enduring
blight. France and England contended for possession of the great Indian
peninsula. Holland and Portugal, with a vigour which their later years
do not exhibit, founded settlements alike in Eastern and in Western
seas, gaining thus expanded trade and vast increase of wealth.

France had shared the prevailing impulse, and put forth her strength
to establish in Canada a dominion worthy to bear her name. The wise
minister Colbert perceived the greatness of the opportunity, and spared
neither labour nor outlay to foster the growth of colonies which would
secure to France a firm hold of this magnificent territory. Successive
Kings lent aid in every form. Well-chosen Governors brought to the
colony every advantage which honest and able guidance could afford.
Soldiers were furnished for defence; food was supplied in seasons
of scarcity. A fertile soil and trading opportunities which were not
surpassed in any part of the continent, offered inducements fitted
to attract crowds of the enterprising and the needy. But under every
encouragement New France remained feeble and unprogressive. When she
passed under British rule, her population was scarcely over sixty
thousand, and had been for several years actually diminishing. Quebec,
her chief city, had barely seven thousand inhabitants; Montreal had
only four thousand. The rest of the people cultivated, thriftlessly,
patches of land along the shores of the great river and its affluents;
or found, like the savages around them, a rude and precarious
subsistence by the chase. The revenue of the colony was no more than
£14,000--a sum insufficient to meet the expenditure. Its exports were
only £115,000.

While France was striving thus vainly to plant in Canada colonies which
should bear her name and reinforce her greatness, some Englishmen who
were dissatisfied with the conditions of their life at home, began
to settle a few hundred miles away on the shores of the same great
continent. They had no encouragement from Kings or statesmen; the only
boon they gained, and even that with difficulty, was permission to
be gone. When famine came upon them, they suffered its pains without
relief; their own brave hearts and strong arms were their sufficient
defence. But their rise to strength and greatness was rapid. Within a
period of ten years twenty thousand Englishmen had found homes in the
American settlements. Before the seventeenth century closed, Virginia
alone contained a population larger than that of all Canada. When
the final struggle opened, the thirteen English colonies contained a
population of between two and three million to contrast with the poor
sixty thousand Frenchmen who were their neighbours on the north. The
greatness of the colonies can be best measured by a comparison with the
mother country. England was then a country of less than six million;
Scotland of one million; Ireland of two million.

The explanation of this vast difference of result between the efforts
of the English and those of the French to colonize the American
continent is to be found mainly in the widely different quality of the
two nations. England, in the words of Adam Smith, “bred and formed men
capable of achieving such great actions and laying the foundation of
so great an empire.” France bred no such men; or if she did so, they
remained at home unconcerned with the founding of empires abroad. The
Englishman who took up the work of colonizing, came of his own free
choice to make for himself a home; he brought with him a free and bold
spirit; a purpose and capacity to direct his own public affairs. The
Frenchman came reluctantly, thrust forth from the home he preferred,
and to which he hoped to return. He came, submissive to the tyranny
which he had not learned to hate. He was part of the following of a
great lord, to whom he owed absolute obedience. He did not care to till
the ground: he would hunt or traffic with the Indians in furs till the
happy day when he was permitted to go back to France. Great empires are
not founded with materials such as these.

But France was unfortunate in her system no less than in her men.
Feudalism was still in its unbroken strength. The soil of France was
still parcelled out among great lords, who rendered military service
to the King; and was still cultivated by peasants, who rendered
military service to the great lord. Feudalism was now carried into
the Canadian wilderness. Vast tracts of land were bestowed upon
persons of influence, who undertook to provide settlers. The seigneur
established his own abode in a strong, defensible position, and settled
his peasantry around him. They paid a small rent and were bound to
follow him to such wars as he thought good to wage, whether against
the Indians or the English. He reserved for his own benefit, or sold
to any who would purchase, the right to fish and to trade in furs;
he ground the corn of his tenantry at rates which he himself fixed.
He administered justice and punished all crimes excepting treason
and murder. When the feudal system was about to enter on its period
of decay in Europe, France began to lay upon that unstable basis the
foundation of her colonial empire.

The infant commerce of the colony was strangled by monopolies.
Great trading companies purchased at court, or favourites obtained
gratuitously, exclusive right to buy furs from the Indians and to
import all foreign goods used in the colonies--fixing at their
own discretion the prices which they were to pay and to receive.
Occasionally in a hard season they bought up the crops and sold them
at famine prices. The violation of these monopolies by unlicensed
persons was punishable by death. The colonists had no thought of
self-government; they were a light-hearted, submissive race, who were
contented with what the King was pleased to send them. Their officials
plundered them, and with base avarice wasted their scanty stores.
The people had no power for their own protection, and their cry of
suffering was slow to gain from the distant King that justice which
they were not able to enforce.

The priest came with his people to guard their orthodoxy in this new
land--to preserve that profound ignorance in which lay the roots of
their devotion. Government discouraged the printing-press; scarcely
any of the peasantry could so much as read. At a time when Connecticut
expended one-fourth of its revenues upon the common school, the
Canadian peasant was wholly uninstructed. In Quebec there had been,
almost from the days of Champlain, a college for the training of
priests. There and at Montreal were Jesuit seminaries, in which
children of the well-to-do classes received a little instruction. A
feeble attempt had been made to educate the children of the Indians;
but for the children of the ordinary working Frenchmen settled in
Canada no provision whatever had been made.

The influences which surrounded the infancy of the English colonies
were eminently favourable to robust growth. Coming of their own
free choice, the colonists brought with them none of the injurious
restraints which in the Old World still impeded human progress. The
burdensome observances of feudalism were not admitted within the new
empire. Every colonist was a landowner. In some States the settlers
divided among themselves the lands which they found unoccupied, waiting
no consent of King or of noble. In others, they received, for prices
which were almost nominal, grants of land from persons--as William
Penn, who had received large territorial rights from the sovereign. In
all cases, whether by purchase or by appropriation, they became the
independent owners of the lands which they tilled. At the beginning,
they were too insignificant to be regarded by the Government at home:
favoured by this beneficent neglect, they were allowed to conduct
in peace their own public affairs. As their importance increased,
the Crown asserted its right of control; but their exercise of the
privilege of self-government was scarcely ever interfered with. The
men who founded the New England States carried with them into the
wilderness a deep conviction that universal education was indispensable
to the success of their enterprise. While the French Canadian,
despising agriculture, roamed the forest in pursuit of game, ignorant
himself, and the father of ignorant children, the thoughtful New
England farmer was helping with all his might to build up a system of
common schools by which every child born on that free soil should be
effectively taught. Thus widely dissimilar were the methods according
to which France and England sought to colonize the lately-discovered
continent. An equally wide dissimilarity of result was inevitable.

It was in the closing years of the great experiment that France devised
the bold conception of establishing a line of military settlements on
the Mississippi as well as on the St. Lawrence,[16] and thus confining
the English between the Alleghany Mountains and the sea. In view of the
extreme inferiority of her strength, the project seems extravagant. It
was utterly impossible to restrain, by any forces which France could
command, the expansive energy of the English colonies. There were sixty
thousand Frenchmen proposing to imprison on the sea-coast two million
Englishmen. But the constitution of the French settlements, while it
enfeebled them and unfitted them to cope with their rivals in peaceful
growth, made them formidable beyond their real strength for purposes
of aggression. Canada was a military settlement; every Canadian was
a soldier, bound to follow to the field his feudal lord. The English
colonists were peaceful farmers or traders; they were widely scattered,
and living as they did under many independent governments, their
combination for any common warlike purpose was almost impossible. That
they should ultimately overthrow the dominion of their rivals was
inevitable; but if the French King had been able to reinforce more
liberally the arms of his Canadian subjects, the contest must have been
prolonged and bloody. Happily, his resources were taxed to the utmost
by the complications which surrounded him at home. The question as to
which race should be supreme on the American continent was helped to a
speedy solution on the battle-fields of the Seven Years’ War.



The condition of the Canadian people at the time of the conquest by the
English was exceedingly miserable. Every man was in the ranks, and the
fields on which their maintenance depended lay untilled. The lucrative
fur trade had ceased, for the Indian hunter and the French trader were
fighting against the English. The scanty revenues of the colony no
longer yielded support to the officers of the Government, who plundered
the wretched people without restraint of pity or of shame. Famine
prevailed, and found many victims among the women and children, who
were now the occupants of the neglected clearings along the river-banks.

At length the conquest was accomplished, and those sad years of
bloodshed closed. The French soldiers, the rapacious officials,
were sent home to France, where some of the worst offenders, it
is gratifying to know, found their way quickly to the Bastile.
The colonists laid down their arms, and returned gladly to their
long-disused industries. At first the simple people feared the
severities of the new authority into whose power they had fallen.
Some of them went home to France; but these were chiefly the
colonial aristocracy, whose presence had always been a misfortune.
The apprehensions of the settlers were soon allayed. They had been
accustomed to arbitrary and cruel government. The rack was in regular
use. Accused persons were habitually subjected to torture. Trials were
conducted in secret, and without opportunity of defence. The personal
liberty of every man depended upon the pleasure of his superiors.
English rule brought at once the termination of these wrongs, and
bestowed upon the submissive Canadians the unexpected blessings of
peace, security of person and property, and a pure administration of
justice. It had been feared that the great mass of the population
would leave the province and return to France. But the leniency of
the Government, and the open-handed kindness with which the urgent
necessities of the poor were relieved, averted any such calamity; and
the Frenchmen accepted, without repining, the new sovereignty which the
sword had imposed upon them.

The English Government naturally desired to foster the settlement
of an English population in Canada. It was not, at first, without
hesitation that Britain made up her mind to retain the territory for
whose possession she had fought so stoutly. The opinion was widely
entertained, especially among the trading class, that united North
America would quickly become too powerful to continue in dependence on
the mother country; that the subjection of our existing colonies would
be guaranteed by the wholesome presence of a rival and hostile power
on their northern frontier. But wiser views prevailed, and Britain
resolved to keep the splendid prize which she had won. Every effort was
made to introduce a British element which should envelop and ultimately
absorb the unprogressive French. Large inducements were offered
to traders, and to the fighting men whose services were no longer
required. Many of these accepted the lands which were offered to them,
and made their homes in Canada. The novelty of the acquisition, and the
interest which attached to the conquest, brought a considerable number
of settlers from the old country. The years immediately succeeding the
conquest were years of more rapid growth than Canada had experienced
under French rule. In twelve years the population had increased to one
hundred thousand. The clearings along the shores of the St. Lawrence
increased in number and in area, and stretched backward from the river
into the forest. The influx of merchants caused a notable increase of
the towns. Thus far no printing-press had been permitted on Canadian
soil; for despotism here, as well as elsewhere, demanded popular
ignorance as a condition of its existence. But scarcely had the French
officials departed when two enterprising men of Philadelphia arrived in
Quebec with a printing-press, and began the publication of a newspaper.

The war in Europe continued for upwards of three years after the
expulsion of the French from Canada. Wearied at length with the brutal
strife, the exhausted nations desired peace. France had suffered
enormous territorial losses. The disasters which had fallen on Spain
humbled her haughty spirit, and hastened the decay which was already in
progress. Austria and Prussia desired rest from a wasteful contest, in
the advantages of which they scarcely participated. The enormous gains
which Britain had secured satisfied for the time the ambition of her
people, and she was contented now that the sword should be sheathed.
[Sidenote: 1763 A.D.] Peace was concluded. Britain added to her
dominions several islands of the West Indies, the Floridas, Louisiana
to the Mississippi, Canada, and the islands in the Gulf of the St.
Lawrence, as well as Senegal. “Never,” said the lately-crowned George
III., “did England, nor, I believe, any other power in Europe, sign
such a peace.”

While the war still lasted, a military Government ruled Canada, and
justice was administered by councils of officers. When peace was
restored, and the transference of Canada was formally complete,
arrangements of a more permanent character became necessary. The
situation was full of difficulty. The colony was substantially French
and Roman Catholic; only a small minority of its people were English
and Protestant. These, however, looked with the pride of conquerors
upon the old settlers, and claimed that the institutions of the
colony should be framed wholly on English models. Wise statesmanship
in this eventful hour would have averted enfeebling divisions,
wasteful strifes, discontents swelling at length into rebellion. But
wise statesmanship was denied to Canada. [Sidenote: October, 1763
A.D.] There came a Proclamation in the King’s name, promising to the
people self-government such as the Americans enjoyed, so soon as the
circumstances of the colony permitted; briefly intimating that for
the present the laws of England were the laws of Canada. It was a
revolution scarcely surpassed in its violence and injustice; and in
its results it delayed for generations the progress of the colony. At
one stroke the laws which had been in force for a century and a half
were swept away. A new code of laws, entirely new methods of judicial
procedure, of which the people knew nothing, were now administered
in a language which scarcely any one understood. In their haste the
Government did not pause to consider that the laws which they had thus
suddenly imposed upon this Roman Catholic colony included severe penal
statutes against Catholics. It was desired that the laws, the language
and the customs of England should displace those of France, and that
the French settlers should become absorbed in the mass of anticipated
English immigration. In course of years, by wise and conciliatory
treatment, these results would have been gained; but the unredeemed
injustice of this assault upon the rights of the colonists postponed
for generations the hope of the desirable reconciliation. The French
took up at once the position of an oppressed people--holding themselves
studiously separate from their oppressors, cherishing feelings of
jealousy and antagonism. To uphold French customs, to reject the
English tongue, and if possible the English law--these were now the
evidences of true patriotism. Henceforth, and for many long and unquiet
years, there were two distinct and hostile nations dwelling side by
side in the valley of the St. Lawrence.

It was one of the unhappy results of these ill-considered arrangements
that no Frenchman could fill any public office, in consequence of his
ignorance of the language in which public business was conducted. All
such offices were therefore occupied by Englishmen. For the most part
the appointments were made in London, with small regard to the fitness
of the persons who received them. Men came out to administer the
affairs of Canada in absolute ignorance of the country, of the habits
of the people, even of the language which they spoke. These officials
received no salaries, but were suffered to indemnify themselves by
fees, which they exacted rapaciously and ruthlessly. They treated the
old inhabitants with harshness and irritating contempt. [Sidenote:
1766 A.D.] There were even darker charges than these preferred against
them, warranting the assertion of the good General Murray, who was then
Governor, that “they were the most immoral collection of men he ever
knew.” The conduct of these officials aggravated the alienation of the
French settlers, and helped to prepare the unquiet future through which
the colony was to pass.

But the French Canadians were a submissive people, and although they
perceived that they were wronged, they did not on that account turn
aside from the path of peaceful industry which opened before them.
Trade was prosperous, and steadily increasing; many persons who had
left the colony returned to it; agriculture extended; gradually the
deep wounds which years of war had inflicted were healed. The people
remained long profoundly ignorant. When Volney, the French traveller,
visited them towards the close of the century, he found that they
knew almost nothing of figures, and were incapable of the simplest
calculation. They indicated short distances by telling how many pipes a
man could smoke while he walked; a longer distance was that which a man
could or could not traverse between sunrise and sunset. But ignorance
did not prevent that patient, incessant toil, which year by year added
to their possessions and improved their condition.

In course of time a desire for representative institutions sprang up
among the English settlers. During all these years they had lived under
the despotic sway of a Governor and Council appointed by the Crown.
They alone among Englishmen were without part in their own government,
and they wished the odious distinction to cease. [Sidenote: 1773 A.D.]
They petitioned for the House of Assembly which the King had promised
them ten years before, and for the permanent establishment of English
law among them. The French were not sufficiently instructed to care for
representative government, but they earnestly desired the restoration
of the laws which had been so hastily abolished after the conquest.

It was during a season of anxiety and apprehension that these
conflicting opinions were pressed upon the attention of the British
Government. The differences which had arisen between England and her
American colonies were evidently now incapable of settlement otherwise
than by the sword. The men of Boston had already thrown into their
harbour the cargoes of taxed tea which England sought to force upon
them. All over New England men were hastening to obtain muskets and
to accomplish themselves in military drill. A strong English force,
which was being steadily increased, held Boston, and waited for the
expected strife. In view of impending war, it was the desire of the
English Government to satisfy Canada, and gain such support as she
was able to afford. The great mass of the Canadians were Frenchmen
and Roman Catholics.[17] It was not doubted that in course of years
men who were English and Protestant would form the population of
Canada. But the danger was present and urgent, and it must be met by
conciliating the men who now formed that population. [Sidenote: 1774
A.D.] An Act was passed by which the Proclamation of 1763 was repealed.
The Roman Catholic religion was set free from legal disability,
and reinstated in its right to exact tithes and other dues from all
persons who owned its sway. French civil law was reimposed, but the
barbarous criminal code of England was set up in preference to the
milder system of France. The House of Assembly was still denied, and
the province--extended now to the Ohio and the Mississippi--was to be
ruled by a Governor and Council appointed by the Crown, one-third of
the Council being composed of French Canadians. This was the Quebec
Act, under which Canada was governed for the next seventeen years. It
inflicted many evils upon the colony, but it served well the immediate
purpose for which it was intended. It satisfied the old settlers, and
held them firmly to the side of England during the years of war which
England vainly waged against her alienated children.

Thus far the affairs of the colonies had been administered by the Board
of Trade. The administration had been negligent; for the greatness of
the colonies was recent, and the importance of the interests involved
was not yet fully appreciated. But the variance which was to cost
England the greatest of her colonial possessions had already revealed
itself. England was impressively reminded of the imperfections of her
management, and of the urgent need of a better system. She set up a new
but not a better system. [Sidenote: 1774 A.D.] A Colonial department
of Government was created; a Colonial Secretary was appointed; an
official regulation of colonial interests began, based upon imperfect
knowledge--formal, restrictive, often unreasonable and irritating.
For many years, until the growing strength of the colonies enabled
them first to modify and then to overthrow it, this strict official
government continued to discourage and impede settlements whose prime
necessity was wide freedom of action.



The Quebec Act roused much indignation among the American colonists.
From Pennsylvania and Virginia twenty thousand persons had already
settled in the valley of the Ohio. These suddenly found themselves
disjoined from the colonies of which they regarded themselves members,
and subjected to the despotic rule which was imposed upon Canada.
The American patriots enrolled the new arrangements among their
grievances, and hoped that their fellow-sufferers the Canadians would
be of the same opinion. [Sidenote: 1774 A.D.] The Congress which met
at Philadelphia opened communication with the Canadians, to whom they
addressed a forcible exposition of their mutual wrongs, coupled with
the proposal that their neighbours should take some part in the steps
which they were meditating in order to obtain redress. The handful of
English Canadians sympathized with the complaints of their countrymen,
and were not reluctant to have given help had that been possible; but
they were an inconsiderable number, living among a population which
did not share their views. The French settlers were unaccustomed to
self-government, which they did not understand and did not desire.
Their own laws had been restored to them, the Government was not
oppressive, they were suffered to cultivate their fields in peace, and
they were without motive to enter upon that stormy path to which their
more heroic neighbours invited them. The American proposals did not
disturb for one moment the profound political apathy which reigned in
the valley of the St. Lawrence.

[Sidenote: 1775 A.D.] When the war began, the Americans lost no time in
taking hostile measures against Canada. They were able, by the superior
energy of their movements, to possess themselves of the fortresses
of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, which had not yet been prepared to
offer resistance. Governor Carleton was taken at a disadvantage by
this spirited invasion, for he had been left without an army. For the
defence of the vast territory over which his sway extended, he had no
more than eight hundred soldiers. He fell back upon the privileges
of the feudal law, and summoned the colonists to render to the King
that military service which they owed. But the colonists, from whose
minds there had not yet passed the memory of the disastrous war which
preceded the conquest, decisively repudiated feudal obligations, and
maintained that the various seignorial dues which they paid were the
full equivalent of the advantages which they enjoyed. The embarrassed
Governor invoked the help of the clergy, who exhorted the people
to take up arms in defence of their country. But neither could the
authority of the priests rouse those unwarlike spirits. The Frenchmen
would fight when their own homes were invaded. Meanwhile they had no
quarrel with any one, and they would not incur the miseries of war so
long as it was possible for them to remain at peace.

The Americans still believed that there existed among the Canadians a
feeling of sympathy with their cause. To embolden their secret allies,
and give opportunity for the avowal of friendly sentiment, they now
despatched two expeditions, one of which was to seize Montreal, and
then descend upon Quebec, where it would be joined by the other,
approaching by way of the river Kennebec. One wing of the expedition
was successful. Montreal fell; the larger portion of the British
troops became prisoners; the Governor escaped with some difficulty,
and fled to Quebec. In the east the fortune of war was against the
invaders. They besieged Quebec, maintaining their attack under severe
hardships, imperfectly supplied with food, and cruelly wasted by
epidemic disease. After months of this vain suffering, a British
frigate appeared one morning at Quebec, and proceeded to land a body
of troops. The siege was quickly raised, and the assailants, in much
distress, effected a disorderly retreat. Reinforcements soon began to
arrive from England, and the continued occupation of Montreal by the
Americans was found to be impossible. The invasion of Canada served
no good purpose. It was obvious that no help was to be afforded to
the party of revolution by the uncomplaining people of Canada. It was
possible to hold certain positions on Lake Champlain and elsewhere. But
that could be of no service to the American cause; on the contrary,
it withdrew useful men from the work for which they were urgently
required--the defence of New York and Pennsylvania against the
overwhelming strength of the English attack. The invasion of Canada
ceased, leaving the Canadians better contented with the Government
under which they lived, and less disposed to form relationships with
the colonists by whom the authority of that Government had been cast



In course of years the English Government fought out its quarrel with
the revolted American colonists and was defeated. [Sidenote: 1783 A.D.]
A treaty of peace was concluded, and the independence which America had
proved herself able to maintain was now acknowledged. At the opening
of the war England had borrowed a suggestion from France, and sought,
by attaching the valley of the Mississippi to Canada, to shut in the
Americans on the west as on the north by Canadian settlements breathing
the spirit of loyalty and submissiveness. The Americans would endure
no such restriction. The southern boundary of Canada was now the St.
Lawrence river and the great lakes out of which it flows. The vast
western region with its boundless capability was made over to the
victorious colonists. England held only the north. The two branches
of the Anglo-Saxon family had divided in nearly equal proportions the
whole enormous area of the North American continent.

As one of the results of the revolutionary war, Canada gained a large
accession to her population and her prosperity. There were among the
Americans a considerable number of persons who did not sympathize
with the aims of the majority, and who had given good wishes and
occasionally active support to the royal cause. Congress had given to
the British Government a promise that it would endeavour to mitigate
the discomforts which the unpopularity of the cause those persons had
clung to now entailed. But the victors did not at once forgive those
who resisted the national desire, and the position of the royalists
became intolerable. It was resolved to make provision for them in
Canada, where they could still enjoy those relations with the English
monarchy their love for which had cost them so dear.

Western Canada was still almost wholly unpeopled. There were a few
soldiers at Niagara, and some inconsiderable French settlements near
Detroit. Kingston had been abandoned; the settlers at Toronto had been
chased away during the troubles which preceded the conquest, and the
traces which they left had been long covered by the luxuriant growth of
the fertile wilderness. The vast expanse of rich land which lies along
the upper waters of the St. Lawrence and the northern shores of Lake
Ontario still waited the coming of the husbandman.

Here was the home chosen for the men who had incurred the hatred
of their neighbours by seeking to perpetuate English rule over the
American colonies. The English Government honestly desired to requite
those unfortunate supporters. It desired also to plant them far away
from the colonists who were of French origin and sentiment. For
England mistrusted now her own children who lived within range of
American influences, and it was her aim to preserve unimpaired the
submissive loyalty of her French subjects. Therefore she chose that
while the Frenchmen prospered and increased in the lower valley of
the St. Lawrence, those Englishmen who were fleeing from triumphant
republicanism, but who had probably not altogether escaped its taint,
should open their new career on the shores of Lake Ontario. They came
in such numbers, that within a year there were ten thousand settlers in
the new colony. They came so miserably poor, that for a time England
required to feed and clothe them. But they bore stout hearts, and hands
not unaccustomed to wield the axe and guide the plough. The country
was one vast forest, and the labour of clearing was great. Every man
received, free of charge, a grant of two hundred acres; and for each
child of those who had borne arms a like endowment was reserved. The
settlers worked with good-will. In a short time each man’s lands were
ready for the plough, and the landscape was lighted up with corn-fields
and the dwellings of man.

During the course of peaceful years which she now enjoyed Canada
increased steadily. Emigrants were drawn from England by the inducement
of free lands in the western province; in the east there were constant
additions both to the French and to the English section of the
population. Shortly after the close of the American War it was found
that in the whole colony there were not fewer than one hundred and
fifty thousand souls. Canada had doubled her population in the twenty
years which had elapsed since she became an English possession.

Her government was still administered according to the pleasure of
the English Crown, without any concession being made to the wishes of
the people. But events now occurred in Europe which quickened, for a
space, the democratic tendency, and disposed governments to listen to
the wishes of their subjects. The French Revolution had vindicated the
right of a nation to guide its own destiny. The influences of that
great change were keenly felt in Canada. The English colonists, who
had long been dissatisfied with the system under which they lived,
earnestly desired a representative government. Many of the Frenchmen,
who had hitherto been indifferent to the privilege, partook of the
same desire, in sympathy with the revolution which their countrymen
had effected. The English Government, wiser now than when it undertook
to deal with the discontents of the American colonies, listened with
favour to the prayer of the Canadians. [Sidenote: 1791 A.D.] A Bill was
introduced by Mr. Pitt to confer upon the colonists the long-withheld
privilege of self-government. It was not the desire of England that the
Canadians should grow strong in the enjoyment of a union which might
result in their independence. It seemed prudent that the Frenchmen,
who cared little for liberty, should form a separate colony with
power to bridle the more democratic Englishmen. Therefore Canada was
divided into two provinces, which were named Upper and Lower Canada,
the boundary line being for the greater part of the distance the
Ottawa river. Each of the colonies received from the King a Governor,
an Executive Council to act as his advisers, a Legislative Council,
and a Legislative Assembly elected once in four years by a somewhat
restricted suffrage. The Roman Catholic clergy were already endowed,
and a similar provision was now made for Protestants. One-seventh of
all Crown lands which were being settled was reserved for the teachers
of Protestantism--a reservation which proved in the coming years a
source of infinite vexation and strife. The criminal law of England was
set up in both provinces; but in all civil laws and usages Upper Canada
became wholly English; Lower Canada remained wholly French. The English
settlers opposed with all their might this ill-advised separation. They
foresaw the enfeebling divisions which it must produce: living as they
did far in the interior, they felt that they were wronged when the
river, by which alone their products could reach the sea, was placed
under control of neighbours who must be rivals and might be enemies.
But their opposition was unheeded. The Bill became law, and continued
during fifty unquiet years to foster strife between the provinces and
hinder their growth.


THE WAR OF 1812.

Canada was now, for a space of two and a half years, to be involved in
war, and subjected to the miseries of invasion. It was a war with which
she had no proper concern. The measures adopted by England and France
in order to accomplish the ruin of each other fell injuriously upon
American commerce, and the American people were reasonably displeased
that their occupations and those of the world should be interrupted
by the strifes of two unwisely guided nations. Certain high-handed
proceedings of British ships[18] so aggravated this irritation, that
America declared war against Great Britain. She had no quarrel with the
Canadians, but she could not elsewhere express the hostile impulses
by which she was now animated. An invasion of Canada was instantly
resolved upon, and an easy victory was expected. The country was almost
undefended, for England at that time was putting forth her utmost
strength in the effort to overthrow Napoleon, and she required, for the
bloody battle-fields of Spain, every soldier of whom she could possess
herself. In all Canada there were only four thousand regular troops and
two thousand militiamen. Many weeks must elapse before help could come
from England. Canada had grown steadily during forty years of peace,
and had now a population of three hundred thousand. But the progress
of the United States had been greatly more rapid, and Canada had now
to encounter a hostile nation of eight million. The expectation that
the Americans would subdue and possess the valley of the St. Lawrence
seemed easy of fulfilment.

Many Americans clung to the belief that the Canadians were dissatisfied
with their government, and would be found ready to avail themselves
of an opportunity to adopt republican institutions. But no trace of
any such disposition manifested itself. The colonists were tenaciously
loyal, and were no more moved by the blandishments than they were by
the arms of their republican invaders.

[Sidenote: July, 1812 A.D.] Soon after the declaration of war, an
American army of two thousand five hundred men set out to conquer
Western Canada. The commander of this force was General Hull, who
announced to the Canadians that he had come to bring them “peace,
liberty, and security,” and was able to overbear with ease any
resistance which it was in their power to offer. But victory did not
attach herself to the standards of General Hull. The English commander,
General Brock, was able to hold the Americans in check, and to furnish
General Hull with reasons for withdrawing his troops from Canada and
taking up position at Detroit. Thither he was quickly followed by
the daring Englishman, leading a force of seven hundred soldiers and
militia and six hundred Indians. He was proceeding to attack General
Hull, but that irresolute warrior averted the danger by an ignominious

[Sidenote: October.] A little later a second invasion was attempted,
the aim of which was to possess Queenstown. It was equally
unsuccessful, and reached a similar termination--the surrender of the
invading force. Still further, an attempt to seize Montreal resulted
in failure. Thus closed the first campaign of this lamentable war.
Everywhere the American invaders had been foiled by greatly inferior
forces of militia, supported by a handful of regular troops. The war
had been always distasteful to a large portion of the American people.
On the day when the tidings of its declaration were received in Boston,
flags were hung out half-mast high in token of general mourning. The
New England States refused to contribute troops to fight in a cause
which they condemned. The shameful defeats which had been sustained in
Canada encouraged the friends of peace, and the policy of invasion was
loudly denounced as unwise and unjust. But the disposition to fight
still inspired the larger number, and although there was no longer any
hope of assistance from disaffected Canadians, a fresh campaign was
planned and new miseries prepared for the unoffending colonists.

During the next campaign the Americans gained some important
advantages. Both combatants had exerted themselves to build and equip
fleets on Lake Erie--the command of the lake being of high importance
for the defence or the attack of Western Canada. [Sidenote: Sept. 1813
A.D.] The hostile fleets met and fought near the western shores of the
lake. The battle was fiercely contested, and ended in the complete
defeat of the British and the capture of their entire fleet--one-third
of the crews of which were killed or wounded. Soon after this decisive
victory a small force of British and Indians was encountered and nearly
annihilated, and the conquest of Western Canada seemed complete. An
attempt to seize Montreal was, however, baffled by a small body of
Canadians. Nothing further of importance was effected on either side.
But during these many months of alternating victory and defeat the
combatants had learned to hate each other with the wild, unreasoning
hatred which war often inspires. The Americans, in utter wantonness,
burned down a large Canadian village: the Canadians avenged themselves
by giving to the flames the town of Buffalo and several American
villages. When the campaign closed much loss and suffering had been
inflicted upon peaceful inhabitants on both sides of the border;
America held some positions in the extreme west, but no real progress
had been made towards the conquest of Canada.

[Sidenote: 1814 A.D.] During the third campaign the Americans persisted
in their ill-judged efforts to subdue Canada. Much desultory and
indecisive fighting occurred. The British Government, during the pause
in European strife which occurred while Napoleon occupied the island of
Elba, was able to send several regiments to Canada. The militia on both
sides had gained the experience of veterans. Larger forces were now
afoot, and were handled with increased skill. The fighting was growing
ever more obstinate, as the mutual hatred of those engaged in it became
more intense. The most protracted and bloody of all the battles of the
war occurred near the close. A British officer, having sixteen hundred
men under his command, took up position on a little eminence at Lundy’s
Lane, hard by the Falls of Niagara. Here, about five o’clock of a July
afternoon, this force was attacked by five thousand Americans. The
assailants charged fiercely their outnumbered enemies, but were met by
a destructive fire from a few well-placed and well-served pieces of
artillery. Night fell, and the moon shone over the field where men of
the same race strove to slaughter one another in a worthless quarrel.
After some hours of battle a short pause occurred, during which the
groans of the many wounded men who lay in agony on the slope where
the British fought, mingled with the dull roar of the neighbouring
cataract. The battle was resumed: the assailants pushed forward their
artillery till the muzzles of the guns almost met; furious charges
were met and repelled by the bayonets of the unyielding British. Not
till midnight did the Americans desist from the attack and draw back
their baffled forces. The killed and wounded of the Americans in this
pitiless slaughter were nearly a thousand men; the British suffered a
loss almost as heavy.

Many other engagements occurred, worthless in respect of result,
having no claim on the notice of men, excepting for the vain heroism
and the wasted lives of those who took part in them. [Sidenote: Dec.
1814 A.D.] At length Britain and America accomplished a settlement of
their quarrel, and Canada had rest from war.



During the ten or twelve years which succeeded the war with America,
Canada increased more rapidly than at any previous period. The English
Government offered free conveyance and a liberal grant of land to any
person of good character who consented to accept a home in the Upper
Province. Emigration from Great Britain was very inconsiderable during
the Napoleon wars; but when peace was restored, and employment became
scarce and inadequately paid, men sought refuge beyond the Atlantic
from the misery which had fallen so heavily on their native land.
In 1815 only two thousand persons emigrated; next year the number
was twelve thousand; three years later it had risen to thirty-five
thousand. Many of these found their way to Canada. Ten years from the
close of the war the population of the Lower Province numbered four
hundred and twenty thousand; that of the Upper Province was one hundred
and twenty thousand. In fourteen years the population had almost

Immediately after the war the British people turned their minds to
the defects of their Government, and the agitation began which gained
its difficult and long-delayed triumph in the Reform Bill of 1832.
The influences of the same reforming spirit extended themselves to
Canada. The measure of political authority enjoyed by the colonists
was still extremely limited, and contrasted unfavourably with that of
their American neighbours. It is true they had the appointment of the
Lower Chamber; but the Executive was not responsible to the legislative
bodies, and was therefore practically despotic. The Governor was the
representative of the Sovereign; the Upper Chamber drew its origin from
the same source. The Governor answered to no one for the course which
he chose to follow; the members of the Legislative Council ordinarily
supported him without reserve, because they expected favours from
him. They desired the increase of his power, because thus he would
be able more bountifully to reward his friends. The sympathies of
the Assembly were with constitutional freedom, purity, and economy
of administration. At a very early period it was found that the men
who were chosen by the people were at variance on every question of
importance with the men who were nominated by the King.

In truth, the kind of government assigned to the Canadian people was
in most respects unsuitable for them. The French colonists did not
desire the popular institutions which they received: they preferred a
mild despotism. The English colonists desired more complete liberty,
and were continually displeased by the arbitrary acts of the Executive.
A still more fatal error was the separation of the provinces, and the
provision thus made for perpetuating the French language and laws, the
gradual extinction of which was urgently desirable. The time had now
arrived when these errors were to bear their proper fruit in jealousy
and strife and mutual frustration.

The people of Lower Canada remained almost devoid of education, and
they bestowed no care upon the cure of that evil. It was quite usual to
have members of the Legislature who were unable to write. [Sidenote:
1828 A.D.] Once the people were so sorely displeased with the conduct
of the Governor that they determined to lay their grievances before
the King. Eighty-seven thousand citizens concurred in a statement of
wrongs; but of these only nine thousand possessed the accomplishment
of being able to write their own names--the remainder did not rise
above the ignominy of expressing their approval by a mark. In the
Upper Province the education of the people received some attention.
[Sidenote: 1816 A.D.] The foundations were laid of the present
common-school system of Canada, although as yet an annual grant of
£600 formed the inadequate provision which the Legislature was able to

The mutual antipathies of the French and the English colonists
colour all the history of the Lower Province at this period. The
French increased more rapidly than the English. The Council was
mainly British; the Assembly was almost entirely French. The French,
emboldened by their growing numbers, began to dream of forming
themselves into a separate nation. The British did not conceal that
they regarded the French as a conquered people; and they deemed it
a wrong that they, the conquerors, should have no larger influence
on the legislation of the colony. Obscure strifes raged perpetually
among the several branches of the Legislature. Every shilling of
Government expenditure was eagerly scrutinized by the Assembly. The
House wrangled over the amounts and also over the forms and methods
of expenditure. Occasionally it disallowed certain charges, which
the Governor calmly continued to pay on his own responsibility. A
Receiver-General defaulted, and much fiery debate was expended in
fixing the blame of this occurrence on the Governor. [Sidenote: 1822
A.D.] The English minority sought the extinction of French law and
language, and supported a scheme of union which would have secured
that result. The French, alarmed and indignant, loudly expressed in
public meeting and by huge petitions their opposition to the proposal.
Influential persons continually obtained large gifts of land on unfair
terms, and kept their possessions lying waste, waiting speculatively
for an advance in price, to the inconvenience of honest settlers. Not
contented with the rich crop of grievances which sprang luxuriantly
around them, the House revived the troubles of past years, and vainly
impeached certain judges who were supposed to have been the authors of
forgotten oppressions. Even the House was at war with the Governor: not
infrequently that high-handed official freed himself from the irksome
restraint by sending the members to their homes, and conducting the
government of the colony without their help.

Upper Canada had its own special troubles. A military spirit had gone
abroad among the people. When the lavish expenditure of the war ceased,
and the colonists were constrained to return in poverty to their
prosaic, everyday occupations, restlessness and discontent spread over
the land. [Sidenote: 1817 A.D.] When the legislative bodies met, the
Assembly, instead of applying itself to its proper business, proceeded
angrily to inquire into the condition of the province. The Governor
would permit no such investigation, and abruptly dismissed the House.
It was complained that a small group of influential persons--named with
abhorrence the Family Compact--monopolized all positions of trust and
power, and ruled the province despotically. The Government connived at
the shutting up of large masses of land, of which speculators had been
allowed improperly to possess themselves. Emigration from the United
States into Canada was forbidden, to the injury of the colony, lest the
political opinions of the colonists should be tainted by association
with republicans. But the ecclesiastical grievance of Upper Canada
surpassed all others in its power to implant mutual hatred in the
minds of the people. An Act passed many years ago (1791) had set apart
one-seventh of all lands granted by Government, “for the support of a
Protestant clergy.” The Church of England set up the monstrous claim
that there were no Protestant clergymen but hers. The Presbyterians,
the Methodists, the Baptists claimed an equal right to the appellation
and to a share in the inheritance. The Roman Catholics proposed that
the “Clergy Reserves,” now extending to three million acres, should
be sold, and the proceeds applied in the interests of religion and
education. No question could have been imagined more amply fitted
to break up the colony into discordant factions. In actual fact the
question of the Clergy Reserves was for upwards of half a century a
perennial source of bitter sectarian strife.

[Sidenote: 1817 A.D.] While the Canadians were thus dissatisfied with
the political arrangements under which they lived, there arrived
among them one Robert Gourlay, an energetic, restless, erratic
Scotchman, inspired by an intense hatred to despotism, and a passionate
intolerance of abuses. Mr. Gourlay began at once to investigate the
causes which retarded the progress of the colony. He found many evils
which were distinctly traceable to the corruption of the governing
power, and these he mercilessly exposed. The Government replied by a
prosecution for libel, and succeeded after a time in shutting up their
assailant in prison, and ultimately sending him from the country. These
arbitrary proceedings greatly incensed the people, and deepened the
prevailing discord.

In addition to these internal variances, the provinces had a standing
dispute on a question of revenue. Of the duties levied on goods which
passed up the St. Lawrence river, only one-fifth was paid to Upper
Canada. As the commerce of the province increased, the unfairness of
this distribution was more loudly complained of. The men of the East
were slow to perceive the justice of the complaint, and maintained
their hold upon the revenue despite the exasperation of their brethren
in the West.

But although these now obscure strifes have been regarded as composing
the history of Canada, they were happily not its life. The increase
of its people and of their intelligence and comfort; the growth of
order and of industry; the unrecorded spread of cultivation along
the banks of the great river and far up its tributary valleys--these
silent operations of natural causes were the life of the provinces.
Their shores were sought by crowds of emigrants. New settlements were
being continually formed. [Sidenote: 1821 A.D.] Steamships began to
ply on the river and on the great lakes, and the improved facilities
of communication quickened the industrial development of the country.
The navigation of the river was grievously impeded by rapids and
waterfalls--the _portages_ of the olden time, at which the red man was
accustomed to draw his canoe from the water and carry it toilsomely
through the forest till he had rounded the obstacle. Canals were now
formed at such points, and ships were enabled to continue their voyages
without interruption. The revenue steadily increased, and every class
was fairly prosperous. Banks had been established in all leading towns.
Agriculture was still exceedingly rude. All agricultural implements
were in insufficient supply; the poor farmers could not obtain so much
as the ploughs they needed, and they were fain to draw out the wealth
of the fertile soil with no better means than manual labour afforded.

But these evils were in due course of years surmounted, and in the
year 1831, when an estimate of the possessions of the Canadians was
made, the result disclosed an amount of successful industry for which
the world had not given them credit. During the seventy years which
had elapsed since England conquered the valley of the St. Lawrence,
the population had increased from sixty thousand to nearly nine
hundred thousand. With the addition of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
and the smaller colonies, the American subjects of England numbered
now a million and a quarter. The lands which their toil had redeemed
from wilderness were now valued at seventeen million sterling. Their
cattle and horses were worth seven million; their dwellings and
public buildings had cost them fifteen million; they had two million
invested in the machinery by which the timber of their boundless
forests was prepared for market; in their great cod and seal fisheries
they had a fixed capital of a million and a half. Eight hundred ships
annually visited their ports from Great Britain; in all the branches
of their maritime industry two thousand five hundred arrivals were
registered. They received every year foreign or colonial goods to the
value of two million; and they exported to a somewhat larger extent.
They built ships, and sold them to England; they sent many cargoes of
timber, and much valuable fur; already they produced food beyond their
own consumption, and they sent to Europe wheat and flour and oats
and salted provisions. They shipped fish and fish oils. They burned
down masses of their abundant timber, and having obtained the salts
which combustion set free, they manufactured them into pot and pearl
ashes, and shipped them to Europe for service in bleaching and other
operations. They supplied themselves with sugar from the sap of their
maple trees. They brewed much excellent cider and beer; they distilled
from rye, potatoes, apples, much whisky which was not excellent.

Quebec and Montreal had grown up into considerable towns, each with a
population of nearly forty thousand, the vast majority of whom were
French. In the bay where Wolfe’s boats stole unobserved and in silence
to the shore, there lay now a fleet of merchant-vessels ministering to
a large and growing commerce. The lower town which the English guns had
destroyed was a bustling, thriving sea-port. Far above, where Montcalm
and Wolfe fought, was now a well-built city, bright with towers and
spires; with its impregnable Citadel; with its Parliament House, said
to be more imposing than that in which the Commons of Great Britain
then assembled; with its Palace for the Governor-General, and its
aspect and tone of metropolitan dignity; with college and schools; with
newspapers and banks, and libraries and charitable societies; with
ship-building, manufacturing, and all the busy marketing which beseems
one of the great haunts of commerce. Those seventy years of English
rule had raised Quebec from the rank of little more than a village to
that of an important city; and had seen the valley of the St. Lawrence
pass out of the condition of wilderness and become the home of a
numerous and prospering population.



The progress of years did not allay, but, on the contrary, steadily
enhanced the fever of political discontent which now pervaded the
colonies. The measure of representation which they enjoyed had seemed,
when the Act of Pitt conferred it upon them, fairly satisfactory; but
after the close of the great European war political opinion ripened
fast, and the freedom which had seemed ample in 1791 was intolerably
insufficient forty years later. The colonists perceived that they were
living under a despotism. Their Executive and one of their legislative
chambers were appointed by the Crown, without regard to the popular
wish. Only the Lower Chamber was chosen by the people, and its action
was constantly frustrated by the Governor, the aristocratic advisers by
whom his policy was guided, and his ally the Council. On their southern
border lay the territories of a great nation, whose people enjoyed
complete political freedom and appointed all their rulers. The United
States had so prospered that their population was now tenfold that of
Canada; and their more rapid growth was traced, in the general belief,
to the larger freedom of their institutions. In England the engrossing
occupation of the people had been, for many years, the extending of
their liberties, the rescue of political power from the hands by which
it had been irregularly appropriated. The Englishmen of Canada could
not remain unmoved by the things which had come to pass among the
Englishmen of America and of England.

[Sidenote: 1820 A.D.] When the Canadians of the Upper Province were
awakening to a perception of the evils under which they suffered,
there arrived among them an adventurous young Scotchman destined to
leave deep traces on their political history. His name was William
Lyon Mackenzie. He had already played many parts in various Scotch
and English towns, with but indifferent success. In Canada he resumed
his quest of a livelihood; but finding nothing at first to meet his
requirements, he devoted himself to political reform, and set up a
newspaper. His love of reform and his hatred of abuses were genuine
and deep; his mind was acute and energetic; but his temperament was
too impulsive to permit sufficient consideration of the course which
he intended to pursue. The very first number of his paper awakened
the sensibilities of all who profited by corruption. He continued his
unwelcome diligence in the investigation and exposure of abuses, and in
rousing the public mind to demand an enlargement of political privilege.

There were many grounds of difference between the party of Reform and
the governing power. Justice, it was said, was impurely administered;
the Governor persisted in refusing to yield to the Assembly control
over certain important branches of the public revenue, and continued
to administer these at his own pleasure. The Governors fell into the
hands of the small influential party known as the Family Compact,
which filled all public offices with its own adherents. The grievances
of which the Assembly complained were debated in a spirit of intense
bitterness. On one occasion the Assembly censured the Governor, and
was in turn rebuked for its want of courtesy. Mackenzie was five
times expelled from the House, and was as often elected. On one
occasion the Assembly refused to grant supplies to the Governor, and
the Governor avenged himself by rejecting the Bill which members had
passed for payment of their own salaries. But gradually, with growing
enlightenment, all these trivial discontents consolidated into one loud
and urgent demand for responsible government. It was perceived that
with a Ministry responsible to the Assembly an adequate measure of
constitutional liberty would be secured.

The politics of the Lower Province were more complex. There was a
British Reform party, having aims identical with those of their
brethren in the west: the overthrow of the despotic Family Compact,
full control of revenue by the Assembly, better administration of
justice, improved management of Crown lands--all summed up in the
demand for responsible government. There was also a French party,
greatly more numerous than the other, and seeming to concur with it in
many of its opinions. But the real aims of the Frenchmen were wholly at
variance with those of the British. They desired to increase the power
of the Assembly, because they themselves composed seven-eighths of that
body. It was still their hope to establish a French nation on the banks
of the St. Lawrence; to preserve old French law and custom; to shut out
British immigrants, and possess the soil for their own people.

The British Government was bewildered by the complicated strife in
which it was constantly importuned to interfere. There were petitions
full of grievances; on one occasion there were ninety-two resolutions,
which were laid before King and Parliament by the French party, and
copiously answered by the British; there were constant and querulous
statements of wrongs presented to the Governor. Out of doors a bitter
and uncompromising strife raged. The British were denounced as tyrants,
usurpers, foreigners. The French were scorned as a subjugated race, and
reprobated as ungrateful rebels who had been treated too leniently.
The British Government manifested an anxious desire to understand and
to heal those pernicious strifes. It decreed Committees of Inquiry; it
sent Commissions to investigate on the spot; it appointed conciliatory
Governors; it made numerous small concessions, in the vain hope of
appeasing the entangled and inexplicable discontents of its distant

The disaffected Frenchmen were ruled, during their unhappy progress
towards rebellion, by Louis Joseph Papineau, a man whose years should
have brought him wisdom, for he was now in middle-life; ambitious,
restless, eloquent, with power to lead his ignorant countrymen at his
pleasure, and without prudence to direct his authority to good ends.

[Sidenote: 1837 A.D.] This mischievous person occupied himself in
persuading the peasants of the Montreal district to throw off the
British yoke and establish themselves as an independent nation. His
efforts were not wholly without success. The peasantry began to arm
and to drill. The symbols of French dominion, the tri-coloured flag
and the eagle, were constantly displayed; the revolutionary songs of
France were sung by turbulent mobs in the streets of Montreal. These
evidences of inflamed feeling pointed decisively to violence. The
Roman Catholic clergy took part with the Government, and sought to
hold the excited people to their duty by threatening disturbers of the
peace with the extreme penalties of ecclesiastical law. Many persons
were restrained by the terrors thus announced, and the dimensions of
the rebellious movement were lessened. But no considerations, sacred
or secular, sufficed to restrain Papineau and his deluded followers
from a series of violent proceedings, which have been dignified by the
name of rebellion, but which were really nothing more than serious
riots. Bands of armed peasantry ranged the country around Montreal;
the well-affected inhabitants sought shelter in the city, and their
homesteads were ravaged by the invaders. At several points a few
hundred men drew together to withstand the Government forces and were
defeated. One such body, unable to abide the conflict which they had
provoked, threw down their arms and implored pardon. During a period
of five or six weeks these disorders continued, but the firm action of
the Governor restored tranquillity. Papineau, the unworthy instigator
of the disturbances, fled so soon as fighting began, and sought
inglorious security beyond the frontier. A little later, some bodies of
American marauders appeared in the Montreal district, hoping to renew
the disturbance; but they too were quickly dispersed. The Governor
acted with much leniency towards those rebels who became his prisoners.
With few exceptions they were set at liberty; and even those who were
detained for a time were discharged on giving security for future good
behaviour. Of the foreigners who were captured in arms, several were
put to death, and many suffered lengthened captivity.

The disorders of the Lower Province had scarcely been quelled, when
Mackenzie, followed by the more extreme and injudicious advocates of
reform, precipitated in Upper Canada a movement equally insignificant
and unsuccessful. These persons went to war avowedly to secure complete
responsibility of government to the people. This was undeniably the
prevailing desire of the province; but it was found that while many
desired this excellent reform, few were prepared to incur for its sake
the evils which rebellion must necessarily bring. Fifteen hundred men
enrolled themselves under the banner of Mackenzie. An attack upon
Toronto was devised, and was defeated with ease. [Sidenote: Dec.
1837 A.D.] Mackenzie fled to the United States, where he was able to
organize some bands of lawless men for a marauding expedition into
Canada. They, too, were routed, and order was easily restored.

These wretched disturbances served a purpose which peaceful agitation
had thus far failed to accomplish--they compelled the earnest attention
of the British Parliament to the wishes of the colonists. On the eve
of the rebellion, Government had explicitly refused to grant the boon
of ministerial responsibility, and carried an Act by which powers were
given to the Governor to make certain payments which the Assembly had
for some years refused to make. The British Government of the day was a
Liberal Government. Lord John Russell was one of its members, a man who
for many years had devoted himself to the cause of reform at home. It
was Lord John Russell who now led the House of Commons in its denial to
the colonies of that popular control over government which was deemed
essential for England. No perception of the glaring inconsistency
disturbed the minds of the most genuine reformers, for an erring theory
of the true position and rights of colonists still prevailed. Even
the Liberal party had not yet learned to recognize an Englishman who
had taken up his abode in the valley of the St. Lawrence as the equal
in political right of the Englishman who remained at home. A colony
was still an association of persons who had established themselves on
some distant portion of national territory, and whose affairs were
to be administered with reference chiefly to the interests of the
mother country. Colonists were not allowed to trade freely where they
chose. They must purchase from England all the goods which they might
require; all their surplus productions must be sent home for sale.
Their attempts to manufacture were sternly repressed. It was expected
of them that they should cultivate that portion of the national soil
which had been assigned to them, reserving for the mother country the
profitable supply of all their wants, the profitable disposal of all
their productions. The ships of strangers were rigorously excluded; no
foreign keel had ploughed the waters of the St. Lawrence since French
ships bore home to Europe the men whom Wolfe defeated.

No less clear was the political inferiority of the colonist. A colony
was still regarded as a subordinate and dependent portion of the
empire, whose position rendered impossible its admission to equality
of privilege. It could not be intrusted with the unqualified control
of its own destinies; it must needs accept also the guidance of the
Colonial Office. This was the tie which bound the colony to the mother
country; but for this Canada would certainly yield to the influences
of prosperous republicanism in its neighbourhood, and cast off the
authority of the Crown. So reasoned the Whig statesmen of forty years
ago; and their reasoning was replied to by widespread discontent, the
depth of which was revealed by lurid and ominous flashes of rebellion.
It became necessary to revise the traditional estimate of colonial

[Sidenote: October, 1839 A.D.] The progress of ministerial opinion
made itself apparent in the despatches of Lord John Russell. His
Lordship would not yet explicitly acknowledge the responsibility of
the Executive to the representatives of the people. But he assured the
colonists that Her Majesty would in future look to their “affectionate
attachment” as the best security for permanent dominion, and that she
would not maintain among them any policy which opinion condemned. The
friends of responsible government perceived that their hour of triumph
was near.

Many evils had flowed from the separation of the provinces effected
by Pitt fifty years before. It still suited the interests of the
unreforming party in the Upper Province and the French Canadians in
the Lower to maintain the separation. But it was clear to all men who
sought merely the public good that existing arrangements had become
unendurable. The position of both colonies called urgently for measures
of reconstruction. The constitution of Lower Canada had been suspended
during the rebellion, and had not yet been restored. The finances of
the Upper Province were in disorder; public works were discontinued;
business was paralyzed; immigration had ceased. It was widely felt that
industrial progress was fatally impeded by separation; that the only
remedy for the evils under which Canada suffered was the legislative
union of the two provinces.

The British Government was known to favour this measure; the Liberals
in both provinces were eager in its support; the Conservatives of
the Upper Province ceased from resistance under loyal impulses; the
French Canadians had by their attitude during the late disturbances
forfeited their claim to consideration. [Sidenote: July, 1840 A.D.] The
Union Bill was passed by the Legislatures of both provinces and by the
Imperial Parliament, and the enfeebling separation which the jealousies
of an earlier time had imposed was finally cancelled.

Canada was henceforth to be ruled by a Governor, a Legislative Council,
and a Legislative Assembly. The Governor and Council were appointed by
the Crown; the Assembly was chosen by the people. The representation
was shared equally by the provinces--ten members of Council, and
forty-two members of Assembly being assigned to each. The Assembly
had control of all branches of the public revenue. The Governor was
advised by an Executive Council of eight members, who, if they were
members of Assembly, required re-election when they accepted a place
in the Council. When the Council no longer commanded a majority in the
Assembly it ceased to hold office. The long-desired boon of responsible
government was thus at length secured; the traditional inferiority of
the colonist was cancelled; it was recognized that an Englishman who
bore his part in building up new empires in distant places did not
therefore forfeit the rights of a free-born English subject. To insure
and hasten the use of this new method of colonial government, a command
came to the Governor-General, in the Queen’s name, to the effect that
he should rule in accordance with the feelings and opinions of the
people, as these were expressed by the popular representatives. For a
few years there was an imperfect application of a principle hitherto
unknown in Canadian history; but gradually the people learned to
enforce and the Government to recognize the newly conferred privilege.
The great revolution which raised the Canadians to the rank of a fully
self-governing people was complete.

The foundations were now laid upon which the colonists could peacefully
build themselves up into a great industrial nation. But the antipathies
of race which had hitherto vexed and frustrated them were not
immediately allayed. The united British population of the two provinces
now outnumbered the French, and was able to give law to the colony.
The French element was surrounded by a British element of superior
strength, of superior intelligence and energy, attracting continually
reinforcements from the mother country. The hope of erecting a French
power in the valley of the St. Lawrence was now extinct, and the
Frenchmen had no longer any higher prospect than that of peaceful
citizenship under the rule of men whom they regarded as foreigners.
They remained apart, following their own customs, cherishing their own
prejudices, refusing to intermingle with the British population among
whom they lived.

Political animosity was for some years exceptionally bitter. Soon after
the union it was roused to unwonted fury by a proposal to compensate
those persons in Lower Canada who had suffered destruction of their
property during the rebellion. The British Conservative party offered
a discreditable resistance to this proposal. It was not intended that
any persons engaged in the rebellion should participate in the benefits
of the measure. But the unreasonable British asserted that they, the
loyal men, were being taxed for the advantage of rebels. [Sidenote:
1849 A.D.] When the Bill was passed, the rabble of Montreal pelted with
stones Lord Elgin, who was then Governor-General; they threatened,
in their unbridled rage, to annex themselves with the United States;
they invaded and dispersed the Assembly; they burned to the ground
the building in which their Parliament held its sittings. From that
day Montreal ceased to be the seat of Government. For a few years
Parliament alternated between Quebec and Toronto. That system having
been found inconvenient, the Queen was requested to select a permanent
home for the Government of the colony. [Sidenote: 1858 A.D.] Her
Majesty’s choice fell upon Bytown, a thriving little city, occupying a
situation of romantic beauty, on the river which divided the provinces.
The capital of the Dominion received a name more fully in keeping with
its metropolitan dignity, and was henceforth styled Ottawa.

The course of prosperous years soothed the bitterness of party hatred,
and the Canadian Legislature applied itself to measures of internal
amelioration and development. Thus far the inestimable advantage of
municipal institutions had not been enjoyed in Canada. The Legislature
regulated all local concerns;--took upon itself the charge of roads,
bridges, and schools; of the poor; of such sanitary arrangements as
existed; and the people contracted the enfeebling habit of leaving
their local affairs to be administered by the Government. [Sidenote:
1849 A.D.] This grave evil was now corrected; the Legislature was
relieved of unnecessary burdens; and the people learned to exercise an
intelligent interest in the conduct of their own local business.

Canada had now to accept the perfect freedom of trade which the mother
country had at length adopted for herself. [Sidenote: 1846-50 A.D.]
All restraints were now withdrawn; all duties which bestowed upon the
colonist advantages over his foreign rival ceased. The Canadians might
now buy and sell where they chose. Foreign ships were now free to sail
the long-forbidden waters of the St. Lawrence. The change was not, in
the outset, a welcome one. The Canadians were not fully prepared for an
open competition with their neighbours of the United States. For a time
trade languished, and there was a loud and bitter cry that the mother
country disregarded the interests of her dependency. But the wholesome
discipline of necessity taught the Canadians self-reliance. The
adoption of a policy of unaided and unrestricted commerce inaugurated
for the Canadians a period of enterprise and development such as they
had not previously known.

After some years of steadily growing commerce, the Canadians bethought
them of the mutual benefits which would result from freedom of
trade between themselves and their neighbours of the United States.
[Sidenote: 1854 A.D.] Lord Elgin, who was then Governor-General, was
able to arrange a treaty by which this end was gained. The products of
each country were admitted, without duty, to the other. The Americans
gained free access to the great fisheries of Canada, to the rivers
St. Lawrence and St. John, and all the canals by which navigation was
facilitated. For eleven years this treaty remained in force, to the
advantage of both the contracting powers. But the idea of protection
had gained during those years increased hold upon the minds of the
American people. [Sidenote: 1866 A.D.] The American Government now
resolved to terminate the treaty. Grave inconveniences resulted to many
classes of Americans. The New England States missed the supplies of
cheap food which their manufacturing population received from Canada.
The brewers of New York and Philadelphia had to find elsewhere, and
at higher prices, the barley which Canada was accustomed to send.
Woollen manufacturers could not obtain the serviceable varieties of
raw material which the flocks of their northern neighbours supplied.
Railway companies experienced the sudden loss of a large and lucrative
traffic. Canada did not suffer materially by the termination of the
Reciprocity Treaty. She found new outlets for her products, and the
growth of her commerce was not appreciably interrupted.

The progress of education had in the Upper Province kept pace with
the increase of population. But the common school was yet very
insufficiently established in Lower Canada. The polite, genial,
industrious French _habitant_ was almost wholly uninstructed, and
suffered his children to grow up in the blind ignorance of which
he himself had not even discovered the evils. [Sidenote: 1850 A.D.]
There was now set up an educational system adapted to his special
requirements, but of which he was not swift to avail himself.

The question of the Clergy Reserves had been for generations a
perennial source of vexation. The Episcopalians persisted in
asserting themselves as the only Protestant Church; the Presbyterians
and Methodists rejected with indignation and scorn the audacious
pretension. In all countries where religious divisions prevail, the
exaltation of any one sect above the others is obviously unjust, and
must in its results disturb the harmony of the nation. Especially is
this true of a colony where the notion of equality is indigenous, and
men do not so easily, as in an old country, reconcile themselves to the
assumption of superiority by a favoured class. The existence of a State
Church became intolerable to the Canadian people. [Sidenote: 1854 A.D.]
An Act was passed which severed the connection of Church and State. All
life-interests--Episcopalian and Presbyterian--having been provided
for, the lands and funds which remained were divided among the several
municipalities on the basis of the population which they possessed.
No important question of an ecclesiastical nature has since that time
disturbed the tranquillity of the colony, if we except the demand of
the Roman Catholics for a system of education apart from that of the
common school.

The feudal tenure of lands still prevailed among the Frenchmen of
the Lower Province. The seigneurs to whose ancestors Louis XIV. had
granted large tracts of land, in the hope of building up a Canadian
aristocracy, still levied their dues; still enforced their right to
grind, at oppressive rates of charge, all the corn grown upon their
land; still imposed upon the Canadians those cruel exactions which
Frenchmen of seventy years ago had been unable to endure. The system
was long complained against as a grievance which held the French
population in a position of inferiority to the British. [Sidenote:
1859 A.D.] The rights of the seigneurs were now purchased by the
province for a payment of one million dollars, and this antiquated and
barbarous method of holding ceased to press upon the interests of the

For some years after the union of the provinces there had been a sudden
influx of settlers attracted from the old country by the improving
prospects of the colony. In the quarter century which followed the
battle of Waterloo, half a million of emigrants left Britain for
Canada. But in the two years of 1846-47, the number was a quarter of a
million, and the average for ten years had been nearly sixty thousand.
Means were now used to stimulate these enriching currents. Hitherto
the emigrant had been unregarded. He was suffered to take his passage
in ships which were not seaworthy, and which were fatally overcrowded.
When he arrived, often poor and ignorant, sometimes plague-stricken,
he was uncared for. Now he was welcomed as a stranger who came to
contribute to the wealth and greatness of the Dominion. Officers were
appointed to protect him from the plunderers who lay in wait for him.
His urgent wants were supplied; information was given him by which his
future course might safely be guided.

The passion for constructing railways, which raged in England in the
year 1845, sent its influences into Canada. The colonists began to
discuss arrangements for connecting the great cities of their extended
Dominion. But the need in Canada was less urgent than elsewhere, and
the difficulties were greater. The inhabited region lay for the most
part on the shores of the Great Lakes, or of the St. Lawrence and its
tributaries, where easy communication by steam-boat was enjoyed. On the
other hand, distances were great, population was scanty; capital for
the construction of railways and traffic for their support were alike
awanting. For years Canada was unable to pass beyond the initial stage
of surveys and reports and meetings to discuss, and vain attempts to
obtain help from the imperial exchequer. [Sidenote: 1852 A.D.] After
seven years thus passed, a railway mania burst out in Canada. In one
session of Parliament fifteen railway Bills were passed, and the number
rose to twenty-eight in the following session. The most notable of
the projects thus authorized was the Grand Trunk Railway--a gigantic
enterprise, which proposed to connect Montreal with Toronto, and Quebec
with Rivière du Loup. So urgent was now the desire for railways, that
the Legislature incurred liabilities on account of this undertaking to
the enormous amount of nearly five million sterling; to which extent
the colonial exchequer is and will probably always remain a loser.

The financial position of Canada had been hitherto satisfactory. Her
entire debt was four million and a half; an expenditure of £600,000 met
all her requirements, and her revenue largely exceeded this sum; her
securities bore a premium on the Stock Exchanges of England. [Sidenote:
1852 A.D.] But now Canada, in her eagerness for more rapid development,
began with liberal hand to offer aid to industrial undertakings.
She contributed freely to the making of railways. She encouraged
the municipalities to borrow upon her security for the construction
of roads and bridges, and for other necessary public works. The
municipalities, with responsive alacrity, borrowed and expended; a
genial activity pervaded all industries; and the development of Canada
advanced with more rapid step than at any previous period. But the
country was providing for wants which had not yet arisen, and the
premature expenditure brought upon her unwelcome and oppressive burdens
of debt and of taxation.[19]



The political system which existed in British America before the union
of the two provinces was in a high degree inconvenient. There were, in
all, six colonies--Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island,
Newfoundland, and the two Canadas. They were the subjects of the same
Monarch, but they possessed no other bond of union. Their interests
were often in conflict; their laws and customs differed widely; each
had its own currency; each maintained its own custom-house, to tax or
to exclude the products of the others. They were without any bond of
union, excepting that which the common sovereignty of England supplied;
and they were habitually moved by jealousies and antipathies, which
were more powerful to divide than this was to unite. Along their
frontiers lay the territory of prosperous States, living under a
political system which bound them together by community of interest,
while it adequately preserved and guaranteed the free individual action
of each. The success of confederation, as seen on the vast arena of
the United States, silently educated the British settlements for the
adoption of that political system which alone met the necessities of
their position.

The union of Upper and Lower Canada was the largest progress then
possible in the direction of removing the evils which prevailed.
This union closed some of the most injurious of existing divisions,
and allowed a more rapid development of the national resources than
had been previously experienced. But the permanent form of Canadian
government had not yet been reached. The difference of race and
interest still operated to mar the harmonious action of the united
Legislature. The childish jealousy of the imperfectly reconciled
sections led, among other evils, to wasteful expenditure; for no grant
of money could be voted for necessary public works to either section
without an equal grant being made needlessly to the other. At the time
of the union, an equality in number of representatives was accepted as
just to both provinces. But Upper Canada increased more rapidly than
the sister province, and in ten years contained a larger population.
[Sidenote: 1857 A.D.] A demand arose for representation according to
population, and without regard to the division of provinces. This
proposal was keenly opposed in Lower Canada, as a violation of the
terms of union. It was as keenly pressed in the western province; it
became the theme of much fervid eloquence, and for a time the rallying
cry at elections. The leader of this movement was George Brown--a
Scotchman and Presbyterian, a man of great ability and energy, and
an earnest reformer of abuses. It was the hope of Mr. Brown and his
followers, that by gaining the parliamentary majority, to which Upper
Canada was now by her numbers entitled, they would frustrate the demand
for sectarian schools, and would equip completely a common-school
system for the whole of both provinces. Still further, Upper Canada
would control the revenue, and by useful public works would develop the
resources of the great North-West.

The controversy was bitter and exasperating, and resulted in nothing
more than a deepened feeling that some important modification of
existing arrangements had become indispensable. [Sidenote: 1860 A.D.]
Mr. Brown gave expression to the opinion now widely entertained in
Upper Canada, in two resolutions, which he invited the Legislature
to accept. These asserted that the union, from difference of origin,
local interest, and other causes, had proved a failure; and suggested,
as the only remedy, the formation of local governments for the care
of sectional interests, and the erection of a joint authority for the
regulation of concerns which were common to all. In this form the
proposal of a confederated government, following as closely as possible
the model of the United States, was placed before the country. The idea
was not new. [Sidenote: 1822 1839 A.D.] Once it had been recommended
by the Colonial Office; once by Lord Durham, during his rule as
Governor-General. Often in seasons of political difficulty it had been
the hope of embarrassed statesmen. But the time had not yet come, and
Mr. Brown’s resolutions were rejected by large majorities.

The succeeding years were unquiet and even alarming. Political passion
rose to an extreme degree of violence. The mutual hatred of parties was
vehement and unreasoning. Every question with which the Legislature had
to deal was the arena on which a furious battle must needs be waged.
The opposing parties met in fiery conflict over the construction of
railways, over the tariff, over the defence of the colony against a
possible invasion by the Americans, over the proposed confederation,
over every detail of the policy of Government. The public interests
suffered; the natural progress of the colony was frustrated by these
unseemly dissensions. At length the leaders of the contending factions
became weary of strife. [Sidenote: 1864 A.D.] George Brown, on behalf
of the reforming party, wisely offered terms of peace to his opponents.
A coalition Government was formed, with the express design of carrying
out a confederation of the two Canadas, with a provision for the
reception of the other provinces and of the North-West Territory. The
new Cabinet entered promptly upon the task which it had undertaken.
[Sidenote: October, 1864 A.D.] Within a few weeks there met in
Quebec for conference on this momentous question thirty-three men,
representing the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. They met in private, and
discussed for seventeen days the details of a union which should
harmonize and promote the interests of all. The desired reconciliation
was not easily attained; for each province estimated with natural
exaggeration the advantages which it brought into the confederation,
and sought a higher position than the others were willing to concede.
But in the end a scheme of union was framed, and the various
Governments pledged themselves that they would spare no effort to
secure its adoption by the Legislatures. A party of resistance arose,
and years of debate ensued. But time fought on the side of union. The
evils of the existing political system became increasingly apparent
in the light thrown by incessant discussion. The separated provinces
were weak for purposes of defence; their commerce was strangled by
the restrictive duties which they imposed on one another. United,
they would form a great nation, possessing a magnificent territory,
inhabited by an intelligent and industrious people; formidable to
assailants; commanding a measure of respect to which they had hitherto
been strangers; with boundless capabilities of increase opening to all
their industrial interests.

[Sidenote: 1866 A.D.] Under the growing influence of views such as
these, the confederation of the provinces was at length resolved on
by the Legislatures of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick; and in
the following year a Royal Proclamation announced the union of these
provinces into one Dominion, which was styled Canada. A little later,
Manitoba, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island were received into
the union. Newfoundland refused to join her sister States, and still
maintains her independent existence.

Under the constitution which the Dominion now received, executive
power is vested in the Queen, and administered by her representative,
the Governor-General. This officer is aided and advised by a Privy
Council, composed of the heads of the various great departments of
State. The Senate is composed of seventy-eight members appointed by the
Crown, and holding office for life. The House of Commons consists of
two hundred and six members. These are chosen by the votes of citizens
possessing a property qualification, the amount of which varies in the
different provinces. Canada gives the franchise to those persons in
towns who pay a yearly rent of £6, and to those not in towns who pay
£4; New Brunswick demands the possession of real estate valued at £20,
or an annual income of £80; and Nova Scotia is almost identical in her
requirements. The duration of Parliament is limited to five years, and
its members receive payment. The Parliament of the Dominion regulates
the interests which are common to all the provinces; each province has
a Lieutenant-Governor and a Legislature for the guidance of its own
local affairs. Entire freedom of trade was henceforth to exist between
the provinces which composed the Canadian nation.



On the outer margin of the great bay into which the waters of the St.
Lawrence discharge themselves, there lie certain British provinces
which had till now maintained their colonial existence apart from the
sister States of the interior. The oldest and most famous of these
was Nova Scotia--the Acadie of the French period--within whose limits
the Province of New Brunswick had been included. Northwards, across
the entrance to the bay, was the island of Newfoundland. The Gulf
Stream, moving northwards its vast currents of heated water, meets
here an ice-cold stream descending from the Arctic Sea, and is turned
eastward towards the coasts of Europe. The St. Lawrence deposits
here the accumulations of silt which its waters have disengaged in
their lengthened course, and forms great banks which stretch for many
hundreds of miles out into the ocean. These banks are the haunt of
icebergs escaping from the frozen North; perpetual fogs clothe them
in gloom. But they offer to man wealth such as he cannot elsewhere
win from the sea. The fisheries of the Newfoundland Banks were the
earliest inducement which led Europeans to frequent those seemingly
inhospitable shores. The Maritime Provinces were more easily accessible
than Canada, for they abounded in commodious inlets where ships could
enter and lie secure. They were placed at the difficult entrance to the
St. Lawrence valley, and their value was more immediately apparent.
Their possession was keenly contended for, at a time when England had
not made up her mind to seek, and France scarcely cared to retain, the
interior of the northern continent.

The Cabots were the first Europeans who looked upon the rugged shores
of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and England therefore claimed those
regions as her own. But France actually took possession of the Acadian
peninsula. Small settlements were founded here and there, and a
profitable trade in furs was carried on with the Indians, who came
from great distances on the mainland to acquire the attractive wares
which the white men offered. During its first century Acadie had
an unquiet life. England would allow the poor colonists no repose.
During those periods--and they constantly recurred--when the two
great European powers were at war, the roving ships of England were
sure to visit the feeble Acadian settlements, bringing ruin, sudden
and deep. The colonists of Massachusetts or of distant Virginia, now
grown strong, did not wait for the pretext of war, but freely invaded
Acadie even during the intervals of peace. The French incautiously
provoked the resentment of their Indian neighbours, and the treacherous
savages exacted bloody vengeance for their wrongs. And as if foreign
hostility were not sufficient, civil wars raged among the Acadians. At
one unhappy time there were rival governors in Acadie, with battles,
sieges, massacres of Frenchmen by French hands. But even these miseries
did not prevent some measure of growth. Before Acadie finally passed
away from France, there were twenty thousand Frenchmen engaged in its
fisheries and its fur trade.

[Sidenote: 1713 A.D.] A hundred years after the first French settlement
on the Acadian peninsula, there came to a close, in the reign of
Queen Anne, the desolating war against Louis XIV., which King William
had deemed essential to the welfare of Europe. England, as was her
practice at such seasons, had possessed herself of Acadie. Hitherto
she had been accustomed to restore Acadie at the close of each war.
Now she determined to retain it; and exhausted France submitted, by
the treaty of Utrecht, to the loss. Acadie became Nova Scotia; Port
Royal became Annapolis, in honour of the English Queen. Cape Breton,
an island adjoining Acadie on the north, was suffered to remain a
French possession; and here France hastened, at vast expense, to build
and fortify Louisburg, for the protection of her American trade.
Thirty years later, the English besieged and took Louisburg. France
strove hard, but vainly, to regain a fortress the loss of which shook
her hold of all her American possessions. A great fleet sailed from
France to achieve this conquest. But evil fortune attended it from
the outset. The English captured some of the ships; tempest wrecked
or scattered the others. Fresh efforts invited new disasters; the
attempt to repossess Louisburg was closed by the destruction or capture
of an entire French fleet. But France had fought more successfully
in India, and when the terms of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle came
to be adjusted, she received back Louisburg in exchange for Madras.
[Sidenote: 1748 A.D.] It remained in her possession for ten years more,
and then passed finally away from her, along with all the rest of her
American territory.

The first care of England, when Nova Scotia became decisively hers,
was to provide herself with a fortified harbour and naval station
adequate to the wants of her extended dominion. Her ships in large
numbers frequented those Western waters, intent upon the protection of
her own interests and the overthrow of the interests of France. Some
well-defended and easily-accessible position was required, where fleets
could rendezvous, where ships could refit, from which the possessions
of France in the north and of Spain in the south could be menaced. A
site was chosen on the eastern shore of the island, where a magnificent
natural harbour opens to the sea. Here, on a lofty slope, arose the
town of Halifax, the great centre of British naval influence on the
American coast. [Sidenote: 1749 A.D.] Four thousand adventurers arrived
from England, tempted by liberal offers of land. During the months of
one brief summer, houses were built, and defences were erected against
unfriendly neighbours. The forest trees of that lovely hill-side
disappeared, and in their place arose a busy English town.

The Indians of Nova Scotia did not look with approval upon the
occupation of their territory by the English. They lurked in the
woods around Halifax, or they stole silently along by night in their
light canoes, and as they found fitting opportunity they plundered
and slew. Once they burst upon the sleeping crews of two vessels
lying in the harbour, murdering some, and carrying away others to be
sold to the French at Louisburg. England held the Frenchmen of the
province responsible for these outrages. The Acadians were a simple,
light-hearted people, living contentedly in the rude comfort which
the harvest of sea and of land yielded to them. But they did not at
once assent to the revolution which handed them over to a foreign
power, and they refused to swear allegiance to the English King. The
Governor dealt very sternly with these reluctant subjects. [Sidenote:
1755 A.D.] He gathered up as many as he could find, and having crowded
them on board his ships, he scattered them among the southern English
colonies. He burned their houses, he confiscated their goods. Nearly
one-half of the Acadians were thus sent forcibly away from homes which
were rightfully their own. Of the others, some escaped into the woods,
and finally into Canada. Many perished under this cruel treatment,
and nearly all fell from comparative ease and comfort into extreme

For some years Nova Scotia was without any semblance of representative
government, contenting herself with the mild despotism of the Governor.
At length, when this arrangement ceased to give satisfaction, an
Assembly chosen by the people met in Halifax. Henceforth Nova Scotia
enjoyed the privilege of self-government, and her political history
runs for the most part parallel with that of Canada. [Sidenote: 1758
A.D.] She had the same prolonged conflict with the Governor in regard
to control of the revenue, the same grievance of a despotic family
compact, the same determination that the advisers of the Governor
should be responsible to the Assembly. The population was mixed
and inharmonious. There were Germans and Dutchmen; there were some
remnants of the Acadians who had been permitted to return; there were
American loyalists fleeing before triumphant republicanism; there were
the English who founded Halifax. Soon, however, the preponderance of
the English element was decisive, and Nova Scotia was spared those
envenomed dissensions which difference of race originated in the
Canadian provinces. At the close of her separate existence Nova Scotia
did not embrace with entire cordiality the project of confederation. A
strong minority opposed union. But wiser counsels in the end prevailed,
and this province, although not without hesitation, cast in her lot
with the others.

Nova Scotia has an area equal to rather more than one-half that of
Scotland, with a population of four hundred thousand persons; and as
nearly all of these are natives of the province, it does not appear
that many strangers have recently sought homes upon her soil. The
country is beautifully diversified with valley and with hill, and
bright with river and with lake. Much of the land is abundantly
fertile, and a careful and intelligent system of cultivation is
practised. Near the sea-board are vast treasures of coal and iron, of
copper and tin. No equal length of coast in any part of the world has
been more abundantly supplied with convenient harbours. In a distance
of one hundred miles there are no fewer than twelve harbours capable of
receiving the largest vessels in the British navy. The salmon rivers of
Acadie are second only to those of Scotland. The ocean-fishings are so
productive that Nova Scotia exports products of the sea to the annual
value of one million sterling.

New Brunswick is the latest born of the American settlements. For many
years after the conquest her fertile soil lay almost uncultivated,
and her population was nothing more than a few hundred fishermen. It
was at the close of the American War of Independence that the era
of progress in New Brunswick began. Across the frontier, in the New
England States, were many persons who had fought in the British ranks,
to perpetuate a system of government which their neighbours had agreed
to reject as tyrannical and injurious. These men were now regarded with
aversion, as traitors to the great cause. Finding life intolerable
amid surroundings so uncongenial, they shook from their feet the dust
of the revolted provinces, and moved northwards with their families
in quest of lands which were still ruled by monarchy. Five thousand
came in one year. They came so hastily, and with so little provision
for their own wants, that they must have perished, but for the timely
aid of the Government. [Sidenote: 1785 A.D.] But their presence added
largely to the importance of New Brunswick, which was now dissociated
from Nova Scotia, and erected into a separate province. At this time,
when she attained the dignity of an administration specially her own,
her population was only six thousand, scattered over an area nearly
equal to that of Scotland. But her soil was fertile; she abounded in
coal and in timber; her fisheries were inexhaustibly productive. Her
progress was not unworthy of the advantages with which Nature had
endowed her. In twenty years her inhabitants had doubled. In half a
century the struggling six thousand had increased to one hundred and
fifty thousand. To-day the population of New Brunswick exceeds three
hundred thousand. This rate of increase, although the numbers dealt
with are not large, is greatly higher than that of the United States
themselves. In the treaty by which England recognized the independence
of her thirteen colonies, the boundary of New Brunswick and of Maine
was fixed carelessly and unskilfully. It was defined to be, on the
extreme east, a certain river St. Croix. Westward from the source of
that river it was a line drawn thence to the highlands, dividing the
waters which flow to the Atlantic from those which flow to the St.
Lawrence. The records even of diplomacy would be searched in vain for
an agreement more fertile in misunderstanding. The negotiators were
absolutely ignorant of the country whose limits they were appointed
to fix. Especially were they unaware that the devout Frenchmen who
first settled there were accustomed to set up numerous crosses along
the coast, and that the name La Croix was in consequence given to
many rivers. In a few years it was found that the contracting powers
differed as to the identity of the river St. Croix. The Americans
applied the name to one stream, the British to another. That portion of
the controversy was settled in favour of Britain. But a more serious
difficulty now rose to view. The powers differed as to the locality of
the “highlands” designated by the treaty, and a “disputed territory” of
twelve thousand square miles lay between the competing boundary-lines.
For sixty years angry debate raged over this territory, and the strife
at one period came to the perilous verge of actual war. The people of
New Brunswick exercised the privilege of felling timber on the disputed
territory. [Sidenote: 1839 A.D.] The Governor of Maine sent an armed
force to expel the intruders, and called out ten thousand militiamen
to assert the rights of America. The Governor of New Brunswick replied
by sending two regiments, with a competent artillery. Nova Scotia
voted money and troops. But the time had passed when it was possible
for England and America to fight in so light a quarrel as this. Lord
Ashburton was sent out by England; Daniel Webster, on the part of
America, was appointed to meet him. [Sidenote: 1842 A.D.] The dispute
was easily settled by assigning seven thousand square miles to America
and five thousand to New Brunswick.

Newfoundland was the earliest of the British settlements on the
northern shores of America, and it was also, down to a late period,
the most imperfectly known. Even from the time of its discovery by
Cabot the value of its fisheries was perceived. English fishing-vessels
followed their calling on the Newfoundland coast during the reign of
Henry VIII., and the trade then begun was never interrupted. England
had always asserted proprietary rights over the island; but she did
not at first attempt to enforce exclusive possession of its shores,
and the ships of all European nations were at liberty to fish without
obstruction. But the vast importance of those fisheries became more
and more apparent. It was not merely or chiefly the liberal gain which
the traffic yielded. Of yet greater account was the circumstance that
the fisheries were a nursery in which was trained a race of hardy and
enterprising sailors, capable of upholding the honour of the English
flag. A century after Cabot’s voyage, the sovereignty of Newfoundland
and the exclusive right to fish on its shores were claimed for England;
and the claim was enforced by the confiscation of certain foreign
ships, which were peacefully returning home, laden with the gains of a
successful season.

About the middle of the seventeenth century there were upon the island
three hundred and fifty families, scattered in fifteen or sixteen petty
settlements. By this time the persons who resorted to the fisheries had
become sensitively alive to the preservation of the trade, and looked
with disfavour upon the increase of a permanent population. They were
able to obtain from the reckless Government of Charles II. an order
that the settlers should depart from the island; and the barbarous
edict was enforced by burning down the houses and wasting the fields of
the inhabitants.

It was not England alone to which the fisheries of Newfoundland were
of value. France was equally in earnest in her desire to gain control
of the coveted territory. [Sidenote: 1696 A.D.] She had one or two
small settlements, and she had been able by one happy stroke to gain
possession of the whole island. The triumph, however, was not enduring,
for England speedily reclaimed all that she had lost. [Sidenote: 1713
A.D.] By the treaty of Utrecht, when Louis XIV. was reduced by the
victorious arms of Marlborough to the last extremity of exhaustion,
France ceded to England all her claims upon Newfoundland; preserving
still, however, her right to participate in the fisheries.

Down almost to the close of last century Newfoundland was without
any proper government or administration of justice. England would
not recognize the island as a colony, but persisted in regarding it
as a mere fishery. The substitute for government was probably the
rudest device which has ever been adopted by any civilized country.
[Sidenote: 1690 A.D.] The master of the fishing-vessel which arrived
first on the coast was the “Admiral” for the season, charged with
the duty of maintaining order among the crews of the other ships,
governing the island from the deck of his vessel. The great industry of
Newfoundland--her fisheries--was always prosperous, and yielded large
gains to the mother-country. But her infant settlements struggled up to
strength and importance in the face of many discouragements, which were
negligently or wilfully inflicted.

The area of Newfoundland is equal to two-thirds that of England and
Wales, and her population is one hundred and fifty thousand. For
three hundred and fifty years after Cabot’s discovery the interior
of the island had never been explored by Europeans, and was wholly
unknown, excepting to a few Indian hunters. Only so recently as 1822 an
adventurous traveller accomplished for the first time a journey across
the island. The enterprise was attended with much difficulty and some
danger. The country was found to be rugged and broken. Innumerable
lakes and marshes opposed the traveller’s progress, and imposed
tedious deviations from his course. The journey occupied two months,
during which the traveller and his Indian companions were obliged to
subsist by the chase. No traces of cultivation were discovered, and no
inhabitants. The natives of Newfoundland were the only race of American
savages who persistently refused to enter into relations with the white
men. They maintained to the end a hostile attitude, and were shot down
and finally exterminated as opportunity offered.

Newfoundland has on her western coast, and along the valleys through
which her rivers flow, some tracts of rich land on which grain might
be grown. She has, too, much good pasturage; and although her winters
are long and severe, her brief summer has heat enough to ripen many
varieties of fruit and vegetables. She has coal, iron, and limestone.
Her savage inhabitants fed on the flesh of deer, which wandered in
vast herds in the woods; and they clothed themselves in the rich
furs of bears, wolves, beavers, and other wild creatures. The first
settlers found the noble Newfoundland dog living in a very debased
condition--hunting in packs, and manifesting tendencies not superior
to those of the wolf. But his higher nature made him amenable to
civilizing influences, and he quickly rose to be the trusted companion
and friend of man.



The boundary-line which marks the southern limit of British territory
divides the continent into two not very unequal portions. On one side
stretches out the vast area covered by the United States--the home
of fifty million people--the seat of the manifold industries which
their energy has called into existence. On the other side there lies
a yet wider expanse of territory, whose development is still in the
future. Northward and westward of the original line of settlement in
the valley of the St. Lawrence the possessions of Great Britain are
nearly equal in extent to the whole of Europe. Towards the Atlantic
vast pine-forests cover the ground. Towards the Pacific are great
mountain-ranges, rich with mineral treasures, destined to yield wealth
to the men of future generations. The central portion of the continent
is a vast expanse of rich farm-land, where the slightest efforts of the
husbandman yield lavish increase.[20] Great navigable rivers, which
take their origin in the Rocky Mountains, traverse the continent, and
wait, silent and unused, to bear the traffic which coming years must
bring. The Saskatchewan, after a course of thirteen hundred miles, and
the Red River, whose sources are very near those of the Mississippi,
after flowing nearly seven hundred miles, pour their ample floods
into Lake Winnipeg--a vast sheet of water, covering an area equal to
one-third that of Scotland. The Nelson River carries the waters of Lake
Winnipeg into Hudson Bay by a course of three hundred miles, which
could easily be rendered navigable for ships of large burden.

Lake Winnipeg is in the latitude of England; but the genial influences
of the Gulf Stream do not visit those stern coasts, whose temperature
is largely governed by the ice-cold currents of the Arctic Ocean. The
climate is severe, the winter is long. During five or six months of the
year the country lies under a covering of snow; river and lake are fast
bound by frost; the thermometer occasionally sinks to fifty degrees
below zero. This stern dominion does not pass gradually away; it ceases
almost suddenly. The snow disappears as if by magic; the streams resume
their interrupted flow; trees clothe themselves with foliage; the
plains are gay with grass and flower. At one stride comes the summer,
with its fierce heat, with its intolerable opulence of insect life,
with its swift growth and ripening of wild fruits, and of the seeds
which the sower has scattered over the fertile soil.

At the coming of Europeans into America this magnificent region was
possessed by numerous tribes of Indians, who gained their food and
clothing almost wholly by the chase. In course of years the white man
found that the Indian would sell, for trivial payment, rich furs which
were eagerly desired in Europe. The Indian came to understand that
he could exchange his easily obtained furs for the musket which the
strangers brought and taught him to use, for the beads with which he
loved to ornament himself, for the seductive liquors which quickly
asserted a destructive mastery over his savage nature. Out of these
experiences there arose trading relations between the Indians of
the North-West and the adventurous Europeans who from time to time
made their way into those mysterious regions. A sagacious Frenchman
perceived the advantage which was to be gained by an organized and
systematic prosecution of this lucrative commerce. [Sidenote: 1668
A.D.] He proposed the enterprise to his countrymen, but it failed
to command their support. The baffled projector made his way to
England, and obtained access to Prince Rupert, to whom he unfolded his
scheme. A quarter of a century had passed since the fierce charges of
Rupert’s cavalry swept down the troops of the Parliament at Naseby
and Newark, since he himself had been chased from Marston Moor by
the stern Ironsides of Cromwell. The prince was now a sedate man of
fifty. The vehemence of his youth had mellowed itself down to a love of
commercial adventure. He lent a willing ear to the ingenious Frenchman.
His influence with the public procured the formation of a company,
whose paid-up capital was £10,500. His influence with his cousin,
King Charles, sufficed to obtain a charter. [Sidenote: 1670 A.D.] The
liberal monarch bestowed half a continent upon these speculators, on
no more burdensome terms than that they should pay two elks and two
black beavers to the sovereign whensoever he visited their territory.
“The Governor and Company of Adventurers trading into Hudson Bay”
were endowed by this liberal monarch with “all countries which lie
within the entrance of Hudson’s Straits, in whatever latitude they may
be, so far as not possessed by other Christian States.” Thus largely
privileged, the adventurers entered upon a career of unusual success.
In a few years they paid a dividend at the rate of fifty per cent.; a
little later they trebled their capital out of profits, and paid to
shareholders twenty-five per cent. upon the increased amount; still
later the capital was once more trebled from the same source, without
diminution of the rate of dividend.

The fur trade was one of the most lucrative of which merchants had any
experience. The savages who overthrew the Roman empire had introduced
to Southern Europe the beautiful furs of the north. Henceforth the
article was in urgent demand. Great ladies sought eagerly, for purposes
of ornament, such furs as those with which the northern savage clothed
himself and his children--sought eagerly, but often unsuccessfully, for
demand outstripped supply. It was certain that Europe would purchase at
liberal prices all the furs which the adventurers were able to bring.

The Hudson Bay Company entered with vigour upon this inviting field.
They established a fort near the coast, and made it known among
the Indians that they were prepared to trade. With as little delay
as possible they pushed their settlement far into the interior.
Scattered at great intervals across the continent arose the little
trading-stations. They were composed of a few wooden huts, with a
strong surrounding palisade or wall; with well-barred gates; with
loop-holes, from which, in case of need, the uncertain clients of the
Company could be controlled by musketry. These posts were ordinarily
established near rivers, accessible to the savages by canoe or by
sledge. Their loneliness was extreme. For hundreds of miles on every
side stretched the dense forest or the boundless prairie, untrodden by
man. At fixed seasons--once or twice in the year--the natives appeared,
bearing the spoils of the chase--skins, oil, the tusk of the walrus,
feathers, dried fish. Ordinarily the entire tribe come on this great
mission. They encamp before the fort. An officer goes forth, and the
gate is jealously barred behind him. Gifts are exchanged and speeches
effusively affectionate and confiding. Within the fort are stores
filled with wares, which the Company has brought from afar,--blankets,
beads, scalping-knives, fish-hooks, muskets, ammunition, tea, sugar,
red and yellow paints for purposes of personal adornment. These strange
traders enter in groups of three or four, for they cannot be trusted
in larger numbers. They deposit the articles which they offer; the
Company’s servants put a value upon these, and hand over an equivalent,
according to the choice of their customer. Money, until lately, would
have been worthless to the Indian, and none was offered. At one time
spirits were supplied, with frightful results in uproar and violence;
but this evil practice has been discontinued or carefully restricted.
When the negotiation is concluded, the Indians withdraw and resume
their wanderings.

The Company supplied such government as the unpeopled continent
required. They had many rivals in the lucrative commerce which they
carried on, and it was often needful for them to defend by arms their
coveted monopoly. The French strove during many years to drive out
the English and possess the fur trade. French ships of war appeared
in the bay; French soldiers attacked the posts of the Company.
Scarcely had those angry debates been silenced by the victory of
Wolfe, when a yet more formidable competition arose. [Sidenote: 1784
A.D.] Some enterprising Canadians founded a rival Company, and traded
so prosperously that in a few years they had established numerous
stations, and possessed themselves of much of the trade which had
hitherto been enjoyed by the older Company. Perpetual strife raged
between the servants of the rival institutions. Battles were fought;
much blood was shed; the revenues of the Hudson Bay Company decayed;
its rich dividends wholly ceased. [Sidenote: 1816 A.D.] At length a
union of the Companies closed these wasteful feuds, and restored the
almost forgotten era of prosperity.

For a century and a half from the formation of the Company there was no
attempt to colonize the vast region over which its dominion extended.
The Englishmen and Scotchmen who occupied the trading-stations were the
only civilized inhabitants of the North-West. The stations were in
number about one hundred; the entire white population did not exceed
one or two thousand. There were stations on the Mackenzie River,
within the Arctic circle, where the cold was so intense that hatchets
of ordinary temper shivered like glass at the first blow. There were
stations on the Labrador coast, and twenty-five hundred miles away
from these there were stations on the Pacific. The Company did not
desire to carry civilization into this wilderness. The interests of
the fur trade are not promoted by civilization. That industry cannot
live within sound of the settler’s axe, or where the yellow corn waves
in the soft winds of autumn. It prospers only where the silence of the
forest is unbroken; where the fertile glebe lies undisturbed by the
plough. The Company gave no encouragement to the coming in of human
beings, in presence of whom the more profitable occupancy of beaver
and bison and silver fox must cease. At length, and for the only time,
the traditional policy was departed from. [Sidenote: 1812 A.D.] While
the struggle with the rival Company still raged, Lord Selkirk, who was
then chairman of the Hudson Bay Company, bethought him of sending out
a number of Scotch Highlanders to found a permanent settlement, and
thus give preponderance to the interests of which he was the guardian.
At that time the Duke of Sutherland was in process of removing small
farmers from his estates in Sutherlandshire, in order that he might
give effect to modern ideas on the subject of sheep-farming. Lord
Selkirk collected a band of these dispossessed Highlanders, and settled
them in the solitudes of the Winnipeg valley. The point which he
selected was near the confluence of the Red River and the Assiniboine,
and forty miles from the lake into which these rivers fall. It was many
hundred miles from a human habitation; this lonely colony was the only
seat of population on all the northern portion of a vast continent. But
the soil possessed remarkable fertility; and the Scotchmen were robust
and industrious. Gradually they were joined by other adventurers to
whom the severity of the climate was without terrors. Ejected Highland
crofters, soldiers disbanded after Waterloo, sought in little groups
this remote and dimly-known region. The retired servants of the
Company came to spend the evening of their days in the settlement. A
line of block houses and of cultivated farms stretched for many miles
up the valleys of the Assiniboine and Red River. A cluster of wooden
huts received the name of Winnipeg, and started upon its career as a
prairie town at a rate of progress so leisurely that in 1871 it held
no more than four hundred inhabitants. Fort Garry, the chief seat of
the Company’s authority, added to the dignity of the colony, which soon
became the recognized metropolis of all the north-western region. Its
growth has not been rapid, but it has been steady; and the population,
if we accept the mean of very diverse estimates, is probably now
about fifteen thousand souls. These are largely Scotch; but there
are also French and Indians, and there has been a copious admixture
of the European and native races. There are Scotch half-breeds and
French half-breeds, in whom the aspect and the qualities of both races
are combined, and many of whom are not inferior in intelligence and
education to their European parentage.

In course of years political government by trading companies became
utterly discredited in England. The government of the East India
Company had long been regarded with disapproval; after the great mutiny
of 1857 occurred, it was felt to be intolerable. No voice of authority
was raised in favour of its longer continuance, and the political
functions of the Company were extinguished as inconsistent with the
general welfare. The Hudson Bay Company was not more fortunate in its
rule than the great sister Company had been. Latterly it had failed
to maintain order among the scanty population over which it presided.
Occasionally, when its officers pronounced an unacceptable sentence,
the friends of the offender forced the prison-doors, and set the
prisoner free. The Company was willing to be relieved from the burden
of an authority which it was no longer able to exercise. The new
Dominion of Canada desired to add to its possessions the vast domain
of the Hudson Bay Company. [Sidenote: 1869 A.D.] A transfer which was
sought for on both sides was not difficult to arrange. The Company
received the sum of £300,000 and certain portions of land around its
trading-stations. All besides passed into the hands of the Canadian

The authorities who negotiated this transaction seem to have thought
mainly of the land, and very little of the people who dwelt upon
it. The people now claimed to express themselves, and they did so
by methods which were rude and inconvenient. The French and French
half-breed population refused to concur in a transfer which they
regarded as injurious to their rights. They were sensitive on the
subject of their title to the properties which they occupied; and with
reason, for many of them had no claim excepting that which occupancy
may be supposed to confer. It was rumoured among them that their new
rulers intended to eject them from their holdings; and the entrance
upon the scene of various surveying-parties was accepted as evidence of
this purpose. [Sidenote: 1869 A.D.] The excited people took up arms,
and formed a provisional government. Their leader in the rebellion
by which they hoped to throw off the authority of Canada and Great
Britain, and establish themselves as an independent nation, was Louis
Riel, an ambitious but reckless young French Canadian. Riel became
President of the new Republic, and gathered an armed force of six
hundred men to uphold the national dignity. He turned back at the
frontier the newly-appointed Governor; he seized Fort Garry, in which
were ample stores of arms and provisions; he imprisoned all who offered
active opposition to his rule. The distant Canadian Government looked
on at first as amused with this diminutive rebellion. They did not
think of employing force to restore order; they sought the desired end
by persuasion. The Roman Catholic archbishop of the district was then
in Rome, occupied in solving the problem of papal infallibility. He
was invited to desist from the absorbing pursuit; to return to the Red
River and incline his erring flock to thoughts of peace. He made the
sacrifice; he left Rome, and arrived in Canada. But while he was still
toiling homewards across the snowy wilderness, events occurred which
fatally complicated the position and rendered an amicable solution

A party of loyal inhabitants made a hasty and ill-prepared rising
against the authority of the provisional government. They were easily
beaten back by the superior forces under Riel’s command, and some of
them were taken prisoners. Among these was a Canadian named Scott, who
had distinguished himself by his obstinate hostility to the rule of
the usurpers. Riel determined to overawe his enemies, and compel the
adherence of his friends by an act of conspicuous and unpardonable
severity. [Sidenote: March, 1870 A.D.] Poor Scott was subjected to
the trial of a mock tribunal, whose judgment sent him to death. An
hour later he was led forth beyond the gate of the fort. Kneeling,
with bandaged eyes, among the snow, he was shot by a firing-party of
intoxicated half-breeds almost before he had time to realize the cruel
fate which had befallen him.

This shameful murder invested the Red River rebellion with a gravity of
aspect which it had not hitherto worn. There arose in Canada a vehement
demand that the criminals should be punished and the royal authority
restored. The despatch of a military force sufficiently strong to
overbear the resistance of the insurgent Frenchmen was at once resolved

Unusual difficulty attended this enterprise. Fort Garry was twelve
hundred miles distant from Toronto. One-half of this distance could
be accomplished easily by railway and by steam-boat; but beyond the
northern extremity of Lake Superior there were six hundred miles of
dense and pathless forest traversed by a chain of rivers and of lakes.
On these waters, broken by dangerous rapids and impassable falls, no
vessel but the light birch canoe of the Indian had ever floated. By
this seemingly impracticable route it was now proposed that an army
carrying with it the elaborate equipment of modern war should make its
way to the valley of the Winnipeg.

Happily there was at that time in Canada an officer endowed with rare
power in the department of military organization. To this officer,
now well known as Sir Garnet Wolseley, was intrusted the task of
preparing and commanding the expedition. No laurels were gained by
the forces which Colonel Wolseley led out into the wilderness; for
the enemy did not abide their coming, and their modest achievements
were unnoticed amid the absorbing interest with which men watched the
tremendous occurrences of the war then raging between Germany and
France. Nevertheless the Red River expedition claims an eminent place
in the record of military transactions. It is probably the solitary
example of an army advancing by a lengthened and almost impracticable
route, accomplishing its task, and returning home without the loss of
a single life either in battle or by disease. And the wise forethought
which provided so effectively for all the exigencies of that unknown
journey is more admirable than the generalship which has sufficed to
gain bloody victories in many of our recent wars.

[Sidenote: May 21, 1870 A.D.] In little more than two months from the
commission of the crime which it went to avenge, the army set forth. It
was composed of twelve hundred fighting men, of whom two-thirds were
Canadian volunteers, and the remainder British regulars. Two hundred
boats, a few pieces of light artillery, and provisions for sixty days,
formed part of its equipment. The expedition passed easily along Lake
Huron and Lake Superior, and disembarked in Thunder Bay. From this
point to the little Lake Shebandowan was a distance of fifty miles.
There was a half-formed road for part of the way, and a river scarcely
navigable. So toilsome was this stage of the journey that six weeks
passed before those fifty miles were traversed. At length the boats
floated on the tranquil waters of Lake Shebandowan. In an evening of
rare loveliness the fleet moved from the place of embarkation, and the
forest rung to the rejoicing cheers of the rowers.

Thus far the troops had been toiling up steep ascents. Now they had
reached the high land forming the water-shed, from which some streams
depart for Hudson Bay, others for Lake Superior and the St. Lawrence.
For many days their route led them along a chain of small lakes, on
which they rowed easily and pleasantly. But at the transition from
lake to lake, there ordinarily presented itself a portage--a name of
fear to the soldiers. At the portage all disembarked. The innumerable
barrels which held their supplies, the artillery, the ammunition, the
boats themselves, were taken on shore, and carried on men’s shoulders
or dragged across the land which divided them from the next lake.
Forty-seven times during the progress to Lake Winnipeg was this heavy
labour undergone. But in the face of all difficulties the progress was
rapid. The health of the men was perfect, their spirits were high, and
their carrying power so increased by exercise that they were soon able
to carry double the load which they could have faced at the outset.
No spirituous liquors were served out, and perfect order reigned in
the camp. The heat was often oppressive; the attacks of mosquitoes and
similar insects were intolerable. But the forethought of the general
had provided for each man a veil which protected his face, and each
boat carried a jar of mosquito oil to fortify the hands. In the early
days of August the boats passed along Rainy Lake, a beautiful sheet of
water fifty miles in length, and entered the river of the same name.
Rainy River is a noble stream, eighty miles in length, and three to
four hundred yards in width. The scenery through which it flows is of
great beauty. Oak-trees of large growth, open glades stretching far
into the forest, luxuriant grass, flowers in endless variety and rich
profusion, all suggested to the men the parks which surround great
houses in England. Helped by the current, Rainy River was traversed at
the rate of five or six miles an hour, and the expedition reached the
Lake of the Woods. Issuing thence, it entered the Winnipeg River.

Here the difficulties of the expedition thickened. The Winnipeg is a
magnificent stream, one hundred and sixty-three miles in length--broad
and deep, flowing with a rapid current, often between lofty cliffs of
granite. In its course, however, there are numerous falls in which
boats cannot live. Twenty-five times the stores were unshipped, and the
boats drawn on shore. Frequent rapids occurred, down which the boats
were guided, not without danger, by the skilful hands of the Indian
boatmen. No loss was sustained, and after five days of this toilsome
and exciting work the boats entered Lake Winnipeg. For one day they
steered across the south-eastern portion of the lake; for one day more
they held their course up Red River. They left their boats at two
miles’ distance from Fort Garry, and under rain falling in torrents,
and by roads ankle-deep with tenacious mud, they advanced to seek the

Colonel Wolseley had used precautions to prevent any knowledge of his
approach from being carried to the fort. He was unable to learn what
Riel intended to do, and the men marched forward in the eager hope
that the enemy would abide their coming. As they neared the fort, the
gates were seen to be shut, and cannon looked out from the bastions
and over the gateways. But on a closer view it was noticed that no
men were beside the guns, and the hopes of the assailants fell. A
moment later, and the fort was known to be abandoned; men were seen at
a little distance in rapid flight. Riel, it appeared, had meditated
resistance, if he could induce his followers to fight. He had been
able to build some hope, too, upon the six hundred miles of almost
impassable country which lay between him and Lake Superior. [Sidenote:
Aug. 24, 1870 A.D.] Soothing his anxieties by this dream, the President
of the Red River Republic breakfasted tranquilly on this closing day of
his career. But just as his repast was ended there were seen from the
windows of the fort, at a distance of a few hundred yards, and marching
with swift step towards him, the twelve hundred men who had come so far
to accomplish his overthrow. The blood of Scott was upon his guilty
hands. The wretched man saddled a horse and galloped for life; and the
victors did not seek to interrupt his flight. The Red River rebellion
was suppressed, and British authority was restored in the valley of the

Until very recently the vast wheat-field of the North-West was almost
worthless to man; even now its development has only begun. It is
difficult to over-estimate the influence on the future course of
human affairs which this lonely and inaccessible region is destined
to exert. In the valleys of Lake Winnipeg and its tributary streams
two hundred million acres of land, unsurpassed in fertility, wait
the coming of the husbandman. Its average production of wheat may be
stated at thirty bushels per acre--more than double that of the valley
of the Mississippi, and rather more than can be gained from the soil
of England by careful and expensive cultivation.[21] Great Britain
imports annually one hundred million bushels of wheat--scarcely more
than one-sixtieth part of the production of the Winnipeg valley were
its enormous capability fully drawn out. The soil is of surpassing
richness, and yields its ample fruits so easily that in an ordinary
season the cost of producing a quarter of wheat is on an average no
more than thirteen shillings. Port Nelson on the Hudson Bay--the
natural shipping point of all this region--is eighty miles nearer than
New York is to Liverpool and the markets of England.

The valley of the Winnipeg has been hitherto practically inaccessible.
The Red River expedition spent three months on the journey. Many of
the settlers had required even longer time to reach the secluded
paradise which they sought. To a vast majority of the British people
the existence of this territory is still unknown. The boats of the
Hudson Bay Company formed its only medium of communication with the
outside world. Until the Winnipeg valley has been opened by railway or
by steam-boat, it must remain valueless for any better use than as a
preserve for the wild creatures which yield fur, and as a home for the
Indians who pursue them.

But the needful facility of transport is now being gained; the distance
which has shut out the human family from this splendid domain is now
in course of being abridged. Winnipeg, now grown into a town of about
twelve thousand inhabitants, and rapidly increasing, has a direct
railway connection with St. Paul, the chief city of Minnesota. The
Northern Pacific--a line whose progress was delayed for years by
financial disaster--is now advancing westward from its starting-point
on Lake Superior, and will soon be opened through to the western ocean.
The Canadian Pacific, largely subsidized by Government, is pushing
its way westward towards Columbia and the ocean. The obstacles to
navigation in the Nelson river have been carefully examined with a view
to their removal, so that vessels of large size may pass from Lake
Winnipeg to Europe.

These increased facilities of transport have produced their expected
result. A large inflow of settlers began two or three years ago, and
continues year by year to increase. Many thousand immigrants came
to the Winnipeg valley in 1877-78. Up to the present time over four
million acres of rich wheat-lands have been taken up--an area capable
of adding to the supply of human food a quantity almost equal to
the entire British import of wheat. The new settlers are, for the
most part, experienced farmers, who have been attracted hither by
the superior advantages of the soil. Some of them come from Europe,
but a larger number come from the old Canadian provinces and from
those States of the Union which lie near the frontier. Most of them
are men who have sold the lands which they formerly owned, and come
with capital sufficient to provide the most approved agricultural
appliances. The price for which land can be obtained is inconsiderable;
and while the average holding does not exceed two hundred acres, many
persons have acquired large tracts.

The rapid settlement of this central territory of Canada is one of
the great social and political factors of the future for Canada and
for Europe. The development of the vast resources of Manitoba must
hasten the progress of the Dominion to wealth and consideration. To
the growers of food on the limited and highly-rented fields of Europe
it furnishes reasonable occasion for anxiety. To those who are not
producers, but only consumers, it gives, in stronger terms than it has
ever previously been given, the acceptable assurance that the era of
famine lies far behind--that the human family, for many generations to
come, will enjoy the blessing of abundant and low-priced food.

       *       *       *       *       *

Between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific there lies a vast tract of
fertile land, possessing an area equal to six times that of England
and Wales. This is British Columbia--the latest-born member of the
confederation, which it entered only in 1871. The waters of the Pacific
exert upon its climate the same softening influence which is carried
by the Gulf Stream to corresponding latitudes in Europe, and the
average temperature of Columbia does not differ materially from that
of England. Gold is found in the sands of the rivers which flow down
from the Rocky Mountains; coal in abundance lies near the surface;
large tracts are covered with pine forests, whose trees attain unusual
size;[22] many islands stud the placid waters which wash the western
shores of the province; many navigable inlets sweep far into the
interior--deep into forests, for the transport of whose timber they
provide ample convenience. In the streams and on the coasts there
is an extraordinary abundance of fish; on the banks of the Fraser
River the English miner and the Indian fisherman may be seen side by
side pursuing their avocations with success. The wealth of Columbia
secures for her a prosperous future; but as yet her development has
only begun. Her population is about twelve thousand, besides thirty
thousand Indians. Her great pine forests have yet scarcely heard the
sound of the axe; her rich valleys lie untilled; her coal and iron
wait the coming of the strong arms which are to draw forth their
treasures; even her tempting gold-fields are cultivated but slightly.
Columbia must become the home of a numerous and thriving population,
but in the meantime her progress is delayed by her remoteness and her

Columbia herself feels deeply this temporary frustration of her
destiny. Her recent political history has been in large measure the
history of a grievance. [Sidenote: 1871 A.D.] When she entered the
Confederation, the Dominion Government engaged that in two years there
should be commenced, and in ten years there should be completed, the
construction of a railway to connect the sea-board of Columbia with
the railway system of Canada. In that time of universal inflation
such engagements were contracted lightly. A little later, when cool
reflection supervened, it was perceived that the undertaking was too
vast for the time allowed. Canada took no action beyond the ordering
of surveys; Columbia, in her isolation, complained loudly of the
faithlessness of her sisters. The impracticable contract was reviewed,
and a fresh engagement was given to the effect that the work should
begin so soon as surveys could be made, and should reach completion
in sixteen years. [Sidenote: 1874 A.D.] The work is now in progress;
and Columbia, not without impatience and some feeling of wrong, has
consented to postpone the opening of that era of prosperity which she
full surely knows to be in store.

    [Sidenote: 1881 A.D.] [With a view to the prospective
    development of the Hudson Bay route, a charter was recently
    obtained for the construction of a railway, to follow the line
    of the Nelson River, from Norway House on Lake Winnipeg to York
    Factory on Hudson Bay, thus connecting the over-sea navigation
    available from the latter point with steam-boat lines plying
    inland from the former. There would still, however, seem to be
    considerable diversity of opinion among people on the spot,
    as to whether the route in question can successfully compete,
    at least for a good many years to come, with the facilities
    which will soon be offered by the Canadian Pacific Railway
    Company. The line now being built by that enterprising body of
    capitalists has already been carried about 250 miles west of
    Winnipeg, and is expected, by the close of next year, to have
    reached the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. At present,
    there is an outlet from Manitoba, by rail, to Duluth on Lake
    Superior and to Chicago on Lake Michigan; but the opening,
    which cannot now be long delayed, of the Canadian Pacific
    line between Winnipeg and the west end of the former lake, in
    conjunction with the enlargement of the Welland Canal, so as
    to enable large vessels to pass the Falls of Niagara, will
    provide a new rail and water route to Montreal, by which, it
    is believed, wheat may be carried that distance for something
    less than the nine shillings and sixpence per quarter which it
    now costs by Duluth. The construction of the railway along the
    north side of Lake Superior, which the Canadian Pacific Company
    is taken bound to complete within ten years, will ultimately
    afford all-rail communication right through to the eastern
    sea-board: and it remains to be seen whether, with such means
    of transit at command, any considerable proportion of traffic
    will follow a route which, it is alleged, can only be depended
    upon for three months in the year, and which, in the opinion
    of some seafaring men, may occasionally be found difficult
    to work even during that period from the presence of ice in
    Hudson Strait. On the other hand, there comes, of course,
    the consideration that, if the development of the north-west
    should answer the expectations generally entertained, there may
    by-and-by be sufficient surplus produce for exportation to keep
    a Hudson Bay railway and steam-boat line, as well as all the
    other practicable outlets of that vast region, in remunerative



Canada is, in respect of extent, the noblest colonial possession over
which any nation has ever exercised dominion. It covers an area of
three million three hundred and thirty thousand square miles. Our
great Indian Empire is scarcely larger than one-fourth of its size.
Europe is larger by only half a million square miles; the United
States is smaller to nearly the same extent. The distances with which
men have to deal in Canada are enormous. From Ottawa to Winnipeg is
fourteen hundred miles--a journey equal to that which separates Paris
from Constantinople: the adventurous traveller, who would push his
way from Winnipeg to the extreme north-west, has a farther distance
of two thousand miles to traverse. The representatives of Vancouver
Island must travel two thousand five hundred miles in order to reach
the seat of Government. The journey from London to the Ural Mountains
is not greater in distance, and is not by any means so difficult. From
Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, to New Westminster, the capital
of British Columbia, there is a distance of four thousand miles--about
the distance as that which intervenes between London and Chicago, or
between London and the sources of the Nile.

The people on whom has devolved this vast heritage are in number about
four million. It is greatly beyond their powers, as yet, to subdue
and possess the continent upon whose fringes they have settled.
Nevertheless, their progress is now so rapid in numbers and industrial
development, and the wealth which lies around them is so great, that
year by year they must fill a larger place in the world’s regard,
and exercise a wider influence upon the course of human affairs. At
the beginning of the century they numbered scarcely a quarter of a
million--the slow growth of two hundred years of misgovernment and
strife. Twenty-five years thereafter their numbers had more than
doubled; in the following quarter of a century they had trebled. During
the ten years from 1851 to 1861 the annual increase was one hundred and
twenty thousand; in the following decade it was at the rate of sixty
thousand, of which less than one-half was by immigration. The increase
is mainly rural; there are no very powerful influences favouring the
growth of great cities. Montreal has a population of one hundred
and seven thousand; Quebec, of sixty thousand; Toronto has grown to
fifty thousand; Halifax to thirty thousand. All European nations are
represented on Canadian soil. Of English, Scotch, and Irish there are
over two million; of Frenchmen over one million. Germans, Russians,
Dutchmen, Swiss make up the remainder. The fusion of races has yet
made imperfect progress; the characteristic aspect and habits of each
nationality remain with little modification.

The Canadian people maintain a large and growing commerce, one-half of
which is with the mother country. Their exports are £18,000,000; their
imports are £26,000,000. They purchase iron largely in England, the
time having not yet come when their own abundant stores of this article
can be made available. They import annually four million tons of coal;
but the approaching close of this traffic is already foreshadowed by
the circumstance that they also export the product of their own mines
to the extent of four hundred thousand tons. Textile manufactures are
steadily gaining importance in Canada; but as yet the people clothe
themselves to a large extent in the woollen and cotton fabrics of the
old country.

Canada sells annually the produce of her forests to the extent of five
million sterling, and of her fields to the extent of four million.
The harvest of the sea yields a value of over two million, of which
one-half is sent abroad; the furs which her hunters collect bear a
value of half a million. She extracts from the maple-tree sugar to the
annual value of four million; her frugal cottagers gather annually two
million pounds of honey from the labours of the bee.

The lumber trade is the most characteristic of Canadian industries.
On the eastern portion of the Dominion, stretching northwards towards
the Arctic regions, illimitable forests clothe the ground. For the
most part these are yet undisturbed by man. But in the valleys of
streams which flow into the St. Lawrence, notably in the valley of the
picturesque Ottawa, the lumber trade is prosecuted with energy. Year by
year as autumn draws towards its close numerous bands of woodsmen set
out for the scene of their invigorating labours. A convenient locality
is chosen near a river, whose waters give motion to a saw-mill, and
will in due time bear the felled timber down to the port of shipment.
A hut is hastily erected to form the home of the men during the winter
months. The best trees in the neighbourhood are selected, and fall in
thousands under the practised axe of the lumberman. When the warmth
of approaching summer sets free the waters of the frozen stream, the
trees are floated to the saw-mill, and cut there into manageable
lengths. They are then formed into great rafts, on which villages of
huts are built for the accommodation of the returning woodsmen. The
winter months are spent in cutting down the timber; the whole of the
summer is often spent in conducting to Quebec or the Hudson the logs
and planks which have been secured. The forests of Canada are a source
of great and enduring wealth. They form also the nursery of a hardy,
an enduring, and withal a temperate population; for the lumberman
ordinarily dispenses with the treacherous support of alcohol, and is
content to recruit his energies by the copious use of strong tea and of
salted pork.

The occupation of about one-half of the Canadian people is agriculture.
In the old provinces there are nearly five hundred thousand persons
who occupy agricultural lands. Of these, nine-tenths own the soil
which they till; only one-tenth pay rent for their lands, and they
do so for the most part only until they have gained enough to become
purchasers. The agricultural labourer--a class so numerous and so
little to be envied in England--is almost unknown in Canada. No more
than two thousand persons occupy this position, which is to them
merely a step in the progress towards speedy ownership. Land is easily
acquired; for the Government, recognizing that the grand need of
Canada is population, offers land to every man who will occupy and
cultivate, or sells at prices which are little more than nominal.
The old provinces are filling up steadily if not with rapidity.
During the ten years from 1851 to 1861 the land under cultivation
had become greater by about one-half. During the following decade
the increase was in the same proportion. Schools of agriculture
and model farms have been established by Government, and the rude
methods by which cultivation was formerly carried on have experienced
vast ameliorations. Agriculture has become less wasteful and more
productive. Much attention is given to the products of the dairy. Much
care has been successfully bestowed upon the improvement of horses and
cattle. The manufacture and use of agricultural implements has largely
increased. The short Canadian summer lays upon the farmer the pressing
necessity of swift harvesting, and renders the help of machinery
specially valuable. In the St. Lawrence valley the growing of fruit
is assiduously prosecuted; and the apples, pears, plums, peaches, and
grapes of that region enjoy high reputation. Success almost invariably
rewards the industrious Canadian farmer. The rich fields, the well-fed
cattle, the comfortable farm-houses, all tell of prosperity and

The fisheries of the Dominion form one of its valuable industries. The
eastern coasts are resorted to by myriads of fishes, most prominent
among which is the cod-fish, whose preference for low temperatures
restrains its further progress southward. Sixty thousand men and
twenty-five thousand boats find profitable occupation in reaping this
abundant harvest. A Minister of Fisheries watches over this great
industry. Seven national institutions devote themselves to the culture
of fish, especially of the salmon, and prosecute experiments in regard
to the introduction of new varieties.

The Mercantile Navy of the Dominion is larger than that of France.
It comprises seven thousand ships, of the aggregate tonnage of one
million and a quarter; while the tonnage of Great Britain is six
million. Canada has invested in her shipping a capital of seven and a
half million sterling. She uses the timber of her forests in building
ships for herself and for other countries. The annual product of her
building-yards is considerably over a million sterling.

The burden laid by taxation upon the Canadians is not oppressive.
Taxation is raised almost entirely in the form of custom and excise
duties, and amounts to four million sterling. This is an average rate
of one pound for each of the population; not differing appreciably from
the rate of taxation in the United States, but being considerably less
than one-half of that which now prevails in Great Britain.

Canada trusts for her defence against foreign enemies to her militia
and volunteers, of whom she has nominally a large force. But only a
handful of these are annually called out for a few days of drill,
and the Dominion spends no more than £200,000 upon her military
preparations. Her fleet is equally modest, and consists of a few small
steamers which serve on the lakes and rivers, and mount in all about
twenty guns.

Besides the outlays incurred in carrying on the ordinary business
of Government, large sums, raised by loan, are annually expended on
public works. Navigation on the great rivers of Canada is interrupted
by numerous rapids and falls. Unless these obstructions be overcome,
the magnificent water-way with which Canada is endowed will be of
imperfect usefulness. At many points on the rivers and lakes canals
have been constructed. The formidable impediment which the great Fall
of Niagara offers to navigation is surmounted by the Welland Canal,
twenty-seven miles in length, and on which, with its branches, two and
a half million sterling have been expended. Much care is bestowed,
too, upon the deepening of rivers and the removal of rocks and other
obstructions to navigation. The vast distances of Canada render
railways indispensable to her development. The Canadian Government
and people have duly appreciated this necessity. They have already
constructed seven thousand miles of railway, and are proceeding rapidly
with further extension. The cost of railways already made amounts to
eighty million sterling, of which Government has provided one-fourth.
Very soon Canada will have a length of railway equal to one-half that
of Great Britain. But the disposition to travel has not kept pace with
the increased facilities which have been provided. The average number
of journeys performed annually by each Englishman is seventeen, while
the Canadian average is not quite two.

There still remain in the various provinces of the Dominion about
ninety thousand Indians, to represent the races who possessed the
continent when the white man found it. Two-thirds of these are in the
unpeopled wastes of Manitoba and British Columbia; the remainder are
settled in the old provinces. The Indian policy of Canada has been
from the beginning just and kind, and it has borne appropriate fruits.
The Governments of the United States have signally failed in their
management of their Indian population. Faith has not been kept with
the savages. Treaties have again and again been made by the Government
and violated by the people. Lands have been assigned to the Indians,
and forcibly taken from them so soon as possession was desired by any
considerable number of white men. Large grants of food and clothing
have been given by the Government, and shamelessly intercepted by
dishonest traders. Out of transactions such as these have sprung bitter
hatreds, ruthless massacres, inflicted now by the red man, now by the
white, and a state of feeling under which a Western American will, on
slight provocation, shoot down an Indian with as little remorse as
he would slay a stag. Canada has dealt in perfect fairness with her
Indians. She has recognized always the right of the original occupants
of the land. She has fulfilled with inflexible faith every treaty into
which she has entered. The lands allotted to the Indians have been
secured to them as effectively as those of the white settler, or have
been acquired from them by fair process of sale and purchase. The
Indians have requited with constant loyalty the Government which has
treated them with justice. While the French ruled Canada there was
perpetual strife with the Indians, as there is to-day in the United
States. Canada under the British has never been disturbed by an Indian

The Indians of the older provinces have adopted settled habits and
betaken themselves to agriculture. In Ontario they are steadily
increasing in numbers and intelligence. Drunkenness diminishes;
education is eagerly sought; hunting gives place to farming; the
descendants of the barbarous Iroquois have been transformed into
industrious and prosperous citizens. In Quebec there is also progress,
but it is less rapid, and the old drunken habits of the people have
not yielded so completely to the influences which surround them. The
Indians of British Columbia are still very drunken and debased, and
their numbers diminish rapidly. In Manitoba and the whole North-West
the condition of the Indians is very hopeful. Drunkenness is almost
unknown; crime is very rare; the demand for schools and for persons
who can teach how to build houses and till the soil is universal and
urgent. The buffalo has been the support of the North-Western Indian.
Its flesh was his food, its skin was his clothing, the harness of
his horse, the property by whose sale all his remaining wants were
supplied. The innumerable multitudes of buffalo which frequented the
plains maintained in the Indian camp a rude affluence. But the buffalo
gives place before advancing civilization, and the Indians in alarm
hasten to find new means of subsistence.

The problem which savage occupants present to the civilized men who
settle on their lands has been solved in Canada by the simple but rare
device of friendly and perfectly fair dealing. The red men of Canada
live contentedly under the rule of the strangers, and prove that they
are able to uphold themselves by the white man’s industries. They
adopt his language, often to the disuse of their own, his dress, his
customs, his religion. Not only do the two races live in concord;
their blood has been largely mixed. The native race is probably doomed
to disappear, but this will not be the result of violence or even of
neglect. The history of the Indian race in Canada will close with its
peaceful absorption by the European races which possess the continent.

Thirty years ago the Canadians, borrowing largely from their neighbours
of the United States, perfected their common-school system. Schools
adequate to the wants of the population are provided. A Board chosen
by the people conducts the school business of the district. The costs
are defrayed by a local tax, supplemented by a grant from the treasury
of the province. In general, no fees are charged; primary education
is absolutely free. The French Canadians manifest less anxiety for
education than their British neighbours, and have not yet emerged
from the ignorance which they brought with them from Europe, and in
which they were suffered for generations to remain. In Toronto and
the maritime provinces the means of education are ample, and are very
generally taken advantage of by the colonists.

       *       *       *       *       *

A noble heritage has been bestowed upon the Canadian people. Treasures
of the sea and of the soil, of forest and of mine, are theirs in
lavish abundance. Their climate, stern but also kindly, favours the
growth of physical and mental energy. They enjoy freedom in its
utmost completeness. Their peaceable surroundings exempt them from
the blight of war and the evils of costly defensive preparation.
For generations these inestimable advantages were in large measure
neutralized by the enfeebling rivalries which divided the provinces.
But internal dissension has been silenced by confederation, and Canada
has begun to consolidate into a nation. Differences of religion and
of race still hold a place among the forces which are shaping out
her future, but the antipathies which they once inspired have almost
passed away. The distinctions of Catholic and Protestant, Englishman
and Frenchman, are being merged in the common designation of Canadian,
which all are proud to bear. The welfare of Canada, her greatness in
the years of the future, are assured not merely by the vastness of her
material resources, but still more by the spirit which animates her
people. The destiny towards which the Canadian people are hastening
is fittingly indicated by the eloquent words of one of the ablest of
their Governor-Generals. [Sidenote: 1875 A.D.] “However captivating,”
said Lord Dufferin, “may be the sights of beauty prepared by the
hands of Nature, they are infinitely enhanced by the contemplation of
all that man is doing to turn to their best advantage the gifts thus
placed within his reach. In every direction you see human industry and
human energy digging deep the foundations, spreading out the lines,
and marking the inviolable boundaries upon and within which one of the
most intelligent and happiest offsets of the English race is destined
to develop into a proud and great nation. The very atmosphere seems
impregnated with the exhilarating spirit of enterprise, contentment,
and hope. The sights and sounds which caressed the senses of the Trojan
wanderer in Dido’s Carthage are repeated and multiplied in a thousand
different localities in Canada, where flourishing cities, towns, and
villages are rising in every direction with the rapidity of a fairy
tale. And better still, _pari passu_ with the development of these
material evidences of wealth and happiness is to be observed the growth
of political wisdom, experience, and ability, perfectly capable of
coping with the difficult problems which are presented in a country
where new conditions, foreign to European experience, and complications
arising out of ethnological and geographical circumstances, are
constantly requiring the application of a statesmanship of the highest


[12] Francis I. said that he “would fain see the article in Adam’s
will which bequeathed the vast inheritance” to the Kings of Spain and

[13] “One must be ready,” wrote this devout priest, full of faith, “to
abandon life and all he has; contenting himself, as his only riches,
with a cross--very large and very heavy.”

[14] The fathers were wise in their generation. The Indians hated
beards, and extirpated their own. It was judicious to omit this
distasteful feature from all sacred representations.

[15] See page 77.

[16] Towards the close of her dominion in Canada, France expended about
one million sterling on her unprofitable colony, mainly in building
forts along the enormous line from Quebec to New Orleans, in order to
shut in the English colonists.

[17] According to the best estimates, the population of Canada at this
time was composed of 100,000 Catholics and 400 Protestants.

[18] See page 145.

[19] In three years the debt had nearly doubled--rising from twenty-one
to thirty-eight million dollars. In 1859 it had further risen to
fifty-four million.

[20] “It was here that Canada, emerging from her woods and forests,
first gazed upon her rolling prairies and unexplored North-West,
and learned, as by an unexpected revelation, that her historical
territories of the Canadas--her eastern sea-boards of New Brunswick,
Labrador, and Nova Scotia; her Lawrentian lakes and valleys, corn-lands
and pastures--though themselves more extensive than half-a-dozen
European kingdoms, were but the vestibules and ante-chambers to that
till then undreamt-of Dominion, whose illimitable dimensions alike
confound the arithmetic of the surveyor and the verification of the
explorer. It was hence that, counting her past achievements as but the
preface and prelude to her future exertions and expanding destinies,
she took a fresh departure, received the afflatus of a more imperial
inspiration, and felt herself no longer a mere settler along the
banks of a single river, but the owner of half a continent; and, in
the magnitude of her possession, in the wealth of her resources,
in the sinews of her material might, the peer of any power on the
earth.”--_Lord Dufferin, Governor-General of Canada. Speech in the City
Hall, Winnipeg, September 1877._

[21] With careful husbandry much better results are obtained. A yield
of forty to fifty bushels is common, and a prize was recently awarded
to a farmer whose land yielded one hundred and five bushels!

[22] In presence of Lord Dufferin a pine tree was felled whose height
was two hundred and fifty feet, and whose rings gave evidence of an age
which dated from the reign of Edward IV.




Columbus prosecuted, down to the close of life, the great work of
discovery to which, as he never ceased to feel, God had set him apart.
He occupied himself almost entirely among those lovely islands to
which Providence had guided his uncertain way; seeing almost nothing
of the vast continents, on the right hand and on the left, which he
had gained for the use of civilized man. Once, near the island of
Trinidad, he was suffered to look for the only time upon the glorious
mainland, so lavishly endowed with beauty and with wealth. Once again
he sailed along the coasts of the isthmus and landed upon its soil. But
he scarcely passed, in his researches, beyond the multitudinous islands
which lay around him on every side. He sailed among them with a heart
full, at the outset, of deep, solemn joy, over the unparalleled victory
which had been vouchsafed to him; full, towards the close, with a
bitter sense of ingratitude and perfidy. He had made his first landing
on the little island of San Salvador. Voyaging thence he quickly
found Cuba, “the most beautiful island that eyes ever beheld, full of
excellent ports and profound rivers.” Then he discovered Hispaniola
and Jamaica, and a multitude of smaller islands. Thirteen years of life
were still left to him, and Columbus was content to expend them among
the sights and sounds which had caressed his delighted senses at his
first coming into this enchanted world.

But there were other adventurers, allured by the success which had
crowned the efforts of Columbus, and hastening now to widen the scope
of his inquiry. Five years from the first landing of Columbus, John
Cabot had explored the northern continent from Labrador to Florida.
Many navigators who had sailed with Columbus in his early voyages now
fitted out small expeditions, in order to make fresh discoveries on
the southern continent. Successive adventurers traversed its entire
northern coasts. One discovered the great River of the Amazons; another
passed southwards along the coasts of Brazil. Before the century
closed, almost the whole of the northern and eastern shores of South
America had been visited and explored.

Ten or twelve years after Columbus had discovered the mainland,
there was a Spanish settlement at the town of Darien on the isthmus.
Prominent among the adventurers who prosecuted, from this centre of
operations, the Spaniard’s eager and ruthless search for gold was
Vasco Nuñez de Balboa--a man cruel and unscrupulous as the others, but
giving evidence of wider views and larger powers of mind than almost
any of his fellows. Vasco Nuñez visited one day a friendly chief, from
whom he received in gift a large amount of gold. The Spaniards had
certain rules which guided them in the distribution of the spoils, but
in the application of these rules disputes continually fell out. It
so happened on this occasion that a noisy altercation arose. A young
Indian prince, regarding with unconcealed contempt the clamour of the
greedy strangers, told them that, since they prized gold so highly,
he would show them a country where they might have it in abundance.
Southward, beyond the mountains, was a great sea; on the coasts of that
sea there was a land of vast wealth, where the people ate and drank
from vessels of gold. This was the first intimation which Europeans
received of the Pacific Ocean and the land of Peru on the western shore
of the continent. Vasco Nuñez resolved to be the discoverer of that
unknown sea. Among his followers was Francisco Pizarro, who became, a
few years later, the discoverer and destroyer of Peru.

[Sidenote: 1513 A.D.] Vasco Nuñez gathered about two hundred well-armed
men, and a number of dogs, who were potent allies in his Indian wars.
He climbed with much toil the mountain ridge which traverses the
isthmus. After twenty-five days of difficult journeying, his Indians
told him that he was almost in view of the ocean. He chose that he
should look for the first time on that great sight alone. [Sidenote:
Sept. 25.] He made his men remain behind, while he, unattended, looked
down upon the Sea of the South, and drank the delight of this memorable
success. Upon his knees he gave thanks to God, and joined with his
followers in devoutly singing the _Te Deum_. He made his way down
to the coast. Wading into the tranquil waters, he called his men to
witness that he took possession for the Kings of Castile of the sea and
all that it contained--a large claim, assuredly, for the Pacific covers
more than one-half the surface of the globe.

Many of the adventurers realized large gains in gold and pearls,
from their trading with the natives. But the hunger of the Spaniards
for gold was still utterly unsatisfied. No considerable quantity of
gold had been found in the islands; but the constant report of the
natives pointed to regions in the interior where the precious metals
abounded. On the mainland, beside the Gulf of Paria, the early voyagers
were able to obtain more ample supplies. When Columbus explored the
Mosquito country and Costa Rica, he found the natives in possession of
massive ornaments of gold, on which they did not seem to place very
special value. Still the natives spoke of a country far away among
the mountains where gold and precious stones were profusely abundant.
The Spaniards continued to advance in the direction to which these
rumours pointed. As they approached the northern portions of Central
America, evidences of higher civilization and greater wealth multiplied
around them. The natives lived in houses solidly built of stone and
lime, their temples were highly ornamented, the soil was more carefully
cultivated here than elsewhere; above all, there was much gold, which
could be obtained in exchange for the worthless trinkets offered by the
strangers. [Sidenote: 1518 A.D.] At length the Spaniards arrived on the
borders of Mexico, and held intercourse with the chief who ruled over
the region to which they had come.

When the Spanish Governor of Cuba heard of the tempting wealth of
Mexico, he determined to send out an expedition sufficiently strong
to effect the conquest of the country. Hernando Cortes, then a young
man of thirty-three, was intrusted with the guidance of this arduous
enterprise. Cortes was a man of middle height and slender figure, with
pale complexion and large dark eyes; of grave aspect, and with an air
of command which secured prompt obedience; of resolution which no
danger could shake; inexhaustibly fertile of resource, and eminently
fitted, therefore, to lead men who were about to encounter unknown
perils. Cortes having placed his fleet under the protection of St.
Peter, and having kindled the enthusiasm of his men by assurances of
glory and wealth and divine favour, sailed for the coast of Yucatan.
[Sidenote: Feb 18, 1519 A.D.] His forces numbered seven hundred
Europeans and two hundred Indians. He had fourteen pieces of artillery.
His enemies had not yet seen the horse, and Cortes sought anxiously to
have the means of overawing them by the sudden attack of cavalry. But
horses were scarce, for they had still to be brought from Europe; and
only sixteen mounted men rode in his ranks. These diminutive forces
were embarked in eleven little ships, the largest of which did not
exceed one hundred tons burden.

Cortes disembarked his army on a wide sandy plain where now stands
the city of Vera Cruz, the chief sea-port of Mexico. He was within
rather less than two hundred miles of the capital of the country, and
he sent to demand access to the presence of the King. Pictures, which
represented the ships and the cannon and the horses of the Spaniards,
had been forwarded to Montezuma, who pondered with his councillors
those symbols of mysterious and terrible power. The council failed to
ascertain the true character of the strangers, and remained in doubt
whether they were supernatural beings or merely the envoys of some
distant sovereign. Montezuma came to the conclusion that in any case
they should be persuaded to depart and leave his country in peace. He
sent an embassy to point out the dangers of the journey, and request
his unwelcome visitors to return to their own land. But, by a fatal
indiscretion, the ambassadors supported the King’s request by rich
gifts:--a helmet filled to the brim with gold; two circular plates
of gold and silver “as large as carriage-wheels;” a multitude of
ornamental articles of costly material and beautiful workmanship. The
greedy eyes of the Spaniards glistened with delight as the treasures of
the simple monarch were spread before them. From that moment the ruin
of Montezuma was sealed.

Cortes prepared for his advance upon the Mexican capital by destroying
all the ships of his fleet with one solitary exception. There were
faint hearts among his men, and fears which counselled early return to
Cuba. Cortes had accepted for himself the alternative of success or
utter ruin, and he purposed that his men should have no other. When the
enfeebling possibility of escape was withdrawn, he roused their courage
by appeals to the complex motives which swayed the Spaniards of that
day. The desire to plant the cross on the temples of the heathen, the
craving for glory and for gain, nerved the hearts of the warriors, who
now, trusting to the skill of their leader and the protecting care of
Divine Providence, went forth to the conquest of a great empire.

Their way led at first across plains sodden and rendered almost
impassable by the summer rain. [Sidenote: Aug. 16, 1519 A.D.] Soon they
left the plain and began to climb the long ascent of the Cordilleras,
up towards the great table-land where the city of Mexico stands.
They left, too, the warmth of the coast, and traversed a dreary
mountain-region, swept by cold winds and tempests of sleet and snow.
They passed under the shadow of volcanic mountains whose fires had
been long extinguished; they looked down the sheer depths of dizzy
precipices, and saw, far below, the luxuriant vegetation which a
tropical heat drew forth. At length they came within the fertile and
populous territory of the Tlascalans--a bold republican people who
maintained with difficulty their independence against the superior
strength of Montezuma. Cortes sought the alliance of this people; but
they unwisely rejected his overtures and attacked his army. It was
not till the close of two days of fighting that Cortes routed his
assailants. The bold savages endured the dreaded attack of Spanish
horsemen, the murderous discharge of Spanish artillery; they offered
their defenceless bodies to the Spanish sword and lance, and were
slaughtered in thousands, while their feeble arms scarcely harmed the
invaders. The humbled Tlascalans hastened to conclude peace, and a
great fear of the irresistible strangers spread far and wide among the
population of the plateau. Montezuma once more sent large gifts of the
gold which the Spaniards loved, and vainly begged them to forbear from
coming to his capital.

Fifteen miles from Tlascala stood the city of Cholula, which Cortes
now received an invitation to visit. Cortes found Cholula “a more
beautiful city than any in Spain,” lying in a well-tilled plain, with
many lofty towers, and with a dense population. Montezuma had enticed
the Spaniards hither that he might destroy them; and to that end he
had prepared an ambuscade of twenty thousand Mexican troops. But Cortes
detected the plot, and having drawn a large assemblage of the chiefs
and their followers into the great square, he gave the signal for an
indiscriminate and unsparing massacre. The defenceless people fell
in thousands; and Cortes, satisfied with the fearful lesson he had
taught, erected an altar and cross, addressed the priests and chiefs on
the excellences of the Christian religion, and resumed his advance on

For a few leagues the way led up the steep side of a great volcanic
mountain, then in a state of eruption, although its fires are now
extinguished. A dense forest for a time impeded their march; then, as
they ascended, vegetation ceased, and they passed within the line of
everlasting snow. At length, rounding a shoulder of the mountain, the
great valley of Mexico, seen afar in that clear air, spread itself
before them, in all its glory of lake and city, of garden and forest
and cultivated plain. There were Spaniards who looked with fear upon
the evidences of a vast population, and demanded to be led back to the
security of the coast; but for the most part the soldiers, trusting to
the skill of their leader and the favour of Heaven, thought joyfully
of the vast plunder which lay before them, and hastened down the

The city of Mexico contained then a population which the Spaniards
estimated at three hundred thousand souls. It was built in a shallow
salt-water lake, and was approached by many broad and massive
causeways, on some of which eight horsemen could ride abreast. The
streets were sometimes wholly of water; sometimes they were of water
flanked by solid foot-paths. There were numerous temples; the royal
palaces excelled those of Europe in magnificence; the market-place
accommodated fifty thousand persons, and the murmur of their bargaining
spread far over the city; the dwellings and the aspect of the common
people spoke of comfort and contentment.

[Sidenote: Nov. 8, 1519 A.D.] Montezuma received his unwelcome visitors
with munificent although reluctant hospitality, and assigned one of
his palaces as their place of residence while it should please them
to remain. Cortes, whose desire to convert the heathen was of equal
urgency with his desire to plunder them, took an early opportunity to
acquaint Montezuma with the leading doctrines of the Christian faith,
and to assure him that the gods of the Mexicans were not gods at all,
but “evil things which are called devils.” But the unconvinced heathen
refused his doctrine, and expressed himself satisfied with his gods
such as they were.

For several days Cortes lived peaceably as the guest of Montezuma,
pondering deeply the next step which he must take in this marvellous
career. He perceived the full danger of his position. A handful of
invaders had thrust themselves among a vast population, whose early
feelings of wonder and fear were rapidly passing into hatred, and who
would probably, ere long, attempt their destruction. Against this
danger no guarantee was so immediately available as possession of
the King’s person. With the calm decision in which lay much of his
strength, Cortes rode down to the palace, attended by a competent
escort, and brought the astonished but unresisting Montezuma home to
the Spanish quarters. The Mexicans revered their sovereign with honours
scarcely less than divine, and Cortes felt that while he possessed the
King he was able to command the people. In a few days more Montezuma
and his great lords professed themselves vassals of the King of Spain.

For six months Cortes ruled Mexico. He dethroned the Mexican gods, and
he suppressed the human sacrifices which the Mexican priests offered
profusely to their hideous idols. He built ships for defence; he sowed
maize for food: he gave attention to mining, that he might have gold
to satisfy the needs of the King of Spain. While he was thus occupied,
he learned that eighteen ships had arrived near his little settlement
of Vera Cruz. They carried a force of eighty horsemen, fourteen hundred
foot soldiers, and twenty pieces of cannon, sent by the Governor of
Cuba, who was jealous of his success, with instructions to arrest
Cortes and his companions. It was a threatening interruption to a
victorious career. Cortes devolved his government upon Alvarado, a
rugged soldier in whom he had confidence, and with only seventy men
hastened to encounter his new foes. By skill and daring he achieved
decisive success, and within a few weeks from the day he quitted Mexico
he was ready to return, strengthened by the arms of those whom he had
subdued, and whom he now gained over to his cause.

But during those weeks events of grave import had occurred in Mexico.
The absence of Cortes resulted in a visible diminution of the meek
submission with which the Mexicans had hitherto demeaned themselves
towards their conquerors. Rumours arose that a revolt was in
contemplation. Alvarado resolved to anticipate the expected treachery.
The time of the annual religious festival had come, and the great
lords of Mexico were engaged in the sacred dance which formed the
closing ceremonial. Suddenly a strong force of armed Spaniards attacked
the undefended worshippers, six hundred of whom were slaughtered.
The outraged city instantly rose against its murderous tyrants. The
Spaniards endured at the hands of their despised assailants a blockade
which must have quickly ended in ruin unless Cortes had hastened to
their relief.

Cortes returned in time at the head of thirteen hundred soldiers,
of whom one hundred were horsemen. He found the city wholly turned
against him. [Sidenote: June 24, 1520 A.D.] The next day, a formidable
attack was made. The streets and terraced roofs of the houses could
not be seen, so densely were they covered by assailants; stones were
thrown in such numbers that it seemed as if it rained stones; the
arrows shot by the Mexicans so covered the courts of the fortress
that it became difficult to move about. The Indians attempted almost
successfully to scale the walls, offering their undefended bosoms,
with reckless disregard of life, to the musketry and artillery, whose
discharge swept them down by hundreds. Their feeble weapons wounded,
but scarcely ever killed; but at the close of each day Cortes found
his fighting strength diminished by the loss of sixty or eighty men.
Food could scarcely be obtained, for the people withheld supplies. To
such a measure of intensity had the cruelty of their oppressors kindled
the hatred of the Indians, that they were willing to spend thousands
of their own lives, if by the costly sacrifice they might compass the
death of one Spaniard. It was necessary for Cortes to be gone. First,
however, he would endeavour to conjure his assailants into submission
by the voice of their King. The unhappy Montezuma came forth upon a
balcony and besought the infuriated people to cease from resistance.
But the spell had lost its power, and the fallen monarch was struck
down and fatally injured by a shower of arrows and of stones. Cortes
left the city that night. [Sidenote: July 1, 1520 A.D.] His stealthy
retreat was discovered, and the vengeful savages caught him at fearful
disadvantage. They swarmed in their canoes around the broken bridges
where the Spaniards had to pass. In the darkness the retreat speedily
became a hopeless and bloody rout. Four hundred and fifty Spaniards
perished, with a large number of their Indian allies and one-half of
the horses. The artillery was wholly lost. It is said that when Cortes
became aware of the ruin which had been wrought, he sat down upon a
great stone in a Mexican village and wept bitterly.[23]

Cortes withdrew to Tlascala, where his allies, unacquainted with
the practice of civilized life, adhered with unswerving loyalty to a
fallen cause. Many of his soldiers were eager to quit the scene of
their crushing defeat. Cortes resolved to maintain his hold upon the
country he had won. He united many states in a great league for the
overthrow of Mexico. He sent ships to Hispaniola for horses, men,
and arms. He ordered brigantines to be built at Tlascala. Six months
after his defeat he was again before Mexico with a force of nearly a
thousand Spaniards and a hundred thousand native allies--with horsemen,
and musketeers, and a fleet of brigantines, to command the lake and
the approaches to the city. It was not till May, however, that active
operations were commenced.

The siege lasted for almost three months. During many days Cortes
forced his way constantly into the city, retiring at nightfall to his
camps in the outskirts. Always he inflicted fearful slaughter upon the
Indians, sparing neither age nor sex: occasionally the brave savages
had their revenge, and the Spaniards, looking up to the summit of the
great temple, witnessed in horror comrades offered in sacrifice to the
Mexican gods. Unwonted horrors attended this cruel siege. The Indian
allies of Cortes frequently banqueted upon the bodies of their slain
enemies, and frequently supplied the materials for a like ghastly
feast. Famine and disease pressed heavily on the doomed city; but no
suffering or danger quelled the heroic resistance of the despairing
people. At length Cortes resolved to destroy the beautiful city,
step by step as he gained it. The houses were pulled down and their
materials thrown into the lake. The Mexicans refused to yield; they
desired only to die. Enfeebled by hunger they ceased to fight, and
the siege became little more than a ruthless slaughter of unresisting
wretches. [Sidenote: Aug. 13, 1520 A.D.] At length the new King
was taken, and all opposition was at an end. The great mass of the
population had perished. The lake and the houses and the streets were
full of dead bodies. Palaces and temples and private dwellings had
fallen. The Spanish historian,[24] who was present, and who in his time
had witnessed many horrors, “does not know how he may describe” these.
He had read the awful story of the destruction of Jerusalem, but he
doubts whether its terrors equalled those which attended the fall of

       *       *       *       *       *

The fame of this appalling success spread far and wide in Central
America. From great distances southward embassies sought the conqueror,
to conciliate his favour, to offer submission to the great monarch
whose servants had beaten to the ground the power of the Aztec tyrants.
A thousand miles away Cortes had allies and vassals. Still farther
to the south was the rich province of Guatemala, with great and
well-built cities, the home of a people whose progress in the arts of
civilized life was not inconsiderable. Regarding these people reports
were carried to Cortes that they had lately manifested to his allies
dispositions less cordial than had heretofore existed. Three years had
now passed since the conquest of Mexico, and Cortes and his followers
were ready for new enterprises. An expedition, composed of two hundred
and eighty men, with four cannon, with “much ammunition and powder,”
was sent forth under Pedro de Alvarado to ascertain the truth of those
statements which had been reported to Cortes. [Sidenote: Dec. 1523
A.D.] Alvarado, a gallant but ruthless warrior, forced his way into
the fertile valleys of Guatemala. He fought many battles against great
native armies, and inflicted vast slaughter--himself almost unharmed.
He slew the King; he overthrew cities; he gathered together the chiefs
of a certain province, “and as it was for the good and pacification of
this country he burned them.” The people were given over as slaves to
Spaniards who desired them. While busied with these awful arrangements
the devout Alvarado did not fail to entreat that Cortes would appoint
a solemn procession of Mexican clergy, to the effect that Our Lady
might procure for him the succour of Heaven against the urgent perils
of his enterprise. Under such auspices Guatemala became a Spanish

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the followers of Vasco Nuñez there was a middle-aged Spanish
warrior, slow, silent, but gifted with a terrible pertinacity in
following out his purposes. His name was Francisco Pizarro. He probably
heard the young Indian tell of the wealth of Peru.[25] He was beside
Vasco Nuñez when that eager discoverer waded into the waters of
the Pacific. A little later he arrested his chief and led him to a
death of violence. He had taken part in an expedition in which the
Spaniards, pursued by overwhelming forces, stabbed their prisoners as
they retreated, and left them dying on the way, in order to hinder
the pursuit. He was wholly without education, and was unable even to
sign his own name. At this time he was living near Panama, on certain
lands which he had obtained, along with the customary allotment of
Indian labourers. Here he applied himself to cattle-farming; and his
labours and his gains were shared with two partners--Almagro, the
son of a labouring man, and De Luque, a schoolmaster. The associates
prospered in their industry, and it seemed probable that they would
live in obscurity, and die wealthy country gentlemen. But Pizarro had
never ceased to brood over the assurances which he had heard ten years
before, that there were in the south regions whose wealth surpassed all
that the Spaniards had yet discovered. He wished to find a shorter path
to greatness than cattle-farming supplied, and he was able to inspire
his associates with the same ambition. The scope of the copartnery was
strangely widened. The rearing of cattle was abandoned, and a formal
contract was entered into for the discovery and conquest of Peru.
Pizarro was to conduct the enterprise; Almagro was to bring to him
reinforcements and needful stores; De Luque was to procure funds. The
profits resulting from their efforts were to be equally divided. They
were ridiculed in Panama as madmen; but the courage and tenacity of
Pizarro sufficed to crown with terrible success purposes which in their
origin seemed wholly irrational.

[Sidenote: Nov. 1524 A.D.] The early history of the expedition was
disastrous. Pizarro sailed from Panama on his career of conquest,
attended by eighty men and four horses. He crept down the coast;
landing occasionally to find only a rugged and barren country. Hunger
fell on his followers, and many died. The Indians assailed them with
poisoned arrows, and slew some. The forests were impenetrably dense;
the climate was unwholesome. Almagro brought a small reinforcement; but
the employment became intolerable, and the men, losing heart, returned
to Panama. Pizarro, with only fourteen followers, sought shelter on
an uninhabited island, “which those who have seen it compare to the
infernal regions.” Here they spent three wretched months, living on
shell-fish and what else the sharpened eye of hunger could discover.
[Sidenote: 1527 A.D.] Strengthened by supplies which Almagro was able
to send, they set forth once more and moved southward along the coast.
And now they found the region of which they had dreamed so long. They
landed in the northern part of Peru. Gold was everywhere. They found
a temple whose walls were lined with plates of gold; a palace where
every vessel, for use or for ornament, was formed of gold. The people
were gentle, and received them hospitably. But Pizarro had no more
than fourteen men with him--a force wholly inadequate for purposes
of conquest. [Sidenote: 1528 A.D.] He returned to Panama, and thence
to Spain, bearing to the King the thrilling story of his marvellous
discovery. The King bestowed large rights of government upon the
successful adventurer; and as the conversion of the natives was an
end steadily prosecuted by the Spanish Government, a bishopric in the
newly-found territory was assigned to his partner De Luque. But Pizarro
had omitted to obtain honours or advantages for Almagro--an omission
which drew in its train a long series of destructive strifes among the

[Sidenote: Dec. 1530 A.D.] Once more Pizarro set forth to conquer
the great kingdom of which he now claimed to be governor. His forces
consisted of one hundred and eighty-three men and thirty-seven horses.
He found it necessary to wait for additional strength; and he encamped
in an unhealthy locality, where his men suffered severely. At length
he was joined by a reinforcement of fifty-six men, one-half of whom
were mounted. He had incurred a delay of seven months; but the time
was well spent. While he waited the Peruvians lightened his task by a
civil war, in which multitudes perished. To secure retreat, in event
of disaster, Pizarro resolved to found a city. He chose a convenient
site, and erected several strong buildings, among which were a church,
a court-house, and a fortress. He left fifty men to garrison his
settlement, to which he gave the name of San Miguel, in recognition of
services rendered to him by that saint in a recent battle. He divided
the neighbouring lands among his citizens, and assigned to each a
certain number of Indians--an arrangement which, as he was assured, was
not merely indispensable to the comfort of the settlers, but “would
serve the cause of religion and tend greatly to the spiritual welfare”
of the savages thus provided for.

And now his simple preparations were completed. He had learned that at
the distance of twelve days’ journey eastward beyond the great mountain
barrier of the Cordilleras the Peruvian monarch was encamped with a
powerful army, flushed with victory in the civil war which had just
closed. It seemed a wild adventure to go forth with a hundred and
eighty men against an enemy computed at fifty thousand. But Pizarro
knew what Cortes had accomplished with means apparently as inadequate;
he trusted in the well-proved courage of his men, the vast superiority
of their arms, and the favour of the saints. He had placed himself
where hesitation must draw in its train inevitable ruin. But there was
no hesitation in the steady purpose of the resolute, tenacious Pizarro.
He determined to encounter the victorious Inca. [Sidenote: Sept. 24,
1532 A.D.] He marched forth from the gates of his little town, eastward
towards the mountains and the unknown perils which lay beyond.

For several days the march of the Spaniards led them across the rich
plains which lay between the mountains and the sea. Their progress was
easy and pleasant, and they passed several well-built and apparently
prosperous towns, whose inhabitants hospitably supplied their wants. At
length the vast heights of the Andes cast their shadows on the little
army, and the toilsome ascent was begun. The path was so steep that
the cavalry dismounted and with difficulty led their horses upward; so
narrow that there was barely room for a horse to walk; in many places
it overhung abysses thousands of feet in depth, into which men and
horses looked with fear. As they rose, the opulent vegetation of the
tropics was left behind, and they passed through dreary forests of
stunted pine-wood. The piercing cold was keenly felt by men and horses
long accustomed to the sultry temperature of the plains. But the summit
was reached in safety, and the descent of the eastern slope begun. As
they followed the downward path, each step disclosed some new scene of
grandeur or of beauty.

On the seventh day, the hungry eyes of the adventurers looked down on
a fertile valley. A broad stream flowed through its well-cultivated
meadows; the white walls of a little city glittered in the evening
sun; far as the eye could reach there stretched along the slopes of
the surrounding hills the tents which sheltered the Peruvian army. The
Spaniards had reached their destination. They had reached the city of
Cassamarca, and they were almost in presence of the Inca Atahualpa,
whom they had come to subdue and destroy. In the stoutest heart of that
little party there was for the moment “confusion, and even fear.” But
no retreat was possible now. Pizarro formed his men in order of battle,
and with unmoved countenance strode towards the city.

[Sidenote: Nov. 15, 1532 A.D.] The Inca knew of the coming of his
visitors, and had made some preparations for their reception. Quarters
were assigned to them in a range of buildings which opened upon a vast
square. It was evening when they arrived; but Pizarro lost no time in
sending one of his brothers, with Fernando de Soto and a small troop
of horsemen, to wait upon the Inca and ascertain his dispositions. The
ambassadors were admitted to the royal presence and informed that next
morning the monarch with his chieftains would visit Pizarro. Riding
back to their quarters, the men thought gloomily of the overwhelming
force into whose presence they had rashly thrust themselves. Their
comrades shared the foreboding which the visit to the Peruvian camp had
inspired. When night came on they looked out almost hopelessly upon the
watch-fires of the Peruvians, which seemed to them “as numerous as the
stars of heaven.”

Happily for the desponding warriors, the courage of their chief was
unshaken by the dangers which surrounded him. Pizarro did not conceal
from himself the jeopardy in which he stood. He saw clearly that ruin
was imminent. But he saw, too, how by a measure of desperate boldness
he might not only save his army from destruction, but make himself
master of the kingdom. He would seize the Inca in presence of his army.
Once in possession of the sacred person he could make his own terms.
He could wait for the reinforcements which his success was sure to
bring; at the worst, he could purchase a safe retreat to the coast. He
informed the soldiers of his purpose, and roused their sinking courage
by assurances of divine favour and protection.

[Sidenote: Nov. 16, 1532 A.D.] At sunrise next morning Pizarro began
to make his preparations. In the halls which formed the ground-floor
of the buildings beside the grand square he disposed his horsemen and
footmen. His two pieces of artillery were planted on the fortress which
looked down on the square. The arms of the men were carefully examined,
and the chief made himself sure that swords were sharp and arquebusses
loaded. Then mass was said, and the men, who stood ready to commit one
of the foulest crimes in history, joined devoutly in the chant, “Rise,
O Lord, and judge thine own cause.” About noon the sentinel on the
fortress reported that the Inca had set out from his camp. He himself,
seated on a throne of massive gold, was borne aloft on the shoulders
of his principal nobles; before him moved a crowd of attendants whose
duty it was to sweep every impurity from the path about to be honoured
by the advance of royalty; on either hand his soldiers gathered towards
the road to guard their King. At a little distance from the city,
Atahualpa paused, in seeming doubt as to the measure he was adopting,
and sent word to Pizarro that he would defer his visit till the morrow.
Pizarro dreaded to hold his soldiers longer under the strain which
approaching danger laid upon them. He sent to entreat the Inca to
resume his journey, and the Inca complied with the treacherous request.

About sunset the procession reached the gates of the square. The
servants, drawing aside, opened an avenue along which the monarch was
borne. After him a multitude of Peruvians of all ranks crowded into
the square, till five or six thousand men were present. No Spaniard
had yet been seen; for Pizarro apparently shunned to look in the face
of the man whom he had betrayed. At length his chaplain advanced and
began to explain to the astonished monarch the leading doctrines of
the Christian religion. As his exposition proceeded, it was noticed
that the Peruvian troops were drawing closer to the city. Pizarro
hastened now to strike the blow which he had prepared. A gun was fired
from the fortress. At this appointed signal the Spaniards rushed
from their hiding-places. The musketeers plied their deadly weapons.
The cavalry spurred fiercely among the unarmed crowd. High overhead
flashed the swords of the pitiless assailants. The ground was quickly
heaped with dead, and even flight was impossible until a portion of
the wall which bounded the square yielded under the pressure of the
crowd and permitted many to gain the open country. Around the Inca a
fierce battle raged,--such a battle as can be fought between armed and
steel-clad men and others without arms, offering their defenceless
bosoms to the steel of the slayer in the vain hope that thus they might
purchase the safety of their master. The bearers of the Inca were
struck down, and he himself was taken prisoner and instantly secured.
The cavalry, giving full scope to the fierce passions which the fight
aroused, urged the pursuit of the fugitives far beyond the limits
of the city. The Peruvian army, panic-stricken by these appalling
circumstances, broke and fled. Less than an hour ago Atahualpa was a
great monarch, whose wish was the law of a nation; the possessor of
vast treasures; the commander of a powerful army. Now his throne was
overturned; his army had disappeared; he himself was a captive in the
hands of strangers, regarding whom he knew only that their strength was
irresistible and their hearts fierce and cruel.

The fallen monarch, perceiving the insatiable greed of gold which
inspired his captors, sought to regain his liberty by offers whose
magnitude bewildered the Spaniards. He offered to fill with gold, up
to a height of nine feet, a room whose area was seventeen feet in
breadth and twenty-two feet in length. A room of smaller dimensions
was to be twice filled with silver; and he asked only two months to
collect this enormous ransom. The offer was accepted, and the Inca sent
messengers to all his cities commanding that temples and palaces should
be stripped of their ornaments. In a few weeks Indian bearers began to
arrive at Cassamarca, laden to their utmost capacity with silver and
gold. Day by day they poured in, bearing great golden vessels, which
had been used in the palaces; great plates of gold, which had lined
the walls and roofs of temples; crowns and collars and bracelets of
gold, which the chieftains gave up in the hope that they would procure
the liberty of their master. At length the room was filled up to the
red line which Pizarro had drawn upon the wall as his record of this
extraordinary bargain. When it was acknowledged that the Inca had
completely fulfilled his stipulation,[26] Pizarro executed an Act in
presence of a notary, and proclaimed it to the sound of the trumpet
in the great square of Cassamarca. By this document he certified that
the Inca had paid the stipulated ransom, and was now in consequence
liberated. But he did not, in actual fact, set the captive monarch
free. On the contrary, he informed him that until a larger number of
Spaniards arrived to hold the country, it was necessary for the service
of the King of Spain that Atahualpa should continue a prisoner.

Meanwhile rumours became current in the camp that Atahualpa had ordered
a great rising of his people to destroy the invaders. The Spaniards
had been recently joined by Almagro with important reinforcements;
but still they were no more than four hundred men, and they were in
possession of treasure which exposed them to apprehensions unfelt
by the penniless adventurer. It was asserted that a vast army was
gathering only a hundred miles away; at length the imaginary force was
reported to be within ten miles. The cry arose that the Inca should
be brought to trial for his treasonable practices. A court was formed,
with Pizarro and Almagro as presiding judges; counsel were named to
prosecute and defend; charges were framed,[27] and the unhappy Inca
was placed at the bar. The evidence taken reached the court through
the doubtful channel of an Indian interpreter, who, it was believed,
sought the destruction of the prisoner. The judges occupied themselves
with discussion, not of the guilt of the accused, but of the results
which his execution might be expected to produce. Their judgment was
death by burning, as befitted an idolater. [Sidenote: Aug. 29, 1533
A.D.] The whole army claimed a voice in the great decision. A few
condemned the proceedings, and urged that the Inca should be sent to
Spain to wait the pleasure of the King. But the voice of the larger
number confirmed the sentence of the court, and it was intimated to
Atahualpa that he must prepare for immediate death. The fallen monarch
lost, for a moment, the habitual calmness with which an Indian warrior
is accustomed to meet death. With many tears he besought Pizarro to
spare him. Even the stern conqueror was moved in view of misery so
deep; but he was without power to reverse the doom which his army had
spoken. Two hours after sunset, Atahualpa was led forth, with chains
on hand and foot. The great square was lighted up by torches, and the
Spanish soldiers gathered around the closing scene in the ruin which
they had wrought. The Inca was bound to the stake, and rude hands piled
high the fagots around him. A friar who had instructed him in Christian
doctrine besought him to accept the faith, promising in that event the
leniency of death by the cord instead of the flame. Atahualpa accepted
the offered grace, and abjured his idolatry. He was instantly baptized
under the name of Juan, in honour of John the Baptist, on whose day
this conversion was achieved. With his latest breath he implored
Pizarro to have pity on his little children. While he spoke, the string
of a cross-bow was tightened around his neck, and, with the rugged
soldiers muttering “credos” for the repose of his soul, the last of the
Incas submitted to death in its most ignominious form. Next morning
they gave him Christian burial in the little wooden church which they
had already erected in Cassamarca. His great lords, as we are assured,
“received much satisfaction” from the honour thus bestowed upon their
unhappy prince.[28]

[Sidenote: Sept. 1533 A.D.] Almost immediately after these occurrences
Pizarro marched southward and possessed himself easily of the Peruvian
capital--“the great and holy city of Cusco.” Although the capital had
parted with much of its treasure in obedience to the requisition of
its captive monarch, there still remained a vast spoil to enrich the
plunderers. In especial, mention is made of ten or twelve statues of
female figures, of life size, made wholly of fine gold, “beautiful and
well-formed as if they had been alive.” The Spaniards appropriated
these and much besides. The great Temple of the Sun was speedily
rifled; for the piety of the conquerors conspired with their avarice to
hasten the downfall of idolatrous edifices. In this temple the embalmed
bodies of former Incas, richly adorned, sat on golden thrones beside
the golden image of the Sun. The venerated mummies were now stripped
and cast aside. The image of the Sun became the prize of a common
soldier, by whom it was quickly lost in gambling. Pizarro claimed the
land for the Church as well as for the King. He overthrew temples;
he cast down idols; he set up crosses on all highways; he erected a
Christian place of worship in Cusco.

Cusco was the worthy capital of a great empire. It was of vast extent,
and contained a population variously estimated at from two to four
hundred thousand persons. The streets crossed regularly at right
angles; the houses were built mainly of stone, with light thatched
roofs. The numerous palaces[29] were of great size, and splendid beyond
anything the conquerors had seen in Europe. A mighty fortress, built
upon a lofty rock, looked down on the city. It was formed of enormous
blocks of stone, fitted with such care that the point of junction could
not be discovered. Two streams descending from the mountains flowed
through the city in channels lined with masonry. This noble city was
the pride of all Peruvians. It was to them all that Jerusalem was to
the ancient Jews or Rome to the Romans.

The natives offered no considerable resistance to the entrance of
the conquerors. Vast multitudes had gathered out of the neighbouring
country. They looked with wonder and with awe upon the terrible
strangers who had slain their monarch, who were now marching at their
ease through the land, claiming as their own whatever they desired.
They heard the heavy tramp of the war-horse and the strange thrilling
notes of the trumpet. They saw the mysterious arms before whose
destructive power so many of their countrymen had fallen, and the
bright mail within whose shelter the Spaniard could slay in safety
the undefended Indian. They may well have regarded the fierce bearded
warriors as beings of supernatural strength and supernatural wickedness.

But the time came when they could no longer endure the measureless
wrongs which had been heaped upon them; when they were impelled to
dash themselves against the mailed host of their conquerors and perish
under their blows if they could not destroy them. No injury which it
was possible for man to inflict upon his fellows had been omitted in
their bitter experience. Their King had been betrayed and ignominiously
slain; their temples had been profaned and plundered; their
possessions had been seized or destroyed; dishonour had been laid upon
them in their domestic relations; they themselves had been subjected to
compulsory service so ruthlessly enforced that many of them died under
the unaccustomed toil. They were now to make one supreme effort to cast
off this oppression, which had already gone far to destroy the life of
their nation.

[Sidenote: Jan. 1535 A.D.] Pizarro--raised to the dignity of
Marquis--had retired to the coast, where he occupied himself in
founding and embellishing the city of Lima. His brother Fernando--a
stout-hearted and skilful captain--was left in charge of Cusco. Danger
was not apprehended, and the garrison of Cusco was no more than
two hundred Spaniards and a thousand native auxiliaries. While the
Spaniards enjoyed their lordly repose in the splendid palaces of the
fallen monarchy, the Peruvian chiefs organized a formidable revolt.
From all the provinces of the empire multitudes of armed natives
gathered around Cusco, and took up position on hills where they were
safe from the attack of Spanish horsemen. Many of them were armed with
lances or axes of copper tempered so that they were scarcely less
effective than steel. Every man in all those dusky ranks was prepared
to spend his life in the effort to rescue the sacred city from this
abhorred invasion. [Sidenote: Feb. 1536 A.D.] They set fire to the
city; they forced their way into the streets, and fought hand to hand
with the Spaniards in desperate disregard of the inequality of their
arms. They fell slaughtered in thousands; but in six days’ fighting
they had gained the fortress and nearly all of the city which the
flames had spared. The Spaniards held only the great square and a few
of the surrounding houses. Some despaired, and began to urge that they
should mount and ride for the coast, forcing their way through the
lines of the besiegers. But the stout heart of Fernando Pizarro quailed
not in presence of the tremendous danger. In his mind, he told them,
there was not and there had not been any fear. If he were left alone
he would maintain the defence till he died, rather than have it said
that another gained the city and he lost it. The Spaniard of that day
was unsurpassed in courage, and his spirit rose to the highest pitch
of daring in response to the appeal of a trusted leader. The men laid
aside all thought of flight, and addressed themselves to the capture
of the great fortress. This strong position was fiercely attacked, and
defended with unavailing heroism. Many Spaniards were slain, among
whom was Juan, one of the Pizarro brothers, on whose undefended head a
great stone inflicted fatal injury. The slaughter of Indians was very
great. At length their ammunition failed them--the stones and javelins
and arrows with which they maintained the defence were exhausted. Their
leader had compelled the admiration of the Spaniards by his heroic
bearing throughout the fight. When he had struck his last blow for his
ruined country he flung his club among the besiegers, and, casting
himself down from the height of the battlement, perished in the fall.
“There is not written of any Roman such a deed as he did,” says the
Spanish chronicler. [Sidenote: May, 1536 A.D.] The defence now ceased;
the Spaniards forced their way into the fortress, and slaughtered
without mercy the fifteen hundred men whom they found there.

For several weeks longer the Indians blockaded Cusco, and the Spaniards
were occasionally straitened in regard to supplies; but always at the
time of new moon the Indians withdrew for the performance of certain
religious ceremonies, and the Spaniards were able then to replenish
their exhausted granaries. The siege languished, and finally ceased,
but not till the Spaniards had practised for some time the cruel
measure of putting to death every Indian woman whom they seized.

       *       *       *       *       *

But now misery in a new form came upon this unhappy country. Fierce
strifes arose among the conquerors themselves. Pizarro had gained
higher honours and ampler plunder than had fallen to the share of his
partner Almagro, and it does not seem that he was scrupulous in his
fulfilment of the contract by whose terms an equal division of spoil
was fixed. Almagro appeared on the scene with an overwhelming force,
to assert his own rights. For ten or twelve years from this time the
history of Peru represents to us a country ungoverned and in confusion;
a native population given over to slavery, and wasting under the
exactions of ruthless task-masters; fierce wars between the conquerors
devastating the land. [Sidenote: 1537 A.D.] Tranquillity was not
restored till a large portion of the native population had perished,
and till all the chiefs of this marvellous conquest had died as
miserably as the Indians they had destroyed. Almagro entered Cusco, and
made prisoners of the two brothers Fernando and Gonzalo Pizarro; whom,
however, he soon liberated. [Sidenote: 1538 A.D.] He, in turn, fell
into the hands of Fernando, by whose orders he was brought for trial
before a tribunal set up for that occasion in Cusco. He was condemned
to die;--partly for his “notorious crimes;” partly because, as the
council deemed, his death “would prevent many other deaths.” On the
same day the old man, feeble, decrepit, and begging piteously for life,
was strangled in prison and afterwards beheaded. Immediately after
this occurrence Fernando Pizarro sailed for Spain, where his enemies
had gained the ear of the King. Fernando was imprisoned, and was not
released for twenty-three years, till his long life of a hundred years
was near its close. [Sidenote: 1541 A.D.] Three years after the death
of Almagro, the Marquis Pizarro, now a man of seventy, was set upon in
his own house in Lima and murdered by a band of soldiers dissatisfied
with the portion of spoil which had fallen to their share. The close
of that marvellous career was in strange contrast to its brilliant
course. After a stout defence against overwhelming force, a fatal wound
in the throat prostrated the brave old man. He asked for a confessor,
and received for answer a blow on the face. With his finger he traced
the figure of a cross on the ground, and pressed his dying lips on
the hallowed symbol. Thus passed the stern conqueror and destroyer
of the Peruvian nation. [Sidenote: 1548 A.D.] A few years after the
assassination of the Marquis, his brother Gonzalo was beheaded for
having resisted the authority of Spain; and he died so poor, as he
himself stated on the scaffold, that even the garments he wore belonged
to the executioner who was to cut off his head. The partnership which
was formed at Panama a quarter of a century before, had brought wealth
and fame, but it conducted those who were chiefly concerned in it to
misery and shameful death.

       *       *       *       *       *

From Peru the tide of Spanish conquest flowed southward to Chili. The
river Plate was explored; Buenos Ayres was founded; and communication
was opened from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Forty years after the
landing of Columbus, the margins of the continent bordering on the
sea had been subdued and possessed, and some progress had been made
in gaining knowledge of the interior. There had been added to the
dominions of Spain vast regions, whose coast-line on the west stretched
from Mexico southward for the distance of six thousand miles--regions
equal in length to the whole of Africa, and largely exceeding in
breadth the whole of the Russian Empire. It has now to be shown how
ill-prepared was Spain for this sudden and enormous addition to her
responsibilities--how huge have been the evils which her possession of
the new continent inflicted upon mankind.



The native populations with which the Spaniards were brought into
contact differed widely, in respect of the degree of civilization
to which they had attained, from the Indians of the Northern
Continent. The first colonists of Virginia, Massachusetts, and the
St. Lawrence valley found the soil possessed by fierce tribes, wholly
without knowledge of the arts of civilized life. The savages of the
north supported themselves almost entirely by the chase, regarding
agriculture with contempt; their dwellings were miserable huts; their
clothing was the skins of the beasts which they slew; they were without
fixed places of abode, and wandered hither and thither in the forest
as their hopes of success in hunting directed. They left no traces of
their presence on the land which they inhabited--no cleared forest, nor
cultivated field, nor fragment of building. They were still savage and
debased in a degree almost as extreme as humanity has ever been known
to reach.

The inhabitants of the islands where Columbus first landed were the
least civilized of the southern races. But the genial conditions of
climate under which they lived, and the abundance with which nature
surrounded them, seemed to have softened their dispositions and made
them gentle and inoffensive and kind. They were scarcely clothed at
all, but they lived in well-built villages and cultivated the ground.
Their wants were few; and as the spontaneous bounty of nature for the
most part supplied these, they spent their days in simple, harmless
indolence. Land among them was “as common as the sun and water.”
They gave willingly, and without hope of recompense, any of their
possessions which visitors desired to obtain. To the pleased eye of
Columbus they seemed “to live in the golden world without toil; living
in open gardens, not intrenched with dikes, divided by hedges, or
defended with walls.”

The natives of Central America were of a fiercer character and more
accustomed to war than those of the islands. They had also made
greater progress in the arts; and the ornaments of gold which the
Spaniards received from them evidenced considerable skill in working
the precious metals. They wore mantles of cotton cloth, and must,
therefore, have mastered the arts of spinning and weaving. Their
achievements in architecture and sculpture still remain to excite the
wonder of the antiquary. Here and there, wrapped almost impenetrably
in the profuse vegetation of the forest, there have been found ruined
cities, once of vast extent. These cities must have been protected by
great walls--lofty, massive, skilfully built. They contained temples,
carefully plastered and painted; and numerous altars and images, whose
rich sculptures still attest the skill of the barbarian artist.

It was, however, in the ancient monarchies of Mexico and Peru that
American civilization reached its highest development. The Mexican
people lived under a despotic Government; but their rights were secured
by a gradation of courts, with judges appointed by the Crown, or in
certain cases elected by the people themselves, and holding their
offices for life. Evidence was given on oath, and the proceedings of
the courts were regularly recorded. A judge who accepted bribes was
put to death. The marriage ceremony was surrounded with the sanctions
of religion, and divorce was granted only as the result of careful
investigation by a tribunal set up for that special business. Slavery
existed; but it was not hereditary, and all Mexicans were born free.
Taxation was imposed according to fixed rates, and regular accounts
were kept by an officer appointed to that service. The Mexicans had
made no inconsiderable progress in manufactures. They wove cotton
cloths of exceedingly fine texture, and adorned them with an embroidery
of feather-work marvellously beautiful. They produced paper from the
leaf of the Mexican aloe; they extracted sugar from the stalk of
the Indian corn. They made and beautifully embellished vessels of
gold and silver; they produced in abundance vessels of crystal and
earthenware for domestic use. They had not attained to the use of
iron; but they understood how to harden copper with an alloy of tin
till it was fitted both for arms and for mechanical tools. Agriculture
was their most honourable employment, and was followed by the whole
population excepting the nobles and the soldiers. It was prosecuted
with reasonable skill--irrigation being practised, land being suffered
to lie fallow for the recovery of its exhausted energies; laws being
enacted to prevent the destruction of the woods. The better class of
dwellings in cities were well-built houses of stone and lime; the
streets were solidly paved; public order was maintained by an effective
police. Europe was indebted to the Mexicans for its knowledge of the
cochineal insect, whose rich crimson was much used for dyeing fine
cotton cloths. The Mexicans were without knowledge of the alphabet
till the Spaniards brought it; but they practised with much skill an
ingenious system of hieroglyphic painting, which served them fairly
well for the transmission of intelligence. Montezuma was informed of
the coming of the Spaniards by paintings which represented their ships
and horses and armour.

Notwithstanding the industrial progress of this remarkable people,
their social condition was, in some respects, inexpressibly debased.
It was their custom to offer to their gods multitudes of human
sacrifices. Their most powerful motive in going to war was to obtain
prisoners for this purpose; and the prowess of a warrior was judged
by the number of victims whom he had secured and brought to the
sacrificing priest. Wealthy Mexicans were accustomed to give banquets,
from which they sought to gain social distinction by the culinary
skill exercised and the large variety of delicacies presented. One of
the dishes on which the cook put forth all his powers was the flesh
of a slave slaughtered for the occasion.[30] The civilization of the
Mexicans was fatally obstructed by their religion. The priesthood was
numerous, and possessed of commanding authority. The people regarded
the voice of the priest as that of the deity to which he ministered,
and they lived under the power of a bloody and degrading superstition.
Here, as it has been elsewhere, a religion which in its origin was
merely a reflection of the good and the evil existing in the character
of the people, stamped divine sanction upon their errors, and thus
rendered progress impossible.

For two or three centuries before her fall, Peru had constantly
extended her dominion over her less civilized neighbours. Her
supremacy was widely recognized, and many of the surrounding tribes
were persuaded to accept peacefully the advantages which her strong
and mild government afforded. It was her wise policy to admit her new
subjects, whether they were gained by negotiation or by force, to an
equality of privilege with the rest of the people, and to present
inducements which led quickly to the adoption of her own religion and
language. By measures such as these the empire was consolidated while
it was extended, and its tranquillity was seldom marred by internal
discontent. When the Peruvian empire received its sudden death-blow
from the Spanish conquerors, it was doing the useful work which
England has done in India, and Russia in Central Asia--subjugating the
savage nations whose territories lay around and imparting to them the
benefits of a civilization higher than their own.

Peru was governed according to the principles of Communism. A portion
of land was set apart for the Sun--the national deity--and its revenues
were expended in the support of temples and a priesthood. A second
portion belonged to the Inca--the child and representative of the
Sun. The remainder was divided annually among the people. All shared
equally. When a young man married he received a fixed addition; when
children were born to him further increase was granted. He might not
sell his land or purchase that of his neighbour; he could not improve
his condition and become rich. But neither could he suffer from want;
for the Government provided for his support if he could not provide for
it himself, and poverty was unknown. It was equally impossible to be
idle, for the Government enforced the exercise of industrious habits.

Agriculture was the national employment. To illustrate its dignity, the
Inca was wont on great public occasions to put his own divine hand to
the plough and reveal himself to his people in the act of turning over
the fruitful sod. The Peruvians were acquainted with the virtues of the
guano, which was piled in mountains upon the islands lying along their
coasts, and were careful to protect by stern laws the sea-fowl to which
they were indebted for the precious deposit. Between the sea and the
mountains there stretched a level expanse on which rain never fell.
This otherwise profitless region was nourished into high fertility by
an elaborate system of irrigation. On the mountains the solid rock
was hewn into terraces and covered with soil laboriously carried up
from below. In the valleys flourished the tropical banana and cassava
tree. On the lower ranges of the mountains grew the maize. At a greater
height appeared the American aloe, the tobacco plant, and the coca,
the favourite narcotic of the Indian. Yet further up the mountain-side
Europeans first saw the potato, then largely cultivated in Peru, and
destined at a later time to attain vast social and even political
significance in the Old World.

The public works of Peru furnish striking evidence of the industry
of the people and the enlightened views of their rulers. Two great
roads traversed the country from north to south. One of these, whose
length is estimated at fifteen hundred miles, ascended the mountains
and passed along the plateau, at a height occasionally of twelve
thousand feet; the other ran parallel in the plain which was bordered
by the sea. The construction of the upper road was necessarily a
work of prodigious difficulty. Vast ravines had to be filled with
solid masonry; lofty masses of rock had to be pierced by galleries or
surmounted by a long succession of steps; bridges formed of osiers
twisted into huge cables had to be hung across rivers. The roadway
was formed of massive paving-stones and of concrete; and although no
wheeled vehicle or beast of burden other than the llama passed over
it, the Spaniards remarked with grateful surprise on its perfect
smoothness. There was no road in Europe so well built and so well
maintained. Since the conquest it has been suffered to fall into ruin;
but here and there, where mountain-torrents have washed the soil from
underneath, massive fragments of this ancient work are still to be seen
hanging in air, so tenacious were the materials used, so indestructible
was the structure produced.

The Peruvians had gained no inconsiderable skill in textile
manufacture. Cotton grew abundantly on the sultry plains. Large
supplies of wool of extreme fineness were obtained from the Peruvian
sheep. Two varieties of these--the llama and the alpaca--were
domesticated and carefully watched over by Government officers. Two
other varieties roamed wild upon the mountains. But once in the year
a great hunt was organized under royal authority; the wanderers were
caught and shorn; and the wool thus obtained was carried to the royal
store-house. Thence it was given out to the people, to be woven into
garments for themselves and for the Inca. The beauty of the fabrics
which were produced awakened the admiration of the Spaniards, as
greatly superior to the finest products of European looms.

The sons of the great nobles were instructed in the simple learning of
the country, in seminaries erected for that purpose; beyond the narrow
circle of the aristocracy education did not pass. Some of these youths
were to be priests, and they were taught the complicated ritual of the
national religion. Some would have to do with the administration of
public affairs, and these were required to acquaint themselves with
the laws. Many would become subordinate officers of Government, having
charge of revenues; recording births and deaths--for the registration
system of the Peruvians was painstaking and accurate; taking account of
the stores received and given out at the royal magazines. These were
instructed in the Peruvian method of keeping records--by means of knots
tied upon a collection of threads of different colours. The education
of the nobles did not extend further, for little more was known; and as
the Peruvian intellect was devoid of energy and the power to originate,
the boundaries of knowledge were not extending. The masses of the
people lived in contented ignorance; pleased with the Government which
directed all their actions and supplied all their wants; enjoying a
fulness of comfort such as has seldom been enjoyed by any population;
without ambition, without progress, but also without repining; wholly
satisfied with the position in which they were born and in which they
lived; experiencing no rise and no fall from one generation to another.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such were the people upon whom there now fell, with awful suddenness,
the blight of Spanish conquest. Their numbers cannot be told with
any approach to accuracy, for the estimates left by the conquerors
are widely diverse. The population of the city of Mexico is set down
by some writers at sixty thousand; by others, with equal opportunity
for observation, at six hundred thousand; and a divergence equally
baffling attends most of the statements which have been supplied to
us. There is, however, abundant evidence that the Southern Continent
was the home of a very numerous population. The means of subsistence
were easily obtained; in Peru marriage was compulsory; the duration of
life and the increase of population were not restrained, as in Northern
America, by severity of climate and the toil necessarily undergone
in the effort to procure food. Cortes, on his way to Mexico, came to
a valley where for a distance of twelve miles there was a continuous
line of houses. Everywhere near the coast the Spaniards found large
villages, and often towns of considerable size. Peru was undoubtedly a
populous State; and the great plateau over which Mexico ruled contained
many tributary cities of importance. One Spanish writer estimates that
forty million of Indians had perished within half a century after the
conquest;--beyond doubt an extravagant estimate, but the use of such
figures by an intelligent observer is in itself evidence that the
continent was inhabited by a vast multitude of human beings.

The power of resistance of this great population was wholly
insignificant. The men were not wanting in courage; the Peruvians,
at least, were not without a rude military discipline: but they were
inferior in physical strength to their assailants; they were without
horses and without iron; their solitary hope lay in their overwhelming
numbers. They were powerfully reinforced by the diseases which struck
down the invaders; but their own poor efforts at defence, heroic and
self-devoted as these were, sufficed to inflict only trivial injury
upon their well-defended conquerors. A vast continent, with many
millions of men ready to die in defence of their homes, fell before the
assault of enemies who never at any point numbered over a few hundreds.

The invaders claimed the continent and all that it held as the property
of the Spanish Sovereign, upon whom these great possessions had been
liberally bestowed by the Pope. The grant of his Holiness conveyed not
only the lands but also the infidels by whom they were inhabited; and
the Spaniards assumed without hesitation that the Indians belonged to
them, and were rightfully applicable to any of their purposes. Upon
this doctrine their early relations with the natives were based. The
demand for native labour was immediate and urgent. There was gold to
be found in the rivers and mountains of the islands, and the natives
were compelled to labour in mining--a description of work unknown
to them before. There was no beast of burden on all the continent,
excepting the llama, which the Peruvians had trained to carry a weight
of about a hundred pounds; but the Spaniards had much transport work to
do. When an army moved, its heavy stores had to be carried for great
distances, and frequently by ways which a profuse tropical vegetation
rendered almost impassable. Occasionally it happened that the materials
for vessels were shaped out far from the waters on which they were to
sail. Very often it pleased the lordly humour of the conquerors to be
borne in litters on men’s shoulders when they travelled. The Indian
became the beast of burden of the Spaniard. Every little army was
accompanied by its complement of Indian bearers, governed by the lash
held in brutal hands. When Cortes prepared at Tlascala the materials of
the fleet with which he besieged Mexico--when Vasco Nuñez prepared on
the Atlantic the materials of ships which were to be launched on the
Pacific, the deadly work of transport was performed by Indians. The
native allies were compelled to rebuild the city of Mexico, carrying or
dragging the stones and timber from a distance, suffering all the while
the miseries of famine. Indians might often have been seen bearing on
bleeding shoulders the litter of a Spaniard--some ruffian, it might
well happen, fresh from the jails of Castile.

The Indians--especially those of the islands, feeble in constitution
and unaccustomed to labour--perished in multitudes under these toils.
The transport of Vasco Nuñez’s ships across the isthmus cost five
hundred Indian lives. Food became scarce, and the wretched slaves who
worked in the mines of Hispaniola were insufficiently fed. The waste of
life among the miners was enormous. All around the great mines unburied
bodies polluted the air. Many sought refuge in suicide from lives of
intolerable misery. Mothers destroyed their children to save them from
the suffering which they themselves endured.

Nor was it only excessive labour which wasted the native population.
The slightest outrage by Indians was avenged by indiscriminate
massacre. Constant expeditions went out from Spanish settlements
to plunder little Indian towns. When resistance was offered, the
inhabitants were slaughtered. If the people gave up their gold and
their slender store of provisions, many of them were subjected to
torture in order to compel further disclosures. Vasco Nuñez, who was
deemed a humane man, wrote that on one expedition he had hanged thirty
chiefs, and would hang as many as he could seize: the Spaniards, he
argued, being so few, they had no other means of securing their own
safety. Columbus himself, conscious that the gold he had been able to
send fell short of the expectation entertained in Spain, remitted to
the King five hundred Indians, whom he directed to be sold as slaves
and their price devoted to the cost of his majesty’s wars. Yet further:
there came in the train of the conquerors the scourge of small-pox,
which swept down the desponding and enfeebled natives in multitudes
whose number it is impossible to estimate. The number of Indian orphans
furnished terrible evidence of the rigour of the Spaniards. “They are
numerous,” writes one merciful Spaniard, “as the stars of heaven and
the sands of the sea.” And yet the conquerors often slew children and
parents together.

It was on the islanders that these appalling calamities first
fell. They fell with a crushing power which speedily amounted to
extermination. When Columbus first looked upon the luxuriant beauty
of Hispaniola, and received the hospitality of its gentle and docile
people, that ill-fated island contained a population of at least a
million. Fifteen years later the number had fallen to sixty thousand.
The inhabitants of other islands were kidnapped and carried to
Hispaniola, to take up the labours of her unhappy people, and to perish
as they had done. In thirty years more there were only two hundred
Indians left on this island. It fared no better with many of the
others. At a later period, when most of these possessions fell into the
hands of the English, no trace of the original population was left. On
the mainland, too, enormous waste of life occurred. No estimate lower
than ten million has ever been offered of the destruction of natives
by the Spanish conquest, and this number is probably far within the
appalling truth. Human history, dishonoured as it has ever been by the
record of blood causelessly and wantonly shed, has no page so dreadful
as this.

But although there prevailed among the conquerors a terrible unanimity
in this barbarous treatment of the natives, there were some who
stood forward with noble courage and persistency in defence of the
perishing races. [Sidenote: 1502 A.D.] Most prominent among these was
Bartholomew de Las Casas, a young priest, who came to the island of
Hispaniola ten years after Columbus had landed there. He was a man of
eager, fervid nature, but wise and good--self-sacrificing, eloquent,
bold to attack the evils which surrounded him, nobly tenacious in his
life-long efforts to protect the helpless nations whom his countrymen
were destroying. He came to Hispaniola at a time when the island was
being rapidly depopulated, and he witnessed the methods by which this
result was accomplished. [Sidenote: 1511 A.D.] Some years later he was
sent for to assist in the pacification of Cuba. In the discharge of
this task he travelled much in the island, baptizing the children. One
morning he and his escort of a hundred men halted for breakfast in the
dry bed of a stream. The men sharpened their swords upon stones which
abounded there suitable for that purpose. A crowd of harmless natives
had come out from a neighbouring town to gaze upon the horses and arms
of the strangers. Suddenly a soldier, influenced, as it was believed,
by the devil, drew his sword and cut down one of the Indians. In an
instant the diabolic suggestion communicated itself to the whole force,
and a hundred newly-sharpened swords were hewing at the half-naked
savages. Before Las Casas could stay this mad slaughter the ground
was cumbered with heaps of dead bodies. The good priest knew the full
horrors of Spanish conquest.

When the work of pacification in Cuba was supposed to be complete,
Las Casas received from the Governor certain lands, with a suitable
allotment of Indians. He owns that at that time he did not greatly
concern himself about the spiritual condition of his slaves, but
sought, as others did, to make profit by their labour. It was his duty,
however, occasionally to say mass and to preach. [Sidenote: 1514 A.D.]
Once, while preparing his discourse, he came upon certain passages in
the book of Ecclesiasticus in which the claims of the poor are spoken
of, and the guilt of the man who wrongs the helpless. Years before,
he had heard similar views enforced by a Dominican monk, whose words
rose up in his memory now. He stood, self-convicted, a defrauder of
the poor. He yielded a prompt obedience to the new convictions which
possessed him, and gave up his slaves; he laboured to persuade his
countrymen that they endangered their souls by holding Indians in
slavery. His remonstrances availed nothing, and he resolved to carry
the wrongs of the Indians to Spain and lay them before the King.
[Sidenote: 1515 A.D.] Ferdinand--old and feeble, and now within a few
weeks of the grave--heard him with deep attention as he told how the
Indians were perishing in multitudes, without the faith and without the
sacraments; how the country was being ruined; how the revenue was being
diminished. The King would have tried to redress these vast wrongs, and
fixed a time when he would listen to a fuller statement; but he died
before a second interview could be held.

The wise Cardinal Ximenes, who became Regent of the kingdom at
Ferdinand’s death, entered warmly into the views of Las Casas. He
asserted that the Indians were free, and he framed regulations which
were intended to secure their freedom and provide for their instruction
in the faith. He chose three Jeronymite fathers to administer these
regulations; for the best friends of the Indians were to be found among
the monks and clergy. He sent out Las Casas with large authority,
and named him “Protector of the Indians.” [Sidenote: 1516 A.D.] But
in a few months the Cardinal lay upon his death-bed, and when Las
Casas returned to complain of obstructions which he encountered,
this powerful friend of the Indians was almost unable to listen to
the tale of their wrongs. The young King Charles assumed the reins
of government, and became absorbed in large, incessant, desolating
European wars. The home interests of the Empire were urgent; the
colonies were remote; the settlers were powerful and obstinate in
maintaining their right to deal according to their own pleasure with
the Indians. For another twenty-five years the evils of the American
colonies lay unremedied; the cruelty under which the natives were
destroyed suffered no effective restraint.



The ruin which fell on the native population of the New World was at no
time promoted by the rulers of Spain; it was the spontaneous result of
the unhappy circumstances which the conquest produced. In early life
Columbus had been familiarized with the African slave-trade; and he
carried with him to the world which he discovered the conviction that
not only the lands he found, but all the heathens who inhabited them,
became the absolute property of the Spanish Sovereigns. [Sidenote:
1495 A.D.] He had not been long in Hispaniola till he imposed upon all
Indians over fourteen years of age a tribute in gold or in cotton.
But it was found impossible to collect this tribute; and Columbus,
desisting from the attempt to levy taxes upon his subjects, ordained
that, instead, they should render personal service on the fields and
in the mines of the Spaniards. [Sidenote: 1496 A.D.] Columbus had
authority from his Government to reward his followers with grants of
lands, but he had yet no authority to include in his gift those who
dwelt upon the lands. But of what avail was it to give land if no
labour could be obtained? Columbus, on his own responsibility, made
to his followers such grants of Indians as he deemed reasonable. He
intended that these grants should be only temporary, till the condition
of the country should be more settled; but the time never came when
those who received consented to relinquish them.

A few years later, when the Indians had gained some experience of the
ways of the Spaniards, they began to shun the presence of their new
masters. They shunned them, wrote Las Casas, “as naturally as the
bird shuns the hawk.” It was reported by the Governor, Ovando, that
this policy interfered with the spread of the faith as well as with
the prosperity of the settlements. [Sidenote: 1503 A.D.] He received
from the Spanish Monarchs authority to compel the Indians to work
for such wages as he chose to appoint, and also to attend mass and
receive instruction. The liberty of the Indians was asserted; but in
presence of the conditions under which they were now to live, liberty
was impossible. Ovando lost no time in acting on his instructions. He
distributed large numbers of Indians, with no other obligation imposed
upon those who received them than that the savages should be taught the
holy Catholic faith.

[Sidenote: Nov. 1504 A.D.] Next year the good Queen Isabella died.
She had loved the Indians, and her influence sufficed to restrain the
evils which were ready to burst upon them. Her death greatly emboldened
the colonists in their oppressive treatment of their unhappy servants.
The search for gold had become eminently successful, and there arose a
vehement demand for labourers. King Ferdinand was a reasonably humane
man, but the welfare of his Indian subjects did not specially concern
him. There were many men who had done him service which called for
acknowledgment. The King had little money to spare, but a grant of
Indians was an acceptable reward. That was the coin in which the claims
of expectants were now satisfied. The King soothed his conscience by
declaring that such grants were not permanent, but might be revoked
at his pleasure. Meantime the population of the islands wasted with
terrible rapidity.

In course of time the colonists desired that their rights should
be placed upon a more stable footing, and they sent messengers to
the King to request that their Indians should be given to them in
perpetuity, or at least for two or three generations. [Sidenote: 1512
A.D.] Their prayer was not granted; but the King summoned a Junta,
and the Indians became, for the first time, the subjects of formal
legislation. The legality of the system under which they were forced
to labour was now clearly established. In other respects the laws
were intended, for the most part, to ameliorate the condition of the
labourers. But it was only at a few points the new regulations could be
enforced. By most of the colonists they were disregarded.

Thirty miserable years passed, during which, although the incessant
labours of Las Casas gained occasional successes, the colonists
exercised their cruel pleasure upon the native population. The islands
were almost depopulated, and negroes were being imported from Africa
to take the place of the labourers who had been destroyed. Mexico
had fallen, with a slaughter which has been estimated by millions.
Of the numerous cities which Cortes passed on his way to Mexico,
“nothing,” says a report addressed to the King, “is now remaining but
the sites.” In Peru it was asserted by an eye-witness that one-half
or two-thirds of men and cattle had been destroyed. The survivors
of these unparalleled calamities had fallen into a condition of
apathy and indifference from which it was impossible to arouse them.
The conquerors had not yet penetrated deeply into the heart of the
continent; but they had visited its coasts, and wherever they had gone
desolation attended their steps.

[Sidenote: 1542 A.D.] The Spanish Government had made many efforts
to curb the lawless greed and cruelty of the conquerors. Now a Junta
was summoned and a new code of laws enacted. Again the freedom of the
Indians was asserted, and any attempt to enslave them forbidden. The
colonists had assumed that the allotments of Indians made to them
were not subject to recall. But it was now declared that all such
allotments were only for the single life of the original possessor; at
his death they reverted to the Crown. Yet further: compulsory service
was abolished, and a fixed tribute took its place.

Official persons were sent to enforce these laws in Mexico and Peru.
But the Junta had not sufficiently considered the temper of the
provinces. It was found that Mexico would not receive the new laws,
which were therefore referred to the Government for reconsideration.
The Viceroy, who carried the laws to Peru, after bringing the country
to the verge of rebellion, was taken prisoner by the local authorities
and shipped homewards to Spain. The laws which the high-handed
conquerors thus decisively rejected were soon after annulled by an
order of the King.

The Spanish Government was thus baffled in its efforts to terminate the
ruinous control which Spanish colonists exercised over the natives.
The duration of that control was gradually extended. In seventeen
years it crept up to three lives. Fifty years later, after many years
of agitation, the fourth life was gained. Twenty years after, the
still unsatisfied heirs of the conquerors demanded that a fifth life
should be included in the grant; but here they were obliged to accept
a compromise. The system continued in force for two hundred and fifty
years, and was not abolished till near the close of the eighteenth

But although the Government yielded to the clamour of its turbulent
subjects, in so far as the prolongation of Spanish control was
concerned, it was inflexible in its determination to modify the
quality of that control. The prohibition of compulsory labour was
firmly adhered to. The legal right of the conquerors was restricted
to the exaction of a fixed tribute from their subject Indians. This
tribute must be paid in money or in some product of the soil, but not
compounded for by personal service. The Indians might hire themselves
as labourers, under certain regulations and for certain specified
wages, but this must be their own voluntary act. For many years
the Spaniards yielded a most imperfect obedience to these salutary
restrictions, but gradually, as the machinery of administration spread
itself over the continent, the law was more strictly enforced.

The Spanish Government is entitled to the praise of having done its
utmost to protect the native populations. In the early days of the
conquest, Queen Isabella watched over their interests with a special
concern for their conversion to the true faith. As years passed, and
the gigantic dimensions of the evil which had fallen on the Indians
became apparent, her successors attempted, by incessant legislation,
to stay the progress of the ruin which was desolating a continent.
None of the other European Powers manifested so sincere a purpose to
promote the welfare of a conquered people. The rulers of Spain were
continually enacting laws which erred only in being more just and wise
than the country in its disordered condition was able to receive. They
continually sought to protect the Indians by regulations extending to
the minutest detail, and conceived in a spirit of thoughtful and even
tender kindness.[31] In all that the Government did or endeavoured to
do it received eager support from the Church, whose record throughout
this terrible history is full of wise foresight and noble courage
in warning and rebuking powerful evil-doers. The Popes themselves
interposed their authority to save the Indians. Las Casas, when he
became a bishop, ordered his clergy to withhold absolution from men
who held Indians as slaves. [Sidenote: 1520 A.D.] Once the King’s
Preachers, of whom there were eight, presented themselves suddenly
before the Council of the Indies and sternly denounced the wrongs
inflicted upon the natives, whereby, said they, the Christian religion
was defamed and the Crown disgraced. Gradually efforts such as these
sufficed to mitigate the sorrows of the Indians; but for many years
their influence was scarcely perceived. The spirit of the conquerors
was too high for submission to any limitation of prerogatives which
they had gained through perils so great; their hearts were too fierce,
their orthodoxy too strict to admit any concern for the sufferings
of unbelievers. They were followed by swarms of adventurers--brave,
greedy, lawless. Success--unlooked for and dazzling--attended the
search for gold. Conquest followed conquest with a rapidity which
left hopelessly in arrear the efforts of Spain to supply government
for the enormous dependencies suddenly thrown upon her care. Every
little native community was given over to the tender mercies of a
man who regarded human suffering with unconcern; who was animated
by a consuming hunger for gold, and who knew that Indian labour
would procure for him the gold which he sought. In course of years,
the persistent efforts of the Government and the Church bridled the
measureless and merciless rapacity of the Spanish colonists. But this
restraint was not established till ruin which could never be retrieved
had fallen on the Indians; till millions had perished, and the spirit
of the survivors was utterly broken.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the English began to colonize the northern continent of America,
their infant settlements enjoyed at the hands of the mother country
a beneficent neglect.[32] The early colonists came out in little
groups--obscure men fleeing from oppression, or seeking in a new world
an enlargement of the meagre fortune which they had been able to
find at home. They gained their scanty livelihood by cultivating the
soil. The native population lived mainly by the chase, and possessed
nothing of which they could be plundered. The insignificance of these
communities sufficed to avert from them the notice of the monarchs
whose dominions they had quitted. And thus they escaped the calamity
of institutions imposed upon them by ignorance and selfishness; they
secured the inestimable advantage of institutions which grew out
of their own requirements and were moulded according to their own
character and habits.

In the unhappy experience of Spanish America all these conditions
were reversed. There were countries in which the precious metals
abounded, and many of whose products could be procured without labour
and converted readily into money. There was a vast native population
in whose hands much gold and silver had accumulated, and from whom,
therefore, a rich spoil could be easily wrung. There were powerful
monarchies, the romantic circumstances of whose conquest drew the
attention of the civilized world. Spain, marvelling much at her own
good fortune, hastened to bind these magnificent possessions closely
and inseparably to herself.

The territories which England gained in America were regarded as
the property of the English nation, for whose advantage they were
administered. Spanish America was the property of the Spanish Crown.
The gift of the Pope was a gift, not to the Spanish nation, but to
Ferdinand and Isabella and their successors. The Government of England
never attempted to make gain of her colonies; on the contrary, large
sums were lavished on these possessions, and the Government sought no
advantage but the gain which colonial trade yielded to the nation.
The Sovereigns of Spain sought direct and immediate profit from their
colonies. The lands and all the people who inhabited them were their
own; theirs necessarily were the products of these lands. No Spaniard
might set foot on American soil without a license from the House
of Trade. No foreigner was suffered to go, on any terms whatever.
Even Spanish subjects of Jewish or Moorish blood were excluded. The
Sovereigns claimed as their own two-thirds[33] of all the gold and
silver which were obtained, and one-tenth of all other commodities.
They established an absolute monopoly in pearls and dye-woods. They
levied heavy duties on all articles which were imported into the
colonies. They levied a tax on _pulque_--the intoxicant from which
the Indians drew a feeble solace for their miseries. They sold for a
good price a Papal Bull, which conveyed the right to eat meat on days
when ecclesiastical law restricted the faithful to meaner fare. Acting
rigorously according to financial methods such as these, the Spanish
Crown drew from the colonies a revenue which largely exceeded the
expenses of the colonial administration.

The results of the first two voyages of Columbus disappointed public
expectation, and the interest which his discovery had awakened almost
ceased. But when the admiral, after his third voyage, sent home
pearls and gold and glowing accounts of the treasures which he had
at last found, boundless possibilities of sudden wealth presented
themselves, and the adventurous youth of Spain hastened to embrace the
unprecedented opportunity. The old and rich fitted out ships and loaded
them with the inexpensive trifles which savages love; the young and
poor sought, under any conditions, the boon of conveyance to the golden
world where wealth could be gained without labour: the King granted
licenses to such adventurers, and without sharing in their risks and
outlays secured to himself a large portion of their profits. So great
was the emigration, that in a few years Spain could with difficulty
obtain men to supply the waste of her European wars, and found herself
in possession of enormous territories and a numerous population for
which methods of government and of trade had to be provided.

The government which was established had the simplicity of a pure
despotism. [Sidenote: 1511 A.D.] The King established a Council which
exercised absolute authority over the new possessions, and continued
in its functions so long as South America accepted government from
Spain. This body framed all the laws and regulations according to
which the affairs of the colonies were guided; nominated to all
offices; controlled the proceedings of all officials. Two Viceroys[34]
were appointed, who maintained regal state, and wielded the supreme
authority with which the King invested them.

The early colonial policy of all European nations was based on the idea
that foreign settlements existed, not for their own benefit, but for
the benefit of the nation to which they belonged. Under this belief,
colonists were fettered with numerous restrictions which hindered their
own prosperity in order to promote that of the mother country. Spain
carried this mistaken and injurious policy to an extreme of which
there is nowhere else any example. The colonies were jealously limited
in regard to their dealings with one another, and were absolutely
forbidden to have commercial intercourse with foreign nations. All
the surplus products of their soil and of their mines must be sent to
Spain; their clothing, their furniture, their arms, their ornaments
must be supplied wholly by Spain. No ship of their own might share in
the gains of this lucrative traffic, which was strictly reserved for
the ships of Spain. Ship-building was discouraged, lest the colonists
should aspire to the possession of a fleet. If a foreign vessel
presumed to enter a colonial port, the disloyal colonist who traded
with her incurred the penalties of death and confiscation of goods. The
colonists were not suffered to cultivate any product which it suited
the mother country to supply. The olive and the vine flourished in
Peru; Puerto Rico yielded pepper; in Chili there was abundance of hemp
and flax. All these were suppressed that the Spanish growers might
escape competition. That the trade of the colonies might be more
carefully guarded and its revenues more completely gathered in, it was
confined to one Spanish port. No ship trading with the colonies might
enter or depart elsewhere than at Seville, and afterwards at Cadiz.
For two centuries the interests of the colonies and of Spain herself
languished under this senseless tyranny.

Those cities which were endowed with a monopoly of colonial trade
enjoyed an exceptional prosperity. Seville attracted to herself a large
mercantile community and a flourishing manufacture of such articles as
the colonists required. She became populous and rich, and her merchants
affected a princely splendour. And well they might. The internal
communications of Spain were, as they always have been, extremely
defective, and the gains of the new traffic were necessarily reaped in
an eminent degree by the districts which lay around the shipping port.

Once in the year, for nearly two hundred years, there sailed from
the harbour of Seville or of Cadiz the fleets which maintained the
commercial relations of Spain with her American dependencies. One
was destined for the southern colonies, the other for Mexico and the
north. They were guarded by a great force of war-ships. Every detail
as to cargo and time of sailing was regulated by Government authority;
no space was left in this sadly over-governed country for free
individual action. In no year did the tonnage of the merchant-ships
exceed twenty-seven thousand tons. The traffic was thus inconsiderable
in amount; but it was of high importance in respect of the enormous
profits which the merchants were enabled by their monopoly to exact.
The southern branch of the expedition steered for Carthagena, and
thence to Puerto Bello; the ships destined for the north sought
Vera Cruz. To the points at which they were expected to call there
converged, by mountain-track and by river, innumerable mules and boats
laden with the products of the country. A fair was opened, and for a
period of forty days an energetic exchange of commodities went on. When
all was concluded, the colonial purchasers carried into the interior
the European articles which they had acquired. The gold and silver and
pearls, and whatever else the colonies supplied, having been embarked,
the ships met at the Havana and took their homeward voyage, under the
jealous watch of the armed vessels which escorted them hither.

The treasure-ships of Spain carried vast amounts of gold and silver;
and when Spain was involved in war, they were eagerly sought after
by her enemies. Many a bloody sea-fight has been fought around these
precious vessels; and many a galleon whose freight was urgently
required in impoverished Spain found in the Thames an unwelcome
termination to her voyage. [Sidenote: 1804 A.D.] On one occasion
England, in her haste not waiting even to declare war, possessed
herself of three ships containing gold and silver to the value of two
million sterling, the property of a nation with which she was still at

But her hostile neighbours were not the only foes who lay in wait
to seize the remittances of Spain. During the seventeenth century,
European adventurers--English, French, and Dutch--flocked to the West
Indies. At first they meditated nothing worse than smuggling; but they
quickly gave preference to piracy, as an occupation more lucrative and
more fully in accord with the spirit of adventure which animated them.
They sailed in swift ships, strongly manned and armed; they recreated
themselves by hunting wild cattle, whose flesh they smoked over their
_boucanes_ or wood-fires--drawing from this practice the name of
Buccaneer, under which they made themselves so terrible. They lurked
in thousands among the intricacies of the West India islands, ready
to spring upon Spanish ships; they landed occasionally to besiege a
fortified or to plunder and burn a defenceless Spanish town. In time,
the European Governments, which once encouraged, now sought to suppress
them. This proved a task of so much difficulty that it is scarcely
sixty years since the last of the dreaded West India pirates was

Spain sought to preserve the dependence of her American possessions by
the studied promotion of disunion among her subjects. The Spaniard who
went out from the mother country was taught to stand apart from the
Spaniard who had been born in the colonies. To the former nearly all
official positions were assigned. The dependencies were governed by Old
Spaniards; all lucrative offices in the Church were occupied by the
same class. They looked with some measure of contempt upon Spaniards
who were not born in Spain; and they were requited with the jealousy
and dislike of their injured brethren. There were laws carefully framed
to hold the negro and the Indian races apart from each other. The
unwise Sovereigns of Spain regarded with approval the deep alienations
which their policy created, and rejoiced to have rendered impossible
any extensive combination against their authority.

The supreme desire which animated Spain in all her dealings with her
colonies was the acquisition of gold and silver, and there fell on her
in a short time the curse of granted prayers. The foundations of her
colonial history were laid in a destruction of innocent human life
wholly without parallel; influences originating with the colonies
hastened the decline of her power and the debasement of her people.
But gold and silver were gained in amounts of which the world had
never dreamed before. The mines of Hispaniola were speedily exhausted
and abandoned. But soon after the conquest the vast mineral wealth of
Peru was disclosed. An Indian hurrying up a mountain in pursuit of a
strayed llama, caught hold of a bush to save himself from falling. The
bush yielded to his grasp, and he found attached to its roots a mass
of silver. All around, the mountains were rich in silver. The rumoured
wealth of Potosi attracted multitudes of the adventurous and the poor,
and the lonely mountain became quickly the home of a large population.
A city which numbered ultimately one hundred and fifty thousand souls
arose at an elevation of thirteen thousand feet above sea-level:
several thousand mines were opened by the eager crowds who hastened
to the spot. A little later the yet more wonderful opulence of Mexico
was discovered. During the whole period of Spanish dominion over the
New World the production of the precious metals, especially of silver,
continued to increase, until at length it reached the large annual
aggregate of ten million sterling. Two centuries and a half passed
in the interval between the discovery of the Western mines and the
overthrow of Spanish authority. During that period there was drawn from
the mines of the New World a value of fifteen hundred or two thousand
million sterling.

When this flood of wealth began to pour in upon the country, Spain
stood at the highest pitch of her strength. The divisions which
for many centuries had enfeebled her were now removed, and Spain
was united under one strong monarchy. Her people, trained for many
generations in perpetual war with their Moorish invaders, were robust,
patient, enduring, regardless of danger. Their industrial condition
was scarcely inferior to that of any country in Europe. Barcelona
produced manufactures of steel and glass which rivalled those of
Venice. The looms of Toledo, occupied with silk and woollen fabrics,
gave employment to ten thousand workmen; Granada and Valencia sent
forth silks and velvets; Segovia manufactured arms and fine cloths;
around Seville, while she was still the only port of shipment for the
New World, there were sixteen thousand looms. So active was the demand
which Spanish manufacturers enjoyed, that at one time the orders held
by them could not have been executed under a period of six years. Spain
had a thousand merchant ships--certainly the largest mercantile marine
in Europe. Her soil was carefully cultivated, and many districts which
are now arid and barren wastes yielded then luxuriant harvests.

But Spain proved herself unworthy of the unparalleled opportunities
which had been granted to her. Her Kings turned the national attention
to military glory, and consumed the lives and the substance of
the people in aggressive wars upon neighbouring States. Her Church
suppressed freedom of thought, and thus, step by step, weakened
and debased the national intellect. [Sidenote: 1492 A.D.] The Jews
were expelled from Spain, and the country never recovered from the
wound which the loss of her most industrious citizens inflicted.
The easily-gained treasure of the New World fired the minds of
the people with a restless ambition, which did not harmonize with
patient industry. The waste of life in war, and the eager rush to
the marvellous gold-fields of America, left Spain insufficiently
supplied with population to maintain the industrial position which
she had reached. Her manufactures began to decay, until early in the
seventeenth century the sixteen thousand looms of Seville had sunk to
four hundred. Agriculture shared the fall of the sister industries; and
ere long Spain was able with difficulty to support her own diminished
population. Her navy, once the terror of Europe, was ruined. Her
merchant ships became the prey of enemies whose strength had grown
as hers had decayed. The traders of England and Holland, setting at
defiance the laws which she was no longer able to enforce, supplied her
colonies with manufactures which she in her decline was no longer able
to produce.

The North American possessions of England became an inestimable
blessing to England and to the human family, because they were the
slow gains of patient industry. Their ownership was secured not by the
sword, but by the plough. Nothing was done for them by fortune; the
history of their growth is a record of labour, undismayed, unwearied,
incessant. Every new settler, every acre redeemed from the wilderness,
contributed to the vast aggregate of wealth and power which has been
built up slowly, but upon foundations which are indestructible.

The success of Spain was the demoralizing success of the fortunate
gambler. Within the lifetime of a single generation ten or twelve
million of Spaniards came into possession of advantages such as had
never before been bestowed upon any people. A vast region, ten times
larger than their own country, glowing with the opulence of tropical
vegetation, fell easily into their hands. Products of field and of
forest which were eagerly desired in Europe were at their call in
boundless quantity. A constant and lucrative market was opened for
their own productions. Millions of submissive labourers spared them
the necessity of personal effort. All that nations strive for as
their chief good--territorial greatness, power, wealth, ample scope
for commercial enterprise--became suddenly the coveted possession of
Spain. But these splendours served only to illustrate her incapacity,
to hasten her ruin, to shed a light by which the world could watch
her swift descent to the nether gloom of idleness, depopulation,
insolvency, contempt.



For three hundred years Spain governed the rich possessions which she
had so easily won. At the close of that period the population was
about sixteen million--a number very much smaller than the conquerors
found on island and continent. The increase of three centuries had not
repaired the waste of thirty years. Of the sixteen million two were
Spaniards; the remainder were Indians, negroes, or persons of mixed

Spain ruled in a spirit of blind selfishness. Her aim was to wring from
her tributary provinces the largest possible advantage to herself.
Her administration was conducted by men sent out from Spain for that
purpose, and no man was eligible for office unless he could prove his
descent from ancestors of unblemished orthodoxy. It was held that
men circumstanced as these were must remain for ever true to the
pleasant system of which they formed part, and were in no danger of
becoming tainted with colonial sympathies. This expectation was not
disappointed. During all the years of her sordid and unintelligent
rule, the servants of Spain were scarcely ever tempted, by any concern
for the welfare of the colonists, to deviate from the traditional
policy of the parent State. Corruption fostered by a system of
government which inculcated the wisdom of a rapid fortune and an early
return to Spain was excessive and audacious. Those Spaniards who had
made their home in the colonies were admitted to no share in the
administration. Many of them had amassed great wealth; but yielding to
the influences of an enervating climate and a repressive Government,
they had become a luxurious, languid class, devoid of enterprise or

In course of years the poor remnants of the native population which
had been bestowed, for a certain number of lives, upon the conquerors,
reverted to the Crown, and their annual tribute formed a considerable
branch of revenue.[35] The Indians had been long recognized by the law
as freemen, but they were still in the remoter districts subjected to
compulsory service on the fields and in the mines. They were no longer,
however, exposed to the unrestrained brutality of a race which they
were too feeble to resist. Officers were appointed in every district
to inquire into their grievances and protect them from wrong. In their
villages they were governed by their own chiefs, who were salaried
by the Spanish Government; and they lived in tolerable contentment,
avoiding, so far as that was possible, the unequal companionship which
had brought misery so great upon their race.

In the early years of the conquest, negroes were imported from Africa
on the suggestion of Las Casas,[36] and for the purpose of staying the
destruction of the native population. Negro labour was soon found to be
indispensable, and the importation of slaves became a lucrative trade.
The demand was large and constant; for the negroes perished so rapidly
in their merciless bondage that in some of the islands one negro in
every six died annually. France enjoyed for many years the advantage
of supplying these victims. [Sidenote: 1713 A.D.] But England having
been victorious over Spain in a great war, wrung from her the guilty
privilege of procuring for her the slaves who were to toil and die in
her cruel service. After the Treaty of Utrecht, the Spanish colonists
were forbidden to purchase negroes excepting from English vessels.

Down to the period of the conquest the Indians had utterly failed to
establish dominion over the lower animals. Excepting in Peru, there
was almost no attempt made to domesticate, and in Peru it extended
no higher than to the sheep. There was no horse on the continent;
there were no cattle. It was the fatal disadvantage of being without
mounted soldiers which made the subjugation of the Indians so easy.
The Spaniards introduced the horse as the chief instrument of their
success in war. From time to time as riders were killed in battle,
or died smitten by disease, their neglected horses escaped into the
wilderness. [Sidenote: 1548 A.D.] Fifty years after the discovery of
the New World a Spaniard introduced cattle. On the boundless plains
of the southern continent the increase of both races was enormous. In
course of years countless millions of horses and of cattle wandered
masterless among the luxuriant vegetation of the pampas. Their presence
introduced an element which was wanting before in the population.
The pastoral natives of the pampas, to whose ancestors the horse was
unknown, have become the best horsemen in the world. They may almost be
said to live in the saddle. They support themselves mainly by hunting
and slaughtering wild cattle. The submissiveness of their fathers has
passed away. They are rude, passionate, fierce; and, as the Spaniards
found to their cost, they furnish an effective and formidable cavalry
for the purposes of war. A few thousands of such horsemen would have
rendered Spanish conquest impossible, and given a widely different
course to the history of the continent.

In spite of the indolence of the colonial Spaniards and the mischievous
restrictions imposed by the mother country, the trade of the colonies
had largely increased. Especially was this the case when certain
ameliorations, which even Spain could no longer withhold, were
introduced. [Sidenote: 1748 A.D.] The annual fleet was discontinued;
single trading ships registered for that purpose sailed as their
owners found encouragement to send them. [Sidenote: 1765 A.D.] By
successive steps the trade of the islands was opened to all Spaniards
trading from the principal Spanish ports; the continental colonies were
permitted to trade freely with one another, and [Sidenote: 1774 A.D.]
a few years later they were permitted to trade with the islands. These
tardy concessions to the growing enlightenment of mankind resulted in
immediate expansion, and increased the colonial traffic to dimensions
of vast importance. [Sidenote: 1809 A.D.] At the time when the colonies
raised the standard of revolt their annual purchases from Spain
amounted to fifteen million sterling, and the annual exports of their
own products amounted to eighteen million. The colonial revenue was
in a position so flourishing that, after providing for all expenses
on a scale of profuse and corrupt extravagance, Spain found that her
American colonies yielded her a net annual profit of two million

The Spaniards, although, as one of the results of their prolonged
religious war against the Moorish invaders, they had fallen under a
debasing subserviency to their priests, cherished a hereditary love of
civil liberty. The Visigoths, from whom they sprang, brought with them
into Spain an elective monarchy, a large measure of personal freedom,
and even the germs of a representative system. During the war of
independence the cities enjoyed the privilege of self-government, and
were represented in the national councils. [Sidenote: 1504 A.D.] Queen
Isabella, in her will, spoke of “the free consent of the people” as
being essential to the lawfulness of taxation. A few years afterwards,
the King’s Preachers, in their noble pleading for the Indians, assert
that “a King’s title depends upon his rendering service to his people,
or being chosen by them.” Three centuries later, the Spaniards gave
unexpected evidence that their inherited love of democracy had not been
extinguished by ages of blind superstition and despotism. [Sidenote:
1812 A.D.] While Europe still accepted the practice and even the
theory of personal government, there issued from the Spanish people
a democratic constitution, which served as a rallying cry to the
nations of Southern Europe in their early struggles for liberty and

The successful assertion of their independence by the thirteen English
colonies of the northern continent appealed to the slumbering democracy
of the Spanish colonists, and increased the general discontent with the
political system under which they lived. [Sidenote: 1780 A.D.] A revolt
in Peru gave to Spain a warning which she was not sufficiently wise to
understand. The revolt was suppressed. Its leader, after he had been
compelled to witness the death by burning of his wife and children,
was himself torn to pieces by wild horses in the great square of Lima.
The Spanish Government, satisfied with its triumph, made no effort to
remove the grievances which estranged its subjects and threatened the
overthrow of its colonial empire.

For thirty years more, although discontent continued to increase, the
languid tranquillity of the Spanish colonies was undisturbed. But
there had now arisen in Europe a power which was destined to shatter
the decaying political systems of the Old World, and whose influences,
undiminished by distance, were to introduce changes equally vast upon
the institutions of the New World. Napoleon had cast greedy eyes upon
the colonial dominion of Spain, and coveted, for the lavish expenditure
which he maintained, the treasure yielded by the mines of Peru and
Mexico. [Sidenote: 1808 A.D.] He placed his brother on the throne of
Spain; he attempted to gain over the Viceroys to his side. Spain was
now a dependency of France. The colonists might have continued for
many years longer in subjection to Spain, but they utterly refused
to transfer their allegiance to her conqueror. With one accord they
rejected the authority of France; and, having no rightful monarch to
serve, they set up government for themselves. At first they did not
claim to be independent, but continued to avow loyalty to the dethroned
King, and even sent money to strengthen the patriot cause. But meantime
they tasted the sweetness of liberty. Four years later the usurpers
were cast out, and the old King was brought back to Madrid. Spain
sought to replace her yoke upon the emancipated colonies, making it
plain that she had no thought of lightening their burdens or widening
their liberties. The time had passed when it was possible for Spanish
despotism to regain its footing on American soil. Many of the provinces
had already claimed their independence, and the others were prepared
for the same decisive step. The ascendency of Europe over the American
continent had ceased. But Spain followed England in her attempt to
compel the allegiance of subjects whose affection she had forfeited. In
her deep poverty and exhaustion she entered upon a costly war, which,
after inflicting for sixteen years vast evils on both the Old World and
the New, terminated in her ignominious defeat.

The provinces which bordered on the Gulf of Mexico had a larger
intercourse with Europe than their sister States, and were the first to
become imbued with the liberal ideas which were now gaining prevalence
among the European people. They had constant communication with the
West India islands, on one of which they had long been familiar with
the mild rule of England, while on another they had seen a free Negro
State arise and vindicate its liberties against the power of France.
[Sidenote: 1797 A.D.] The island of Trinidad, lying near their shores,
had been conquered by England, who used her new possession as a centre
from which revolutionary impulses could be conveniently diffused among
the subjects of her enemy. Bordering thus upon territories where
freedom was enjoyed, the Colombian provinces learned more quickly than
the remoter colonies to hate the despotism of Spain, and were first to
enter the path which led to independence.

[Sidenote: 1810 A.D.] Seven of these northern provinces formed
themselves into a union, which they styled the Confederation of
Venezuela. They did not yet assert independence of Spain. But they
abolished the tax which had been levied from the Indians; they declared
commerce to be free; they gathered up the Spanish Governor and his
councillors, and, having put them on board ship, sent them decisively
out of the country. Only one step remained, and it was speedily taken.
Next year Venezuela declared her independence, and prepared as she best
might to assert it in arms against the forces of Spain.

One of the fathers of South American independence was Francis Miranda.
He was a native of Caraccas, and now a man in middle life. In his
youth he had fought under the French for the independence of the
English colonies on the Northern Continent. When he had seen the
victorious close of that war he returned to Venezuela, carrying with
him sympathies which made it impossible to bear in quietness the
despotism of Spain. A few years later Miranda offered his sword to
the young French republic, and took part in some of her battles. But
he lost the favour of the new rulers of France, and betook himself to
England, where he sought to gain English countenance to the efforts of
the Venezuelan patriots. He mustered a force of five hundred English
and Americans, and he expected that his countrymen would flock to
his standard. But his countrymen were not yet prepared for action
so decisive, and his efforts proved for the time abortive. It was
this man who laid the foundations of independence, but he himself
was not permitted to see the triumph of the great cause. [Sidenote:
1812 A.D.] The patriot arms had made some progress, and high hopes
were entertained; but the province was smitten by an earthquake,
which overthrew several towns and destroyed twenty thousand lives.
The priests interpreted this calamity as the judgment of Heaven upon
rebellion, and the credulous people accepted their teaching. The cause
of independence, thus supernaturally discredited, was for the time
abandoned. Miranda himself fell into the hands of his enemies, and
perished in a Spanish dungeon.

His lieutenant, Don Simon Bolivar, was the destined vindicator of the
liberties of the South American Continent. Bolivar was still a young
man; his birth was noble; his disposition was ardent and enterprising;
among military leaders he claims a high place. His love of liberty,
enkindled by the great deliverance which the United States and France
had lately achieved, was the grand animating impulse of his life. But
his heart was unsoftened by civilizing influences. Under his savage
guidance, the story of the war of independence becomes a record not
only of battles ably and bravely fought, but of ruthless massacres
habitually perpetrated.

For ten years the war, with varying fortune, held on its destructive
course. Spain, blindly tenacious of the rich possessions which were
passing from her grasp, continued to squander the substance of her
people in vain efforts to reconquer the empire with which Columbus and
Cortes and Pizarro had crowned her, and which her own incapacity had
destroyed. She was utterly wasted by the prolonged war which Napoleon
had forced upon her. She was miserably poor. Her unpaid soldiers,
inspired by revolutionary sympathies, rose in mutiny against the
service to which they were destined. But still Spain maintained the
hopeless and desolating strife.

When the terrors of the earthquake had passed away, the patriots threw
themselves once more into the contest, with energy which made their
final success sure. On both sides a savage and ferocious cruelty was
constantly practised. The Royalists slaughtered as rebels the prisoners
who fell into their hands. Bolivar announced that “the chief purpose
of the war was to destroy in Venezuela the cursed race of Spaniards.”
Soldiers who presented a certain number of Spanish heads were raised to
the rank of officers. The decree of extirpation was enforced against
multitudes of unoffending Spaniards--even against men in helpless age,
so infirm that they could not stand to receive the fatal bullet, and
were therefore placed in chairs and thus executed. In South America, as
in France, the revolt against the cruel despotism of ages was itself
without restraint of pity or remorse. The severity which despotism
calmly imposes, under due form of law, is in the fulness of time
responded to by the passionate and savage outburst of the sufferers’
rage. It is lamentable that it should be so; but while tyrant and
victim remain, Nature’s stern method of deliverance must be accepted.

When Miranda first sought the help of England, he received a certain
amount of encouragement. Englishmen served in the ranks of his first
army, and English money contributed to their equipment. [Sidenote: 1810
A.D.] A little later England was in league with Spain for the overthrow
of Napoleon, and her Government frowned upon “any attempt to dismember
the Spanish monarchy.” But when the purposes of this union were served,
the inalienable sympathy of the British people with men struggling for
liberty asserted itself openly and energetically. [Sidenote: 1819-20
A.D.] Ample loans were made to the insurgent Governments; recruiting
stations were established in the chief towns of England; many veterans
who had fought under Wellington offered to the patriot cause the
invaluable aid of their disciplined and experienced courage.

Thus reinforced, Bolivar was able to press hard upon the discouraged
Royalists. The protracted struggle was about to close. [Sidenote: June,
1821 A.D.] Four thousand Spaniards, unable now to meet their enemies
in the field, lay in a strong position near Carabobo. Bolivar with a
force of eight thousand watched during many days for an opportunity to
attack. Of his troops twelve hundred were British veterans. Bolivar
succeeded at length in placing his forces on the flank of the enemy and
compelling him to accept battle. The Spaniards at the outset gained
important advantage, and broke the first line of the assailants.
Unaware of the presence of British auxiliaries, they advanced as to
assured victory. But when they saw, through the smoke of battle, the
advancing ranks and levelled bayonets of the British, and heard the
loud and defiant cheers of men confident in their own superior prowess,
their hearts failed them and they fled. The victory of Carabobo closed
the war in the northern provinces. Henceforth the liberty of Venezuela
was secure.

       *       *       *       *       *

The revolutionary movement which originated on the shores of the Gulf
of Mexico extended itself quickly into all the continental possessions
of Spanish America. The overthrow of government in Spain imposed upon
every province the necessity of determining for itself the political
system under which its affairs should be conducted. The course pursued
in all was substantially identical. There came first the establishment
of a native government, administered in the King’s name. Gradually
this insincere acceptance of an abhorred yoke was discarded, and the
colonies were unanimous in their resolution to become independent. In
each there was a Royalist element which struggled bravely and bitterly
to uphold the ancient rule of the mother country, with all its pleasant
abuses and unfathomable evils. In each it was the care of Spain to
strengthen the Royalists and maintain the contest. During many years
Spanish America was the theatre of universal civil war. Evils of
appalling magnitude flowed from the prolonged and envenomed strife.
Population sunk in many localities to little more than one-half of what
it had formerly been. The scanty agriculture of the continent became
yet more insignificant. Commerce lost more than one-half its accustomed
volume. The supply of gold and silver well-nigh ceased. In some years
it fell to one-tenth, and during the whole revolutionary period it was
less than one-third of what it had been in quieter times. Never before
had war inflicted greater miseries upon its victims or extended its
devastations over a wider field.

Peru was the last stronghold of Spanish authority. Spain put forth her
utmost effort to maintain her hold upon the mineral treasures which
were almost essential to her existence. The desire for independence was
less enthusiastic here than in the other provinces; the insurrectionary
movement was more fitful and more easily suppressed. When independence
had triumphed everywhere besides, the Peruvian republic was struggling,
hopelessly, for existence. The Spaniards had possessed themselves
of the capital; a reactionary impulse had spread itself among the
soldiers, and numerous desertions had weakened and discouraged the
patriot ranks. The cause of liberty seemed almost lost in Peru; the
old despotism which had been cast out of the other provinces seemed
to regain its power over the land of the Incas, and threatened to
establish itself there as a standing menace to the liberty and peace of
the continent.

[Sidenote: 1820 A.D.] But at this juncture circumstances occurred in
Europe whose influences reinforced the patriot cause and led to its
early and decisive victory. A revolutionary movement had broken out in
Spain, and attained strength so formidable that the Bourbon King was
forced to accept universal suffrage. The restored monarchy of France
sent an army into Spain to suppress these disorders and re-establish
the accustomed despotism. The expedition, led by a French prince,
achieved a success which was regarded as brilliant, and which naturally
gained for France a large increase of influence in the affairs of the
Peninsula. England, not delivered even by Waterloo from her hereditary
jealousy of France, regarded this gain with displeasure. Mr. Canning,
who then directed the foreign policy of England, resolved that since
France now predominated over Spain, it should be over Spain shorn of
her American possessions. As he grandly boasted, he “called the New
World into existence to redress the balance of the Old.” [Sidenote:
1823 A.D.] In simple prose, he acknowledged the independence of the
revolted Spanish provinces, and entered into relations with them by
means of consuls. As a consequence of this recognition, large supplies
of money and of arms were received by the insurgents, and many veteran
British and French soldiers joined their ranks.

[Sidenote: 1823 A.D.] These reinforcements made it possible for Bolivar
to equip a strong force and hasten to the support of the sinking
republic of Peru. He arrived at Lima with an army of ten thousand men,
many of whom had gained their knowledge of war under Napoleon and
Wellington. Here he made his preparations for the arduous undertaking
of carrying his army across the Andes. When Pizarro entered upon the
same enterprise, he marched across a plain made fertile by the industry
of the people; among the mountains his progress was aided by the
great roads of the barbarians and the frequent magazines and places
of shelter which they had providently erected. But three centuries of
Spanish dominion had effaced the works of the Incas, and had carried
the land, by great strides, back towards desolation. The roads and
the canals for irrigation had fallen into decay; the fruitful plain
was now an arid and sterile wilderness. Bolivar had to make roads, to
build sheds, to lay up stores of food along his line of march, before
he could venture to set out. The toil of the ascent was extreme, and
the men suffered much from the cold into which they advanced. The
Royalists did not wait for their descent, but met them among the
mountains at an elevation of twelve thousand feet above sea-level.
During many months there was fighting without decisive result. At
length the armies met for a conflict which it was now perceived must
be final. [Sidenote: Dec. 9, 1824 A.D.] On the plain of Ayacucho,
twelve thousand Royalists encountered the Republican army, numbering
now scarcely more than one-half the opposing forces. The outnumbered
Independents fought bravely, but the fortune of war seemed to declare
against them, and they were being driven from the field with a defeat
which must soon have become a rout. At that perilous moment an English
general commanding the Republican cavalry struck with all his force
on the flank of the victorious but disordered Spaniards. The charge
could not be resisted. The Spaniards fled from the field, leaving their
artillery and many prisoners, among whom was the Viceroy. A final and
decisive victory had been gained. The war ceased; Peru and Chili were
given over by treaty to the friends of liberty, and the authority which
Spain had so vilely abused had no longer a foothold on the soil of the
great South American Continent.

       *       *       *       *       *

The process by which Spain was stripped of her American possessions,
and of which we have now seen the close, had begun within a hundred
years after the conquest. When she ceased to obtain gold and silver
from the islands of the Gulf of Mexico, Spain ceased to concern
herself about these portions of her empire. The other nations of
Europe, guided by a wiser estimate, sought to possess themselves of
the neglected islands. Soon after the death of Queen Elizabeth, the
English established themselves on Barbadoes, and began industriously
to cultivate tobacco, indigo, and the sugar-cane. A little later,
the French formed settlements on Martinique and Guadaloupe, as the
English did on St. Christopher, and held them against all the efforts
of Spain. Oliver Cromwell seized Jamaica, and peopled the island with
“idle and disaffected” persons, who were sent out with slight regard to
their own wishes.[37] The buccaneers formed many settlements, which
were assailed but could not be extirpated. [Sidenote: 1665 to 1671
A.D.] One of these, on the island of St. Domingo, was taken under the
protection of France. The Danes possessed themselves of St. Thomas.
During the ceaseless wars of the eighteenth century France and England
competed keenly for dominion in the Gulf of Mexico, and the maritime
supremacy of England gave her decisive advantage in the contest. Few
wars closed without a new cession of colonial lands by France or by
Spain to England. [Sidenote: 1763 A.D.] On the Northern Continent,
Florida was added to the English possessions. The vast territory
known as Mississippi passed into the hands of the United States. The
revolutionary movement of the nineteenth century wrenched from Spain
all the rich provinces which she owned on the Southern Continent, and
the battle of Ayacucho left her with only an inconsiderable fragment
of those boundless possessions which, by a strange fortune, had fallen
into her unworthy hands.

Only Cuba and Puerto Rico remain, to preserve the humiliating memory
of a magnificent colonial dominion gained and held without difficulty;
governed in shameless selfishness; lost by utter incapacity. Puerto
Rico is an inconsiderable island, scarcely larger than the largest of
our English counties, lying off the northern shores of the continent.
It holds a population of six or seven hundred thousand persons,
one-half of whom are slaves.[38] Its people occupy themselves in the
cultivation of sugar and tobacco, and are still governed by Spain
according to the traditions which guided her policy during the darkest
period of her colonial history.

Cuba is the noblest of all the islands which Columbus found in the
West. It lies in the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, where Yucatan on
the Southern Continent draws towards Florida on the Northern to form
the seaward boundaries of the Gulf. Its area is about one-half that of
Great Britain. Its population is one million four hundred thousand,[39]
of whom one-fourth are slaves. The rich soil yields two and even three
crops of corn annually; the perpetual summer of its genial climate
clothes in blossom throughout the whole year the aromatic plants and
trees which beautify its plains. The sugar-cane, whose cultivation is
the leading industry of the island, is a source of vast wealth. To the
extent of one-half its area the island is covered with dense forests
of valuable timber still untouched by the axe. The orange tree, the
citron, the pomegranate yield, spontaneously, their rich harvest of
precious fruits.

But the bounty of Nature has been neutralized by the unworthiness of
man. The blight of Spanish government has fallen heavily on this lovely
island. When the other American possessions of Spain threw aside the
yoke, the leading Cubans assembled and swore solemnly to maintain for
ever the authority of the parent State. They still plume themselves on
their loyalty, and speak fondly of Cuba as “the ever-faithful isle.”
But neither the obedience of Cuba nor the rebellion of the other
colonies moved the blind rulers of Spain to mitigate the evils which
their authority inflicted. The ancient system was enforced on Cuba
when she became the sole care of Spain precisely as it had been when
she was still a member of a great colonial dominion. All offices were
still occupied by natives of Spain; all Spaniards born in Cuba were
still regarded with contempt by their haughty countrymen from beyond
the sea. Governors still exercised a purely despotic authority; the
home Government still claimed a large gain from the colonial revenue;
all religions but one were still excluded. The loss of a continent had
taught no lesson to incapable Spain.

After the successful assertion of independence by the continental
States, frequent insurrections testified to the presence of a liberal
spirit in Cuba. These were suppressed without difficulty, but not
without much needless cruelty. [Sidenote: 1868 A.D.] At length there
burst out an insurrection which surpassed all the others in dimensions
and duration. It continued to rage during eight years; it cost Spain
one hundred and fifty thousand of her best soldiers; nearly one-half
the sugar plantations of the island were destroyed; population
decreased; trade decayed; poverty and famine scourged the unhappy

[Sidenote: 1876 A.D.] Spain was able at length to crush out the
rebellion and maintain her grasp over this poor remnant of her American
empire. Cuba emerged from those miserable years in a state of utter
exhaustion. Many of her people had perished by famine or by the sword;
many others had fled from a land blighted by a government which they
were not able either to reject or to endure. Spain sought to make Cuba
defray the costs of her own subjugation, and taxation became enormous.
The expenditure of Cuba is at the rate of fifteen pounds for each of
the population, or six times the rate of that of Great Britain. Only
three-fourths of the total sum can be wrung from the impoverished
people, even by a severity of taxation which is steadily crushing out
the agriculture of the island; and a large annual deficit is rapidly
increasing the public debt.[40] Already that debt has been trebled
by the rebellion and its consequences. None of the devices to which
distressed States are accustomed to resort have been omitted, and an
inconvertible currency, so large as to be hopelessly unmanageable,
presses heavily upon the sinking industries of Cuba.[41]

Spain is the largest producer and the smallest consumer of sugar. A
Spaniard uses only one-sixth of the quantity of sugar which is used
by an Englishman. Spain has made the article high-priced, in utter
disregard of colonial interests, for the purpose of cherishing her home
production. The sugar of Cuba, loaded with heavy taxes before shipment,
and further discouraged in the markets of Spain by excessive import
duties, is unable to support those iniquitously imposed burdens, and
this great industry is falling into ruin.

There are sixteen thousand Government servants in Cuba--nearly all
Spaniards; all underpaid; all permitted to make livings or fortunes by
such means as present themselves. They maintain themselves, and many
of them grow rich, by corruption, which there is no public opinion
to rebuke. The ignorance of the people is unsurpassed--not more than
one-tenth of their number having received any education at all. A few
poor newspapers, living under a strict censorship, supply the literary
wants of Havana, a city of two hundred and thirty thousand souls. No
religious teaching, excepting that which the Church of Rome supplies,
is permitted within the island. Justice is administered according to
the irresponsible pleasure of ignorant Spanish officials, incessantly
eager to be bribed. Slavery lingers in Cuba after its rejection by all
American and European States, and is here characterized by special
brutalities. Recent English travellers have witnessed the flogging of
young slave-women, from whose arms lately-born children were removed in
order that the torture might be inflicted.

       *       *       *       *       *

The States of the Spanish mainland suffered deeply in their struggle
against the power of the mother country, but they gained the ample
compensation of independence. Unhappy Cuba endured miseries no less
extreme, but she found no deliverance. The solace of freedom has been
withheld; the abhorred and withering despotism survives to blight the
years that are to come as it has blighted those that are past.



When the thirteen English colonies of the Northern Continent gained
their independence, they entered upon a political condition for which
their qualities of mind and their experience amply fitted them. They
were reasonably well educated; indeed there was scarcely any other
population which, in this respect, enjoyed advantages so great. They
were men of a race which had for centuries been accustomed to exercise
authority in the direction of its own public affairs. Since they became
colonists they and their fathers had enjoyed in an eminent degree the
privilege of self-government. The transition by which they passed into
sovereign States demanded no fitness beyond that which they inherited
from many generations of ancestors and developed in the ordinary
conduct of their municipal and national interests.

With the Spanish settlements on the Southern Continent it was
altogether different. The people were entirely without education; the
printing-press was not to be found anywhere on the continent excepting
in two or three large cities. They were of many and hostile races.
There were Spaniards--European and native. There were Indians, classed
as civilized, half-civilized, and wild. There were Negroes; there were
races formed by the union of the others. The European Spaniards alone
had any experience in the art of government, and they were driven
from the continent with all possible speed. The others were wholly
unpractised in the management of their own national concerns. Spanish
officials supplied, according to their own despotic pleasure, the
regulation which they deemed needful; and the colonists had not even
the opportunity of watching and discussing the measures which were

No people ever took up the work of self-government under a heavier
burden of disadvantage and disqualification. It is not surprising that
their success thus far has been so imperfect. Nor is their future to
be despaired of because their past is so full of wasted effort, of
incessant revolution, of blood lavishly shed in civil strife which
seemed to have no rational object and no solid result. Mankind must
be satisfied if, beneath these confusions and miseries, there can be
traced some evidences of progress towards that better political and
industrial condition which self-government has never ultimately failed
to gain.

The early legislation of the South American States expressed genuine
sympathy with the cause of liberty, and an unselfish desire that its
blessings should be enjoyed by all. Slavery was abolished, and for many
years the absence of that evil institution from the emancipated Spanish
settlements was a standing rebuke to the unscrupulous greed which still
maintained it among the more enlightened inhabitants of the Northern
Continent. Constitutions were adopted which evinced a just regard to
the rights of all, combined, unhappily, with an utter disregard to
the fitness of the population for the exercise of these rights.[42]
Universal suffrage and equal electoral districts were established, and
votes were taken by the ballot. Orders of nobility were abolished, and
some unjust laws which still retain their place in the statute-book
of England, as the laws of entail and primogeniture. Entire religious
liberty was decreed, and it was not long till the interference of the
Pope in such ecclesiastical concerns as the appointment of bishops
was resented and repelled. The punishment of death for political
offences was abolished. In course of time an educational system,
free and compulsory, was set up in some of the States. The people of
South America had been animated in their pursuit of independence by
the example of the United States and of France, and they sought to
frame their political institutions according to the models which these
countries supplied.

The institutions which were then set up remain in their great outlines
unchanged. But the wisdom and moderation which are essential to
self-government are not suddenly bestowed by Heaven; they are the
slowly accumulated gains of long experience. There did not exist
among the South Americans that reverential submission to majorities
which self-governing nations gradually acquire. Here, as elsewhere,
two opposing parties speedily revealed themselves. One was zealously
liberal and reforming--seeking progress and desiring in each country
a federation of States as opposed to a strong centralized Government;
the other preferred centralization and a maintenance of existing
conditions. Among a people so utterly unpractised in political life no
method of settling these differences other than the sword suggested
itself. During half a century the continent has been devastated
by perpetual wars around questions which, among nations of larger
experience, would have merely formed the theme of peaceful controversy.
And in a large number of instances the original grounds of contest were
forgotten--exchanged for an ignoble personal struggle to gain or to
hold the advantages of power.

The South American States perceived the desirableness of a popularly
chosen Legislature, but their political knowledge carried them no
further. They consented to an autocratic Executive. They placed
Dictators in supreme authority. Theirs was the idea which Napoleon in
modern times originated and which his nephew developed--the idea of a
despotism based on universal suffrage. They intrusted their liberties
to a selfish oligarchy. When the struggle for independence was
victoriously closed, they had still to conquer their freedom, and the
contest has been more prolonged and bloody than that which they waged
against the tyranny of Spain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The three northern States of VENEZUELA, NEW GRANADA, and ECUADOR began
their independent career by forming themselves into a great federal
Republic. Their possessions extended over an area six times larger than
that of France; thinly peopled by men of diverse races; severed by
mountains well-nigh impassable, without connection of road or navigated
river. The task of government under these circumstances was manifestly
desperate. But hopes were high in that early morning of liberty.
[Sidenote: 1821 A.D.] With a constitution closely resembling that of
the United States, and with Bolivar the liberator of a continent as
President, the Republic of Colombia entered proudly upon the fulfilment
of its destiny. Five years after, the union which had been found
impossible was dissolved. Bolivar, the great and patriotic soldier,
proved himself an incapable and despotic statesman. He became Dictator
of New Granada, which he ruled according to his arbitrary pleasure.
[Sidenote: 1830 A.D.] The outraged people delivered themselves by a
bloody but successful revolt from a yoke scarcely more tolerable than
that of Spain; and the man to whom the continent owed its independence
died broken-hearted, by what seemed to him the ingratitude of his

Incessant strife now raged between the party of the priests and
soldiers on the one hand and that of the people on the other. During
a period of seventeen years the country endured a government of
clerical ascendency and brute force. But during these years the numbers
and political influence of the artisan class in towns had largely
increased; and the far-reaching influences of the revolutions in
Europe roused the energies of the people. [Sidenote: 1848 A.D.] They
were able to wring from the Government large promises of reform,
and a decree for the expulsion of the Jesuits. Some years followed,
darkened by incessant revolts and the alternating victory and defeat
of the opposing parties. [Sidenote: 1854 A.D.] At length the Liberals
took the field with a “regenerating army” of twenty thousand men, and
were utterly defeated. The Conservatives were now in the ascendant.
But the tenacious Liberals, refusing to accept defeat, maintained for
seven years a war in which, after a hundred battles, they were at
length decisively victorious. [Sidenote: 1861 A.D.] There have been
revolutions since that time, and short-lived Conservative triumphs, but
the Liberal ascendency has never been very seriously shaken.

[Sidenote: 1826 to 1847 A.D.] Venezuela spent twenty tranquil years
under the military despotism of General Paez--one of Bolivar’s
companions-in-arms. But at the end of that period there arose a
cry for reform. Even the Indians and the men of mixed race sought
eagerly for the correction of the abuses which the ruling party
maintained. [Sidenote: 1849 A.D.] General Paez was banished from the
country. [Sidenote: 1863 1868 1870 A.D.] For some years he troubled
the Republic by armed attempts to regain his lost authority, but the
power of Liberalism could not be shaken. Once a sudden Conservative
uprising gained a short-lived triumph. But a spirited Liberal--Guzman
Blanco--drove the enemy forth and became President of the Republic--an
office which he held for eight years. During the period of his rule
there was no more than one revolutionary movement of importance.
[Sidenote: 1872 A.D.] That revolt was closed by a desperate battle, in
which the strength of the Conservative party was utterly broken.[43]

Under the judicious rule of President Blanco, Venezuela has enjoyed
what to a South American Republic must seem profound tranquillity.
Priestly power has received great discouragement. The convents and
monasteries have been suppressed; civil marriage has been established;
subjection to Rome has been disavowed.[44] A compulsory system of
national education has been established--not too soon, for only one
Venezuelan in ten can read or write. Some beginning has been made in
developing the vast mineral resources of the country. Numerous roads,
canals, and aqueducts have been constructed. Population has increased,
and the trade of the republic, although not yet considerable, grows
from year to year. The industrious habits of the people draw no
reinforcement from necessity; for in that rich soil and genial climate
the labour of a single month will maintain a family in comfort for a
whole year. Nevertheless, the people are fairly industrious; and they
are honest, cheerful, and hospitable. The tendency to redress political
wrongs by violence seems to lose its power as these wrongs diminish
in number and intensity; and the prospect of a peaceful future, with
growing intelligence and increase of industrial well-being, steadily

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1822 A.D.] When the MEXICANS gained their independence, they
raised to the throne a popular young officer, whom they styled the
Emperor Augustine First. They were then a people utterly priest-ridden
and fanatical; and the clergy whom they superstitiously revered were
a corrupt and debased class. The reformers had avowed the opinion
that the Church was the origin of most of the evils which afflicted
the country. The Emperor, while he offered equal civil rights to all
the inhabitants of Mexico, sought to gain the clergy to his cause by
guaranteeing the existence of the Catholic Church. But a monarchy
proved to be impossible, and in less than a year a republican uprising,
headed by Santa Anna, forced the Emperor to resign. [Sidenote: 1824
A.D.] A Federal Republic was then organized, with a constitution based
on that of the great Republic whose territories adjoined those of

For the next thirty years Santa Anna is the prominent figure in
Mexican politics. He was a tall thin man, with sun-browned face, black
curling hair, and dark vehement eye. He possessed no statesmanship,
and his generalship never justified the confidence with which it was
regarded by his countrymen. But he was full of reckless bravery and
dash, and if his leading was faulty, his personal bearing in all his
numerous battles was irreproachable. His popularity ebbed and flowed
with the exigencies of the time. [Sidenote: 1828-39 A.D.] He repelled
an invasion by Spain and an invasion by France, and these triumphs
raised him to the highest pinnacle of public favour. Then his power
decayed, and he was forced to flee from the country. When new dangers
threatened the unstable nation, he was recalled from his banishment,
and placed in supreme command. At one period one of his legs, which
had been shattered in battle, was interred with solemn funeral service
and glowing patriot oratory. A little later the ill-fated limb was
disinterred, and kicked about the streets of Mexico with every
contumelious accompaniment. His public life was closed by a hasty
flight to Havana--the second movement of that description which it was
his lot to execute.

Santa Anna sought the favour of the people by the grant of extremely
democratic constitutions, but throughout his whole career he remained
the willing tool of the clerical party. The Mexican clergy were
possessed of vast wealth and vast influence. Fully one-half the land
of the country belonged to them, and a large portion of the remainder
was mortgaged to them. Their spiritual prerogatives were held to exempt
them from taxation, and thus the whole weight of national burden fell
upon the smaller division of national property. It was the concern of
this powerful interest to maintain its own unjust privileges and to
repress the growth of liberal sentiments among the people. So long as
they were able to command the service of Santa Anna, they were able
to frustrate the general wish, and guide the policy of the country
according to their ignorant and tyrannical pleasure.

But they had not been able to shut out from the democracy of the towns,
or from the Indians in their country villages, the political ideas to
which the French Revolution of 1848 gave so large prevalence in Europe.
The influence of the United States, which the ruling party strove
to exclude, continued to gain in power. A radical party arose which
assailed the privileges of the clergy. In course of years the growing
demand for reform overcame the stubborn priestly defence of abuses,
and the Mexicans took a large step towards the vindication of their

The leader in this revolution was Benito Juarez, a Toltec Indian; one
of that despised race which the Aztecs subdued centuries before the
Spanish invasion. This man had imbibed the liberal and progressive
ideas which now prevailed in all civilized countries; and his personal
ability and skill in the management of affairs gained for him the
opportunity of conferring upon Mexico the fullest measure of political
blessing which she had ever received. [Sidenote: 1855 A.D.] The
Liberals were now a majority in Congress, and the gigantic work of
reformation began. The first step was to declare the subjection of the
clergy to civil law. Two years later came the abolition of clerical
privileges, liberty of religion, a free press, a reduced tariff, the
opening of the country to immigration, the beginning of commercial
relations with the United States. The Pope, with hearty good-will,
cursed all who favoured such legislation; the Archbishop of Mexico
added his excommunication of all who rendered obedience to it. What
was still more to the purpose, the clerical party rose in civil war
to crush this aggressive liberalism, or, in their own language, to
“regenerate” Mexico. Juarez and his Government were driven for a time
from the capital, and withdrew to Vera Cruz. But this retreat did not
arrest the flow of Liberal measures. [Sidenote: 1859 A.D.] From Vera
Cruz, Juarez was able to promulgate his Laws of Reform, suppressing
monastic orders, establishing civil marriage, claiming for the nation
the monstrously overgrown possessions of the Church,[45] giving fuller
scope to many of the reforming laws enacted two years before. Next year
the Liberals triumphed over their enemies, and the Government returned
to its proper home, in the city of Mexico.

But the resources of the defeated Clericals were not yet exhausted.
Their aims concurred with an ambition which at that time animated the
restless mind of the Emperor Napoleon III. The Emperor claimed to be
the head of the Latin races, whose position on the American Continent
seemed to be endangered by their own dissensions, as well as by the
rapid expansion of the Anglo-Saxons. The Mexican clergy, supported by
the Court of Rome, gave encouragement to his idle dream. An expedition
was prepared, in which England and Spain took reluctant and hesitating
part, and from which they quickly withdrew.

[Sidenote: 1863 A.D.] A French army entered the capital of Mexico.
Juarez and his Government withdrew to maintain a patriot war, in which
the mass of the people zealously upheld them. An Austrian prince sat
upon the throne of Mexico without support, excepting that which the
clerical party of Mexico and the bayonets of France supplied. A few
years earlier or later these things dared not have been done; but when
the French troops entered Mexican territory, the United States waged,
not yet with clear prospect of success, a struggle on the results of
which depended their own existence as a nation. They had no thought to
give to the concerns of other American States, and they wisely suffered
the Empire of Mexico to run its sad and foolish course. [Sidenote:
1865 A.D.] But now the Southern revolt was quelled, and the Government
of Washington, having at its call a million of veteran soldiers,
intimated to Napoleon that the further stay of his troops on the
American Continent had become impossible. The Emperor waited no second
summons. [Sidenote: 1866 A.D.] When the French were gone, the patriot
armies swept over the country, and this deplorable attempt to set up
imperialism came to an ignominious close. [Sidenote: 1867 A.D.] The
Emperor Maximilian fell into the hands of his enemies, and was put to
death according to the terms of a decree which his own Government had

Juarez was again elected President, and returned with his Congress to
the city of Mexico. During his whole term of office he had to maintain
the Liberal cause in arms against the tenacious priesthood and its
followers. [Sidenote: 1872 A.D.] When he died, a Liberal President was
chosen to succeed him. The war has never ceased, and the clerical party
has occasionally gained important advantages. It is evident, however,
that its power is being gradually exhausted, and that the final triumph
of Liberalism is not now remote. For sixty years Mexico has been
the opprobrium of Christendom. It is possible now to entertain the
hope that ere many years pass, this unhappy country, purged of those
clerical and military elements which have been her curse, will begin
to take her fitting place among peaceable, industrious, and prosperous

The area of Mexico is six times larger than that of Great Britain and
Ireland. Her population is between nine and ten million. Two-thirds
of these are pure Indians, the descendants of the men on whom the
thunderbolt of Spanish invasion fell nearly four hundred years ago.
Two and a half million are of mixed origin; five hundred thousand
are pure European. At the time of the conquest there were among the
Mexicans thirty different races and languages, and these distinctions
still survive. The Indians have regained the cheerfulness which was
crushed out of their dispositions by Spanish cruelty, and under due
superintendence they make excellent artisans and servants. The work of
the country is performed by them; and as their ambition has not been
awakened and their wants are few, labour is cheap. It is only recently
that anything at all has been done for their education, and they are
still profoundly ignorant.[46] But they furnish abundant evidence
of high capability. The race from which President Juarez sprang may
reasonably hope that, after all its miseries, a creditable future is in

The whites are the aristocracy of the country; the mixed breeds are its
turbulent element. They are ordinarily quiet and indolent, but they are
easily inflamed to revolt. To a large extent the constant revolutionary
movements which waste the country have been sustained by them.

The reforming laws of Juarez have been well enforced in the great
centres of population. No monk or nun, nor any Jesuit is tolerated;
no priest is to be seen in the streets in the garb of his office;
reformatories and schools are being established; the youth of Mexico
are being rescued from the priest, and made over to the schoolmaster.
In the remote provinces the execution of the law is extremely
imperfect. There the clerical party is still powerful, and forbidden
taxes are still levied in defiance of law. The subordinate officers
of Government are inordinately corrupt. Import duties are excessive,
and the temptations to evasion are irresistible. The officers of the
custom-house habitually conspire with merchants to defraud the revenue,
and share with them the unlawful gain. The financial condition of the
country is lamentable. Only a small portion of the public debt is
recognized by the Government, and upon that portion no interest is
paid. Expenditure constantly exceeds revenue. Ordinarily the cost of
civil war absorbs more than one-half the national income; frequently it
absorbs the whole.

The country is surpassingly rich, but its progress is hindered by
insufficient means of communication. The most urgent requirement of
this inland region was that it should be brought within easy reach
of the sea-coast. The pressure of this necessity led, so long ago as
in 1852, to the attempted construction of a railway from the city
of Mexico to Vera Cruz. But the works were stopped by the habitual
national convulsions; and when Maximilian ascended the throne, he
found nothing accomplished excepting a few miles at either end of
the projected line. While he reigned, the works were carried on, and
they were stopped when his fall drew near. They were resumed by the
Liberal Government, but the progress of any useful work is slow in a
country tormented by incessant revolution. It was seven years more till
the railway was completed for the whole distance of two hundred and
sixty-three miles. Besides this line, there are no more than three or
four hundred miles of railway yet opened in Mexico.

The silver-mines of Mexico, which ceased to produce during the war of
independence, have resumed their former importance. They now yield
silver to the annual value of three million sterling. Besides the
export of this commodity, Mexico exports two million annually of
cochineal, indigo, hides, and mahogany. Her entire imports do not
amount to more than five and a half million. Her foreign commerce, to
the extent of two-thirds its value, is transacted with her once hated
neighbour the United States.

If Mexico has been the least fortunate of all the Spanish provinces of
America, CHILI furnishes the best example of a well-ordered, settled,
and prosperous State. Its area is only one-fifth and its population
one-fourth that of Mexico, but its foreign commerce is nearly one-half
larger.[47] For this commerce its situation is peculiarly favourable.
Chili, a long and narrow country, lies on the Pacific, with which it
communicates by upwards of fifty sea-ports. It is therefore only in
small measure dependent for its progress upon railways and navigable

For sixteen years after throwing off the Spanish yoke,[48] Chili
was governed, despotically, without a constitution. During those
years constant disorders prevailed. At length the general wish of
the nation was gratified. [Sidenote: 1833 A.D.] A constitution was
promulgated, under which the franchise was bestowed on every married
man of twenty-one years, and on every unmarried man of twenty-five
who was able to read and write. With this constitution the people
have been satisfied. The government has been throughout in the hands
of a moderate Conservative party, which has directed public affairs
with firmness and wisdom, and has manifested zeal in the correction
of abuses. Opposing parties have not in Chili, as in the neighbouring
States, wasted the country by their fierce contentions for ascendency.
In the exercise of a wise but rare moderation, the views of either
party have been modified by those of the other. A method of government
has thus been reached which men of all shades of opinion have been able
to accept, and under which the prosperous development of the country
has advanced with surprising rapidity.

During the last thirty years the population of Chili has quadrupled,
and her revenue has increased still more largely. Immigration from
Europe, especially from Germany, has been successfully promoted.
Formerly almost all land was held by large owners. This pernicious
system has been in great measure destroyed. Estates have been
subdivided, and the system of small proprietorship is now widely
prevalent. The public debt of Chili is twelve million sterling; but as
she, unlike her sister republics, meets her obligations punctually,
her name stands high on the Stock Exchanges of Europe. The education
of her people receives a fair measure of attention. Of her revenue of
three and a half million, she expends a quarter million upon schools--a
proportion not equalled in Europe. But this liberal expenditure is
recent, and has not yet had time to produce its proper results. Only
one in twenty-four of the population attends school; only one in seven
can read. Even in the cities the proportion is no greater than one in

       *       *       *       *       *

The neighbouring State of PERU has an area four times that of Chili,
but her population is scarcely larger. And while Chili has a very
inconsiderable proportion of Indians, it is estimated that fifty-seven
per cent. of the Peruvian population are of the aboriginal races,
and twenty-three per cent. are of mixed origin. The remainder are
native Spaniards, Negroes, Chinese, with a very few Germans and
Italians. From a nation so composed, a wise management of public
affairs can scarcely be hoped for. The government of Peru has been,
since the era of independence, a reproach to humanity. Elsewhere
on the continent there has been the hopeful spectacle of a people
imperfectly enlightened, but animated by a sincere love of liberty, and
struggling against tremendous obstacles towards a happier political
situation. The incessant strifes which have devastated Peru have no
such justification. They have no political significance at all; they do
not originate in any regard to national interests. Turbulent military
chiefs have, in constant succession and with shameless selfishness,
contended for power and plunder. A debased and slothful people, wholly
devoid of political intelligence, have become the senseless weapons
with which these ignoble strifes have been waged. The vast wealth with
which Nature has endowed the land has lain undeveloped; the labour,
with which the country is so inadequately supplied, has been absorbed
by the wars of a vulgar and profligate ambition: Peru remains almost
worthless to the human family.

Spain took courage, from the disorders of Peru, to meditate the
restoration of her lost colonial empire. She attacked Peru; but her
fleet was utterly defeated, after a severe engagement. [Sidenote:
1866 A.D.] This victory roused the spirit of the Peruvian people,
and for a short space it seemed as if impulses had been communicated
which would open an era of progress. For some years real industrial
advance was made. But the fair prospect was quickly marred. Two
Presidents, who manifested a patriotic desire to begin the work of
reform, were murdered. An insane war against Chili was begun. Chili
had imposed certain duties on products imported from Bolivia; and
Peru, disapproving of these duties, went to war to avenge or annul the
proceeding. The fortune of that war has been decisively against the
aggressor. Chili has proved not merely equal to the task of holding
her own; she has defeated her enemy in many battles; she has seized
portions of her territory; she has captured her most powerful iron-clad
ship of war. The progress of Peru has utterly ceased. [Sidenote: 1880
A.D.] Her finances are in the wildest disorder. Her paper currency
is worth no more than one-tenth its nominal value. Her ports are
blockaded; her commerce is well-nigh abolished. But her misguided
rulers will listen to no suggestion of peace, and seem resolved to
maintain this discreditable contest to the extremity of prostration and

Peru is believed to extract silver from her mines to the annual
value of a million sterling; an amount somewhat smaller than these
mines yielded down to the war of independence. Peru exports chiefly
articles which can be obtained without labour or thought. The guano,
heaped in millions of tons on the islands which stud her coasts, was
sold to European speculators, and carried away by European ships. But
these vast stores seem to approach exhaustion. Fortunately for this
spendthrift Government, discovery was made some years ago of large
deposits of nitrate of soda, from the sale of which an important
revenue is gained.

For Peru, lying chiefly between lofty mountain ranges remote from the
sea, railway communication is of prime importance. In the time of one
of her best Presidents there was devised a scheme of singular boldness;
and by the help of borrowed money, on which no interest is paid, it
has been partially executed. A railway line, setting out from Lima, on
the Pacific, crosses the barren plain which adjoins the coast, climbs
the western range of the Andes to a height of nearly sixteen thousand
feet, and traverses the table-land which lies between the great lines
of mountain. When completed, it will reach some of the tributaries of
the Amazon, at points where these become navigable--thus connecting the
Pacific with the Atlantic where the continent is at the broadest. There
are, in all, about fourteen hundred miles of railway open for traffic
in Peru, three-fourths of which are Government works.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1811 A.D.] PARAGUAY, a State with an area nearly twice
that of England, and a population of a million and a half, had the
good fortune to assume her independence without any resistance from
the mother country, and therefore without requiring to undergo the
sacrifices of war. For nearly thirty years she was ruled by a despotism
not less absolute than that of Spain. Dr. Francia became Dictator for
life. He had been educated as a theologian, and was a silent, stern,
relentless man, who inspired his people with such fear that even after
his death they scarcely ventured to pronounce his name. Francia did
something to develop the resources of the State. But progress was slow,
for the Dictator permitted no intercourse with other nations. Paraguay
was to supply all her own wants--depending for nothing on the outside
world. Whosoever came within her borders must remain; he who obtained
permission to go out might not return. [Sidenote: 1840 A.D.] When this
strange ruler died his power fell to Carlos Lopez, who maintained for
twenty-two years a despotism not less absolute, but guided by a policy
greatly more enlightened. He encouraged intercourse with foreigners;
he constructed roads and railways; he cared for education; he created
defences and a revenue. [Sidenote: 1862 A.D.] Before he died he
bequeathed his authority to his son.

This new ruler had been sent, when a young man, to Europe to acquire
the ideas which animated the enlightened Powers of the Old World. He
arrived at the time of the Crimean War, to find a love of glory and
of empire occupying the public mind of England and of France. He was
not able to withstand the malign influence. He went home resolved to
emulate the career of the Emperor Napoleon. He, too, would become a
conqueror; he, too, would found an empire. He occupied himself in
forming a large army, in accumulating military stores. [Sidenote: 1865
A.D.] When the death of his father raised him to absolute authority,
he lost no time in attacking Brazil, which he had marked as his
first victim. The Argentine Republic and Uruguay made common cause
with Brazil against a disturber of the peace, in whose ambition they
recognized a common danger.

The war continued for five years. It brought upon Paraguay calamities
more appalling than have fallen in modern times on any State. Her
territory was occupied by a victorious foe, and one-half of it was
taken away from her for ever. Her debt had swelled to an amount which
utterly precluded hope of payment.[49] Her population had sunk from a
million and a half to two hundred and twenty thousand. Of these it was
estimated that four-fifths were females. War and its attendant miseries
had almost annihilated the adult male population.[50] Paraguay yielded
herself as the base instrument of an insane ambition, and she was

       *       *       *       *       *

BUENOS AYRES, a city founded during the early years of the conquest,
was the seat of one of the vice-royalties by which the Spaniards
conducted the government of the continent. It stands on the right
bank of the river Plate, not far from the ocean. The Plate and its
tributary rivers flow through vast treeless plains, where myriads of
horses and cattle roam at will among grass which attains a height
equal to their own. When the dominion of Spain ceased, Buenos Ayres
naturally assumed a preponderating influence in the new Government. The
provinces which had composed the old vice-royalty formed themselves
into a Confederation, with a constitution modelled on that of the
United States. Buenos Ayres was the only port of shipment for the
inland provinces. Her commercial importance as well as her metropolitan
dignity soon aroused jealousies which could not be allayed. Within a
few years the Confederation was repudiated by nearly all its members,
and for some time each of the provinces governed itself independently
of the others.

[Sidenote: 1821 A.D.] The next experiment was a representative Republic
under President-General Rivadavia, with Buenos Ayres as the seat of
Government. Rivadavia was a man of enlightened views. He encouraged
immigration, established liberty of religion, took some steps to
educate the people, entered into commercial treaties with foreign
powers. [Sidenote: 1827 A.D.] But his liberal policy was regarded
unfavourably by a people not sufficiently wise to comprehend it; and he
resigned his office after having held it for six years.

The influence of Buenos Ayres now waned, and the provinces of the
interior gained what the capital lost. These provinces were occupied
by a half-savage race of mixed origin, who lived by the capture and
slaughter of wild cattle. These fierce hunters were trained to the
saddle almost from infancy, and lived on horseback. Excellence in
horsemanship was a sufficient passport to their favour. [Sidenote:
1829 A.D.] The government of the country now fell into the hands of
General Rosas, a Gaucho chief, whose feats in the saddle have probably
never been equalled by the most accomplished of circus-riders.[51] For
twenty-three years this man--cruel, treacherous, but full of rugged
vigour--maintained over the fourteen provinces a despotism which soon
lapsed into an absolute reign of terror. One of the methods of this
wretched man’s government was the systematic employment of a gang
of assassins, who murdered according to his orders, and under whose
knives many thousands of innocent persons perished. His troops overran
the neighbouring province of Uruguay; but Monte Video, the capital of
that State, was successfully held against him, chiefly by the skill
and courage of Garibaldi. France and England declared war against the
tyrant, and for several years vainly blockaded the city of Buenos
Ayres. At length (1848) a determined rebellion broke out and raged
for four years. [Sidenote: 1852 A.D.] A great battle was fought; the
army of Rosas was scattered; the capital, wild with joy, received the
thrilling news that the tyrant had fled[52] and that the country was

The twenty-three years of despotism had done nothing to solve the
political problems which still demanded solution at the hands of the
Argentine people. The tedious and painful work had now to be resumed.
The province of Buenos Ayres declared itself out of the Confederation,
and entered upon a separate career. The single State was wisely
governed, and made rapid progress in all the elements of prosperity. In
especial it copied the New England common-school system. The thirteen
States from which it had severed itself strove to repress or to rival
its increasing greatness. But their utmost efforts could scarcely avert
decay. [Sidenote: 1859 A.D.] They declared war, in the barbarous hope
of crushing their too prosperous neighbour. Buenos Ayres was strong
enough to inflict defeat upon her assailants. [Sidenote: 1861 A.D.] She
now, on her own terms, reëntered the Confederation, of which her chief
city became once more the capital.

[Sidenote: 1865 A.D.] The career of the reconstructed Confederation
has not been, thus far, a wholly peaceful one. There has been a
lengthened war with Paraguay. There was a Gaucho revolt, which it was
not hard to suppress. [Sidenote: 1870-72 A.D.] The important province
of Entre Rios rose in arms, and was brought back to her duty after
two years of war. Still later (1874) a rebellion broke out on the
election of a new President. But the energy which formerly inspired
revolutionary movements seems to decay, and this latest disorder was
trampled out in a campaign of no greater duration than seventy-six
days. A milder temper now prevails, especially in the cities of the
Confederation. There are still divisions of opinion. One party is eager
to promote a consolidated and effectively national life; another would
maintain and enhance provincial separations; a third--the party of
disorder, whose strength is being sapped by the growing prosperity of
the country--seeks to foment revolutionary movements in the hope of
advantage, or in sheer restlessness of spirit. But these antagonisms
have in large measure lost the envenomed character which they once
bore. The only habitual disturbers of the national tranquillity are
the Indians, who are suffered to hold possession of almost one-half
the Argentine territory, and against whom murderous frontier wars are
incessantly waged.

It is, however, obvious that the union of the fourteen provinces rests
upon no satisfactory or permanent basis, and that the final adjustment
can scarcely be effected otherwise than by the customary method
of force. The province of Buenos Ayres, although it contains only
one-fourth of the population, contains three-fourths of the wealth,[53]
and bears fully nine-tenths of the taxation of the confederate
provinces. The other thirteen provinces have absolute control over the
government; and the expenditure has largely increased, as it needs
must when the persons who enjoy the privilege of expending funds are
exempt from the burden of providing them. This arrangement is highly
and not unreasonably displeasing to the rich province of Buenos Ayres;
and it seems probable that the people of this province will sooner or
later force their way out of a Confederation whose burdens and whose
advantages are so unequally distributed.

The fourteen provinces of the Argentine Confederation cover an area
of 515,700 square miles, and are thus almost equal to six countries
as large as Great Britain. The population which occupies this huge
territory numbers only two million. Every variety of temperature
prevails within their borders. In South Patagonia the cold is nearly
as intense as that of Labrador. Southern Buenos Ayres has the climate
of England; farther north the delicious climate of the south of France
and the north of Italy is enjoyed. Yet farther north comes the fierce
heat of the tropics. Westward, on the slopes of the Andes, little rain
falls; eastward, toward the sea, the rainfall is excessive.

The Argentine States have promoted immigration so successfully that
they have received in some years accessions to their numbers of from
sixty to ninety thousand persons--British, Italian, French, German,
and Swiss. They have thus the presence of a large European element,
which gives energy to every liberal and progressive impulse. The
great city of Buenos Ayres is, to the extent of half its population
(of 220,000), a city of Europeans. In most of the other cities this
European element is present and influential. Far in the interior are
many little colonies composed of Europeans, settled on lands bestowed
by Government, engaged in sheep or cattle farming, growing rich by the
rapid increase of their herds on that fertile soil. Full religious
liberty is enjoyed, and all the various shades of Protestantism are
represented in the chapels of Buenos Ayres or in the rural colonies
of the interior. Two thousand five hundred miles of railway are in
operation; direct telegraphic communication with England is enjoyed;
the provinces are being drawn more closely together by the construction
of roads and bridges; the vast river systems of the Confederation
are traversed by multitudes of steamers. The people have entered,
seemingly, with earnestness on the task of developing the illimitable
resources of the great territory which Providence has committed to
their care.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our survey of South American history since the era of Independence
discloses much that is lamentable. It discloses nothing, however, that
is fitted to surprise, and little that is fitted to discourage. We see
priest-directed and therefore utterly ignorant people throwing aside
the yoke of an abhorred tyranny. We see them assume the function of
self-government without a single qualification for the task. We see
them become the prey of lawless and turbulent chiefs, of a selfish
military and priestly oligarchy. We watch their struggles as they grope
in blind fury, but still under the guidance of a healthy instinct,
after the freedom of which they have been defrauded. At length we are
permitted to mark, with rejoicing, that they begin to emerge from the
unprecedented difficulties by which they have been beset. The path by
which they must gain the position of orderly and prosperous States is
yet long and toilsome. It is now, however, at least possible to believe
that they have entered upon it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[The disturbed condition of the Western States continues without
abatement, and without prospect of settlement. Both Peru and Bolivia
are practically at the mercy of Chili. The war is over, but peace is
made impossible by the anarchy that prevails in the vanquished States.
The President of Peru is a fugitive. The President of Bolivia has
absconded. There is no settled government in either country with which
the Chilians can safely make terms. What seems most certain is, that
the provinces which yield most abundantly that nitrate of soda about
the export of which the war originated will be permanently annexed
to Chili. Indeed, these districts are now administered by Chilian

The Conservative counter-revolution in Mexico, under Diaz, lasted till
1880, when General Gonzalez was elected President. An insurrection in
the capital had to be suppressed before his installation could take

In Buenos Ayres, nationalism has had a further struggle with
provincialism, and another triumph over it. In August 1880 the national
troops forcibly entered the Provincial Assembly, and ejected the
deputies at the point of the sword. A few days afterwards, General
Roca, the new President, entered the capital.--ED.]



At the time when the discovery and possession of the New World occupied
the Spaniards, the Church of Rome exercised over that people an
influence which had no parallel elsewhere in all her wide dominion.
A religious war of nearly eight centuries had at length closed
victoriously. Twenty generations of Spaniards had spent their lives
under the power of a burning desire to expel unbelievers from the soil
of Spain, and win triumphs for the true faith. The ministers of that
religion, for which they were willing to lay down their lives, gained
their boundless reverence. To the ordinary Spaniard religion had yet
no association with morals; it exercised no control over conduct. It
was a collection of beliefs; above all it was an unreasoning loyalty to
a certain ecclesiastical organization. To extend the authority of the
Church, and, if it had been possible, to exterminate all her enemies,
formed now the grand animating motives of the Spanish nation.

No Spaniard of them all was more powerfully influenced by these motives
than the good Queen Isabella. At the bidding of her confessor she set
up the Inquisition, for the destruction of heretics; she consented to
the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and the virtual confiscation of
their property. She gave encouragement to the enterprise of Columbus,
in the hope of extending the empire of the Church over benighted
nations. The King himself stated, in later years, that the conversion
of Indians was the chief purpose of the conquest. The Queen sent
missionaries to begin this great work so soon as she heard of the
discovery. In all her official correspondence her chief concern is
avowedly for the spiritual interests of her new subjects. Columbus
tells, in regard to his second voyage, that he was sent “to see the way
that should be taken to convert the Indians to our holy faith.” He was
instructed “to labour in all possible ways to bring the dwellers in the
Indies to a knowledge of the holy Catholic faith.” Twelve ecclesiastics
were sent with him to share in these pious toils. A little later, when
the overthrow of Columbus was sought by his enemies, one of their most
deadly weapons was the charge that he did not baptize Indians, because
he desired slaves rather than Christians.

Favoured thus by the general sentiment of the mother country,
the Church quickly overspread the colonies and appropriated no
inconsiderable share of their wealth. Within four years there were
monasteries already established.[54] Within one hundred years there
were twelve hundred nunneries and monasteries. There was a full
equipment of patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, prebends, abbots,
chaplains, as well as parish priests. There were monks of every
variety--Franciscans, Dominicans, Jeronymites, Fathers of Mercy,
Augustines, Jesuits. In Lima it was alleged that the convents covered
more ground than all the rest of the city. [Sidenote: 1644 A.D.]
From Mexico there came a petition to the King praying that no new
monasteries should be allowed, as these institutions, if suffered
to increase, would soon absorb the whole property of the country.
Wherever the Spaniards went they hastened to erect churches. While the
conquest of Peru was yet incomplete, there was a church in Caxamalco
to which the devout Spaniards assigned a liberal share of the gold of
which they so villanously plundered the unhappy Inca. The magnificence
of churches and convents became in course of years so dazzling that the
European mind, it was said, could form no conception of it. The tithes,
which had been vested in the Crown, were almost wholly made over to
the Church. The free-will offerings of a superstitious people, with an
exceptionally large volume of personal iniquity to expiate, swelled out
to a huge aggregate. The wealth of the Church continued to grow till,
as we have seen, in Mexico she possessed one-half of all the land in
the province.

Among the multitudes of ecclesiastics who hastened to these new fields
of enterprise and emolument there were very many whose characters were
debased, whose lives were scandalous. Very soon after the settlement
the profligacy of churchmen attracted general remark. Living often in
secluded positions without the control or observation of superiors,
they gave free scope to evil dispositions, and occupied themselves with
the pursuits of avarice or of licentiousness.

But we should grievously wrong the Church of Rome were we to suppose
that all her ministers in the New World were of this unworthy
description. The sudden knowledge of many millions of heathens, whose
existence had been previously unsuspected, awakened in the monasteries
of Spain a strong impulse towards missionary effort. To men who were
lingering out their idle days in the profitless repose of a religious
seclusion there opened now boundless possibilities of ennobling
usefulness. Among them were many whose singleness of purpose, whose
utter crucifixion of self, whose heroic daring and endurance would have
done honour to the purest Church. Especially was this true concerning
the Jesuits. This dreaded and upon the whole pernicious Order was
distinguished, in its earlier days, as well for the sagacity and
administrative ability of its members as for their absorbing devotion
to the interests of the faith.

The Indians accepted with perfect readiness the new religion which
their conquerors offered. The monks who went among them speedily
acquired commanding influence. The Franciscans who went out on
the invitation of Cortes reported that they found the Mexicans a
gentle people, given somewhat to lying and drunkenness and needing
restraint, but well disposed to religion, and confessing so well that
it was not necessary to ask them questions. The children about the
monastery already knew much, and taught others who were less happily
circumstanced; they sang well and accompanied the organ competently.

This gentle people loved the holy men who, clothed plainly and living
on the humblest fare, laboured without ceasing to do them good. They
willingly submitted to baptism to please their teachers. Indeed,
the only limit to the increase of baptized persons was the physical
capability of the missionaries. One father baptized till he was
unable any longer to lift his arms. Of another it was asserted that
he had administered this sacrament to four hundred thousand converts.
[Sidenote: 1531 A.D.] Ten years after the fall of Mexico, the bishop
reported that in his diocese there were now a million of baptized
persons; that five hundred temples and twenty thousand idols had
been destroyed; that in their room were now churches, oratories, and
hermitages; that whereas there were formerly offered up every year to
idols twenty thousand hearts of young men and young women, the hearts
of Mexican youth were now offered up with innumerable sacrifices of
praise to the Most High God.

Among many races of Indians there had existed from time immemorial
a marvellous fondness for the confession of sin. Under all grave
attacks of illness they hastened to confess old sins to any one who
would listen to their tale. When they encountered a panther in the
wilderness, they began, under the influence of some unexplained
superstition, to disclose their iniquities to the savage beast. A
people so inclined welcomed a religion which offered them free access
to the enjoyment of their cherished privilege. They manifested, in
regard to this ordinance of the Church, “a dove-like simplicity,
an incredible fervour.” Oral confession was to these simple souls
an insufficient relief. They brought to the confessor a pictorial
representation of the special transgressions which burdened them.
Later, when many of them had learned to write, they bore with them
elaborate catalogues of their evil doings.

The monks attempted to bestow upon the children under their care
the elements of a simple education. To each monastery a school was
attached. Peter of Ghent, a Flemish lay-brother of noble devotedness,
caused the erection of a large building, in which he taught six hundred
Mexican children to read, to write, and to sing.[55] This good man knew
the Mexican language well, and could preach when need was. He spent
fifty toilsome years in labours for the instruction of the conquered
people; and there were many of his brethren equally diligent.

But among the teeming millions of South America, these efforts, so
admirable in quality, were wholly insignificant in amount. They were
thwarted, too, by the murderous cruelty which the Spaniards exercised,
and the people remained utterly uninstructed. The conversion of the
country made progress so rapid that in a few years the native religions
disappeared, and the Indians seemed universally to have accepted
Christianity. But the change rested in large measure upon fear of
their tyrants, or love to their teachers, or the authority of chiefs
who had deemed it expedient to adopt the faith of men who were always
victorious in battle. It was only in a few instances the result of
intelligent conviction. The priests baptized readily all natives who
would permit the ceremony, because that was a sure provision for their
eternal welfare. But the opinion was entertained from an early period
that the natives were incapable of comprehending the first principles
of the faith. Acting under this belief, a council of Lima decreed
their exclusion from the sacrament of the Eucharist. Down to the close
of Spanish dominion few Indians were allowed to communicate, or to
become members of any religious order, or to be ordained as priests.
Underneath the profession of Christianity the Indians have always
retained a secret love for the pagan faith of their fathers, and still
secretly practise its rites.[56]

The monks were throughout the warm friends and protectors of the
Indians. At a very early period the Dominicans preached against
Indian slavery “with very piercing and terrible words.” They refused
to confess men who were cruel to Indians--a privation which was
severely felt; for to the Spaniard of that day, with his over-burdened
conscience, confession was a necessary of life. [Sidenote: 1537 A.D.]
The Pope himself pronounced the doom of excommunication against all who
reduced Indians to slavery or deprived them of their goods. We have
seen how nobly and how vainly the good Las Casas interposed in defence
of the Indians. The efforts of the well-meaning fathers were, in almost
every direction, unsuccessful. But this failure resulted from no
deficiency either in zeal or in discretion. The record of the Church of
Rome is darkened by manifold offences against the welfare of the human
family; but she is able to recall with just pride the heroic efforts
which her sons put forth on behalf of the deeply-wronged native races.

The servants of the Church enjoyed, on two memorable occasions, the
opportunity of exhibiting their capacity for government in striking
contrast to that of the civil rulers whom the mother country supplied.

Bordering on the province of Guatemala was a tract of forest and
mountain, inhabited by an Indian nation of exceptional fierceness.
Thrice the Spaniards had attempted the subjugation of this people,
and thrice they were driven back. They hesitated to renew an invasion
which had brought only defeat and loss, and the brave savages continued
to enjoy a precarious independence. [Sidenote: 1537 A.D.] Las Casas
made offer to the Governor that he would place this territory under
the King of Spain, on condition that it should not be given over to
any Spaniard, and that, indeed, no Spaniard, excepting the Governor
himself, should for the space of five years be suffered to enter it.
The offer was accepted, and the brave monk, confident in the power of
truth and kindness, made himself ready to fulfil his contract.

Having devoted several days to prayer and fasting, Las Casas and his
companions proceeded to draw up a statement of the great doctrines of
the Christian religion. They told of the creation of the world, of
the fall of man, of his expulsion from the pleasant garden in which
he had been placed. Then they told of his restoration, of the death
and resurrection of Christ, and of judgment to come. They closed with
emphatic denunciation of idols and of human sacrifices. The work was
in verse, and in the language of the people for whom it was destined.
The fathers next obtained the co-operation of four native merchants
who were accustomed for commercial reasons to visit the country of the
warlike savages. These friendly traders were taught first to repeat the
verses and then to sing them to the accompaniment of Indian instruments.

The merchants were received by the chief into his own house; and
they requited his hospitality and gained his favour by offering to
him certain gifts of scissors, knives, looking-glasses, and similar
matters with which the thoughtful fathers had provided them. When
they had finished a day of trading, they borrowed musical instruments
and proceeded to sing their message to the crowds by whom they were
surrounded. They commanded the immediate and rapt attention of the
savages, who hailed them as the ambassadors of new gods. Every day
of the next seven the song was repeated by desire of the chief, and
every repetition seemed to deepen the effect produced. Then the
merchants told of the good fathers by whom they were sent--of their
dress, of their manner of life, of their love for the Indians, of
their indifference to that gold which other Spaniards worshipped. An
embassy was despatched to entreat a visit from some of the fathers.
The request was immediately granted; but knowing the fickleness of the
savage mind, the prudent monks would not as yet risk the loss of more
than one of their number. Father Luis went back with the ambassador.
A church was instantly built: the chief in a short time avowed his
conversion to the new faith, and was loyally followed by his people.
The change was enduring, and the arrangements made by Las Casas for the
protection of the Indians being enforced by the King, were in large
measure effective. [Sidenote: 1630 A.D.] A century afterwards the town
of Rabinal, which the monks founded, was described by a Spaniard who
visited it as in a most flourishing condition, with a population of
eight hundred Indian families, who were in the enjoyment of “all that
heart can wish for pleasure and life of man.”

A century after the conquest, the Jesuits had made their way into the
vast interior region of Paraguay. They came as religious teachers, but
they were empowered to trade with the natives, that they might, by
their commercial gains, defray the cost of their missionary operations.
In both provinces of their enterprise they found themselves frustrated
by the excesses of their countrymen. The savages traded reluctantly
with men so unscrupulous as the commercial Spaniards; they refused
to accept a new faith on the suggestion of men so avaricious and
so dissolute as the ecclesiastical Spaniards. The Jesuits, whose
sagacity and skill in the management of affairs were then unequalled,
obtained from the King the exclusion of all strangers from the land of
Paraguay; they in return for this privilege becoming bound to pay to
his majesty a yearly tax of one dollar for every baptized Indian who
lived under their dominion. Thus protected, the missionaries proceeded
to instruct the savages and form them into communities. Their lives
were irreproachably pure; the sincerity of their kindness was assured
by their manifest self-denial; the wisdom of the measures which they
introduced was quickly approved by the increasing welfare of the
population. In a very few years the Jesuits had gained the confidence
of the Indians, over whom they henceforth exercised control absolute
and unlimited.

They drew together into little settlements a number, fifty or thereby,
of wandering families, to whom they imparted the art of agriculture.
The children were taught to read, to write, to sing. In each settlement
a judge, chosen by the inhabitants, maintained public order and
administered justice. The savages received willingly the faith which
the good fathers commended to their adoption. They were lenient to the
superstitions of their subjects, and the reception of the new faith was
hastened by its readiness to exist in harmonious combination with many
of the observances of the old. In time the sway of the Jesuits extended
over a population of one million five hundred thousand persons, all
of whom had received Christian baptism; and they could place sixty
thousand excellent soldiers in the field.

The fathers regulated all the concerns of their subjects. All
possessions were held in common. Every morning, after hearing mass,
the people went out to labour according to the instructions of
the fathers. The gathered crops were stored for the general good,
and were distributed according to the necessities of each family.
No intoxicants were permitted. A strict discipline was enforced
by stripes administered in the public market-place, and received
without murmuring by the submissive natives. When strangers made their
unwelcome way into the country, the missionaries stood between their
converts and the apprehended pollution. The stranger was hospitably
entertained and politely escorted from one station to another till he
reached the frontier, no opportunity of intercourse with the natives
having been afforded.

[Sidenote: 1640 to 1770 A.D.] The government of the Jesuits was in
a high degree beneficial to the Paraguans. The soil was cultivated
sufficiently to yield an ample maintenance for all. Education was
widely extended; churches were numerous and richly adorned; the
people were peaceable, contented, cheerful. In every condition which
makes human life desirable, the Jesuit settlements, during a period
of considerably over a century, stand out in striking and beautiful
contrast to all the other colonial possessions of Spain.

But while the Jesuits of Paraguay were thus nobly occupied in raising
the fallen condition of the savages over whom they ruled, their
brethren in Europe had incurred the hatred of mankind by the wicked
and dangerous intrigues in which they delighted to engage. [Sidenote:
1767 A.D.] The Church of Rome herself cast them out. They were expelled
from Spain. The Order was dissolved by the Pope. The fall of this
unscrupulous organization was in most countries a relief from constant
irritation and danger; in Paraguay it was disastrous. [Sidenote: 1773
A.D.] The country accepted new and incapable rulers, and was parcelled
out into new provinces. It speedily fell from the eminence to which the
fathers had raised it, and sunk into the anarchy and misery by which
its neighbours were characterized.



King John of Portugal, to whom Columbus first made offer of his project
of discovery, was grievously chagrined when the success of the great
navigator revealed the magnificence of the rejected opportunity. Till
then, Portugal had occupied the foremost place as an explorer of
unknown regions. She had already achieved the discovery of all the
western coasts of Africa, and was now about to open a new route to
the East by the Cape of Good Hope. Suddenly her fame was eclipsed.
While she occupied herself with small and barren discoveries, Spain
had found, almost without the trouble of seeking, a new world of vast
extent and boundless wealth.

Portugal had obtained from the Pope a grant of all lands which she
should discover in the Atlantic, with the additional advantage of
full pardon for the sins of all persons who should die while engaged
in the work of exploration. The sovereigns of Spain were equally
provident in regard to the new territory which they were now in course
of acquiring. They applied to Pope Alexander Sixth, who, as vicar of
Christ, possessed the acknowledged right to dispose at his pleasure of
all territories inhabited by heathens. From this able but eminently
dissolute pontiff they asked for a bull which should confirm them in
possession of all past and future discoveries in Western seas. The
accommodating Pope, willing to please both powers, divided the world
between them. [Sidenote: 1493 A.D.] He stretched an imaginary line,
from pole to pole, one hundred leagues to the westward of the Cape de
Verd Islands: all discoveries on the eastern side of this boundary
were given to Portugal, while those on the west became the property of
Spain. Portugal, dissatisfied with the vast gift, proposed that another
line should be drawn, stretching from east to west, and that she should
be at liberty to possess all lands which she might find between that
line and the South Pole. Spain objected to this huge deduction from her
expected possessions. [Sidenote: 1494 A.D.] Ultimately Spain consented
that the Papal frontier should be removed westward to a distance of two
hundred and seventy leagues from the Cape de Verd Islands; and thus the
dispute was happily terminated.

[Sidenote: 1500 A.D.] Six years after this singular transaction, by
which two small European States parted between them all unexplored
portions of the Earth, a Portuguese navigator--Pedro Alvarez
Cabral--set sail from the Tagus in the prosecution of discovery in the
East. He stood far out into the Atlantic, to avoid the calms which
habitually baffled navigation on the coast of Guinea. His reckoning
was loosely kept, and the ocean currents bore his ships westward into
regions which it was not his intention to seek. After forty-five days
of voyaging he saw before him an unknown and unexpected land. In
searching for the Cape of Good Hope, he had reached the shores of the
great South American Continent, and he hastened to claim for the King
of Portugal the territory he had found, but regarding the extent of
which he had formed as yet no conjecture. Three Spanish captains had
already landed on this part of the continent and asserted the right
of Spain to its ownership. For many years Spain maintained languidly
the right which priority of discovery had given. But Portugal, to whom
an interest in the wealth of the New World was an object of vehement
desire, took effective possession of the land. She sent out soldiers;
she built forts; she subdued the savage natives; she founded colonies;
she established provincial governments. Although Spain did not formally
withdraw her pretensions, she gradually desisted from attempts to
enforce them; and the enormous territory of Brazil became a recognized
appanage of a petty European State whose area was scarcely larger than
the one-hundredth part of that which she had so easily acquired.

For three hundred years Brazil remained in colonial subordination to
Portugal. Her boundaries were in utter confusion, and no man along all
that vast frontier could tell the limits of Portuguese dominion. Her
Indians were fierce, and bore with impatience the inroads which the
strangers made upon their possessions. The French seized the bay of Rio
de Janeiro. The Dutch conquered large territories in the north. But in
course of years these difficulties were overcome. [Sidenote: 1654 A.D.]
The foreigners were expelled. The natives were tamed, partly by arms,
partly by the teaching of zealous Jesuit missionaries. Some progress
was made in opening the vast interior of the country and in fixing its
boundaries. On the coast, population increased and numerous settlements
sprang up. The cultivation of coffee, which has since become the
leading Brazilian industry, was introduced. [Sidenote: 1750 A.D.] Some
simple manufactures were established, and the country began to export
her surplus products to Europe. There was much misgovernment; for the
despotic tendencies of the captains-general who ruled the country were
scarcely mitigated by the authority of the distant Court of Lisbon.
The enmity of Spain never ceased, and from time to time burst forth
in wasteful and bloody frontier wars. Sometimes the people of cities
rose in insurrection against the monopolies by which wicked governors
wronged them. Occasionally there fell out quarrels between different
provinces, and no method of allaying these could be found excepting
war. [Sidenote: 1711 A.D.] Once the city of Rio de Janeiro was sacked
by the French. Brazil had her full share of the miseries which the
foolishness and the evil temper of men have in all ages incurred. These
hindered, but did not altogether frustrate, the development of her
enormous resources.

During the eighteenth century the Brazilian people began to estimate
more justly than they had done before the elements of national
greatness which surrounded them, and to perceive how unreasonable it
was that a country almost as large as Europe should remain in contented
dependence on one of the most inconsiderable of European States. The
English colonies in North America threw off the yoke of the mother
country. The air was full of those ideas of liberty which a year or two
later bore fruit in the French Revolution. A desire for independence
spread among the Brazilians, and expressed itself by an ill-conceived
rising in the province of Minas Geraes. But the movement was easily
suppressed, and the Portuguese Government maintained for a little
longer its sway over this noblest of colonial possessions.

During the earlier years of the French Revolution, Portugal was
permitted to watch in undisturbed tranquillity the wild turmoils by
which the other European nations were afflicted. At length it seemed
to the Emperor Napoleon that the possession of the Portuguese kingdom,
and especially of the Portuguese fleet, was a fitting step in his
audacious progress to universal dominion. [Sidenote: 1807 A.D.] A
French army entered Portugal; a single sentence in the _Moniteur_
informed the world that “the House of Braganza had ceased to reign.”
The French troops suffered so severely on their march, that ere they
reached Lisbon they were incapable of offensive operations. But so
timid was the Government, so thoroughly was the nation subdued by fear
of Napoleon, that it was determined to offer no resistance. The capital
of Portugal, with a population of three hundred thousand, and an army
of fourteen thousand, opened its gates to fifteen hundred ragged and
famishing Frenchmen, who wished to overturn the throne and degrade the
country into a French province.

Before this humiliating submission was accomplished, the Royal Family
had gathered together its most precious effects, and with a long train
of followers,[57] set sail for Brazil. The insane Queen was accompanied
to the place of embarkation by the Prince Regent and the princes and
princesses of the family, all in tears: the multitudes who thronged to
look upon the departure lifted up their voices and wept. Men of heroic
mould would have made themselves ready to hold the capital of the State
or perish in its ruins; but the faint-hearted people of Lisbon were
satisfied to bemoan themselves. When they had gazed their last at the
receding ships, they hastened to receive their conquerors and supply
their needs.

The presence of the Government hastened the industrial progress of
Brazil. The Prince Regent (who in a few years became King) began his
rule by opening the Brazilian ports to the commerce of all friendly
nations.[58] [Sidenote: 1815 A.D.] Seven years later it was formally
decreed that the colonial existence of Brazil should cease. She was now
raised to the dignity of a kingdom united with Portugal under the same
Crown. Her commerce and agriculture increased; she began to regard as
her inferior the country of which she lately had been a dependency.

[Sidenote: 1820 A.D.] The changed relations of the two States were
displeasing to the people of Portugal. The Council by which the
affairs of the kingdom were conducted became unpopular. The demand
for constitutional government extended from Spain into Portugal. The
Portuguese desired to see their King again in Lisbon, and called
loudly for his return. The King consented to the wish of his people
reluctantly; for besides other and graver reasons why he should
not quit Brazil, his majesty greatly feared the discomforts of a
sea-voyage. [Sidenote: 1821 A.D.] His son, the heir to his throne,
became Regent in Brazil.

The Brazilians resented the departure of the King. The Portuguese
meditated a yet deeper humiliation for the State whose recent
acquisition of dignity was still an offence to them. There came an
order from the Cortes that the Prince Regent also should return to
Europe. The Brazilians were now eager that the tie which bound them to
the mother country should be dissolved. The Prince Regent was urged to
disregard the summons to return. After some hesitation he gave effect
to the general wish, and intimated his purpose of remaining in Brazil.
[Sidenote: 1822 A.D.] A few months later he was proclaimed Emperor, and
the union of the two kingdoms ceased. Constitutional government was set
up. But the administration of the Emperor was not sufficiently liberal
to satisfy the wishes of his people. [Sidenote: 1831 A.D.] After nine
years of deepening unpopularity, he resigned the crown in favour of his
son, then a child five years of age, and now (1881), although still in
middle life, the oldest monarch in the world.

Brazil covers almost one-half the South American Continent, and has
therefore an area nearly equal to that of the eight States of Spanish
origin by which she is bounded. She is as large as the British
dominions in North America; she is larger than the United States,
excluding the untrodden wastes of Alaska. One, and that not the
largest, of her twenty provinces is ten times the size of England.
Finally, her area is equal to five-sixths that of Europe.[59] She has
a sea-coast line of four thousand miles. She has a marvellous system
of river communication; the Amazon and its tributaries alone are
navigable for twenty-five thousand miles within Brazilian territory.
Her mineral wealth is so ample that the governor of one of her
provinces was wont, in religious processions, to ride a horse whose
shoes were of gold; and the diamonds of the Royal Family are estimated
at a value of three million sterling. Her soil and climate conspire
to bestow upon her agriculture an opulence which is unsurpassed and
probably unequalled. An acre of cotton yields in Brazil four times as
much as an acre yields in the United States. Wheat gives a return of
thirty to seventy fold; maize, of two hundred to four hundred fold;
rice, of a thousand fold. Brazil supplies nearly one-half the coffee
which the human family consumes. An endless variety of plants thrive in
her genial soil. Sugar and tobacco, as well as cotton, coffee, and tea,
are staple productions. Nothing which the tropics yield is wanting, and
in many portions of the empire the vegetation of the temperate zones
is abundantly productive. The energy of vegetable life is everywhere
excessive. The mangrove seeds send forth shoots before they fall from
the parent tree; the drooping branches of trees strike roots when they
touch the ground, and enter upon independent existence; wood which has
been split for fences hastens to put forth leaves; grasses and other
plants intertwine and form bridges on which the traveller walks in

But the scanty population of Brazil is wholly insufficient to subdue
the enormous territory on which they have settled and make its vast
capabilities conduce to the welfare of man. The highest estimate
gives to Brazil a population of from eleven to twelve million.[60]
She has thus scarcely four inhabitants to every square mile of her
surface, while England has upwards of four hundred. Vast forests still
darken her soil, and the wild luxuriance of tropical undergrowth
renders them well-nigh impervious to man. There are boundless expanses
of wilderness imperfectly explored, still roamed over by untamed
and often hostile Indians. Persistent but not eminently successful
efforts have been made to induce European and now to induce Chinese
immigration. The population continues, however, to increase at such a
rate that it is larger by nearly two million than it was ten years ago.
But these accessions are trivial when viewed in relation to the work
which has still to be accomplished. It is said that no more than the
one hundred and fiftieth part of the agricultural resources of Brazil
has yet been developed or even revealed. The agricultural products of
the country, in so far as the amount of these can be tested by the
amount exported, do not exhibit any tendency to increase.[61]

Brazil is afflicted not merely by an insufficient population, but
still more by the reluctance of her people to undergo the fatigues
of agricultural labour in the exhausting heat of her sultry plains.
The coloured population choose other occupations, and flock to the
cities. Once they were held by compulsion to field-work. Slavery was
maintained in Brazil after it had been abandoned by all other Christian
States. Not till 1871 was Brazil shamed out of the iniquitous system.
In that year it was enacted that the children of slave women should
be free--subject, however, to an apprenticeship of twenty-one years,
during which they must labour for the owners of their mothers. Since
that law was passed, there has been voluntary emancipation to a
considerable extent; and the slaves in Brazil, who numbered at one time
two and a half million, are now about one million.[62] The freedmen
shun field-work, and the places which they quit are scarcely filled
by immigration or natural increase. Agricultural progress is thus
frustrated--an evil which will probably be felt still more acutely
as the emancipation of the negroes draws towards its completion. No
sufficient remedy for this evil can be hoped for so long as any
remnants of slavery linger on the soil.

The Brazilian Legislature is elected by the people, the qualification
of a voter being an annual income of twenty pounds. Three candidates
for the office of Senator are chosen by each constituency, and the
Emperor determines which of the three shall gain the appointment. The
members of the Lower House are chosen by indirect election. Every
thirty voters choose an elector, and the electors thus chosen appoint
the deputies. The exercise of the right of voting is compulsory;
neglect to vote is punished by the infliction of penalties. Each of
the twenty provinces into which the empire is divided has its own
Legislature, with a President appointed by the general Government. The
powers exercised by the provincial governments are necessarily large.

The constitution confers upon the Emperor a “moderating power,” which
enables him, when he chooses, to frustrate the wishes of his Chambers.
He may dismiss a minister who has large majorities in both Houses; he
may withhold his sanction from measures which have been enacted by the
Legislature. Brazil has no hereditary nobility; but there is a lavish
distribution of distinctions which endure only for the lifetime of the
recipient. It is held that the power of bestowing these coveted honours
invests the Emperor with a measure of authority which is not unattended
with danger to the public liberties.

But the career of the Brazilian Empire has been marked in large measure
by tranquillity and progress, and the masses of the people manifest no
desire for change. They have suffered from foreign war[63] and from
domestic strife; but their sufferings have been trivial when compared
with those of the Spanish States which adjoin them. Thus far their
quiet and unadventurous Government has given them repose, and thus
far they are satisfied. Three-fourths of the Brazilian people are of
mixed race, the leading elements in which are Indian and Negro. They
are profoundly ignorant; for although compulsory education has been
enacted, its progress is yet inconsiderable.[64] What the awakened
intellect of the Brazilian nation may in future years demand is beyond
human forecast. It is not probable that the political combinations
which an ignorant and indolent people have accepted at the hand of
their rulers will continue to satisfy when the national mind casts
aside its apathy. Brazil will be more fortunate than other States
if she attain to a stable political condition otherwise than by the
familiar path of civil contention and bloodshed.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been said by Mr. Bright that there is no event in history,
ancient or modern, which for grandeur and for permanence can compare
with the discovery of the American Continent by Christopher Columbus.
This is a large claim, but indisputably a just one. The discovery
of America ushered in an epoch wholly different from any which had
preceded it. Nearly one-third of the area of our world was practically
worthless to the human family--wandered over by savages who supported
their unprofitable lives by the slaughter of animals scarcely more
savage than themselves. Suddenly the lost continent is found, and its
incalculable wealth is added to the sum of human possessions. Europe
supported with difficulty, by her rude processes of agriculture,
even the scanty population which she contained; here were homes and
maintenance sufficient for all. Europe was governed by methods yet more
barbarous than her agriculture; here was an arena worthy of the great
experiment of human freedom on which the best of her people longed to
enter. Europe was committed to many old and injurious institutions--the
legacy of the darkest ages--no one of which could be overthrown save
by wasteful strife; here, free from the embarrassments which time
and error had created, there could be established the institutions
which the wants of new generations called for, and Europe could inform
herself of their quality before she proceeded to their adoption. The
human family was very poor; its lower classes were crushed down by
poverty into wretchedness and vice. At once the common heritage was
enormously increased, and possibilities of well-being not dreamed of
before were opened to all. The brave heart of Columbus beat high as he
looked out from the deck of his little ship upon the shores of a new
world, and felt with solemn thankfulness that God had chosen him to
accomplish a great work. We recognize in this lonely, much-enduring
man, the grandest human benefactor whom the race has ever known.
Behind him lay centuries of oppression and suffering, and ignorance
and debasement. Before him, unseen by the eye of man, there stretched
out, as the result of his triumph, the slow but steadfast evolution of
influences destined to transform the world.

It fell to three European States, whose united area was scarcely larger
than one-fortieth part of the American Continents, to complete the
work which Columbus had begun; to preside over and direct the vast
revolution which his work rendered inevitable. England, Spain, and
Portugal were able to possess themselves of the lands which lie between
the Atlantic and the Pacific; and they assumed the responsibility
of shaping out the future of the nations by which those lands must
ultimately be peopled. They entered upon the momentous task under the
influence of motives which were exclusively selfish. A magnificent
prize had come into their hands; their sole concern was to extract
from it the largest possible advantage to themselves. These enormous
possessions were to remain for ever colonial dependencies; their
inhabitants were to remain for ever in the imperfect condition of
colonists--men who labour partly for their own benefit, but still more
for that of the mother country. The European owners of America were
alike in the selfishness of their aims, in their utter misconception
of the trust which had devolved upon them. But they differed widely
in regard to the methods by which they sought to give effect to their
purposes; and the difference of result has been correspondingly great.

The American colonies of England were founded by the best and wisest
men she possessed--men imbued with a passionate love of liberty, and
resolute in its defence. These men went forth to find homes in the New
World, and to maintain themselves by honest labour. England laid unjust
restrictions upon their commerce, and suppressed their manufactures,
that she herself might profit by the supply of their wants. But so long
as her merchants gathered in the gain of colonial traffic, she suffered
the government of the colonies to be guided by the free spirit of her
own institutions. The colonists conducted their own public affairs, and
gained thus the skill and moderation which the work of self-government
demands. In course of years they renounced allegiance to the mother
country, and founded an independent government, under which no
privileged class exists, and the equality of human rights is asserted
and maintained. To-day the English colonies form one of the greatest
nations on the Earth, with a population of fifty million, educated, in
the enjoyment of every political right, more amply endowed than any
other people have ever been with the elements of material well-being.

In the progress by which the English colonies in America have advanced
to the commanding position which they now occupy, they have given
forth lessons of inestimable value to Europe. At a very early period
in her history there came back from America influences powerful to
overthrow the evils which men had fled there to avoid. The liberty
of conscience over which the early Pilgrims never ceased to exult,
not only drew many to follow them, but emboldened those who remained
for the successful assertion of their rights. The vindication by the
colonists of their political independence quickened all free impulses
in Europe, and prepared the fall of despotic government. Europe watched
the rising greatness of a nation in which all men had part in framing
the laws under which they lived; in which perfect freedom and equality
of opportunity were enjoyed by all; in which religion was becomingly
upheld by the spontaneous liberality of the individual worshippers;
in which standing armies were practically unknown, and the substance
of the people was not wasted on military preparations. Throughout the
long and bitter contest in which Western Europe vanquished despotism,
the example of America confirmed the growing belief that liberty was
essential to the welfare of man, and strengthened every patriot heart
for the efforts and the sacrifices which the noble enterprise demanded.

The history of Spanish America presents, in nearly every respect, a
striking and gloomy contrast to that of the Northern Continent. The
Spanish conquerors were men of unsurpassed capability in battle; but
they were cruel, superstitious, profoundly ignorant. They went to
the New World with the purpose of acquiring by force or by fraud the
gold and precious stones in which the continent was rich, and then of
hastening homeward to live splendidly in Spain. In their greedy search,
they trampled down the native population with a murderous cruelty
which is a reproach to the human name. The natives, on the other hand,
were oppressed by the home Government. Their commerce was fettered;
no influence was permitted to them in the conduct of their own public
affairs; no action was taken to dispel the ignorance which brooded over
the ill-fated continent. They learned to hate the Government which
thus abused its trust; and when they rose in arms for its overthrow,
they disclosed an untamed ferocity which the conquerors themselves
scarcely surpassed. Their half century of independence has been filled
with destructive civil wars, which have hindered and almost forbidden

In Spanish hands this fair region has failed to contribute, in any
substantial measure, to the welfare of mankind. This portion of the
gift which Columbus brought fell into incapable hands, and has been
rendered almost worthless. It may reasonably be hoped that a better
future is in store for Spanish America; but its past must be regarded
as a gigantic failure. Its people have taught the world nothing. They
have served the world by a history which is rich in warning but void of



[23] The great cypress-tree, behind which Cortes hid himself at one
period during the Noche Trista, still retains some measure of vitality.
Beside it stands “The Church of the Sad Night.” A tramway line runs to
the temple at Tacuba, where he is said to have reviewed his troops next
day. Part of the temple was removed to give space for the tramway.

[24] Bernal Diaz.

[25] See page 434.

[26] It has been estimated that the ransom paid by the Inca would be
equal, when the greater value of money at that time is allowed for, to
three or four million sterling at the present day. It yielded a sum
equal for each foot-soldier to £4000, and for each horseman to £8800.

[27] The prisoner was charged with having usurped the crown and
assassinated his brother; with having squandered the revenues of
the country; with idolatry and polygamy; with attempting to incite
insurrection against the Spaniards.

[28] The gallant De Soto, in later years the discoverer of the
Mississippi, was absent from the camp when Atahualpa was put to death.
On his return he reproached his chief for the unhappy transaction, and
maintained that the Inca had been basely slandered. Pizarro, seemingly
penitent, admitted that he had been precipitate.

[29] No Inca inhabited the palace of his predecessor; each built for

[30] In this, however, the Mexicans were not greatly more savage than
the Spaniards. After the fall of Mexico, Cortes dismissed his Indian
allies with various gifts, among which were many bodies of slain
enemies, carefully salted for preservation.

[31] A regulation laid down by the Royal Order of 1601 illustrates the
spirit which pervades Spanish legislation. Leave is given to employ
Indians in the cultivation of coca. But inasmuch as coca is grown in
rainy districts and on humid ground, and the Indians in consequence
become ill, the master of the plantation is forbidden, under penalties,
to allow Indians to begin work until they are provided with a change of

[32] This neglect was continued almost to the close. The Duke of
Newcastle, who had charge of the colonies during Sir Robert Walpole’s
administration, neglected his duties so entirely that he ceased even
to read the letters which came to him from America. “It would not be
credited what reams of paper, representations, memorials, petitions
from that quarter of the world lay mouldering and unopened in his

[33] This intolerable exaction was in course of time reduced to
one-fifth, and finally to one-twentieth.

[34] These were increased to four, and finally to six, as the colonies
became more populous.

[35] This tribute varied in the different provinces. In Mexico it was
about four shillings annually, levied on every male between eighteen
and fifty years of age. It produced latterly about half a million
sterling from all the colonies, and was collected with difficulty,
owing to the extreme poverty of the Indians.

[36] A suggestion of which the good man bitterly repented, when the
enormous evils which sprang from it began to develop themselves.

[37] Cromwell interested himself much in the welfare of this island.
Thirty years after the Pilgrim Fathers had settled in Massachusetts, he
invited them to remove to Jamaica. But the Fathers declined to renew
their pilgrimage; they wisely elected to remain where Providence had
led them, and where their descendants were destined to become a great

[38] A Bill was, however, passed in 1873 for the abolition of slavery
in Puerto Rico.

[39] This was the population according to the enumeration of 1867. It
has been seriously diminished by the war which began in the following
year; but the amount of loss has not been accurately ascertained.

[40] The expenditure of 1878 was £16,000,000, while the revenue did not
exceed £11,000,000.

[41] The Cuban paper currency amounts to £13,000,000. Great Britain
would be in the same position if she had an inconvertible and
depreciated currency of £450,000,000.

[42] In Venezuela, where writing was almost unknown, it was necessary
to allow votes to be given orally. For weeks before an election the
priests taught their list of candidates as a school exercise to Indians
and other ignorant persons who were under their influence.

[43] An incident in this defeat reminds us of one of the remarkable
conditions of tropical warfare. The routed Conservatives were driven
towards a broad river swarming with alligators. These savage creatures
were probably less terrible than the victorious Liberals. The fugitives
took to the river, where, it is told, they suffered heavy loss from the

[44] President Blanco asks from his Congress (May 1876) a law which
shall “declare the Church of Venezuela independent of the Roman
Episcopate, and order that parish priests shall be elected by the
faithful, the bishops by the rectors of parishes, and archbishops by
Congress, returning to the usage of the primitive Church, founded
by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.” Congress replies: “Faithful to
our duties, our convictions, and the holy doctrines of the religion
of Jesus, we do not hesitate to emancipate the Church of Venezuela
from that Episcopate which pretends, as an infallible and omnipotent
power, to absorb the vitality of a free people.” The leading newspaper
of Venezuela discriminates with equal accuracy between the Papacy
and Christianity--between “the genuine religion of Christ and those
adulterations of his law which substitute the reign of vanity, pride,
and contempt for mankind, for the doctrine of gentleness, meekness, and

[45] Amounting in value to forty million sterling.

[46] The depth of this ignorance is illustrated by the circumstance
that the Mexican post-office carries annually one letter for each five
of the population. The English post-office carries thirty-five letters
for each of the population.

[47] In twenty-two years (from 1855 to 1877) her foreign
commerce--imports and exports together--had doubled, rising from seven
and a half to fifteen million sterling.

[48] Chili was wise enough to offer the command of her fleet during
this struggle to an English hero whom a less wise but scarcely more
ungrateful English Government had wronged and cast out. Lord Cochrane,
who combined in a singular degree prudence with daring, performed so
many marvellous achievements that the terror of his name seemed to
paralyze the enemy. Ultimately, with the inconsiderable force under
his command, he drove the Spanish fleet away, and was supreme on the
Chilian coast.

[49] The debt of Paraguay is £117,000,000.

[50] The Dictator himself perished by the lance of a Brazilian soldier.

[51] Some of his achievements were eminently fitted to bind to his
cause a rude and daring people. Standing once over a gateway, through
which a troop of wild horses were being driven at full speed, he
dropped on to the back of one previously selected. He bore in his hand
a leathern rein, which he fastened securely round the mouth of the
terrified and madly-galloping horse; and in half-an-hour he rode back,
the animal now trembling and subdued.

[52] Rosas made his way to England, where he spent the remaining
twenty-six years of his life.

[53] It has been said, with pardonable exaggeration, that “the
Argentine Republic consists of the province of Buenos Ayres and
thirteen mud-huts.” The thirteen provinces are so poor that for many
years regular monthly remittances have been sent them from Buenos Ayres
to defray the expense of the local governments.

[54] So soon as the rebuilding of the city of Mexico was accomplished,
in 1524, Cortes applied to the Emperor to send him godly men who should
instruct the natives in the truths of religion. He makes it a special
request that sumptuous ecclesiastics, who wasted the substance of
the Church in riotous living, should not be inflicted on him. Twelve
Dominican and twelve Franciscan friars were sent, and Cortes was able
to convene a synod of thirty-one persons to take counsel regarding the
spiritual welfare of his subjects.

[55] Peter reported of his pupils that “they learn quickly, fast
precisely, and pray fervently.”

[56] It is the same with the great mass of the coloured population of
Hayti. While avowedly Catholic, they are in reality faithful to the
superstitions which their forefathers brought from Africa. They worship
the great serpent without poison, and withdraw secretly into the forest
to celebrate religious festivals at which human victims are sacrificed
and eaten.

[57] There were in all fifteen thousand persons; and it was said that
they carried with them one-half the coinage then in circulation in

[58] He also ordered a printing-press to be purchased in England at a
cost of £100. No such apparatus had heretofore existed within Brazilian

[59] The area of Europe is 3,848,000 square miles; that of Brazil is
3,287,000 square miles, although some estimates place it much higher.

[60] Of these, it is officially estimated that one million are untamed
Indians without any fixed place of abode.

[61] The imports of Brazil are £19,000,000; her exports, £21,000,000.

[62] This is the statement made by Government. The Abolitionists,
however, accuse the Government of acting in bad faith regarding
emancipation, and assert that the number of slaves has not diminished.

[63] The Paraguayan War cost Brazil £50,000,000.

[64] In 1874 the public schools were attended by only one hundred and
forty thousand pupils.


  Abraham, Heights of, 79, 344, 345.

  Acts of the English Parliament, Burning of, 84.

  Adams, Samuel, 90.

  Agriculture in Canada, 429.

  Aix-la-Chapelle, Peace of, 73.

  Alabama, The, 279;
    Settlement of the Dispute, 280, 281.

  Alatamaha, The, 55.

  Alexander, William, Lord Stirling, 115.

  Alexandria, 75, 76, 211, 212.

  Almagro, 451, 458, 459, 464.

  Alvarado, Pedro de, 447, 450.

  America, British, The Six Colonies of, 394.

  America, Discovery of, by Columbus, 13;
    by the Cabots, 14.

  Amsterdam, New, 48.

  Anderson, Major, 206.

  André, Major, 124.

  Annapolis (Port Royal), 401.

  Anna, Santa, Mexican Commander, 174.

  Antietam, Battle of, 228.

  Anti-Slavery Society, Formation of, 167.

  Argall, Samuel, 337.

  Argentine Confederation, The, 531.

  Arkansas, 184.

  Arkwright, Richard, 81, 155, 288.

  Arlington Heights, 212.

  Arnold, Commander of West Point, 123.

  Atahualpa, Inca of Peru, 455, 460.

  Atlanta, Capture of, 247.

  Augustine First, Emperor of Mexico, 516.

  Ayacucho, Battle of, 506.

  Baptists, Persecution of, 40.

  Barbadoes, 506.

  Beauregard, General, 212.

  Bladensburg, 148.

  Blanco, Guzman, 515, 516.

  Bland Silver Bill, The, 303.

  Blockade of Southern Ports, 212, 231.

  Board of Trade, Government of the Colonies by the, 360.

  Bolivar, Don Simon, 501, 505, 514.

  Booth, Murderer of Pres. Lincoln, 257.

  Boston, 29, 38, 45;
    Boston Common, 86, 88, 90, 91, 95, 97, 99, 101, 103, 146, 167, 209.

  “Boston Massacre,” The, 89.

  Braddock, General, 75, 339, 340.

  Brandywine River, 115.

  Brébœuf, Jean de, 326, 328, 332.

  Brewster, 29, 36.

  Brock, General, 369.

  Broke, Captain, 146.

  Brooklyn, Engagement at, 108.

  Brown, The Honourable George, 395, 396.

  Brunswick, Duke of, 107.

  Buccaneer, Origin of the word, 489.

  Buchanan, President, 200.

  Buenos Ayres, 528, 529.

  Buena-Vista, Battle of, 174.

  Bunker Hill, fortified by the Americans, 97;
    taken by the English, 99, 100.

  Burgoyne, General, 97, 117.

  Burke, Edmund, 72, 86, 91.

  Burnside, General, 229.

  Cabot, John and Sebastian, 14, 311, 440.

  Cabral, Pedro Alvarez, 545.

  Calhoun, John C., 161.

  Cambridge, Massachusetts, 98, 99, 100.

  Canada, 73;
    Invasion of, 78;
    ceded to England, 80;
    appealed to by the States, 93;
    invaded by the Americans, 145;
    the Founder of, 318;
    Original Extent, 321;
    Climate and Animals, 322;
    Early Inhabitants, 323;
    a British Possession, 346;
    Revenue and Exports, 349;
    Progress of, 355;
    Government, 359, 374;
    Population, 359 _n._;
    the Quebec Act, 360;
    Invasion of by Americans, 362;
    Increase of Population, 366, 373;
    Pitt’s Bill, 367;
    another American Invasion, 368;
    Education in Lower, 374;
    in Upper, 375;
    Union of the Two Provinces, 387;
    Effects of Free Trade, 389;
    Grand Trunk Railway, 393;
    Financial Position, 393;
    The Dominion, 397;
    its Political Constitution, 398;
    Area and Population, 426;
    Commerce, 427;
    the Lumber Trade, 428;
    Agriculture, 429;
    Fisheries, 430;
    Mercantile Navy, 430;
    Taxation, 430;
    the Educational System, 433.

  Cape Breton, taken by the English, 341, 401.

  Cape Cod Bay, 31.

  Carabobo, Bolivar’s Victory at, 502.

  Carleton, Governor of Canada, 362.

  Carolina, North, 54, 81, 96, 121.

  Carolina, South, 54, 61, 81, 121, 159, 196.

  Cartier, Jacques, 314, 315.

  “Carting, The Inconvenient Habit of,” 84.

  Carver, John, 32.

  Cassamarca, a City of Peru, 460.

  Census, The American, of 1860, 190;
    of 1870, 275;
    of 1880, 303.

  Census of Canada, 1831, 378.

  Champlain, Samuel de, 317-321.

  Chancellorsville, Fighting at, 235.

  Charles I. of England, 33.

  Charles II. of England, 65.

  Charles V. of Spain, 59.

  Charleston, 196.

  Chesapeake Bay, 127.

  _Chesapeake_, The Frigate, 146.

  Chili, 523, 524.

  Cholula, Massacre at, 444.

  Christian Commission, The, 268.

  Civil Service Reform, 304.

  Clay, Henry, 177, 184.

  “Clergy Reserves,” The, 376, 391.

  Clinton, General, 97, 123, 127.

  Coalition Government, The Canadian, of 1864, 396.

  Cochrane, Lord, 523 _n._

  Colombia, The Republic of, 514.

  Colonial Department of English Government, 360.

  Colonies, The Four United, of New England, 37.

  Colonization, American, the Result of Oppression in Europe, 21.

  Columbia, British, 423, 424.

  Columbus, Christopher, 12, 439, 475, 479, 486, 553.

  Commerce, American, Restrictions on, 85.

  Compass, The Mariner’s, 12.

  Concord, The Village of, 94, 95.

  Confederacy, The States of the, 197.

  Congress, 87, 92, 101, 105, 110, 111, 118, 122, 129, 130, 132, 138.

  Connecticut, 37, 54, 96, 168.

  Convention of Delegates from the Thirteen Original States, 134.

  Cook, James, the Navigator, 78.

  Cornwallis, Lord, 115, 127, 128.

  Cortes, Hernando, 442-446, 448, 449.

  Cromwell, Oliver, 33, 38, 65.

  Crown Point, The Capture of, 362.

  Cuba, 507-510.

  Cusco, the Capital of Peru, 460, 462, 463.

  Darien, The Spanish Settlement of, 440.

  Davis, Jefferson, 197, 201, 202, 252, 253, 262.

  Debt, The War, of the General Government and of the States, 139;
    at the Close of the Federal War, 276.

  Debtors and the English Law, 55.

  Declaration of Independence, 72, 152.

  Delaware, Lord, 26.

  Delaware River, 52, 53.

  Delaware State, 54, 105.

  De Leon, Ponce, Expedition of, 15.

  Delfthaven, 30.

  De Luque, 451, 453.

  De Soto, Ferdinand, Expedition of, 15-17.

  Dickenson, John, 93.

  Dorchester, The Heights of, 102.

  Dufferin, Lord, Viceroy of Canada, 434.

  Du Quesne, Fort (Pittsburg), taken, 341.

  Early, General, 247.

  East India Company sends Tea to America, 89;
    The Tea thrown into the Sea, 91.

  Ebenezer, The Town, 56.

  Ecuador, 514.

  Education, Progress of, in New England, 36, 82;
    in Southern States, 82;
    in the Union, 293-298;
    in Canada, 351, 374, 375, 433.

  Elgin, Lord, Governor-General of Canada, 388, 390.

  Eliot, John, Apostle of the Indians, 47.

  Elizabeth, Queen of England, 60.

  English, Early Settlements of the, 333;
    Wars with French Settlers, 338, 340;
    Conquests of, 342.

  Erie, Lake, Naval Fight on, 370.

  Exports, American, Restrictions on, 85.

  Exports of America, The, 291, 292.

  Falmouth, 44.

  Family Compact (Canadian), 376, 381.

  Farming, American, 284.

  Farragut, Admiral, 222.

  Federal Army, Disbanding of the, 263.

  Feudalism in Canada, 350;
    Abolished, 391.

  Fisheries of Canada, 430.

  Florida, its Discovery, 15;
    ceded to England, 80.

  Fort Detroit, 145.

  Fort Du Quesne, 75.

  Fort Necessity, 74.

  Fort Pitt, 76.

  Fort Sumpter, Bombardment of, 206.

  Fox, George, 42.

  France, American Possessions of, 15, 73;
    her Sympathy with America, 112;
    her Treaty with America against England, 120;
    her Aid to America, 127;
    Surrender of her Possessions, 346.

  Francia, Dr., Dictator of Paraguay, 526.

  Franklin, Benjamin, 71, 72, 76, 84, 86, 115, 120, 134, 159.

  Frederick of Prussia, 107.

  Fredericksburg, Disaster at, 229.

  Freedmen’s Bureau, 249.

  Fremont, General, 225.

  French, The, in Canada, 315, 316, 320, 321, 341, 342.

  Frobisher, Martin, 312.

  Gage, General, 91, 94, 97, 98, 101.

  Garfield, President James, 303-308.

  Garibaldi, Defender of Monte Video, 529.

  Garrison, William Lloyd, 167.

  Gates, General, 118.

  General Government, Powers of the, 136.

  George II., 55.

  George III., 87, 94, 129.

  Georgia, 54, 61, 81, 92, 96, 121, 159.

  Germantown, 115.

  Gettysburg, Battle of, 237, 238.

  Ghent, Treaty of, 150.

  Gibraltar, besieged by Spain, 121.

  Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 313.

  Goree, 121.

  Gourlay, Robert, 377.

  Granada, 121.

  Grant, General, 174, 222, 232, 243, 252, 254;
    President, 273, 304.

  Greene, General, 127.

  Grenville, Lord, 85, 86.

  Guatemala, 450.

  Gulf Stream, 14.

  Haerlem, 109.

  Halifax, Foundation of, 402.

  Hamilton, Alexander, 132, 133, 139, 159.

  Hampden, John, 33.

  Harper’s Ferry, 187, 188, 228.

  Harvard College, 36.

  Hawkins, Sir John, 60.

  Hayes, President R. B., 303.

  Henry, Patrick, 92, 159.

  Henry VII. of England, 311.

  Hochelaga, 314.

  Homestead Act, The, 230.

  Hooker, General, 234, 236.

  House of Representatives, Composition of the, 136.

  Houston, General, 171.

  Howard, General, 249.

  Howe, General, 97, 101, 103, 107, 121.

  Howe, Lord, 107, 108, 110.

  Hudson Bay Company, 411-416.

  Hull, General, 145, 369.

  Huron Mission, The, 328-331.

  Imports of America, their Value before the Revolution, 82;
    Restrictions on, 82, 86, 89, 290.

  Impressment, Results of, 142.

  Independence, Declaration of, 105, 106.

  Indians, The Huron, 318, 328, 332;
    the Iroquois, 318, 331, 338;
    Canadian, present Condition of, 431-433;
    Central American, 467;
    Mexican, 467-469;
    Peruvian, 469-472.

  Jackson, General, 151, 167.

  Jackson, General Thomas,--“Stonewall Jackson,”--217, 234, 235.

  Jamaica, 506.

  James II., 65.

  Jamestown founded, 23.

  Jefferson, Thomas, 159.

  Johnson, President, 264;
    Impeachment of, 272.

  Johnston, General, 233.

  Juarez, Benito, 518-520.

  Kentucky, 160.

  Labrador, Discovery of by the Cabots, 14.

  Lafayette, Marquis de, 112, 113, 153.

  La Galissonnière, Compte de, 335.

  La Salle, Sieur de, 334.

  Las Casas, Bartholomew de, “Protector of the Indians,” 476-478.

  Laud, Archbishop, 33.

  Lawrence, Captain, 146.

  Lawrence, The Town, 180.

  Lee, General Robert E., 174, 217, 228, 234, 238, 244, 254.

  Lee, Richard Henry, 92.

  Lexington, Skirmish at, 94.

  Lightning, Franklin’s Discovery, 72.

  Lima, founded by Pizarro, 462.

  Lincoln, President Abraham, 174, 193-195, 200, 201, 204, 225, 241,
    250, 256.

  Lok, John, 60.

  Long Island, 49.

  Lopez, Carlos, Dictator of Paraguay, 527.

  Louisburg, taken by the English, 341, 401.

  Louisiana, 73, 157.

  Lovejoy, Mr., 168.

  Lumber Trade, 428.

  Lundy’s Lane, Battle of, 371.

  Luther, Martin, 14.

  Mackenzie, William Lyon, 381, 384.

  Manassas, Battle at, 213, 228.

  Manhattan Island, 48.

  Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, 67.

  Maryland, 54, 184.

  Massachusetts, 37, 39, 45, 47, 54, 88, 91, 130.

  _Mayflower_, The, 31, 32, 58.

  Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 520-522.

  M’Clellan, General George B., 216, 219, 225, 228, 229, 250.

  M’Dowell, General, 213.

  Meade, General, 236.

  “Mean Whites” of the Southern States, 180.

  Mexico, 175, 176, 445, 449, 473, 516, 519, 520-522.

  Milton, John, 33, 38.

  Miranda, Francis, 500, 501.

  Mississippi, Discovery of the, 16.

  Monetary Panic of 1873, 275.

  _Monitor_, The Turret-Ship, 221.

  Monopolies in Canada, 351.

  Montcalm, Marquis de, 79, 340, 342, 343.

  Monte Video, 529.

  Montezuma, King of Mexico, 443, 446.

  Montgomery, The City of, 216.

  Montreal, Capture of, by the Americans, 362;
    Evacuation of, 363;
    Attempt by the Americans to seize, 369, 370;
    Progress of, 379;
    Political Disturbances at, 383;
    ceases to be the Seat of Government, 388.

  Mount Vernon, 131.

  Navy, The Mercantile, of Canada, 430.

  Neck, Boston, 97;
    Charlestown, 97, 99.

  New Brunswick, Progress and Resources of, 404;
    Settlement of the Boundary, 405.

  New England States, Early Government of, 65;
    Commerce of, 81;
    Educational System of, 82;
    Riots in, 86;
    Muster of Men at Boston, 96;
    wrested from England, 103;
    invaded by a British Army, 117.

  Newfoundland, 311, 321;
    taken Possession of by England, 406, 407;
    Area and Population of, 407;
    the Natives of, 408;
    Resources of, 408.

  New Granada, 514.

  New Hampshire, 54.

  New Haven, 37.

  New Jersey, its Acquisition, 50, 54.

  New Orleans, 150, 222.

  New Plymouth founded, 31.

  New World, The, 312, 313, 333.

  New York, 48, 50, 53, 54, 66, 81, 87, 89, 107, 109, 121, 150.

  North, Lord, 91.

  Nova Scotia (Acadie), a Possession of France, 321, 400;
    a Possession of England, 338, 401;
    Progress and Resources of, 402, 403.

  Oglethorpe, James, 54

  Ohio, Valley of the, 73.

  Ontario, Lake, 365.

  Ordinance of the Convention of South Carolina, dissolving the Union, 196.

  Ottawa, 389.

  Pacific Ocean, Discovery of, 441.

  Paez, General, 515.

  Paine, Thomas, 105.

  Pakenham, Sir Edward, 150.

  Papineau, Louis Joseph, 383.

  Paraguay, 526-528.

  Paris, Mr., 44.

  Paul Jones, 121.

  Paul le Jeune, Father, 326.

  Pea Ridge, Battle of, 222.

  Peninsula, The, 219.

  Pennsylvania, 54, 66, 81, 105, 130.

  Penn, William, 51, 52, 66.

  Penobscot Bay, 337.

  Perrot, Nicholas, 334.

  Peru, 455, 524-526.

  Petersburg, Siege of, 245.

  Philadelphia, 52, 53, 71, 89, 92, 110, 115, 121, 133, 168.

  Pilgrim Fathers, their leaving England, 29;
    Settlement in Holland, 29;
    Removal to New England, 31;
    their Hardships after landing, 32;
    their Political Constitution, 32;
    their Reinforcements from England, 34;
    their Peculiarities, 35;
    their Virtues, 35.

  Pitcairn, Major, 94.

  Pittsburg, 76.

  Pitt, William, Earl of Chatham, 78, 82, 87, 88, 91, 92.

  Pizarro, Fernando, 462, 464.

  Pizarro, Juan, 463.

  Pizarro, Gonzalo, 464, 465.

  Pizarro, Francisco, the Discoverer of Peru, 441, 451, 464.

  Plymouth, 37.

  Pocahontas, 24.

  Polk, President, 173.

  Pope, General, 228.

  Port Hudson, Reduction of, 232.

  Port Royal, Capture of, 222.

  Potomac, 71.

  Prescott, Colonel, 98.

  President, Election and Powers of, 137.

  Princeton, 111.

  Protective Tariff, 289.

  Providence, The City of, 39.

  Puerto Rico, 507.

  Putnam, Israel, 96, 98, 99, 108.

  Quakers, Persecution of, 40, 41;
    Beliefs and Character, 42;
    Loyalty of, 105.

  Quebec, 78-80;
    First Occupants of, 315;
    the French Capital, 318;
    taken by England, 320;
    regained by France, 321;
    held by Montcalm, 342;
    besieged by Wolfe, 343;
    surrendered to the English, 346;
    Population of, 349;
    Siege of, by the Americans, 363;
    Progress of, 379;
    Meeting of Delegates at, 396.

  Railway, The Atlantic and Pacific, 285.

  Raleigh, Sir Walter, 22.

  Rapidan, Crossing of the, 244.

  Rappahannock, The Heights of the, 229.

  Reciprocity Treaty, The, 390.

  Red River, The Settlement at, 414, 416, 418-420.

  Rhode Island, State of, founded, 39, 54.

  Richmond, City of, 217, 219, 253.

  Riel, Louis, 416, 417, 421.

  Rio de Janeiro, 546.

  Rivadavia, President-General, 528.

  Robinson, 29, 30.

  Rosas, General, 529, and _note_.

  Ross, General, 148.

  Routledge, John, 92.

  Russell, Lord John, and Canada, 385, 386.

  Sacramento, The, 176.

  Salem, 39, 44.

  Sanitary Commission, 267.

  San Miguel, 453.

  Santa Anna, President of Mexico, 517.

  Saratoga, The Surrender at, 117.

  Savannah, The River, 55;
    the Town of, 56, 57;
    Capture of, 247.

  Scott, General, 174.

  Scrooby, The Town of, 28.

  Selkirk, Lord, his Colony, 414.

  Senate, Composition of the, 136.

  Senegal, 121.

  Seward, William H., 205, 257.

  Shakamaxon, 53.

  _Shannon_, The War-Ship, 146.

  Shenandoah, Valley of the, 247.

  Sheridan, General, 247, 252.

  Sherman, General, 246, 252.

  Sierra Leone, 60.

  Slaves, English, sold in Virginia, 26.

  Slave Law, The Fugitive, 178.

  Slavery, forbidden in Georgia, but afterwards allowed, 57;
    the first great Contest regarding, 165;
    the second, 171;
    the third, 180;
    War in Defence of, 198;
    Abolition of, 225, 226, 248, 249.

  Slaves, Negro, First landing of, in America, 58;
    Importation of, begun by Spain, 59;
    carried on by Portugal, 60;
    by England, 60;
    Provision of the American Constitution regarding, 61;
    English Legislation, regarding the Trade in, 62;
    Declaration of English Bishops and Crown Lawyers regarding the
      holding of, 63;
    the sufferings of, 62;
    Enactment of Congress regarding the Importation of, 61;
    the Rights of, 265;
    the Education of, 294.

  Smith, John, 23.

  Southern States recognized as a belligerent Power by England, 279.

  Spain, Dominions of, in the West, 465, 488, 489, 495, 496, 499.

  Spain, her Treaty with America against England, 120.

  Springfield, Burial-place of President Lincoln, 258.

  Stamp Act, The, 72, 86, 87.

  Staten Island, 108.

  States, The Secession, 197, 208.

  St. Domingo, 60, 507.

  Stephens, Alexander H, 202.

  St. John, Island of, 341.

  St. Lawrence, Discovery of the, 314.

  Stuart, George H., 268.

  Stuyvesant, Petrus, 49.

  St. Vincent, Island of, 121.

  Subjects, English and American, The Law relating to, 142.

  Sumner, Charles, 191.

  Taxation, American, 284, and _note_.

  Taxation in Canada, 430.

  Taxes imposed on the Americans by the English Parliament, 85, 88.

  Taylor, General, 174.

  Tiascalans, Overthrow of the, 444.

  Ticonderoga, Capture of, 362.

  Tobacco, 26, 190.

  Townshend, Charles, 88.

  _Trent_, British Mail-Steamer, boarded by the Americans, 279.

  Trenton, 110.

  Tripoli, Expedition against, 140.

  Union Bill, The Canadian, 387.

  United States, The, 54, 81, 133, 137, 152, 182, 273.

  Valley Forge, 116.

  Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, 440.

  Venezuela, the Confederation of, 500;
    the State of, 514, 515.

  Verazzani, John, 313.

  Vicksburg, Reduction of, 232, 233.

  Virginia, 54, 65, 74, 81, 96, 127, 160, 184, 212, 251, 337.

  _Virginia_, Iron-clad Frigate, 220.

  Wall Street, 49.

  Walpole, Sir Robert, 54, 85.

  Washington, Capital of the Union, capture of, by the British, 149;
    threatened by the Confederates, 211, 228.

  Washington, George, 68-70, 74, 75, 92, 93, 100, 101, 102, 106, 107,
    108, 109, 110, 111, 116, 121, 122, 125, 128, 130, 131, 134, 138,
    140, 159.

  Watt, James, 155.

  Wesley, Charles, 56.

  Wesley, John, 56.

  West Point, 123.

  Whitefield, George, 57.

  Whitney, Eli, Inventor of Cotton-Gin, 155.

  Wilderness, Federal Disaster in the, 234.

  William, Prince of Orange, 30.

  Williams, Roger, 38;
    his Views on Religious Toleration, 39;
    President of Rhode Island, 40.

  Winnipeg Valley, 421, 422.

  Wolfe, General, 78, 343-346.

  Wolseley, Sir Garnet, Expedition to the Red River, 418.

  York, Duke of, 66.

  Yorktown, 127, 219.

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