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Title: Audubon the Naturalist (Vol. I of II) - A History of his Life and Time
Author: Herrick, Francis Hobart
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Audubon the Naturalist (Vol. I of II) - A History of his Life and Time" ***

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Transcriber's Note:

  Obvious typographical errors in the editor's text have been
  corrected. Inconsistent or incorrect accents, spelling,
  capitalization, and punctuation in the original documents
  and quotes were left as printed.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  The following apparent spelling inconsistencies were left as printed:

       Father Stanilaus and Stanislaus
       Trumbull and Trumball
       Gwathway's and Gnathway's Hotel
       Geoffroy and Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire.

  On page 59, March 1749 is an apparent error.
  On page 69, alcade should perhaps be alcalde.
  On page 370, "as John as concluded" is a possible printer's error.
  On page 371, "I now collecting Letters" is a possible printer's error.
  On page 372, "as never reachd thee" is a possible printer's error.
  In footnote 23, "Formon" is the spelling used in the letter printed in
  this volume.


  [Illustration: John J. Audubon









     NEW YORK         LONDON

     COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY

     Printed in the United States of America



The origin of the gifted ornithologist, animal painter, and writer,
known to the world as John James Audubon, has remained a mystery up to
the present time. In now lifting the veil which was cast over his early
existence, I feel that I serve the cause of historical truth; at the
same time it is possible to do fuller justice to all most intimately
concerned with the story of his life and accomplishments.

The present work is in reality the outcome of what was first undertaken
as a holiday recreation in the summer of 1903. While engaged upon a
research of quite a different character, I reread, with greater care,
Audubon's _Ornithological Biography_, and after turning the leaves of
his extraordinary illustrations, it seemed to me most strange that but
little should be known of the making of so original and masterful a
character. As I was in England at the time some investigations were
undertaken in London, but, as might have been expected, with rather
barren results. After my return to America in the following year the
search was continued, but as it proved equally fruitless here, the
subject was set aside. Not until 1913, when this investigation was
resumed in France, did I meet with success.

Every man, however poor or inconsequential he may appear or be, is
supposed to possess an estate, and every man of affairs is almost
certain to leave behind him domestic, professional, or commercial
papers, which are, in some degree, a mark of his attainments and an
indication of his character and tastes. In the summer of 1913 I went
to France in search of the personal records of the naturalist's father,
Lieutenant Jean Audubon, whose home had been at Nantes and in the little
commune of Couëron, nine miles below that city, on the right bank of the
Loire. The part which Lieutenant Audubon played in the French Revolution
was fully revealed in his letters, his reports to the Central Committee,
and numerous other documents which are preserved in the archives of the
Préfecture at Nantes; while complete records of his naval career both
in the merchant marine and governmental service (_service pour l'État_)
were subsequently obtained at Paris; but at Nantes his name had all but
vanished, and little could be learned of his immediate family, which
had been nearly extinct in France for over thirty years.

Again the quest seemed likely to prove futile until a letter, which I
received through the kindness of Mr. Louis Goldschmidt, then American
Consul at Nantes, to M. Giraud Gangie, _conservateur_ of the public
library in that city, brought a response, under date of December 29,
1913, informing me that two years before that time, he had met by
chance in the streets of Couëron a retired notary who assured him that
he held in possession numerous exact records of Jean Audubon and his
family. The sage Henry Thoreau once remarked that you might search
long and diligently for a rare bird, and then of a sudden surprise the
whole family at dinner. So it happened in this case, and since these
manuscript records, sought by many in vain on this side of the Atlantic,
are so important for this history, the reader is entitled to an account
of them.

Upon corresponding with the gentleman in question, M. L. Lavigne, I
was informed that the documents in his possession were of the most
varied description, comprising letters, wills, deeds, certificates of
births, baptisms, adoptions, marriages and deaths, to the number, it
is believed, of several hundred pieces. This unique and extraordinary
collection of Audubonian records had been slumbering in a house in
the commune of Couëron called "Les Tourterelles" ("The Turtle Doves")
for nearly a hundred years, or since the death of the naturalist's
stepmother in 1821.

Since I was unable to judge of the authenticity of the documents or to
visit France at that time, my friend, Professor Gustav G. Laubscher,
who happened to be in Paris, engaged in investigating Romance literary
subjects, kindly consented to go to Couëron for the purpose of
inspecting them. Monsieur Lavigne had already prepared for me, and
still held, a number of photographs of the most important manuscripts,
which are now for the first time reproduced, and, with the aid of a
stenographer, in the course of two or three days they were able to
transcribe the most essential and interesting parts of this voluminous
material. But at that very moment sinister clouds were blackening the
skies of Europe, and my friend was obliged to leave his task unfinished
and hasten to Paris; when he arrived in that city, on the memorable
Saturday of August 1, 1914, orders for the mobilization of troops had
been posted; it was some time before copies of the manuscripts were
received from Couëron, and he left the French capital to return to

These documents came into the hands of Monsieur Lavigne through his
wife, who was a daughter and legatee of Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, the
second, son of Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, the son-in-law of Lieutenant
and Mme. Jean Audubon. Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, the second, who
died at Couëron in 1892, is thought to have destroyed all letters of
the naturalist which had been in possession of the family and which
were written previous to 1820, when his relations with the elder Du
Puigaudeau were broken off; not a line in the handwriting of John James
Audubon has been preserved at Couëron.

In June and July, 1914, Dr. Laubscher had repeatedly applied to the
French Foreign Office, through the American Embassy at Paris, for
permission to examine the _dossier_ of Jean Audubon in the archives
of the Department of the Marine, in order to verify certain dates in
his naval career and to obtain the personal reports which he submitted
upon his numerous battles at sea, but at that period of strain it was
impossible to gain further access to the papers sought.

Having told the story of the way in which these unique and important
records came into my possession, I wish to express my gratitude to
Professor Laubscher for his able cooperation in securing transcriptions
and photographs, and to Monsieur Lavigne for his kind permission to use
them, as well as for his careful response to numerous questions which
arose in the course of the investigation.

In dealing with letters and documents, of whatever kind, in manuscript,
I have made it my invariable rule to reproduce the form and substance
of the record as it exists as exactly as possible; in translations,
however, no attempt has been made to preserve any minor idiosyncrasies
of the writer. The source of all scientific, literary or historical
material previously published is indicated in footnotes, and the reader
will find copious references to hitherto unpublished documents, which in
their complete and original form, with or without translations, together
with an annotated Bibliography, have been gathered in Appendices at
the end of Volume II. For convenience of reference each chapter has
been treated as a unit so far as the footnotes are concerned, and the
quoted author's name, with the title of his work in addition to the
bibliographic number, has been given in nearly every instance.

Besides the many coadjutors whose friendly aid has been gladly
acknowledged in the body of this work, I now wish to offer my sincere
thanks, in particular, to the Misses Maria R. and Florence Audubon,
granddaughters of the naturalist, who have shown me many courtesies,
and to the Hon. Myron T. Herrick, late American Ambassador to France,
for his kindly assistance in obtaining documentary transcripts from
the Department of the Marine at Paris. I am under special obligations
also to the librarians of the British Museum and Oxford University, the
Linnæan and Zoölogical Societies of London, the Jardin des Plantes at
Paris, the Public Libraries of Boston and New York, and the libraries
of the Historical Societies of New York, Philadelphia, Boston and
Louisiana, as well as to the Director of the Museum of Comparative
Zoölogy of Harvard University, and to the American Museum of Natural
History in New York City, for photographs of paintings and other
objects, for permission to read or copy manuscripts, and for favors of
various sorts. Furthermore, I am indebted to the good offices of Mr.
Ferdinand Lathrop Mayer, Secretary of Legation, Port-au-Prince, and of
M. Fontaine, American Consular Agent at Les Cayes, Haiti, for a series
of photographs made expressly to represent Les Cayes as it appears
today. I would also acknowledge the courtesy of the Corporation of
Trinity Parish, New York, through Mr. Pendleton Dudley, for an excellent
photograph of the Audubon Monument.

I cannot express too fully my appreciation of the hearty response which
the publishers of these volumes have given to every question concerned
with their presentation in an adequate and attractive form, and
particularly to Mr. Francis G. Wickware, of D. Appleton and Company, to
whose knowledge, skill, and unabated interest the reader, like myself,
is indebted in manifold ways.

My friend, Mr. Ruthven Deane, well known for his investigations in
Auduboniana and American ornithological literature, has not only read
the proofs of the text, but has generously placed at my disposal many
valuable notes, references, pictures, letters and other documents,
drawn from his own researches and valuable personal collections. I wish
to express in the most particular manner also my appreciation of the
generous spirit in which Mr. Joseph Y. Jeanes has opened the treasures
in his possession, embracing not only large numbers of hitherto
unpublished letters, but an unrivaled collection of early unpublished
Audubonian drawings, for the enrichment and embellishment of these
pages. For the loan or transcription of other original manuscript
material, or for supplying much needed data of every description, I am
further most indebted to Mr. Welton H. Rozier, of St. Louis; Mr. Tom J.
Rozier, of Ste. Geneviève; Mr. C. A. Rozier, of St. Louis; the Secretary
of the Linnæan Society of London, through my friend, Mr. George E.
Bullen, of St. Albans; Mr. Henry R. Rowland of the Buffalo Society of
Natural Sciences, of Buffalo; Mr. William Beer, of the Howard Memorial
Library, of New Orleans; and Mr. W. H. Wetherill, of Philadelphia.
For the use of new photographic and other illustrative material, I
am further indebted to Mr. Stanley Clisby Arthur, of the Conservation
Commission of Louisiana, and to _Cassinia_, the medium of publication
of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club.

Through the kindness of Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons I have been
permitted to draw rather freely from _Audubon and His Journals_, by Miss
Maria R. Audubon and Elliott Coues, and to reproduce three portraits
therefrom; original photographs of two of these have been kindly
supplied by Dr. R. W. Shufeldt. I also owe to the courtesy of the Girard
Trust Company, of Philadelphia, the privilege of quoting certain letters
contained in William Healey Dall's _Spencer Fullerton Baird_.

To my esteemed colleague, Professor Benjamin P. Bourland, I am under
particular obligations for his invaluable aid in revising translations
from the French and in the transliteration of manuscripts, as well as
for his kindly assistance in correspondence on related subjects. I have
derived much benefit also from my sister, Miss Elizabeth A. Herrick,
who has made many valuable suggestions. To all others who have aided me
by will or deed in the course of this work I wish to express my cordial


     _Western Reserve University,

     July 2, 1917.



     PREFACE                                                       vii

     CHRONOLOGY                                                    xxv



     Audubon's growing fame—Experience in Paris in
     1828—Cuvier's patronage—Audubon's publications—His
     critics—His talents and accomplishments—His
     Americanism and honesty of purpose—His foibles
     and faults—Appreciations and monuments—The Audubon
     Societies—Biographies and autobiography—Robert Buchanan
     and the true history of his _Life of Audubon_                   1



     Extraordinary career of the naturalist's father—Wounded
     at fourteen and prisoner of war for five years in
     England—Service in the French merchant marine and
     navy—Voyages to Newfoundland and Santo Domingo—His
     marriage in France—His sea fights, capture and
     imprisonment in New York—His command at the Battle of
     Yorktown—Service in America and encounters with British
     privateers                                                     24



     Captain Audubon at Les Cayes—As planter, sugar refiner,
     general merchant and slave dealer, amasses a fortune—His
     return to France with his children—History of the Santo
     Domingo revolt—Baron de Wimpffen's experience—Revolution
     of the whites—Opposition of the abolitionists—Effect
     of the Declaration of Rights on the mulattoes—The
     General Assembly drafts a new constitution—First
     blood drawn between revolutionists and loyalists
     at Port-au-Prince—Ogé's futile attempt to liberate
     the mulattoes—Les Cayes first touched by revolution
     in 1790, four years after the death of Audubon's
     mother—Emancipation of the mulattoes—Resistance of the
     whites—General revolt of blacks against whites and the
     ruin of the colony                                             36



     Les Cayes—Audubon's French Creole mother—His early
     names—Discovery of the Sanson bill with the only record
     of his birth—Medical practice of an early day—Birth
     of Muguet, Audubon's sister—Fougère and Muguet taken
     to France—Audubon's adoption and baptism—His assumed
     name—Dual personality in legal documents—Source of
     published errors—Autobiographic records—Rise of enigma
     and tradition—The Marigny myth                                 52



     Background of Audubon's youth—Nantes in Revolution—Revolt
     in La Vendée—Siege of Nantes—Reign of terror under
     Carrier—Plague robbing the guillotine—Flight of the
     population—Execution of Charette—The Chouan raid—Citizen
     Audubon's service—He reenters the navy and takes a
     prize from the English—His subsequent naval career—His
     losses in Santo Domingo—His service and rank—Retires on
     a pension—His death—His character and appearance               73



     Molding of Audubon's character—Factor of
     environment—Turning failure into success—An indulgent
     step-mother—The truant—His love of nature—Early drawings
     and discipline—Experience at Rochefort—Baptized in the
     Roman Catholic Church                                          90



     Audubon is sent to the United States to learn
     English and enter trade—Taken ill—Befriended by the
     Quakers—Settles at "Mill Grove" farm—Its history and
     attractions—Studies of American birds begun—Engagement
     to Lucy Bakewell—Sports and festivities                        98



     Advent of a new agent at "Mill Grove"—Dacosta becomes
     guardian to young Audubon and exploits a neglected lead
     mine on the farm—Correspondence of Lieutenant Audubon and
     Dacosta—Quarrel with Dacosta—Audubon's return to France       113



     Life at Couëron—Friendship of D'Orbigny—Drawings of
     French birds—D'Orbigny's troubles—Marriage of Rosa
     Audubon—The Du Puigaudeaus—Partnership with Ferdinand
     Rozier—Their Articles of Association—They sail from
     Nantes, are overhauled by British privateers, but land
     safely at New York—Settle at "Mill Grove"                     127



     Home of Audubon's youth at Couëron—Its situation on
     the Loire—History of the villa and commune—Changes of a
     century                                                       136



     Audubon and Rosier at "Mill Grove"—Their partnership
     rules—Attempts to form a mining company lead to
     disappointment—Decision to sell their remaining
     interests in "Mill Grove" to Dacosta—Division of the
     property and legal entanglements—Audubon as a clerk
     in New York—Business correspondence and letters to his
     father—Later history of the lead mine and Dacosta—Audubon
     continues his drawings in New York and works for Dr.
     Mitchell's Museum—Forsakes the counting-room for the
     fields—Personal sketch                                        146



     Child and man—His ideals, perseverance and progress—Study
     under David at Paris—David's pupils and studios—David
     at Nantes arouses the enthusiasm of its citizens—His
     part in the Revolution—His art and influence over
     Audubon—Audubon's drawings of French birds—Story of the
     Edward Harris collection—_The Birds of America_ in the
     bud—Audubon's originality, style, methods, and mastery
     of materials and technique—His problem and how he solved
     it—His artistic defects                                       173



     Audubon and Rozier decide to start a pioneer store at
     Louisville, Kentucky—Their purchase of goods in New
     York—"Westward Ho" with Rozier—Rozier's diary of the
     journey—An unfortunate investment in indigo—Effect of
     the Embargo Act—Marriage to Lucy Bakewell—Return to
     Louisville—Life on the Ohio—Depression of trade—William
     Bakewell's assistance—Audubon's eldest son born at the
     "Indian Queen"—The Bakewells—Life at Louisville               186



     Alexander Wilson and his _American Ornithology_—His
     canvassing tour of 1810—His retort to a Solomon of
     the bench—Descriptions of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati
     and Louisville—Meeting with Audubon—Journey to New
     Orleans—Youth in Scotland—Weaver, itinerant peddler,
     poet and socialist—Sent to jail for libel—Emigrates
     to the United States—Finally settles as a school
     teacher near Philadelphia—His friendships with Bartram
     and Lawson—Disappointments in love—Early studies
     of American birds—His drawings, thrift, talents
     and genius—Publication of his _Ornithology_—His
     travels, discouragements and success—His premature
     death—Conflicting accounts of the visit to Audubon
     given by the two naturalists—Rivalry between the
     friends of Wilson, dead, and those of Audubon,
     living—The controversy which followed—An evasive
     "Flycatcher"—Singular history of the Mississippi Kite
     plate                                                         202



     The Ohio a hundred years ago—Hardships of the pioneer
     trader—Audubon's long journeys by overland trail or river
     to buy goods—The "ark" and keelboat—Chief pleasures of
     the naturalist at Louisville—The partners move their
     goods by flatboat to Henderson, Kentucky, and then to
     Ste. Geneviève (Missouri)—Held up by the ice—Adventures
     with the Indians—Mississippi in flood—Camp at the Great
     Bend—Abundance of game—Breaking up of the ice—Settle at
     Ste. Geneviève—The partnership dissolved—Audubon's return
     to Henderson—Rozier's successful career—His old store at
     Ste. Geneviève                                                233



     Dr. Rankin's "Meadow Brook Farm"—Birth of John Woodhouse
     Audubon—The Audubon-Bakewell partnership—Meeting with
     Nolte—Failure of the commission business—Visit to
     Rozier—Storekeeping at Henderson—Purchases of land—Habits
     of frontier tradesmen—Steamboats on the Ohio—Popular
     pastimes—Audubon-Bakewell-Pears partnership—Their famous
     steam mill—Mechanical and financial troubles—Business
     reorganization—Bankruptcy general—Failure of the
     mill—Personal encounter—Audubon goes to jail for debt         247



     Death of Lieutenant Audubon—Contest over his
     will—Disposition of his estate—The fictitious
     $17,000—Unsettled claims of Formon and Ross—Illusions
     of biographers—Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau—Audubon's
     relations with the family in France broken—Death of the
     naturalist's stepmother—The Du Puigaudeaus—Sources of
     "enigma."                                                     262



     Methods of composition—"A Wild Horse"—Henderson to
     Philadelphia in 1811—Records of Audubon and Nolte,
     fellow travelers, compared—The great earthquakes—The
     hurricane—The outlaw—Characterization of Daniel
     Boone—Desperate plight on the prairie—Regulator law
     in action—Frontier necessities—The ax married to the
     grindstone                                                    273



     The "Eccentric Naturalist" at Henderson—Bats and new
     species—The demolished violin—"M. de T.": Constantine
     Samuel Rafinesque (Schmaltz)—His precocity, linguistic
     acquirements and peripatetic habits—First visit to
     America and botanical studies—Residence in Sicily,
     and fortune made in the drug trade—Association with
     Swainson—Marriage and embitterment—His second journey
     to America ends in shipwreck—Befriended—Descends Ohio
     in a flat-boat—Visit with Audubon, who gives him many
     strange "new species"—Cost to zoölogy—His unique
     work on Ohio fishes—Professorship in Transylvania
     University—Quarrel with its president and trustees—Return
     to Philadelphia—His ardent love of nature; his writings,
     and fatal versatility—His singular will—His sad end and
     the ruthless disposition of his estate                        285



     Pivotal period in Audubon's career—His spur and
     balance wheel—Resort to portraiture—Taxidermist in the
     Western Museum—Settles in Cincinnati—History of his
     relations with Dr. Drake—Decides to make his avocation
     his business—Journey down the Ohio and Mississippi
     with Mason and Cummings—Experiences of travel without
     a cent of capital—Life in New Orleans—Vanderlyn's
     recommendation—Original drawings—Chance meeting with Mrs.
     Pirrie and engagement as tutor at "Oakley"—Enchantments
     of West Feliciana—"My lovely Miss Pirrie"—The jealous
     doctor—Famous drawing of the rattlesnake—Leaves
     St. Francisville and is adrift again in New
     Orleans—Obtains pupils in drawing and is joined by his
     family—Impoverished, moves to Natchez, and Mrs. Audubon
     becomes a governess—Injuries to his drawings—The labors
     of years destroyed by rats—Teaching in Tennessee—Parting
     with Mason—First lessons in oils—Mrs. Audubon's school at
     "Beechwoods"—Painting tour fails—Stricken at Natchez—At
     the Percys' plantation—Walk to Louisville—Settles at
     Shippingport                                                  301



     Makes his bow at Philadelphia—Is greeted with plaudits
     and cold water—Friendship of Harlan, Sully, Bonaparte
     and Harris—Hostility of Ord, Lawson and other friends
     of Alexander Wilson—A meeting of academicians—Visit to
     "Mill Grove"—Exhibits drawings in New York and becomes a
     member of the Lyceum—At the Falls of Niagara—In a gale on
     Lake Erie—Episode at Meadville—Walk to Pittsburgh—Tour
     of Lakes Ontario and Champlain—Decides to take his
     drawings to Europe—Descends the Ohio in a skiff—Stranded
     at Cincinnati—Teaching at St. Francisville                    327



     Audubon sails from New Orleans—Life at sea—Liverpool—The
     Rathbones—Exhibition of drawings an immediate
     success—Personal appearance—Painting habits resumed—His
     pictures and methods—Manchester visited—Plans
     for publication—_The Birds of America_—Welcome at
     Edinburgh—Lizars engraves the Turkey Cock—In the _rôle_
     of society's lion—His exhibition described by a French
     critic—Honors of science and the arts—Contributions to
     journals excite criticism—Aristocratic patrons—Visit to
     Scott—The Wild Pigeon and the rattlesnake—Letter to his
     wife—Prospectus—Journey to London                             347



     Impressions of the metropolis—A trunk full of
     letters—Friendship of Children—Sir Thomas Lawrence—Lizars
     stops work—A family of artists—Robert Havell, Junior—_The
     Birds of America_ fly to London—The Zoölogical
     Gallery—Crisis in the naturalist's affairs—Royal
     patronage—Interview with Gallatin—Interesting
     the Queen—Desertion of patrons—Painting to
     independence—Personal habits and tastes—Enters
     the Linnæan Society—The white-headed Eagle—Visit
     to the great universities—Declines to write for
     magazines—Audubon-Swainson correspondence—"Highfield
     Hall" near Tyttenhanger—In Paris with Swainson—Glimpses
     of Cuvier—His report on _The Birds of America_—Patronage
     of the French Government and the Duke of
     Orleans—Bonaparte the naturalist                              377



     Settles for a time in Camden—Paints in a fisherman's
     cottage by the sea—With the lumbermen in the Great
     Pine Woods—Work done—Visits his sons—Joins his wife
     at St. Francisville—Record of journey south—Life at
     "Beechgrove"—Mrs. Audubon retires from teaching—Their
     plans to return to England—Meeting with President Jackson
     and Edward Everett                                            420



     Settlement in London—Starts on canvassing tour with
     his wife—Change of plans—In Edinburgh—Discovery
     of MacGillivray—His hand in the _Ornithological
     Biography_—Rival editions of Wilson and Bonaparte—Brown's
     extraordinary _Atlas_—Reception of the _Biography_—Joseph
     Bartholomew Kidd and the Ornithological Gallery—In London
     again                                                         437


     Audubon. After a photograph of a cast of the intaglio
     cut by John C. King in 1844. Embossed medallion             Cover

     Audubon. After the engraving by C. Turner, A.R.A., of
     the miniature on ivory painted by Frederick Cruikshank
     about 1831; "London. Published Jan. 12, 1835, for
     the Proprietor [supposed to have been the engraver,
     but may have been Audubon or Havell], by Robert
     Havell, Printseller, 77, Oxford Street." Photogravure

     PAGE Statue of Audubon by Edward Virginius Valentine in
     Audubon Park, New Orleans                               Facing 14

     The Audubon Monument in Trinity Cemetery, New York, on
     Children's Day, June, 1915                              Facing 14

     Les Cayes, Haiti: the wharf and postoffice              Facing 40

     Les Cayes, Haiti: the market and Church of Sacré Cœur   Facing 40

     First page of the bill rendered by Dr. Sanson, of
     Les Cayes, Santo Domingo, to Jean Audubon for medical
     services from December 29, 1783, to October 19, 1785    Facing 54

     Second page of the Sanson bill, bearing, in the entry
     for April 26, 1785, the only record known to exist of
     the date of Audubon's birth                             Facing 55

     Third page of the Sanson bill, signed as accepted by Jean
     Audubon, October 12, 1786, and receipted by the doctor,
     when paid, June 7, 1787                                 Facing 59

     Audubon's signature at various periods. From early
     drawings, legal documents and letters                   Facing 63

     Lieutenant Jean Audubon and Anne Moynet Audubon. After
     portraits painted between 1801 and 1806, now at Couëron
                                                             Facing 78

     Jean Audubon. After a portrait painted by the American
     artist Polk, at Philadelphia, about 1789                Facing 78

     Jean Audubon's signature. From a report to the Directory
     of his Department, when acting as Civil Commissioner,
     January to September, 1793                                     79

     Certificate of Service which Lieutenant Audubon received
     upon his discharge from the French Navy, February 26,
     1801                                                           84

     "Mill Grove" in 1835 (about). After a water-color
     painting by Charles Wetherill                          Facing 102

     "Mill Grove," Audubon, Pennsylvania, as it appears to-day
                                                            Facing 102

     "Mill Grove" farmhouse, west front, as it appears to-day
                                                            Facing 110

     "Fatland Ford," Audubon, Pennsylvania, the girlhood home
     of Lucy Bakewell Audubon                               Facing 110

     Early drawings of French birds, 1805, hitherto
     unpublished: the male Reed Bunting ("Sedge Sparrow"),
     and the male Redstart                                  Facing 128

     Receipt given by Captain Sammis of the _Polly_ to Audubon
     and Ferdinand Rozier for their passage money from Nantes
     to New York, May 28, 1806                                     134

     "La Gerbetière," Jean Audubon's country villa at Couëron,
     France, and the naturalist's boyhood home              Facing 136

     "La Gerbetière" and Couëron, as seen from the highest
     point in the commune, windmill towers on the ridge
     overlooking Port Launay, on the Loire                  Facing 142

     "La Gerbetière," as seen when approached from Couëron
     village by the road to Port Launay                     Facing 142

     Port Launay on the Loire                               Facing 142

     Beginning of the "Articles of Association" of John James
     Audubon and Ferdinand Rozier, signed at Nantes, March
     23, 1806                                               Facing 146

     First page of a power of attorney granted by Jean
     Audubon, Anne Moynet Audubon and Claude François Rozier
     to John James Audubon and Ferdinand Rozier, Nantes, April
     4, 1806                                                Facing 152

     Signatures of Jean Audubon, Anne Moynet Audubon, Dr.
     Chapelain and Dr. Charles d'Orbigny to a power of
     attorney granted to John James Audubon and Ferdinand
     Rozier, Couëron, November 20, 1806                     Facing 153

     Early drawings of French birds, 1805, hitherto
     unpublished: the European Crow, with detail of head of
     the Rook, and the White Wagtail                        Facing 174

     Early drawing in crayon point of the groundhog, 1805,
     hitherto unpublished                                   Facing 182

     Water-color drawing of a young raccoon, 1841           Facing 182

     Alexander Wilson                                       Facing 212

     William Bartram                                        Facing 212

     The "twin" Mississippi Kites of Wilson and Audubon, the
     similarity of which inspired charges of misappropriation
     against Audubon                                        Facing 228

     Audubon's signature to the release given to Ferdinand
     Rozier on the dissolution of their partnership in 1811        242

     Ferdinand Rozier in his eighty-fifth year (1862)       Facing 246

     Rozier's old store at Ste. Geneviève, Kentucky         Facing 246

     Letter of Audubon to Ferdinand Rozier, signed "Audubon &
     Bakewell," and dated October 19, 1813, during the first
     partnership under this style                           Facing 246

     Audubon's Mill at Henderson, Kentucky, since destroyed,
     as seen from the bank of the Ohio River                Facing 254

     An old street in the Couëron of today                  Facing 264

     "Les Tourterelles," Couëron, final home of Anne Moynet
     Audubon, and the resting-place of exact records of the
     naturalist's birth and early life                      Facing 264

     Early drawings of American birds, 1808-9, hitherto
     unpublished: the Belted Kingfisher and the Wild Pigeon
                                                            Facing 292

     Bayou Sara Landing, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana,
     at the junction of Bayou Sara and the Mississippi River
                                                            Facing 314

     Scene on Bayou Sara Creek, Audubon's hunting ground in
     1821                                                   Facing 314

     Road leading from Bayou Sara Landing to the village of
     St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish                Facing 318

     "Oakley," the James Pirrie plantation house near St.
     Francisville, where Audubon made some of his famous
     drawings while acting as a tutor in 1821               Facing 318

     An early letter of Audubon to Edward Harris, written at
     Philadelphia, July 14, 1824                                   332

     Note of Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchell, written hurriedly in
     pencil, recommending Audubon to his friend, Dr. Barnes,
     August 4, 1824                                                337

     Crayon portrait of Miss Jennett Benedict, an example of
     Audubon's itinerant portraiture. After the original drawn
     by Audubon at Meadville, Pennsylvania, in 1824         Facing 342

     Miss Eliza Pirrie, Audubon's pupil at "Oakley" in 1821.
     After an oil portrait                                  Facing 342

     Early drawing of the "Frog-eater," Cooper's Hawk, 1810,
     hitherto unpublished                                   Facing 348

     Pencil sketch of a "Shark, 7 feet long, off Cuba,"
     from Audubon's Journal of his voyage to England in 1826
                                                            Facing 348

     First page of Audubon's Journal of his voyage from New
     Orleans to Liverpool in 1826                           Facing 349

     Cock Turkey, _The Birds of America_, Plate I. After the
     original engraving by W. H. Lizars, retouched by Robert
     Havell. Color                                          Facing 358

     Title page of the original edition of _The Birds of
     America_, Volume II, 1831-1834                                381

     The Prothonotary Warbler plates, _The Birds of America_,
     Plate XI, bearing the legends of the engravers, W. H.
     Lizars and Robert Havell, Jr., but identical in every
     other detail of engraving                              Facing 384

     Reverse of panels of Robert Havell's advertising folder
     reproduced on facing insert                                   386

     Outside engraved panels of an advertising folder issued
     by Robert Havell about 1834. After the only original copy
     known to exist                                                386

     Inside engraved panels of Robert Havell's advertising
     folder, showing the interior of the "Zoölogical Gallery,"
     77 Oxford Street Facing                                       387

     Reverse of panels of Robert Havell's advertising folder,
     reproduced on facing insert                                   387

     Title page of Audubon's Prospectus of _The Birds of
     America_ for 1831                                             391

     English Pheasants surprised by a Spanish Dog. After a
     painting by Audubon in the American Museum of Natural
     History Facing                                                394

     Letter of William Swainson to Audubon, May, 1828              402

     Audubon. After an oil portrait, hitherto unpublished,
     painted about 1826 by W. H. Holmes Facing                     412

     Part of letter of Charles Lucien Bonaparte to Audubon,
     January 10, 1829                                              417

     Mrs. Dickie's "Boarding Residence," 26 George Street,
     Edinburgh, where Audubon painted and wrote in 1826-27,
     and in 1830-31                                         Facing 438

     The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. After an
     old print                                              Facing 438

     Title page of the _Ornithological Biography_, Volume I        441



     _April 26._—Fougère, Jean Rabin, or Jean Jacques Fougère
     Audubon, born at Les Cayes, Santo Domingo, now Haiti.


     Fougère, at four years, and Muguet, his sister by adoption,
     at two, are taken by their father to the United States, and
     thence to France.


     _March 7 (17 ventose, an 2)._—Fougère, when nine years old,
     and Muguet at six, are legally adopted as the children of Jean
     Audubon and Anne Moynet, his wife.


     _October 23 (1 brumaire, an 9)._—Baptized, Jean Jacques
     Fougère, at Nantes, when in his sixteenth year.


     Studies drawing for a brief period under Jacques Louis David,
     at Paris.


     First return to America, at eighteen, to learn English and
     enter trade: settles at "Mill Grove" farm, near Philadelphia,
     where he spends a year and begins his studies of American


     _December 15._—Half-interest in "Mill Grove" acquired by
     Francis Dacosta, who begins to exploit its lead mine; he also
     acts as guardian to young Audubon, who becomes engaged to Lucy
     Green Bakewell; quarrel with Dacosta follows.


     _January 12-15_ (?).—Walks to New York, where Benjamin
     Bakewell supplies him with passage money to France.

     _January 18_ (about).—Sails on the _Hope_ for Nantes, and
     arrives about March 18.

     A year spent at "La Gerbetière," in Couëron, where he hunts
     birds with D'Orbigny and makes many drawings, and at Nantes,
     where plans are made for his return, with Ferdinand Rozier,
     to America.


     Enters the French navy at this time, or earlier, but soon

     _March 23._—A business partnership is arranged with Ferdinand
     Rozier, and Articles of Association are signed at Nantes.

     _April 12._—Sails with Rozier on the _Polly_, Captain Sammis,
     and lands in New York on May 26.

     They settle at "Mill Grove" farm, where they remain less than
     four months, meanwhile making unsuccessful attempts to operate
     the lead mine on the property.

     _September 15._—Remaining half interest in "Mill Grove" farm
     and mine acquired by Francis Dacosta & Company, conditionally,
     the Audubons and Roziers holding a mortgage.


     Serves as clerk in Benjamin Bakewell's commission house in
     New York, but continues his studies and drawings of birds,
     and works for Dr. Mitchell's Museum.


     With Rozier decides to embark in trade in Kentucky.

     _August 1._—They purchase their first stock of goods in New

     _August 31._—Starts with Rozier for Louisville, where they
     open a pioneer store.

     Their business suffers from the Embargo Act.


     _June 12._—Married to Lucy Bakewell at "Fatland Ford," her
     father's farm near Philadelphia, and returns with his bride
     to Louisville.


     _June 12._—Victor Gifford Audubon born at Gwathway's hotel,
     the "Indian Queen," in Louisville.


     _March._—Alexander Wilson, pioneer ornithologist, visits
     Audubon at Louisville.

     Moves down river with Rozier to Redbanks (Henderson),

     _December._—Moves with Rozier again, and is held up by
     ice at the mouth of the Ohio and at the Great Bend of the
     Mississippi, where they spend the winter.


     Reaches Sainte Geneviève, Upper Louisiana (Missouri), in early

     _April 6._—Dissolves partnership with Rozier, and returns to
     Henderson afoot.

     Joins in a commission business with his brother-in-law, Thomas
     W. Bakewell.

     _December._—Meets Vincent Nolte when returning to Louisville
     from the East, and descends the Ohio in his flatboat.


     The _annus mirabilis_ in Kentucky, marked by a series of
     earthquakes, which begins December 16, 1811, and furnishes
     material for "Episodes."

     Commission house of Audubon and Bakewell is opened by the
     latter in New Orleans, but is quickly suppressed by the war,
     which breaks out in June.

     _Spring._—Starts a retail store, on his own account, at

     _November 30._—John Woodhouse Audubon, born at "Meadow Brook"
     farm, Dr. Adam Rankin's home near Henderson.


     Storekeeping at Henderson, where he purchases four town lots
     and settles down.


     _March 16._—Enters into another partnership with Bakewell;
     planning to build a steam grist- and sawmill at Henderson,
     they lease land on the river front.


     Thomas W. Pears joins the partnership, and the steam mill,
     which later became famous, is erected. (After long disuse or
     conversion to other purposes, "Audubon's Mill" was finally
     burned to the ground on March 18, 1913.)


     _Summer._—Receives a visit from Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
     who becomes the subject of certain practical jokes, at
     zoölogy's future expense, and figures in a later "Episode."


     After repeated change of partners, the mill enterprise fails,
     and Audubon goes to Louisville jail for debt; declares himself
     a bankrupt, and saves only his clothes, his drawings and
     gun. Resorts to doing crayon portraits at Shippingport and
     Louisville, where he is immediately successful.


     At Cincinnati, to fill an appointment as taxidermist in the
     Western Museum, just founded by Dr. Daniel Drake; settles
     with his family and works three or four months, at a salary of
     $125 a month; then returns to portraits, and starts a drawing


     Decides to publish his "Ornithology," and all his activities
     are now directed to this end.

     _October 12._—Leaves his family, and with Joseph R. Mason,
     as pupil-assistant, starts without funds on a long expedition
     down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, to New Orleans, hoping
     to visit Arkansas, and intending to explore the country for
     birds, while living by his talents: from this time keeps a
     regular journal and works systematically.


     _January 7._—Enters New Orleans with young Mason without
     enough money to pay for a night's lodging.

     _February 17._—Sends his wife 20 drawings, including the
     famous Turkey Hen, Great-footed Hawk, and White-headed Eagle.

     Obtains a few drawing pupils; is recommended by John Vanderlyn
     and Governor Robertson, but lives from hand to mouth until
     June 16, when Audubon and Mason leave for Shippingport;
     a fellow passenger, Mrs. James Pirrie, of West Feliciana,
     offers Audubon a position as tutor to her daughter, and with
     Mason he settles on her plantation at St. Francisville, Bayou
     Sara, where he remains nearly five months; some of his finest
     drawings are made at this time.

     _October 21._—Leaves abruptly and returns with Mason to New
     Orleans, where he again becomes a drawing teacher, and resumes
     his studies of birds with even greater avidity.

     _December._—Is joined by his family, and winter finds them in
     dire straits.


     _March 16._—To Natchez with Mason, paying their passage by
     doing portraits of the captain and his wife; while on the way
     finds that many of his drawings have been seriously damaged
     by gunpowder; teaches French, drawing and dancing at Natchez,
     and Washington, Mississippi.

     _July 23._—Parts with Mason, after giving him his gun, paper
     and chalks, with which to work his way north.

     _September._—Mrs. Audubon, who was acting as governess in a
     family at New Orleans, joins him at Natchez, where she obtains
     a similar position.

     Receives his first lessons in the use of oils from John Stein,
     itinerant portrait painter, in Natchez, at close of this year.


     _January._—Mrs. Audubon is engaged by the Percys, of West
     Feliciana parish, Louisiana, and starts a private school
     at "Beechwoods," belonging to their plantation, in St.
     Francisville, where she remains five years.

     _March._—Audubon leaves Natchez with John Stein and Victor on
     a painting tour of the South, but meeting with little success,
     they disband at New Orleans; visits his wife, and spends part
     of summer in teaching her pupils music and drawing.

     Adrift again; both he and Victor are taken ill with fever at
     Natchez, but when nursed back to health by Mrs. Audubon, they
     return with her to "Beechwoods."

     _September 30._—Determined to visit Philadelphia in the
     interests of his "Ornithology," he sends on his drawings and
     goes to New Orleans for references.

     _October 3._—Starts with Victor for Louisville, walking part
     of the way.


     Winter spent at Shippingport, where Victor becomes a clerk to
     his uncle, Nicholas A. Berthoud.

     Paints portraits, panels on river boats, and even street
     signs, to earn a living.


     To Philadelphia, to find patrons or a publisher; thwarted; is
     advised to take his drawings to Europe, where the engraving
     could be done in superior style; befriended by Charles L.
     Bonaparte, Edward Harris, Richard Harlan, Mr. Fairman, and
     Thomas Sully, who gives him free tuition in oils.

     _August 1._—Starts for New York, with letters to Gilbert
     Stuart, Washington Allston, and Samuel L. Mitchell; is kindly
     received and made a member of the Lyceum of Natural History.

     _August 15._—To Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls,
     Meadville, and Pittsburgh, taking deck passage on boats,
     tramping, and paying his way by crayon portraits.

     _September._—Leaves Pittsburgh on exploring tour of Lakes
     Ontario and Champlain for birds; decides on his future course.

     _October 24._—Returns to Pittsburgh, and descends the
     Ohio in a skiff; is stranded without a cent at Cincinnati;
     visits Victor at Shippingport, and reaches his wife in St.
     Francisville, Bayou Sara, November 24.


     Teaches at St. Francisville, and gives dancing lessons at
     Woodville, Mississippi, to raise funds to go to Europe.


     _May 17._—Sails with his drawings on the cotton schooner
     _Delos_, bound for Liverpool, where he lands, a total
     stranger, on July 21.

     In less than a week is invited to exhibit his drawings at
     the Royal Institution, and is at once proclaimed as a great
     American genius.

     Exhibits at Manchester, but with less success.

     Plans to publish his drawings, to be called _The Birds of
     America_, in parts of five plates each, at 2 guineas a part,
     all to be engraved on copper, to the size of life, and colored
     after his originals. The number of parts was at first fixed
     at 80, and the period of publication at 14 years; eventually
     there were 87 parts, of 435 plates, representing over a
     thousand individual birds as well as thousands of American
     trees, shrubs, flowers, insects and other animals of the
     entire continent; the cost in England was £174, which was
     raised by the duties to $1,000 in America.

     Paints animal pictures to pay his way, and opens a
     subscription book.

     _October 26._—Reaches Edinburgh, where his pictures attract
     the attention of the ablest scientific and literary characters
     of the day, and he is patronized by the aristocracy.

     _November, early._—William Home Lizars begins the engraving
     of his first plates at Edinburgh, and on the 28th, shows him
     the proof of the Turkey Cock.

     Honors come to him rapidly, and he is soon elected to
     membership in the leading societies of science and the arts
     in Great Britain, France and the United States.


     _February 3._—Exhibits the first number of his engraved plates
     at the Royal Institution of Edinburgh.

     _March 17._—Issues his "Prospectus," when two numbers of his
     _Birds_ are ready.

     _April 5._—Starts for London with numerous letters to
     distinguished characters and obtains subscriptions on the way.

     _May 21._—Reaches London, and exhibits his plates before
     the Linnæan and Royal Societies, which later elect him to

     Lizars throws up the work after engraving ten plates, and
     it is transferred to London, where, in the hands of Robert
     Havell, Junior, it is new born and brought to successful
     completion eleven years later.

     _Summer._—Affairs at a crisis; resorts to painting and
     canvasses the larger cities.

     _December._—Five parts, or twenty-five plates, of _The Birds
     of America_ completed.


     _March._—Visits Cambridge and Oxford Universities; though
     well received, is disappointed at the number of subscribers
     secured, especially at Oxford.

     _September 1._—To Paris with William Swainson; remains eight
     weeks, and obtains 13 subscribers; his work is eulogized by
     Cuvier before the Academy of Natural Sciences, and he receives
     the personal subscription, as well as private commissions,
     from the Duke of Orleans, afterwards known as Louis Philippe.


     _April 1._—Sails from Portsmouth on his first return to
     America from England, for New York, where he lands on May 1.

     _Summer._—Drawing birds at Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

     _September._—To Mauch Chunk, and paints for six weeks at a
     lumberman's cottage in the Great Pine Woods.

     _October._—Down the Ohio to Louisville, where he meets his two
     sons, one of whom he had not seen for five years; thence to
     St. Francisville, Bayou Sara, where he joins his wife, from
     whom he had been absent nearly three years.


     _January 1._—Starts with his wife for Europe, first
     visiting New Orleans, Louisville, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and
     Washington, where he meets the President, Andrew Jackson, and
     is befriended by Edward Everett, who becomes one of his first
     American subscribers.

     _April 1._—Sails with Mrs. Audubon from New York for
     Liverpool. Settles in London; takes his seat in the Royal
     Society, to which he was elected on the 19th of March; resumes
     his painting, and in midsummer starts with his wife on a
     canvassing tour of the provincial towns; invites William
     Swainson to assist him in editing his letterpress, but a
     disagreement follows.

     Changes his plans, and settles again in Edinburgh; meets
     William MacGillivray, who undertakes to assist him with his
     manuscript, and together they begin the first volume of the
     _Ornithological Biography_ in October.


     The _Ornithological Biography_, in five volumes, published at
     Edinburgh, and partly reissued in Philadelphia and Boston.


     In America, exploring the North and South Atlantic coasts for


     _March._—First volume of the _Ornithological Biography_
     published, representing the text of the first 100
     double-elephant folio plates.

     _April 15._—Returns with his wife to London.

     _May-July._—Visits Paris again in the interests of his

     _August 2._—Starts with his wife on his second journey from
     England to America, and lands in New York on September 4.

     Plans to visit Florida with two assistants, and obtains
     promise of aid from the Government.

     _October-November._—At Charleston, South Carolina, where he
     meets John Bachman and is taken into his home.

     _November 15._—Sails with his assistants in the government
     schooner _Agnes_ for St. Augustine.


     _April 15._—In revenue cutter _Marion_ begins exploration of
     the east coast of Florida; proceeds to Key West, and later
     returns to Savannah and Charleston.

     Rejoins his family at Philadelphia, and goes to Boston; there
     meets Dr. George Parkman, and makes many friends.

     _August._—Explores the coasts of Maine and New Brunswick, and
     ascends the St. John River for birds.

     Returns to Boston, and sends his son Victor to England to take
     charge of his publications.


     _Winter._—In Boston, where he is attacked by a severe illness
     induced by overwork; quickly recovers and plans expedition to


     _June 6._—Sails from Eastport for the Labrador with five
     assistants, including his son, John Woodhouse Audubon, in the
     schooner _Ripley_ chartered at his own expense.

     _August 31._—Returns to Eastport laden with spoils, including
     few new birds but many drawings.

     _September 7._—Reaches New York and plans an expedition to

     _September 25._—Visits Philadelphia and is arrested for
     debt, an echo of his business ventures in Kentucky; obtains
     subscribers at Baltimore, and in Washington meets Washington
     Irving, who assists him in obtaining government aid; finds
     patrons at Richmond and at Columbia, South Carolina.

     _October 24._—Reaches Charleston and changes his plans;
     with his wife and son passes the winter at the Bachman home,
     engaged in hunting, drawing and writing.


     The number of his American subscribers reaches 62.

     _April 16._—Sails with his wife and son on the packet _North
     America_ from New York to England with large collections.

     Settles again in Edinburgh, and begins second volume of his
     _Biography_, which is published in December.


     Many drawings, papers and books lost by fire in New York.

     Part of summer, autumn and winter in Edinburgh, where the
     third volume of his _Ornithological Biography_ is issued in


     Audubon's two sons, who have become his assistants, tour the
     Continent for five months, traveling and painting.

     _August 2._—Sails from Portsmouth on his third journey from
     England to the United States; lands in New York on Sept. 6
     and canvasses the city.

     _September 13._—Hurries to Philadelphia to obtain access to
     the Nuttall-Townsend collection of birds, recently brought
     from the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast; is rebuffed,
     and bitter rivalries ensue; Edward Harris offers to buy the
     collection outright for his benefit.

     _September 20._—Starts on a canvassing tour to Boston, where
     he meets many prominent characters, and obtains a letter of
     commendation from Daniel Webster, who writes his name in his
     subscription book. Visits Salem, where subscribers are also
     obtained; meets Thomas M. Brewer, and Thomas Nuttall, who
     offers him his new birds brought from the West.

     _October 10._—Is visited by Washington Irving, who gives him
     letters to President Van Buren and recommends his work to
     national patronage.

     _October 15._—Returns to Philadelphia, where attempts
     to obtain permission to describe the new birds in the
     Nuttall-Townsend collection are renewed; he is finally
     permitted to purchase duplicates and describe the new forms
     under certain conditions.

     _November 10._—To Washington, to present his credentials,
     and is promised government aid for the projected journey to
     Florida and Texas.


     _Winter._—Spent with Bachman at Charleston, in waiting for his
     promised vessel; makes drawings of Nuttall's and Townsend's
     birds, and plans for a work on the _Quadrupeds of North


     _Spring._—Starts overland with Edward Harris and John W.
     Audubon for New Orleans; there meets the revenue cutter
     _Campbell_, and in her and her tender, the _Crusader_, the
     party proceeds as far as Galveston, Texas; visits President
     Sam Houston.

     _May 18._—Leaves for New Orleans, and on June 8 reaches
     Charleston. John Woodhouse Audubon is married to Bachman's
     eldest daughter, Maria Rebecca.

     To Washington, and meets President Martin Van Buren.

     _July 16._—Sails with his son and daughter-in-law on the
     packet _England_ from New York; reaches Liverpool on August
     2d, and on the 7th is in London.

     The panic of this year causes loss of many subscribers, but
     Audubon decides to extend _The Birds of America_ to 87 parts,
     in order to admit every new American bird discovered up to
     that time.


     _June 20._—Eighty-seventh part of _The Birds of America_
     published, thus completing the fourth volume and concluding
     the work, which was begun at Edinburgh in the autumn of 1826.

     _Summer._—By way of a holiday celebration tours the Highlands
     of Scotland with his family and William MacGillivray.

     _Autumn._—To Edinburgh, where, with the assistance of
     MacGillivray, the fourth volume of his _Biography_ is issued
     in November.


     _May._—Fifth and concluding volume of the _Ornithological
     Biography_ is published at Edinburgh. _A Synopsis of the
     Birds of North America_, which immediately follows, brings
     his European life and labors to a close.

     _Late summer._—Returns with his family to New York, and
     settles at 86 White Street. Victor, who preceded his father
     to America, is married to Mary Eliza Bachman.

     Projects at once a small or "miniature" edition of his
     _Ornithology_, and begins work on the _Quadrupeds_.
     Collaboration of Bachman in this project is later secured.


     First octavo edition of _The Birds of America_ is published
     at Philadelphia, in seven volumes, with lithographic, colored
     plates and meets with unprecedented success; issued to
     subscribers in 100 parts, of five plates each with text, at
     one dollar a part.


     _June._—Begins a correspondence with young Spencer F. Baird,
     which leads to an intimate friendship of great mutual benefit,
     Baird discovering new birds and sending him many specimens.


     Purchases land on the Hudson, in Carmansville, at the present
     157th Street, and begins to build a house.

     _July 29._—Writes to Spencer F. Baird that he was then as
     anxious about the publication of the _Quadrupeds_ as he ever
     was about procuring birds.


     _April._—Occupies his estate, now included in the realty
     section of upper New York City called Audubon Park, which he
     deeded to his wife and named for her "Minnie's Land."

     _September 12._—Starts on a canvassing tour of Canada, going
     as far north as Quebec, and returns well pleased with his
     success, after spending a month and traveling 1,500 miles.

     Plans for his western journey nearly completed.


     _March 11._—At fifty-eight, sets out with four companions
     for the region of the Upper Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers,
     but is unable to attain his long desired goal, the Rocky

     _November._—Returns with many new birds and mammals.


     _The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America_, in collaboration
     with the Rev. John Bachman, issued to subscribers in 30 parts
     of five plates each, without letterpress, making two volumes,
     imperial folio, at $300.00.

     John W. Audubon, traveling in Texas, to collect materials for
     his father's work.


     Engrossed with drawings of the _Quadrupeds_, in which he
     receives efficient aid from his sons.

     _July 19._—Copper plates of _The Birds of America_ injured by
     fire in New York.

     _December 24._—Bachman, his collaborator, issues ultimatum
     through Harris, but work on the _Quadrupeds_, which had come
     to a stand, is resumed.


     John W. Audubon in England, painting subjects for the
     illustration of the _Quadrupeds of North America_.


     _The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America_, in collaboration
     with John Bachman, published in three volumes, octavo,
     text only, by J. J. and V. G. Audubon; volume i (1847) only
     appeared during the naturalist's lifetime.


     Audubon's powers begin to weaken and rapidly fail.


     _February 8._—John W. Audubon joins a California company
     organized by Colonel James Watson Webb, and starts for the
     gold fields, but his party meets disaster in the valley of
     the Rio Grande; he leads a remnant to their destination and
     returns in the following year.


     _January 27._—Jean Jacques Fougère Audubon dies at "Minnie's
     Land," before completing his sixty-sixth year.


         _Nothing extenuate,
     Nor set down aught in malice_....

          SHAKESPEARE, _Othello_ to his biographers.

     _Time, whose tooth gnaws away everything else, is powerless
     against truth._


     _What a curious, interesting book, a biographer, well
     acquainted with my life, could write; it is still more
     wonderful and extraordinary than that of my father._

          AUDUBON, in letter to his wife,
                          March 12, 1828.




     Audubon's growing fame—Experience in Paris in 1828—Cuvier's
     patronage—Audubon's publications—His critics—His talents and
     accomplishments—His Americanism and honesty of purpose—His
     foibles and faults—Appreciations and monuments—The Audubon
     Societies—Biographies and autobiography—Robert Buchanan and
     the true history of his _Life of Audubon_.

It is more than three-quarters of a century since Audubon's masterpiece,
_The Birds of America_, was completed, and two generations have occupied
the stage since the "American Woodsman" quietly passed away at his home
on the Hudson River. These generations have seen greater changes in
the development and application of natural science and in the spread
of scientific knowledge among men than all those which preceded them.
Theories of nature come and go but the truth abides, and Audubon's "book
of Nature," represented by his four massive volumes of hand-engraved
and hand-colored plates, still remains "the most magnificent monument
which has yet been raised to ornithology," as Cuvier said of the parts
which met his astonished gaze in 1828; while his graphic sketches of
American life and scenery and his vivid portraits of birds, drawn with
the pen, can be read with as much pleasure as when the last volume of
his _Ornithological Biography_ left the press in 1839. This appears the
more remarkable when we reflect that Audubon's greatest working period,
from 1820 to 1840, belonged essentially to the eighteenth century, for
the real transition to the nineteenth century did not begin in England
before 1837; then came the dawn of the newer day that was to witness
those momentous changes in communication and travel, in education,
democracy and ideas, which characterize life in the modern world.

When Audubon left London for Paris on September 1, 1828, it took him
four days by coach, boat and diligence to reach the French capital, a
journey which in normal times is now made in less than eight hours. Mail
then left the Continent for England on but four days in the week, and
to post a single letter cost twenty-four sous. Writing at Edinburgh a
little earlier (December 21, 1826), Audubon recorded that on that day he
had received from De Witt Clinton and Thomas Sully, in America, letters
in answer to his own, in forty-two days, and added that it seemed
absolutely impossible that the distance could be covered so rapidly.
This was indeed remarkable, since the first vessel to cross the Atlantic
wholly under its own steam, in 1838, required seventeen days to make
the passage from New York to Queenstown.

"Walking in Paris," said Audubon in 1828, "is disagreeable in the
extreme; the streets are paved, but with scarcely a sidewalk, and a
large gutter filled with dirty black water runs through the middle of
each, and people go about without any kind of order, in the center,
or near the houses." The Paris of that day contained but one-fourth
the number of its present population. Having reaped the fruits of the
Revolution, it was enjoying peace under the Restoration; moreover,
it was taking a leading part in the advancement of natural science,
of which Cuvier was the acknowledged dean. It was but a year before
the death of blind and aged Lamarck, neglected and forgotten then,
but destined after the lapse of three-quarters of a century to have a
monument raised to his memory by contributions from every part of Europe
and America, and to be recognized as the first great evolutionist of
the modern school.

Audubon had not seen his ancestral capital for upwards of thirty years,
not since as a young man he was sent from his father's home near Nantes
to study drawing in the studio of David, at the Louvre. Though in the
land of his fathers and speaking his native tongue, his visit was tinged
with disappointment. At the age of forty-three he was engaged in an
enterprise which stands unique in the annals of science and literature.
But fifty plates, or ten numbers, of his incomparable series had been
engraved, and this work had then but thirty subscribers. That he was
bound to sink or swim he knew full well. On August 30 he wrote: "My
subscribers are yet far from enough to pay my expenses, and my purse
suffers severely from want of greater patronage." This want he had hoped
to satisfy in France, but after an experience of eight weeks, and an
expenditure, as he records, of forty pounds, he was obliged to leave
Paris with only thirteen additional names on his list. Yet among the
latter, it should be noticed, were those of George Cuvier, the Duke
of Orleans and King Charles X, while six copies had been ordered by
the Minister of the Interior for distribution among the more important
libraries of Paris. Moreover, he had won the friendship and encomiums
of Cuvier, which later proved of the greatest value. The savants who
gathered about him at the meeting of the Royal Academy of Sciences, over
which Cuvier presided, exclaimed, "Beautiful! Very beautiful! What a
work!", but "What a price!", and acknowledged that only in England could
he find the necessary support. Audubon concluded that he was fortunate
in having taken his drawings to London to be engraved, for the smaller
cost of copper on that side of the Channel was an item which could not
be overlooked. Little did he dream that commercial greed for the baser
metal would send most of his great plates to the melting pot half a
century later. No doubt he was right also in concluding that had he
followed certain advisers in first taking his publication to France, it
would have perished "like a flower in October." It should be added that
King Charles' subscription expired with his fall two years later, while
that of Cuvier ended with his death in 1832.

Audubon was one of those rare spirits whose posthumous fame has grown
with the years. He did one thing in particular, that of making known
to the world the birds of his adopted land, and did it so well that
his name will be held in everlasting remembrance. His great folios are
now the property of the rich or of those fortunate institutions which
have either received them by gift or were enrolled among his original
subscribers, and wherever found they are treasured as the greatest of
show books. The sale of a perfect copy of the _Birds_ at the present day
is something of an event, for it commands from $3,000 to $5,000, or from
three to five times its original cost. All of Audubon's publications
have not only become rare but have increased greatly in price; they
are what dealers call a good investment, an experience which probably
no other large, illustrated, scientific or semi-scientific works have
enjoyed to a like degree.

As has been said of Prince Henry the Navigator, though in different
words, John James Audubon was one of those who by a simple-hearted
life of talent, devotion and enthusiasm have freed themselves from the
law of death. Audubon was a man of many sides, and his fame is due to
a rare combination of those talents and powers which were needed to
accomplish the work that he finally set out to do. His personality was
most winning, his individuality strong, and his long life, bent for
the most part to attain definite ends, was checkered, adventurous and
romantic beyond the common lot of men.

Few men outside of public life have been praised more lavishly than
Audubon during his active career. Though he had but few open enemies,
those few, as if conscious of the fact, seemed to assail him the more
harshly and persistently. In reading all that has been said about this
strenuous worker both before and since his death, one is continually
struck by the perverse or contrary opinions that are often expressed. He
was not this and he was not that, but he was simply Audubon, and there
has been no one else who has at all closely resembled him or with whom
he can be profitably compared. One charges that he did not write the
books which bear his name. Another complains that he was no philosopher,
and was not a man of science at heart; that he was vain, elegant,
inclined to be selfish, inconsequential, and that he reverenced the
great; that he shot birds for sport; that he was a plagiarist; that he
was the king of nature fakirs and a charlatan; that he never propounded
or answered a scientific question; and, finally, that though at times
he wrote a graphic and charming style and showed occasional glimpses
of prophetic insight, he cannot be trusted; besides, he might have been
greatly indebted to unacknowledged aid received from others.

These or similar charges were brought against Audubon during his
lifetime, as they have been made against many another who has emerged
quickly from obscurity into world-wide renown. Many attacks upon his
character were assiduously repelled by his friends, though seldom
noticed publicly by himself; as if conscious of his own integrity, he
was content to await the verdict of time, and time in America has not
been recreant to his trust. Some of these charges it may be necessary
to examine at length, if found to be justified in any degree, while
others may be brushed aside as unworthy of even passing consideration.
Evidence of every sort is now ample, as it seems, to enable us to do
justice to all concerned, to penetrate the veil that has hidden much of
the real Audubon from the world, and to place the worker and the man in
the fuller light of day.

The reader who follows this history may expect to find certain blemishes
in Audubon's character, for the most admirable of men have possessed
faults, whether conscious of them or not. The lights in any picture
would lose all value were the shadows wholly withdrawn. If we blinded
ourselves to every fault and foible of such a man, we might produce a
sketch more pleasing to certain readers, but it would lack the vitality
which truth alone can supply. The more carefully his character is
studied, however, as Macaulay said of Addison, the more it will appear,
in the language of the old anatomists, "sound in the noble parts, free
from all taint of perfidy, of cowardice, of cruelty, of ingratitude, of

In this attempt to present a true and unbiased estimate of Audubon in
relation to his time, we have the advantage of dealing with a well
rounded and completed life, not with a broken or truncated one. He
impressed many of his contemporaries in both Europe and America with
the force of his contagious enthusiasm and prolific genius, and their
opinions have been recorded with remarkable generosity. On the other
hand, "if a life be delayed till interest and envy are at an end,"
said an excellent authority,[1] "we may hope for impartiality, but must
expect little intelligence," because the minute details of daily life
are commonly so volatile and evanescent as to "soon escape the memory,
and are rarely transmitted by tradition." Such details, which often
reveal character while they add color and life to the narrative, have
been amply supplied, as the reader will find, by Audubon himself, not
only in his journals and private letters already published but in the
numerous documents of every sort that are now brought to light.

If "the true man is to be revealed, if we are to know him as he was,
and especially if we are to know the influences that molded him and
so profoundly affected him for good or evil, we must begin at the
beginning and follow him through his struggles, his temptations, his
triumphs." It might be better to start "in the cradle," or even forty
years before he was born, for, as modern biology teaches us, nature
is stronger than nurture and race counts for much. Certainly this man
can never be understood if removed from the environment which time and
circumstance gave him; he needs the historical background, furnished in
part by his contemporaries, some of whom were rivals with whom he had
often to struggle to make his way. In recounting this history, in many
cases hitherto unwritten, we must recognize the proverbial difficulty
of tracing human motives to their proper source, and endeavor to form
no harsh judgments without ample basis in documentary or other evidence.

No more ardent and loyal American than John James Audubon ever lived.
His adopted country, which he would fain have believed to have been
that of his actual birth, was ever his chief passion and pride, and
for him the only abode of sweet content. Few have seen more of it, of
its diversified races, climates and coasts, its grand mountains, its
noble lakes and rivers, its virgin forests and interminable prairies,
with all the marvelous stores of animal and plant life which were first
truly revealed to the pioneer woodsman, artist and naturalist. None has
been more eager to hand down to posterity, ere it be too late, a true
transcript of its wild and untameable nature while, as he would say,
still fresh from the Creator's own hand. Audubon's beneficent influence
during his long enforced residence abroad, as a representative of
American energy and capacity, can hardly be measured, while in his own
land few were more potent in bringing the nation to a consciousness of
its unique individuality and power.

Audubon, as has been said, saw nature vividly colored by his own
enthusiasm, and he never looked at her "through the spectacles of
books." His writings, however unpolished or written with whatever
degree of speed, have the peculiar quality of awakening enthusiasm in
the reader, who, like the youth poring over _Robinson Crusoe_, feels
within him a new ardor, in this instance, for hunting and studying birds
and for leading a life of adventure in the wilderness. It would be as
unjust to judge of Audubon's rare abilities as a descriptive writer
from the letters, journal jottings and miscellaneous extracts given
in this work, as to weigh his accomplishments as an artist from his
itinerary portraits or his early sketches of animals in crayon point
and pastel. Those cruder products of his pen and brush, however, as
the reader will find, possess a high degree of interest from the light
which they throw on the development of his character and art, as well
as from their personal and historical associations. His best and only
finished literary work, the _Ornithological Biography_, in five large
volumes, with the revisions and additions which later appeared, abound
in animated pictures of primitive nature and pioneer life in America as
well as vivid portraits of the birds and other characteristic animals.

A good illustration of Audubon's habit of blending his own experiences
with his biographies of birds is found in the introduction to his
account of the Common Gannet:

     On the morning of the 14th of June 1833, the white sails of
     the Ripley were spread before a propitious breeze, and onward
     she might be seen gaily wending her way towards the shores
     of Labrador. We had well explored the Magdalene Islands, and
     were anxious to visit the Great Gannet Rock, where, according
     to our pilot, the birds from which it derives its name bred.
     For several days I had observed numerous files proceeding
     northward, and marked their mode of flight while thus
     travelling. As our bark dashed through the heaving billows, my
     anxiety to reach the desired spot increased. At length, about
     ten o'clock, we discerned at a distance a white speck, which
     our pilot assured us was the celebrated rock of our wishes.
     After a while I could distinctly see its top from the deck,
     and thought that it was still covered with snow several feet
     deep. As we approached it, I imagined that the atmosphere
     around was filled with flakes, but on my turning to the pilot,
     who smiled at my simplicity, I was assured that nothing was
     in sight but the Gannets and their island home. I rubbed my
     eyes, took up my glass, and saw that the strange dimness of
     the air before us was caused by the innumerable birds, whose
     white bodies and black-tipped pinions produced a blended tint
     of light-grey. When we had advanced to within half a mile,
     this magnificent veil of floating Gannets was easily seen,
     now shooting upwards, as if intent on reaching the sky, then
     descending as if to join the feathered masses below, and again
     diverging toward either side and sweeping over the surface of
     the ocean. The Ripley now partially furled her sails, and lay
     to, when all on board were eager to scale the abrupt side of
     the mountain isle, and satisfy their curiosity.[2]

Audubon's accounts of the birds are copious, interesting and generally
accurate, considering the time and circumstances in which they were
produced. When at his best, his pictures were marvels of fidelity and
close observation, and in some of his studies of mammals, like that of
the raccoon (see p. 182), in which seemingly every hair is carefully
rendered, we are reminded of the work of the old Dutch masters and of
Albrecht Dürer; notwithstanding such attention to microscopic detail,
there is no flatness, but the values of light and shade are perfectly
rendered. In his historical survey of American ornithology, Elliott
Coues was fully justified in designating the years 1824-1853 as
representing the "Audubonian Epoch," and the time from 1834 to its close
as the "Audubonian Period." "The splendid genius of the man, surmounting
every difficulty and discouragement of the author, had found and claimed
its own.... Audubon and his work were one; he lived in his work, and in
his work will live forever."[3]

There is no doubt that Audubon regarded an honest man as the
quintessence of God's works, and though he sometimes set down statements
which do not square with known facts, this was often the result
of lax habits, or of saying what was uppermost in his mind without
retrospection or analysis. When memory failed or when more piquancy and
color were needed, he may have been too apt to resort to varnish, but
for everything written on the spot his mind was as truth-telling as his
pictures. In considering the good intent of the man, his extraordinary
capacity for taking pains, and his vast accomplishments, criticism
on this score seems rather captious. On the other hand, when it came
to dealing with his own early life, that was a subject upon which he
reserved the right to speak according to his judgment, and in a way
which will be considered later.

Audubon left England to settle his family finally in America in the
autumn of 1839, when he was fifty-four years old, and since he lived but
twelve years longer, probably few are now living who retain more than a
childish memory of his appearance in advanced age. Many Londoners will
recall an odd character, an aged print dealer who used to sit alone,
like a hoary spider in its web, in his little shop in Great Russell
Street, close to the British Museum, and another of similar type, who
may still haunt a better known landmark, the old "naturalist's shop"
in Oxford Street, not far from Tottenham Court Road and but a minute's
walk from the spot where most of Audubon's _Birds_ were engraved. Both
had seen the naturalist walk the streets of London and had known him in
business relations. He occasionally strolled into the old naturalist's
shop, which has been occupied by father and son for nearly a century.
The son, then a young clerk, is now (1913) the crabbed veteran who still
waits on customers but never waits long; should you hazard a question
before making a purchase, he will roar like the captain of a ship and
leave you to your own devices; but show him money and the change in
his demeanor is wonderful; his hearing improves, his tone softens,
and he may recount for you what he remembers of times long past, which
is not much. Audubon in the thirties seemed to him like an aged man,
an impression quite natural to a youth. He also remembered seeing
Charles Waterton, Audubon's declared enemy and supercilious critic,
William Swainson, his one-time friend, and William MacGillivray, his
eminent assistant; that they were great rivals expressed the sum of
his reflections. He recalled the time when Oxford Street was filled,
as he expressed it, with horses and donkeys, and of course knew well
the old Zoölogical Gallery, No. 79 Newman Street, in which for a time
Robert Havell & Son conducted a shop in connection with their printing
and engraving establishment. The latter, when moved by Robert Havell,
Jr., to No. 77 Oxford Street, was nearly opposite the old Pantheon,
which still lingers, and not far from the corner of Wrisley Street, the
present site of Messrs. Waring & Gillow's large store.

We already possess several biographies of Audubon, and many of his
letters of a personal or scientific interest and most of his extant
journals, though but a fraction of those which originally existed,
have been published. "America, my Country," has not forgotten
him. Mount Audubon rises on the northerly bound of Colorado as an
everlasting reminder of the last and grandest of all his journeys,
that to the Missouri River in 1843. American counties and towns,[4]
as well as parks and streets in American cities, bear his name. At
least four of his beloved birds have been dedicated to him. In 1885,
thirty-four years after his death, the New York Academy of Sciences
began a popular movement through which a beautiful cross in marble
was raised in 1893 above his grave in Trinity Cemetery.[5] The "one
hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary"[6] of the naturalist's birth was
celebrated in New York in 1905, and at the American Museum of Natural
History an admirable marble bust of Audubon was unveiled on a notable
occasion, December 29, 1906, when similar honors were paid to Louis
Agassiz, Spencer Fullerton Baird, Edward Drinker Cope, James Dwight
Dana, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Henry, Joseph Leidy, John Torrey, and
Alexander von Humboldt. On November 26, 1910, a statue of Audubon,
after an admirable design by the veteran sculptor, Edward Virginius
Valentine, of Richmond, Virginia, was unveiled in Audubon Park, New
Orleans, where the naturalist, with pencil in hand, is represented in
the act of transferring to paper the likeness of a favorite subject. He
also occupies a niche in the Hall of Fame at New York University.


     Published by courtesy of Mr. Stanley Clisby Arthur.]


     Published by courtesy of the Corporation of Trinity Parish, New
     York City.]

In recent times Audubon's name has become a household word through the
medium of the most effective instrument which has yet been devised for
the conservation of animal life in this or any country, the National
Association of Audubon Societies for the Protection of Wild Birds and
Animals. This has become the coördinating center for the spread and
control of a great national movement that received its first impulse
in 1886.[7] Launched anew ten years later, it has advanced with ever
increasing momentum, until now it is the governing head of twenty-nine
distinct State societies, as well as eighty-five affiliated clubs and
similar organizations. In 1916 it counted a life membership of 356,
with 3,024 sustaining members, and realized a total income of over
$100,000. It should be added that during the past six years over 2,900
Junior Audubon Clubs have been formed in the schools, through which
nearly 600,000 children have been instructed in the principles of the
Audubon Society. Well may it be that this admirable organization, with
its successful efforts for remedial legislation in state and nation;
its initiative, with the aid of the National Government, in establishing
Federal reservations or sanctuaries for the perpetuation of wild life;
its educational activities through the extension of its influence to
the pupils of the public schools; and its watch and ward over all the
varied interests of its cause, will keep the name of Audubon greener to
all future time than the most cherished of his works.

Of Audubon's works the public now sees but little and knows even less,
all without exception having been long out of print. His admirable
plates of birds and mammals have been widely copied and still serve for
the illustration of popular books, but most of his publications were
projected on too large and expensive a scale for general circulation,
having been first sold to subscribers only and often at great cost. No
complete reprint, revision or abridgment of his principal volumes has
been made for half a century (see Bibliography, Appendix V). No complete
bibliography of Audubon has ever been prepared, and none will remain
completed long, for it is hard to imagine a time when comment on his
life, his drawings, and his adventures will altogether cease.

In May, 1834, William MacGillivray, who was assisting him in the
technical parts of the _Ornithological Biography_, suggested that
Audubon write a biography of himself, and predicted a wide popularity
for such a work. Audubon entertained the idea but was then too deeply
immersed in _The Birds of America_ to give it much attention; yet in
1835 he wrote out a short sketch, entitled _Myself_, addressing it in
the fashion of that day to his two sons, and then laid it aside. Mrs.
Audubon evidently had access to this manuscript when the life of her
husband, to be referred to later, was in course of preparation, and
thus it has furnished, directly or indirectly, nearly all that has been
published concerning the naturalist's early life. This fragment, which
extends to about thirty printed pages, was characterized by Audubon as
a "very imperfect (but perfectly correct) account of my early life,"
and though written with an eye to its possible publication, which was
clearly sanctioned, it was evidently never revised. The manuscript
was long lost but eventually was "found in an old book which had been
in a barn on Staten Island for years"; it was first published by the
naturalist's granddaughter, Miss Maria R. Audubon, in 1893, and again in
1898. As will later appear, this account is inaccurate in many important

Audubon expressed the intention of extending his personal history, which
he promised to delineate with a faithfulness equal to that bestowed on
the birds, but the task was never resumed. Yet more than most writers
have done, he wove the incidents of his own career into the pages of
his principal works, and this strong personal flavor added much to their
charm. Unfortunately, in giving such personal or historical details he
is most vulnerable to a critic, who insists first upon accuracy, for
errors of various sorts and confused and conflicting statements are far
too common.

Of the more formal biographies of Audubon, the first to appear was a
slender volume entitled _Audubon: the Naturalist of the New World_,
by Mrs. Horace Stebbing Roscoe St. John, published in England in
1856.[8] In the same year this work was expanded and reissued by the
publishers who at that time had charge of the sale of Audubon's works
in America.[9] The American publishers explained in their edition that
inasmuch as "the fair authoress in preparing her interesting sketch of
Audubon ... appears not to have been aware of the publication of his
second great work, the _Quadrupeds of North America_ (which had not been
advertised, we believe, in Europe) they have taken the liberty of giving
some account of it and making numerous extracts from its pages."[10]
Perhaps the most interesting or valuable things in this little volume
at the present day are the woodcut on the title page showing Audubon's
house on the Hudson as it then appeared, surrounded by tall trees, and,
inserted on a flyleaf, a list of all of Audubon's published works and
the prices at which they could be procured in New York just prior to
the Civil War (see Note, Vol. II, p. 204).

In 1868 there appeared in England a work of combined and confused
authorship, commonly referred to as "Buchanan's _Life of Audubon_," the
"sub-editor," as he called himself, having since become better known
as an original, skilled and prolific writer of verse, drama, fiction
and literary criticism. At that time Robert Buchanan was twenty-six
years old, and had published five volumes of poems in rapid succession,
some of which had been received with favor by the public. A second
and third edition of this _Life_ followed in 1869. Finally the work
was resurrected and again sent to press, unrevised, in 1912, when
it appeared in "Everyman's Library," at a shilling a copy, with an
introduction which had served as a review of the work in 1869.

A recent biographer of Alexander Wilson speaks of Buchanan as
"commissioned by Mrs. Audubon to write her husband's life," but the
lady herself, as well as Buchanan, has told a different story. It seems
that in about the year 1866, Mrs. Audubon prepared, "with the aid of
a friend," an extended memoir of her husband, which was offered to an
American publisher but without success. The "friend," at whose home
Mrs. Audubon was then living, was the Rev. Charles Coffin Adams,[11]
rector of St. Mary's Church, Manhattanville, now 135th, Street, New
York. The Adams manuscript, which consisted chiefly of a transcript
from the naturalist's journals, then in possession of his wife, was
completed presumably in 1867. In the summer of that year it was placed
in the hands of the London publishers, Messrs. Sampson Low, Son, &
Marston, who without any authority turned it over to one of their
hard-pressed, pot-boiling retainers, Robert Buchanan, poet and young man
of genius. Buchanan boiled down the original manuscript, as he said,
to one-fifth of its original compass, cutting out what he regarded as
prolix or unnecessary and connecting "the whole with some sort of a
running narrative."[12] Mrs. Audubon was unable to recover her property
from either publishers or editor or to obtain any satisfaction for its
unwarranted use. Whatever defects the Adams memoir may have possessed,
this is much to be regretted, since, as her granddaughter has said, Mrs.
Audubon had at her command many valuable documents, the originals of
which have since been destroyed.

Buchanan, like Audubon, had been reared in comparative luxury, "the
spoiled darling of a loving mother." After the failure of his father
in various newspaper enterprises about four years before this time,
he had gone up to London with but few shillings in his pocket and had
begun life there literally in a garret. The reflection that Audubon
had fought a similar but much harder battle in that same London thirty
years before, and won, should possibly have awakened in him a somewhat
friendlier spirit than was then displayed. It must be admitted,
however, that Buchanan produced a very readable story, although there
was not a word in his whole book which showed any real sympathy with
Audubon's lifelong pursuits, any knowledge of ornithology, or any
interest in natural science. Though expressing unbounded admiration for
the naturalist, his foibles and faults seem to have hidden from this
biographer the true value of his distinguished services. In respect to
a knowledge of natural history it should be added that Buchanan laid
no claims, and of Audubon's accomplishments in this field comparatively
little was said, the book, like the Adams' manuscript from which it was
drawn, being mainly composed of extracts from the naturalist's private
journals and "Episodes," as he called his descriptive papers. It was
here that Audubon made the strongest appeal to this literary editor,
who concluded his preface with the following words of praise: "Some of
his reminiscences of adventure ... seem to me to be quite as good, in
vividness of presentment and careful colouring, as anything I have ever

Buchanan dilated on Audubon's pride, vanity and self-conceit, faults
which may have belonged to his youth but which were never mentioned by
his intimate friends and contemporaries except under conditions which
reflected rather unfavorably upon themselves. Complaints on this score
were spread broadcast by reviewers of this work, seventeen years after
the naturalist's death and with the suddenness of a new discovery. They
were undoubtedly based on the unconscious and allowable egotisms of
such personal records as Audubon habitually made for the members of his
family when time and distance kept them asunder. Vanity and selfishness
could have formed no essential parts of a character that merited the
eulogy which follows:

     Audubon was a man of genius, with the courage of a lion and
     the simplicity of a child. One scarcely knows which to admire
     most—the mighty determination which enabled him to carry
     out his great work in the face of difficulties so huge, or
     the gentle and guileless sweetness with which he throughout
     shared his thoughts and aspirations with his wife and
     children. He was more like a child at the mother's knee, than
     a husband at the hearth—so free was the prattle, so thorough
     the confidence. Mrs. Audubon appears to have been a wife in
     every respect worthy of such a man; willing to sacrifice her
     personal comfort at any moment for the furtherance of his
     great schemes; ever ready to kiss and counsel when such were
     most needed; never failing for a moment in her faith that
     Audubon was destined to be one of the great workers of the

No one will deny, however, that Buchanan was right in saying that in
order to get a man like Audubon understood, all domestic partiality, the
bane of much biography, must be put aside; but it is equally important
to make such allowances as the manifold circumstances of time and place
demand, and to be a reasoner rather than a fancier. This work abounds in
errors, but it is not clear to what extent they were due to carelessness
on Buchanan's part.

It was certainly a mistake to attribute Buchanan's attitude to
partiality for Alexander Wilson, who, like himself, was a Scotchman. It
was a case of temperament only, for gloom and poverty had embittered
his life. As his sister-in-law and biographer[14] said of him, "he
was doomed to much ignoble pot-boiling.... He had few friends and many
enemies," and "had received from the world many cruel blows," while "no
man needed kindness so much and received so little." Perhaps the best
key to the sad history of this able writer was given by himself when
he said: "It is my vice that I must love a thing wholly, or dislike
it wholly." His wife, we are told, was much like himself, and "like a
couple of babies they muddled through life, tasting of some of its joys,
but oftener of its sorrows." Undoubtedly Robert Buchanan was a genuine
lover of truth and beauty; he has written numerous sketches of birds and
outdoor scenes, but with no suggestion of nature as serving any other
purpose than that of supplying a poet with bright and pleasing images.

It was with the purpose of correcting the false impressions created
by animadversions in Buchanan's _Life_ that Mrs. Audubon, with the aid
of her friend, James Grant Wilson, revised this work and published it
in America under her name as editor, in 1869. The changes then made
in Buchanan's text, however, were of a minor character and most of its
errors remained uncorrected. The naturalist's granddaughter, Miss Maria
R. Audubon, was inspired in part by similar feelings in preparing,
with the aid of Dr. Elliott Coues, her larger and excellent work in two
volumes, entitled _Audubon and His Journals_, which appeared in 1898.
To her all admirers of Audubon owe a debt of gratitude for giving to the
world for the first time a large part of his extant journals, as well
as many new facts bearing upon his life and character. Other briefer
biographies of Audubon which have appeared have been taken so completely
from the preceding works, and have repeated and extended their errors
to such an extent, as to call for little or no comment either here or
in the pages which follow.

Through the discovery in France of new documentary evidence in
surprising abundance we are obliged to draw conclusions contrary to
those which have hitherto been accepted, and the new light thus obtained
enables us to form a more accurate and just judgment of Audubon the man,
and of his work.



     Extraordinary career of the naturalist's father—Wounded at
     fourteen and prisoner of war for five years in England—Service
     in the French merchant marine and navy—Voyages to Newfoundland
     and Santo Domingo—His marriage in France—His sea fights,
     capture and imprisonment in New York—His command at the Battle
     of Yorktown—Service in America and encounters with British

Few names of purely Gallic origin are today better known in America, or
touch a more sympathetic chord of human interest, than that of Audubon,
and few, we might also add, are so rare. John James Audubon first made
his family name known to all the world, and though he left numerous
descendants, it has become well nigh extinct in America, and is far
from common in France. The great Paris directory frequently contains no
entry under this head; Nantes knows his name no longer, and it is rare
in the marshes of La Vendée, where at some remote period it may have

The lists of the army of five thousand which Rochambeau's fleet brought
to our aid in the American War of Independence show but a single variant
of this euphonious patronym, in Pierre Audibon,[15] a soldier in the
regiment of Touraine, who was born at Montigny in 1756; but in the
fleet of the Count de Grasse which coöperated with our land-forces at
the Battle of Yorktown, on October 19, 1781, a ship was commanded by an
officer with whom we are more intimately concerned. This was Captain
Jean Audubon, who was later to become the father of America's pioneer
woodsman, ornithologist and animal painter.

By birth a Vendean, at the age of thirty-seven Jean Audubon had plowed
the seas of half the world, and in the course of his checkered career,
as sailor, soldier, West Indian planter and merchant, had met enough
adventure to furnish the materials for a whole series of dime novels.
Short of stature, with auburn hair and a fiery temper, he was then as
stubborn and fearless an opponent as one could meet on the high seas,
and one of the gamest fighting cocks of the French merchant marine. How
much Jean Audubon's son owed to his French Creole mother will never be
known, but to this self-taught, thoroughly capable, and enterprising
sailor we can surely trace his restless activity, his versatile mind
and mercurial temper, as well as an inherent capacity for taking pains,
which father and son possessed to a marked degree.

The true story of Jean Audubon's career has never been told, but even
at this late day it will be found an interesting human document; and
what is more to our purpose, it throws into sharp outline much that
has hitherto remained obscure in the life of his remarkable son. The
first Audubon to leave any imprint, however faint, upon the history of
his time, this honest, matter-of-fact sailor, would have been the last
to wish to appear in the garb of fiction, and we shall base our story
solely upon the unimpeachable testimony of public and private records,
which researches in France had happily brought to light before the
beginning of the war in 1914.[16]

Jean Audubon came by his sailor's instincts and fighting prowess
naturally, for his father, Pierre Audubon of Les Sables d'Olonne, was
a seaman by trade. Like his son he captained his own vessel, and for
years made long voyages between French ports in both the old and the new
worlds. Pierre Audubon, the paternal grandfather of John James Audubon,
and the first of that name of whom we have found any record,[17]
lived at Les Sables d'Olonne, where with Marie Anne Martin, his wife,
he reared a considerable family in the first half of the eighteenth

Les Sables, at the time of which we speak, was a small fishing and
trading port on the Bay of Biscay, fifty miles to the southwest of
Nantes, but is now become a city of over twenty thousand people. Lying
on the westerly verge of the Marais, or salt marshes and lakes of La
Vendée, the inhabitants of the district, and more particularly of the
_Bocage_, or plantations, to the north and northeast, were noted from
an early day for their conservatism, as shown in a firm adherence to
ancient law and custom, as well as for their unswerving loyalty to the
old nobility and to the clergy. Like their Breton neighbors on the other
side of the Loire, the Vendeans were honest, industrious, and faithful
to their civic obligations; they were also independent, resourceful,
and knew no fear. When the neighboring city of Nantes planted trees of
liberty and displayed the National colors in 1789, the Vendeans were
stirred to indignation and later to arms, while the Chouans on the
right bank of the river were quick to follow their example; in short,
the rebels of La Vendée raised such a storm that for months the very
existence of the infant Republic was threatened. This spirit of revolt
to the newer order, the _Chouanerie_, as it came to be called, was
stamped out for the time, but a few smoldering embers always remained,
ready to burst into flame at the slightest provocation; recrudescent
symptoms of this tendency had to be suppressed even as late as 1830,
when Charles X, the last Bourbon king, lost his crown. Pierre Audubon's
family, no doubt, shared many characteristics of their Vendean and
Breton neighbors, but as the sequel will show, one at least did not
approve of their political course, for he took up arms against them,
and presumably against many of his own kith and kin.

Jean Audubon was born at Les Sables on October 11, 1744, and was
christened on the same day, his godfather being Claude Jean Audubon,
in all probability an uncle after whom he was named, and his godmother,
Catharine Martin, presumably an aunt. Twenty-one children, according to
the naturalist, blessed the union of Pierre Audubon and his wife, and
were reared to maturity. Whether this statement is strictly accurate,
or what became of so large a family cannot now be ascertained.[18]

Pierre Audubon was engaged by the French Government to transport the
necessities of war to Cape Breton Island in 1757, when the world-wide
struggle between France and Great Britain for supremacy in the New
World was at hand. The French were determined at all hazards to hold
their great fortress of Louisburg, which had been taken by the English
but again restored to the French not many years before. This was the
strongest and most costly fortress on the American continent, as well as
a great center for the valuable trade in salted fish. By a coincidence,
or possibly out of compliment to his wife, Pierre's ship bore the name
of _La Marianne_, and when he sailed from his home port of Les Sables
d'Olonne on April 15, 1757, he took with him his own son, Jean, as
cabin-boy, when the lad was but thirteen years old. In the following
May Great Britain threw down the gauntlet to France, and the terrific
seven years' struggle began. The great fortress of Louisburg fell in
the following year to the English fleet, and was left a heap of ruins.
His father's ship, the _Mary Ann_, was involved, and young Jean Audubon,
who thus began his fighting career at fourteen, was wounded in the left
leg and made a prisoner. With many of his compatriots he was taken to
England, landing on November 14, 1758, where he remained in captivity
for five years; he was released but a short time before the treaty of
peace was signed at Paris, February 10, 1763. Apart from her interests
in the West Indies, France was stripped at this time of all her vast
possessions in America, save only the two little islands of Saint Pierre
and Miquelon.

Whether Pierre Audubon shared the fate of his son we are unable to say,
for at this point he drops out of our records and we do not hear of him
again. It is certain that he never made another voyage with Jean, who
returned to his native town with his passion for the sea unabated, and
at nineteen reëntered the merchant marine as a novice. His next voyage,
on the ship _La Caille_, Captain Pigeon, was to execute a governmental
commission at the Island of Miquelon. Five golden years of his youth had
been spent in captivity; if productive of nothing else they had given
him a knowledge of the English tongue, but they had also engendered
bitter hatred of the English race, a feeling which his son confessed to
have shared in his youthful days.[19]

The period from 1766 to 1768 was occupied in four voyages to
Newfoundland, probably in the interest of the codfish trade, first as
sailor before the mast in _Le Printemps_, and then as lieutenant in a
ship called also _La Marianne_, with alternate sailings from, and to, La
Rochelle and Les Sables d'Olonne. On his third voyage to Newfoundland,
which was made in 1767, when he was twenty-three years old, Jean Audubon
ranked as lieutenant of his vessel, but in the summer of 1768 he shipped
again from Les Sables as sailor before the mast for a short trading
cruise on the coast of France; in this instance the vessel, called _Le
Propre_, was captained by Pierre Martin, who was possibly an uncle. At
this juncture Jean Audubon enlisted in the French navy (service for
the State) as a common sailor, and made two voyages on governmental
business from the port of Rochefort, serving altogether nearly nine
months (1768-9). After the termination of this last engagement nothing
is heard of Jean for over a year, when in 1770 he makes his first
appearance at Nantes, the city that was to know him in many capacities
for nearly half a century. There he reëntered the merchant marine, and
on November 1, 1770, began a series of eight voyages, lasting as many
years, to the island of Santo Domingo, the western section of which was
then in possession of France.

Since much of the mystery which hitherto has shrouded the early life of
John James Audubon is involved in the West Indian period of his father's
career, we shall now trace this history in considerable detail.

The great export trade of French Santo Domingo in those days was in
brown and white sugar, then known as the "Muscovado" and "clayed" sorts,
which for the year 1789 amounted to over 141,000,000 pounds, valued
at more than 122,000,000 francs; and in coffee, which in the same
year totaled nearly 77,000,000 pounds, estimated to be worth nearly
52,000,000 francs.[20] While all such estimates were no doubt very
crude, they serve to illustrate the richness of the prize that attracted
Frenchmen by hundreds to the colony, an island that to many seemed a
paradise in prospect, but which proved to be a purgatory in disguise.

Jean Audubon's voyages were all made in the interest of this valuable
trade. Since they commonly lasted from six months to nearly a year,
they became doubly hazardous to a French sailor after the outbreak of
the American Revolution, for if he escaped his Scylla, the inveterate
pirate, he might expect to encounter an equally formidable Charybdis
in an English privateer. Though the northwestern corner of Santo
Domingo was the center of their forays, Jean never lost a ship to
the buccaneers, and though sometimes caught by the English, he never
surrendered. He made three successive voyages from 1770 to 1772 in _La
Dauphine_, commanded by Jean Pallueau, first as lieutenant and later as
captain of the second grade, but on his last five voyages to the West
Indies he captained his own ships, known as _Le Marquis de Lévy_ (1774),
_Les Bons Amis_ (1775-6), and _Le Comte d'Artois_ (1777-8).

Captain Audubon was married on August 24, 1772, at Paimbœuf, to Anne
Moynet,[21] a widow of some property, who had been born at Nantes in
1735 and was thus nine years his senior. Her married name was Ricordel.
She possessed several houses at Paimbœuf, and acquired one in 1777,
which was rented to the Administration at the time of the Revolution
(see Vol. I, p. 80), as well as a dwelling at Nantes, where she lived
while her roving sailor of a husband was in Santo Domingo or the United
States. Madame Audubon was a woman of simple tastes, devoted to culture,
and, as we shall see, possessed of a kind heart.

When Captain Audubon left Les Cayes, Santo Domingo, on his last trading
voyage, in the spring of 1779, bound for Nantes with a valuable cargo,
his ship, _Le Comte d'Artois_, was attacked by four British corsairs
and two galleys. With the odds overwhelmingly against him, he fought
until his crew were nearly all killed or disabled, and after an abortive
attempt to blow up his vessel, tried to escape in his shallop. For the
second time he was made a prisoner by the English, who in this instance
took him to New York, then in the possession of British troops. He was
landed in that city on May 12, 1779, and was held there as a prisoner
of war for thirteen months. If our inference be correct, he finally
owed his release to the efforts of the French Ambassador, Monsieur
de la Luzerne, the same, we believe, who had been a Governor of Santo
Domingo, and who in 1790 became its Minister of Marine. As will be seen
presently, this diplomat again exerted himself in Captain Audubon's

It is interesting to find that on this occasion Jean Audubon was
fighting not only for his life, but for his property. His vessel, _Le
Comte d'Artois_, was very heavily armed. Though of only 250 tons, she
carried no less than ten cannon, four of which were mounted on gun
carriages, and ten bronze pivot guns, which might imply that she was
originally designed as a privateer. The ship was not destroyed when her
captain was made prisoner, but was taken by the English to Portsmouth,
New Hampshire (?), and burned there before December 15 of the following
year.[22] Before starting on this disastrous voyage Captain Audubon had
sold the vessel and his interest in her cargo to the Messrs. Lacroix,
Formon de Boisclair and Jacques, with whom later he had extensive
dealings in slaves; but he was not paid, and though an indemnity seems
to have come from the British Government, he was never able to obtain
a satisfactory settlement of the Formon claim.[23]

Jean Audubon's release from captivity in New York, in June, 1780,
probably marks the period of his first intimate acquaintance with the
United States. We know only that he did not return immediately to either
Santo Domingo or France, but became an enthusiast for the American
cause, and sought the earliest opportunity to avenge his wrongs at the
hands of the British. He did not have long to wait, for through the
exertions of the Ambassador de la Luzerne, he was placed in command
of the corvette _Queen Charlotte_. With her, in October, 1781, he
joined the fleet of the Count de Grasse before Yorktown,[24] where he
soon witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis and the humiliation of his
enemies. After this turning point of the war Captain Audubon remained
in the United States, and in April, 1782, commanded a merchantman
called _L'Annette_,[25] in which he was also personally interested, and
delivered a cargo of Virginia tobacco at the port of Nantes. Shortly
after his return to America in the same year he was placed in command
of an American armed vessel _The Queen_ and sent on another mission
to France. Near the Chaussée des Saints he was attacked by a British
privateer, but after a stubborn fight at close quarters he sank his
enemy and entered the port of Brest. Nothing is said of the taking of
prisoners on such occasions, and there were doubtless few survivors
among the defeated crew. This command Jean Audubon held until peace was
concluded between Great Britain and her former colonies in America,
probably until the close of 1783. The hostile army was disbanded in
the spring of that year, the treaty of peace was made definitive in
September, and on November 25, 1783, the last British troopers left the
city of New York.



     Captain Audubon at Les Cayes—As planter, sugar refiner,
     general merchant and slave dealer, amasses a fortune—His
     return to France with his children—History of the Santo
     Domingo revolt—Baron de Wimpffen's experience—Revolution
     of the whites—Opposition of the abolitionists—Effect of
     the Declaration of Rights on the mulattoes—The General
     Assembly drafts a new constitution—First blood drawn between
     revolutionists and loyalists at Port-au-Prince—Ogé's futile
     attempt to liberate the mulattoes—Les Cayes first touched by
     revolution in 1790, four years after the death of Audubon's
     mother—Emancipation of the mulattoes—Resistance of the
     whites—General revolt of blacks against whites and the ruin
     of the colony.

After the American struggle for liberty had been finally won, Captain
Audubon resigned his commission held in the United States and returned
to his home at Nantes, but town or country could not hold him long.
Lured by the prospects of great wealth which Santo Domingo offered to
the merchant of those days, and having learned by long experience in her
ports the devious methods by which fortunes were attained, he decided
to give up the sea and embark in colonial trade. For six years, from
1783 to 1789, he lived almost continuously in the West Indies, and
as merchant, planter, and dealer in slaves amassed a large fortune.
Meanwhile his wife, who had seen little of him since their marriage in
1772, remained at Nantes.

Captain Audubon traveled through the United States early in 1789, and
again late in that year when on his way to France, probably in the
first instance returning to Santo Domingo by way of the Ohio and the
Mississippi. Symptoms of unrest were already prevalent in the northern
provinces of the island but had caused no serious alarm in the south.
Jean Audubon's aim seems to have been to collect debts due him in the
United States and to leave the capital invested there. At all events it
was on this occasion that he purchased the farm of "Mill Grove," near
Philadelphia, the history of which will be given a little later (see
Chapter VII). He had no intention, however, of living in Pennsylvania,
for he immediately leased this estate to its former owner and hurried

July 14, 1789, found the elder Audubon enlisted as a soldier in
the National Guards at Les Cayes. These colonial troops, which were
originally militia organizations modeled after similar bodies in France,
were reorganized at this time to meet any possible emergencies. Affairs
in the southern provinces of Santo Domingo had followed, up to this
moment, their normal course, and Jean Audubon, who could have learned
nothing of what had transpired at home, decided to entrust his various
interests to the hands of agents and return to France. This was probably
in late August or early September, 1789, as we know that he first
returned to the United States and visited Richmond, Virginia, at the
close of that year.[26] Strangely enough, on the twentieth day of the
former month the National Assembly at Paris had voted the celebrated
Declaration of Rights, which was destined to upturn the whole social
system of Santo Domingo and to convert that island into a purgatory
of the direst anarchy, strife, and bloodshed which the world had ever
known, or at least remembered; but fully six weeks must have elapsed
before news of this grave decision could have reached the colony.

At this time Jean Audubon was no doubt regarded as a very rich man, and
though he happened to leave Les Cayes at a critical moment, little could
he have dreamed of the disaster that awaited him there as well as in
his beloved France. His personal affairs during this eventful period,
involving as they necessarily do the early life of his distinguished
son, have hitherto been shrouded in the dark and sinister history of
that ever smiling but ever turbulent island. Now, however, the veil
of mist that has settled over the page can be penetrated at the most
important points. In this and subsequent chapters we shall follow the
life of father and son through the course of events which has been thus
briefly summarized.

To return to the earlier threads of our narrative, at about the close
of 1783, Captain Audubon was engaged by the Coirond brothers, colonial
merchants at Nantes, to take charge of their foreign trade, which
centered chiefly at Les Cayes,[27] Santo Domingo, then a most thriving
and populous town, as it is today the largest seaport on the southern
coast of the Republic of Haiti. Their ships brought sugar, coffee,
cotton and other West Indian products to France, and laden with fabrics,
wines and every luxury known to the colonists of that day, returned to
Les Cayes, as well as to Saint Louis, an important port a little farther
to the east, where these merchants also possessed warehouses and stores.

In a short time Jean Audubon had acquired an independent business of his
own, both as a planter and merchant. He made his home at Les Cayes, but
extended his enterprises to Saint Louis and possibly to other points.
From this time onward he commonly described himself as _négotiant_,[28]
or merchant, and his son, when writing to his father from America,
addressed him in this way. His business letters and other documents of
the period refer to his house at Les Cayes, his plantations of cane and
his sugar refinery, his exportation of colonial wares, his purchases
of French goods, particularly at Nantes, and to his trade in black
slaves which eventually assumed large proportions. How important his
sugar plantations may have been is not known, but a tax-receipt shows
that at one time he possessed forty-two slaves.[29] The naturalist said
that his father acquired a plantation on the Ile à Vaches, an island of
considerable importance at the southern bound of the roadstead of Les
Cayes and nine miles from the town, but we have found no other reference
to it.

Great numbers of negroes must have passed through Jean Audubon's hands,
as shown by his bills of sale, which strangely reflect the customs of a
much later and sadder day on the North American continent (see Appendix
I, Documents Nos. 4-6). In one of these bills, dated at Les Cayes,
September 16, 1785, Jean is credited with one-half the net proceeds of
the sale of forty negroes, bought originally of M. Th. Johnston for the
sum of 60,000 francs, and sold by Jean Audubon and Messrs. La Croix,
Formon & Jacques for 71,552 francs; after deducting 183 francs for food
and treatment, the net returns became 71,369 francs, and Jean's profits,
on a half-interest basis, 5,684 francs, or about 142 francs per head.
The prices of these slaves, which were sold to planters on the island
when not retained for their own use, ranged from 1,500 to 2,100 francs,
or from $300 to $420, at the present rate of exchange. It is interesting
to notice that while these negroes were held for sale, the exact period
of which is not stated, they received as food eighty bunches of bananas
and three beef heads; though under the care of a physician, it is not
surprising to find that one of them died. Another bill, bearing date
of August 7, 1785, records the sale to Jean Audubon of ten negroes and
three negresses for a total sum of 26,000 francs; 16,000 francs of this
amount was paid in sugar, but what is particularly interesting now is
the fact that a balance of 2,000 francs was finally cancelled on June
9, 1788, a year or more after Jean Audubon, according to the accepted
accounts, is supposed to have lost his wife and his property and to have
fled from the island. Mme. Anne Moynet Audubon never visited America,
and her husband, as we have seen, left Santo Domingo in 1789, before
the outbreak of the revolution. His property remained substantially
intact until after 1792, and in some years, it is believed, yielded
him in rents 90,000 francs, which at present rates in American money
would be equivalent to $18,000. In giving his certificate of residence
at Nantes in that eventful year, Captain Audubon publicly declared that
he possessed a dwelling, a sugar refinery, and warehouses or stores at
both Les Cayes and Saint Louis. Moreover, his West Indian estate was
not completely settled until 1820, two years after his death.



     After photographs made at Les Cayes in June, 1917, and obtained
     through the kindness of Mr. Ferdinand Lathrop Mayer, Secretary
     of Legation, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.]

Slaves were regarded in Santo Domingo as an indispensable commodity,
as they had been in Virginia and the Carolinas for a century past, and
were still to be for three-quarters of a century to come; the "friends
of the blacks" as the abolitionists were called, were considered by
most planters as the enemies of the whites. Degradation and cruelty,
ever attendant upon a system that drew its chief support from the
self-interest of a class, were all too common in the island, yet there
were many who earnestly strove to soften the lot of their slaves.
Though a born fighter, Jean Audubon was humane, and the evidence, so
far as it goes, shows that his own slaves were treated with kindness
and consideration.

This period in Santo Domingo, particularly from the year 1785 to 1789,
not only is important for our story, but happened to mark a crisis
in French sovereignty in America. It will be necessary, therefore, to
follow certain events in a history which can serve only as a warning
to mankind, for it contains little to satisfy the understanding and
nothing to excite the fancy or gladden the heart. It is to be noticed
first, however, that according to the accepted accounts, John James
Audubon was born of a Spanish creole mother, in Louisiana, in 1780.
Shortly after his birth, his mother is said to have gone to Santo
Domingo, where she perished in a local uprising of the blacks, when Jean
Audubon's plantations and property were totally destroyed; Jean managed
to escape with only his two children, a few faithful slaves, and a
part of his money and valuables, to New Orleans, whence he subsequently
went to France. Investigation of existing records has proved that these
statements are not in accord with the facts, but before entering into
further personal details it will be well to examine those conditions
on the island of Santo Domingo which led many into easy fortune only
to involve them later in a ruin as complete and irretrievable as it was
unforeseen and unnecessary.

For nearly a hundred years the western half of Santo Domingo had been
held by France, and to every outward appearance it had enjoyed such
unbounded and steadily increasing prosperity that it was regarded with
envy on every side; in fine, it seemed to be one of the richest and most
desirable colonies in the whole world. Historians, said an observer
of a later day,[30] were "never weary of enumerating the amount of
its products, the great trade, the warehouses full of sugar, cotton,
coffee, indigo and cocoa; its plains covered with splendid estates, its
hillsides dotted with noble houses; a white population, rich, refined,
enjoying life as only a luxurious colonial society can enjoy it." Few
could then see the foul blot beneath so fair a surface, or realize that
what had been bought by the misery and blood of a prostrate race would
demand an equivalent, and that a settlement might be forced.

Negroes had been imported into Santo Domingo from the African coasts
in incredible numbers, first by Spain after she had succeeded in
exterminating the inoffensive native Caribs, and later by France. One
hundred thousand blacks of all ages were entering the colonies each
year, and to secure this number of _bossals_, as the native Africans
were called, involved the death of nearly as many more, either through
the fighting that preceded their capture on land, or from the terrors
of pestilence or shipwreck that awaited them at sea. By 1790 the blacks
of Santo Domingo outnumbered the whites sixteen to one, and the number
of blacks then in the island was estimated at 480,000, in contrast to
30,800 whites, and about 24,000 free mulattoes or "people of color."

Under French rule the blacks had been subjected, as many believed, to a
system of slavery unsurpassed for cruelty and barbarity. No doubt there
were Frenchmen who, in their fierce struggle to become rich, worked
their slaves beyond human endurance and did not hesitate to terrorize
them with the severest punishment upon the first symptoms of revolt;
but, on the whole, such sweeping denunciations were probably unjust. An
impartial observer and historian of that day, himself an Englishman,[31]
declared that the French treated their slaves quite as well as the
English did theirs, and clothed them better. He believed that the lot of
the Santo Domingo blacks at the period of which we speak would compare
favorably with that of the peasantry of Europe, a comment made familiar
to American ears when applied to the slave population of the South.
The real trouble came from the more enlightened disaffection of the
mulattoes and free negroes, fanned by the fanatic zeal of abolitionists
abroad, particularly of those who formed the society of _Les Amis des
Noirs_ in France, who were determined to carry out their policies by
any means and at whatever cost.

The mulattoes were really in worse plight than the actual slaves,
for they were virtually slaves of the State and had no master to whom
they could appeal, being subject to military service without pay, to
the _corvée_ or labor upon the highways, the hardships of which were
insupportable, as well as to a constant and galling tyranny. The law
was invariably framed in favor of the white man, who, if he struck a
mulatto, was subject to a trivial fine, while retaliation by the man of
color might cost him his right hand. It should be added, however, that
custom was usually more lenient than the law, and that such atrocious
enactments were generally a dead letter.

As might have been expected in the circumstances, the mulattoes took
their revenge on the despised blacks, whom they were permitted to hold
as slaves. They were notoriously the hardest taskmasters in the island,
and in return they were naturally envied and hated by the ignorant mass
of black humanity. The whites, to complete the discord, were divided
among themselves, the Frenchmen from Europe affecting a superiority over
the white Creoles, the seasoned natives of the island, a condition that
never made for good feeling. Moreover, the white planter, who endeavored
to gain a foothold by producing sugar, cotton or coffee, seems to have
had a just grievance against the merchants whom the law favored and
who set the price for negroes and all other commodities that had to be
bought in exchange for produce. Such at least was the conviction and
experience of a keen observer, Francis Alexander Stanislaus, Baron de
Wimpffen,[32] who went to Santo Domingo in 1788, tried to establish
himself as a coffee planter at Jaquemel, on the southern coast not far
from Les Cayes, and after three years of fruitless effort, gave up the
attempt in disgust, glad to escape, as from the flames of purgatory, to
the United States, where he settled in Pennsylvania. Baron de Wimpffen's
lack of success no doubt colored his impressions of the country to some
extent, but after making due allowance on this score, we find in his
letters, beyond a doubt, an essentially true picture of Santo Domingan
society and plantation life at the very time and place with which our
story is most intimately concerned. A sketch of the picture which the
Baron has drawn, though in brief outline, will enable us better to
understand the real condition of affairs.

The prevailing taste in Santo Domingo, according to this observer, was
creolian tinctured with _boucan_, or with the characteristics of the
buccaneers. White society on the island was divided into governmental
or town officials, merchants, and planters, the several classes having
their own interests, which were often conflicting. The planters were
concerned only with negroes, their sugar, their cotton or their coffee,
and could talk of nothing else; values were reckoned in negroes, or in
sugar, for which slaves were commonly exchanged. The laxity of morals,
the absence of schools, and the total lack of books were patent on
every hand. After sunset dancing was the chief form of amusement in the
towns, and handsome mulattoes were the acknowledged Bacchantes of the
island. It was from this class that housekeepers were usually chosen by
the greater part of the unmarried whites. They had "some skill," said
Baron de Wimpffen, "in the management of a family, sufficient honesty
to attach themselves invariably to one man, and great goodness of heart.
More than one European, abandoned by his selfish brethren, has found in
them all the solicitude of the most tender, the most constant, the most
generous humanity, without being indebted for it to any other sentiment
than benevolence."

Expense of cultivation at this time is said to have risen out of all
proportion to the value of the product. While negro service was a prime
necessity to the planter, the African mine was becoming exhausted; even
then slave dealers were penetrating a thousand leagues or more from the
Guinea coast. Added to the cost of slaves, which was yearly increasing
and had already reached to 2,000 or even 3,000 francs per head, the
Government exacted a ruinous capitation tax, which bore with special
weight on the planter.[33] Physicians and lawyers, however ignorant,
exacted exorbitant fees; masons and carpenters, however inefficient,
demanded an unreasonable wage; they, we are told, with the merchant and
official governmental class, were the only money makers on the island.
The merchant whom we have seen taking the planter's produce at his own
price, in exchange for slaves again at his own price, had the advantage
in every business transaction; the planter, as a result, was his chronic
debtor, and at usurious rates.

Subject to an enervating climate, which Europeans with their intemperate
habits could seldom endure for long, the planter, though weak and sick
himself, was often obliged to be overseer, driver, apothecary, and
nurse to his negroes, the slave of his slaves. In spite of every care,
out of one hundred imported negroes the mortality was nearly twenty per
cent in the first year. Where less oversight was given to their food,
the slightest scratch was likely to degenerate into a dangerous wound,
while the most dreaded disease, then known in English as the "yaws" and
in French as _la grosse vérole_ (to distinguish it from the smallpox,
_la petite vérole_), was a scourge for which no remedy had then been
found. Every slave was branded with a hot iron on the breast, with both
the name of his master and that of the parish to which he belonged, but
notwithstanding such precautions desertions were far from uncommon.

The Santo Domingan blacks were put to work in the morning with a crack
of the _arceau_, a short-handled whip, delivered on their backs or
shoulders, and so accustomed had they become to the regularity of this
stimulus that they could hardly be set in motion without it. How to
manage the true _bossal_, as distinguished from the African creole, with
humanity and success was a problem to which many considerate planters
must have addressed themselves in vain, if, as this one declared, the
black's ruling passion was to do nothing, and he was by nature a thief,
to whom indulgence was weakness and injustice a defect of judgment that
excited both his hatred and his contempt.

Stanilaus further observed that the soil of Santo Domingo was then
already becoming exhausted, and he believed that the day of rapid
fortunes for the planter had passed. "Calculate now," said he, "the
privations of every kind, the commercial vicissitudes, the perpetual
apprehensions, the disgusting details, inseparable from the nature of
slavery; the state of languor or anxiety in which he vegetates between
a burning sky, and a soil always ready to swallow him up, and you will
allow with me that there is no peasant, no day-labourer in Europe, whose
condition is not preferable to that of a planter of San Domingo." "I
never met," he adds, "a West Indian in France who did not enumerate to
me with more emphasis than accuracy, the charms of a residence at Saint
Domingo; since I have been here, I have not found a single one who has
not cursed both Saint Domingo, and the obstacles, eternally reviving,
which, from one year to another, prolong his stay in this abode of the

Having followed De Wimpffen to this point, the reader is entitled
to hear his parting epigrams. "The more I know," he said, of the
inhabitants of Saint Domingo, "the more I felicitate myself on quitting
it. I came hither with the _noble_ ambition of occupying myself
solely in acquiring a fortune; but destined to become a master, and
consequently to possess slaves, I saw, in the necessity of living with
them, that of studying them with attention to know them, and I depart
with much less esteem for the one, and pity for the other. When a person
is what the greater part of the planters are, he is made to have slaves;
when he is what the greater part of the slaves are, he is made to have
a master."

Whether Jean Audubon's long experience would have confirmed all that has
just been said is doubtful, for he was primarily a merchant or dealer
and thus belonged to the favored class. But what especially interests
us now is that both he and De Wimpffen were owners of plantations in
the southern province of Santo Domingo at the same time. The one who
wished to retain a valuable property followed the custom of the time by
confiding the management of his affairs to an agent, either at a fixed
salary or on a profit-sharing basis; while the other, who stayed long
enough to discern the trend of events, was glad to sell his land and
his slaves and shake the dust of the island from his feet forever.[34]

Before resuming the intimate details of our narrative, we must follow
the whirlwind of political events already set in motion in the island
colony. In the spring of 1789 the white colonists of Santo Domingo
took administrative matters into their own hands, and without vestige
of legal authority, elected and dispatched eighteen deputies to the
States-General, then sitting in France. These men reached Versailles in
June, a month after that body had declared itself the National Assembly,
but only six were ever admitted to its counsels. For a long time
opposition to the planters had been fomented in Paris by the "Friends of
the Blacks," the abolition society to which we have referred; stories
of cruelty to the slaves, colored and intensified in passing from
mouth to mouth, as invariably happens when atrocity tales are used as
partisan weapons, added to the arrogance and extravagant habits of many
planters when resident in the mother country, did not tend to soften the
prejudice of the public towards their class. The planters could get no
consideration at home, and, as we have seen, the Declaration of Rights
followed promptly in August, while a legislative Assembly was ordered
in September. Meantime the mulattoes on the island were clamoring for
the political rights which the decree had promised them, and, to make
matters worse, some of the influential whites espoused their cause, even
preaching the enfranchisement of the blacks, from whom up to this time
little had been heard. In short, the whites were divided as effectually
as were blacks and mulattoes.

The dominant party in Santo Domingo, led by the Governor-General,
were determined to uphold the old despotic _régime_, while the General
Assembly, which met at Saint Marc in obedience to orders from the mother
country, on April 16, 1790, drafted a new constitution. The clash came
in July of this year, and in the northern province, where the first
blood of the revolution was drawn at Port-au-Prince. On October 12,
1790, James Ogé, a mulatto, inspired, financed and equipped by the
"Friends of the Blacks" in Paris, landed secretly in Santo Domingo,
established a military camp at Cap François and called all mulattoes
to arms. His plan was to wage war on the whites as well as upon all
mulattoes who refused to join his standard of revolt; but Ogé and his
company were quickly suppressed, and this incompetent leader, who fled
to Spanish territory, was later extradited and broken on the wheel.
This episode naturally infuriated the whites against all mulattoes, who
took up arms at Les Cayes and at other points. The whites also armed,
and a skirmish occurred at Les Cayes, Jean Audubon's old home, where
fifty persons on both sides lost their lives, but a temporary truce was
immediately effected. This was the first serious incident in which the
town of Les Cayes figured in the bloody revolution of Santo Domingo;
it occurred, we believe, in the late autumn of 1790. Audubon's mother
had then been dead four years, and her son, the future naturalist, had
left the country in the fall of 1789; in order to bring out these facts
clearly it has seemed necessary to enter into this detail.

Later events in Santo Domingo now moved in a direction and with a
velocity which few then were able to comprehend. The danger and
the potency of the volcano that had long been muttering beneath
their feet needed but a few touches from without to reveal its full
explosive power. These were furnished not only by the mulattoes, many
of whom, after having fought under French officers in the American
Revolution, had returned to the island and there spread wide the
spirit of disaffection and revolt; but also by the National Assembly
in France, which by its vacillating policies destroyed every hope of
reconciliation. In March, 1790, this Assembly granted to the citizens of
Santo Domingo the right of local self-government, but only a year later,
on May 15, 1791, tore up this decree and emancipated the mulattoes. When
the news reached the island six weeks later, the colony was thrown into
the utmost consternation; the whites as a class refused point-blank to
accept the decision and summoned an Assembly of their own, which met
in August. The mulattoes again took up arms, and the blacks, who by
this time had been won to their side, started a general revolt which
had its origin on a plantation called "Noé," in the parish of Acul,
nine miles from Cap François. They began by burning the cane fields
and the sugar houses and murdering their white owners. Thenceforth
Santo Domingan history becomes an intricate and disgusting detail of
conspiracies, treacheries, murders, conflagrations, and atrocities of
every description. The only ray of light comes from the first genuine
leader of the blacks, the gallant but unfortunate Toussaint, in 1793.

As has already been intimated, Jean Audubon's Santo Domingo property
suffered long after he left the island, and certainly after 1792 when,
as we shall soon see, revolutions were demanding his attention and all
his energies at home.



     Les Cayes—Audubon's French Creole mother—His early
     names—Discovery of the Sanson bill with the only record of
     his birth—Medical practice of an early day—Birth of Muguet,
     Audubon's sister—Fougère and Muguet taken to France—Audubon's
     adoption and baptism—His assumed name—Dual personality in
     legal documents—Source of published errors—Autobiographic
     records—Rise of enigma and tradition—The Marigny myth.

Santo Domingo, though repeatedly ravaged by the indiscriminate hand
of man, is a noble and productive land, which, for the diversity and
grandeur of its scenery and the rare beauty of its tropical vegetation,
was justly regarded as one of the garden spots of the West Indies and
worthy to be in truth a "Paradise of the New World." For every lover of
birds and nature this semi-tropical island, and especially Les Cayes,
upon its south-westerly verge in what is now Haiti, will have a peculiar
interest when it is known, that there, amid the splendor of sea and sun
and the ever-glorious flowers and birds, the eyes of America's great
woodsman and pioneer ornithologist first saw the light of day.

Jean Audubon met somewhere in America, and probably at Les Cayes,
a woman whom he has described only as a "creole of Santo Domingo,"
that is, one born on the island and of French parentage, and who is
now known only by the name of Mlle. Rabin.[35] To them was born, at
Les Cayes, a son, on the twenty-sixth of April, 1785. This boy, who
was sometimes referred to in early documents as "Jean Rabin, _créole
de Saint-Domingue_," and who again was called "Fougère" (in English,
"Fern"), received the baptismal name of Jean Jacques Fougère six months
before his sixteenth birthday.

The bill of the physician, Doctor Sanson of Les Cayes, who assisted at
young Audubon's birth still exists, and as the reader will perceive,
it is a highly unique and interesting historical document.[36] Written
in the doctor's own hand, it is receipted by him, as well as approved
and signed by Jean Audubon himself. This tardy discovery, along with
other pertinent records in the commune of Couëron, in France, finally
resolves the mystery which has ever hedged the Melchizedek of American
natural history. The child's name, of course, is not given in the bill,
but authentic records of Audubon's subsequent adoption and baptism agree
so completely in names and dates as to establish his identity beyond a
shadow of doubt. Much other documentary evidence which also has recently
come to light is all in harmony with these facts, and further shows that
the natal spot and time as given in the Sanson bill can refer only to
this talented boy. But before turning to these legal documents we must
examine the personal record of Jean Audubon's physician.

Dr. Sanson's carefully itemized account, to the amount of 1,339 francs,
extends over a period of nearly two years, from December 29, 1783,
to October 19, 1785; it was accepted and signed by Captain Audubon on
October 12, 1786, and receipted by the doctor when paid on June 7, 1787.
The bill is interesting as a commentary on the medical practice of an
early day, as well as for the light which it throws on Jean Audubon's
Santo Domingan career, his establishment at Les Cayes, and his treatment
of black slaves and dependents. This quaint document, moreover, tends to
confirm a remark of Baron de Wimpffen to the effect that every doctor in
Santo Domingo grew rich at his profession, and also recalls what he said
in regard to the household remedies of the period. "Every colonist," to
quote this observer again, "is commonly provided with a small chest of
medicines, of which the principal are manna, salts, and rhubarb; the
country itself produces tamarinds, and the leaves of the cassia tree,
a slight infusion of which, with a little orange juice, makes as good
a purge as a mixture more scientifically composed."

     FROM DECEMBER 29, 1783, TO OCTOBER 19, 1785.

     After the original document in possession of M. L. Lavigne,
     at Couëron. The note in upper left-hand corner, "très curieux
     Mlle. Rabin & son enfant," has been added by a later hand.]


     PAID, JUNE 7, 1787.]

This physician's chief resources are seen to have been ipecacuanha,
purgative decoctions, including such as the tamarind tree provided,
manna, mineral waters, lotions, plasters, and _kino_, an astringent
juice derived from different leguminous plants, which gave a red color
to the saliva, not to speak of "other medicines," the nature of which
is not revealed, which were liberally supplied to whites and blacks,
both old and young, alike. It will be noticed further that the slaves
of African birth when not named are referred to as "_bossals_" though
many young blacks and mulattoes are called "Joue";[37] that a cooper,
attached presumably to the Audubon sugar refinery, was dosed thrice
daily with _kino_ on four days in succession; and that this favorite
treatment was repeated a month later. A clerk in the establishment,
Monsieur Aubinais, is mentioned as requiring frequent attention, as well
as Jean Audubon himself, who was once bled at the arm.

In the entry for March 27, 1784, there is this interesting reference:
"Inoculated Cæsar, Jupiter, and Rose, at thirty francs each, ninety
francs"; and if there were any doubt why Cæsar had been inoculated, a
hint is immediately given under May 11: "For attention, visits, and
remedies, during the smallpox (_la petite vérole_) of the mulatto
Joue, sixty francs"; again we read: "June 30, inoculated a little
negro _bossal_, named Joue, thirty francs." Every fresh batch of
negroes landed in the colonies led to a new outbreak of this terrible
scourge, and but one other disease, _la grosse vérole_,[38] was more
common or more fatal among the blacks. For a long period it had been a
common practice to inoculate both whites and blacks directly with the
smallpox in order to secure some degree of protection against its most
virulent form, but this method of fighting the devil with fire had its
disadvantages. By the end of the eighteenth century opinion was about
equally divided upon the advisability of continuing the measure, since
induced variola or smallpox was apt to be virulent, and was often quite
as infectious as when manifested in the usual and natural way. Then came
Edward Jenner's grand discovery, made twelve years before this date but
not announced until 1798, that vaccinia would prevent variola. Almost
immediately vaccination spread like wild fire over Europe, and it has
never been appreciated more fully or more highly lauded by the best
representatives of the medical profession everywhere than at the present

The most interesting references in this historic document are to "Mlle.
Rabin," whose name occurs no less than seventeen times, beginning May
21, 1784, and closing with the entry for the seventeenth of August,
1785. We learn that the physician spent the nights of April 24 and
25, 1785, at the woman's bedside, and that her child was born on the
twenty-sixth day of that month, probably in the morning. It will be
noticed further that she had been bled previously at the arm, that she
had suffered also from the erysipelas, and that later she was treated
for abscesses. These frequent attentions of the physician, extending
over several months, the last record being for August 17, show only too
clearly that at this time Audubon's mother was in feeble health. All
that is further known about her is that she died either at the close
of 1785 or in 1786, when her infant son was probably less than a year

A daughter of Jean Audubon, Rosa, who was first called Muguet (in
English, "Lily of the Valley"), was also born in Santo Domingo,
and probably at Les Cayes, on April 29, 1787. Her mother, Catharine
Bouffard, "_créole de Saint-Domingue_," who subsequently went to France,
had another daughter, born also at Les Cayes, named Louise, who was
living at La Rochelle in 1819.[40]

When Captain Audubon finally left the West Indies in the autumn of 1789,
he took with him, in the care of trustworthy slaves, these two children,
Fougère or Jean Rabin, aged four and a half years, and Muguet or Rosa,
an infant of less than two. We know that he visited Richmond, Virginia,
to collect a long outstanding claim against David Ross, then engaged
in an iron industry near that city (see Chapter VIII, p. 121), and it
is possible that he traveled by way of New Orleans and the Mississippi
and Ohio rivers. After spending some time at the close of this year in
the United States, he went to France and made a home for his children
at Nantes. This city became essentially their permanent abode until
their father's retirement from the navy on January 1, 1801, when he
finally settled in the little commune of Couëron, on the north bank of
the Loire. The storm that burst over Nantes soon after their arrival
revealed the true colors of Jean Audubon's patriotism, and the man was
seen at his best, as will be related in the following chapter.

Madame Audubon, who had no children of her own, tenderly received the
little ones, thus wafted from over the sea to her door in the Rue de
Crébillon.[41] As the story proceeds we shall see that she was a most
kind, if over-indulgent, foster mother, and became excessively proud
of her handsome boy. "The first of my recollective powers," said the
naturalist when writing of himself in 1835,[42] "placed me in the
central portion of the city of Nantes ... where I still recollect
particularly that I was much cherished by my dear stepmother ... and
that I was constantly attended by one or two black servants, who had
followed my father to New Orleans and afterwards to Nantes."

Jean Audubon, who spent a good part of his life at sea and in a country
almost totally devoid of morals, must be considered as the product
of his time. He was better, no doubt, than many who made greater
professions, better certainly than a Rousseau, who gave excellent advice
to parents upon the proper methods of rearing their children but sent
his own offspring to orphan asylums. As most men have their faults, said
the son, the father "had one that was common to many individuals, and
that never left him until sobered by a long life"; but, he added, "as a
father, I never complained of him; his generosity was often too great,
and his good qualities won him many desirable friends." Whatever his
faults, Jean Audubon was just, generous and possessed of a kind heart.
He was in reality a truer father than many who give their children
their name but deny them sympathy and a wise oversight. Jean Audubon
not only cherished the two children but made them his heirs. On March
7, 1793, Fougère at the age of eight and Muguet at six were legalized
by a regular act of adoption in the presence of witnesses at Nantes as
the children of Jean and Anne Moynet Audubon.

This step was taken at the very moment when the storm had burst over
La Vendée, when the fate of Nantes was trembling in the balance and the
life of her citizens was most insecure. The act of adoption reads:[43]

          _Extract from the registers of births of the
          sections of La Halle and Jean Jacques of the commune
          of Nantes, department of the Loire inférieure, on
          the seventh of March, 1749, the second year of the
          Republic, one and indivisible, at ten o'clock in
          the morning._

     Before us, Joseph Theulier, public officer, elected to
     determine the public status of citizens, have appeared in the
     town hall, Jean Audubon, commanding the war sloop _Cerberus_,
     vessel of the Republic, aged forty-nine years, native of Les
     Sables d'Olonne, department of La Vendée, and Anne Moinet his
     wife, aged fifty-eight years, native of the former parish
     of Saint-Leonard, of this commune, who, assisted by René
     Toussaint Julien Beuscher, manufacturer, aged twenty-five
     years, living in the section of La Halle, Rubens Street, and
     by Julien Pierre Beuscher, marine surgeon, aged twenty-four
     years, living in the section of La Fraternité, Marchix Street,
     and employed steadily in the said war sloop _Cerberus_, have
     declared before me that they do adopt and recognize from this
     moment as their lawful children, to wit:

     A male child named Fougère, born since their marriage,
     which took place on the twenty-fourth of August, 1772, in
     the commune of Paimbœuf, in this department, to him, Jean
     Audubon, and a woman living in America, who has been dead
     about eight years, and a female child, named Muguet, born
     also since the marriage aforesaid, to him and another woman
     living in America, named Catharine Bouffard, of whose fate he
     is ignorant.

     The two children being present, the first aged nine years,
     that will expire on the 22d of next April, the second aged
     seven years, that will also expire on the 26th of April
     next, and both having been born in America, according to this
     declaration that the witnesses above mentioned have signified
     as true, I have drawn up the present act, which the natural
     father and the mother by adoption, as well as their witnesses
     have signed, together with myself in this said day and year.

It will be noticed that in this legally attested document, Bouffard,
the true name of Muguet's mother, is given, while the name of the mother
of Audubon is suppressed. It might therefore be inferred that the name
Rabin, which appears later, was assumed, but as already remarked, such
evidence is not conclusive.

Fougère, who was also called Jean Rabin, was baptized on October
23, 1800, by a priest of the church of Saint-Similien at Nantes. The
archives of this church for the period in question have disappeared,
but Jean Audubon's copy of the record has survived, and reads as

          October 23, 1800

     We, the undersigned, certify to have baptized on this day
     Jean Jacques Fougère Audubon, adoptive son of Jean Audubon,
     lieutenant of a frigate of the Republic, and of Anne Moinet,
     his legitimate wife, who being present bear witness that the
     adoption of the said Fougère, made by them, is in accordance
     with the present act.

          [Signed] TARDIVEAU, priest of Saint-Similien,
            of the town of Nantes.

The act of adoption was drawn at a time when Captain Audubon could have
had little leisure to consult records had he been disposed to do so,
but the dates of birth which he then gave for these two children were
correct both as to the year and month. Fougère, however, was born on
the twenty-sixth, instead of the twenty-second of April, and Muguet, on
the twenty-ninth, instead of the twenty-sixth, of that month. Audubon's
mother's name is indicated in numerous legal documents of later date,
and, as will appear, in every instance her son's identity is clearly

Young Audubon, who disliked the names of Fougère and Rabin, and
naturally wished to be rid of their early associations, adopted the
fanciful name of "La Forest,"[45] but used it only sporadically and for
a short time. Some of his drawings of birds made at Nantes or Couëron
as early as 1805, and in New York in 1806 and 1807, and possibly
others of slightly later date, are signed "J. L. F. A.," or "J. J. L.

Jean Audubon and his wife are said to have settled some property upon
"Jean Rabin, _créole de Saint Domingue_," which he refused to accept,
saying, "my own name I have never been permitted even to speak;
accord me that of Audubon, which I revere, as I have cause to do."[47]
The reference in this instance was, I believe, to the final will of
Lieutenant Audubon,[48] according to which his property, after being
held in usufruct by his wife during her lifetime, was to be equally
divided between their two adopted children. In his first will the son
was referred to as "Jean Audubon," but in the second and last document,
executed in 1816, two years before the testator's death, he appears
as "Jean Rabin." Madame Audubon drew four wills; in the first, dated
December 4, 1814, her adopted son is called "Jean Audubon"; in the
next, of 1816, he is "Jean Rabin, _créole de Saint-Domingue_," while
in a draft written December 26, 1819, he is styled simply "Jean Rabin";
finally, in her fourth and last testament of July 16, 1821, the wording
is "Jean Audubon, called 'Jean Rabin.'" It is thus very plain that
Audubon's foster parents considered it advisable to have his identity
clearly set forth in legal documents. In one of his autobiographical
sketches Audubon remarked that his own mother was said to have been as
wealthy as she was beautiful, and if this were true, such caution might
be explained and a key found to certain other enigmatical conditions
which seemed to hedge his early life. But to such possibilities it will
be necessary to revert at a later point of our story.[49]


     The first, fourth and sixth are from early drawings; the
     second from Audubon and Rozier's "Articles of Association";
     the fifth from a release given to Rozier; and the remainder
     from letters.]

This dual personality was set forth by the naturalist himself, but in
a more curious form, in a power of attorney[50] executed at Henderson,
Kentucky, on July 26, 1817, in favor of his brother-in-law, Gabriel
Loyen du Puigaudeau. This measure was taken more than a year after
Audubon's father had drawn up his last will, in which the son was
referred to as "Jean Rabin," and was evidently designed to facilitate
any settlement of this will which events in France might render
necessary. The naturalist was then engaged in his famous but disastrous
financial enterprises on the Ohio River,[51] but whether any intimation
had come to him of possible legal troubles, which later actually ensued
in France, cannot be stated.

In reading the published accounts of Audubon's early life many have been
puzzled by the absence of definite dates, as well as by the numerous
contradictions in which they abound. It is needless to burden this
narrative with a tedious reference to all these errors or to attempt
to trace their origin, which no doubt had many sources, but since we
have given the first true account of the naturalist's birth, we cannot
pass these matters without a word of comment. The situation is somewhat
involved, since we should possibly differentiate between what Audubon at
different times believed to be true, and what he wished to make known
to his family or to the public; possibly also we should discriminate
between what he actually published over his own signature during his
lifetime and the material which has appeared since his death, even
though originally written by his own hand.

The first definite date which Audubon ever gave concerning his own life
was that of his marriage in 1808, when he was twenty-three years of age,
and all that he ever published of a biographical nature is to be found
in his _Ornithological Biography_.[52] In the introduction to this work
he simply said that he had "received light and life in the New World,"
and further that he returned to America from France, whither he had
gone to receive the rudiments of his education, at the age of seventeen.
Since Audubon's first return to America was in the autumn of 1803, when
he was actually about eighteen and one-half years old, this statement
is not so wide of the mark as to imply that the date of his birth was
not then well understood. Moreover, the record of his adoption, which
was certified to at the time of his baptism in 1800, was carefully
preserved among the family documents, and there is no reason to suppose
that knowledge of his age was ever withheld from him. Nevertheless,
Audubon was inclined to overestimate his years, a characteristic rare
in these days; when at Oxford in 1828 he was asked for his autograph,
and was begged to inscribe also the date of his birth; "that," he said
in recording the incident, "I could not do, except approximately," and
his hostess was greatly amused that he should not know.

While going down the Ohio River in 1820, bound for New Orleans, Audubon
took advantage of a rainy day to write in his journal something about
himself that he thought his children at some future time might desire to
know. This brief record may or may not have been at hand when in 1835 he
wrote the more extended version that finally saw the light in 1893.[53]
Since the manuscript of the later sketch was presumably in possession of
Mrs. Audubon when the biography of her husband was prepared in New York
about the year 1866, that account in its various versions has furnished
biographers with practically all of the available material, not purely
conjectural, concerning the naturalist's early life. Such additions as
were made subsequently have proved to be very inaccurate.

In the first of these sketches, which, so far as it goes, is more
in strict accord with facts, Audubon said nothing of his birth, and
of his mother remarked only that he had been told that she was "an
extraordinary beautiful woman," who died shortly after he was born. His
father, he added, saw his wealth torn from him, until there was left
barely enough to educate his two children, all that remained of the
five, his three elder brothers[54] having been "killed in the wars."
He then believed, as he said, that his first journey to France was made
when he was two years old.

The later and fuller biography, referred to above as written in 1835
and published in 1893, begins with these words:[55]

     The precise period of my birth is yet an enigma to me, and I
     can only say what I have often heard my father repeat to me
     on this subject, which is as follows: It seems that my father
     had large properties in Santo Domingo, and was in the habit
     of visiting frequently that portion of our Southern States
     called, and known by the name of, Louisiana, then owned by
     the French Government.

     During one of these excursions he married a lady of Spanish
     extraction, whom I have been led to understand was as
     beautiful as she was wealthy, and otherwise attractive, and
     who bore my father three sons and a daughter,—I being the
     youngest of the sons and the only one who survived extreme
     youth. My mother, soon after my birth, accompanied my father
     to the estate [_sic_] of Aux Cayes,[56] on the island of
     Santo Domingo, and she was one of the victims during the
     ever-to-be-lamented period of the negro insurrection of that

     My father, through the intervention of some faithful servants,
     escaped from Aux Cayes with a good portion of his plate
     and money, and with me and these humble friends reached New
     Orleans in safety. From this place he took me to France, where
     having married the only mother I have ever known, he left
     me under her charge and returned to the United States in the
     employ of the French Government, acting as an officer under
     Admiral Rochambeau. Shortly afterward, however, he landed in
     the United States and became attached to the army under La

The true history of Jean Audubon's commercial, naval, and civic career
is given in the preceding and following chapters.

The naturalist, in his letters and journals, made frequent allusions to
his age, but, as his granddaughter remarked, with one exception, no two
agree; hence, his granddaughter concluded that he might "have been born
anywhere from 1772 to 1783." In the face of such uncertainty she adopted
the traditional date of May 5, 1780, adding that the true one was no
doubt earlier. Audubon was thus five years younger than his biographers
supposed, and twenty-one years were added to the age of his father, who
actually lived to be only seventy-four years old, while his son died in
his sixty-seventh year.

Wherever there is mystery there tradition is certain to raise its head,
and though the naturalist carried his "enigma" to the grave, others,
building upon his story, have fixed upon the very house in Louisiana in
which he is said to have been born. Indeed, advocates of more than one
house in that state as the probable scene of Audubon's nativity have
arisen in recent times. We are obliged, therefore, to examine somewhat
farther the now universally received but thoroughly erroneous idea
that John James Audubon was a native of Louisiana at a time when that
Commonwealth was part of a province of France.

Upholding a tradition of rather recent growth, Audubon's granddaughter
has expressed the belief that the naturalist was born in a
house belonging to the famous Philippe de Marigny and known as
"Fontainebleau." This was a sugar plantation on the north side of Lake
Ponchartrain, three miles east of what is now the village of Mandeville
and twenty-five miles due north of New Orleans.

Pierre Enguerrand Philippe de Mandeville, Ecuyer Sieur de Marigny,[57]
at one time owner of vast estates in and about New Orleans, was born in
that city in 1750, and served as its alcade or mayor for two years. A
lavish dispenser of hospitality, in 1798 he entertained in great state
the Duke of Orleans, later known as Louis Philippe of France, together
with his two brothers who accompanied him. He died at New Orleans,
leaving five sons, of whom the third, Bernard Marigny, later became
the owner of "Fontainebleau," which it has been mistakenly assumed was
inherited from his father. At the time of the Duke of Orleans' visit
just mentioned Jean Audubon had been out of the country nine years;
there is no evidence of his ever having owned property at New Orleans,
or ever having sustained any relations with the Marigny family.

Before following the Marigny myth further, it will be interesting to
notice a late echo of the "Fontainebleau" story. In 1910 the Reverend
Gordon Bakewell, then in his eighty-ninth year, gave some interesting
reminiscences of Audubon, and spoke very definitely concerning both the
time and place of his birth. Dr. Bakewell was a nephew of Mrs. Audubon,
and as a youth, in 1834, had passed some time at her home in London.
John W. Audubon, with his father's assistance, painted at that time a
portrait of young Bakewell, who at a later day was welcomed in their
home on the Hudson. Dr. Bakewell's contribution was as follows:[58]

     The uncertainty as to the place of Audubon's birth has been
     put to rest by the testimony of an eye witness in the person
     of old Mandeville Marigny now dead some years. His repeated
     statement to me was, that on his plantation at Mandeville,
     Louisiana, on Lake Ponchartrain, Audubon's mother was his
     guest; and while there gave birth to John James Audubon.
     Marigny was present at the time, and from his own lips,
     I have, as already said, repeatedly heard him assert the
     above fact. He was ever proud to bear this testimony of his
     protection given to Audubon's mother, and his ability to bear
     witness as to the place of Audubon's birth, thus establishing
     the fact that he was a Louisianian by birth.

We do not doubt the candor and sincerity of the excellent Dr. Bakewell,
but are bound to say that the incidents as related above betray a
striking lapse of memory and an even greater misunderstanding of
recorded facts. Singularly a footnote to the paragraph quoted shows that
the Marigny to whom he refers was, as must have been the case, Bernard
Mandeville de Marigny, who was born in 1785, the same year as the
naturalist. Since both were in the cradle at the same time, he is hardly
available as a witness. Moreover, the official records of the United
States Government prove that the estate called "Fontainebleau" was not
in possession of the Marigny family at the time of Audubon's birth.
The land in question was granted to a creole named Antonio Bonnabel,
on January 25, 1799, by Manuel Goyon de Lemore, Governor-General of
the Province of Louisiana and West Florida. Bonnabel sold his tract to
Bernard Marigny in 1800, and Congress confirmed his title to it by a
special act in 1836.[59]

Bernard Marigny served in the French army towards the close of the
Napoleonic period, and his return to the United States from France,
about 1818, is said to have been hastened by a duel which he fought
with one of his superior officers. On his return he named Bonnabel's old
tract on Lake Ponchartrain "Fontainebleau," in remembrance of the place
where his regiment had been assigned for duty in France, and eventually
built upon the estate a sawmill and a sugar-house, and planted sugar
cane, living meanwhile on another plantation two and one-half miles
away. The latter estate was allotted by him in 1832, when he gave it
the name of Mandeville; the settlement thus started has since grown to
a village of some 1,500 people. Here a summer house which belonged to
Bernard's father still exists, although in altered form; it has been
raised to accommodate a lower story, and is now known as the "Casino."
According to those who have most carefully investigated existing
records, this is the only house in Mandeville which belonged to the
elder Marigny at the time of which we speak.

Bernard Marigny was one of those who befriended Audubon when he was
in desperate straits at New Orleans in 1821, by advancing him money in
return for portraits or drawings of birds. He died in that city in 1868,
when in his eighty-third year, a poor and honest man.



     Background of Audubon's youth—Nantes in Revolution—Revolt in
     La Vendée—Siege of Nantes—Reign of terror under Carrier—Plague
     robbing the guillotine—Flight of the population—Execution
     of Charette—The Chouan raid—Citizen Audubon's service—He
     reenters the navy and takes a prize from the English—His
     subsequent naval career—His losses in Santo Domingo—His
     service and rank—Retires on a pension—His death—His character
     and appearance.

The ancient city of Nantes, long famed for the beauty of its situation
on the banks of a noble river, within easy reach of the sea, as well as
for its importance in the arts of war and peace, numbered at the time
of the Revolution 70,000 souls. The modern visitor to this favored spot
will find quiet and orderly streets adorned with monumental statues
(one of these representing Guépin, the revered historian of the city),
the old buildings nearly all replaced by better, the Loire spanned by
handsome bridges, and the ancient bounds of the town extended until
it has become the sixth city of the Republic. Since Nantes formed a
somber background to Audubon's youth, we shall follow in brief some
of the ordeals through which his family, in common with thousands of
other Nantais, were destined to pass during those eventful years which
witnessed the close of the eighteenth century in France.

When Captain Audubon reached Nantes presumably not far from the
beginning of 1790, he found the city in a state of the greatest turmoil
and agitation. The commons, or third estate, included hundreds of its
rich and influential citizens, and their demands for a fair hearing and
a representation equal to that of the other orders had then passed the
stage of open revolt, for they had planted their "liberty tree" and
were sworn to defend it. In August of 1789 a permanent Committee of
Public Safety had been constituted at Nantes, and by the end of that
month 1,200 had volunteered for service in the National Guard. There
were many loyalists in the city but they could not crush the ardent
spirit of this revolt, and when in September money was needed to equip
the revolutionary soldiery, young school children raised large sums
for the popular cause. Jean Audubon immediately cast his lot with the
revolutionists and joined the National Guard, but how much service he
saw in the field cannot now be determined; it is known, however, that
he was with these troops in the spring of 1792.[60]

In March, 1793, the loyalists of La Vendée rose to arms, and marching
on Nantes under the able leadership of Charette, threatened to put
its garrison to the sword if it were not surrendered within six hours.
The National Guard met these invaders outside the walls and left the
citizens to shift for themselves. Thus thrown upon their own resources,
the Nantais showed that they could help themselves. They requisitioned
and used for defense everything at hand; they exhumed the leaden coffins
in their grand cathedral and appropriated waterspouts for ammunition,
while their church bells were molded into cannon. Though held in
check, the Vendeans laid siege to the city, and but for the resolution
of its mayor, Baco, Nantes would probably have fallen—in which event
Audubon would have had a different history and would probably never
have become a pioneer naturalist in America. Baco, disregarding the
advice of his military chiefs, immediately placarded the walls of
Nantes decreeing death to any who should suggest capitulation, and
called all the inhabitants to arms, sparing neither woman nor child. The
Vendeans had met their match, for they were dealing with many of their
own blood, but though the siege began in early March, they were not
effectually dispersed until the end of June, and then only after much
bloodshed without the walls. When the immediate crisis had passed, the
Constitution of the Republic was unanimously accepted by the eighteen
sections of Nantes, on the twenty-first day of July, 1792.

A few months later in that fateful year a more terrible calamity
befell the city, when the reign of terror under the notorious
ultra-revolutionist, Jean B. Carrier, began. Carrier reached Nantes on
October 8 and at once proposed to exterminate both the Vendean royalists
and their Nantais sympathizers. He reorganized the entire administration
to suit his purposes, and to carry out his plans recruited from the
lowest classes a revolutionary army to spy upon, denounce and arrest
private citizens, many of whom were sent to Paris for trial when not
secretly dispatched. The whole district was soon paralyzed by the
barbarity of the crimes then committed, and the unhappy Vendeans were
dragged to Nantes, to be shot, guillotined or drowned, in such numbers
that the city was unable to bury its dead or the river to discharge them
to the sea. Thus perished thousands, uncounted if not unknown, and the
pestilence of typhoid fever that immediately followed claimed another
heavy toll regardless of political sympathies. While these dire scenes
were being enacted, Jean Jacques Fougère Audubon, then a lad of eight
years, was living in the heart of Nantes, and his father was one of its
leading revolutionists. An aunt of the future ornithologist, according
to his account, who was one of these wretched victims of revolutionary
fury, was dragged through the streets of Nantes before his eyes, but
apparently she did not actually meet her death at that time.[61]

That Jean Audubon moved his family out of Nantes during the
revolutionary crisis is possible, and Couëron would have been available
as a place of refuge. Many Nantais are known to have fled to Lorient on
the coast of Brittany, where they found in the heroic youth Julien the
ardent and fearless patriot who was destined to become the real savior
of their stricken city. Young Julien denounced Carrier in his letters
to Robespierre, and when one of these was intercepted, defied him in
person. When his stirring appeals finally reached the Tribunal at Paris,
its misnamed representative was recalled, and left Nantes under cover of
night on February 14, 1794. During his mad reign of four months, Carrier
had gone far towards carrying out his theory of republican government,
that should begin, as he openly avowed, by "suppressing" half of the
population of France. The records show that nearly nine thousand bodies
were buried in Nantes in a little over three months, from January 15
to April 24, 1794. The plague of fever no doubt accounted for many of
these, but the wide reaches of the Loire never told their full story.

Though the most grievous affliction of Nantes passed with the recall
of Carrier, the city had no lasting peace until the execution of the
Vendean leader, Charette, in March, 1796; "Poor Charette," said Audubon,
writing in his journal at Liverpool, December 24, 1827, "whom I saw shot
on the place de Viarme at Nantes." This virtually ended the war in the
Vendée, but the Chouans, under their intrepid chief, Dupré, the miller,
called "Tête-Carrée," managed to furnish considerable excitement, and
raided Nantes in 1799. Dupré's followers stole in secretly at three
o'clock on the morning of October 19 and left before daylight, after
liberating fifteen royalists from the prison, which seems to have been
their chief purpose. The cannon of alarm was fired from the Chateau;
the tocsin sounded, calling the city to arms; there was much street
fighting, but it was too foggy and dark to distinguish friend from
foe, and when the National Guard was finally assembled, the enemy
had vanished. This brief attack cost the city twenty-one deaths and
wounds for twice the number,[62] but it was only a passing incident in
comparison with events that had gone before. Thenceforth the history of
the town is blended with that of the nation.[63]

We have only slight indications of Jean Audubon's activities from the
close of 1789, when, according to his own statement, he was in the
United States, to the period of his service in the National Guard at
Nantes in the spring of 1792; he was then living in the house of Citizen
Carricoule, rue de Crébillon, and the lease of his "Mill Grove" farm,
which was renewed in October, 1790, was dated at Nantes. We may safely
assume that he was engaged in revolutionary business during most of this
interval: his name begins to appear in the written records of Nantes
and of the department of the Lower Loire in January, 1793, and existing
documents[64] show that he was engaged as a commissioner and member
of the Department and as a member of the Council of the Navy until the
twenty-fifth of June, when he enlisted for active service in the navy of
the Republic. Jean Audubon served also on various republican committees,
his duties comprising the enlistment of recruits, organizing the
National Guard, soliciting funds and food supplies for Nantes, finding
cannon and other military or naval materials, posting proclamations,
administering the oath of allegiance, and watching the movements of
loyalist troops in the district. We have seen that the father of the
naturalist was a game and determined fighter, and there is ample written
testimony to prove that in the commune of Nantes he was regarded as
an ardent patriot, who could be relied upon to act with tact, and if
necessary with force.



  [Illustration: JEAN AUDUBON


Having been appointed a Civil Commissioner by the Directory of the
Department on January 17, 1793, Citizen Audubon was sent to Savenay, a
town of some importance twenty-five miles to the northwest of Nantes.
His instructions on this mission were to gather useful information
on the civil, moral and political state of the district, "in order
to bring a remedy," and to administer the oath of allegiance to all
administrative and judicial bodies. Jean began operations without delay,
and his report, which was kept in journal form and embraces the period
from January 19 to September 10, 1793, is an interesting document; it
covers fifty-one large foolscap pages, written now in a fine and again
in a bold, regular hand, in the course of which his characteristic
signature[65] occurs no less than twenty-two times, each section of the
report having been signed as completed. In one section of this journal
he wrote: "Our operations having been finished, we assembled around the
tree of liberty, and there sang the hymn of the Marseillaise, which was
interrupted with frequent shouts of '_Vive la république!_,' '_Vive la
nation!_,' and more than one charge of musketry."

     DIRECTORY, 1793.

     From the original in the archives of the préfecture at Nantes.]

Jean Audubon with eight others was charged with organizing the National
Guard in the canton of Pellerin, and ordered to accompany the detachment
that marched to the relief of Pornic, March 27, 1793. The Citizen was
busy also in other directions. He said in his report:

     In virtue of the power conferred upon us by the Central
     Committee, on the ninth of April we were transported to the
     parish of Couëron, where we arrived at seven o'clock in the
     morning. Proclamations were posted both at Couëron and at
     Port Launay close by, while some were sent across the river
     to Pellerin. We availed ourselves on this occasion of the
     services of two officers of a corsair, who demanded that we
     aid in removing from Pellerin four cannon with four-pound
     balls, and we succeeded in putting to flight a small barque
     and four men, who an hour later returned with cannon.... The
     parish of Couëron appears very tranquil, and is in a better
     mood than [at first] seemed to us.

A little later Jean proceeded to Paimbœuf on a similar errand. His
letters to the citizen-administrators of that commune are dated at
Nantes on the seventeenth of April and the fourteenth of May; in one
of these he refers to "the sum of four hundred francs" due from the
Administration "for one year's rent of my house in calle Rondineau (_à
la calle rondino_), which you have taken for a _corps de garde_" (see
Vol. I, p. 32).

In July and August of this second year of the Republic, Citizen
Audubon was sent to his native town of Les Sables d'Olonne to follow
the movements of the loyalist generals Westermann and Boulart,[66] a
mission which could hardly have been agreeable if, as seems to have
been the case, some of his own people were loyal to the old _régime_.
Correspondence by sea between Les Sables and Nantes, which was open
before the siege, was not broken at this time, for the royalists had
named one of their representatives, Benoit, as a delegate "to fraternize
with the citizens of Nantes, to invite the authorities to correspond,
and beg them to send food if they had more than they required." Four of
Jean's letters, dated at Les Sables on the fifth and eighth of July and
the sixth of August, besides one from La Rochelle on the fourteenth of
July, all addressed to the Administration of the Loire inférieure, have
been preserved.

In the manuscript records of the Department for 1793 is found also a
notice of Jean's appointment as Special Commissioner, with a memorandum
of all the money paid to reimburse him for the expenses of his numerous
journeys. Thus, it is noted that he had been paid 145 francs for a
service of twenty-nine days, which would represent the modest allowance
of a dollar a day. Another item shows that he had received 100 francs
for a tour of ten days; a note which was added to this item to explain
the Directory's sanction for the payment of another forty-five francs
and ten sous reads as follows: "by its order of the sixth of March last,
the Council had, in effect, named Citizen Audubon as its Commissioner,
to visit the coasts and to secure signatures, with full power to treat
with all people, to acquire materials for the navy and other objects of
his mission; if this mission did not prove successful, it was solely
through force of circumstances, and not from any lack of zeal on his

On the twenty-fifth of June, 1793, while engaged in duties to which
we have just referred, Jean Audubon was appointed, with rank of
ensign, to command the Republican lugger named the _Cerberus_.[68]
During this charge, which lasted until the twenty-second of November
of the following year, he fought one of the stiffest engagements of
his career. On the twelfth of July he encountered the _Brilliant_, an
English privateer of fourteen cannon which had captured an American
ship laden with flour; and after a desperate battle which lasted three
hours, in the course of which Jean was wounded in the left thigh, the
Englishman, beaten and obliged to surrender his prize, was glad to
escape under cover of night. Jean towed the American into the port of
La Rochelle, and afterwards sent to the Administration a full account
of the engagement.[69] Ensign Audubon's next command was a dispatch
boat called _L'Eveillé_ ("The Awakened"), on which he served for nearly
nine months, from November 23, 1794, to August 14, 1795. He was then
detailed for port duty at La Rochelle from August 15, 1795, to January
24, 1797. His last ship was _L'Instituteur_ ("The Institutor"), which
he commanded with the rank of _lieutenant de vaisseau_, January 25 to
October 3, 1797, while he was engaged in governmental business between
the ports of La Rochelle and Brest.

The financial losses which Lieutenant Audubon sustained at Les Cayes in
consequence of the revolution in Santo Domingo were a crushing blow to
him; he never recovered his fortune, later estimated by his son-in-law
at a sum which at that day would have been fabulous.[70] The business
house in which he was interested failed; his plantations, refinery,
houses and stores, the rents from which, as we have seen, in certain
years after 1789, had yielded 90,000 francs, were presumably ravaged and
partially destroyed. When the news of this misfortune reached him after
1792, his hands were tied by revolutions at home. Though he applied to
his Government for relief, as undoubtedly did a host of other losers,
he was eventually granted only a small indemnity, not exceeding 30,000

Friends of Jean Audubon at Nantes had made repeated demands of the
Ministry of Marine that he be given a rank more in accord with his
patriotism and efficient service to the State, and on October 11, 1797,
he was commissioned lieutenant-commander (_lieutenant de vaisseau_),[71]
one grade below that of captain. He held this rank for three years,
during which he was engaged in vigilance service at Les Sables d'Olonne
and in military duty at Rochefort, or until he was retired from the
navy for disability, January 1, 1801 (_le 11 nivose, an 9_), at the age
of fifty-seven.[72] He had served the State for over eight years, and
his total period of active duty on sea and land when employed in the
merchant marine and navy of France, as estimated from port to port,
amounted to nineteen years, nine months and twelve days, while it had
extended with interruptions over more than forty years.[73] After this
long period of service, when, suffering from a pulmonary affection, he
applied to his Government for a pension, he received the paltry annuity
of 600 francs or $120.

     FEBRUARY 26, 1801.

     From a photograph of the original in the Lavigne MSS.]

With this modest pension and a property yielding an income not above
$2,000 a year[74], Lieutenant Audubon retired to his quiet villa of "La
Gerbetière," at Couëron, where he could indulge his taste for country
life and for raising his favorite fruits and flowers; he is said to
have kept some live stock, but could have been a farmer only on a modest
scale. Meanwhile he continued to maintain a house, or at least rooms, at
Nantes, whither he went periodically to conduct his correspondence and
business affairs. The following letter of attorney, issued by Lieutenant
Audubon a year after he had retired from the navy, shows that he still
had interests in Santo Domingo, and was endeavoring to collect rents,
long overdue, from houses and stores that belonged either to himself or
to his clients. Whether through the dishonesty of agents or from what
other cause, this property which the elder Audubon held in his own right
seems gradually to have melted away:

     The 19th pluviose, in the eleventh year of the Republic, one
     and indivisible [January 7, 1802], before the public notaries
     of the department of Loire inférieure, who reside in Nantes
     and Doulon, the undersigned have seen present the citizen Jean
     Audubon, lieutenant of frigate, retired, and proprietor at
     Santo Domingo, aged 59 years, infirm and unable in consequence
     of his infirmities to go himself to attend to his business
     affairs in Santo Domingo, living in Rubens Street, in the
     Mocquard house,[75] No. 39, in the city and commune of Nantes,
     department of Loire inférieure:

     Who has made and constituted for his general and special
     attorney Jean François Blanchard, merchant, and originally
     from the commune of Chateaubriand, department of Loire
     inférieure, living at the town of Les Cayes, in the southern
     section of the island of Santo Domingo, opposite Ile à Vaches,
     to whom he gives full and complete powers to revoke for him,
     and in his name, every preceding bill of attorney, for the
     purpose of managing the stores [_magazins_] at Les Cayes, in
     the southern part of Santo Domingo, opposite Ile à Vaches:
     To demand and obtain all accounts from the holders of said
     properties, who have had or still have charge of them there;
     to examine the said accounts, to debate, close up and stop
     them ... to lease the said properties, without the power of
     making any extensive repairs to them whatsoever, about which
     he had not informed the constituent in France, and that he has
     not authorized him there to do, at least by a special letter,
     it being understood that the actual tenant is obliged to make
     all the necessary repairs to the said houses and stores to the
     extent of 15,000 francs, and he should not use more than 4,000
     francs yearly for the space of five years, counting from the
     month of thermidor, year 8 [July 19-August 17, 1800].

     It is demanded of citizeness Fauveau, or of her assigns, to
     know the reason why she has failed, to the present moment,
     to pay to the constituent in France for the domicile of the
     citizeness Coyron,[76] the twelve thousand six hundred francs
     that she should annually pay to him, according to the act of
     July 15, 1788, as given by Domergue, notary at Les Cayes. You
     will satisfy them with the state of the dwelling house in the
     plain of Jacob, opposite Ile à Vaches.

     This was sold by the said act to the said citizeness Fauveau
     and to her late husband by the said constituents, to whom he
     will report regularly on the state of affairs, at least twice
     in the year....

          [Signed at Nantes] J. ROYER [one of
            the undersigned notaries]

Lieutenant Jean Audubon died at Nantes,[77] when on a visit to that
city, on February 19, 1818, at the age of seventy-four, "regretted most
deservedly," said his son, "on account of his simplicity, truth, and
perfect sense of honesty"; "his manners," he continues, "were those of
a most polished gentleman ... and his natural understanding had been
carefully improved both by observation and by self education." Jean
Audubon's means in France had been reduced partly by bad debts, for
he seems to have been generous in lending money to his friends; Madame
Audubon found herself greatly hampered by lack of ready money, although,
as her son-in-law remarked, her hands were full of notes.

When Jean Audubon applied for nomination to the naval service of the
Republic in 1793, we find a description of his previous life and habits
recorded as a part of the information required by the Committee of
Public Safety. The commune of Nantes at that time gave a flattering
testimonial to his patriotism, in which he was described as an officer
of merit, who had acquired through long experience at sea an extensive
knowledge of navigation, who was a man of honor, and devoid of any
inclination to vice or gambling; his nautical experience had been
chiefly gained in American waters, the voyages of his choice being those
to Santo Domingo and the United States.

At the age of forty-eight the elder Audubon thus briefly described
himself: short in stature, measuring five feet, five inches; figure,
oval; eyes, blue; nose and mouth, large; eyebrows, auburn; hair and
beard turned gray. Contrary to the naturalist's expressed belief, there
seems to have been little or no physical resemblance between father
and son. At a corresponding age, John James Audubon, according partly
to his own account, stood five feet, ten inches in stockings; his hair
was dark brown; he had sunken, hazel eyes, flecked with brown, and of
remarkable brightness; while his clean-cut profile showed an aquiline
nose. "In temper," said the son, to continue the comparison, "we much
resembled each other, being warm, irascible, and at times violent, but
it was like the blast of a hurricane, dreadful for a time, when calm
almost instantly returned."

Though passionate at times, Jean Audubon was a man of force and
decision, as his career amply shows. If he does not loom large in the
history of his time or was but little known beyond the limits of his
province, it must be remembered that the time called forth thousands of
the ablest men of his nation.


School Days In France

     Molding of Audubon's character—Factor of environment—Turning
     failure into success—An indulgent stepmother—The truant—His
     love of nature—Early drawings and discipline—Experience at
     Rochefort—Baptized in the Roman Catholic Church.

It is now commonly believed that of the three great factors which mold
character—environment, training and heritage, the last is the most
important, since it alone is predetermined and unalterable. Environment
may be uncertain or unsuitable, training defective or deferred, but
blood is the one possession of which the child cannot be robbed; and
since it sets the limits to possibility, in no small degree must it
determine the acquisitions and accomplishments of a lifetime. This,
however, is not the whole truth. Race may account for much, but it does
not account for everything; the child is effectually robbed whenever
it is not permitted to realize to the full upon its inheritance. To
be able to convert possibilities into actualities it must receive fit
training and right incentives, and if at critical times the proper spur
is wanting, its patrimony may be sadly wasted. The "good environment"
for the youth, too often thought to be the soft conditions of an easy
life, is in truth that only which provides the proper and necessary
stimulus. This may be now fear or pride, now hard necessity or bitter
want; again, an awakened sense of responsibility or ambition to excel
may be induced by concrete examples and fostered, as it often is, by
lofty purposes and the uplift of a high ideal.

Audubon's life affords a striking proof of the power which environment
can exert in awakening dormant capacity, in developing talents to their
full and calling into use every force held in reserve. When we consider
what his life work finally became, and what he eventually accomplished
in a field for which he had no training, except in drawing, we find
it easier to wonder at the man than to criticize him. With a formal
schooling in France of the slenderest sort, in which the writing of
his own language was never completely mastered, at eighteen he came to
America and adopted a new tongue, which he first heard from the Quakers.
Twenty years more were to elapse before he had a definite plan,—during
which his environment was mainly that of a trader and storekeeper in the
backwoods, never remote from the white man's frontier, hardly the soil
one would seek for the development of budding talents in art, literature
or science. Failure in trade was one of the spurs which started Audubon
on his ultimate career, for it led to the immediate development of the
talents which he possessed; the encouragement which he received from his
wife was undoubtedly another. When he finally emerged, like a somewhat
wild but well ripened fruit, at the age of forty, rich in experience,
ready to absorb what from lack of earlier motives or opportunities he
had failed to acquire, and with the determination to succeed, he won
recognition as much through his personality and enthusiasm as by his
extraordinary versatility and talents.

In an early sketch of his life Audubon said that his father had given
both him and his sister an education appropriate to his purse; his
teachers were possessed of agreeable talents, and he might have stored
up much had not the continental wars in which France was then engaged
forced him from school at an early age, when, much against his will,
he entered the navy as midshipman, at Rochefort. This naval experience
terminated, as he then recorded, in 1802, during the short peace between
England and France; he was then seventeen years of age.[78] This was
the year following his father's retirement, and the year previous to
his first independent visit to the United States.

More details of this early period were given later, when the naturalist
spoke with great affection of his foster mother, to whom his education
had been mainly entrusted. "Let no one speak of her as my step-mother,"
said he; "I was ever to her as a son of her own flesh and blood, and
she was to me a true mother." His every idle wish was gratified, he
tells us, and his every whim indulged, in accordance with the notion
that fine clothes and full pockets were all that were needed to make
the gentleman: "She hid my faults, boasted to every one of my youthful
merits, and, worse than all, said frequently in my presence, that I was
the handsomest boy in France."

If Madame Audubon broke the prevailing tradition and by going to
the other extreme did her best to spoil this affectionate boy, some
allowance must be made for parental over-indulgence. In 1793, when the
future naturalist was eight years old, the public buildings of his city
had been converted into prisons and its streets were both unsanitary and
unsafe, while in the following year, as we have seen, a mortal plague
began to rob the prisons and the guillotine. Many had lost their all
in the tempest that swept over them; many more had fled, and public
schooling at Nantes must have been at a stand or disorganized for a
considerable period.

Young Audubon could not have tasted much schooling before the outbreak
of the Revolution, when he was seven years old, and but little after
it, since this discipline practically terminated in 1802. His passionate
love of nature, which was undoubtedly innate, was manifested at an early
day. Living things of every description which he found by the banks of
the Loire or along the stonewalls and hedgerows of Couëron gave him the
greatest pleasure, but birds were his early favorites. These he soon
began to depict with pencil and crayon, but to the dryer discipline of
the school he ever turned with laggard feet.

When the versatile Lord Avebury, who became one of the greatest modern
students of the powers of ants and other social insects, was four years
old, his mother made this record in her diary: "His great delight is in
insects. Butterflies, Caterpillars or Beetles are great treasures, and
he is watching a large spider outside my window most anxiously." The
same boy at eight, when writing home from school, added this postscript
to a letter: "I am a favorite with most of the boys because I do not
care about being laughed." The boy who has a good inheritance, follows
his own bent, and does "not care about being laughed," may be on the
road to success and with talents may achieve distinction. John James
Audubon was one of those boys, although his path was never strewn with
the roses that many have imagined.

The naturalist tells us that his father hoped that he would follow in
his footsteps, or else become an engineer, and he saw that his son was
instructed in the elements of mathematics, geography, fencing and music.
But as Lieutenant Audubon was continually on the move, supervision in
those matters fell to the over-indulgent stepmother, with the result
that, instead of doing his duties at school, young Audubon took to the
fields. Every night, he said, he would return with his lunch basket well
laden with the spoils of the day—birds' nests, eggs, and curiosities of
every sort destined for the museum into which his room had already been
transformed. He was then in the "collecting stage," when that sense of
possession dominates the heart of the boy, which, if well directed, can
be turned to excellent account.

Lieutenant Audubon encouraged his son's taste for natural history and
for drawing, but did not regard such accomplishments as a substitute
for what he considered more serious subjects. He himself had suffered
too much from lack of a formal education and was resolved to give his
children the best opportunities within their reach. "Revolutions," he
once remarked, according to his son, "were not confined to society,
but could also take place in the lives of individuals," when they were
all "too apt to lose in one day the fortune they had before possessed;
but talents and knowledge, added to sound mental training, assisted by
honest industry," could "never fail, nor be taken from any one when once
the possessor of such valuable means."

When the elder Audubon returned from one of his periodic cruises,
"my room," said the naturalist, "made quite a show," and the father
complimented him on his good taste; but upon being questioned in regard
to the progress made in his other studies, he could only hang his head
in silence. His sister Rosa, on the contrary, who was also called to
account, was warmly commended upon the improvement shown in her musical
exercises. The next morning at dawn a carriage was drawn up before the
Audubon door, and with the father and son, together with the latter's
trunk and violin, was soon proceeding in the direction of Rochefort.
The sailor had laid his plans and was about to execute them in his own
way. Presently, said the son, his father drew forth a book and began to
read, thus leaving him to his own resources. In this way they traveled
for a number of days, not an unnecessary word being spoken during the
entire journey, until the walls of Rochefort had been passed, and they
alighted at the door of the father's house in that city. When they had
entered, the naturalist continues, "my father bade me sit by his side,
and taking one of my hands, calmly said to me: 'My beloved boy, thou art
now safe. I have brought thee here that I may be able to pay constant
attention to thy studies; thou shalt have ample time for pleasures, but
the remainder _must_ be employed with industry and care. This day is
entirely thine, and as I must attend to my duties, if thou wishest to
see the docks, the fine ships-of-war, and walk around the wall, thou
mayest accompany me.'"

The youth accepted his father's proposal with good grace, and was
presented to the officers whom they met, but he soon found that he
was like a prisoner of war on parade. He was enrolled at once in
the military school, where he was placed under the immediate care of
Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, his future brother-in-law. It was not
long, however, before young Audubon gave his guardian the slip; he
jumped from the window of his prison and made for the gardens of the
Marine Secrétariat, but a corporal, whom he had recognized as a friend,
suddenly nipped his plans in the bud; he was ordered, he said, aboard
a pontoon, then lying in port, and there was obliged to remain until
his father, who was absent at the time, finally released him, "not
without a severe reprimand." The following record, written long after,
is reminiscent of this period: "This day twenty-one years since I was
at Rochefort in France. I spent most of the day at copying letters of
my father to the Minister of the Navy.... What has happened to me since
would fill a volume.... This day, January first, 1821, I am on a keel
boat going down to New Orleans, the poorest man on it."

Audubon's stay at Rochefort, the date of which is no doubt correctly
given in the journal just quoted, was destined to be short. After a
year he returned to Nantes, and later to "La Gerbetière," where as
before he spent all of his leisure in roaming the fields and looking
for birds, their nests, their eggs and their young. At about this time,
when fifteen years of age, Audubon began to make a collection of his
original drawings of French birds, which was greatly extended in 1805
and 1806.

He has recorded that at the behest of his foster mother, who was an
ardent Catholic, he was confirmed in that Church when "within a few
months of being seventeen years old"; he was surprised and indifferent,
but "took to the catechism, studied it and other matters pertaining to
the ceremony, and all was performed to her liking." Since no record of
this act has been found, it is probable that the ceremony in question
was confused with that of his baptism, which, as we have noticed,
occurred on October 23, 1800, six months before he attained his
sixteenth birthday.

After having seen something of the character of Audubon's early training
in France, it will not be surprising to find that when, at the age of
forty-five, he first seriously began to write for publication and in
English, which was not his mother tongue, he found himself handicapped
in many ways. In after life he wrote that the only school which he had
ever attended was that of Adversity, and that his tuition there had been
of a prolonged and elaborate character. Though this statement was made
under the stress of present feeling, it was not wholly devoid of truth.



     Audubon is sent to the United States to learn English and
     enter trade—Taken ill—Befriended by the Quakers—Settles at
     "Mill Grove" farm—Its history and attractions—Studies of
     American birds begun—Engagement to Lucy Bakewell—Sports and

If there were ever a time when Lieutenant Audubon wished to see his son
following the victorious eagles of Napoleon, whom he is said to have
idolized, the hated conscription of that day, which was robbing every
home in France of its best blood, might well have brought counsels of
prudence. Little could the father have thought that by following other
eagles of his own choice, his son was destined to add a far greater
luster to the family name. Whatever may have turned the scale, in 1803
a decision was quickly reached, and the issue was fortunate for the
future of natural science in America; it was decided that young Audubon
should emigrate at once to the United States, with what end in view we
shall soon see expressed in the sailor's own words. Accordingly, to his
"intense and indescribable pleasure," the future naturalist, who had
now passed his eighteenth birthday, eagerly prepared for the journey,
the first of many that were later to become memorable in the annals of
American science. No record of this voyage has been preserved, but from
evidence derived from a variety of sources we can fix the time as the
autumn of 1803.[79]

Audubon's introduction to the country of his adoption proved most
inauspicious, for, to follow his account, when walking to Greenwich
in Connecticut, some thirty miles from New York, to cash the letter
of credit that his father had given him, he was seized with the yellow
fever.[80] Fortunately at this critical moment his captain came to his
aid, and placed him in the care of two Quaker ladies who kept a boarding
house at Morristown in New Jersey. To the faithful ministrations of
these kindly sisters the naturalist believed that he owed his life.

When Jean Audubon finally left the United States not far from the
beginning of 1790, he placed his business interests in America in
charge of an agent, named Miers Fisher, "a rich and honest Quaker of
Philadelphia," and to the hands of this trustworthy man he now confided
his son. Accordingly, when young Audubon had been nursed back to health,
word was sent to his father's friend, who came in his carriage and drove
the lad to his own home in the outskirts of Philadelphia. To follow
the account which the naturalist gave, when writing of this visit a
quarter of a century later, his host, finding his charge to be a comely
youth, and having a daughter "of no mean appearance," proposed that he
should remain with them and become one of the family. Audubon seems to
have suspected that this was a premeditated scheme to entangle him in
marriage, and as he had no liking for the severity of Quaker manners,
determined to make his escape. This, he said, was finally accomplished
by appealing to his own rights and to the honest Quaker's sense of duty
in seeing him established on the estate which his father had designed
for him.

Though effective for the time, as will presently appear, this appeal
was quite fanciful, for Jean Audubon's ideas concerning the future of
his son were of a more practical character, and he had no intention
at this time of establishing him at "Mill Grove," which was soon to be
sold. The friend to whom the following letter was addressed is implored
to aid in finding a good American family in which his son could acquire
the English language as a step to entering trade:[81]

     This will be handed to you by my son, to whom, I request you
     will render every service in your power, wishing that you
     shd. join Mr. Miers Fisher to procure him a good and healthy
     place where he might learn english. I come to point out to you
     Morristown, and look for a good and decent familly in that
     place to recommend him to her as your own Son. This service
     from you will deserve my everlasting gratitude. I am Sir, with

          Yr Mo ob Ser—.

Mr. Miers Fisher, who evidently received a copy of this letter, no doubt
considered his own family as good as the best, and in detaining young
Audubon at his home, we must credit him with the desire of following
the instructions thus received.

"Mill Grove," which was finally reached in the spring of 1804,[82] was
a new-found paradise to the young naturalist. Here, however, he was
destined to spend but little over a year, though it was doubtless the
happiest year of his life. The farm was then conducted by a Quaker,
named William Thomas, who was installed as tenant with his wife and
family. It was arranged, said Audubon, that he should receive from them
a quarterly allowance in ready money, in a sum that "was considered
sufficient for the expenditure of a young gentleman."[83]

Well might any youth fond of wild life in the country have fallen
in love with this secluded spot, the beauty and charm of which are
suddenly revealed to the visitor of today as he approaches it from
the old Philadelphia road. Standing high on the rugged banks of the
Perkioming Creek, which empties into the Schuylkill River just below
this point, the old house, facing west, commands a wide and diversified
scene, extending from the living waters below, over bottom lands of
the valley, to the dim, undulating lines of the Reading hills in the
farther distance. This old landmark[84] of Colonial times remains today
in perfect preservation, thanks to the never-failing care and interest
of the present owner,[85] who has done all in his power to maintain its
historic associations, and to keep the memory of the naturalist green in
one of the few spots in America where material landmarks of his career
have not been completely effaced. The place has had an interesting
history, and though Audubon's occupancy was brief, it affected, as we
shall see, his whole after-life.


     After a water-color painting by Charles Wetherill, son of
     Samuel Wetherill, and uncle of William H. Wetherill, the
     present owner of the estate.]


     The above from photograph by, and this published by courtesy
     of, Mr. W. H. Wetherill.]

Audubon thought nothing of walking to and from Philadelphia when no
conveyance was at hand, but to-day the railroad brings the traveler
within a mile and a half of his old farm. Not far to the south, beyond
the present railway station of Protectory, lies Valley Forge and the
wooded hills where Washington's ragged veterans passed in log huts
the ever memorable winter of 1777-8. Audubon fancied that his father
had made the acquaintance of General Washington at that date, but this
was eleven years before the place had come into the possession of his
family, and at that time Captain Audubon was sailing the seas (see
Chapter II, p. 32). Equally fanciful also was the idea that his mother
had once lived there, which he expressed in a letter (quoted in full
in Chapter XXXIII) written from New York on February 10, 1842, to young
Spencer F. Baird, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The naturalist was assuring
his young friend that the slow but beautiful "Little Carlisle" was to
be preferred to "Great New York, with all its humbug, rascality, and
immorality," and added: "It is now a good long time since I was young,
and resided near Norristown in Pennsylvania. It was then and is now a
very indifferent place as compared with New York; but still my heart and
my mind oftentime dwell in the pleasure that I felt there, and it always
reminds me that within a few miles of that village, my Mother did live."

The soil of this farm region is of a dark red color, owing to a
friable shale which outcrops everywhere. The high, wooded bank of the
Perkioming abounds in caves, scooped out by the hand of nature or man,
as well as in great pits and shafts, for deep down under its shale,
"Mill Grove" was rich in minerals, particularly the sulphide of lead,
associated with copper and zinc, to reach which many excavations have
been made. The lead mines of this farm are said to have been famous in
Revolutionary times, and have been worked sporadically for a hundred
years; if traditions are trustworthy, many a winged bullet that laid
a Red-coat low in the War of Independence was a messenger from "Mill
Grove." In some of the old conveyances, which go back to the time of
Penn, the place was commonly designated as the "Mill Grove Mines Farm."
It is recorded that the original tract of two thousand acres, extending
from the Schuylkill to the Perkioming as far as the mouth of Skippack
Creek, was sold to Tobias Collett by William Penn in 1699 for fifteen
shillings. We shall soon see that the mineral wealth which "Mill Grove"
was supposed to hide beneath its rugged slopes was a source of no little
trouble to the Audubons, the Roziers, and their successors for many a

At the foot of the declivity towards the west, half hidden by foliage,
stood a picturesque stone mill, at a point where a solid rampart had
been thrown across the stream to divert its power to the use of man.
Hard by was the miller's house, which antedates the mansion, and which
was built and first occupied by James Morgan, who came into possession
of the property in 1749. It was this old mill site, originally distinct
from the farm, that gave the name to the place. Behind the gristmill
an extensive sawmill, built over the mill race, was also in operation.
Today the dam is broken through, and the great mill wheel of wood and
iron, twelve feet in diameter and fifteen feet wide, has come to rest
after turning for more than a century.

Like the mill, the original house on the hilltop was built of rough-hewn
native stone, which is brown or red and very hard. It consists of two
stories, with central hall, and a curiously divided attic with dormer
windows, which Audubon is said to have converted into a museum. A marble
slab in the south gable bears the date of 1762; an addition of the same
rough stone was built on the north side, but at a considerably lower
level, in 1763, and the commemorative tablet in this instance bears
the initials "J. M.," proving that the construction of the buildings of
"Mill Grove" was due to the old miller, James Morgan. The interior, with
its odd chimney-corner, low ceilings, bold fireplace and hand-wrought
iron-work, bears witness to a time when honest, substantial construction
and pride in workmanship received the first consideration. The present
owner of "Mill Grove" has added attractive porches at the front and
back. Ampelopsis climbs over the walls, which are shaded by handsome
trees; one of these, a fine black walnut at the easterly porch, which
in August bore its great green balls in full clusters, must have been
vigorous in Audubon's day, and possibly suggested the introduction of
sprays of this full-fruited tree into some of his plates.

While on a visit from Santo Domingo in 1789, concerned with his business
interests, Captain Audubon spent some time in Philadelphia. On March 28,
1789, he purchased the "Mill Grove" property, at that time consisting
of 284½ acres of land, mansion house, mill, barns, furniture, tools and
live stock, from Henry Augustin Prevost[86] and his wife, for the sum of
2,300 English pounds, in gold and silver. He never lived there, and that
he never intended to make it his immediate residence is shown by the
fact that in less than a fortnight he leased the farm in its entirety,
as already noticed, to its former owner, and gave him a mortgage which
stood for seventeen years.[87]

Young Audubon lived at "Mill Grove" from the winter of 1804 to the
spring of 1805, and again for a few months in the summer of 1806, the
year of its final sale by the Audubons and Roziers (see p. 148). In his
journal of 1820 the naturalist wrote that his father had once the honor
of being presented to General Washington, and also to Major Crogan, of
Kentucky, "who was particularly well acquainted with him." Jean Audubon
left at "Mill Grove" oil portraits of himself and of Washington, both by
an inferior American artist named Polk,[88] and it is probable that the
one of himself was painted while he was at Philadelphia in the spring
of 1789; the drawing is hard and flat, but the appearance of the face
clearly indicates a man past middle life, and Captain Audubon had then
reached his forty-fifth year.

Young Audubon, we may be sure, lost no time in exploring the resources
of this fine estate, where every bird, tree and flower came to him as a
new discovery. In following the Perkioming above the mill dam he found
a cave, carved out of the rocks, as he thought, by nature's own hand,
which was a favorite haunt of the unpretentious but friendly pewees,
the first American birds to attract his serious attention. So delighted
was the youthful naturalist that he decided to make the pewees' cave
his study; thither accordingly he brought his books, pencils and paper,
and there made his first studies of American bird life, in the spring
of 1804, in the third year of the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. It
was early in the season when Audubon chanced upon this quiet retreat;
the buds were swelling and maples had already burst into bloom, but
snow still lingered in patches through the woods, and the air was
piercing chill. The pewees were not yet at home, but one of their nests,
fashioned of mud and finest moss, was fixed above the vaulted entrance;
their coming was not long delayed, and Audubon, marking the very night
or day's dawn when the first pewee arrived, saw them beginning to
restore their old home on the tenth of April.

Strange to say, almost at that very time another pioneer in American
ornithology, Alexander Wilson, who will enter this history later, was
teaching a rough country school at Gray's Ferry, Kingsessing, also on
the Schuylkill, and not over twenty-five miles away. Though Audubon's
early studies were very desultory, both naturalists began their
observations at about the same time, for on June 1, 1803, Wilson wrote
to a friend that many pursuits had engaged his attention since leaving
Scotland in 1794, and that then he was "about to make a collection of
all our finest birds."

It must be set down to Audubon's credit that in the little cave on the
banks of the Perkioming, in April, 1804, he made the first "banding"
experiment on the young of an American wild bird. Little could he or any
one else then have thought that one hundred years later a Bird Banding
Society would be formed in America to repeat his test on a much wider
scale, in order to gather exact data upon the movements of individuals
of all migratory species in every part of the continent. After a few
trials, "I fixed," said he, "a light silver thread on the leg of each,
loose enough not to hurt the part, but so fastened that no exertions of
theirs could remove it." In the following spring he had the satisfaction
of catching several pewees on their nests farther up the creek, and
of "finding that two of them had a little ring on the leg," proving
that the young of a migratory bird, steering by the "compass" which is
carried in its brain, did sometimes return to its home region, if not
to the actual cradle or home site.

Across the Philadelphia road, which today leads to the little railway
station, and not more than a quarter of a mile from Audubon's farmhouse,
stood another but more pretentious mansion of the Colonial era, called
"Fatland Ford," pertaining to an extensive farm of that name which was
noted for the fertility of its alluvial acres. A road from the present
village of Audubon to the Schuylkill River and the ford runs through the
"Fatlands of Egypt," as the most productive parts of this old farm were
then called. From the house could be seen the camping grounds of the
Revolutionary soldiers, and James Vaux, its owner and builder, is said
to have entertained General Howe at breakfast and to have shown him the
room which General Washington, his guest of the previous day, had left
just in time to avoid an introduction.

Shortly before Audubon reached "Mill Grove," William Bakewell, an
Englishman who had emigrated to New Haven in 1802, bought this farm,
and with his wife and family took possession in the winter or spring
of 1804.[89] Of the six Bakewell children, the two eldest, Lucy Green
and Thomas Woodhouse, were but three years younger than the naturalist.
The senior Bakewell, said Audubon, called at "Mill Grove" to pay his
respects, but being then from home, and having brought with him a
Frenchman's dislike for everything English, he failed to respond. In
the autumn, however, when grouse had become plentiful in the woods, a
chance meeting brought them together, and young Audubon, who was a great
admirer of his neighbor's expert marksmanship and well trained dogs,
duly apologized for his neglect and forthwith paid a visit to "Fatland

We shall let the naturalist tell in his own words of his first meeting
with the young woman who afterwards became his wife:

     Well do I recollect the morning, and may it please God that
     I may never forget it, when for the first time I entered Mr.
     Bakewell's dwelling. It happened that he was absent from
     home, and I was shown into a parlor where only one young
     lady was snugly seated at her work by the fire. She rose
     on my entrance, offered me a seat, and assured me of the
     gratification her father would feel on his return, which,
     she added, would be in a few moments as she would despatch a
     servant for him. Other ruddy cheeks and bright eyes made their
     transient appearance but, like spirits gay, soon vanished from
     my sight; and there I sat, my gaze riveted, as it were, on the
     young girl before me, who, half working, half talking, essayed
     to make the time pleasant to me. Oh! may God bless her! It
     was she, my dear sons, who afterward became my beloved wife,
     and your mother.

When Mr. Bakewell returned, his daughter, Lucy, presided at the tea that
was served, and Audubon received his first experience of hospitality
in the English style, that was to be repeated in Britain at a later
day on a more lavish scale. A hunting expedition was arranged and the
men started out at once. Festivities of various sorts, and, later,
skating parties, became the order of the day, and it was not long before
hospitalities were exchanged, when Audubon, having secured, with the
aid of his tenant's son, as many partridge as possible, had the whole
Bakewell family to dinner under his roof at "Mill Grove."

Audubon's choice of a wife, thus quickly made, marked a turning-point
in his career, and the curious fact remains that while he might have
ransacked the country from Florida to Maine, as he afterwards repeatedly
did in his search after birds, and woefully blundered, the woman who
by her sterling qualities of mind and heart was the one to recognize
and call forth the best that was in him, should have been placed by
circumstances close by his door. Whatever the world has ever owed to
Audubon is a debt due to Lucy Bakewell, for every leaf of oak that is
plaited for his brow, another of lavender should be twined for hers.

During this gay but brief period of his life, Audubon has described
himself as inordinately fond of dress, often cutting, as he said, an
absurd figure by shooting in black satin breeches and silk stockings,
and wearing the best shirts which the Philadelphia market could afford;
he took pride, he adds, in riding the best horse that he could procure,
and in having his guns and fishing tackle of the most expensive and
ornate description. "Not a ball," he said, "a skating match, a house or
riding party took place without me."



     This and the above after photographs of August 16, 1914.]

While freely acknowledging his follies at this time, he was able to
say that he was addicted to no vices. His usual custom was to rise with
the dawn, when his bird studies would begin, in the early hours which
are best for this purpose. According to his own account, Audubon was
extremely abstemious in his youth, for he declared that he had lived
on fruits, vegetables and milk, with only an occasional indulgence in
game and fish, and that he had not swallowed a single glass of wine
or spirits until his wedding day. This was the more remarkable in a
youth coming from a country which flowed with good wine, where school
children are still served with watered wine for lunch, and where the
cooks, as Goldsmith believed, could concoct seven different dishes out
of a nettle-top, and who, if they had enough butcher's meat (a want that
has since been abundantly supplied), would be the best purveyors in the
world. Audubon attributed his iron constitution to this simple regimen,
which had been followed, he said, from his earliest recollection, though
he admitted that while in France it was extremely annoying to all about
him; for this reason he would not dine out when his peculiar habits were
likely to be the subject of unpleasant comment. To follow this account
of himself:

     Pies, puddings, eggs, milk and cream, was all I cared for in
     the way of food, and many a time I have robbed my tenant's
     wife, Mrs. Thomas, of the cream intended to make butter for
     the Philadelphia market.... All this time I was as fair and
     rosy as a girl, though as strong, indeed stronger than most
     young men ... and why have I thought a thousand times, should
     I not have kept to that delicious mode of living, and why
     should not mankind in general be more abstemious than mankind

William Gifford Bakewell, a younger brother of Lucy, has left this
interesting record of a visit paid to "Mill Grove" in the summer of

     Audubon took me to his house where he and his companion,
     Rozier, resided, with Mrs. Thomas, for an attendant. On
     entering his room, I was astonished and delighted to find that
     it was turned into a museum. The walls were festooned with
     all kinds of birds' eggs, carefully blown out and strung on a
     thread. The chimney-piece was covered with stuffed squirrels,
     racoons, and opossums; and the shelves around were likewise
     crowded with specimens, among which were fishes, frogs,
     snakes, lizards, and other reptiles. Besides these stuffed
     varieties, many paintings were arrayed on the walls, chiefly
     of birds. He had great skill in stuffing and preserving
     animals of all sorts. He had also a trick in training dogs
     with great perfection, of which art his famous dog, Zephyr,
     was a wonderful example. He was an admirable marksman, an
     expert swimmer, a clever rider, possessed of great activity,
     prodigious strength, and was notable for the elegance of
     his figure and the beauty of his features, and he aided
     nature by a careful attendance to his dress. Besides other
     accomplishments he was musical, a good fencer, danced well,
     and had some acquaintance with legerdemain tricks, worked in
     hair, and could plait willow baskets.



     Advent of a new agent at "Mill Grove"—Dacosta becomes guardian
     to young Audubon and exploits a neglected lead mine on the
     farm—Correspondence of Lieutenant Audubon and Dacosta—Quarrel
     with Dacosta—Audubon's return to France.

If young Audubon was playing the _rôle_ of a prodigal son at the "Mill
Grove" farm, which in a certain sense was doubtless true, an episode
soon occurred which put a check to his carefree existence. Not long
after the naturalist had arrived, William Thomas, the tenant, called his
attention to the lead-ore deposits, which he thought had been discovered
by a Mr. Gilpin in 1791, and the news of this prospect was promptly
communicated to the elder Audubon in France. Though the presence of
this mineral at "Mill Grove" had been known, as we have seen, at a much
earlier day, its rediscovery excited great interest, and may have been a
factor of influence in the steps which were soon to be taken. It should
be noticed, however, that before May, 1803, a young Frenchman from
Nantes, bearing the Portuguese name of Francis Dacosta, had preceded
young Audubon to "Mill Grove," and apparently had acquired at that
time a certain interest in the farm.[91] Dacosta soon succeeded Miers
Fisher as Jean Audubon's agent, and becoming enthusiastic over the lead
mine, was anxious to exploit it. Acting also upon the senior Audubon's
request, he assumed a sort of guardianship over the son.

Dacosta began to dig for ore in the following year. News of his
enterprise spread rapidly, and this long neglected mine was heralded
in the newspapers as "one of the first discoveries yet made in the
United States."[92] On December 15, 1804, Dacosta purchased a one-half
undivided interest in "Mill Grove,"[93] giving, as we believe, a
mortgage, and hoping to pay for his share out of the profits of the
lead mine. Thereafter for about two years he continued to conduct the
farm and develop the mine, upon the basis of a one-half interest, in
addition to a small salary.[94] In case the mine proved a success, it
was understood that young Audubon was to be taken into the business and
thus obtain a means of self-support.

Dacosta was at first averse to forming a company, but the Quaker tenant,
William Thomas, who caught the fever, and who was thought to possess
more knowledge of the mine than he was ready to divulge, seems to have
been taken conditionally into the partnership. Dacosta made full reports
of his progress to the old sailor at Couëron, who came regularly to
Nantes to send back to America his well considered answers and candid
advice. Dacosta also called persistently for money, but as Lieutenant
Audubon was unable to meet these demands, he applied to his friend
François Rozier, a wealthy merchant at Nantes, to supply the needed
capital. Rozier invested 16,000 francs, and to complicate matters took
a mortgage upon one-half of the value of "Mill Grove," in which the
earlier proprietor, John Augustin Prevost, as well as Francis Dacosta,
was also interested. Jean Audubon, Dacosta and Rozier thus became
partners in an enterprise which seems to have swallowed up all of the
money which was advanced and never to have made any substantial returns.

The eventual failure of the lead mine must be attributed in part to the
high cost of materials, as well as to the expense involved in uncovering
the ore, a difficulty which all later exploiters seem to have found
insuperable. Dacosta also discovered that the management of his youthful
charge was quite as difficult as making a success of the mine. His
grievances on this score were duly reported at Couëron, and if he was
really trying to carry out the instructions which came from France, it
was perhaps no wonder that he received the undisguised contempt of his
rebellious pupil. How just the naturalist's charges against his hated
tutor may have been, will be considered in the sequel, but Lieutenant
Audubon's letters,[95] to be given presently at length, clearly show
that in spite of the strained relations which later ensued, Dacosta
continued to enjoy his confidence for some time after young Audubon's
return to France in 1805. The more serious troubles that followed seem
to have arisen from entanglements into which all were later drawn.

In the first two letters to be given, but the third and fourth of
the series, Jean Audubon refers particularly to "Mill Grove" and the
prospective mine, and to the proposed marriage of his son to Lucy
Bakewell, concerning which he was reluctant to give his consent for
reasons which he specifies at length; his sanction was in fact withheld
until the young man was on the road to self-support two years later.

_Jean Audubon to Francis Dacosta_

          [NANTES, 1804-5]

     I told you to sell to W. Thomas the portion on the other side
     ... but your letter of the 27th of September with that of Mr.
     Miers Fisher, who is not in favor of it, has made me change
     my mind in the meantime. If your plan succeeds, as I wish it
     may, this part of the farm would become almost indispensable
     for exploitation [of the mine]. Moreover, has not Mr. W.
     Thomas intentions, which we do not know? Might it not be
     possible that in this very same part he had made more valuable
     discoveries than those which he has shown us? In all these
     matters, however, I rely entirely on the wisdom of Mr. Miers
     Fisher and of yourself, and I thank you for your willingness
     to remain in charge of my affairs,[96] by accepting anew
     the power of attorney, which he sends me together with the
     indenture to be signed by my wife and by myself in presence
     of witnesses. But you ask that this should be done before
     the mayor of Nantes, while we have been living, since you
     departed, in the commune of Couëron; accordingly this will be
     taken before the mayor of that commune, and legalized by a
     prefect of the department. That, I believe, will fulfil the
     same obligations, for should it be necessary for my wife to
     come to Nantes in the weather that we are constantly having it
     might cause a delay that would be prejudicial to us. Remember,
     my dear Sir, I expect that if your plan succeeds, my son will
     find a place in the works, which will enable him to provide
     for himself, in order to spare me from expenses that I can,
     with difficulty, support. Your first letters have almost
     persuaded me that this so-called mine was of little or no
     account, but the arrangement that you have made with W. Thomas
     is so important that I do not doubt you made certain of the
     value of the object before deciding to grant him a recompense,
     which was to be only in the thing itself. In this work we
     should then be making a very great sacrifice, and it would be
     a loss. If, however, you propose to forestall the payment of
     the sums that you owe, I accept [the proposition] to be paid
     in Philadelphia; I will reflect upon it, and will look into
     it. If I can arrange matters for this [plan] with Mr. Dupuir,
     my next will be more explicit upon this subject. My son speaks
     to me about his marriage. If you would have the kindness to
     inform me about his intended, as well as about her parents,
     their manners, their conduct, their means, and why they are
     in that country, whether it was in consequence of misfortune
     that they left Europe, you will be doing me a signal service,
     and I beg you, moreover, to oppose this marriage until I may
     give my consent to it. Tell these good people that my son is
     not at all rich, and that I can give him nothing if he marries
     in this condition.

_Jean Audubon to Francis Dacosta_

          NANTES, _le 19 ventose, an 13 9 March, 1805_

     MR. DACOSTA, Philadelphia:

     I have received at this very moment your duplicate of the
     twelfth of November, and your letter of December fifth, which
     is not so favorable for several reasons as the one preceding
     it, yet this impels us to hope that your last tunnel will not
     be a deserter, and that the oxides of iron which are present
     will not vanish upon further digging; this, at least, is my
     hope. You do well to make every effort to obtain associates.
     If this does not succeed, and if you should wish to work for
     our interests, I should always approve of everything that you
     do, since you have my confidence. In this case I believe ...
     that you should make the most urgent repairs, above all at
     the principal house, before going there to live. As to Mr.
     W. Thomas, you do well to keep him for yourself for every
     reason that you give me, and I believe that he will not be
     stubborn about withdrawing until he has, or has not, deserved
     his reward.

     I am [vexed] Sir; one cannot be more vexed at the fact that
     you should have reason to complain about the conduct of my
     son, for the whole thing, when well considered, is due only
     to bad advice, and lack of experience; they have goaded his
     self-esteem, and perhaps he has been immature enough to boast
     in the house to which he goes, that this plantation should
     fall to him, to him alone. You have every means to destroy
     this presumption; it is known at Philadelphia that you have
     the same rights as I have, and that you are doing nothing but
     for our mutual advantage. I am writing to him on this subject,
     for he does not speak of it to me, and I am giving him the
     rebuke that his indiscretion deserves. Read this letter, and
     have the kindness to seal it before delivering it to him.
     You tell me that I can refer, in regard to his conduct, to
     the report that Mr. Miers Fisher has given of it in his long
     letter of the month of September; that, unhappily, I have not
     received, for Mr. Fisher tells me nothing about him, neither
     what is good nor bad. As to going to that country, this seems
     well nigh impossible; to recall my son is not easier; the
     reasons which made me send him out [there] still remain. Only
     an instant is needed to make him change from bad to good; his
     extreme youth and his petulance are his only faults, and if
     you have the goodness to give him the indispensable, he will
     soon feel the necessity of making friends with you, and he
     can be of great service if you use him for your own benefit.

     It is necessary then, my dear Sir, that we endeavor, by
     gentleness, to reclaim him to his duty. If you are indulgent
     with him, it will be I who should be under every obligation
     to you. I hope that the enclosed letter will work a change
     with him. This is my only son, my heir, and I am old. When
     Mr. Miers Fisher shall have shown my letter to the would-be
     father-in-law, he will see that he is mistaken in his
     calculation upon the assumed marriage of his daughter, for if
     it should take place without my consent, all help on my part
     would cease from that instant; this, if you will have the
     kindness, is what you may say to the would-be father-in-law,
     that I do not wish my son to marry so young.

     Your letters of the 28th of October and the 12th of November
     are in the country.[97] I cannot reply categorically upon
     their contents; I will examine them, and will tell you in my
     next what I think about them. Your family, which I have seen,
     is well. Our ladies thank you for your kind remembrance. I

When the preceding letter was written young Audubon was on his way to
France, to protest, as he said, against Dacosta's treatment of him. At
the date of the letter which follows, he was at Couëron, hunting birds
with Dr. d'Orbigny.

_Jean Audubon to Francis Dacosta_

          NANTES, _14 June, 1805_

     TO MR. DACOSTA, Philadelphia:

     I have received, at this very moment, your letter of the 8th
     of April. I have replied to your preceding by duplicate. Like
     yourself I am greatly astonished that you should not have
     received the contracts which I forwarded to you at once. I
     have reserved copies of these papers, which I have literally

     If I had the least idea that they would not reach you, and
     that an accident had befallen the ship, I should forward them
     in duplicate, but as this boat, at the time of its departure,
     was long delayed by the embargoes as well as by bad weather,
     I am persuaded that this is the sole cause, and that they will
     have reached you since.

     You are about to appeal to the supreme court to prove your
     ownership; is there a living being who can contest it? If our
     deeds, granted in France, have not their full force in that
     country, nothing can annul them for us who are French. You
     shall do in this matter what you like; the greatest objection
     is this, that it stops your operations; but who is to blame?
     It is due to distance, and not to any negligence.

     You say that you will do nothing until you have these
     documents; if your intention is to work for our benefit, as
     you say in your preceding, a company still being disagreeable
     [to you], that ought not to stop you; you have every power,
     [and] time lost is irreparable. I am much annoyed at the
     delay that this Mr. Miers Fisher causes you; as you say, he
     is an honest man, but negligent, and this in consequence of
     his age, and absorption in his great business.

     We now return to Mr. David Ross,[98] who in his letter tells
     a pack of lies. At the close of 1789 I presented myself
     at his house with the power of attorney of Mr. Formon,[99]
     when we settled the business of the "Count of Artois," and
     the "Annette."[100] There never has been, as he said, any
     dissolution of the partnership between Mr. Formon and myself.
     I settled the accounts at that time both with him and with
     Samuel Plaisance concerning these vessels, with the exception
     of a residue of three thousand francs which are due me from
     Mr. Edward, their associate, who died at London. When I asked
     him for his certificates, he gave me for excuse that they were
     at the iron factory above Richmond, and that he had given Mr.
     Formon a private obligation that he would be very glad to have
     an exchange for the certificates. This affair has rested there
     ever since, and according to his letter Mr. Formon has taken
     out seven thousand, four hundred dollars, which exceeds his
     share by 1,650 dollars. If the estate of Mr. Formon is not
     without resources, it is to his heirs that you must apply for
     this overdraft, and get from Mr. David Ross all that you can,
     for with such people one cannot rely upon getting anything
     except with iron hooks.

     The son-in-law of Mr. Formon doubtless will have found among
     his papers all that constitutes the legal basis of my portion;
     his certificates, his letter of attorney prove it, and this is
     a title, and I believe that I have proofs by accounts current.
     I salute you.

_Jean Audubon to Francis Dacosta_

          NANTES, _22 June, 1805_


     I have just received your letter of April 23, and hasten
     to reply to it, in order to prove to you that not one of
     yours has been neglected, which could be readily seen by my
     copybook. I am not surprised that at this time you have not
     received your papers, because they cannot have left before
     the 10th or 15th of last March, having been held up by the
     embargoes and the bad weather, as you will see by the date of
     the letters which accompany them.

     They were entrusted to the son-in-law of Mr. Paulin, and
     if the ship arrives safely as I trust it will, you have now
     received them.

     What negligence on the part of Mr. Miers Fisher! In truth
     it is unpardonable, to let the mortgages stand after having
     paid them![101] Will you then, I pray, clear this up for the
     sake of our mutual peace of mind? You speak of repairs to the
     house,[102] it needs a complete cover; would it not be better
     for me to send some slate from here? This would perhaps be
     less expensive, and well nigh everlasting. Should you consider
     it advisable I will send you some at once.

     I beg you not to neglect the affair of David Ross; if you can
     collect this sum, you will use it for our needs. I am annoyed
     that all these mishaps prevent you from working;[103] be well
     persuaded that it is no fault of mine, and that I am guilty
     of no negligence.

     You speak of my going to that country; if such had been my
     intention I should have done it long ago. I am still troubled
     with an inflammation of the lungs; and one ought not to be ill
     in a foreign country, where he does not receive the care that
     he enjoys in his own home. You ask me to bring you money....
     You know better than anyone else what was my [financial]
     position when I sold to you; by that alone you must know how
     difficult this would be for me. It is necessary to manage
     so that our object suffices us [or so that the mine pays its
     way], and if we cannot work on a grand scale, we must needs do
     the best with our affairs on a lower plane; for that I depend
     on you. I salute you.

          P.S. When you shall have my papers from Mr. Miers
          Fisher, you will find a promissory note of Mr.
          Samuel Plaisance of Richmond, for the business of
          the widow Ross. If there were justice there this
          sum would be paid to me with the costs.

The foregoing letters show that Dacosta had been asked to oppose the
proposed marriage of the younger Audubon to Lucy Bakewell until consent
should be given; that he was calling for more money to exploit the lead
mine and was urging Lieutenant Audubon to come to America; and that
their relations were becoming strained, Dacosta, to prove his title to
a one-half interest in the mine and farm, having threatened to take his
case to the courts.

This mining experiment was spread over many years. Before turning to
the sequel (see Chapter XI), let us glance at the picture which the
naturalist has left of his unsympathetic tutor. "Dacosta," he said, "was
intended to teach me mineralogy and mining engineering, but in fact"
he "knew nothing of either; besides which he was a covetous wretch,
who did all he could to ruin my father, and indeed swindled us both to
a large amount. I had to go to France to expose him to my father to
get rid of him, which I fortunately accomplished at sight of my kind
parent. A greater scoundrel than Dacosta never probably existed, but
peace be with his soul." In one respect only, said Audubon, did he
receive any sympathy from his guardian: Dacosta commended his drawings
of birds. "One morning," Audubon relates, "when I was drawing a figure
of the _Ardea herodias_ [the great blue heron], he assured me that the
time might come when I should be a great American naturalist"; however
curious it might appear, he adds, that praise "from the lips of such a
man should affect me, I assure you that they had great weight with me
and I felt a certain degree of pride in these words even then."

To follow Audubon's story further, not only did Dacosta take control
of his finances, but he interfered with his personal liberty, first
by objecting to his proposed marriage to Lucy Bakewell, and then by
cutting off his stipend when he rebelled.[104] Audubon, being thoroughly
aroused, determined to return to France and lay the case before his
father in person. With this end in view he walked to Philadelphia,
whither Dacosta had gone, to demand the money necessary to take him
to Nantes. He was given, as he says, what purported to be a letter of
credit to a Mr. Kauman, an agent and banker in New York. Returning with
his letter to "Mill Grove," he then started on foot for New York, where
he arrived on the evening of the third day. While there he stayed at the
house of Mrs. Palmer,[105] "a lady of excellent qualities," who received
him most kindly. Audubon called promptly upon Benjamin Bakewell, for
whom he was the bearer of a letter from his brother, William Bakewell,
of "Fatland Ford." Instead of an order for money, Kauman's letter, he
said, contained only the advice that its bearer be "arrested and shipped
to Canton." Perplexed and bewildered beyond endurance, Audubon said
that for the first time he felt the call of murder in his blood, and his
outraged feelings were not assuaged until his landlady, to whom he had
opened his heart, and Mr. Bakewell, had come to his aid. Having secured
from this gentleman the necessary funds, he bought a passage in the ship
_Hope_, which was then about to sail direct for Nantes.

Thanks to an old cash account of William Bakewell, we can follow
Audubon's movements at this time fairly closely. This record[106]
extends from January 4, 1805, to April 9, 1810, during which time he
advanced money to his future son-in-law and received credits due him
from various sources. He did the same for the young partners when an
association in business had been formed between Audubon and Rozier,
and acted as their agent or attorney after the sale of their farm and
their settlement in the West; as will be seen he aided Audubon very
substantially later when money was needed at Louisville and for the more
ambitious projects at Henderson, in which his son was also interested.
This particular record shows that he supplied Audubon with small sums
of money on January 4 and 12, 1805, just before his departure from
"Mill Grove," and that on the eighteenth of the same month he paid his
brother, Benjamin Bakewell of New York, $150 on the young man's account.
This was undoubtedly the passage money which Audubon had borrowed from
his friend, and as the ship was then ready to sail, the date of his
voyage on the _Hope_ is very closely fixed.

After his vessel had passed Sandy Hook and was opposite New Bedford,
the captain, in order, as he averred, to make necessary repairs, ran
her into that port, where they passed a week. This was thought to be
only a ruse on the captain's part to gain time, for, having recently
married, he wanted a holiday on shore; accordingly he had ordered a
few holes bored below the waterline in the bows of his ship. When they
finally put to sea in earnest, they passed "through an immensity of dead
fish floating on the surface of the water," a remark which now recalls
stories of the famous tilefish, once thought to be extinct, which have
been found floating dead in vast numbers in that part of the Atlantic.
After nineteen days out the _Hope_ entered the Loire and anchored at
Paimbœuf, the lower harbor of Nantes; this was in February, and not far
from the eighteenth of that month.



     Life at Couëron—Friendship of D'Orbigny—Drawings of French
     birds—D'Orbigny's troubles—Marriage of Rosa Audubon—The Du
     Puigaudeaus—Partnership with Ferdinand Rozier—Their Articles
     of Association—They sail from Nantes, are overhauled by
     British privateers, but land safely at New York—Settle at
     "Mill Grove."

Reaching his home at Couëron in the spring of 1805, Audubon took
his parents completely by surprise. He found his father, then in his
sixty-first year, still "hale and hearty," and his "_chère maman_ as
fair and good as ever." It was a time of momentous events in France;
Napoleon had placed the crown upon his head but a few months before;
defeat and victory followed in rapid succession. But this did not
prevent the young naturalist from spending a year in "the lap of
comfort" at Nantes and in the quiet villa of "La Gerbetière," where as
usual he hunted birds and collected objects of natural history of every

At this time also Audubon formed a friendship with a young man after
his own heart, Dr. Charles Marie d'Orbigny, who "with his young wife
and infant-son" was then living near his home. "The doctor," he said,
"was a good fisherman, a good hunter, and fond of all objects in
nature. Together we searched the woods, the fields and the banks of
the Loire, procuring every bird we could, and I made drawings of every
one of them—very bad, to be sure, but still they were of assistance to

Charles d'Orbigny, who was Audubon's most intimate early friend and
in all probability his father in natural history, was always spoken of
in terms of great affection. While at Paris in October, 1829, Audubon
learned from the naturalist Lesson that D'Orbigny was then in charge of
the museum at La Rochelle and that "his son, Charles, then twenty-one,"
whom "he had held in his arms many times," was in the city; on October 8
he wrote in his journal: "this morning I had great pleasure in meeting
my godson, Charles d'Orbigny. Oh! what past times were brought to my

     13. NEAR NANTZ, 1805. J. J. A."; BELOW, "LE ROSSIGNOL DE
     1805. J. L. F. A."

     Published by courtesy of Mr. Joseph Y. Jeanes.]

In later life the elder D'Orbigny seems to have fallen on evil times.
He appeared as a debtor to Lieutenant Audubon's estate, and the cordial
relations that had long existed between the two families were broken;
this is shown only too plainly by the following sharp letter[109]
written by Gabriel du Puigaudeau and addressed to the doctor, on August
3, 1819, when the family had become reduced in means:

_Gabriel du Puigaudeau to Charles M. d'Orbigny_

     Your letter of the twenty-fifth of January reached me in
     due time. I am grieved to see that you are annoyed because
     I addressed you through the voice of the mayor of the town
     in which you live, since I had not the honor of knowing the
     mayor any more than the enmity which may exist between you; I
     was in duty bound to find out where you were; I heard it said
     that Esnaudes was your home and I wrote you more than a year
     ago; when I received no reply, the supposition was that I must
     have been misinformed. I wrote to the mayor of Esnaudes and
     he had the kindness to reply that you were practicing in his
     commune. I am writing to you under this cover, persuaded that
     my last will not have the same fate as my first, which surely
     had not reached you.

     As to the claim that Madame Audubon has upon you, the
     different credits which you mention are assuredly more than
     enough to pay the amount, but with forfeitures; unfortunately
     there are many creditors who do nothing but this; Madame
     Audubon gets nothing, and finds herself in straightened
     circumstances, although her hands are full of notes. You say
     that your creditors can claim only thirty-five hundred francs.
     I have certain knowledge to the contrary, since already the
     mortgages on your house reach nearly three thousand francs,
     while Madame Audubon is your creditor in the sum of at least
     sixteen hundred francs. I wish in business to be frank, and to
     have others so with me. You say that you owe rather those who
     have supplied you with food; you are unwilling then to recall
     that the sums that the late Mr. Audubon lent you repeatedly
     were for the same purpose. You tell us to be patient, and
     who have been more patient than we for the past four years?
     You speak of reduction of interest; indeed it is impossible
     that you should have thought of this, or that we should be
     content with what you should be so good as to give us, and
     that when you deem it convenient, without our being able to
     file a protest. I leave you to reflect on what we must think
     of this matter, and I beg you to see in my manner of writing
     to you the interpretation that I have given to what you write

     Madame Audubon does not think that she should exact at once
     the capital in addition to the interest, but she charges me
     to say to you that, having a right at least to the interest
     accrued, she begs you to have that money paid to her with the
     least possible delay.

The following letter concerning D'Orbigny's affairs was also written by
Gabriel du Puigaudeau to J. Cornet of Esnaudes, on June 26, 1819:

_Gabriel du Puigaudeau to J. Cornet_

     Your honored [letter] of the sixteenth was duly received. It
     is impossible to be more grateful to you than I am for the
     information that you have been kind enough to give me about
     Mlle. Bouffard[110] as well as about M. Delouche. I will
     use it to my profit. As to the question that you put to me
     concerning M. d'Orbigny, I have the honor to tell you that
     he has lived in the commune of Vue in this department, and
     was highly esteemed and regretted when he left to come here.
     He lived here fifteen years without any one having cause to
     reproach him in any way. He has always been very well regarded
     and received by the best society here, and he carried from Vue
     the regrets of all. He left us to take part in a manufactory
     of soda, established at Noismoutiers, in the department of La

     I have had no news of him since. As to his pecuniary
     resources, I know him to have but one. His wife had a house,
     at Paimbœuf in this department, which was sold three years ago
     to satisfy the holders of mortgages. This is all that I can
     tell you about them; he owes my mother-in-law about fifteen
     hundred francs (money received at different times from my
     late father-in-law), for which we have his notes, but God only
     knows when we shall be paid.

As early as the autumn of 1805, if not before, plans were laid for
getting young Audubon again safely out of France, for fear, no doubt,
that the remorseless conscription officers of Napoleon would send him
to the war if he remained. At that time Lieutenant Audubon and his
wife issued jointly to their son and to Ferdinand Rozier a power of
attorney for the conduct of their business affairs in America. Parts
only of this punctilious document, which was written in French, have
been preserved,[111] and these through the translation of a "notary
public and sworn interpreter of foreign languages for the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, resident in Philadelphia." The names of the grantors,
who signed this letter on October 21, 1805, were attested under the
signature and seal of the mayor of Couëron; this official upon the
same day declared that, in conformity with the rigorous requirements
of the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, since "no other act, not
even a notarial instrument, can in any manner supply the same," he had
examined Anne Moynet Audubon apart, when she admitted that she perfectly
understood the nature of the act, which she had "signed, sealed, and
delivered of her own free will and accord, without being compelled
thereto by her husband, either by threats, or by any other means of
compulsion whatsoever." The mayor's signature was authenticated three
days later by the subprefect of Savenay, and the formality was finally
closed by the attestation of his signature by the prefect, on the 27th
of November.

It was during this last visit to his home in France that Audubon's
sister, Rosa,[112] was married to Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, who was
not, however, as the naturalist has stated, either "the son of a fallen
nobleman" or his father's "secretary." Du Puigaudeau came from a family
of merchants in easy circumstances, and for a long time lived the life
of a country gentleman of leisure—for a period at Port Launay, below
Couëron, and later, after Lieutenant Audubon's death, at his own villa,
"Les Tourterelles," in that commune, not far from "La Gerbetière."
His father, though of a rich family, was not a "gentleman," that is,
a member of the aristocracy, as the term was then used in France. Du
Puigaudeau was without any settled business, but his revenues, upon
which he depended, failed not long after the death of his father-in-law.
He and young Audubon appear to have been good friends for many years,
and after the latter's return to America they corresponded to as late
as 1820, when for some reason their relations were broken.

In the spring of 1806 Lieutenant Audubon arranged a business partnership
between his son and Ferdinand Rozier, to endure for nine years, and also
secured passports for both to enable them to emigrate immediately to
the United States. To the same hand can also be traced their "Articles
of Association," which were drawn with the utmost care and designed to
govern them in all their future business relations in the New World:
these were signed by "Jean Audubon," and "Ferdinand Rozier," at Nantes,
on March 23, 1806. Moreover, eight days before they embarked, a second
and more elaborate letter of attorney was issued to them jointly by
the Lieutenant, his wife, and, in this instance, the aged father of
Ferdinand, under date of April 4, 1806.[113] According to the terms of
this admirably executed paper the partners were entitled to conduct all
the affairs of the grantors in reference to their property in the United
States to the best of their judgment and ability; to carry on the "Mill
Grove" farm, to the extent of their part ownership in the estate, or
to dispose of this interest; "to exploit or cause to be exploited the
mine recently discovered on the said farm, to consult in every important
matter Mr. Miers Fisher, merchant of Philadelphia,—as a common friend
and good counsellor, to keep all necessary books and registers, and at
the end of each year, or sooner, to strike a balance of the receipts
and expenses of the said farm and the exploitation of the mine, should
there be reason for it."


     From the Tom J. Rozier MSS.]

To secure at this time the necessary passports for their young men
no doubt taxed all the resources of the elder Audubon; Rozier's, said
the naturalist, was written in Dutch, of which he did not understand
a single word, while his own letter stated that he was born in New
Orleans. These subterfuges worked so well that the inspection officer,
after reading Audubon's paper, promptly offered him his congratulations,
adding that he would be only too glad to leave his unhappy country
under as favorable conditions. Audubon and Rozier sailed from Nantes
on Saturday, April 12, 1806, on the ship _Polly_, Captain Sammis, but
they did not land in New York until Tuesday, May 28, after a perilous
voyage of nearly eight weeks. A fortnight had been passed at sea when
they sighted a suspicious looking vessel which immediately gave chase,
fired several shots across their bows, and compelled the captain to
heave to and submit to being boarded and searched. This proved to be an
English privateer, named the _Rattlesnake_. She was rather considerate
for a British cruiser of the period, for she merely impressed two of
their best seamen and robbed them of their provisions, carrying off,
said Audubon, all of their "pigs, sheep, coffee and wine,"[114] in spite
of loud remonstrances of the captain and of an American Congressman who
happened to be among the passengers. "The _Rattlesnake_," he continued,
"kept us under her lee, and almost within pistol-shot, for a day and a
night, ransacking the ship for money, of which we had a great store in
the run under the ballast which was partially removed, but they did not
go deep enough to reach the treasure. The gold belonging to Rozier and
myself I put away under the ship's cable in the bow, where it remained
until the privateers had departed."

Upon reaching a point thirty miles off Sandy Hook, they learned from
a fishing smack that two British frigates lay off the harbor and
were impressing American seamen, that, in short, they were even more
unwelcome than pirates who sailed under letters of marque. The captain,
thus forewarned of one danger, had the misfortune to run into another,
for upon taking his vessel into Long Island Sound, she encountered
a storm and was stranded in a gale; no great harm was experienced,
however, for the vessel was finally floated off and reached New York
on the following day. The passage money paid by Audubon and Rozier
to Captain Sammis amounting to 525 livres, or $125,[115] was entered,
according to their articles of agreement, as the first item of their
"social expenses." After a brief visit with Benjamin Bakewell they
hurried to "Mill Grove," and Audubon to the home of his sweetheart,



     Home of Audubon's youth at Couëron—Its situation on the
     Loire—History of the villa and commune—Changes of a century.

Before following further Audubon's history in America, we shall return
for a more intimate view of the happy home which he had left behind him
in France. This was at Couëron, a small commune in the arrondissement
of Saint-Nazaire, on the right bank of the Loire, nine miles west of
Nantes. Here, as we have noticed, his father had acquired a country
place at about the outbreak of the Revolution. The old house still
stands, though in decay, and is still known as "La Gerbetière," a name
possibly referring to the wheat which is harvested from the surrounding
fields as of yore. In the records of that district country places are
always designated by their proper names, and it is a curious fact that
while such names survive, they are seldom or never displayed on door or


     From a photograph of August 18, 1913.]

In a journal written before 1826, Audubon says: "My father's beautiful
country seat, situated within sight of the Loire, about mid-distance
between Nantes and the sea, I found quite delightful to my taste,
notwithstanding the frightful cruelties I had witnessed in that
vicinity not many years previously. The gardens, greenhouses, and all
appertaining to it appeared to me of a superior cast." Though it was
occupied for many years previously as a refuge from the turmoil or heat
of the city, Lieutenant Audubon made "La Gerbetière" his permanent abode
only when he retired from the navy in 1801, still maintaining, as we
have seen, a foothold in Nantes.

Upon Audubon's first return from the United States in the spring
of 1805, he said that his vessel entered the mouth of the Loire and
anchored off Paimbœuf, the lower harbor of Nantes. "On sending my name
to the principal officer of the customs," the narrative continues,
"he came on board, and afterwards sent me to my father's villa, La
Gerbetière, in his barge and with his own men." It is to be noticed,
incidentally, that as the distance to be covered between the lower and
upper harbors was twenty-five miles, or sixteen miles to Couëron, such
journeys no doubt were made upon the arrival of incoming vessels for
the regular business of the service.

It has been suggested, without proof, that Couëron represents the
ancient town of Corbilo, mentioned by Strabo at the beginning of our
era. Though unquestionably ancient, at the time of the Revolution it
was a small and unimportant parish of poor but industrious farmers. It
occupies rolling ground, but little raised above the Loire, to the east
of Port Launay and nearly opposite Pellerin. As this commune was easily
accessible by river-barge from Nantes, the revolutionists seem to have
thought it worth watching, though Citizen Audubon found its people in a
tranquil mood when he canvassed their district in behalf of the Central
Committee in April, 1793. Couëron is still a farming community, but its
population[116] has been considerably swelled in recent years by the
development of a large industry for the treatment of lead; it is the
shot tower and forest of chimneys of these great metallurgical works
that arrest the eye of the traveler as he approaches Couëron by river
at the present day. The town is also accessible by railroad, but the
steamer journey from Nantes, which is made in less than an hour, is more
attractive as well as more direct. In this section the Loire is flanked
on either side by bottom lands, reduced in places to narrow strips,
which are followed at intervals by elevations called, by courtesy, hills
or buttes. To the west of Couëron, and especially at Pellerin, which
stands high, these buttes come close to the river, which is eating them

My visit to Couëron, which was made on a warm midsummer's day in
1913, served to correct certain previous impressions, but I found the
old Audubon homestead in its essential aspects but little changed,
considering that over a century had rolled by since the naturalist's
visit which we have just described. After leaving Nantes at the Gare de
la Bourse by one of those quaint little trains which still do service
in the less traveled parts of France, we traversed the broad Quai with
requisite deliberation, passing shops, warehouses and factories in long
array. A slight swerve from the river soon brought us to Chatenay, now a
part of the city; it is still some distance from that point before the
real countryside is reached, and scenes familiar to southern Brittany
are in a measure reproduced. There were the old farmhouses of rough
stone, dear to every painter's heart, mellowed by age and lichens, and
surrounded by great ricks of straw, for the harvest had been gathered
and the stubble fields were brown. There also the farms were divided
into small plats, marked by willows or ramparts of stone. On higher
ground stood the windmills, characteristic of Brittany also,—stalwart
towers of stone, with broad arms of latticed wood ever ready to take
the sails.

The small station for Couëron lies in the commune of Sautron, and
at this isolated point the traveler will sometimes find a country
conveyance to take him to the village. While we were raising the dust
from this old Couëron pike on the eighteenth day of August, swallows
hawking with characteristic energy for their insect prey were the only
birds we saw to remind us of the ornithologist, who as a youth had
doubtless passed this way many times, over a hundred years before.
The most direct approach to the old Audubon place from Sautron, as we
afterwards learned, is by a path which diverges on the right and leads
through stubble fields and cabbage patches, along hedgerows and stone
walls. We, however, fared on to the town and soon began to pass shops
and small modern houses. On the side of the village the traveler's eye
is certain to be arrested by a great crucifix in stone,[117] which rises
high above the street from a lofty pedestal, and is approached by tiers
of stone steps. Nearly opposite stands the _secrétariat_, or official
bureau of the commune, where a solitary clerk, who seemed to welcome my
intrusion in a place where business was utterly stagnant, closed his
office and with characteristic courtesy cheerfully showed me the way.
This led directly westward to one side of the center of the town, and
after passing down a street of old houses of the humblest description,
we were again in the region of brown fields and old farmsteads.

Couëron village, which is marked by a modern church with an aggressive
spire, extends along the river bank, but since its streets run parallel
with it, the river itself is seen only at certain openings, occurring
at irregular intervals. In going to "La Gerbetière" by the course I
have described, the Loire was not visible at any point, and was not
seen until we emerged from one of the village streets at the steamer's
pier. My guide had said that from the rise at the next crossroads we
should see the roof of the house which we had come to visit, and his
prediction was verified when I recognized immediately its cupola raised
above the gray stone walls which there bound every highway and field.
The old villa is rather less than a mile from the village, but owing
to the rolling nature of the country, it is completely hidden until at
close approach it stands suddenly revealed. It lies in a fork of the
road, securely inclosed by high, massive walls of stone, now hoary with
age, while on the front it is further screened by a natural growth of
bushes and trees. Immediately behind and to the west rises a prominent
butte which cuts off the view to Port Launay on the river; this forms
the one distinctive landmark of the district, as its two windmill towers
are visible from all surrounding points. In Audubon's day the house
commanded a wide view of the Loire, but the river is now so completely
masked by foliage as to be visible only from the upper windows;
apparently it once flowed nearer to the house but has been pushed away
by the construction of modern dykes. The hilltop to which I have just
referred, like the roof of the villa, commands a panorama of the whole
region, including Nantes and all the surrounding communes.

"La Gerbetière" is now a small estate of less than fifty _ares_, or
one and a half acres, of land. The buildings, which form a quadrangle
with enclosed court, occupy a corner next the side street, and stand
about 200 feet back from the main highway leading from Couëron to Port
Launay. The extent of the original property cannot now be determined,
but Lieutenant Audubon, who retired at the age of fifty-seven, was never
a farmer on a large scale. The original house, which probably dates from
early in the eighteenth century, has an easterly wing or L, continued
into a long, low section through which the court is now entered from
the road at the side; this was probably added by Jean Audubon, but
the westerly end and wing are a more modern accretion, built for the
accommodation of additional tenants, as many as three families having
occupied the place in 1857.

"La Gerbetière" was entered from the main street by a small door which
pierces the high enclosing wall, and leads the visitor into what was
formerly an ornamental garden, the original design of which can still be
traced. At the time of my visit, however, this entrance had long ceased
to be an avenue of response. Encouraged by the sight of a peddler's
cart, I walked up the side street and entered the court. Here the
response was prompt and vigorous enough, and from the guardians of the
place, one of which was chafing at his chain close to the doorway. I
crossed rather gingerly to an open hallway, opposite the main entrance,
and knocked repeatedly, noting here that rooms opened to this small
entrance hall on either side, and that a steep stairway led to others
above. At last, during a temporary lull in the barking of dogs, the
"tok-tok" of sabots was heard on the stairs, and I handed up my card
with one from the director of the Natural History Museum at Nantes.
After various messages had been shouted back and forth, I was led
through another passage to the tenant, who was talking with the peddler
in the garden. Julien Lebréton, who was a farmer on a small scale,
received me kindly and answered my questions to the best of his ability;
it did not surprise me that he was both puzzled and suspicious, or that
his first thought was of our coming to look over the place with a view
to its purchase.

The decayed villa, which stands in the midst of scattered farmhouses
of a humble order, reproduces a style characteristic of many parts of
France. The original house, of two stories, was built of cream-colored
limestone, similar to that for which many French towns are famous. It
has a swelled slated roof with beveled gables. Surmounting the roof
is a cupola which suggests a third story, carried out in harmony with
the lower structure. A narrow balcony, resting upon a molding of stone
and protected by an iron grill, without which no such house would
be considered complete, runs the length of the second story, and is
accessible from every room by glass doors. From the main entrance below
one passes directly through to the court, about which are now grouped
various stables and other low buildings, not all of which date from
Audubon's day.




What was once a small formal garden is still marked by solid boundaries
of cut limestone. This was evidently constructed by Jean Audubon, since
it occupies the area in front of the original house and the easterly
extension which is attributed to him. The remaining available land was
devoted to fruit, vegetables, and possibly to the greenhouses which
the naturalist mentioned. At one time an orangery occupied some part of
the house or court. There are now no large trees on the property; the
fruits are all of recent and inferior growth, while the garden I saw
was planted to cabbage and running riot with weeds.

When Jean and Madame Audubon passed through the door leading from the
main street, they entered upon a paved alley which ran parallel with
the high wall, whence they could reach the house by any one of several
walks or enter the fruit garden by another. If so inclined, they could
turn to the right, ascend a flight of granite steps to a platform on
a level with the top of the wall, and under a shady bower of vines and
leafy shrubbery, look off on the racing waters of the Loire, scrutinize
their visitors before admitting them, or observe such manifestations of
life as lonely country roads of that period had to offer. As they passed
up the central garden walk they could admire the beds of old-fashioned
flowers, kept, we may be sure, in perfect order, for Jean was a very
methodical man, and his wife, we believe, an excellent home maker. This
walk led to a low terrace, flanked with a heavy wall, which ran the
whole length of the house.

What little I saw of the interior of "La Gerbetière" was wholly devoid
of interest, which agrees with the experience of another traveler who
visited Couëron at a slightly earlier date;[118] at the time of his
visit the place was unoccupied and forlorn, and the vegetation on the
garden side so dense that it was utterly impossible to see any distance
from the lower windows.

When "La Gerbetière" came into Jean Audubon's possession it was already
venerable with age, and it was completely restored for him by an
architect named Lavigne.[119] In an inventory drawn up shortly after
Madame Audubon's death in October, 1821, the property of "La Gerbetière"
is described by reproducing the account given in an early deed bearing
date of November 11, 1769, which reads as follows:

     A house called La Gerbetière, situated near the port of
     Launay, consisting of a sitting room, drawing room, kitchen,
     upper chamber ... garret, and other quarters serving as a
     laundry, stable at the back, with pigeon loft above, court,
     parterre, vegetable garden to one side, an orangery with
     orange trees, in the middle of the house, the whole in front
     of a close surrounded by high walls except on the side of the
     setting sun, with land belonging to the heirs of M. de la Haye
     Moricaud, held mutually,[120] the whole bounded on all other
     sides by highways. Notice: The aforesaid house and parterre
     [stand] in an empty field, which serves as a fair-ground, and
     is partly planted with young trees in serial rows; held in
     common with the Marquis de la Musse, with another empty field
     containing about two journals of land....[121]

"La Gerbetière," never more than an unpretentious country house with
an attractive garden, was idealized in the fervent imagination of
Audubon when in after life he drew upon the memories of his youth
in France; for it had meant to him escape from the city, which he
detested, to the fields and river which he loved. Yet, in spite of
the abuse which a long line of poor tenantry inevitably entails, with
intervals of total neglect lasting for nearly a century, this decayed
villa of pre-Revolutionary days still stands in marked contrast to its
neighbors, and bears witness to a taste to which they were strangers.
The greenhouses, the fruit and shade trees, if such it possessed, and
all lesser adornments of the place have vanished long ago, but thanks
to the durability of French stone and mortar, much about this old
country seat is still well preserved. Whether Audubon ever saw his old
Couëron home again after leaving it in 1806 is doubtful, though one of
his sons visited the place, and the naturalist incidentally speaks of a
pilgrimage to Les Sables d'Olonne which might have occurred in 1831 or
a little later. In following the fortunes of the naturalist's family in
France it will be necessary for us to return to La Gerbetière.[122]



     Audubon and Rozier at "Mill Grove"—Their partnership
     rules—Attempts to form a mining company lead to
     disappointment—Decision to sell their remaining interests
     in "Mill Grove" to Dacosta—Division of the property and
     legal entanglements—Audubon as a clerk in New York—Business
     correspondence and letters to his father—Later history of the
     lead mine and Dacosta—Audubon continues his drawings in New
     York and works for Dr. Mitchell's Museum—Forsakes the counting
     room for the fields—Personal sketch.

When Audubon and Rozier reached "Mill Grove" at the beginning of the
summer of 1806, they found the troublesome Dacosta installed as its
master by virtue of his interest in the property and his former position
as agent, to which they were now to succeed. No doubt they found
difficulties in carrying out all the articles of agreement[123] in their
business constitution, for they were to take possession and call Dacosta
to account. They were also in duty bound to investigate the lead mine
on the farm, and ascertain whether it promised any success, and if the
expenses already incurred were warranted, before committing themselves
to further development. One-half the product of the mine and farm was to
be equally divided between them, and in order to visualize clearly their
profit and loss, they agreed to keep a "special book for the purpose."
"On one side," their third "Article" read, "will be entered the items of
expense, day by day, and at the moment this is done, on the other side
[shall also be entered] the sales and products of the farms, and of all
that can result from this business, in such a way that the profit shall
be always apparent by the addition of the items which compose the debit
and the credit."


     After the original manuscript of Rozier's copy, in possession of
     Mr. Charles A. Rozier.]

The house at "Mill Grove" was to be treated as an object separate from
all business, "in order," so the "Articles" read, "that we may settle
matters as completely as we desire." It was also agreed, in the fourth
"Article," that they should "add to the expenses of this exploitation
those necessary for life, and others of a mutual character, so long
as it should suit them to live and dwell together." It was further
stipulated that even if the mine proved a failure, they should remain
six months on the farm, in order to gather useful information from the
country, before embarking in any form of commerce, whether inland or
maritime. The cost of their journey to America was to be entered as the
first item of their "social expenses," and any expenditure for travel
in their mutual interests was to be considered under the same head.
In case they should persuade any merchants in America to send goods
to M. Rozier, Senior, at Nantes, he should be entitled to one-half
the profits, while the partners should divide the other half between
them. All other profits and losses resulting from their commercial
transactions were to be shared equally. The partners resolved to
maintain friendship and a mutual understanding, but "upon the least
difficulty" each should choose one arbitrator, and the two thus chosen
were authorized to select a third; the partners were bound to accept
the decision thus reached without appealing to any court. In the case
of the death of one of the associates, read the tenth "Article," the
survivor should have sole charge of making a settlement of the business
and should report to the proper heirs. The survivor, in such an event,
would be entitled to a commission of ten per cent [in addition to his
one-half interest], but in no case should the partnership be dissolved
"until after nine years, counting from the day of the date of the
present [instrument]." As will be seen, Audubon and Rozier were unable
to fulfill all the conditions thus carefully laid down.

Young Audubon's dislike of Dacosta, the uncertainty of the mining
project, and other difficulties of the situation soon decided the
partners to cut short their stay at "Mill Grove." Both were equally
interested in the lead mine, but after working several months without
success in an attempt to form a mining company, they wisely decided
to leave such experiments to the enthusiastic Dacosta and to seek
an opening in trade, where the hazard would be no greater and their
ignorance less profound. Following the advice of their Quaker friend,
Miers Fisher, they decided to sell to Dacosta their remaining rights in
"Mill Grove." As a preliminary it was necessary to divide the property
which had been held in common by him and Lieutenant Audubon since 1804,
and this division was effected by an agreement drawn up at Philadelphia
on the fifth day of September, 1806.[124] Ten days later the remainder
of "Mill Grove" was conveyed to Francis Dacosta, representing a number
of capitalists whom he had managed to interest in the mine, of whom the
astute Stephen Girard is said to have been one. The sale was subject
to conditions,[125] dependent upon their success in mining lead, which,
as will appear eventually, could not have been fulfilled. These various
transactions are so clearly set forth by Ferdinand Rozier in writing to
his father at Nantes that we shall reproduce his letter in full:[126]

_Ferdinand Rozier to Claude François Rozier_

          PHILADELPHIA, _12 Sept., 1806_



     Still in hope of cherished news from you, and replies to my
     letters of 31 May, 22 June, and 4 July, I have to tell you
     that we have since succeeded in closing all our business
     relations with Mr. Francis Dacosta, in the following
     manner: We are anxious that our method of procedure may
     be satisfactory to you; we have followed the advice of Mr.
     Miers Fisher, and have had his approval in all that we have
     done. What should set you at rest is that as regards your
     investment, you will find that I have made quite a neat
     profit. Here is a copy of the agreement.

          "It is agreed between Mr. Dacosta and Mr. J. Audubon
          that the farm of "Mill Grove," which they now hold
          in common, shall be divided between them as follows:

          "1. Mr. Dacosta shall have the lot of 113 and a
          half acres, situated on the N.E. side of Perkioming
          creek, with all the buildings, mines, et cet., and
          in general all that it contains.

          "2. Mr. Audubon shall have the lot of 171 acres,
          situated on the other side of the creek.

          "3. Mr. Dacosta shall pay to Mr. Audubon for the
          difference [in value] of the lot of 113½ acres, and
          of that which it contains:

               "1. The sum of eight hundred dollars,
               payable with interest, in three years from
               this day;

               "2. The sum of four thousand dollars, upon
               the first products of the lead mine.

          "4. The contract made with Mr. Thomas shall remain
          to the charge of the two parties.

          "Note. Mr. Duponceau is begged to draw up the
          necessary deeds to put this agreement into
          execution, which [deeds] we undertake mutually to
          exchange at the first requisition."

          "[Executed] at Philadelphia, this 5th of Sept, 1806."

          [Signed] "Fcis DACOSTA"
                   "FERDINAND ROZIER"
                   "J. AUDUBON"

     The futile attempt that we have made to form a company [to
     work this mine], which is a condition [of success], the slight
     resources at our command, as well as our lack of knowledge
     in work of this kind, all have determined us to abandon our
     rights for the offer of four thousand dollars[127] upon the
     first products that shall come from the mine. The expense
     that must be incurred in [working] it will be very heavy; to
     this must be added the uncertainty of success. The mine may
     promise much at the beginning, and after that yield nothing.
     In short an enterprise of this kind can be properly conducted
     only by a capitalist or by a company. We have regarded this
     mine as a lottery which can make the fortune of the promoter,
     or lead him into great losses. As to the agreement with Mr.
     Wm. Thomas, we do not consider it as very serious; since
     it is quite uncertain whether he will be paid in whole or
     in part, as he has not kept his agreements. This is Mr.
     Dacosta's opinion. As to our half we are decided not to let
     it go under eight thousand dollars, which is its value as
     estimated by several farmers. So you see, my dear papa, that
     our half [as worth] 8,000 dollars, at least, the sum of eight
     hundred dollars by mortgage, with interest, and that of four
     thousand dollars upon the first products from the mine, will
     cover easily the interest on the purchase of sixteen thousand

     Since expenses are at least double what they would be in
     France, owing to the cost of products of every sort, we are
     determined to go into trade, to cover our expenses, and to
     choose for ourselves some kind of serious work that can lead
     us to an honorable establishment. You should be at ease about
     the manner we shall adopt for our operations, as we wish only
     to go slowly, and especially [to be] guided by the advice of
     the respectable persons whose acquaintance we are so fortunate
     as to enjoy, and who beyond a doubt will aid us along this
     thorny path.

     "By our letter of the 4th July we have sent the account
     current of Mr. Dacosta, by which Mr. Audubon is charged
     with 315 dollars and 5 cents; we have begged you to send
     the documentary evidence which may put us in a position to
     prove that Mr. Audubon ought not to pay Mr. Dacosta's private
     expenses, as the matter is to be decided here by arbitrators.
     We beg Mr. Audubon to use the utmost speed in sending his
     documents. It is our ardent [hope] also that you have received
     our first [letter] of May 31, with that of Mr. Bakewell, the
     merchant in New York, with a remittance of 3,000 and a few
     francs for the purchase of divers objects. I assure you that
     we are in the greatest anxiety [as to] what is the state
     of your health,[128] as well as that of the family, and to
     learn if you have received our letters. The nephew of Mr.
     Bakewell writes us that his uncle in New York has despatched
     several vessels consigned to you, for which I congratulate you
     sincerely. We have also received your letter of the 30th of
     June, but I cannot reply to it, since the boat is leaving this
     evening for Amsterdam, but you can count upon my conforming
     to its contents. Your personal letter grieved me particularly
     by your last expressions, and I should wish that you would
     have done me more justice; I can have made mistakes, but for
     ... the idea alone has made me shudder. I am delighted that
     all the family is enjoying perfect health. Embrace dear Mama
     for me; my kind regards to my brother and sisters; do not
     forget to remember me to all the family, and to our friend,
     Mr. Audubon, the father, and his family. Finally, my dear
     Papa, be assured that I shall forget nothing to increase our
     intimacy. You give me the means of supporting it with labor.
     Believe in my sincere and enduring attachment.

          Your respectful son,


          We are eager to hear of the receipt of our letters,
          and we beg you to address them to Mr. Bakewell of
          New York.

The inbred caution, sound sense, and sterling integrity which this
letter displays would be a good foundation for any career, and we are
not surprised to find that in after life Ferdinand Rozier became a keen
and successful trader on the western frontier.


     After the original manuscript of Ferdinand Rozier's copy, in
     possession of Mr. Tom J. Rozier.]


     After the original manuscript in possession of Miss Maria R.

The division and sale of "Mill Grove" probably ended the joint interests
of the elder Audubon and Rozier, for in November, 1806, a new power of
attorney[129] was given to the young men by Lieutenant Audubon and his
wife; as later events will prove, however, their rights in the property
were not completely surrendered with its transfer to Dacosta and his
mining company in the autumn of this year. The partners were now free
to "choose some kind of serious work," and Ferdinand, who was then
twenty-nine, was anxious to make a beginning at once. Since he was not
as yet proficient in the English tongue, Rozier engaged as a clerk in
the French importing house of Laurence Huron, of Philadelphia, while
Audubon, following the advice of his future father-in-law, entered the
office of the latter's brother, Benjamin Bakewell, in New York.

In the autumn of 1806 Benjamin Bakewell was conducting a successful
wholesale importing business at 175 Pearl Street. He then owned several
vessels, and his correspondents were scattered over England, France, the
West Indies and the Southern States. With him were associated at this
time a number of young men, including his nephew, Thomas W. Bakewell,
Thomas Pears, a nephew of his wife, Thomas Bakewell, his son, as well
as John James Audubon. The hospitable family to which young Audubon was
now admitted on terms of intimacy, in accordance with the custom of the
day, lived in the rear of the counting-house during the winter months
but in summer migrated to the country, the Bakewells going five miles
out on the Bloomingdale Road. Benjamin Bakewell had come to this country
in 1794, in the same year as the famous chemist, Joseph Priestley, whose
friendship he enjoyed and whose religious teachings had drawn both him
and his brother, William, from rigid Calvinism to the greater tolerance
of the Unitarian belief. At twenty-four he was an independent mercer
in Cornhill, London, and was well acquainted in France, where he had
spent considerable time during the Revolution, which had destroyed his
trade. One of his patrons at this time was Claude François Rozier of
Nantes, and inasmuch as the correspondence with him had to be conducted
in French, and may possibly in this instance have been due to young
Audubon's initiative, it was naturally intrusted to him.

Seven letters of the naturalist, dating from January 10, 1807, to July
19 of that year, by good fortune have been preserved, and they throw
into full light another shaded corner of his interesting life. From the
contents of these letters,[130] as well as from other facts, we know
that Audubon remained in Bakewell's office for nearly a year, from the
autumn of 1806 to the summer of 1807. Bakewell's house imported linens,
lace, gloves, wines, firearms and any kind of merchandise that promised
a ready and remunerative sale in New York; in return they forwarded
coffees, sugars and other commodities to Rozier, receiving from him also
prices current and introductions to other merchants in France. Another
correspondent was the Huron firm in Philadelphia, so it is probable that
Ferdinand owed his employment there to Benjamin Bakewell.

While Audubon expressed himself at this time as freely in English as in
French, in the former language the tendencies of his French tongue and
the influence of his Quaker friends were strangely blended. He never
bothered with accents, and took as many liberties with the spelling of
French as of English. Some of these lapses are purely phonetic, while
others are more original, as "schacket" for "packet," "fither" for
"Fisher"; two variations of Rozier's name and of Nantes occur in the
same letter. It should be remembered, however, that at the beginning
of the nineteenth century bad or random spelling was a very venial
offense, which gentlemen of quality, or even scholars, could commit
with impunity. In this respect Audubon's early essays in English would
probably compare favorably with Gibbon's youthful French.

_John James Audubon to Claude François Rosier_

          [Letter No. 1, addressed]

          M. FR. ROZIER,

          NEW YORK, _10 January, 1807._

     DEAR SIR:

     We have had the pleasure of receiving by the _Penelope_ your
     consignment of 20 pieces of linen cloth, for which we send
     our thanks. As soon as we have sold them, we shall take great
     pleasure in making our return.

     I am truly sorry that you had not received any letters from
     us when you wrote, and I am also very disconsolate at having
     no news from my good father. You did us a most acceptable
     service in making us acquainted with your friends in different
     parts of France, and in offering to send us such goods as you
     shall deem suitable. Upon the same proposals I sent you orders
     several months ago, and did I dare, I should tell you that all
     articles having much show and little value are the very things
     that are _à la mode_, and these in one hundred per cent,
     [and] I assure you that we should be very happy to receive
     some small consignments. As soon as we shall have realized our
     funds, we will make our orders, in accordance with our means.
     Mr. Bakewell has made a great profit on the consignment that
     you made him shortly after our arrival. We should be flattered
     by another like it. Have the kindness to write us often, and
     to send us prices current as far as possible. I hope that you
     will have had our letters concerning a plan of business with
     Mr. Huron. If you will have the kindness to see him,[131] he
     can communicate to you his ideas on the subject. His plan, I
     believe, will be advantageous both to you and to us.

     Your son is just about to come from Philadelphia, to live in
     New York until there is some news; but we will write you more
     at length by Capt. Sammis, who brought us to this country. I
     even venture to hope that you will send back some merchandise
     for us. Have the kindness to forward us invoices, with the
     goods consigned to us, in order to avoid the penalty and
     the expense of having them taken to a public warehouse, [a
     proceeding] which is often a great disadvantage on account of
     the fees. Consign always to Mr. Benjamin Bakewell, who treats
     us, so far as possible, as good friends.

     Present my respects to your family, and believe me ever

          your faithful servant,

          J. J. AUDUBON.

_John James Audubon to Claude François Rozier_

          [Letter No. 2, addressed]

          Monsieur FR. ROZIER,
          Loire Inferieure.

          NEW YORK, _April 24, 1807._


     I am profiting by a good opportunity for Bordeaux to apprise
     you of the receipt of a duplicate of the orders that you gave
     us several months ago. You will also know that the wines,
     consigned to Mr. L. Huron, have arrived in this city and the
     insurance has been saved. Your son has gone to the spot [the
     dock in Philadelphia], and by one of his letters advised me
     that the 60 cases of wine are sold. He tells me that you can
     count on a net profit of nearly 20 p. c. If it turns out very
     good, the remainder will not fail to find a purchaser. Mr.
     Le Ray has arrived and has brought with him a small box of
     lace for Mr. Benjamin Bakewell here; it ought to arrive in a
     few days from Philadelphia. Mr. B. B. appeared satisfied with
     the sale of his squared timber; he is anxious only to see the
     returns; he is unhappy that the commerce of your town with
     this country cannot be regularly conducted except by Bordeaux,
     whence we have vessels every month. As our friend, Ferdinand,
     will write you from Philadelphia concerning Mr. Huron, I shall
     not enlarge about him. In several of your letters you intimate
     that if we decide upon establishing a retail shop, you can
     keep us constantly employed; our ideas upon this subject
     are in perfect accord, and it would be indeed a pleasure if
     we could start under the auspices and good advice of Mr.
     Bakewell here; objects well chosen, favorably bought, and
     shipped with care, are always sure of meeting a good sale. I
     venture to hope that the ship _La Jeanne_, Capt. Sammis, will
     have arrived in your port, and that the Indigoes shipped by
     Mr. Bakewell will reach there in time for the sale of this
     merchandise, of which I have some fears, in view of the sum
     they have cost him.

     We thank you for the prices current that you have sent us. In
     one of my last, directed by way of Bordeaux, I begged you to
     call on Mr. Fleury Emery for a box of seeds, from Martinique
     and from this country, for you and for my father. This was
     aboard the ship, the _Virginia_, Capt. Roberts, from this
     section. We hope shortly to send you some merchandise, and
     possibly Mr. Bakewell will profit by an opportunity that we
     shall have in a few days for your port. A little more than
     three weeks ago I was at Mill Grove, and I rented it for a
     year, being unable to do better for the present. Your son,
     now in Philadelphia, is trying to settle the accounts of my
     father with Mr. Dacotta [Dacosta], who does not easily forget
     the _rôle_ of chicaner. Present, I pray you, my respects and
     compliments to your good family and wife, and believe in me
     as your devoted and constant


          J. J. AUDUBON.

     Have the kindness to deliver the enclosed to my good father.

The following quaint and charming letter, which young Audubon enclosed
with the preceding and under separate seal, but which his "good father"
may not have received, will be transcribed in full, without the change
of a letter or mark. Lieutenant Audubon, who was then in his sixty-third
year, was living, as we have seen, at Couëron, the small river town nine
miles west of Nantes, the center of the mails for the Loire Inférieure,
and came frequently to that city to conduct his business correspondence.

_John James Audubon to Jean Audubon_

          [Letter No. 3, enclosed with No. 2, addressed]

          JOHN AUDUBON, Esq.,
          pr Bourdeaux

          NEW YORK _April 24th 1807_


     I send thee by a good opportunity, but going to Bordeaux I
     deed send about a month ago a small Box containing some very
     curious seeds & some useful ones the whole was directed to Mr.
     Fleury Emery it was given here to the Care of Capt.. Roberts
     of the Virginia I do hope they are now in thy possession thou
     have been so often disappointed that it always pains me to
     think that they have been Miscarried: thou shalt found some
     of the Best Whatter Missions and Girmonds Called here St.
     Domingo Schachet[132] as in a few days I shall have again a
     good opportunity for Nantz I will send thee a Duplicate of the
     same Seeds, I have seen in the News Paper that a ship called
     the Betzey had been in Nantz do make some Enquiries for it
     there are on board of her Many Birds and a collection of seeds
     from America for thee The Caps.. McDougal; pray when thou
     answer to this be kind enough to mantion these little things.
     I hope that the Jane Cap.. Sammis as reached your Port and
     given thee some Turtle fit to be eaten in soupe. Mr. L. Huron
     deed few days ago. Received some Wines on a/c of M. Rozier
     and hits they prove goods[133] and will bring a good profit.
     Mr. F. Rozier the son speaks of going to France some time this
     summer he is now near Mr. Huron at Philadelphia and will try
     while he is there to settle the Business between M.. Dacotta
     and thee M.. Rozier had shosen M.. Huron for arbitrator but
     I would not agree to it until M.. Miers fither[134] was to
     have part in it. I am now waiting for an answer. I am allways
     in Mr. Benjamin Bakewell's store where I work as much as I
     can and passes my days happy; about thee weeks ago I went
     to Mill Grove for a/c of the latter and had the pleasure
     of seeing there my Biloved Lucy who constantly loves me and
     makes me perfectly happy. I shall wait for thy Consent and
     the one of my good Mamma to Marry her. could thou but see
     her and thou wouldst I am sure be pleased of the prudency
     of my choice; M..B. Bakewell is allways willing to oblige me
     and will do many things for me: do not participate the Ideas
     of M. Rozier Going to France to his father it would perhaps
     Injure us for a while. I wish thou would wrights to me ofnor
     and longuely think by thy self how pleasing it is to read a
     friend's letter. Give my love to all my friends and thine and
     kiss mamma, Rosa and Brother Pigaudeau[135] for me I hope they
     continue to be all happy, do remember to send me thy portrait
     in miniature dressed as an officer[136] it will cost thee
     little and will please me much. Some of thy hair and ask my
     sister for the Music she does not want. I wish to receive some
     letter from M.. Dorbigny[137] whom I have often wrighten and
     send some curiosities. he is yet to answer to my first.

     When thou seeist Mr Rozier pray him and try to engage him to
     send us some-goods then we feel very inclined to set up in a
     retail store which would do, us a great deal of good. I will
     send him a letter by this opportunity—Good by farwell good
     father believe me for life thy most sincere friend be well be

          thy son

          J.. J.. AUDUBON

          _J'espere que tu poura lire—adieu—adieu_.

_John James Audubon to Claude François Rozier_

          [Letter No. 4, addressed]

          MR. FCCIS ROZIER,
          Merct, Nantes—_Ocean_.

          NEW YORK, _May 6th, 1807_.

     DEAR SIR:

     I wrote you recently by a ship going to Bordeaux; the letters
     were carefully intrusted, and I hope that they were received.
     I notified you of the arrival of the wines to the address of
     Mr. Huron of Philadelphia, and told you that part of the cases
     were sold. Your son informed me this morning that wine of so
     good quality ought never to be exported in cask, and that the
     profit would have been greater if the whole had been in case.
     Mr. Benjamin Bakewell has received the bill of lading of Mess
     Gereche brothers, and the gloves and the lace are at present
     on the road from Philadelphia to this place; perhaps we shall
     have them tomorrow; I am afraid that they may be dear. In
     several of your letters to Ferdinand you speak of a retail
     store, and my friend begs me tell you that nothing could suit
     us better than that you should have the kindness to send us
     enough [goods] to set up a shop at once on a good footing.
     As soon as advised, we shall order you to stock it with
     merchandise of your choice. You should have already received
     the bill of sale of a bale of linen cloth. You can judge that
     I have learned to shave Messrs the Americans, since I have
     been with Mr. B. B. In conscience, however, [the goods] have
     been sold at one third above their value. Should you decide
     upon sending another [shipment], do not count upon so good a
     sale. You must know, however, that I am always disposed to do
     everything for your interests, and that I shall always seek
     to merit your approbation. Should you decide to make [us] a
     consignment for a retail shop, have the kindness to follow,
     point by point, the following bill:

           60 doz. morocco leather powder flasks—green or gray,
                copper mounted, like those that you sell at the
                shop for 25 sols [soldos].

           60 doz. d. d. of leather, mahogany color, at the same

          100 boxes d.

          100 music boxes,[138] in prices from 10 to 18 francs, good
                pieces and gay music.

          100 boxes of seal-wafers, containing 1 gross each, assorted
                in color [but] more of the red than any other.

           10 gross of small boxes of seal-wafers.

            3 boxes of pastels, good, well assorted, and chosen by
                the sons of M. Belloc; more would not return us

     If you could procure us good books in English at Paris, M.
     Bakewell assures me [that we would realize] a great profit
     on them, and upon the other articles as given above, if well
     chosen. We hope to sell Mill Grove, and we will credit you
     with a great part of the profit in colonial merchandise. It
     is with impatience that I await some news of the indigo of
     Mr. B. Bakewell. Have the kindness, I pray you, to forward
     the enclosed letter to my father as soon as possible, and will
     you take from the ship _Ocean_, the carrier of this letter, a
     little box [sent] to your address for him, and will you send
     this to him also? Present my respects to your ladies; accept
     mine and those of the Bakewell family. Ferdinand is well. I
     salute you, and I am

          your devoted friend,


          Herewith the bill of lading of the box.
          The captain did not wish to make any
          charge, and has been perfectly polite.

_John James Audubon to Jean Audubon_

          [Letter No. 5, inclosed with No. 4, in French, and addressed]

          Mr. FCCIS ROZIER

          _pour_ Mr. Audubon _père_
          _aussitôt que possible_


     Thou wilt find herewith a bill of lading of a small box
     containing nineteen species of seeds, a bottle of reptiles
     for Mr. Derbigny [D'Orbigny], and some dried plants also
     for the latter. I will write thee of Mr. Kauman, by the ship
     _Mentor_, which is to leave a little while after this one.
     Adieu, my good friend! The box will be addressed to Mr.
     Audubon, _Md_,[139] Nantes, with "American seeds" written
     above; besides two Bs, like this which follows B.B[140] The
     Capn. promises me to take care of it, and of my letters
     also. If thou findest in my letter anything which displeases
     thee, remember that I am thy son. Adieu! Farewell, my good
     friend! Thine for life.

          J. J. AUDUBON.

          New York, _May 6, 1807_.

     Do not forget, I pray thee, to send me for the good Mrs.
     Bakewell the complete works of Mr. Genlis[141] by the first
     opportunity, and for me an exact copy of the departments of
     France like that which I made, and which is in thy cabinet.
     I wish thee to copy them for my brother-in-law.[142]

_John James Audubon to Claude Francois Rosier_

          [Letter No. 6, addressed]

          p. Brig _Mentor_

          NEW YORK, _May 30th, 1807_.

          Merchant, Nantes.

     DEAR SIR:

     By my last, sent on board the ship _Ocean_, Capt. Bunken, I
     apprised you of the arrival of the gloves and lace, shipped
     by your order at Rochelle for the account of my good friend,
     Benj. Bakewell. I can now inform you of their sale, which
     is also advantageous, although the principal part was fine
     and of very great price. The gloves in prices of 23# 28# D,
     are what is needed for this market here, and especially if
     they are of any other color than yellow or bottle green they
     are less apt to soil; further they conceal defects more, and
     find in consequence more purchasers. The laces were better,
     although there was a heavy duty. You should know that here
     the extravagance of the women equals or rather quite balances
     the circumspection of the men, so that all articles for women
     should be beautiful, that is to say, conspicuous. I await with
     a kind of pleasure the arrival of Cap. Sammis, for although
     I am convinced that the indigoes will meet with no success
     at Nantes, their return here will compensate us. I am sorry
     that I did not order from you some little pistols and the
     guns which would serve perfectly. Believe nothing as to Mr.
     Bakewell, and be well assured that he is our friend. Have then
     less fear: I hope shortly to consign, that is to say, Mr.
     B. B. will consign for us, coffee and sugar from Martinique
     to your address. Your son is still at Philadelphia with Mr.
     Huron. They have sold the wines quite well.

     But in truth I have been astonished that Mr. Huron did not
     make you an immediate return. I thank you sincerely for the
     little package that you said had been prepared for us. Be sure
     that Mr. B. B. will aid us to a sufficient degree, and always
     in a way that anything which you send us will be promptly
     returned in merchandise assigned to you. The land, which we
     cannot sell without a great disadvantage, keeps us very short
     of cash, and prevents us for the moment from dealing on as
     large a scale as we should desire; but with your kindness in
     sending us the materials for starting a grand retail shop with
     different articles, it will aid us very much. As you well say,
     it is a little unfortunate that there is no longer a boat from
     your port here.

     I write to my father by the same opportunity. Will you, I
     pray, get it to him as soon as possible, and I beg you to go
     aboard for the live birds for him and for you.

     Present my respects to your good family, and believe me for

          Your faithful friend and


     I should be very happy if you would send me a good box
     of pastels, chosen by Mr. Belloc, the younger, at 2 c 3

_John James Audubon to Claude François Rozier_

          [Letter No. 7, addressed]
          Loire Inférieure.

          NEW YORK, _July 19, 1807_.

     DEAR SIR:

     Mr. Benjamin Bakewell as well as myself have received your
     letters by the _Comet_, which had a passage of 42 days.
     We have at present in the warehouse a great part of the
     merchandise of the latter [vessel], and in good condition;
     Mr. B. B. appears to be satisfied; he is about to send some
     teas that you have ordered from him. It has grieved me much
     to see him send a boat to Nantes, and not consigned to you,
     but his reasons were, I believe, so sound that I did not dare
     remonstrate. The agents of the house of Rossel and Boudet
     paid him the ⅔ of the invoice, or a draft upon London for an
     equivalent sum, that neither Ferdinand nor I were authorized
     to do; the latter is at Philadelphia. In a short time we are
     leaving for a voyage upon the Ohio, the details of which you
     will learn [from him], or from my father, and which I believe
     will be very advantageous to us. We hope to sell Mill Grove
     this autumn, which we shall do, however, only at a profit.
     We received this morning a letter from Mr. Fleury Emery, who
     urges Mr. B. B. to give him some shipments, but regarding this
     I do not know his intentions. I have also received a letter
     to-day from our friend, Fd, who is quite well, and longs to
     be doing something.

     Mr. Emery advises me of the receipt of a little box of seeds
     for my father and you. I think that your gardens are now
     embellished with foreign trees.

     Mr. B. B. is loading tea for you, a thing that gives me much
     pleasure. I am sending you a letter from Ferdinand that I
     received yesterday. Presenting you as well as your whole
     amiable family with humble respects,

          I continue to be
          your faithful servant,


     My regards, I pray to you, to my cousin, the younger.

Audubon's loyalty to his kind-hearted employer is evident in every one
of these amiable letters, yet it is plain that they were written upon
his own initiative, and a merchant of today might seriously object to
such a candid exposition of his dealings as young Audubon's friendly
epistles occasionally revealed.

The numerous references which these letters contain regarding the
disposition of the "Mill Grove" farm may well puzzle the reader who has
followed the story to this point; we must therefore attempt to unravel
the tangled threads of this intricate affair. In the spring of 1807
Audubon, who was then anxious to start a "retail shop," complained
that the land, which could not be sold to advantage, kept them short
of capital and prevented them from dealing on so large a scale as they
could wish. On the 24th of April he wrote that three weeks before he had
gone to "Mill Grove" and closed an agreement for renting the property
(evidently referring to the farm as distinct from the mine) for a year,
being unable to do better, and that Ferdinand was then in Philadelphia
trying to settle his father's accounts with Dacosta, who did not readily
forget his trickster's _rôle_. In Audubon's letter of the same day,
inclosed in the same packet with the request that it be delivered to his
father, there is a similar reference, with the note that Ferdinand, who
had charge of the settlement, had chosen Mr. Huron as arbitrator, but
that he would not agree unless honest Miers Fisher had a part in it.
Finally, as late as the 19th of July of that year he wrote to Rozier,
the elder, that they were hoping to sell "Mill Grove" in the autumn,
but would do so only at a good profit; yet at this time the property had
been out of their possession, technically at least, for nearly a year.

Still more curious is this statement in Audubon's autobiography,[144]
relating to the year 1813; "I bought a wild horse, and on its back
travelled over Tennessee and a portion of Georgia, and so round till I
finally reached Philadelphia, and then to your grandfather's at Fatland
Ford. He had sold my plantation of Mill Grove to Samuel Wetherill, of
Philadelphia, for a good round sum, and with this I returned through
Kentucky and at last reached Henderson once more."

When "Mill Grove" was conditionally sold to Dacosta and his mining
company in September, 1806, he gave a mortgage and bond to Miers
Fisher, who again became Lieutenant Audubon's agent. Many months
elapsed before the necessary legal papers could arrive from France, and
meanwhile Dacosta's yearly accounts were contested, and gave no end of

After operating the lead mine for five years, Dacosta's company failed,
and "Mill Grove" again passed into other hands; it was finally sold
to Samuel Wetherill in 1813.[146] If our inferences are correct, the
mortgages by which the Audubon and Rozier interests were protected were
repeatedly transferred, and the first considerable amount of ready money
that had appeared in the entire series of transactions was furnished by
Mr. Wetherill. It is doubtful if Jean Audubon ever received any returns
from his American farm after the advent of Dacosta in 1803. The ultimate
failure of the lead mine was assuredly not the fault of this exploiter,
but his dubious methods of accounting and probable failure to keep his
contracts no doubt led the naturalist to denounce him as a swindler.

It may be recalled that in their "Articles of Association" Audubon and
Rozier had agreed that the house at "Mill Grove" should be "an object
separate from all business, in order that we may control this property
as long as we desire," but the conditional sale to Dacosta apparently
included the farmhouse as well as the land.

Many of Audubon's references to "Mill Grove" were apparently wide of
the mark, but viewed in the light which we have endeavored to shed upon
this involved affair, they would be in harmony with the essential truth;
in writing to the elder Rozier, who became a partner in the enterprise,
there was no motive which could have led him to depart from it.[147]

We will now return to the story of Audubon's life in New York. While
he was supposed to be learning the exporting business with Benjamin
Bakewell, his heart was in the woods and fields, and every hour that
could be snatched from the counting-room found him in the pursuit of
birds or drawing their portraits. He used the pencil and black crayon
point combined with pastels, and while much of his artistic work at
this time was hastily done, he was capable of producing excellent
likenesses. A very delicate drawing of the Wood Thrush, signed with his
initials, and dated at "Mill Grove, Pennsylvania, 14 _aout_, 1806," is
numbered 209, showing that his collection of American birds was already
extensive, even if it did not include many that were well known. In the
winter of 1806-7, while in New York, Audubon paid most attention to
the waterfowl, frequently visiting the shore and the markets for his
subjects. The sketches which he then made were all in full size, and,
as an evidence of the rapidity with which he worked, it may be noticed
that he would often complete two or more large drawings of ducks on
the same day. New York at this time was a city of about 75,000 people;
Audubon said that by walking briskly he could pass from one end to the
other in a few minutes.

In the foregoing letters we have seen young Audubon sending seeds and
live birds to his father and to Francois Rozier, and reptiles and dried
plants to Charles d'Orbigny, and ordering for his own use the best
drawing materials from France. While at New York he had the good fortune
to become a friend and _protégé_ of the most distinguished naturalist
of the metropolis, Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell,[148] eminent in many walks
of life, and at that time a member of the United States Senate. Audubon
prepared many birds and mammals for Dr. Mitchell's collections, and
the friendship thus early formed proved of much service to him later.
He was probably working for Dr. Mitchell when, as the story goes, some
of his neighbors lodged a complaint with the municipal authorities on
account of the strong odors that habitually issued from his workroom,
and a constable was sent to investigate.

Audubon remained in New York as late as August 22, 1807, for on that
day he made a drawing of the "Sprig-tail Duck," but without doubt he
had come to feel the incongruity of his position in a business to which
his heart was a stranger. As an instance of his preoccupation at this
time, he confesses to have once forwarded but forgot to seal a letter
containing $8,000. If Benjamin Bakewell failed to make a business man
out of Audubon, it was not from lack of kindness, and probably no one
else would have been more successful. As it happened, Audubon did not
leave his employer any too soon, for at the close of 1807 Benjamin
Bakewell's exporting business was ruined by the Embargo Act, through
which President Jefferson had hoped to bring Great Britain and France
to terms by cutting off their American trade, and for a year or more
his estate was in the hands of creditors for settlement.

The naturalist has left a characteristic sketch of himself at this time:
"I measured," said he, "five feet, ten and one half inches, was of fair
mien, and quite a handsome figure; large, dark, and rather sunken eyes,
light-colored eyebrows, aquiline nose and a fine set of teeth; hair,
fine texture and luxuriant, divided and passing down behind each ear in
luxuriant ringlets as far as the shoulders." The habit of wearing his
hair long, thus early acquired and later favored by his wandering mode
of life, appears to have lasted more than twenty years.



     Child and man—His ideals, perseverance and progress—Study
     under David at Paris—David's pupils and studios—David at
     Nantes arouses the enthusiasm of its citizens—His part in
     the Revolution—His art and influence over Audubon—Audubon's
     drawings of French birds—Story of the Edward Harris
     collection—_The Birds of America_ in the bud—Audubon's
     originality, style, methods, and mastery of materials and
     technique—His problem and how he solved it—His artistic

Audubon began to draw birds and other animals when a child, and,
like most children, was ready to believe that his crude sketches were
finished pictures if only they possessed some sort of a head, a tail,
and sticks in place of legs. But, unlike the majority of youth, he went
direct to nature for his subjects, and his "family of cripples" failed
to satisfy him long. He gradually developed a high ideal, and at an
early age felt stirring within him the impulse and the power to express
it. On stated anniversaries his masterpieces, he tells us, were burned,
in spite of the praise and flattery they had evoked; he would then exert
all his powers to do better, and this commendable practice was kept up
for years.

In this respect the child was father of the man, for on the 5th of
March, 1822, when Audubon was living in New Orleans, too poor to buy
even a blank-book for a journal, he thus wrote of his work during
the previous months: "Every moment I had to spare I drew birds for my
ornithology, in which my Lucy and myself alone have faith. February
was spent in drawing birds strenuously, and I thought I had improved
by applying coats of water-color under the pastels, thereby preventing
the appearance of the paper, that in some instances marred my best
productions. I discovered also many imperfections in my earlier
drawings, and formed the resolution to redraw the whole of them." Seldom
satisfied with the results attained, he kept up this laborious process
of revision and selection by which he approached more closely to his
ideal, the truth of living nature, for more than forty years, until,
in fact, the last plates of his _Birds of America_ came from the press
in England in 1838. An examination of the originals of those plates
today[149] proves that many of their defects were inevitably caused by
the makeshifts to which he was sometimes forced by lack of time.

Audubon has credited his father with the only judicious criticism which
he ever received at the youthful stage of his art. "He was so kind to
me," said the son, "that to have listened lightly to his words would
have been highly ungrateful. I listened less to others and more to him,
and his words became my law." When he was about seventeen years old, or
probably not far from the year 1802,[150] he was sent to Paris to study
drawing under Jacques Louis David, the acknowledged leader of French
art during the period of the Revolution. This popular artist, who had
uttered fierce invectives against "the last five despots of France,"
became nevertheless court painter under Napoleon; like many another
Conventional regicide, he was destined to end his career as an exile
from France, and died in Brussels in 1825.

     OF DÉCEMBER, 1805. NEAR NANTZ. NO. 65."

     Published by courtesy of Mr Joseph Y. Jeanes.]

Audubon has said but little of this Paris experience, but he remarked:
"At the age of seventeen when I returned from France, whither I had
gone to receive the rudiments of my education, my drawings had assumed
a form. David had guided my hand in tracing objects of large size."[151]
An interesting sidelight is thrown upon this incident by the fact that,
not many years before, David had been warmly welcomed in the city of
Nantes, when it is not unlikely that the naturalist's father was one
of the throng of citizens who made his acquaintance. The occasion to
which I refer was so noteworthy in the annals of Audubon's paternal city
as to make a digression at this point of our narrative inevitable. In
March, 1790, Daniel de Kervegan, a wealthy merchant who was then serving
his second term as mayor, had aroused so much enthusiasm by his public
spirit and sterling character that the citizens had voted the sum of
300 livres, or about $60, for his portrait, to be executed in oils and
placed in one of their public buildings. The commission was offered to
David, who accepted it, and with such enthusiasm did he set to work,
that upon reaching Nantes he asked the privilege of paying his respects
to the Municipal Assembly, which was in session. Upon being admitted to
the Chamber, on the 24th of March, he expressed these sentiments:

     If ever my art has brought me any gratification, or
     any success, never before have I had better excuse for

     I have made it a duty to respond to the worthy invitations,
     inspired by patriotism and gratitude, that hallow this most
     timely and most astounding revolution.

     It is your work, gentlemen, and the respect which you render
     to the chief of your administration which speaks in praise
     of your sentiments and virtues and which will transmit their
     memory, along with your glory, to posterity.[152]

David worked on this portrait for about a month, and on April 23, before
his departure for Paris, he asked the privilege of again addressing the
Assembly. Not only was the request granted, but he was publicly thanked
for the trouble he had taken in coming to their city, and a committee
was appointed to express the sentiments of esteem with which he had
inspired the whole community. We may add that David seems to have taken
this canvas to his studio in Paris, where it was subsequently lost or
destroyed in the period of turbulence that followed.

David's radical speeches from the tribune, added to his popularity as
an artist, no doubt brought him pupils in plenty from every quarter
of republican France. Young Audubon was probably admitted to the most
elementary class, for he received no instruction in the use of oils
but was directed to study the rudiments of drawing from the cast. As
he had hoped to perfect himself in the art of depicting animals, he was
disappointed. "Eyes and noses belonging to giants," he said, "and heads
of horses, represented in ancient sculpture, were my models." He also
spoke of drawing "heads and figures in different colored chalks," and of
"tolerable figures" obtained by use of the manikin, but adds: "These,
although fit subjects for men intent on pursuing the higher branches
of the art, were immediately laid aside by me"; yet he "returned to the
woods of the New World with fresh ardor,"[153] and there began a series
of drawings which were later published.

While this is virtually all that has been recorded of this incident in
Audubon's career, a number of interesting facts might be added which
throw light upon the surroundings of his life at Paris while under the
tuition of this master. At that time David was enjoying the privilege,
accorded to eminent artists from an early day, of living with his family
and of having his studios in special quarters set apart for the purpose
in the palace of the Louvre; this was continued until all the artist
tenants were turned out by one of Napoleon's peremptory orders in 1806.
David's principal studio was at the corner of the Quai de Louvre and
the square, facing the church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, at a point
occupied in the present structure by the grand staircase leading to the
Egyptian Gallery. It was here that his more advanced pupils studied;
the appearance of its interior, with his pupils at work, as well as the
view from one of its windows, by means of which its exact position can
be determined, may be seen today in the interesting painting by Matthew
Cochereau. This small picture, first exhibited in the salon of 1814, now
hangs in the Louvre in company with some of the finest of David's works,
and immediately beneath his huge canvas representing the coronation
of Napoleon. Over his principal room David had also a private studio,
and at one time he had another on the Quai, opposite the Institute of
France, while his numerous pupils occupied a series of rooms, one above
another, not remote from the first. Access to these apartments was
gained from the street by means of a spiral stairway, the opening of
which may still be seen in the Egyptian Hall.

It is common to speak of this gifted man as if he alone had stifled all
the art of the eighteenth century in France, as if he were the molder
of his age and not a part of it. Too often has he been judged on the
basis of a few, unfortunately conspicuous, theatrical pieces, while
his excellent portraits, of which there are many, entitle him to the
gratitude of posterity. Buchanan remarked that the mannerism of David
could "still be traced in certain pedantries discernible in Audubon's
style of drawing," which is a fancy without any basis in fact. If it
could be shown that drawing from the casts of antique statues could
develop mannerisms in the careful delineation of birds and mammals, it
would still appear that Audubon's style was really formed at a later

This brief Paris episode, which at most could have lasted but a few
months, represented all the formal instruction which Audubon ever
received in drawing, although he enjoyed some private tuition at a much
later day. As to the sciences now embraced in biology, that is, zoölogy
and botany, which would have been most useful to him, the score was
blank; even books on any of these subjects were rare in America at the
beginning of the nineteenth century.

When Audubon first came to the United States, he brought with him all
his drawings of French birds, and a few pieces which may belong to this
early period have been described.[154] Done in a combination of crayon
and water color, they represent a European Magpie, a Coot and a Green
Woodpecker, the latter especially, which bore the number "96," showing
evidence of care and skill. The year passed at "Mill Grove" was not
particularly fruitful, but during the Couëron visit which followed in
1805 and 1806, Audubon said that he made drawings of "about two hundred
species of birds," all of which he brought to America and gave to his
Lucy. After finally reaching this country in the latter year, these
studies were continued, with an alacrity that seldom failed, until 1822,
when he began to revise much of his earlier work, substituting water
colors more completely for pastels, pencil and crayon point.

In writing to Bachman in 1836, Audubon thus referred to the work of
his apprenticeship: "Some of my early drawings of European birds are
still in our possession, but many have been given away, and the greatest
number were destroyed, not by the rats that gnawed my collection of the
'Birds of America,' but by the great fire."[155] When the naturalist
was in Philadelphia in 1824, in search of a publisher and sadly in need
of funds, he made the acquaintance of Edward Harris,[156] who looked
at the drawings he had for sale and said at once that he would take
them all and at Audubon's own prices. Upon his leaving that city, this
generous friend, we are told, pressed a $100 bill in his hand, saying:
"Mr. Audubon, accept this from me; men like you ought not to want for
money." "I could only express my gratitude," continues the naturalist,
"by insisting on his receiving the drawings of all my French birds."
The worthy Harris cherished this large series of Audubon's early studies
and added to it many specimens of his later work. The entire collection
remained in his family unbroken and unimpaired until 1892.[157]

This beautiful and unique collection, which represents _The Birds of
America_ in the bud, illustrates the development of Audubon's art from
about 1800 or a little later to 1821,[158] and clearly shows that the
fuller mastery which he attained after the latter date was manifested
in no small degree at a much earlier period. His drawings of the Wood
Thrush (1806), the Whippoorwill and Kingfisher (1810), the Carolina
Parrot (1811), and the Nighthawk (1812), though detached and less
ambitious as pictures, for truth of line and delicacy of finish would
compare favorably with the best of his later work. After 1820 his
ability had so far outstripped his ambition that there was needed only
the stimulus of a powerful motive and a well defined plan to bring his
powers into full fruition at once. A little later, when he began to
revise, enrich and standardize all of his previous work, he used the
brush and water colors more freely than ever before. Hundreds of his
earlier studies were cast aside; many, to be sure, were hastily drawn
in pastel, crayon and pencil, and had not time failed him at the end,
nothing of his earlier American period would have remained in the final

Nearly all of these rejected drawings bear serial numbers, which from
the lack of sequence now observed, show that they were subject to
constant change and that their total number must have been great. All
bear the scientific and common names in French or English or both,
and many are signed with the artist's initials or name; besides giving
the place and date, in some cases the weights and measurements of his
subjects are added, with detailed sketches of foot, bill, or eggs.[159]

A large crayon sketch of a groundhog, in excellent drawing, is labeled
"Marmotte de sauvage, No. 159, le 6 juin, 1805." The Redstart, executed
in August of the same year, is a good example of Audubon's more delicate
early work; it shows also the attention which he was then beginning
to pay to accessories, his bird being perched on a spray of ripening
blackberries. The Wagtail, on the other hand, was a rough crayon sketch,
dashed off on December 22 of the same year. A pencil and crayon drawing
of the Mountain Titmouse, which is a European bird, was probably made
from a captive, and at sea, since it bears the date of January 22,
1805, when Audubon was, I believe, aboard the _Hope_.[160] The latest
of these French pieces, designated "No. 94. Woodpecker, le 8 mars,
1806. près Nantes; 12 to the tail," was executed, about a month before
the naturalist finally left France with Rozier to settle permanently in
the United States. The excellence of such a drawing as that of the Wood
Thrush (1806) is in marked contrast to the more ambitious "Fish Hawk or
Osprey, A. Willson, Perkioming Creek, 1809," in which the bird holds
a white sucker in its talons but is less happily rendered. Nine large
pastels of waterfowl and two smaller pieces, representing a Robin and
Brown Thrush, in the same style, are good examples of Audubon's cruder
efforts of that time; they were merely hurried sketches or practice
work, with no attempt to finish with all the perfection of detail of
which he was then capable.

In a full-size pastel of the Black Surf or Velvet Duck, drawn on
December 28, 1806, and signed "J. J. L. Audubon," the note is added:
"the only specimen of the kind I have ever seen." He became well
acquainted with the Velvet Ducks, now better known as the White-winged
Scoters, and in his account of the species says: "As we approached
the shores of Labrador, we found the waters covered with dense flocks
of these birds, and yet they continued to arrive there from the St.
Lawrence for several days in succession. We were all astonished at their
numbers which were such that we could not help imagining that all the
Velvet Ducks in the world were passing before us."[161]

Several of these drawings are credited to "The Falls of the Ohio," as
the rapids of this river at Louisville were then generally called;
a number to "Red Banks," the old name of Henderson, Kentucky; while
five were done in Pennsylvania, probably when Audubon was at the home
of his father-in-law, William Bakewell, in the spring of 1812. An
excellent drawing of the Chuck Wills Widow was probably made on the Red
River,[162] in Arkansas, when Audubon was exploring that country and
slowly making his way to New Orleans in June, 1821, though it should be
noticed that a steamboat on which he sometimes traveled was called the
_Red River_.

     "MARMOTTE DE SAVAGE, LE 6 JUIN, 1805, NO. 159."

     Published by courtesy of Mr. Joseph Y. Jeanes]

     YEAR, SEPTEMBER 10, 1841."

     Published by courtesy of the American Museum of Natural
     History, New York.]

Audubon began in the usual way, by representing his birds in profile,
and often on a simple perch, but gradually introduced accessories which
eventually became such an important part of his plan that, after 1822,
his plates took on more the character of balanced pictures, literally
teeming with the characteristic fruits and flowers of America, as well
as with insects and animals of every sort, suggestive of the food and
surroundings of his subjects, not to speak of American landscapes drawn
from many parts of the country.

Dissatisfied with the older methods of drawing birds in the stereotyped
attitudes of most stuffed specimens, Audubon made many experiments at
"Mill Grove" before hitting upon what he called his "method" of using
wires to pierce and hold the body of the bird in any attitude which
he desired to represent. His device, which was simple only for one who
possessed the requisite knowledge and skill, was publicly exhibited at
a meeting of the Wernerian Society at Edinburgh on December 16, 1826.
A recently killed bird was fixed in the position desired by means of
wires, and placed against a background ruled with division lines in
squares to correspond with similar lines on Audubon's paper. The parts,
measured if necessary with compasses, were then drawn in, and every part
was rendered in due proportion. As to the difficulty of thus securing
natural attitudes, aside from any question of draughtsmanship, we have
only to recall the bungling work of most taxidermists; there are careful
students of animal life who are able to reanimate their subjects, even
when reduced to dried and mounted skins, but such ability is not easy to
acquire or impart. Method is always subordinate to power, and Audubon
at his best, when not hampered by lack of time, was able to represent
the living, moving bird in a hundred attitudes never attempted before,
which surprised the world of his day by the remarkable skill, freshness
and fidelity they displayed.

Some have complained that Audubon, in striving for effect, too often
exaggerated the action of his subjects; his birds, like the Frenchman
he was, gesticulate too much, while Wilson's were more cautious or
sedate, as became a canny Scot. The complaint may be well founded, but
the explanation is too trivial for serious consideration. Wilson, like
his predecessors, regardless of nationality, merely followed custom,
which led by the path of least resistance. Barraband and all the best
French artists before him in depicting bird and animal life had done
the same, and in their hands the perch, were the subject a bird, became
stereotyped to the last degree, as if inserted with a rubber stamp.
Audubon followed the same course until he became imbued with the desire
of endowing his animals with all the moving energy of which they were
capable, whether in seizing their prey, feeding their young, or fighting
their enemies. It is well known that many an animal, though ordinarily
cautious or even timid, can be roused to vigorous action under the
spur of emotion, as when its young are suddenly threatened, and be it
warbler, bluebird, or cuckoo, may become a contortionist at a moment's
notice. Very few of the 1,065 life-size drawings of birds which appear
in his large plates could be truly described as fantastic or unnatural.

Audubon's problem was rendered more difficult by the fact that all of
his animals were drawn to the size of life, and because his desire and
style compelled him to represent the utmost detail, even to the barbs
of a feather or the individual hairs of a mammal. When a landscape was
to be included it was not an easy task to harmonize life-sized objects
in the foreground with receding objects, and here he sometimes failed.
Some of his least happy compositions, however, were the result of haste,
as an examination of the originals of his _Birds of America_ has clearly
shown; when hard pressed for time he would resort to the scissors and
paste, in order to combine the parts of several distinct drawings into
one plate, and often leave the backgrounds to be supplied entirely by
the engraver. One of the few grotesque results of such methods is seen
in plate 141, wherein are represented the Goshawk and the Stanley Hawk;
the latter, which was originally designed for different surroundings,
has quite lost its center of gravity on an islet amid stream. An early
reviewer thought that the artist must surely have intended this for a
caricature, as in the case of one of Hogarth's famous prints, in which
a man on a distant hill is lighting his pipe at a candle held out of a
window in the foreground.

The action of Audubon's subjects was sometimes exaggerated; his birds
on the wing were occasionally ill drawn, and other defects might be
mentioned. But we must admire his boldness for attempting so many
difficult positions, and admit that, when all is considered, he
succeeded to admiration, and set a new standard for the illustration of
works on natural history.



     Audubon and Rozier decide to start a pioneer store at
     Louisville, Kentucky—Their purchase of goods in New
     York—"Westward Ho" with Rozier—Rozier's diary of the
     journey—An unfortunate investment in indigo—Effect of
     the Embargo Act—Marriage to Lucy Bakewell—Return to
     Louisville—Life on the Ohio—Depression of trade—William
     Bakewell's assistance—Audubon's eldest son born at the "Indian
     Queen"—The Bakewells—Life at Louisville.

In the summer of 1807 Audubon and Rozier had decided to try their
fortunes in the West, which then meant the Ohio Valley and the wilds of
Kentucky, and had fixed upon Louisville as a promising point for pioneer
trade. On August 1 they purchased a considerable stock of goods through
the commission house of their friend, Benjamin Bakewell, and three days
later gave their note, payable in eight months, for over $3,600.[163]
Then, or a little later, they had dealings also with Messrs. Robert
Kinder & Company, of New York, as well as the French importing house
of Laurence Huron, with which Ferdinand had been recently associated
in Philadelphia; apparently also they sent goods to François Rozier at
Nantes, and from him received imports through the Bakewell firm, but,
as we shall see, all foreign trade was soon cut off. When their plans
were complete and their goods had started for the frontier, they set
out themselves for Louisville on the last day of August, 1807.

Ferdinand Rozier kept a record[164] of this journey, the formidable
nature of which will be best appreciated by reading his matter-of-fact
narrative composed from notes daily jotted down. In these easy-going
times, when oceans and continents are crossed with ever increasing ease
and speed, this simple chronicle of early travel in America is worth
preserving, if only for its historical contrasts.

     On the thirty-first day of August, 1807, in company with
     Audubon, I left Mill Grove for Louisville, Kentucky, where we
     anticipated engaging in the mercantile business.

     Leaving Philadelphia by stage we traveled to Lancaster,
     Pennsylvania, a distance of sixty-one miles, where we arrived
     at four o'clock in the afternoon; we dined, and proceeded
     to Big Chickers, distant nine miles farther, where we spent
     the night. The roads from Philadelphia to Lancaster were
     in excellent condition, and at about every two miles we
     found good taverns. The only remarkable thing we noticed in
     agriculture was hemp, there being little else of interest.
     The city of Lancaster was attractive, but the short duration
     of our stay prevented us from having more than a casual view
     of it. The tavern where we slept was not very good; from our
     chambers, however, we could discern a new bridge, which had
     two immense arches spanning the river.

     At eight o'clock in the morning we left Lancaster for
     Elizabethtown, distant nine miles. The roads were miserable,
     and we suffered a severe jolting and shaking up. Arriving
     there, we procured two additional horses, which made six all
     told, and went on to Middletown, where we breakfasted at a
     tavern named the "Eagle"; the village was small, with few
     houses, and nothing of interest.

     Journeying on to Harrisburg without mishap, over roads
     somewhat improved, we finally arrived, and discovered a very
     beautiful river called the Susquehanna. The city of Harrisburg
     itself appeared very attractive to us, and its situation is
     beautiful; proceeding, we were first compelled to cross the
     river, which was accomplished by means of a large flatboat
     propelled by a sweep of generous proportions. The captain,
     who proved a most voluble person, informed us that the river
     abounded in fish, and then related marvelous tales of the
     remarkable catches that had been made; many of his stories,
     however, were of such glaring improbability that we were
     forced to doubt his veracity.

     Carlisle, sixteen miles distant, was reached in due course,
     and there we changed horses at a tavern called the "John
     Mason." This city, though small, presented a fine appearance,
     having a market place, two large churches, many brick
     buildings, a large academy, and several attractive taverns.
     Continuing, we finally came to Walnut Bottoms, where we
     engaged chambers at a very imposing tavern; this proved
     far superior to any we had hitherto visited; it was clean
     and inviting; its appointments were good, and its service
     excellent. On our journey we were impressed by a tree of great
     size, that resembled an oak, but upon inquiry learned that
     it was called Hackberry,[165] and produced a fruit similar
     in size to a cherry. On the north and south of us were high
     mountains which presented an imposing appearance; the foliage
     was heavy and luxuriant; the soil of the foot-hills appeared
     fertile, but the crops were inferior.

     We were awakened early in the morning so as to begin our
     journey in good season, and having had a heavy storm during
     the night we expected to find the roads very bad, but to our
     delight they were none the worse for the rain. Journeying
     most of the way through woods, we came to Shipensburg and
     breakfasted; this village had only one long street, and
     presented an appearance far from pleasing. A lady with her
     sock [knitting work] proved a great talker and asked us many
     questions. This village was intersected by a creek, called
     the Middlespring. We next came to Chambersburg, ten miles
     away, and there rested and purchased tickets for continuing
     our journey. That village lies in a valley, and is composed of
     two squares containing a post office, an academy, a factory,
     market place and tavern.

     When the stage was at last made ready for its journey we took
     our places in it, but no sooner was the village left behind
     than we encountered very rough roads, which for a time caused
     great discomfort; our feelings were expressed by all the
     passengers, but at length we reached a tavern named "Cable
     Roussed," where our horses were changed. We next stopped at
     the "John Campbell" tavern, and saw many drunkards about;
     then at "Peter White's," almost at the foot of the mountains,
     where we were each treated to a glass of excellent fresh
     milk. Still going on and approaching the mountains, the roads
     became so excessively rough that Audubon and myself decided
     to proceed on foot. Though this was a three-mile climb, we
     managed to cover it in three and a half hours. So bad in
     truth was the road that it seemed well nigh impossible for any
     vehicle to ascend the mountain; the stage did go up, however,
     and reached the summit soon after us. On the heights of the
     mountain was a small tavern where refreshments were served,
     and while partaking of a light lunch there we were waited on
     by a couple named Currie, and James, their hired man. While
     we were refreshing ourselves, our host told harrowing tales
     of wild-animal hunting in the mountains, and assured us that
     there were many beasts in the surrounding woods. Leaving the
     summit in the stage, we continued for some distance, but the
     jolting, rolling and swaying was so frightful that we decided
     to descend on foot. The three miles down the mountain was
     covered quickly, but we were utterly worn out with fatigue
     when we reached McConnelsburg; this village lies in a valley,
     has few houses and but little of interest; we made forty
     miles during the day. Leaving early on the next morning, after
     traveling thirty-two miles, over better roads, we spent the
     night at the tavern of B. Mastin.

     Having breakfasted at an early hour, we were again on our way
     by sunrise, and after driving two miles came to the Juniata
     River, which was crossed in a leaky flatboat. Eight miles
     beyond this point we saw a very fine and stately mansion which
     was said to belong to a Mrs. Haily. Finally after a hard and
     tiresome day we arrived at Bedford. The Juniata River flows
     along Bedford in a narrow bed, between high mountain walls;
     the village is situated in the valley, and boasts many fine
     stores and residences. We were told that about fourteen miles
     farther on there were mineral springs, the waters of which
     possessed great curative properties, and that many people
     visited them each season; time, however, did not permit us to
     visit this resort.

     Six horses were hitched to our stage when we departed the next
     morning. The mountain roads ascended more gradually, and were
     less rough; the weather being exceptionally fine, forty miles
     were easily made before reaching our destination at a village
     called Somerset, which contained a courthouse that marked it
     at once as the county seat. At four o'clock of the morning
     following we were again on our way, and left Somerset in a
     heavy fog, which at that early hour sharply accentuated the
     chill in the air. At the end of the day we found ourselves at
     Laurel Hill, where we passed the night at the tavern of John

     Again at four in the morning we resumed our journey, and
     after crossing Laurel Creek once more encountered rough roads,
     but soon reached a tavern called the "Jacob Hoff," where we
     breakfasted. Still pushing forward, at noon we came to the
     small house of a family called Margennefs, and procured a
     meager lunch. At a short distance from this place a change
     of horses was made, and after driving all the afternoon we
     entered the attractive village of Greensburg, where we spent
     the night. Rising reluctantly at peep of day, we continued on
     our course and made ten miles before breakfasting at a tavern,
     the "Stewart Auberge" by name. After leaving this point we
     came to Turtle Creek, when the road descended so abruptly that
     it was decided to dismount and walk, but the heat was sultry
     and oppressive, and we suffered greatly. At last, however,
     the city of Pittsburgh was reached, and there we found good
     and commodious lodgings at the Jefferson Hotel, conducted by
     Mr. Galland, a most genial and agreeable host. We remained
     in Pittsburgh several days, and became acquainted with many
     of its citizens, among whom were several countrymen of ours
     who were engaged in business and were very congenial and
     hospitable. The city does not present a pleasing appearance;
     it has been increasing in size with astounding rapidity,[166]
     and possesses a remarkable commerce; the Ohio River there is
     most beautiful.

     The remainder of our journey was by way of the Ohio, and we
     made it entirely in an open flatboat, a cumbersome unwieldy
     craft, managed by hand, and in this particular instance
     very badly. One who has never had this experience can little
     understand the terrible monotony, hardships and deprivations
     encountered on a long journey such as we endured. We were
     unprotected from the elements, and our beds consisted of bare
     pine boards, upon which we slept as best we could, enveloped
     in our great coats.

     There were times without number when our boat would run upon
     hidden sand bars to become grounded, and we were then often
     obliged to get into the cold water and assist in the work
     of extricating her. At other times, unprotected as we were,
     the rains drenched us to the skin, and our clothing was so
     saturated that it took many hours to dry. At night when it
     was clear, we continued our course down the river, but, in
     bad weather, or when very cloudy and dark, we were obliged
     to tie up to the shore, frequently to the bank of some wild,
     uninhabited island, and wait there for daylight; then we would
     resume our slow, tedious and seemingly never ending journey.
     Added to these hardships, our boat was commanded by a most
     disagreeable and ungentlemanly captain, named Harris; his
     language, and demeanor marked him as a person of low birth
     and bad character.

     Among some of the places which were passed _en route_, I
     remember the following: Wheeling, Marietta, Market Slough,
     famous for the conspiracy of Colonel Burr, Belleville, Litards
     Falls, Point Pleasant, Manchester, Maysville, Cincinnati, and
     finally our journey's end, Louisville.

At Louisville the partners were attracted by the country and its
prospects, as well as by the hospitable character of the people. Their
choice, as they then thought, had been well made, and they decided to
make it their future home. "We marked Louisville," said Audubon, "as
a spot designed by nature to become a place of great importance, and
had we been as wise as we now are, I might never have published _The
Birds of America_; for a few hundred dollars laid out, at that period,
in lands or town lots near Louisville, would, if left to grow over with
grass to a date ten years past [this being 1835], have become an immense
fortune, but young heads are on young shoulders; it was not to be, and
who cares."[167]

Rozier did not say when either they or their goods reached the
pioneer settlement, but from an item in their account current with the
Bakewell house,[168] it is evident that they opened a retail shop in
Louisville at once, for on September 29 they were charged with $57 for
an order of powder horns and shotbags. In the same record there is a
more interesting entry under date of December 31, 1807: "advanced per
[sailing packet] _Jane_, for indigo and expences ... $1,516.43," ordered
evidently through Mr. Bakewell, presumably for export to France. This
incident Audubon must have had in mind when in after life he wrote:
"The mercantile business did not suit me. The very first venture which
I undertook was in indigo; it cost me several hundred pounds, the whole
of which was lost." It may be recalled that in his letter of April
24 of this year, Audubon wrote Francois Rozier[169] that the Bakewell
house had sent him a consignment of indigo by the same ship, Captain
Sammis, and hoped for its favorable sale in France. No doubt the venture
succeeded so well that the young traders were induced to repeat the
experiment. As it happened, however, on December 22, a week before
this entry for the indigo was made, the famous Embargo Act of President
Jefferson had taken effect, with the result of cutting off all exports
to England and France and at the same time of paralyzing American trade.
The Bakewell house, as we have already noticed, like so many others,
immediately went down, and the partners found that their tobacco and
other western produce found so little sale in New York that by April 7,
1808, they were obliged to call for an extension of their notes.

Notwithstanding the gloomy outlook for trade, Audubon had no fears for
the future. As early as March, 1808, he left Rozier in Kentucky and
returned to Pennsylvania. No time was lost in making known his plans
to Lucy Bakewell and her family, and having received their approval,
the lovers prepared for the adventurous journey that was to celebrate
their wedding. Audubon was married to Miss Bakewell, at "Fatland
Ford," on Friday, April 8, 1808, by the Reverend Doctor Latimer, an
Episcopal clergyman of Philadelphia, and on the next morning started
with his bride for the frontier. This event must be regarded as the most
auspicious in his career, for in all probability the world would never
have heard of Audubon had it not been for the spur to his ambition and
the balance wheel to his character which came through his admirable

The first stage of their honeymoon involved the long ride of over 250
miles to Pittsburgh, the hazards and discomforts of which we have
learned from Rozier's description; it was marked in this instance
by an accident, for in crossing the Alleghany mountains their coach
was upset and Mrs. Audubon did not escape without severe bruises. At
Pittsburgh the Audubons met a number of young emigrants bound westward
like themselves, and in their company they prepared to float down the
beautiful Ohio in a flatboat or ark. Their entire journey, which, owing
to the windings of the river, could not have been much less than a
thousand miles, was made in twelve days, and without further mishap.

The wild and varied beauty of the Ohio of that day had great attractions
for the naturalist, who often regretted that no facile writer had
left a true and vivid picture of it for the benefit of posterity, for
he foresaw with great concern the inevitable changes which advancing
civilization would quickly produce along its delightful banks. Audubon
traversed this mighty highway countless times in after life, and some of
his musings have lost none of their interest with the flight of time,
for he had witnessed the advance of the white man and the retreat of
the red, along with the great herds of deer, elk and buffalo that once
found peaceful pasturage on its banks. Speaking of a later but hardly
less romantic journey,[170] he said:

     As night came, sinking into darkness the broader portions of
     the river, our minds became affected by strong emotions, and
     wandered far beyond the present moments. The tinkling of bells
     told us that the cattle which bore them were gently roving
     from valley to valley in search of food, or returning to their
     distant homes. The hooting of the Great Owl, or the muffled
     noise of its wings as it sailed smoothly over the stream, were
     matters of interest to us; so was the sound of the boatman's
     horn, as it came winding more and more softly from afar. When
     daylight returned, many songsters burst forth with echoing
     notes, more and more mellow to the listening ear. Here and
     there the lonely cabin of a squatter struck the eye, giving
     note of commencing civilization. The crossing of the stream by
     a deer foretold how soon the hills would be covered by snow.

     Many sluggish flatboats we overtook and passed; some laden
     with produce from the different head-waters of the small
     rivers that pour their tributary streams into the Ohio;
     others, of less dimensions, crowded with emigrants from
     distant parts, in search of a new home.

     The margins of the shores and of the river were at this
     season amply supplied with game. A Wild Turkey, a Grouse, or
     a Blue-winged Teal, could be procured in a few moments; and
     we fared well, for, whenever we pleased, we landed, struck up
     a fire and provided, as we were, with the necessary utensils,
     procured a good repast.

Louisville at this time was a small trading and agricultural center of
barely a thousand people.[171] Though the early promises of business
there were not fulfilled, Audubon and his wife at once entered upon a
happy period, for they made many friends in a new country settled by
whole-hearted, well-to-do planters; the men were fond of good horses and
of hunting, and the naturalist, who was also a merchant, was welcomed
among them as a kindred spirit. But, said Audubon, "birds were birds
then as now, and my thoughts were ever and anon turning towards them as
the objects of my greatest delight. I shot, I drew, I looked on nature
only; my days were happy beyond human conception, and beyond that I
really cared not.... I seldom passed a day without drawing a bird, or
noting something respecting its habits, Rozier meantime attending the

To revert again to the business affairs of the Audubon-Rozier firm at
Louisville, an interesting record has been preserved in a letter[172]
written by Thomas Bakewell, a former fellow-clerk of the naturalist in
the senior Bakewell's counting-house in New York; this was included with
the statement of account, referred to above.

_Thomas Bakewell to Audubon & Rozier_

          [At bottom of account sheet] NEW YORK, _Decemr. 13th. 1808_



     I have now the pleasure to hand you your account current with
     my Father's Estate according to your desire as expressed in
     your letter to Mess Robt. Kinder & Co. under date the 21st.
     of Novr. last. I cannot tell what error you allude to of $93.
     I suppose it is the amount of commission returned $93.94/100
     which you will perceive is duly at your Cr. in the a/c. I am
     sorry to say that the tobacco is still unsold & that there is
     no prospect of selling it so as to cover the balance of your
     a/c. Messrs R. Kinder & Co. request me to say that they
     wish the yarn mentioned in their letter of the [word omitted]
     to be made of _water rotted Hemp_ & that they will write you
     pr next post with their account against you as requested by

          I remain Gentn
          with Your mo. obt. Servt.

          THOS. BAKEWELL
          for the assignees of my
          Father's estate—

     Give my love to Mrs. A. my aunt a recd. hers last night—S.
     & is much as usual—she remains very sick yet.

          T B

          [Superscribed] MESSRS. AUDUBON & ROZIER

Audubon fraternized with the sporting men of his district, who gladly
sent him every rare bird that fell to their guns. At Shippingport
also, then an independent center below the falls or rapids, he found a
sympathetic spirit in Doctor W. C. Galt, a local botanist, as well as
in Nicholas Berthoud, who had become his wife's brother-in-law, and who
was a friend on whom he could always rely. The spirit of hospitality so
manifest in all these new friends won the heart of Audubon and of his
attractive wife, to whom the door of a neighbor's house was sure to open
whenever business or adventure called her husband away. "We lived," said
Audubon, "two years at Louisville, where we enjoyed many of the best
pleasures which this life can afford; and whenever we have since passed
that way, we have found the kindness of our former friends unimpaired."
It was while they were living at Gnathway's hotel of the "Indian Queen,"
in Louisville, that Victor Gifford Audubon, who was destined to become
his father's right hand in the publication of his most important works,
was born on June 12, 1809.

When Audubon had reached his twenty-fourth year, nature, his fond nurse
from infancy, was calling to him more loudly than ever before, but to
most of his contemporaries his devotion to natural history could have
seemed little else than sheer madness, or, at best, an utter waste of
time. By the year 1810 his portfolios were swelling with upwards of two
hundred pictures of American birds, produced, to be sure, without any
plan, and far inferior to the best of his later work, but still done to
the size of life, in the natural colors, and far excelling in fidelity
and charm anything that had been attempted before. At this time,
however, the young traders needed money for more practical affairs, and
Audubon's father-in-law, William Bakewell of "Fatland Ford," consented
to sell a portion of this estate, amounting to 170 acres, in order
that his daughter, Lucy, might immediately realize her interest in it.
From this sale nearly $8,000 was obtained; the money was deposited with
Messrs. Robert Kinder & Company of New York, a firm with which Audubon
and Rozier had dealt from the opening of their business at Louisville.
This is clearly shown by the following interesting letter:[173]

_William Bakewell to Audubon & Rozier_

          FATLAND FORD _10 Apl 1810_



     I have at last settled the whole business with Mr Josh
     Williams I have allowed him for the two thirds in cash 3
     per cent & have emitted to Messrs Kinder's 7838.50 on your
     account.—The quantity was surveyed to 170 acres at 47.5 per
     acre 7998.50, from which was deducted 160 dols for discount

     As I have had a great deal of trouble & anxiety in this
     business & had to find assistants in surveying with several
     days attendance, dinners &c for the whole party several
     journeys to Norris Town and also to Philada with the
     carriage to convey the money—postages &c.—I charge you 1½ per
     cent on the purchase money which I hope you will think not
     unreasonable as I believe it is under the charge of the land
     brokers in Philada & they have no trouble in the business
     compared to what I have had—I feel as if a great burthen was
     taken off my back now it is all finished. Out of this you will
     please to present Lucy with 38 dols which was the price the
     mare sold for—I expected one of you Gentn would have come to
     the Eastward before now it is I expect Mr Roziers turn this

     I had one forged note returned at the Bank out of the money of
     Mr Williams & one dollar a counterfiet, but I had stipulated
     that he should take any faulty ones back. He paid about a
     third of the money in specie so that I was obliged to take
     the carriage with it. I took it to the Pennsylvania Bank & got
     an order on the Manhattan Bank in N York & have Mr Kinder's
     receipt for the order

     They have got a considerable quantity of ore out of the
     mine[174] some lead & some copper but I do not hear of any
     being yet sold.

     Present the kind regards of our family circle to my daughter,
     Mr Audubon, & my Grandson[175] who I hope are well

          I remain Gentn
          Yours truly

          Wm BAKEWELL


     Mr Kinder is of opinion that there ought to be a
     renunciation by Lucy of any claim of dower upon this
     estate to make the title good this may be sent on
     when you are coming this way

          [Addressed] MESSS AUDUBON & ROZIER
          [Endorsed] Recd. May 5th. 1810

Lucy Green Bakewell, Audubon's wife, was three years younger than
her husband, having been born at Burton-on-Trent, England, in 1788.
Her family were descended from John Bakewell of "Castle Donnington,"
in Leicestershire; Robert Bakewell, the geologist, who came to the
naturalist's defense many years later, and who lived until 1843, was
a nephew of her grandfather, Joseph Bakewell of Derby. Left an orphan
at an early age, Lucy's father, William Bakewell, was brought up by
an uncle, Thomas Woodhouse, a rich bachelor of Crith, Derbyshire, who
eventually left him a fortune.

When William Bakewell succeeded to his uncle's estate and manor, he
lived the life of a country gentleman, devoting himself mainly to
shooting and to the study of chemistry and natural philosophy, while
he enjoyed the friendship of such men as Joseph Priestley and Erasmus
Darwin. His advocacy of Priestley's republican and liberal religious
doctrines is said to have cost him the honorary office of justice of
the peace in his community and to have determined his emigration to
America. His first visit to America was made in the summer of 1798,
when, with his brother Benjamin,[176] he started an establishment for
brewing English ale at New Haven; through his chemical knowledge and
skill he is said to have reproduced to perfection the famous Burton
ales. William Bakewell brought his family to the United States in 1802,
and when a disastrous fire destroyed his business at New Haven, he
took up the large farm of "Fatland Ford" in 1804, as already related
(p. 108). In that retired spot he devoted much time to his library
and laboratory, while living a life of easy independence. If abrupt
in manners and inclined to severity in discipline, he was generous,
kind-hearted and an ardent republican. Mrs. Audubon's mother, who felt
keenly the separation from her own people, died in September, 1804,
a few months after reaching "Fatland Ford," and in the following year
William Bakewell was married to Rebecca Smith. This lady seems to have
taken a strong dislike to Audubon, for when her death was announced in
1821,[177] he referred to her as "my constant enemy ... God forgive her

At this time Audubon studied nature for the pure love of it, without the
faintest expectation that his labors in natural history would ever be
of any service to the world. But in the year 1810 occurred an event, of
seemingly small moment at the time, which nevertheless left a distinct
mark upon his career, as will be now related.



     Alexander Wilson and his _American Ornithology_—His canvassing
     tour of 1810—His retort to a Solomon of the Bench—Descriptions
     of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Louisville—Meeting with
     Audubon—Journey to New Orleans—Youth in Scotland—Weaver,
     itinerant peddler, poet and socialist—Sent to jail for
     libel—Emigrates to the United States—Finally settles as a
     school teacher near Philadelphia—His friendships with Bartram
     and Lawson—Disappointments in love—Early studies of American
     birds—His drawings, thrift, talents and genius—Publication of
     his _Ornithology_—His travels, discouragements and success—His
     premature death—Conflicting accounts of the visit to Audubon
     given by the two naturalists—Rivalry between the friends of
     Wilson, dead, and those of Audubon, living—The controversy
     which followed—An evasive "Flycatcher"—Singular history of
     the Mississippi Kite plate.

On January 30, 1810, a man of rather coarse features, with a head of
sandy hair, and possessed of manners that could be winning or aggressive
according to his mood, might have been seen leaving Philadelphia afoot,
for he had planned to keep his expenses down to a dollar a day and
traveling by coach or on horseback suited neither his purse nor the
objects of his mission. His clothing was coarse; his luggage, with the
exception of a fowling-piece and two red-backed volumes of quarto size,
was of the lightest description. But, could we have peered between the
covers of those books, our curiosity would have been whetted, for they
were filled with colored plates of American birds, the first-fruits of
their bearer's untrained eye and hand; the text, moreover, was printed
in a style which would have done honor to any country.

This man was Alexander Wilson, who, like Audubon, was a pioneer in the
study of the birds of his adopted land, but who was twenty years his
predecessor in point of publication. The books which he then carried
were part of the first edition of his now famous _American Ornithology_,
the second volume of which had appeared in Philadelphia at the beginning
of that year. Though not destined to be completed until after his death,
this work was to become one of the scientific and literary treasures of
the nation, but it is not likely that one in ten thousand had then ever
heard of him, whether as poet or as ornithologist, or cared anything
about his work or his mission.

Wilson at that moment was starting on his last long journey through the
West and South, in search of new birds. He also carried in his pocket
a subscription list, and therefore belonged to that class of visitor
which is seldom welcomed with rapture. At Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
Wilson's first important stopping-place, and at that time the capital
of the State, Governor Snyder put down his name for $120, the price of
the completed work. This seemed a good omen, but, at Hanover, in the
same state, an incident occurred which might have discouraged a less
determined man; the interview has become historical, and we shall give
Wilson's own relation of it:[178]

     Having a letter from Dr. Muhlenburgh to a Clergyman in
     Hanover, I passed on through a well cultivated country,
     chiefly inhabited by Germans, to that place, where a certain
     Judge _Hustetter_ took upon himself to say, that such a book
     as mine ought not to be encouraged; as it was not within the
     reach of the commonalty; and therefore inconsistent with our
     Republican institutions! By the same mode of reasoning, which
     I did not dispute, I undertook to prove him a greater culprit
     than myself, in erecting a large elegant three story Brick
     house, so much more beyond the reach of the _Commonalty_ as he
     called them, and therefore grossly contrary to our Republican
     institutions. I harangued this Solomon of the Bench more
     seriously afterwards, pointing out to him the great influence
     of Science on a young rising Nation like ours, till he began
     to show such symptoms of _intellect_, as to seem ashamed of
     what he had said.

At Pittsburgh Wilson met Audubon's old employer and relative by
marriage, Benjamin Bakewell. The picture which he then drew[179] of that
growing hive of industry will be read with interest:

     On arriving at the town, which stands on a low flat, and
     looks like a collection of Blacksmith shops, Glass houses,
     Breweries, Forges, and Furnaces, the Monongahela opened to
     the view on the left running along the bottom of a range of
     hills so high that the sun at this season sets to the town of
     Pittsburgh at a little past four. This range continues along
     the Ohio as far as the view reaches. The ice had just begun
     to give way in Monongahela, and came down in vast bodies for
     the three following days. It has now begun in the Alleghany,
     and at the moment I write it is one white Mass of rushing ice.
     The country beyond the Ohio to the west appears a mountainous
     and hilly region. The Monongahela is lined with Arks, usually
     called Kentucky Boats, waiting for the rising of the river,
     & the absence of ice, to descend. A perspective view of the
     town of Pittsburgh at this season, with the numerous arks
     and covered keel boats preparing to descend the Ohio, the
     grandeur of its hills, and the interesting circumstance of
     its three great rivers—the pillars of smoke rising from its
     Furnaces Glass works &c. would make a noble picture. I began
     a very diligent search, in the place the day after my arrival
     for subscribers and continued it for four days. I succeeded
     beyond expectation having got 19 names of the most wealthy
     and respectable part of the inhabitants. The industry of the
     town is remarkable; every body you see is busy; & as a proof
     of the prosperity of the place an eminent lawyer told me that
     there has not been one suit instituted against a mercht. of
     the town these three years! The Glass Houses, of which there
     are 3, have more demands for Glass than they are able to
     answer. Mr. Bakewell the proprietor of the best, shewed ...
     yesterday a Chandelier of his manufacture highly ornamented,
     ... for which he received 300 dollars. It would ornament the
     ... in Philada. and is perfectly transparent.

Eight days after he had reached Pittsburgh, Wilson bravely launched
a little skiff, which he christened the _Ornithologist_, and began an
arduous and perilous journey to Cincinnati, Louisville and New Orleans,
a distance of two thousand miles. "In this lonesome manner," he wrote,
"with full leisure for observation and reflection, exposed to hardships
all day, and hard berths all night, I persevered from the 24th of
February to Sunday evening, March 17th, when I moored my skiff safely
in Bear Grass Creek, at the rapids of the Ohio, after a voyage of seven
hundred and twenty miles."

Cincinnati, then a town of five hundred houses, was reached on the
ninth of March; while there Wilson made the acquaintance of Dr. Daniel
Drake, who was later Audubon's friend, and examined a collection of
Indian relics which had been taken from a freshly opened mound. He
left Cincinnati convinced that its well-to-do class must be a very
thoughtful people, so many of them, when approached for a subscription
to his work, having replied that they would "think about it." Upon
nearing Louisville at nightfall he became alarmed lest he should be
drawn into the suction of the Falls, as no lights could be seen on the
banks: cautiously coasting along the shore, where he encountered many
logs and sawyers, at last he entered the Creek and secured his skiff
to a Kentucky boat; then, "loading myself with my baggage," he wrote,
"I groped my way through a swamp up to the town."[180] When Wilson had
seen the Falls by daylight, he felt that his fears of the night before
had been groundless, and declared that he should have no hesitation in
navigating them single-handed.

It will be interesting to follow Wilson's journey a little further,
before returning to the Louisville visit. After passing a few days in
Audubon's town, he struck out into the heart of Kentucky, calling at
Shelbyville, Frankfort and Lexington, and eventually reaching Nashville,
Tennessee. Not far from the latter place he met a landlord of admirable
discrimination, Isaac Walton by name, who showed himself worthy of his
illustrious ancestor by declaring that Wilson was evidently traveling
for the good of the world, and added: "I cannot, and will not charge you
anything. Whenever you come this way, call and stay with me; you shall
be welcome."

At Nashville Wilson wrote to Miss Sarah Miller, the lady to whom he
was engaged but whom he did not live to marry: "Nine hundred miles
distant from you sits Wilson, the hunter of birds' nests and sparrows,
just preparing to enter on a wilderness of 780 miles—most of it in the
territory of Indians—_alone_ but in good spirits, and expecting to
have every pocket crammed with skins of new and extraordinary birds
before he reach the City of New Orleans." Continuing on his course
in search of new birds and subscribers, Wilson arrived at Natchez on
May 18, and, passing through Louisiana, on the sixth day of June he
entered New Orleans, where his spirits were immediately raised by the
accession of sixty new names to his list. After six months of continuous
effort, traveling now in a small boat, now on the back of a horse, but
frequently on foot, drenched by torrents of rain or scorched by the
unaccustomed heat, often compelled to drink the poisonous water of cane
brakes in Mississippi (to which must be attributed an attack of malarial
fever, which he was able with difficulty to throw off, but from which,
in all probability, he never fully recovered), he returned to New York
by sea, and on September 2, 1810, was again in Philadelphia.

On this journey Wilson was a pioneer in much of the territory which
Audubon had hardly begun to explore, but which later became the scene
of his wanderings and adventures for many a year. At Louisville the two
naturalists met, but they did not become good friends; though devoted
to the same objects, differences in temperament might in any event have
kept them apart. Unfortunately, the feelings of jealousy which were then
aroused, or which were stirred up at a later day, were fostered by some
of Wilson's injudicious friends to such an extent that from the moment
Audubon's work became known, and long before he had published a line,
they became as thorns in his path, and they continued to vex him for
thirty years. It is not easy to reach a fair judgment in this matter
now, and it would be impossible to do so without a better understanding
of the man who suddenly appeared upon Audubon's horizon at Louisville in
1810 and then vanished. Because of the peculiar relations which existed
between these two pioneers, we must follow the history of the elder man
a little more closely.

Alexander Wilson was the son of a weaver at Paisley, Scotland, where he
was born in 1766; he was thus Audubon's senior by nineteen years. His
father, who was esteemed for his honesty and intelligence, had tasted
prosperity, but irremediable poverty fell to his lot in later life.
Alexander, the younger son, was motherless at ten, and the stepmother
that soon appeared seems to have shown him scant sympathy, or, at all
events, never won his affection. Alexander Wilson's youth unhappily
coincided with an era of bad feeling in his native land; the times
were hard in bonny Scotland, education was stagnant, and the public
morals were debased. Wilson was a child of his times; like thousands of
other youths, he was bound to suffer from the conditions of his early
environment, but unlike many thousands of his day, he was possessed of
talents and ambition which bitter adversity tended to sharpen and could
never repress.

At thirteen young Wilson was taken from school and apprenticed to a
weaver, William Duncan, his brother-in-law, and for three years he was
no stranger to hard work and the birchen rod. For nearly three years
more, as master weaver, he knew little beyond the grind and grime of
the factory and the society of factory hands. At eighteen, however, his
rebellious spirit struck, and for ten years he appeared in the _rôle_
of itinerant peddler, poet and orator, and as socialist to the extent
of championing the oppressed weaver class. At one time Wilson came into
correspondence with Robert Burns and later made his acquaintance. His
best dialect poem, "Watty and Meg, or The Taming of a Shrew," published
anonymously as a penny chap-book in 1782, was his one popular success in
the character of poet; according to report it was attributed to Burns,
who admitted that he would have been glad to have written the verses,
which sold so freely that a hundred thousand copies were disposed of
in a few weeks.[181] In the disputes between capital and labor which
arose at Paisley, Wilson took an active part. In connection with them
he published a number of lampoons in verse, for which he was convicted
of libel and was compelled to burn his satires at the town cross. In
one instance, which occurred in February, 1793, a petty tyrant whom he
had riddled exacted the fine,[182] and because of his inability to pay
Wilson was sent to jail, where he languished for over three months.

Under the pressure of such persecutions, hard times, and possibly from
disappointment in an affair of the heart, Wilson decided to emigrate.
Practically driven out in rags from the country which one day was to
raise a monument to his memory, at the age of twenty-eight he sailed
from Belfast with his nephew, William Duncan, for the Eldorado of
the New World. Wilson slept on deck throughout the entire voyage of
fifty-three days, and landed at New Castle, Delaware, with the clothes
on his back and an old fowling-piece as his only possessions. This was
on July 14, 1794, nine years before John James Audubon left Nantes.
Taking train "number 11," in the parlance of knights of the road, the
two immigrants first walked to Wilmington in search of employment, and
finding none there, went on twenty-nine miles farther to Philadelphia.

The story is told that while they made their way through the woods of
Delaware, Wilson shot a Red-headed Woodpecker and met with the Cardinal
Grosbeak; as he often referred to the pleasure which the sight of these
beautiful birds had given him, the incident, if it really occurred, may
have played a part in the inspiration, which later came to Wilson, of
becoming the historian of American bird life.

After eight hard years of shifting about, during which Wilson tried
day-labor, weaving, peddling and school teaching, working long hours
at miserable pay, he finally settled as a country school teacher near
New York. On the twelfth of July, 1801, he wrote to a fellow teacher
and friend, Charles Orr, who was then living at Philadelphia: "I live
six miles from Newark and twelve miles from New York, in a settlement
of canting, preaching, praying, and snivelling ignorant Presbyterians.
They pay their minister 250 pounds for preaching twice a week, and their
teacher 40 dollars a quarter for the most spirit-sinking, laborious
work—6, I may say 12 times weekly." To the same friend, in 1802, he
confided: "My disposition is to love those who love me with all the
warmth of enthusiasm, but to feel with the keenest sensibility the
smallest appearance of neglect or contempt from those I regard."

In 1802, at the age of thirty-six, Wilson decided to take up a school
at Gray's Ferry, on the Schuylkill River, in Kingsessing Township, then
a small settlement four miles from Philadelphia. A year later, in 1803,
John James Audubon was sent to America to learn English and enter trade,
and, as chance would have it, settled on the banks of the same river,
not many miles from Wilson's old schoolhouse. In one respect the older
man was the more fortunate, for, as will be seen, he found close by his
door an excellent naturalist who played the part of mentor.

On February 14, 1802, while at Philadelphia, Wilson wrote to Orr:

     On the 25th. of this month I remove to the schoolhouse beyond
     Gray's Ferry to succeed the present teacher there. I shall
     recommence that painful profession once more with the same
     gloomy, sullen resignation that a prisoner re-enters his
     dungeon or a malefactor mounts the scaffold; fate urges him,
     necessity me. The agreement between us is to make the school
     equal to 100 dollars per quarter, but not more than 50 are
     to be admitted. The present pedagogue is a noisy, outrageous
     fat old captain of a ship, who has taught these ten years
     in different places. You may hear him bawling 300 yards
     off. The boys seem to pay as little regard to him as ducks
     to the rumbling of a stream under them. I shall have many
     difficulties to overcome in establishing my own rules and

At Gray's Ferry, where he was then settled, Wilson again wrote in July:
"Leave that cursed town at least one day. It is the most striking emblem
of purgatory, at least to me, that exists. No poor soul is happier to
escape from Bridewell than I am to smell the fresh air and gaze over
the green fields after a day or two's residence in Philadelphia...."

George Ord, Wilson's staunch friend, literary executor, biographer,
and editor of the last two volumes of the _American Ornithology_,
thus characterized him: "He was of the _genus irritabile_, and was
obstinate in opinion." He would acknowledge error when discovered by
himself, "but he could not endure to be told of his mistakes. Hence his
associates had to be sparing of criticism, through fear of forfeiting
his friendship. With almost all his friends he had occasionally, arising
from a collision of opinion, some slight misunderstanding, which was
soon passed over, leaving no disagreeable impression. But an act of
disrespect he could ill brook, and a wilful injury he would seldom

In 1801, while teaching and studying German at Milestown, Pennsylvania,
Wilson had another unfortunate love affair, in this instance with a
woman already married. To this he alluded in letters written in the
summer of that year to his friend Orr, with whom he later quarreled.
On August 7, 1801, he wrote: "The world is lost forever to me and I to
the world. No time nor distance can ever banish her image from my mind.
It is forever present with me, and my heart is broken with the most
melancholy reflections."

At Gray's Ferry, however, Wilson soon found in the estimable William
Bartram, then in his sixty-first year, the sympathetic adviser, kind
teacher, and judicious friend that he most needed, for though Wilson
took the initiative in his ornithological plans, it was the kindly
Bartram who eventually extended a helping hand. Both Bartram and Lawson,
the engraver, urged him to devote his leisure to drawing, as a foil to
his melancholic tendencies. Wilson did not hesitate long, for on June
1, 1803, he confided to a friend in Scotland that he had begun to make a
"collection of our finest birds." Early in 1804 his purpose was clearly
fixed, and on March 12 of that year he wrote to Alexander Lawson: "I
am most earnestly bent on pursuing my plan of making a collection of
all the birds in this part of North America.... I have been so long
accustomed to the building of airy castles and brain windmills, that
it has become one of my earthly comforts, a sort of rough bone, that
amuses me when sated with the dull drudgery of life." A little later in
the same month we find him appealing to Bartram for exact names, when
he writes:

     I send for your amusement a few attempts at some of our
     indigenous birds, hoping that your good nature will excuse
     their deficiencies, while you point them out to me.... They
     were chiefly coloured by candle-light. I have now got my
     collection of native birds considerably enlarged, and shall
     endeavor, if possible, to obtain all the smaller ones this
     summer. Be pleased to mark on the drawings, with a pencil, the
     names of each bird, as, except three or four, I do not know

  [Illustration: Alex Wilson


  [Illustration: Will. Bartram


Wilson, practically self-taught in everything, with no experience or
training in drawing from nature, thus began at the age of thirty-eight
to make his drawings of birds, before he knew the names of his subjects,
and twenty years before Audubon's talents were known to any but members
of his own family and a few intimate friends. The only aid in drawing
which Wilson ever received appears to have come from the hints which
Lawson supplied. Nevertheless, the best of Alexander Wilson's original
drawings represent a degree of excellence and honest workmanship of
which he had no need to be ashamed, and in many instances he owed far
less to his engraver, Alexander Lawson, than did his great rival to
Robert Havell.

In 1880 Dr. Elliott Coues examined a large collection of original Wilson
and Audubon drawings and manuscripts, "owned and kept with the greed
of a genuine bibliomaniac" by Joseph M. Wade, then editor of _Familiar
Science and Fancier's Journal_. If not Wilson's portfolio itself, its
contents, at least, said Dr. Coues, were then in Mr. Wade's possession,
and this series of Wilson's drawings included, he thought, more than
half of the originals of his famous plates. To quote Dr. Coues:[183]

     In handling these drawings and paintings, of all degrees
     of completeness, one of sensibility could but experience
     some emotions he would not care to formulate in words....
     I was fairly oppressed with the sad story of poverty, even
     destitution, which these wan sheets of coarse paper told.
     Some of Wilson's originals are on the fly-leaves of old
     books, showing binder's marks along one edge. One of the best
     portraits, that of the Duck Hawk, is on two pieces of paper
     pasted together. The man was actually too poor to buy paper!
     Some of the drawings are on both sides of the paper; some show
     a full picture on one side, and part of a mutilated finished
     painting on the other. Some show the rubbing process by which
     they were transferred. They are in all stages of completeness,
     from the rudest outlines to the finished painting.

I know full well that in 1804, when Wilson had fairly begun his work on
birds, he was poor enough, but I hesitate to believe upon such evidence
that he was too poor to buy decent drawing materials. Wilson doubtless
practiced economy in these matters as in everything else, through
his ingrained habit of Scotch thrift, and he was probably quite as
well-to-do then as five years before, when out of his slender earnings
he was able to lay money aside.[184] Later, to be sure, his modest
savings were quite consumed by his _Ornithology_, and then William
Bartram came to his aid, even giving him a home in his own house.
It is also wide of the mark to conclude from his fugitive letters or
from his drawings, as this critic has done, that Wilson was possessed
of genius only, and "had nothing else, not even talent and ability."
Wilson certainly had a talent for writing and cultivated it with marked
success; even his verse was not all of a "despicable mediocrity." In
the art of drawing, however, his natural gifts were of a very modest
sort, and what he achieved was the result of the most painstaking
effort. Of course he was not a finished scholar, as graduates from the
school of adversity seldom are, but he had a passion for knowledge and
the determination to excel. His genius was not fully displayed until a
powerful motive, the ambition to make known the birds of his adopted
land, had possessed his spirit and taxed his powers to their utmost

Shortly after he had settled at Gray's Ferry, Wilson's susceptible
nature was touched by another romance, which was again unfortunate for
the poet and dreamer, but was probably the making of the ornithologist.
Bartram's Botanic Gardens, on the outskirts of Philadelphia, had long
been famous for their large and choice collection of native plants,
gathered by the indefatigable zeal of their worthy founder, John
Bartram, Quaker philosopher, traveler, botanist, agriculturalist and
nurseryman; but the fairest flower in the whole collection at that time
is said to have been Miss Anne Bartram, daughter of John the younger,
niece of William, who then superintended the "Kingsess Gardens,"
granddaughter of the founder, and heiress to the estate. To this Quaker
maid Wilson addressed a number of his poems, and he interested her in
the drawing of birds; on March 29, 1804, he wrote to her uncle: "I send
a small scroll of drawing papers for Miss Nancy. She will oblige me
by accepting it." This little incident would show that Wilson was no
stranger to the use of good drawing materials, however frugal his habits
in this respect may have been. The young lady is said to have been not
indifferent to her poet lover, and some of her family were friendly; the
father, however, had no notion of bestowing his daughter's hand upon a
poor schoolmaster, and for the third time Wilson's dreams of domestic
bliss were shattered.

Such experiences no doubt tended to chasten the sensitive spirit of
this real genius, whose whole life seemed to have been a continuous and
losing struggle, while he felt within him an inspiration and a power
that had failed to find adequate expression in labor at the loom, in
verse, or in the hated vocation of teaching rough country schools at
starvation wages. Though depressed by his misadventures in love, Wilson
does not seem to have been embittered, and by way of diversion, he set
out in the autumn of 1804, on a long walking tour from Philadelphia
to Niagara Falls and back; in the following winter the experiences of
this journey were embodied in a descriptive poem of 2,018 lines which
he called "The Foresters," an effort which would have been less prosaic
if frankly expressed in prose. Wilson's friendship for the Bartrams
continued under the changed conditions, and he was invited to make his
home under their hospitable roof. He was now free to devote himself
heart and soul to birds and to birds alone.

Wilson etched the first two plates of his _American Ornithology_ before
he had obtained an engraver or a publisher. In April, 1806, he resigned
his school at Gray's Ferry to accept an editorial position on a _New
American Cyclopædia_,[185] then in course of preparation, at a salary of
$900 a year. Samuel F. Bradford, the publisher of this work, soon became
interested in Wilson's projected _American Ornithology_ and agreed to
publish it. It became the ambition of both author and publisher to
produce the work in a superior style, and to make it as perfect and
complete an American product as possible. Only the pigments used in
coloring some of the plates were imported from Europe.[186]

Wilson issued in April, 1807, an elaborate prospectus of his proposed
_Ornithology_, in which he stated that the completed work would
comprise ten volumes, to cost $120, and that it would be illustrated by
plates, engraved and colored by hand, after the manner of a carefully
prepared sample which was issued with the printed announcement.
In September, 1808, as already intimated, the first volume of the
_American Ornithology_[187] appeared in an edition of 200 copies.
Wilson immediately started on a canvassing tour of New England, in
the course of which he visited the principal towns and colleges,
going east to Portland, Maine, and as far north as Dartmouth College,
in New Hampshire, where President John Wheelock and the professors
received him with marked attention. On this journey Wilson did not
average one subscriber a day, and he was forced to conclude that he
had "been mistaken in publishing a work too good for the country";
"it is a fault," he said, "not likely to be repeated, and will pretty
severely correct itself." Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York,
coolly said to him: "I would not give one hundred dollars for all the
birds you intend to describe," not even if "I had them alive"; but a
future Governor of that State, De Witt Clinton, the friend of science
and scientific men, gave him the substantial encouragement he craved.
When his second volume was ready for issue, Wilson wrote to Bartram:
"This undertaking has involved me in difficulties and expenses which
I never dreamt of, and I have never yet received one cent from it. I
am, therefore, a volunteer in the cause of Natural History impelled by
nobler views than those of money."

In the autumn of 1808 Wilson made a long and arduous tour of the
South, in the course of which he visited every important town along the
southern Atlantic seaboard, and though it cost him dear, he obtained
250 subscribers; it was then that his publishers decided to extend the
original edition of his work to 500 copies. His longer and more perilous
journey of 1810, when his meeting with Audubon occurred, has already
been described. In 1812, after the sixth volume of the _Ornithology_ had
appeared, he again resumed his travels in the East and went as far north
as Burlington, on Lake Champlain; at Haverhill, New Hampshire, he was
summarily arrested and thrown into jail, the people of the town, utterly
unable to comprehend the nature of his pursuits, suspecting that in
his real capacity he was acting as a spy in the employ of the Canadian
Government. The seventh and last volume of the _Ornithology_ which
Wilson lived to complete made its appearance in the spring of 1813. He
had then been obliged to relinquish his work on the _Cyclopædia_, and
was reduced to the pittance derived from the coloring of his own plates.

Alexander Wilson died at Philadelphia, after a brief illness, on
August 23, 1813. A story was current that his end was saddened, if not
hastened, by the dishonesty of his publishers, but I cannot vouch for
it. Audubon may have had this report in mind when he wrote his name in
the hotel register at Niagara Falls[188] on August 24, 1824; and added
that he would never die, like Wilson, "under the lash of a bookseller."
Even as late as 1879 Miss Malvina Lawson, daughter of Wilson's friend
and engraver, left no doubt as to her belief when she wrote: "and to
his other trials was added the fact that killed him,—the dishonesty of
his publisher."[189]

When we consider that Wilson's entire working period on the
_Ornithology_ was not over ten years, and that at the age of forty-seven
he was called to lay down his pen and brush forever; that he produced
in this brief space a work of great originality and charm, which did
inestimable service in promoting the cause of natural history in both
America and England, and which is likely to be read and prized for
centuries to come, the achievement of this man is little short of
marvelous. Knowing also the disabilities under which he labored, we are
more than ready to temper our judgment with sympathy, and to overlook
any faults which his character may have displayed. These indeed, we
believe, were for the most part of a very trifling nature; those who
knew Wilson best have all testified to his kindness of heart, his
liberality, and his high sense of honor.

We must now return to the meeting of our two pioneers, which has been
the bone of so much acrimonious contention. On his long journey to the
Middle West and South, Wilson reached Louisville on a Saturday evening,
the seventh of March, 1810, and put up at the tavern of the "Indian
Queen," where, as it happened, Audubon was then living with his family;
after spending five days in and about the town, he again set out on
foot for Frankfort, on the morning of Friday, the twenty-third. Audubon
has given the following account in the "Episode" of "Louisville in

     One fair morning, I was surprised by the sudden entrance into
     our counting-room [at Louisville] of Mr. Alexander Wilson,
     the celebrated author of the "American Ornithology," of
     whose existence I had never until that moment been apprised.
     This happened in March, 1810. How well do I remember him, as
     he then walked up to me! His long, rather hooked nose, the
     keenness of his eyes, and his prominent cheek-bones, stamped
     his countenance with a peculiar character. His dress, too,
     was of a kind not usually seen in that part of the country;
     a short coat, trousers, and a waistcoat of grey cloth. His
     stature was not above the middle size. He had two volumes
     under his arm, and as he approached the table at which I was
     working, I thought I discovered something like astonishment
     in his countenance. He, however, immediately proceeded
     to disclose the object of his visit, which was to procure
     subscriptions for his work. He opened his books, explained
     the nature of his occupations, and requested my patronage.

     I felt surprised and gratified at the sight of the volumes,
     turned over a few of the plates, and had already taken a
     pen to write my name in his favour when my partner rather
     abruptly said to me in French, "My dear Audubon, what induces
     you to subscribe to this work? Your drawings are certainly
     far better, and again you must know as much of the habits
     of American birds as this gentleman." Whether Mr. Wilson
     understood French or not, or if the suddenness with which
     I paused, disappointed him, I cannot tell; but I clearly
     perceived that he was not pleased. Vanity and the encomiums
     of my friend prevented me from subscribing. Mr. Wilson asked
     me if I had many drawings of birds. I rose, took down a
     large portfolio, laid it on the table, and shewed him, as I
     would show you, kind reader, or any other person fond of such
     subjects, the whole of the contents, with the same patience
     with which he had shewn me his own engravings.

     His surprise appeared great, as he told me he never had the
     most distant idea that any other individual than himself had
     been engaged in forming such a collection. He asked me if
     it was my intention to publish, and when I answered in the
     negative, his surprise seemed to increase. And, truly, such
     was not my intention; for, until long after, when I met the
     Prince of Musignano in Philadelphia, I had not the least
     idea of presenting the fruits of my labours to the world. Mr.
     Wilson now examined my drawings with care, asked if I should
     have any objections to lending him a few during his stay, to
     which I replied that I had none: he then bade me good morning,
     not, however, until I had made an arrangement to explore the
     woods in the vicinity along with him, and had promised to
     procure for him some birds, of which I had drawings in my
     collection, but which he had never seen.

     It happened that he lodged in the same house with us, but his
     retired habits, I thought, exhibited either a strong feeling
     of discontent, or a decided melancholy. The Scotch airs which
     he played sweetly on his flute made me melancholy too, and
     I felt for him. I presented him to my wife and friends, and
     seeing that he was all enthusiasm, exerted myself as much as
     was in my power, to procure for him the specimens which he
     wanted. We hunted together, and obtained birds which he had
     never before seen; but, reader, I did not subscribe to his
     work, for, even at that time, my collection was greater than
     his. Thinking that perhaps he might be pleased to publish the
     results of my researches, I offered them to him, merely on
     condition that what I had drawn, or might afterwards draw and
     send to him, should be mentioned in his work, as coming from
     my pencil. I at the same time offered to open a correspondence
     with him, which I thought might prove beneficial to us both.
     He made no reply to either proposal, and before many days had
     elapsed left Louisville, on his way to New Orleans, little
     knowing how much his talents were appreciated in our little
     town, at least by myself and my friends.

     Some time elapsed, during which I never heard of him, or of
     his work. At length, having occasion to go to Philadelphia,
     I, immediately after my arrival there, inquired for him and
     paid him a visit. He was then drawing a White-headed Eagle.
     He received me with civility, and took me to the Exhibition
     Rooms of Rembrandt Peale, the artist, who had then portrayed
     Napoleon crossing the Alps. Mr. Wilson spoke not of birds
     or drawings. Feeling, as I was forced to do, that my company
     was not agreeable, I parted from him; and after that I never
     saw him again. But judge of my astonishment some time after,
     when on reading the thirty-ninth page of the ninth volume of
     American Ornithology, I found in it the following paragraph:—

     "March 23, 1810.—I bade adieu to Louisville, to which place I
     had four letters of recommendation, and was taught to expect
     much of everything there; but neither received one act of
     civility from those to whom I was recommended, one subscriber,
     nor one new bird; though I delivered my letters, ransacked
     the woods repeatedly, and visited all the characters likely
     to subscribe. Science or literature has not one friend in this

What actually happened at this meeting of the two naturalists will never
be certainly known, beyond what can be gathered from their rather widely
divergent accounts. It should be noticed, however, that the paragraph
which Audubon quoted was extracted from Wilson's private diary; it was
no doubt written on the spur of the moment, possibly to humor his own
mood, and certainly with no thought of its later publication. It was
inserted by George Ord in the biographical sketch of his friend appended
to the ninth volume of the _American Ornithology_, which appeared in
1814, the year after Wilson's death. Audubon was not concerned, either
directly or by implication, except in the last sentence, for it is
evident that he was not one of those to whom Wilson had carried letters
of introduction. Thus the matter stood until 1828, when Audubon's
_Birds of America_ were being engraved in England. In all probability
the incident would never have been noticed by Audubon, had not Ord seen
fit to revive it when his life of Wilson[191] was issued as a separate
volume in that year. In this edition of the biography Ord inserted
fuller extracts from Wilson's journal, with the evident purpose of
placing the rival of his friend in an unenviable light.

Wilson's diary, which apparently was never seen by any of Audubon's
friends, is now known to us only through such extracts as Ord and
Waterton, his bitter enemies, have seen fit to make public; the original
has probably been destroyed, for it cannot be traced later than 1840,
when it was still in the hands of George Ord.[192] Charles Waterton
gave similar extracts from this famous journal in one of his philippics
against Audubon in 1834, when he said that it was the testimony of
this record that defeated Audubon's friends in their initial attempt to
bring him into the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia. Wilson's
narrative of his adventures at Louisville in 1810, as given by Ord and
Waterton, is as follows:[193]

     _March 17._ Take my baggage and grope my way to Louisville—put
     up at the Indian Queen tavern, and gladly sit down to rest

     _March 18._ Rise quite refreshed. Find a number of
     land-speculators here.[194]

     _March 19._ Rambling round the town with my gun. Examined
     Mr.——'s drawings in crayons—very good. Saw two new birds he
     had, both Motacillæ.

     _March 20._ Set out this afternoon with the gun—killed
     nothing new. [People in taverns here devour their meals. Many
     shopkeepers board in taverns—also boatmen, land-speculaters,
     merchants &c.] _No naturalist to keep me company._

     _March 21._ Went out shooting this afternoon with Mr. A. Saw
     a number of Sandhill Cranes. Pigeons numerous.

     _March 22._

     _March 23._ Packed up my things which I left in the care of a
     merchant here, to be sent on to Lexington; and having parted
     with great regret, with my paroquet, to the gentleman of the
     tavern, I bade adieu to Louisville, to which place I had four
     letters of recommendation, and was taught to expect much of
     everything there, but neither received one act of civility
     from those to whom I was recommended, one subscriber, _nor
     one new bird_; though I delivered my letters, ransacked the
     woods repeatedly, and visited all the characters likely to
     subscribe. _Science or literature_ has _not one friend in this
     place_. [Everyone is so intent on making money, that they can
     talk of nothing else; and they absolutely devour their meals,
     that they may return sooner to their business. Their manners
     correspond with their features.]

In this fuller record we learn that Wilson spent five days in
Louisville; he examined Audubon's drawings on Monday, March 19, hunted
alone on the 20th, went out shooting with Audubon on the 21st, and
finally left Louisville on the morning of the 23d; no record was
admitted by Ord for Sunday, the 18th, or for the 22d, a Thursday. Wilson
noticed the drawings of two new _Motacillæ_, or Warblers, in Audubon's
collection, and it would have been only natural that he should have
felt a strong desire to copy them, yet not a word was said about the
loan of drawings to which Audubon refers; Wilson merely stated that
from those to whom he was recommended he had received not "one act of
civility,—one subscriber, nor one new bird." Audubon was evidently
regarded as one of the "many shopkeepers" who boarded "in taverns,"
and not as a "naturalist," for Wilson said that he had none to keep him
company, and it is rather significant that Audubon's name is not once
mentioned in his _Ornithology_.

Twenty-nine years after Wilson's visit to Louisville, when Audubon came
to publish the fifth and last volume of his _Ornithological Biography_,
he maintained that Wilson had copied his drawing of a certain bird,
called the Small-headed Flycatcher,[195] without any acknowledgment. To
quote Audubon's words:

     When Alexander Wilson visited me at Louisville, he found
     in my already large collection of drawings, a figure of the
     present species, which being at that time unknown to him he
     copied and afterwards published in his great work, but without
     acknowledging the privilege that had thus been granted to
     him. I have more than once regretted this, not by any means
     so much on my own account as for the sake of one to whom we
     are so deeply indebted for the elucidation of our ornithology.

This troublesome bird was first described by Wilson in 1812, when he
rightly pronounced it "very rare," and said that the specimen from
which his drawing was made had been shot in an orchard, presumably
near Philadelphia, on the twenty-fourth day of April, and that several
had been obtained also in New Jersey. His friend Ord, who came to his
defense in 1840, confirmed this statement by declaring to the American
Philosophical Society of Philadelphia that he had been with Wilson on
the day in question and had examined the specimen. Lawson also affirmed
that in engraving the plate he had worked directly from the bird which
Wilson had given him.

What has become of this mysterious phantom that has been a wandering
and disturbing voice among ornithologists for over a century? It has
given rise to no end of conflicting and sharp discussions between the
partisans of the two naturalists chiefly concerned, the only thing
certain being that if this supposititious species ever existed, it
has forsaken its old haunts, if not the earth itself, and has never
returned. No doubt it was simply a case of mistaken identity, and both
Wilson and Audubon were wrong, each having had in hand and mind an
immature representative of one of our numerous Warblers, which are now
so much better known.[196] If Wilson copied Audubon's drawing of the
bird, he must have replaced it with one of his own, for the figures of
the two naturalists are very unlike. Certainly Audubon should not have
made so serious a charge without offering more substantial evidence
in proof; perhaps what he had intended to convey was that Wilson had
obtained from him his first knowledge of the bird, and he was nettled
to find that he had been studiously ignored.[197]

Among the originals of Audubon's _Birds of America_ in possession of
the Historical Society of New York, there is an early drawing of a
Warbler which bears in pencil, in the naturalist's hand, the following
note: "This bird was copied by Mr. Willson at Louisville."[198] The
misspelling of Wilson's name, which was common with Audubon as late as
1820, would indicate that the note was not added after that time, but
if Wilson copied this drawing, there is no evidence that he ever used

Ord made another charge in which Audubon does not appear to such good
advantage; though it refers to a later day, it is best to consider it
now. This critic thought that a complaint of misappropriation came with
ill grace from one who had been guilty of it himself, and maintained
that Audubon had copied Wilson's figures of the female Red-wing
Blackbird (_The Birds of America_, Plate LXVII), and had also stolen his
drawing of the Mississippi Kite (Plate CXVII). Ord was probably mistaken
in regard to the blackbird, but without a doubt the lower bird in the
Kite plate was taken from Wilson (_American Ornithology_, Plate 25),
though the copyist has reversed the outlines, left out one of the toes,
added minor details, and misnamed the sex, which in the Wilson original
represents a male. Without a doubt also the odium in this case must
fall upon Audubon, but we are not at all certain that he was directly
responsible for the theft. Audubon's plate of this species, which is
finished in elaborate detail, was probably published towards the close
of 1831, when he was in America. He furnished his engraver, we believe,
with the drawing of the upper bird only, which he designated as a male,
and the original still exists, with clearly written notes showing that
it was executed in Louisiana in 1821.[199]


Audubon usually made up his drawings for the engraver with great
care, but when pressed for time, Havell's skill was such that he
often depended upon him to complete or change his figures, to fill in
backgrounds, or even to combine several distinct figures into one plate,
specific directions for all such changes being usually written on the
drawing itself.[200] Inasmuch as no penciled directions whatever occur
on this particular drawing, is it possible that Havell, in piecing it
out to improve the composition, followed his own initiative, not fully
appreciating the stigma that is rightly attached to such methods? The
bird in the lower half of the plate, which was appropriated from Wilson,
is misrepresented as a female, so that the composite, as it stands, is a
remarkable product, supposedly depicting a pair but in reality showing
two males. Although the apparent difference in sex in this bird was
admittedly slight, it is improbable that so gross an error could have
escaped the naturalist's eye had he been directly concerned with the

When Audubon was descending the Mississippi in December, 1820, he saw
the kites busily engaged "in catching small lizards off the bark of dead
cypress trees," but "having at that time no crayons or paper," he "did
not draw one, and determined," as he then wrote in his journal, "never
to draw from a stuffed bird." "I first saw the Mississippi Kite," he
added, when "ascending in the steamboat Paragon, in June, 1819." Wilson,
on the other hand, in his knowledge of this interesting bird was far
in advance of his later rival, for his first observations were made in
1810, "in the Mississippi territory, a few miles below Natchez, on the
plantation of William Dunbar, esquire, when the bird represented in
the plate was obtained, after being slightly wounded; and the drawing
made with great care from the living bird." "For several miles, as I
passed near Bayo Manchak," Wilson continues, "the trees were swarming
with a kind of cicada, or locust, that made a deafening noise; and here
I observed numbers of the Hawk now before us sweeping about among the
trees like Swallows, evidently in pursuit of these locusts; so that
insects, it would appear, are the principal food of this species."[201]
Wilson never succeeded in procuring the female of this graceful hawk,
and his editor, George Ord, evidently continued the quest, for we find
his correspondent, John Abbot, writing him from "Scriven County Georgia
Mar. 1814": "Are you acquainted with the female yet of the Louisiana

We have entered into the detailed history of this plate because of
the unfavorable comment which it has provoked, but it is easier to be
critical than to be either just or correct, and without more definite
knowledge than we possess, it would be unfair to censure Audubon too
much or to shift the blame too completely upon the shoulders of another.

To return again to the story of Wilson's diary, it is evident that
Wilson would never have published his sentiments in the form in which
they later appeared. They were perfectly characterized by a just critic
of an early day,[203] who said that Wilson's words were without doubt
written in a moment of keen depression and disappointment and were an
exact description of his feelings, though, as we should also add, not
of the facts. "A man who has given his heart to the accomplishment of
an object, believing that he has no rival, must be somewhat more than
human, if he be delighted to find that another is engaged in the same
purpose, with equal energy and advantages far greater than his own."
Barring his usual inaccuracies, it must be admitted that Audubon's
account bears the thumbmarks of truth. He could not have known the
bitter struggles of the proud spirit whose history we have briefly told;
he saw only a stranger, an ardent devotee of nature, it is true, but a
man of unbending disposition, who with a little more suavity of address
could probably have won his friendship, if not his subscription. Of the
literary quality of Wilson's work, now so well appreciated, he could
have known nothing at all; after turning its pages in his Louisville
store for the first time in 1810, he probably did not see it again for
over ten years.

That Wilson was jealous of Audubon as a future rival is probable, but
the real "rivalry" between these two pioneers was of later growth.
It was fostered in this country chiefly by George Ord and some of
his friends, together with others who were interested in the sale of
Wilson's work. Ord, who seems to have felt that the mantle of this
naturalist had fallen on his own shoulders, strove continually, and
after 1826 with the aid of Charles Waterton in England, to hamper
Audubon's progress, to discredit him as a man of integrity, and to break
down his growing reputation as a naturalist. Though Ord was justified to
some extent in his attacks upon Audubon which were made over Wilson's
shoulders long after that estimable man was laid in the grave, the
matter was carried too far. Neither of the rivals was wholly without
fault, and a century is far too long to continue any quarrel, especially
when one of those whose reputation was concerned was never a party to

Audubon, as we have seen, frankly attributed to personal vanity his
failure to patronize Wilson's work, and added that "even at that time
my collections were greater than his." But it should be noticed that
money was far from plentiful with him at that moment. He was, in short,
at the point of failure in the Louisville enterprise, and with Rozier
was obliged to move down the river not long after the date of Wilson's
visit. Audubon has been represented as at this time a well-to-do man
of leisure, of fastidious tastes. Nothing could have been wider of
the mark. He was still more of a sportsman than a naturalist, and when
not occupied with drawing, he spent most of his time in the forest, to
the neglect of his trade. We may be sure that he was quite as used to
roughing it as any man on the frontier.



     The Ohio a hundred years ago—Hardships of the pioneer
     trader—Audubon's long journeys by overland trail or river
     to buy goods—The "ark" and keelboat—Chief pleasures of
     the naturalist at Louisville—The partners move their
     goods by flatboat to Henderson, Kentucky, and then to Ste.
     Geneviève, (Missouri)—Held up by the ice—Adventures with the
     Indians—Mississippi in flood—Camp at the Great Bend—Abundance
     of game—Breaking up of the ice—Settle at Ste. Geneviève—The
     partnership dissolved—Audubon's return to Henderson—Rozier's
     successful career—His old store at Ste. Geneviève.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the banks of the Ohio River
were but thinly settled, and over vast areas the virgin forest still
reigned in undisturbed vigor and beauty. Yet traders were eagerly
pushing westward in ever growing numbers, and by 1810 Audubon and Rozier
found that competition at Louisville was already keen. This city, wrote
Alexander Wilson in describing his experiences in the spring of that
year, was as large as Frankfort, and possessed a number of good brick
buildings and valuable shops; it would have been salubrious, he thought,
"but for the numerous swamps and ponds that intersect the woods in its
neighborhood," and the indifference of the people, whom he found too
intent upon making money to give any heed to the drainage and sanitation
of their town.

The prosperity of the partners, as already intimated, was shortlived.
Audubon was doubtless right in admitting that his business abandoned
him because he could not bear to give it the necessary attention. The
conditions of life for the merchant-trader at that early day were at
best far from easy, and an honest success, as then understood, required
not only plenty of rough work but careful planning as well. His goods,
purchased in the East, were laboriously transported across the State
of Pennsylvania, and if they came from Philadelphia they must needs
traverse the rough wagon roads that led through Bedford to Pittsburgh.
There was an overland trail from Pittsburgh to Kentucky, but merchants
with heavy loads would naturally take the easier river route. In going
east to renew his stock in trade, it was a common practice to travel on
horseback from as far west as St. Louis, but on returning the merchant
would often sell his mount at Baltimore, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh,
where a boat could be taken for the remainder of the journey.

The "ark" or flatboat was considered most convenient for the
transportation of either passengers or merchandise down the Ohio, for
any well-to-do traveler, while floating leisurely with the current,
could make himself comfortable by fitting up snug sleeping quarters and
a kitchen on deck, and could go ashore at will, with the certainty of
satisfying his appetite for wild turkey, venison and other game in the
season. Wilson, who descended the river in April, 1810, boarded and
passed many of these "arks," which he described as built in the form
of a parallelogram, from twelve to fourteen feet wide and from forty
to seventy feet long, with a canopy to protect them from the weather;
they were casually helped along by means of two oars in the bow, and
steered by another and more powerful one in the stern. "Several of these
floating caravans," said Wilson, "were loaded with store goods for the
supply of the settlements through which they passed, having a counter
erected, shawls, muslins," and the like, "displayed, and everything
ready for transacting business. On approaching a settlement they blew
a tin trumpet, which announced to the inhabitants their arrival." These
"arks," he added, descended from all parts of the Ohio and its tributary
streams, but in greatest numbers in the spring months. Although they
cost originally about $1.50 per foot of length, when arrived at their
destination they would seldom bring more than one-sixth of that amount.
From forty to fifty days were commonly required to cover the entire
distance of two thousand miles from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.

Another means of conveyance on the river, frequently used by Audubon,
was the keel boat or barge, which, in some cases, was also roofed and
would hold about two hundred barrels of flour.[204] When assisted by
oars in the bow, it could reduce the time of a journey to New Orleans
by ten or fifteen days. These barges were pushed up stream with the aid
of setting poles at an average rate of about twenty miles a day, or, if
loaded, they were laboriously "cordelled," or drawn by the hands of men
who trudged along the banks pulling at the cordelle.

The chief pleasures which Audubon's business ventures in the West
seem to have afforded him were his leisurely journey by river and long
horseback rides to Philadelphia to buy goods, when he could roam through
his "beautiful and darling forests of Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania,"
which gave him grand opportunities to make observations upon birds and
animal life of every sort. He would seldom hesitate to swerve from his
course to study his favorites, and has related how on one occasion,
when driving before him several horses laden with merchandise and
dollars, he quite lost sight of the pack saddles and the cash they bore,
in watching the motions of a warbler. But few coaches, said Audubon,
were available in those days, and the post roads were often unfit for
lighter carriages. To cover the distance from Louisville to Philadelphia
on horseback required about twenty days, and only a capable animal
and rider could make forty miles a day; when steamer traffic on the
Ohio[205] was well in hand this time was reduced to six or seven days,
in performing a journey which the modern railroad has shortened to not
far from as many hours.

Discouraged by the gloomy prospects which their business at Louisville
presented, Audubon and Rozier determined in the spring of 1810 to move
125 miles down the river to Henderson.[206] Loading the residue of their
stock on a flatboat, they resolutely set out for the new field, but
great was their surprise to find, in place of the thriving settlement
which their imaginations had pictured, only a cluster of log houses on
the river bank, with a population of less than 200 people and a demand
for little else than whisky, gunpowder and coarse woolen goods. When
the partners arrived, the little town was eighteen years old, as the
first log cabins were built there in 1792, but the whole country above
and below them was, and for a considerable time remained, one vast
canebrake. All the commodities known to the pioneer store were scarce,
but the people of Henderson were friendly, and the new settlers had
been provident in bringing with them a goodly supply of flour and "bacon
hams." Moreover, the Ohio, which was half a mile wide at that point, was
well stocked with fish, and the woods and canebrakes were alive with
birds, not to speak of larger and more important game. Not many years
before, wild turkeys had been so plentiful that they were not sold but
were given away, while a large buck deer could be bought in the season
for fifty cents.

During their stay at Henderson, Rozier was in his habitual place
behind the counter and attended to what little business was done, while
Audubon with a Kentucky lad named John Pope, who was nominally a clerk,
roamed the country in eager pursuit of rare birds, and with rod and gun
bountifully supplied the table. Audubon's first abode in the town was,
as he said, "a log-_cabin_, not a _log-house_," in which the richest
piece of furniture was their child's cradle. He soon began to cultivate
a garden, but his experience in horticulture must have been limited,
for he naïvely remarks that the rankness of the soil kept the seeds they
planted "far beneath the tall weeds which sprang up the first year."

Financial distress and hard times were already being felt in the Blue
Grass State, and these conditions were not destined soon to improve.
After experimenting for six months, or more, at Henderson, our two
"rolling stones" determined to push still farther west and try their
luck at a more promising point. They had hoped to reach St. Louis but
finally went instead to Ste. Geneviève, then a small French settlement
in Upper Louisiana, on the right bank of the Mississippi, a hundred
miles north of the mouth of the Ohio.

This new venture promised to be both hazardous and uncertain, and as
Mrs. Audubon and Rozier were not on the friendliest terms, Audubon
decided to leave his family at Henderson, where a home for his wife and
infant son could always be had under the hospitable roof of Dr. Adam
Rankin, who became one of the naturalist's staunchest friends. If their
stock in trade at this time actually consisted of "three hundred barrels
of whisky, sundry dry-goods and powder," as Audubon affirmed, the keel
boat which they then engaged was certainly calculated to bear a goodly
load.[207] At all events the partners, with young Pope, their clerk, set
out bravely, in a snow storm, in December, 1810. They floated with the
current at a rate of about five miles an hour, while they helped their
craft along by means of four oars in her bow and steered it with the aid
of a slender tree trunk, "shaped at its outer extremity like the fin of
a dolphin."

This journey of upwards of 165 miles lasted altogether more than nine
weeks. It proved adventurous enough, but it was of no use to Audubon
except in furnishing him with drawings of new birds and the raw
materials for many "Episodes." The journal of his experiences on the
great rivers during that eventful winter of 1810 and 1811 is interesting
for the sidelights which it throws both upon his character and upon the
state of the country at an elder day. Held up by the ice for several
weeks at Cash Creek, near the mouth of the Ohio, to his own delight but
to Rozier's sorrow, Audubon tramped the country and hunted wild swans
and larger game with the friendly Shawnee Indians. "When one day's sport
was over," he said, "we counted more than fifty of these beautiful
birds whose skins were intended for the ladies of Europe. There were
plenty of geese and ducks, but no one condescended to give them a shot."
This was Audubon in 1810, when such "sport" was regarded as legitimate
enough, and the feather-hunting of such Indians was not considered the
nefarious trade that it proved to be. If we shift the scene to twenty
years later, when William MacGillivray needed thousands of specimens
of American birds for his studies upon their anatomy and variability,
we find Audubon supplying him liberally, but he could not then bear
to see them killed wantonly or for mere sport; more than once, out of
compassion for individual birds that he chanced to be studying, whether
in Florida or in Labrador, he would not permit them to be shot even when
needed for his collections.

At the Shawnee Indian camp, to relate a characteristic anecdote, Audubon
noticed that a squaw who "had been delivered of beautiful twins during
the night" was busied on the next day at her usual task of tanning deer
skins. "She cut two vines," his record reads, "at the roots of opposite
trees and made a cradle of the bark, in which the new born ones were
wafted to and fro with a push of her hand, while from time to time she
gave them the breast, and was apparently as unconcerned as if the event
had not taken place."

When at last our adventurers gained the Mississippi, the mighty volume
of which was running three miles an hour, the patron ordered all hands
ashore to pull at the bow rope. This characteristic remark of the
naturalist is delightful, as showing the "single eye" which it has
been declared of old shall be "full of light": "we made," said Audubon,
"seven miles a day up the famous river; but while I was tugging with my
back at the cordella, I kept my eyes fixed on the forests or the ground,
looking for birds or curious shells."

Warping against the current was both difficult and dangerous, and
though they rose two hours before the sun, they could make but one mile
an hour or ten miles in the day. At night they would go ashore, light
a good fire and cook their supper; then, after posting a sentinel to
guard against unfriendly surprises, they would roll in their buffalo
skins and sleep without further concern. Notwithstanding all their
efforts, when they reached the Great Bend at Tawapatee Bottom, they were
obliged to unship their cargo, protect their boat as best they could
from being crushed in the growing pack, and await the final breaking up
of the ice. "The sorrows of Rozier," at this dismal announcement, said
Audubon, "were too great to be described; wrapped in a blanket, like a
squirrel in winter quarters with his tail about his nose, he slept and
dreamed his time away, being seldom seen except at meals." There was
not a white man's cabin within twenty miles, but a new field opened to
the naturalist, who tramped through the deep forests, and soon became
acquainted with all the Indian trails and lakes in the neighborhood.

The six weeks spent at this camp passed pleasantly for Audubon, who
devoted much of the time in studying the Osage Indians, whom he thought
superior to the Shawnees, as well as in watching for wolves, bears,
deer, cougars, racoons and wild turkeys, some of which were attracted
by the bones and scraps of food thrown out for them: "I drew," said he,
"more or less, by the side of our great camp-fire, every day." While
detained at this point, they used for bread the breasts of turkeys,
buttered with bear's grease, and opossum and bear's meat, until their
stomachs revolted and they longed for a little Indian meal, which was
procured only with the greatest difficulty.

When at last the ice broke up, splitting with reports like the thunder
of heavy artillery, their prospects were dismal indeed, for their boat
was immediately jammed by the rushing ice, and they were powerless to
move her. "While we were gazing on the scene," to continue Audubon's
record, "a tremendous crash was heard, which seemed to have taken place
about a mile below, when suddenly the great dam gave way. The current
of the Mississippi had forced its way against that of the Ohio, and in
less than four hours we witnessed the complete breaking up of the ice."
Having reloaded their goods, they were ready to start at a favorable
moment, and taking leave of the friendly Indians, "as when brothers
part," they pushed on through the floating ice, past Cape Girardeau, to
Sainte Geneviève, a town which Audubon characterized as "not so large as
dirty," declaring that the time spent there did not yield him half the
pleasure he had felt at Tawapatee Bottom. It was near a granite tower
which rose from a dangerous rock in the river below Ste. Geneviève that
Audubon caught sight of what he afterwards described as "Washington's
Eagle," a bird now believed to have been the true "bird of freedom,"
the "Bald-" or White-headed Eagle, but in an immature state.

     STE. GENEVIÈVE, APRIL 6, 1811.

     From the Tom J. Rozier MSS.]

Though their whisky was welcomed at Ste. Geneviève and what had cost the
traders twenty-five cents, brought them two dollars, a gallon, Audubon
heartily disliked the place and its people. Rozier, on the contrary, who
had found plenty of Frenchmen with whom he could freely converse, was
resolved to stay. Audubon accordingly proposed to sell out his share
in the business, and the partnership was dissolved on April 6, 1811,
Rozier paying part of the price in cash and the remainder in notes.
In referring to the incident in his journal of 1820, Audubon wrote:
"I parted with Mr. Rozier, and walked to Henderson in four days—165
miles"; but this does not agree with a later account, in which he spoke
of having "purchased a beauty of a horse," and, happy in the prospect
of again seeing his family, set out for Dr. Rankin's house in Kentucky.
In the earlier record he also wrote that he once had a friend in trade,
referring to Ferdinand Rozier, "with whom he did not agree, and so they
parted forever"; but Audubon visited Ste. Geneviève in the autumn of
1811 and in the winter of 1812, probably for the purpose of collecting
his money and settling his affairs, while the following letters of
this period show that friendly relations with his old partner were not
seriously impaired:[208]

_John James Audubon to Ferdinand Rozier_

          LOUISVILLE, _2d November 1811_.

          MR. F. ROZIER
          St. Geneviève.


     I reached here on the 31st of last month a little fatigued,
     as you can well imagine. Yesterday I wrote to T. W. Bakewell
     at New Orleans, and doubt not he is sending you regularly
     the prices current of the market there. I have found here a
     letter addressed to my brother-in-law from Benj. Bakewell,
     who complains of us, and says that we ought to settle with
     him in one way or another; write to him at Pittsburgh; I will
     be with him, possibly at the same time, and will speak with
     him; by the bill which he inclosed you will see that we are
     his debtor for 55$. I am leaving here in 2 or 3 days. I wish
     you health and prosperity, and with the respects of my wife,
     I am always your friend &


          J. AUDUBON.

          [Addressed] MR. FD. ROZIER
                      St _Genevieve_

_John James Audubon to Ferdinand Rozier_

          SHIPPINGPORT. _10th Augst. 1812_


     As it is quite likely that the present opportunity is safe,
     I take pleasure in writing you a few words.

     Your letter sent to Philadelphia was duly received, and
     answered promptly; since I have heard news of you only by
     the most indirect means, I would be happy if you can give
     a few moments to your friends, if you would count me in
     their number, and would write me from time to time; I left
     Philadelphia last month with my wife and son; most of this
     time was spent in descending the Ohio, which is at present
     very low; we had the barge and crew of G[en]l. Clark, with
     the company of Mr. R. A. Maupin, and of Mrs. Galt, who had
     spent several months at New York & at Phila. I shall probably
     descend [the river] to New Orleans this autumn with N.
     Berthoud; [all kinds of] merchandise are extremely scarce and
     very dear, everywhere, but even more is this true of coarse
     woolens, which one does not find at all.

     I have no doubt your lead is selling very well, this article
     having increased considerably [in value] since the war. In the
     latter part of my stay in the East I received a letter from my
     father, and one from your brother; all your family were then
     well, that is, four months ago; your brother is very anxious
     to hear from you; if peace should come at a day not far remote
     (and may it please God that this be so), I hope to get into
     communication with him.

     I have written to him and I urge you to do the same; your
     letters can be delivered, if sent to New York, and from thence
     on the Cartel.[209] My wife is well and [so is] my son; may
     you be the same, and count among the number of your friends
     him who would esteem you always.


          J. AUDUBON.

          [Addressed] MRS F. ROZIERS
                      St _Genevieve_

Friendly relations with his former partner in trade were occasionally
renewed by the naturalist in after life. At one of their last meetings,
in 1842, Rozier, who had then returned from France, visited Audubon at
his home on the Hudson, and both were entertained in New York by their
mutual friend, Nicholas Berthoud.

Ferdinand Rozier, with whom we now part company, lived to enjoy abundant
prosperity as a trader and merchant at Ste. Geneviève. Born in Nantes on
November 9, 1777,[210] at the age of twenty-five he entered the French
navy, at a time when Napoleon was contesting with England the supremacy
of the sea. He made numerous voyages, and we hear of him at the Cape of
Good Hope, the Island of France or Mauritius, at Cadiz, Teneriffe, and
at the Island of Bartholomew. Eventually, on April 8, 1804, he embarked
on the cutter _Experiment_, with Captain Upton in charge, bound for the
United States, where he visited a number of American ports, including
Philadelphia and Norfolk. In the following year he returned to France in
the frigate _President_, Captain Gallic Lebrosse, and entered the harbor
of Nantes on March 1, 1805.[211] In the spring of that year John James
Audubon, as we have seen, had also returned to that city, and plans were
eventually laid for their commercial aggrandizement in the New World
which both had so lately visited. To what extent Audubon's dreams failed
of realization may be gathered from the following chapters.

Having settled finally at Ste. Geneviève, Rozier, at thirty-six, married
Constance Roy, a girl of eighteen, who bore him ten children, four of
whom, all octogenarians, were living in 1905. Ferdinand Rozier's thrift
and industry soon brought him substantial rewards. In his earlier days
he is said to have made six journeys to Philadelphia on horseback to
purchase merchandise, and these trading expeditions were uniformly
successful. His trade extended over the whole of Upper Louisiana, and
he lived to see the great growth of Missouri as a sovereign state,
along with the development of the fabulous mineral wealth of the

Rozier's old store at Ste. Geneviève, for long a landmark in that
community and considered a pretentious building in its day, was
undoubtedly built after the date of Audubon's visit. The front was
devoted to the service of customers and a large shed or stock room was
placed at the rear, while the family lived in the main section, which
was entered by a door not shown in our illustration.[213] When this
building was demolished to make way for modern changes, the wooden pins
used in joining the frame were treasured by many as souvenirs of pioneer

Ferdinand Rozier, who outlived Audubon by thirteen years, died at Ste.
Geneviève on January 1, 1864, at the age of eighty-seven years. If he
were one of those who thought that Audubon was wasting his time in
his ardent zeal for natural history, it should not surprise us, for
their ideals were in conflict, and the naturalist's way of working was
certainly not conducive to success in trade.



     This and the above published by courtesy of Mr. Ruthven



     Dr. Rankin's "Meadow Brook Farm"—Birth of John Woodhouse
     Audubon—The Audubon-Bakewell partnership—Meeting with
     Nolte—Failure of the commission business—Visit to
     Rozier—Storekeeping at Henderson—Purchases of land—Habits
     of frontier tradesmen—Steamboats on the Ohio—Popular
     pastimes—Audubon-Bakewell-Pears partnership—Their famous
     steam mill—Mechanical and financial troubles—Business
     reorganization—Bankruptcy general—Failure of the mill—Personal
     encounter—Audubon goes to jail for debt.

The seven years which followed the outbreak of war with England in 1812
were the most disastrous in the naturalist's career. In many respects
they were critical for the entire country, since hundreds who were
not affected directly by the war were ruined by the financial troubles
which followed in its wake. To Audubon reverses came at this time in
rapid succession. Bereft of one and then another of his children,[214]
with his family in straitened circumstances in France, and reduced to
bankruptcy himself, he finally resolved to throw up trade, for which he
was never fitted, and to make his avocation the real business of life.
We shall see how, by the unstinted use of such talents as he possessed,
through unremitting effort, and with the aid of his energetic and
capable wife, he was able, at the age of forty-five, to turn failure
into success.

After his return to Henderson in the spring of 1811, Audubon began to
look for another opening in trade, living meanwhile with his family at
the home of Dr. Adam Rankin, called "Meadow Brook Farm." Dr. Rankin was
the first educated physician in his district, and was for many years an
officer of the court. A doctor of the older school and a genuine lover
of his kind, with a large heart and an open hand, he made his home
a hostelry where anyone in need could find refuge without money and
without price. No doubt he was attracted to the naturalist by kindred
tastes, and it is known that they became life-long friends. The old
house, to which Audubon refers in one of his "Episodes,"[215] was built
of logs, and stood at some distance from the pike, about two miles
from the village in a southeasterly direction. There were experienced
in greatest frequency, in the winter of 1811 and 1812, the terrific
earthquakes that repeatedly shocked the country at that time; there also
Audubon's younger son, John Woodhouse, was born on November 30, 1812.
The Rankin farm became at a much later day the site of the village of
Audubon, which still later was to be incorporated in the growing city
of Henderson, when most of the old landmarks had been obliterated.
Dr. Rankin built a more commodious and pretentious brick house in the
village itself, and was neighbor to the naturalist for many years, their
houses being on the same or adjoining lots. He was thrice married and
had many children, the eldest of whom, William Rankin, became Audubon's
favorite companion in the field; together they ransacked the country
for birds and animals of every sort.

Audubon's unfortunate business relations with his brother-in-law, Thomas
W. Bakewell, began in the autumn or winter of 1811, when the naturalist
was in the East and Bakewell was about to return to New Orleans in the
employ of a firm of Liverpool merchants who dealt in cotton. Bakewell,
who had seen much of the South since the failure of his uncle in New
York, induced Audubon to join him in an independent commission business,
with the assurance that his French nationality would help their
undertakings. According to Vincent Nolte, when they were descending the
Ohio in December, 1811, Audubon displayed a business card, showing the
firm name of "Audubon and Bakewell," and indicating that they were to
deal in such homely products as pork, lard and flour. Thomas Bakewell,
we are told, taking with him all the disposable funds of Audubon,
who continued to send him "almost all the money" that he could raise,
opened their business at New Orleans in the winter or spring of 1812,
just in time for the war, which broke out in June, to destroy it. When
he returned north, in August of that year, Thomas Bakewell, said the
naturalist, suddenly appeared one day at "Meadow Brook Farm," while he
was making a drawing of an otter, and after bewailing their misfortune
in trade, departed.

At the approach of spring in 1812 Audubon was hard pressed for funds,
and Rozier's notes to him being then overdue he set out on foot for Ste.
Geneviève to collect his money in person. He went out with a party of
friendly Osage Indians, but returned, still afoot and unpaid, with his
faithful dog as his only companion.[216] The prairies were then flooded
and converted into vast lakes, but Audubon, anxious to reach his home,
pressed on, walking, as he said, "one hundred and sixty-five miles in
a little over three days, much of the time nearly ankle-deep in mud and
water." It was probably on this journey, though it may have been in the
previous year, that an incident occurred which he has related in "The
Prairie,"[217] when, as he declared, for the first time in the course
of his wanderings for upwards of a quarter of a century, his life was
in actual danger from his fellow man.

When at last he had obtained some ready money, Audubon rode to
Louisville, where he purchased on the half-cash, half-credit basis a
small stock of goods, and again set up a retail shop at Henderson. This
modest venture promised so well that he bought land with the intention
of making that town his permanent home. "I purchased," said he, "a
ground-lot of four acres, and a meadow of four more at the back of the
first." On the latter, to follow this account, were several buildings
and an excellent orchard, "lately the property of an English doctor,
who had died on the premises and left the whole to a servant woman as
a gift, from whom it came to me as a freehold": other land, he added,
adjacent to the first, was later secured.


     From the Tom J. Rozier MSS.]

These curiously embroidered statements regarding land transactions at
Henderson in 1813 are not in harmony with the existing records of that
frontier town. Henderson, as its historian[218] tells us, was laid
out originally in 1797 into 264 one-acre lots, of which comparatively
few had been sold at the time of which we speak, though nominal prices
were asked and a few had been given away to encourage settlement.[219]
Audubon is recorded as having purchased four one-acre lots from the
town, two in 1813 and two in the following year, while a long lease
was taken upon land adjacent to the river where later rose his famous

The old Audubon store for general merchandise, built of hewn logs, in a
single story, stood at the corner of Main and Mill Streets (now Second
Street), fronting the latter, at a point where a modern departmental
establishment has since risen. Adjoining this primitive store, on the
main street, was his log dwelling,[221] of one and a half stories, with
a square porch at the entrance. Immediately opposite, on the two-acre
strip of land purchased in 1814, lay a small pond which Audubon is said
to have stocked with turtles in order to gratify his special fondness
for this delicacy.

Audubon's winning manners made him a popular figure among the early
settlers of this region, and for the space of three years he enjoyed
life as never before; "the pleasures," he said, "which I have felt at
Henderson, and under the roof of that log-cabin, can never be effaced
from my heart until after death." But in a community of exacting
business men he could never have made a permanent success; he was too
good a target not to be riddled by many who were ready to take advantage
of his liberality and easygoing ways. Traveling from Frankfort to
Lexington in 1810, Wilson complained that the people were all traders
but no readers, even of the newspaper; every man, he said, had "either
some land to buy or sell, some law-suit, some coarse hemp or corn to
dispose of; and if the conversation does not to lead to any of these,
he will force it."

Many stories, and no doubt much idle gossip, concerning Audubon's life
and habits, were current at Henderson long after he left the village. It
was said that he would often go into the woods in his pursuit of birds
and remain from home for weeks at a time; that he was once known to
have followed a hawk for three days in succession and in practically a
straight course, swimming creeks when necessary, until it finally fell
to his gun. When steamboats made their first appearance on the Ohio,
they naturally excited the greatest interest, and a favorite pastime
of many of the men and boys was diving from the side of a boat into
the river. On one of these occasions Audubon is said to have made his
appearance in the crowd of sightseers and to have astonished everyone
by plunging from the bow and emerging from beneath the stern of the
vessel after swimming under her entire length. According to traditional
accounts, Mrs. Audubon, who was also an expert swimmer, would enter
the river clad in a regular bathing costume and cross with ease to the
Indiana shore.

In spite of the hard times Audubon managed to keep out of serious
business troubles until he entered into another partnership with Thomas
Bakewell, his brother-in-law. Their project in this second association
was to erect a steam lumber and grist mill at Henderson, which of all
mortal follies the naturalist considered in the retrospect to have been
one of the worst. It is recorded that on the sixteenth day of March,
1817, John James Audubon and Thomas W. Bakewell, under the designation
of "Audubon and Bakewell," applied to the trustees of the village for a
ninety-nine year lease of a section of land on the river front. Their
petition was granted, upon a consideration of $20 per annum, and the
partners began to build their mill on the property and completed it
within that year. Thomas W. Pears,[222] a former fellow-clerk of both
Audubon and Bakewell in New York, early joined the enterprise, which
was regarded at the time as one of considerable magnitude. Their mill,
which stood for ninety-five years, became famous in the annals of the
Ohio Valley.[223] Said the historian of Henderson County, writing in

     The weather boarding, whip-sawed out of yellow poplar, is
     still intact on three sides. The joists are of unhewn logs,
     many of them over a foot in diameter, and raggedly rough.
     The foundation walls are built of flat, broken rock and are
     four and a half feet thick. Mr. Audubon operated the mill on
     a large scale for those times. His grist-mill was a great
     convenience, and furnished a ready market for all of the
     surplus wheat raised in the surrounding country. His saw-mill
     also was a wonderful convenience, doing the sawing for the
     entire county.


     After a photograph of 1894, published by courtesy of Dr. R.
     W. Shufeldt.]

Mr. and Mrs. Pears, who had no liking for Henderson, early withdrew
and sold their interest in the mill[224] to Audubon and Bakewell,
thus adding to their financial embarrassment. The engines, which seem
to have given no end of trouble, were constructed by David Prentice,
an intelligent Scotch mechanic; since his first work after coming to
this country was to erect a steam threshing mill at "Fatland Ford,"
his services were probably secured by William Bakewell, who afterwards
helped to establish him at Philadelphia. While at Henderson he is said
to have fitted a small engine and paddlewheels to a keel boat, which was
christened the _Pike_, and to have taken it up the river to Pittsburgh.
Prentice seems to have entered the partnership and to have retired with

In order to extend the sphere of their operations, Audubon is said
to have purchased at this time a tract of 1,200 acres of government
land,[225] and to have engaged a band of stalwart Yankees to fell and
deliver the timber. According to one account, they were a party of
emigrants who had come to Henderson with their families and encamped
on the river bank. For a time all went well, but one day when they
failed to deliver their usual supply of logs, it was found that they
had decamped and fled down the river towards the Mississippi, taking
on their flatboat Audubon's draft oxen and in fact all the plunder
that they could lift. Nothing was ever recovered and but one of the
fugitives was ever seen again; this man boarded a river boat on which
the naturalist happened to be traveling, and it is said that upon
being recognized he jumped into the river and swam to the shore like a
frightened deer.

When Bakewell finally withdrew, Audubon appears to have been left
stranded, and the business was taken over by a new set of men,
including another brother-in-law, Nicholas Berthoud, and Benjamin
Page of Pittsburgh, who continued it under the name of J. J. Audubon &
Company.[226] Agents were also secured at various points on the Ohio and
Mississippi rivers. Excepting, as we must assuredly do, his ever staunch
friend, Nicholas Berthoud, Audubon believed that he was "gulled by all
of these men."

In 1818 a new era of building and general prosperity seemed to dawn in
the valley of the Ohio. A new bank was chartered at Henderson, and the
woodwork of its brick structure was furnished by Audubon's mill.[227]
This bank, however, failed in the course of two years, and forty others
scattered throughout that section broke in rapid succession, after
having done little more than add to the flood of worthless paper notes
that was demoralizing business and sending hundreds into bankruptcy.

The mill was in operation barely two years. The machinery, of which a
wooden bolting shaft and wooden cog wheels remained as a curiosity to
recent times, seems to have worked badly from the start. But aside from
the inexperience of the builders and the financial troubles of the day,
the enterprise was foredoomed to failure in a district which raised but
little wheat, and in which the demand for lumber was then comparatively
slight. "How I labored," said Audubon, "at that infernal mill! But it
is over now; I am old, and try to forget as fast as possible all the
different trials of those sad days."

In the course of the Audubon and Bakewell partnership[228] the
naturalist became involved in a personal quarrel with a man whose
initials are given as "S—— B——." It seems that in 1817 Audubon's
mechanic, David Prentice, had built for him a small steamboat, though
for what purpose is not known. When their interests were severed, we
are told, Mr. B—— purchased this steamer, but paid for it in worthless
paper. The captain of the craft ran her down to the Mississippi and
thence to New Orleans, and Audubon, who was determined to arrest this
man if necessary, started in pursuit in a skiff. He failed, however,
to overhaul the fugitive, and reached New Orleans only to find that
his vessel had been surrendered to another claimant. This was probably
in May, 1819, for in his journal of the following year, under date
of November 23, when he was again moving down the rivers but in more
leisurely fashion, he speaks of two large eagle's nests, one of which
he remembered having seen as he "went to New Orleans eighteen months"

Through the researches of a later historian I am now able to give a
more exact account of this affair. The purchasers of the steamboat
were William R. Bowen, Samuel Adams Bowen, Robert Speed, Edmund Townes,
Obediah Smith, George Brent and Bennett Marshall, who immediately sued
Audubon in the sum of $10,000, on the plea that he had maliciously taken
out an attachment upon the vessel in New Orleans, where it had been
detained. They represented to the judge of the circuit court, Henry P.
Broadnax, that Audubon was about to leave Kentucky, and a warrant was
issued to arrest him; he was taken into custody, said the narrator whom
I am following, "but executed a bail bond in the sum of $10,000 with
Fayette Posey as surety, and was released." Convinced that a trial at
Henderson would lead only to a defeat of justice, Audubon now served
notice that he would apply for a change of venue to another county.
"That notice together with the other papers in the action, is among
the records of the Daviess circuit court, at Owensboro, Kentucky. It
was written and signed by Audubon. Application for a change of venue
was made at Hardinsburg and the case was transferred to the Daviess
circuit court." When the case was called, the plaintiffs asked for a
continuance, and it was granted them, but when the case was called again
at the next term of court, the plaintiffs failed to appear, and the
action was finally dismissed.

Returning home, Audubon was obliged to walk from the mouth of the
Ohio River to Shawnee Town. Upon reaching Henderson he found that Mr.
Bowen had anticipated him. Acting upon advice, he was prepared for an
encounter with this man, who as his neighbors declared, had sworn to
kill him, and "whose violent and ungovernable temper was only too well
known." The anticipated encounter ensued. Audubon, who was then carrying
his right hand in a sling from a recent injury received in his mill,
waited, as he said, until he had received twelve severe blows from
his assailant's bludgeon; then with his left hand he drew a dagger and
struck in his own defense. His assailant was felled to the ground, but
happily the wound inflicted was not mortal. Mr. Bowen was carried away
on a plank, and when the affair was settled in the judiciary court,
according to a Henderson tradition, Judge Broadnax gravely left the
bench, approached the man who had been under charge of assault, and
said: "Mr. Audubon, you committed a serious offense—an exceedingly
serious offense Sir—in failing to kill the d—— rascal."[229] "Thomas
Bakewell," added the naturalist, "who possessed more brains than I,
sold his town lots and removed to Cincinnati, where he has made a large
fortune, and I am glad of it.[230]

When the mill was finally closed and the company dissolved in 1819,
Audubon as usual was the heaviest loser. Arrested and sent to the
Louisville jail for debt, he was able to obtain release only by
declaring himself a bankrupt in court. "I paid all I could,"[231] he
said in his journal of the following year, "and left Henderson poor and
miserable in thought. My intention to go to France and see my mother
and sister was frustrated, and at last I resorted to my poor talents to
maintain you and your dear mother, who fortunately became easy at her
change of condition, and gave me a spirit such as I really needed, to
meet the surly looks and cold reception of those who so shortly before
were pleased to call me their friend." "I parted," to revert to his
later account, "with every particle of property I held, to my creditors,
keeping only the clothes I wore on that day, my original drawings, and
my gun." Without a dollar in his pocket he left Henderson and walked
to Louisville alone; "this," he said on reflection, "was the saddest of
all my journies, the only time in my life when the Wild Turkeys that so
often crossed my path, and the thousands of lesser birds that enlivened
the woods and the prairies, all looked like enemies, and I turned my
eyes from them, as if I could have wished that they never existed."

Passing down the Ohio in the following year Audubon made these entries
in his diary:

     _November 2nd, 1820._ Floated down slowly within two miles of
     Henderson. I can scarcely conceive that I stayed there eight
     years, and passed therein comfortably, for it is undoubtedly
     on the poorest spot in the country, according to my present

     _Nov. 3rd, 1820._ We left our harbor at daybreak, and passed
     Henderson about sunrise. I looked on the mill perhaps for the
     last time, and with thoughts that made my blood almost run
     cold bid it an eternal farewell.



     Death of Lieutenant Audubon—Contest over his will—Disposition
     of his estate—The fictitious $17,000—Unsettled claims of
     Formon and Ross—Illusions of biographers—Gabriel Loyen
     du Puigaudeau—Audubon's relations with the family in
     France broken—Death of the naturalist's stepmother—The du
     Puigaudeaus—Sources of "enigma."

Lieutenant Jean Audubon, as already recorded, died at Nantes in 1818, at
a time when his son's financial troubles in America were culminating,
and left an estate, then none too large, for the sole enjoyment of his
widow during her lifetime. The naturalist, so far as is known, never
received a penny in payment of bequests made by either his father or
stepmother, but the reasons for this fact were far different from those
which his biographers have assigned.

We have referred to the curious wording which appears in the six
different wills that were executed by Lieutenant Jean Audubon and Anne
Moynet, his wife, between the years 1812 and 1821.[232] The first four
of these documents[233] were of a mutual nature, and were so drawn that
the survivor should enjoy the entire property of the other during his or
her lifetime, but this eventually was to be divided between their two
children, or heirs of the latter should any exist. In Jean Audubon's
last will, made at Couëron on the 15th of March, 1816, he added the
provision that in case his "dispositions in favor of Jean Rabain and
Rose Bouffard, wife of Loyen du Puigaudeau, should be attacked and
annulled," he bequeathed his entire estate, without exception, to his
wife, Anne Moynet, for her sole use. His fears, as already intimated,
were well grounded, and his will was immediately contested by four
nieces, Mme. Lejeune de Vaugeon of Nantes, Mme. Jean Louis Lissabé,
whose husband was a pilot, and Anne and Domenica Audubon, seamstresses
at Bayonne.[234] This trial dragged on in the courts for a long time,
and served further to impoverish Madame Audubon, who was obliged to
dispose of most of her valuable effects, but it was finally settled
by a compromise in 1820. In that year, at the age of eighty-five, she
left "La Gerbetière" to live with her daughter and son-in-law at "Les
Tourterelles" close by, where she remained until her death on October
18, 1821.

It seems incredible that Audubon should not have heard of the death of
his foster mother, since he had been devotedly attached to her in his
youth and was moreover a beneficiary under her will. Yet on August 6,
1826, he wrote in his journal: "My plans now are to go to Manchester,
to Derbyshire to visit Lord Stanley, Birmingham, London for three weeks,
Edinburgh, back to London, and then to France, Paris, Nantes, to see my
venerable stepmother, Brussels, and return to England." On September 30
of the same year he wrote from Liverpool: "I long to enter my old garden
on the Loire and with rapid steps reach my mother,—yes, my mother! the
only one I truly remember; and no son ever had a better, nor more loving
one."[235] Again in 1828 he spoke of this estimable woman as if she were
then alive, although she had been dead seven years.

In Madame Audubon's last will, which was made in the July preceding
her death, she left her property to be equally divided between her
two adopted children, "Mr. Jean Audubon, called Jean Rabin, husband of
Lucy Bakewell, and who I believe is at present in the United States of
America, and to Rose Bouffard, wife of M. Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau,
my son-in-law, who is living at Couëron"; she also took care to guard
against the pretensions of any spurious heirs, and to make provision for
her grandchildren in case of the death of either or both of her heirs

Having given the precise, if somewhat prosaic, recorded facts of the
case, we will quote the story narrated by the naturalist's biographers,
who never could have seen the legal documents and who thus had only
hearsay and conjecture on which to build:

     At this juncture [of critical business affairs at Henderson],
     the father of Audubon died; but for some unfortunate cause
     he did not receive legal notice for more than a year. On
     becoming acquainted with the fact he traveled to Philadelphia
     to obtain funds, but was unsuccessful. His father had left
     him his property in France of La Gibitère [Gerbetière], and
     seventeen thousand dollars which had been deposited with a
     merchant in Richmond, Virginia. Audubon, however, took no
     steps to obtain possession of his estate in France, and in
     after years, when his sons had grown up, sent one of them to
     France, for the purpose of legally transferring the property
     to his own sister Rosa. The merchant who held possession of
     the seventeen thousand dollars would not deliver them up until
     Audubon proved himself to be the son of Commodore Audubon.
     Before this could be done the merchant died insolvent, and
     the legatee never recovered a dollar of his money.[236]



A key to the origin of the fictitious seventeen thousand dollars
is probably to be found in the letters of Jean Audubon to Francis
Dacosta, written in 1805,[237] where he refers to certain unsettled
business claims against his former partners, Messrs. Formon and Ross,
who had been respectively interested with him in two vessels, _Le
Comte d'Artois_ and the _Annette_, the history of which has already
been noticed.[238] They were also engaged at a later time in certain
iron-works above Richmond, Virginia, but with these Lieutenant Audubon
was not directly concerned. Formon, his partner in Santo Domingo trade,
who was charged with having drawn $1,650 in excess of his share, had
died without making any final settlement of their accounts; another
associate, Edward, had died in London leaving an unsettled claim of
$300; while David Ross, who was owing a certain sum, had also died
without liquidating his debt. The amount of the latter claim probably
was not large, since Dacosta was instructed to use this sum for his
needs in developing the mine at "Mill Grove" should he be so fortunate
as to collect it; "when you receive my papers from Miers Fisher," said
Lieutenant Audubon in his letter of the 22d of June, 1805, "you will
find a promissory note of Mr. Samuel Plaisance of Richmond, for the
business of the widow Ross. If there were justice there this sum should
be paid to me with the costs."

Lieutenant Audubon was never able to collect these different amounts,
which probably did not much exceed $2,000, but an echo of one of these
transactions appeared as late as 1819, when Audubon's brother-in-law
sent him a document referring to the claim on the Ross estate, in
the hope that some money might still be forthcoming, writing as

     In turning over some letters I have found a letter of Mr.
     David Rost [Ross], and a memorandum that I thought pointed to
     what was referred to in it. As I have sometimes heard it said
     that this Mr. David Rost owed a considerable sum, it should
     be possible that this letter, which is in English, might be
     of use to you. I cannot say anything about it, not knowing
     your language, and not having ventured to get it translated,
     from fear of compromising us, I am sending it to you, [and]
     you will judge of its importance. Should chance will that it
     bring you money, send me some of it, I beg you, for I am in
     great need of it.

The same biographer whom we have just quoted said in reference to "La
Gerbetière": "This estate was left by Commodore Audubon to his son John
James, who conveyed it to his sister without even visiting the domain
he so generously willed away." We have now seen what provisions were
actually made for the disposition of this property under the terms of
the various wills of Lieutenant Audubon and his wife. We need only add
that not long after his father's death, the naturalist lost touch with
his family in France; his one-half interest in his stepmother's estate,
which was heavily encumbered, was never claimed, and at a much later day
was informally relinquished in favor of his sister and her family.

During his Henderson period Audubon was in communication with his
brother-in-law, Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, who kept him informed in
regard to all that transpired in their French home; on July 26, 1817,
the naturalist had given him a power of attorney, the curious wording
of which has already been noticed.[240] Whether deterred by the legal
complications which soon followed, displeased by the mode of settlement,
or for what other cause now unknown to us, Audubon seems to have severed
all relations with his family at Couëron, or to have written to them
only after long lapses of silence. On New Year's Day, 1820, Gabriel du
Puigaudeau dispatched to him a friendly letter[241] of greeting:

     I take the opportunity at the renewal of the year, to offer
     you the good wishes of the entire family. Our every desire is
     that you, your beloved wife, and dear children may be happy,
     that you may prosper, that you may enjoy good health, and this
     is the wish of your nieces also. But, awaiting the pleasure
     of seeing you all, by what fatality during the past eighteen
     months have I not had any news of you, why no reply to at
     least twenty letters that I have written to you? Can I have
     been so unfortunate that some one has given you any report
     that would prejudice you against me? I do not believe that
     there could exist any one who would be able to do this, at
     least with truth; if some one has really sought to estrange
     your friendship for me, act with frankness, and tell me your
     suspicions. I do not believe it would be difficult to destroy
     them, and I even promise that I would offer you no reproach
     for having momentarily believed it, should this after all have
     occurred. For what concerns our business affairs, I refer you
     to my letters which have preceded this.

This letter was sent to Henderson, Kentucky, more than a year after the
naturalist had finally left that state; at the moment it was written he
was making his way down the Ohio River to New Orleans in a flatboat,
"the poorest man aboard," as he thought at the time. Writing in his
journal on December 26, 1820, when they had touched at Natchez, Audubon
said that on that day he had received letters from his wife, who was
then at Cincinnati, written on November 7 and 14, and that the last
"contained one from my brother, G. Loyen Dupuigaudeau, dated July 24,
1820." If the month in this instance was misnamed, this might have been
the following letter, which was written at Couëron on the twenty-fourth
of June, 1820, and sent to Henderson like the last.

     Two years have passed without our having any news of you. What
     a long lapse of time, and in what anxiety are we plunged!
     In God's name give us some news about yourself, if it be
     but a word to set us at rest in regard to your condition. I
     should not know how to persuade myself that you were not on
     friendly terms with me, since I have given you no cause [for
     grievance]; if it is so, be generous enough to relieve me
     from this anxiety. The business matters of Mr. Audubon are
     at last concluded, and I await only the return of the papers
     from Cayes to set them in order with justice [to all].[242]

     Profiting by an opportunity for New York, I have only time to
     refer to my letters of 15 September, 30 October, 19 December,
     1818, 1st February, 15 April, 15 May, 3d August, 1819, in all
     their contents.

     Madam Audubon is coming to live with us; she found herself
     isolated at "La Gerbetière," and was very dull there; I wish
     that she may be contented here. She does not cease to speak
     of you, and is as much astonished as I am that we receive no
     news of you.

The naturalist's elder son, Victor, visited Couëron about the year
1835, when his cousin, Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau the second, who was
nearly of the same age, returned from military service to meet him.
He was disappointed at the appearance of his father's old home, "La
Gerbetière," which had not been occupied by the family for fifteen

Rosa Audubon du Puigaudeau, the naturalist's sister, died at "Les
Tourterelles" after August 3, 1842, leaving a daughter, Rose du
Puigaudeau, who died without issue, October 20, 1881, and, if we are
correctly informed, one son, Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau the second,
who died at "Les Tourterelles," Couëron, June 23, 1892, when past his
eightieth year; a daughter of this only son was married to Monsieur
L. Lavigne, notary at Couëron. At the time of her uncle's death, his
property, including the personal records of Lieutenant Jean Audubon,
passed into the hands of Madame Lavigne, who is a grand step-niece of
the naturalist, and who aside from her children, so far as known, is
the only surviving member of his family in France.

At this point we must examine a little more carefully the peculiar
status of what Audubon referred to as the "enigma" of his life. In some
of his private journals and letters[244] he dramatically declared that
a mystery had surrounded his early existence, which he was bound by a
solemn oath exacted by his father never to reveal, and that this secret
must be carried by him to the grave. If it be the duty of a biographer
to make the true character of his subject known, the passage of time
would now seem to sanction reference to many personal matters which a
century ago should have been more rigidly guarded. I enter upon this
task solely with the view of placing Audubon's character in a truer and
fairer light.

The essential facts regarding Audubon's birth and early years have now
been given, and this is the true, though possibly not the complete,
story. Anything which we now add, however, can be regarded as little
better than speculation. Audubon is said to have received through his
father a large sum of money from an unknown or unnamed source,[245]
but as such stories are apt to be exaggerated, especially when an
ocean intervenes between a testator and his heir, the statement may be
erroneous; we have seen that Lieutenant Audubon was not in a position
to make such gifts himself had he been so disposed. If the report were
true, the money may have come from the estate of his mother, and through
the agency of the mysterious "Audubon of La Rochelle," who is said to
have been a politician.[246] In some of the passages which we do not
quote, the naturalist would have his family believe that he was of noble
birth, that his adoptive father was not his true father, and that both
he and Lieutenant Audubon had received irremediable injury through the
treachery of the mysterious uncle, "Audubon of La Rochelle." Now these
strange statements of the naturalist, though not in accord with the
facts as they are known to us, should be interpreted, I believe, in the
light of possible stories that may have come to him in the glamour of
his youth; his mind may have been diverted by them, he may have believed
them, but of this nothing now can positively be known. To continue
our conjectures, it is possible that the plain conflict between these
supposititious tales and the facts that were revealed at his adoption,
his baptism, and in the wills of his father and stepmother, as well
as by the lawsuit which followed the former's death, all led him to
resort to "enigma." We should also remember that the naturalist, who
was careless of dates and historical facts, had finally left his home
at the age of twenty, when young men as a rule are not curious about
their family history, and that he reached the reminiscent stage late
in life. It seems probable that the wording of his father's will and
the later attempt to annul it finally induced him to wash his hands
of the whole matter, even to breaking off relations with his family in
France. Feeling, as undoubtedly he did, that public knowledge of those
conditions, for which he was in no way responsible, might be a bar to
all future aspirations, he was not loath to let the matter rest, so far
as he and his immediate family were concerned, under a cloak of mystery.
If such were in truth the case, I think few would find cause to blame

When we view the whole subject in this double light, of a duty owed to
his family and of the possibility that conflicting stories had come to
him at an earlier day, any embroidery or confusion which appears in many
of his statements of a personal nature can be better understood. Such
an explanation would be quite convincing if payments had actually come
to him from his own mother's estate.

We will only add that Mrs. Audubon, who seemed to have shared her
husband's intimate thoughts, apparently believed to the last in his high
birth. When her younger son, John Woodhouse Audubon, lay at the point of
death, in February, 1862, she was summoned to his bedside, but reached
it too late to see him alive; upon entering the room Mrs. Audubon is
said to have exclaimed: "Oh, my son, my son! to think that you should
have died without having known the secret of your father's early life!"
When asked by members of her family to what she then referred, she
turned their questions aside, saying only that such remarks were common
in moments of intense grief and excitement.



     Methods of composition—"A Wild Horse"—Henderson to
     Philadelphia in 1811—Records of Audubon and Nolte, fellow
     travelers, compared—The great earthquakes—The hurricane—The
     outlaw—Characterization of Daniel Boone—Desperate plight on
     the prairie—Regulator law in action—Frontier necessities—The
     ax married to the grindstone.

Audubon's sketches of life and scenery in America, which he designated
as "Episodes," were interspersed in his _Biography_ of birds[247] to
brighten the narrative and beguile the reader. Extending to the number
of sixty, and dealing mainly with events between the years 1808 and
1834, they abound in tales of adventure and graphic pictures of pioneer
life which for their personal charm, local coloring, and human interest
are worthy of high praise. Some of these sketches have been copied
widely and some have been translated into Audubon's native tongue; some
have even found their way into schoolbooks. While they have deservedly
won the naturalist many readers, not a few have subjected him to harsh
criticism on the score of too vivid coloring or historical inaccuracy,
a fault to which he was particularly prone. Whenever Audubon went
directly to nature to exercise his pencil or brush or wrote with his
subject before him, he was truth itself, but in writing offhand and
from memory of past events he was wont to humor his fancy, disregarding
dates as readily as he did the accents on French words. This tendency is
particularly apparent in the accounts of some of his early adventures
in the western country, such as "Louisville in Kentucky" (1808-10),
"The Prairie" (1812), "A Wild Horse" (1811-13), and "The Eccentric
Naturalist" (1818), the history of which is detailed in the following
chapter. We shall examine some of these stories at this point, though
their composition belongs to a later period, in order to reach a
just conclusion in regard to the author's method, as well as for the
intrinsic interest of the narratives themselves.

During Audubon's early life in Kentucky, as we have seen, he frequently
visited the East, whether in the interest of birds or business,
traveling by way of the river and the forest roads. Incidents of these
journeys frequently occur in the "Episodes," but since dates commonly
are omitted and the order of events is liable to be blended or confused,
they cannot be trusted always for historical accuracy. Thus, "The Wild
Horse" episode[248] professes to be an account of a single journey from
Henderson, in Kentucky, to Philadelphia and back again, whereas some of
the events recorded occurred in reality at least two years apart, such
as the meeting with Nolte at the Falls of the Juniata River in December,
1811, and the naturalist's return from Pennsylvania with the proceeds
of "Mill Grove," which could not have been earlier than 1813, the date
of its sale to Mr. Samuel Wetherill, Junior.[249]

Audubon visited Philadelphia in November, 1811, and returned to Kentucky
in December of that year, but whether it was upon this or some other
journey that he rode a wild horse through seven states in going from
his home at Henderson to the Quaker city, or whether such a journey
ever occurred, is immaterial to the interest of the narrative. In this
instance, however, we have the advantage of comparing the notes of a
fellow traveler, Vincent Nolte, then a merchant at New Orleans.[250]
First to follow Audubon's account, as given in his "Episode," we are
told that he rode a wild mustang, named "Barro," that had never known a
shoe, having been recently captured near the headwaters of the Arkansas.
In going east he diverged from the beaten track to extend his knowledge
of the country and of its bird life. From Henderson he passed through
the heart of Tennessee to Knoxville, thence to Abington, the Natural
Bridge, and Winchester in Virginia, crossed the corner of West Virginia
to Harper's Ferry, then to Frederick, Maryland, and on through Lancaster
to Philadelphia; there, he said, he remained four days, and returned
by way of Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Zanesville, Chillicothe, Lexington and
Louisville, to Henderson. He estimated the whole distance traversed at
"nearly two thousand miles," and at a rate of "not less than forty miles
a day." Much is said in praise of his favorite bay horse, and its food
and daily treatment are duly recorded. This horse was very docile, and
would wade swamps, swim rivers, and clear a rail fence like an elk; corn
blades as well as corn and oats entered into his daily ration, to which
a pumpkin and fresh eggs, when procurable, were occasionally added.

It was upon his return journey that the naturalist met with Vincent
Nolte, who twelve years later did his chance acquaintance a good turn,
when the latter was about to sail for England in 1826.[251] Nolte, said

     was mounted on a superb horse, for which he had paid three
     hundred dollars, and a servant on horseback led another as
     a change. I was then an utter stranger to him, and when I
     approached and praised his horse, he not very courteously
     observed that he wished I had as good a one. Finding that he
     was going to Bedford to spend the night, I asked him what
     hour he would get there: "Just soon enough to have some
     trouts ready for our supper, provided you will join when
     you get there." I almost imagined that Barro understood our
     conversation; he pricked up his ears, and lengthened his pace,
     on which Mr. Nolte caracolled his horse, and then put him to
     quick trot, but all in vain; for I reached the hotel nearly a
     quarter of an hour before him, ordered the trouts, saw to the
     putting away of my good horse, and stood ready at the door to
     welcome my companion. From that day to this Vincent Nolte has
     been a friend to me.

Audubon added that they rode together as far as Shippingport, now a part
of Louisville, where his brother-in-law, Nicholas Berthoud, was then

We shall now follow the equally circumstantial but widely divergent
account of this meeting and the subsequent journey as given by the
other traveler. Nolte had sailed from Liverpool in September, 1811,
and landed in New York after a perilous voyage of forty-eight days. He
had no servant, but was accompanied by a young Englishman, named Edward
Hollander, whom he had engaged in a business capacity while in London
and with whom he was making his way to New Orleans. Hollander had been
sent in advance to Pittsburgh to purchase two flatboats, for in addition
to their horses they had planned to carry 400 barrels of flour, from
the sale of which in the South they expected to defray the expenses of
their journey. Having purchased a fine horse in Philadelphia, Nolte
left that city in December, and with saddle-bags strapped to his
horse's back, rode on "entirely alone." He crossed the highest point
of the Alleghany ridge at ten o'clock of a winter's morning and later
in the same day reached a small inn "close by the Falls of the Juniata
River." "The landlady," to quote his narrative, "showed me into a
room, and said, I perhaps would not mind taking my meal with a strange
gentleman, who was already there." This stranger, who immediately struck
him as "an odd fish," "was sitting at a table, before the fire, with
a Madras handkerchief wound around his head, exactly in the style of
the French mariners, or laborers, in a seaport town." In the course
of the conversation which then ensued he declared that he was an
Englishman, but Nolte was the last person to be deceived on a question
of nationality and remarked at once that his speech betrayed him. "He
showed himself," to quote our senior traveler again, "to be an original
throughout, but at last admitted that he was a Frenchman by birth, and
a native of La Rochelle. However, he had come in his early youth to
Louisiana, had grown up in the sea-service, and had gradually become
a thorough American." When asked how this account squared with his
earlier statement, said Nolte, "he found it convenient to reply in the
French language: 'when all is said and done, I am somewhat cosmopolitan;
I belong to every country.' This man," to conclude, "who afterwards
won for himself so great a name in natural history, particularly in
ornithology, was Audubon, who, however, was by no means thinking, at
that time, of occupying himself with natural history."

In the interview as thus far recorded, Audubon was clearly chaffing
his new acquaintance, for not one of the statements attributed to him
was true, if we accept the fact of his French extraction. Nolte, to be
sure, writes as a somewhat vain and garrulous man, and after a lapse of
forty-three years, but he professes to speak the truth and there is no
reason to suppose that his narrative is pure invention. Nolte further
informs us that Audubon's father-in-law, Mr. Bakewell, "formerly of
Philadelphia," was "then residing and owning mills at Shippingport,"
which was not the case. To continue, finding that Audubon, who was
bound for Kentucky, was a companionable man and devoted to art, a field
which he had cultivated himself, Nolte proposed that they should travel
together, and offered the naturalist a berth on one of his flatboats.

     He thankfully accepted the invitation, and we left Pittsburgh
     in very cold weather, with the Monongahela and Ohio rivers
     full of drifting ice, in the beginning of January, 1812.
     I learned nothing further of his traveling plans until we
     reached Limestone, a little place in the southwestern corner
     of the State of Ohio.[252] There we had both our horses taken
     ashore, and I resolved to go with him overland, at first to
     visit the capital, Lexington, and from there to Louisville,
     where he expected to find his wife and parents-in-law.... We
     had hardly finished our breakfast at Limestone, when Audubon,
     all at once, sprang to his feet, and exclaimed in French;
     "Now I am going to lay the foundation of my establishment."
     So saying, he took a small packet of address cards from his
     pocket, and some nails from his vest, and began to nail up one
     of the cards to the door of the tavern, where we were taking
     our meal.

Later they rode on together as far as Lexington, where they appear to
have parted company.

The discrepancies between these accounts could hardly be greater, and
they serve to illustrate the liberties which Audubon sometimes took with
facts in composing his "Episodes." The travelers met, not on horseback,
but at the supper table of a country inn; Nolte was then alone and
had but one horse, while the greater part of the return journey was
made by flatboat with Audubon as his guest; corn blades, pumpkins and
trout suggest any other season than midwinter, with heavy snows on the
mountains and rivers choked with ice. Audubon in this instance, as
already explained, combined the incidents of two different journeys
and colored the narrative to suit his fancy. There was no apparent
motive to mislead the reader, and one of his readers he must have known
would probably be Vincent Nolte, though he was not a subscriber to _The
Birds of America_; Nolte did read the story, and was pleased with the
"flattering acknowledgment of the little service" that he was able to
render Audubon at that time as well as later in his career.

Both travelers felt the great earthquakes while making this journey, but
probably not until they had parted company at Lexington. Audubon has
given a vivid account of this experience in a characteristic sketch,
but as usual there are no dates.[253] He was overtaken, as he said,
while "traveling through the Barrens of Kentucky ... in the month of
November," when he thought his terrified "horse was about to die, and
would have sprung from his back had a minute more elapsed, but at that
instant all the shrubs and trees began to move from their very roots;
the ground rose and fell in successive furrows, like the ruffled waters
of a lake." For "November" he should have written "January" of the year

This series of memorable earthquakes was followed in 1813 by a
hurricane, more terrific than destructive, which swept the lower part
of Henderson County, Kentucky, and cut a wide swath through the virgin
forests, without causing any loss of life. Audubon's account of this
event[255] is that of a close observer who escaped destruction by a
hair's breadth and who related only what he himself had experienced.
Critics inclined to be supercilious have complained that he exaggerated
the importance of a merely local event and stretched the course of the
storm some 800 miles until it had covered several states. "Sir," said
Waterton, in pointing a dart through Audubon to another target, "this
is really too much even for us Englishmen to swallow, whose gullets
are known to be the largest, the widest, and the most elastic, of any
in the world." What Audubon said was: "I have crossed the path of this
storm, at a distance of a hundred miles from the spot where I witnessed
its fury, and, again four hundred miles farther off, in the State of
Ohio. Lastly, I observed traces of its ravages on the summits of the
mountains connected with the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, three
hundred miles beyond the place last mentioned. In all these different
parts, it appeared to me not to have exceeded a quarter of a mile in
breadth." Audubon was doubtless mistaken in his hasty inference that
marks of forest devastation observed at such widely separated points
were due to the same storm, but this would only illustrate a lack of
caution which he sometimes displayed.

A contemporary writer[256] declared that Audubon's account of "Mason,"
the outlaw, whose name we are told should be spelled "Meason," was
altogether fabulous; that he was not killed by a regulator party,
nor was his head stuck upon a tree in the way described.[257] The
same critic further discredited the naturalist's account of Daniel
Boone, whom he had characterized as follows:[258] "The stature and
general appearance of this wanderer of the western forests approached
the gigantic. His chest was broad and prominent; his muscular powers
displayed themselves in every limb; his countenance gave indication of
his great courage, enterprise, and perseverance." "Boone," said this
writer, "was under six feet high, probably not more than five feet,
ten inches, and of that round, compact build, which makes little show.
Though very active, he had the appearance of being rather slender and
did not seem as large as he really was." In the case of the outlaw,
Audubon no doubt retold a story that had passed from mouth to mouth, but
he later learned to be wary of second-hand information, which in matters
of natural history sometimes led him into more serious difficulties. In
his description of Boone there was no more apparent motive to deceive
than in the case of his own father, to whom his imagination had added
nearly half a foot in stature.[259]

When Audubon was returning from Ste. Geneviève in the spring of 1812,
an incident occurred in which, for the first time in the course of his
wanderings for upwards of twenty-five years, he felt his life to be
in danger from his fellow man.[260] Overtaken by night on the prairie,
he approached the hearth fire of a small log cabin, which at first was
mistaken for the campfire of some wandering Indians. On craving shelter,
he was admitted by a tall, surly woman in coarse attire, who displayed
both an evil eye and a repellent countenance; but she offered him a
supper of venison and jerked buffalo meat and bade him to make his bed
upon the floor. When she espied his gold watch and chain, her demeanor
suddenly changed and she asked to take them in her hand; she put the
chain around her brawny neck and by her manner betrayed every token
of covetous desire. Meanwhile, a young Indian stoic, who was nursing a
recent arrow wound, had been sitting in silence by the fire; though he
spoke not a word, he cast an expressive glance in Audubon's direction
whenever the woman's back was turned, and having drawn his knife from
its scabbard, expressed in pantomime what the confiding stranger might
eventually expect.

Audubon's suspicions were at last thoroughly aroused. He asked for his
watch, and under pretense of forecasting the weather, took up his gun
and sauntered out of the cabin; in the darkness outside he slipped
a ball in each of the barrels of his gun, scraped the edges of his
flints, renewed the primings, and returned with a favorable report
of his observations. Then laying some deer skins on the floor in a
corner and calling his faithful dog to his side, he lay down and to all
appearances was soon asleep. Presently sounds of approaching voices were
heard, and at length two sturdy youths, who were evidently the woman's
sons, appeared bearing a dead stag, which they had slung to a pole;
they asked at once about the stranger, and called loudly for whisky.
Audubon tapped his dog, who showed by eye and tail that he was already
alert. Observing that the whisky bottle was paying frequent visits to
the mouths of the trio, he hoped that they would soon be reduced to a
state of helplessness, but the woman was seen to take in her hands a
large carving knife and go deliberately outside to whet its edge on
a grindstone; then, calling to her drunken sons, she asked them to
settle the stranger and bade them do their bloody work without delay.
Audubon cocked both barrels of his gun, touched his dog again, and was
resolved to shoot at the first suspicious move. At this dramatic moment
the door suddenly opened and two burly travelers with rifles on their
shoulders entered the cabin. Audubon sprang to his feet, and welcoming
the strangers with open arms, lost no time in making known to them his
desperate position. No parley was necessary, for, said he, they were
regulators, who then and there took the law into their own hands. The
woman and her sons were promptly secured, bound, and left until morning
to sober off; they were then led into the woods and shot. "We marched
them into the woods off the road," said Audubon, "and having used
them as Regulators were wont to use such delinquents, we set fire to
the cabin, gave all the skins and implements to the young Indian, and
proceeded, well pleased, towards the settlements." Would you believe, he
added, that not many miles from where this happened, "and where fifteen
years ago, no habitation belonging to civilized man was expected,
and very few ever seen, large roads are now laid out, cultivation has
converted the woods into fertile fields; taverns have been erected, and
much of what we Americans call comfort is to be met with? So fast does
improvement proceed in our abundant and free country."

I have given a paraphrase of this "Episode" as a further illustration
of Audubon's tales of adventure. There is doubtless a certain amount
of invention, and it reads like the setting of a dime novel incident,
but we see no reason to doubt the substantial truth of either the
local coloring or the fact. In answer to the question of a recent
commentator,[261] "Did remote prairie cabins have grindstones and
carving knives?" we would reply that the knife and the ax have followed
man to the frontier posts of civilization everywhere, and without the
grindstone the ax is useless. As a concrete instance in point, compare
this minute entered in the Proprietors' Book of Records of Perrytown,
afterwards Sutton, New Hampshire,[262] for the third day of September,
1770: "Voted a grindstone of about 8 shillings to be sent up to
Perrystown, for the use of the settlers there"; the first settler had
entered that wilderness but three years before, and at the time this
vote was taken the number was five.



     The "Eccentric Naturalist" at Henderson—Bats and new
     species—The demolished violin—"M. de T.": Constantine
     Samuel Rafinesque (Schmaltz)—His precocity, linguistic
     acquirements and peripatetic habits—First visit to America
     and botanical studies—Residence in Sicily, and fortune
     made in the drug trade—Association with Swainson—Marriage
     and embitterment—His second journey to America ends in
     shipwreck—Befriended—Descends the Ohio in a flatboat—Visit
     with Audubon, who gives him many strange "new species"—Cost
     to zoology—His unique work on Ohio fishes—Professorship
     in Transylvania University—Quarrel with its president and
     trustees—Return to Philadelphia—His ardent love of nature;
     his writings and fatal versatility—His singular will—His sad
     end and the ruthless disposition of his estate.

Audubon's humorous sketch of "The Eccentric Naturalist" has often been
quoted, and it presents a picture which is amusing, however short of
the truth it may fall or however it may fail in doing justice to its
subject. Though his real hero is not named, no doubt as to his identity
has ever been entertained. This episode occurred at Henderson in the
late summer of 1818, and was published thirteen years after in the
_Biography_ of birds.[263] Since the story was not fully told then and
the after-effects were productive of much harsh criticism, it cannot be
overlooked if we would do justice to both the writer and his subject.

When walking one day by the river, to follow Audubon's story, he saw
a man landing from a boat with what appeared like a bundle of dried
clover on his back; he concluded from his appearance that the stranger
must be "an original," a term which had been applied also to himself. A
meeting followed, and the stranger, who had inquired for Mr. Audubon's
house, explained that he was a naturalist, and had come to see Audubon's
drawings of birds and plants; he bore also a letter from a friend,
introducing "an odd fish" which might "prove to be undescribed." The
visitor was made welcome in Audubon's Henderson home, where, to quote
the naturalist,

     at table his agreeable conversation made us all forget his
     singular appearance.... A long loose coat of yellow nankeen,
     much the worse of the many rubs it had got in its time,
     and stained all over with the juice of plants, hung loosely
     about him like a sac. A waistcoat of the same, with enormous
     pockets, and buttoned up to the chin, reached below over
     a pair of tight pantaloons, the lower parts of which were
     buttoned down to the ankles. His beard was as long as I have
     known mine to be during some of my peregrinations, and his
     lank black hair hung loosely over his shoulders. His forehead
     was so broad and prominent that any tyro in phrenology would
     instantly have pronounced it to be the residence of a mind
     of strong powers. His words impressed an assurance of rigid
     truth, and as he directed the conversation to the study of
     the natural sciences, I listened to him with as much delight
     as Telemachus could have listened to Mentor.

All had retired for the night when of a sudden a great uproar was heard
in the visitor's room. To his great astonishment, Audubon found his
guest running about the apartment naked, holding the "handle" of his
host's favorite violin, the body of which had been battered to pieces
against the walls in the attempt to secure a number of fluttering bats
which had entered by an open window. "I stood amazed," said Audubon,
"but he continued jumping and running round and round, until he was
fairly exhausted, when he begged me to procure one of the animals for
him, as he felt convinced they belonged to 'a new species.' Although
I was convinced to the contrary, I took up the bow of my demolished
Cremona, and administering a sharp tap to each of the bats as it came
up, soon had specimens enough." Other incidents of this visit, which
Audubon said lasted three weeks, are fully recorded. The eccentric
naturalist collected an abundance of plants, shells, bats and fishes.
One evening he failed to appear, and after a prolonged search was
nowhere to be found; nor were the Audubons wholly assured of his safety
until some weeks later they received a letter with due acknowledgments
of their hospitality.

The "M. de T." of this episode was Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, in
many respects the most singular figure that has ever appeared in the
annals of American science. Although young in years, for Rafinesque was
then but thirty-five, he was already old in experience and that of the
bitterest sort; and although already known to many in both hemispheres,
he had few friends. It is certain that neither Audubon nor anyone else
in that part of Kentucky had ever heard of him before.

Born in Constantinople, of a father who was a French merchant from
Marseilles and of a mother with a German name who by nativity was Greek,
Rafinesque had known life in many lands, and was destined, as he said,
to be a traveler from the cradle to the tomb.[264] His first voyage,
made with his parents on their return to France, by way of Scutari
in Asia, Smyrna, and Malta, led to his first discovery, when he was a
year old, for he was able to announce that "infants are not subject to
sea-sickness." At eleven he read Latin and collected plants; at thirteen
he wrote his first scientific paper, "Notes on the Apennines," which he
had seen when traveling from Leghorn to Genoa. His father, who set out
for China in 1791, fell in with pirates, but managed to reach America;
he died of the yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793. To escape the
Reign of Terror in France, Rafinesque's mother fled with her children
to Italy, where four years were passed at Leghorn. There Constantine
studied with private tutors, but his education was never formal and he
was allowed to follow his omnivorous tastes, reading, as he said, ten
times more than was taught in the schools. His writings are mainly in
French, Italian, and English, and his facility with languages was no
doubt remarkable, even if we discount his egotized estimate of his own
attainments: "I have undertaken to read the Latin and Greek, as well as
the Hebrew, Sanskrit, Chinese, and fifty other languages, as I felt the
need or inclination to study them."

In 1802 Rafinesque was sent with his brother to America and became a
shipper's, clerk at Philadelphia, where he spent all of his spare time
in the study of nature, plants being his first and greatest love. Here
he was befriended by Dr. Benjamin Rush, and during this period he made
the acquaintance of many pioneer naturalists in the United States.
In 1805 the offer of a lucrative situation in Sicily lured him back
to the Old World and to a country already known to him. There he soon
discovered the medicinal squill, of ancient repute and thought to be
an antidote, which in the form of syrup was long the bane of childhood;
this and other medicinal drugs he exported to the European and American
markets in such quantities that before the secret of his trade became
known to the jealous Sicilians, he had reaped from it, in conjunction
with his other enterprises, a small fortune. During the ten years that
were spent in Sicily we find him the manager of a successful whisky
distillery, the chancellor or secretary of the American Consulate
at Palermo, editor, writer, and correspondent of learned men in
Europe, as well as traveler and explorer in every part of the island,
which he proposed to monograph with all of its contents. At Palermo
Rafinesque met the English naturalist, William Swainson, his lifelong
correspondent; together they tramped over the island and together they
worked for a number of years on the fishes of the western coast.[265]
Swainson, who became the friend of Audubon, was one of the few who later
defended Rafinesque.

Rafinesque espoused a Sicilian woman of the Catholic faith, and had by
her two children, of whom a daughter lived to maturity; this experience
seems to have embittered him against the sex, for no other woman
excepting his mother, to whom his _Life of Travels_ was dedicated, was
ever mentioned in his writings, and this one was disinherited in his
extraordinary will. Through fear of being drafted into the French wars,
he assumed for a time his mother's family name of Schmaltz, and finally
left Sicily in disgust; taking with him his fortune and "fifty boxes
of personal goods," he set out again for America in 1815. Sicily, he
declared in epigram, offered "a fruitful soil, a delightful climate,
excellent productions, perfidious men, deceitful women."

This second voyage to the New World began late in July but did not end
until 100 days later, when, on the night of November 2, his ship ran on
the Race Rocks near New London, at the western end of Long Island Sound,
and eventually went down within sight of land with all his possessions.
"I had lost everything," he said, "my fortune, my share of the cargo, my
collections and labors for twenty years past, my books, my manuscripts,
my drawings, even my clothes ... all that I possessed, except some
scattered funds, and the insurance ordered in England for one third of
the value of my goods." "I have found men," he continued, "vile enough
to laugh without shame at my misfortune, instead of condoling with me!
But I have met also with friends who deplored my loss, and helped me in
need." One of these friends was Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell of New York, who
had given a helping hand to Audubon,[266] and it was probably through
him that Rafinesque obtained a position as private tutor in a family
living on the Hudson. Traveling up and down the country, collecting
objects in natural history, writing, with frustrated attempts at
business, occupied a number of the following years; meanwhile he had
aided in founding the Lyceum of New York and had become a member of the
Literary and Philosophical Society. At Philadelphia he found another
friend in Mr. John O. Clifford, of Lexington, Kentucky, who encouraged
him to visit the West, and in the spring of 1818 he descended the Ohio
in an "ark" in company with several others who had joined him in the
enterprise. At Shippingport he was welcomed by the Tarascon brothers,
flour merchants, formerly of Marseilles and Philadelphia, and it was
through them, possibly, that he first heard of Audubon's drawings of

Such was the "odd fish" who a little later greeted Audubon on the river
bank at Henderson. Had Audubon known the true history of his visitor
either then or at a later time, he would not, we believe, have held
him up to ridicule in the "Episode" quoted above, and could he have
foreseen the unpleasant consequences that ensued, his conduct would
assuredly have been different. A part of the episode, which Audubon
does not relate, was supplied by another naturalist at a much later
day.[267] Audubon, it seems, was at that time a good deal of a wag,
and whether to vent his dislike of species-mongers, to avenge the
loss of his violin, or to gratify some spirit of mischief, he played
upon the credulity of his guest, in a way that could be deemed hardly
creditable, in giving him detailed descriptions and even supplying him
with drawings of sundry impossible fishes and mollusks. Rafinesque took
the bait eagerly, duly noted down everything on the spot, and, what was
more unfortunate for American zoölogy, a year later began to publish
the results. The fictitious species of fish, to the number of ten,
"communicated by Mr. Audubon," first appeared as a series of articles
in a short-lived and long forgotten western magazine,[268] but in 1820
they were gathered into a little volume [269] now considered so quaint
and rare that it has been reproduced in its entirety. In this pioneer
work on the ichthyology of the Ohio River and the great Middle West,
111 kinds of American fresh-water fishes are briefly described. Those
ten "new species," representing apparently a number of new genera, "so
like and yet so unlike to anything yet known," long remained a stumbling
block to American zoölogists; naturally they tended to discredit the
work of Rafinesque.


     Published by courtesy of Mr. Joseph Y. Jeanes.]

As a specimen of these spurious fish stories, which were previously
published in both America and Europe, we reproduce a part of
Rafinesque's description of the "91st. Species. Devil-Jack Diamond-fish.
Litholepis adamantinus":

     This may be reckoned the wonder of the Ohio. It is only
     found as far up as the falls, and probably lives also in the
     Mississippi. I have seen it, but only at a distance, and have
     been shown some of its singular scales. Wonderful stories are
     related concerning this fish, but I have principally relied
     upon the description and figure given me by Mr. Audubon. Its
     length is from 4 to 10 feet. One was caught which weighed
     four hundred pounds. It lies sometimes asleep or motionless
     on the surface of the water, and may be mistaken for a log
     or a snag. It is impossible to take it in any other way than
     with the seine or a very strong hook, the prongs of the gig
     cannot pierce the scales which are as hard as flint, and even
     proof against lead balls! Its flesh is not good to eat. It is
     a voracious fish: Its vulgar names are Diamond fish, (owing
     to its scales being cut like diamonds) Devil fish, Jack fish,
     Garjack, &c.... The whole body covered with large stone scales
     laying in oblique rows, they are conical, pentagonal, and
     pentædral with equal sides, from half an inch to one inch in
     diameter, brown at first, but becoming of the colour of turtle
     shell when dry: they strike fire with steel! and are ball

While we cannot defend Audubon in his treatment of Rafinesque, it
would be hardly fair to judge such incidents wholly in the light of
after events, for, as our narrative will show, it is unlikely that
he ever saw Rafinesque or heard of him again until long years after
this incident, certainly not until after his "Episode" was published
in 1831.[270] Rafinesque evidently enjoyed this sketch of himself,
for he gave unstinted praise to the work in which it was published.
As late as 1832, when the appearance of _The Birds of America_ seems
to have stimulated him to even more grandiose conceptions of his own
merits than was usual, he declared that his discoveries were counted by
the thousand, and that he had traveled twenty thousand miles, always
collecting and drawing. In view of the fact that drawing was a talent
which nature had unequivocally denied him, it is interesting to read
this boast that an unfriendly critic drew forth: "My illustrations of
30 years' travels, with 2,000 figures will soon begin to be published,
and be superior to those of my friend Audubon, in extent and variety,
if not equal in beauty. I shall study and write as long as I live, in
spite of all such mean attempts against my reputation and exertions,
trusting in the justice of liberal men."[271]

After leaving Audubon at Henderson in the summer of 1818, Rafinesque
passed down the Ohio into the Mississippi, pausing only to pay his
respects at the famous communistic settlement of New Harmony, by
the mouth of the Wabash in Indiana, then the abode of Thomas Say,
David Dale Owen, and Charles Le Sueur, all of whom have left bright
and honored names in the annals of American science. He eventually
returned to Philadelphia by way of Lexington, Kentucky, where he was
induced to settle and teach natural history and the modern languages
in the Transylvania University, at that time the most important seat
of learning in the West. After closing up his business affairs in
Philadelphia, Rafinesque entered upon his new labors at Lexington in
the autumn of 1819. He was probably the first teacher of these subjects
west of the Alleghanies, and certainly the first in that section of
the country to use the present object method in the elucidation of
natural history. The lot of a pioneer in education has never been a
sinecure, and the post which Rafinesque then filled was not a "chair"
but a hard "settee." In those days the classics were in the saddle and
"rode mankind," while the natural sciences, when tolerated at all, were
given short shrift; yet this eccentric foreigner held his position for
seven years and accomplished an extraordinary amount of work. As usual
he spread his energies over the whole field of knowledge, lecturing,
writing and publishing on almost every subject, but concentrating upon
none. Meanwhile, he roamed far and wide and made extensive collections.

While at the Transylvania University Rafinesque seems to have applied
for the master of arts' degree, but was at first refused, as he said,
"because I had not studied Greek in a college, although I knew more
languages than all of the American colleges united, but it was granted
at last; but the Doctor of medicine was not granted, because I would
not superintend anatomical dissections."

One of his many projects, as meritorious as it was impractical, at that
time, was a Botanic Garden with a Library and Museum for Lexington,
which was then but a small village; though land was actually secured and
a start in tree planting begun, the project of course came to nothing
and had to be abandoned. Rafinesque also invented, as he believed, the
present coupon system of issuing bonds, the "Divitial Invention," as
he called it; in 1825 he set out for Washington in order to secure his
patent rights, but his journey and idea never brought him any returns.
On the contrary, the incident marked the culmination of his troubles
with the president of the University and its governing board, whom he
seems to have constantly nettled by his independent ways and roaming
habits. Upon returning from Washington he found that Dr. Holley, who,
he said, "hated and despised the natural sciences" and wished to drive
him out altogether, had broken into his rooms during his absence, and
had "given one to the students, and thrown all my effects, books and
collections in a heap in the other," besides depriving him of certain
other privileges. "I took lodgings," he continued, "in town and carried
there all my effects; thus leaving the college with curses on it and
Holley; who were both reached by them soon after, since he died next
year at sea of the yellow fever, caught at New Orleans; having been
driven from Lexington by public opinion; and the College has been burnt
in 1828 with all its contents."

After this unpleasant experience Rafinesque returned to Philadelphia,
where he spent the last and saddest part of his checkered career. His
insistent ideas, which were undoubtedly the index of an unbalanced
mind, increased, especially his mania for describing "new species"
of animals and plants; this mania perverted everything that he wrote,
especially toward the end of his life, and made him a thorn in the side
of every naturalist who tried to verify his work. A non-conformist and
a respecter of no authority but his own is never popular, though a part
of the antagonism which Rafinesque aroused was due to the conservatism
of his age. He boldly advocated organic evolution when almost the whole
world believed that species were fixed and unchangeable things, and in
many other respects was fifty years ahead of his time; but nothing was
ever carefully worked out in his fertile mind, with the consequence that
the world paid no heed to his crude and undigested ideas.

The great mass of Rafinesque's books and monographs, his "tracts,"
broadsides, and ephemeral papers of all sorts, extending to nearly
a thousand titles, must have gone into paper rags, when not used to
kindle fires, for he was generous in their distribution, and they are
now exceedingly rare. He touched nearly everything, it is true, but
little that he touched, especially in this later period of his life,
did he ever truly ornament. His best pioneer work, in the opinion of
competent students, was that done upon the fishes of Sicily and the
natural history of the Ohio Valley; his _Medical Flora_, in two volumes
(1828 and 1830), is also admitted to have possessed real value; but his
writings are now sought after as literary or scientific curiosities,
and as such they are unique.

No doubt Rafinesque was often treated unjustly, either through ignorance
or intent, while many naturalists were exasperated by the barbed arrows
which he shot into the air or direct at the mark. Others through sheer
inability to follow him gave up the attempt, one writer[272] saying
that such an attitude was justified when it appeared that he had made
six species out of one, not to speak of several different genera and
two sub-families. If anyone still believes that Rafinesque has been
misjudged, says Günther,[273] let him read his letters to Swainson,
from 1809 to 1840, fifty-three in number, covering 178 closely written
quarto or folio pages, now in possession of the Linnæan Society of
London. "Rafinesque," continues this critic, "was a man deeply to be
commiserated, not merely on account of the unfortunate circumstances
which left him in his youth to himself, without teacher or guide, but
still more on the ground of that natural disposition by which his
universal failure in life was brought about. He was possessed of a
feverish restlessness which entirely disqualified him from serious study
of any of the multitudinous subjects which attracted his mind in rapid

Rafinesque, bereft of friends and fortune, unknown even to his
neighbors, by whom he seems to have been regarded as a harmless herb
doctor, was left to struggle on alone, without recognition and without
sympathy or support. Reduced finally to abject poverty, he concocted
and sold medicines which were advertised much like quack remedies at the
present day, especially his "Pulmel," which without a doubt he thought
had cured him of the pulmonary consumption. To advertise this he wrote
a little treatise, hoping to realize something from its sale and at the
same time to avoid any undue appearance of empyricism.

Toward the very end of his life, Rafinesque projected a savings bank,
and, strangely enough, this seems to have been a success, though just
how is not clear, since it both borrowed and loaned money at six per
cent. He had already attempted to secure rights on a "steam-plough," a
"submarine boat," "incombustible houses," and similar novelties which
abler inventors have later perfected. For a long time he led the life of
a perfect recluse in a garret in a poor quarter of Philadelphia, in the
midst of his collections, his books and his manuscripts, never the world
forgetting but ever by the world forgot. There, in the direst misery, he
died in 1840, at the age of fifty-six, without a word of cheer or a tear
of regret. His body was barely saved from the dissecting table and given
decent burial through the loyalty and promptitude of one of his few
remaining friends, Dr. William Mease, who with undertaker Bringhurst,
broke into the room where his body lay and let it down through a window
by ropes.[274] Even his will was ruthlessly violated, and all of his
effects, in eight dray-loads, were hurried off to the public auction
rooms and sold in bargain lots, his books and all else bringing but a
mere pittance, not even enough to pay his landlord and the administrator
of his estate.

Thus died the "eccentric naturalist" whom Audubon had portrayed, and
for whom the world in general had shown scant sympathy. Rafinesque,
nevertheless, possessed a mind of extraordinary acumen and an energy
and versatility little short of marvelous. He dipped into every field
of knowledge, looking for precious metal, but much that he brought to
the surface was dross. His restless versatility alone would probably
have ruined him, for nothing short of an analysis of the globe with
all of its contents would have satisfied his ambitious spirit. His was
the ardor of the traveler and the explorer, with a passionate love for
nature seldom equaled, but without the incentive and the patience of
the investigator or a balance-wheel in the judgment. His ambition in
early life was to become the greatest naturalist of his age; had his
early training and environment been suited to his needs, and had fortune
favored him more consistently with her smiles, this ambition possibly
might have been realized, but we suspect that in this case nature
would have proved stronger than nurture, and that he would have been
Rafinesque to the end.



     Pivotal period in Audubon's career—His spur and
     balance-wheel—Resort to portraiture—Taxidermist in the
     Western Museum—Settles in Cincinnati—History of his
     relations with Dr. Drake—Decides to make his avocation his
     business—Journey down the Ohio and Mississippi with Mason and
     Cummings—Experiences of travel without a cent of capital—Life
     in New Orleans—Vanderlyn's recommendations—Original
     drawings—Chance meeting with Mrs. Pirrie, and engagement
     as tutor at "Oakley"—Enchantments of West Feliciana—"My
     lovely Miss Pirrie"—The jealous doctor—Famous drawing of
     the rattlesnake—Leaves St. Francisville and is adrift again
     in New Orleans—Obtains pupils in drawing and is joined by
     his family—Impoverished, moves to Natchez, and Mrs. Audubon
     becomes a governess—Injuries to his drawings—The labors
     of years destroyed by rats—Teaching in Tennessee—Parting
     with Mason—First lessons in oils—Mrs. Audubon's school at
     "Beechwoods"—Painting tour fails—Stricken at Natchez—At the
     Percys' plantation—Walk to Louisville—Settles at Shippingport.

Audubon's failure at Henderson was the crucial turning point in
his career. For the five years that immediately followed he led a
peripatetic existence in the southern and western states, seldom
tarrying long at one point, often leaving his family for months at
a time, living from hand to mouth, but ever bent on perfecting those
products of his hand and brain, his life studies of American birds and

At this crisis Audubon could have accomplished nothing but for the
intelligent devotion of his capable wife. Generous, emotional, inclined
to be self-indulgent, Audubon needed both the example and the spur of
a strong character such as his wife possessed, and at this time Lucy
Audubon furnished both the motive power and the balance-wheel that were
requisite for the development of her husband's genius. Without her
zeal and self-sacrificing devotion the world would never have heard
of Audubon. His budding talents eventually would have been smothered
in some backwoods town of the Middle West or South. For the space of
nearly twelve years, Mrs. Audubon, now as the head of a small private
school, now as a governess in some friendly family who appreciated
her worth, practically assumed the responsibility for the support and
education of their children in order that her husband's hands might be
free, and with her hard-earned savings was able to aid him materially
in the prosecution of his labors. When relatives or friends upbraided
him for not entering upon some form of lucrative trade, she recognized
his genius and always came to his support, being fully persuaded that he
was destined to become one of the great workers of the world. Whatever
others may have said or done at that time, both Audubon and his wife
were confident of the ultimate success of his mission. In short, the
work in which the naturalist was engaged became a family interest, in
which every member was destined sooner or later to bear a part.

Audubon recalled a somber incident of this time which he thought might
furnish a lesson to mankind, and he shall relate it in his own words:

     After our dismal removal from Henderson to Louisville, one
     morning when all of us were sadly desponding, I took you
     both, Victor and John, from Shippingport to Louisville. I had
     purchased a loaf of bread and some apples; before you reached
     Louisville you were hungry, and by the river side we sat down
     and ate our scanty meal. On that day the world was with me
     as a blank, and my heart was sorely heavy, for scarcely had
     I enough to keep my dear ones alive; and yet through those
     dark days I was being led to the development of the talents
     I loved, and which have brought so much enjoyment to us

At Shippingport Audubon was welcomed by his brother-in-law, Nicholas
A. Berthoud. Wasting no time in vain regrets, he began doing portraits
in crayon, and with such success that he was able to rent a modest
apartment and have his family about him again. From no charges for his
tentative efforts the price was gradually raised until he received five
dollars or more a head; with the spread of his fame orders filled his
hands, and he was called long distances to take likenesses of the dying
or even of the dead. Audubon's facility in portraiture was a valuable
resource, and it kept him from the starving line at many a pinch in
later years.

Through the influence of friends the naturalist was offered a position
as taxidermist at a museum which had just been started at Cincinnati;
here his family joined him in the winter of 1819-20, and here he
remained for nearly a year. The published accounts of this Cincinnati
experience are strangely confused and have led to aspersions of bad
faith which were, we believe, quite undeserved. "I was presented," said
Audubon, "to the president of the Cincinnati College, Dr. Drake, and
immediately formed an engagement to stuff birds for the museum there,
in concert with Mr. Robert Best, an Englishman of great talent," adding
that his salary was large; so industrious were they, to continue his
account, "that in about six months we had augmented, arranged, and
finished all that we could do," but they found to their sorrow "that
the members of the College museum were splendid promisers and very bad
paymasters."[275] It has been stated that Audubon got nothing from
Dr. Drake, but that "Mrs. Audubon afterwards received four hundred
dollars, of the twelve hundred due," and that the remainder was never
paid.[276] This matter can now be fully cleared up, and it will appear
that the Cincinnati College was in no way involved; Dr. Drake was not
its president, although he drew its charter and was one of its trustees;
the Museum in which the naturalist worked was an independent foundation;
and Mrs. Audubon was probably paid in full for the service which her
husband had rendered.

Audubon wrote in his journal in 1820, when this experience was fresh in
his mind, that owing to his talent for stuffing fishes he entered the
service of the Western Museum at a salary of $125 a month; he made no
complaint at that time of any lack of pay. Moreover, on the day before
he started on his cruise down the Ohio River on the 11th of October of
that year, the Rev. Elijah Slack gave him a letter of introduction in
which he said that Audubon had "been engaged in our museum for 3 to 4
months, and that his performances do honor to his pencil." Since Mr.
Slack, like Dr. Drake, was one of the managers of the Western Museum,
he must have known of Audubon's term of service. We are convinced
that Dr. Daniel Drake,[277] whose character was above reproach and who
was a keen naturalist himself, was Audubon's good friend, and that no
misunderstanding ever rose between them. In writing offhand from memory,
years after the events, Audubon misstated the facts but evidently
without design.

In 1818 Dr. Drake organized the Western Museum Society, of which he
said: "I have drawn up the constitution in such a manner as to make
the institution a complete school for natural history, and hope to
see concentrated in this place, the choicest natural and artificial
curiosities in the Western Country." The first meeting of the Society
was held in the summer of 1819, not long before Audubon was engaged to
work for it. The membership fee was $50, a considerable sum for that
period, but the enterprise was well patronized. It was in charge of a
board of whom Dr. Drake was the moving spirit; another member, as we
have seen, was Rev. Mr. Slack, who became the first president of the
Cincinnati College, which was organized in 1818-19. The collections of
the Museum were placed in one of the buildings of the College in order
better to serve the students and public, which would account for some
of the confusion noted above.

Dr. Drake's hands at this time were more than full; in October, 1819, he
wrote to a friend: "The ties which bind me to the world at large seem
every day to increase in strength and numbers. The crowd of mankind
with whom I have some direct or indirect concern, thickens around me,
and I see little prospect of more leisure, nor any of retirement and
seclusion." At this juncture also, when Audubon and Best were working
for his Museum, Dr. Drake was experiencing the first disastrous check in
his energetic career. In January, 1820, in spite of the opposition and
intrigue of professional rivals, he succeeded in organizing the Medical
College of Ohio, and Robert Best became the assistant in chemistry and
the curator of the Western Museum. Opposition did not abate, but instead
of strangling the College which he had founded, the marplots succeeded
in expelling the Doctor from its staff. At last, feeling obliged to
leave the city, Dr. Drake accepted in 1823 a position in the rival
medical school of Transylvania University, and thus became a colleague
of Constantine Rafinesque. It will be seen that Audubon's engagement at
Cincinnati fell in a troubled era, and the annoyance which he may have
felt at lack of pay was probably no fault of the harassed doctor.

While at Cincinnati Audubon was obliged to resort to his crayon
portraits; and he also started a drawing school, but it required all of
Mrs. Audubon's skill in management to keep the family out of debt. In
1820 he began for the first time seriously to consider the possibility
of publishing his drawings, and under the spur of this incentive began
to exert himself as never before. He planned a long journey through
the Middle West and South, his intention being to descend the Ohio and
Mississippi Rivers, explore the country about New Orleans, and then
proceed as far east as the Florida Keys; he wished also to ascend the
Red River, cross Arkansas, and visit the Hot Springs, before returning
again by river to Cincinnati. Lack of ready money was no drawback, for
he was now confident of being able to live by his talents alone.

Accordingly, he left his wife to care for their two boys, and on October
12, 1820, started down river in a flatboat, bound for New Orleans. His
companions on this journey were Captain Cummings,[278] an engineer
who had been in the government service, to whom Audubon became much
attached; Joseph R. Mason, a promising artist of eighteen, in the _rôle_
of pupil-assistant, and his dog "Dash." Although Audubon had no funds,
he was careful to provide himself with letters to or from men of mark
who could be of assistance to him and this custom was followed to good
effect at a much later day. On this occasion he bore recommendations
from William H. Harrison, who afterwards became President, to Governor
Miller of Arkansas, and from Henry Clay, as well as his letter from Rev.
Elijah Slack, in which it was stated that the naturalist was traveling
to complete his collection of the birds of the United States which he
intended to publish at some future time. Audubon also wrote a personal
letter to Governor Miller, fully outlining his plans, and asking for
information; he told the Governor that he had been working fifteen
years, and that his drawings of birds and plants were all from nature
and life-size, showing that the idea of publication which was afterwards
realized was then fixed in his mind. Audubon kept a careful journal on
this journey, which extended over a year, the last entry being for the
close of 1821.[279]

As their flatboat stopped at many towns and plantations on the rivers,
Audubon could hunt game and birds to his heart's content. Having
resolved, as he said, never to draw from a stuffed specimen, he
worked at every new bird with the greatest diligence. It seems almost
incredible that he should never have met with the Hermit Thrush before
this journey, yet under date of "Oct. 14, 1820," there is this entry:
"We returned to our boat with a Wild Turkey, a Telltale Godwit and a
Hermit Thrush, which was too much torn to make a drawing of it; this
was the first time I had met with this bird, and I felt particularly
mortified at its condition."[280]

Their visit to Natchez furnished Audubon with materials for at least two
of his "Episodes."[281] This incident of his generosity may be taken as
characteristic; finding that one of his companions was down at the heel
and as short of ready money as himself, he sought out a shoemaker and
offered to do a portrait of the man and his wife for two pairs of boots;
the proposal was accepted forthwith, and he set to work; the sketches
were finished in the course of two hours, and Audubon and his companion,
having selected their boots, went on their way rejoicing.

Audubon left Natchez on December 31, 1820, on a keel boat belonging
to his brother-in-law, Nicholas A. Berthoud, who accompanied him, and
at one o'clock the steamer _Columbus_ hauled off from the landing and
took them in tow. Towards evening, when they were looking up their
personal belongings, the naturalist found to his dismay that a portfolio
containing all of the drawings that he had made on the voyage down
the river was missing. Letters were despatched to Natchez friends,
but it was not until the 16th of March that his anxiety was relieved;
the missing portfolio had been found and left at the office of _The
Mississippi Republican_, whence it was forwarded on his order, and
reached his hand on the 5th of April. "So very generous had been the
finder of it," he said, "that when I carefully examined the drawings in
succession, I found them all present and uninjured, save one, which had
probably been kept by way of commission."

On New Year's Day, 1821, they came to at Bayou Sara, at the mouth of the
inlet of that name, which later saw much of Audubon and his family. On
the following day he made a likeness of the master of their craft, Mr.
Dickenson, for which he was paid in gold; he also outlined two warblers
by candle-light in order to have time to finish them on the morrow.
The captain of their steamer in his anxiety to make haste had set them
adrift at this point, and they were obliged to make their way as best
they could, by aid of the current and oars, to the port of New Orleans,
which was finally entered on Sunday, January 7, 1821.

Audubon landed at New Orleans without enough money to pay for a night's
lodging, for someone had relieved him of the little he possessed, and he
was obliged to pass several nights on the boat while looking for work.
Undismayed by his financial straits, his first visit at daybreak on
Monday was to the famous markets of the southern city, where he found
dead birds exposed for sale in great numbers—mallard, teal, American
widgeon, Canada and snow geese, mergansers, tell-tale god-wits, and even
robins, bluebirds and red-wing blackbirds; he added that the prices were
very dear.

Upon leaving Cincinnati Audubon had resolved upon making one hundred
drawings of birds; this was actually accomplished, but only after
repeatedly modifying his plans and working in more humble capacities
than he was at first inclined to consider. On the 12th of January
he wrote in his diary of meeting an Italian painter at the theater,
and of showing him his drawing of the White-headed Eagle[282] at
the rooms of Mr. Berthoud; "he was much pleased," and took him "to
his painting apartment at the theater, then to the directors, who
very roughly offered me one hundred dollars per month to paint with
Monsieur l'Italien. I believe really now that my talents must be poor,"
said Audubon. His refusal of this offer in view of his straitened
circumstances, and the entry which followed, were characteristic: "Jan.
13th, 1821. I rose up early, tormented by many disagreeable thoughts,
again nearly without a cent, in a bustling city where no one cares a
fig for a man in my situation." The following day Audubon applied to
a self-taught portrait painter, John W. Jarvis, and after showing his
drawings, was engaged to assist him in finishing the "clothing and
ground"; but this artist's manners were declared to be so uncouth and
the pay so poor that he left him in disgust.

When he had made a hit, as he said, with the likeness of a well known
citizen, orders came to him, and he was able to resume his drawing of
birds. On February 22 he recorded that he had spent his time in "running
after orders for portraits, and also in vain endeavors to obtain a sight
of Alexander Wilson's 'Ornithology,' but was unsuccessful in seeing
the book, which is very high priced." Later, however, he appears to
have succeeded in this quest, for on the 17th of that month he was able
to send his wife twenty drawings of birds, eight of which were marked
as "not described by Willson." Among them were the originals of some
of the most famous of his plates, such as the Great-footed Hawk, the
White-headed Eagle, and the Hen Turkey.[283] Having seen in a newspaper
a notice of an expedition which the Government was about to send to the
Pacific Coast, to survey the boundary of the territory that had been
recently ceded by Spain, Audubon became much excited over a possible
appointment as draughtsman and naturalist. He sat down at once and wrote
a personal letter to President Monroe, while hundreds of imaginary birds
of new and interesting kinds seemed to come within the range of his gun;
on the 31st of March he was still pondering on the project, and although
it is not likely that his letter ever reached the eye of the President,
he did receive a recommendation from Governor Robertson of Louisiana.
It was with this expedition in view that he sought an interview with
John Vanderlyn,[284] an eminent painter of historical subjects, then
working in New Orleans; according to one version Vanderlyn treated him
as a mendicant, and ordered him to lay down his portfolio in the lobby,
but ended by giving him a very complimentary note, in which he praised
his drawings without stint, particularly his studies of birds.

During the five months spent at New Orleans in 1821, Audubon attempted
to support himself and his companion by means of their artistic talents,
while he was pushing forward his ambitious design of figuring all of
America's birds and most characteristic plants. That he received scant
encouragement but many rebuffs is not surprising. They did succeed in
obtaining a few pupils in drawing, and Audubon made a number of rapid
portraits, but after living for a time on Ursuline Street, near the
old Convent, and later shifting from one quarter to another, their
finances had reached so low an ebb by the beginning of June that a move
was imperative. Audubon then decided to go to Shippingport, Kentucky,
and on the 16th of June, with young Mason, he again boarded the steamer
_Columbus_, John D'Hart, captain, and started up river. An incident now
occurred which affected the naturalist's whole after life by introducing
him to one of the most favored spots in Louisiana, if not in the whole
country, for the study of bird life, not to speak of the impressions
which the charm of new scenery, a rich flora, and natural products
of the most varied description must have then made on his mind. Mrs.
James Pirrie, wife of a prosperous cotton planter of West Feliciana
Parish, happened to be their fellow-passenger. Doubtless her curiosity
was piqued by the winning manners and flowing locks of the artistic
traveler, whose Gallic accent at once betrayed his nationality. Whether
Audubon had made her acquaintance previous to this journey or not is not
known, but before it was ended his fine enthusiasm and ambitious plans
had found a sympathizer, and he was engaged as tutor to Mrs. Pirrie's
daughter at $60 a month. To further his ornithological pursuits it
was understood that he and his companion should live at "Oakley," her
husband's plantation, five miles from St. Francisville, on Bayou Sara,
and that one-half of his time should be absolutely free for hunting and
drawing. Thus, on June 18, 1821, was forged the link that bound the
heart of Audubon to the State which was first in his affections, and
which he would fain believe might have been the scene of his nativity.
Well may the Louisianians of today adopt him as their son, for from that
early time he cherished their State as in a peculiar sense his own.

It was a hot and sultry day when our wanderers landed at Bayou
Sara,[285] a small settlement at the junction of the sluggish stream
which bears that name and the Mississippi, and proceeded to climb to
St. Francisville, the village a mile away on the hill. Mrs. Pirrie,
who seems to have preceded the travelers by carriage, sent some of
her servants to relieve them of their luggage, which Audubon said they
found light. They rested in the village at the house of Mr. Benjamin
Swift, where they were invited to stay to dinner, then at the point
of being served, but feeling somewhat ill at ease, they thanked their
host and again took to the road. Following their leisurely guides,
they now traversed a country so new, so strange, and so enchanting,
that the five miles to the Pirrie house seemed short indeed. "The
rich magnolias, covered with fragrant blossoms, the holly, the beech,
the tall yellow poplar, the hilly ground, and even the red clay," to
quote Audubon's record made at the time, "all excited my admiration.
Such an entire change in the face of nature, in so short a time, seems
almost supernatural, and surrounded once more by numerous warblers and
thrushes, I enjoyed the scene."


     GROUND IN 1821.

     This and the above after photographs by Mr. Stanley Clisby
     Arthur, 1916.]

In passing up the Mississippi from New Orleans, the topography of the
country suddenly changes at about this point; in the parish of West
Feliciana the alluvial lowlands of the river valley give place to
beautiful highlands, which still harbor as rich and distinctive a flora
and fauna as in Audubon's day. Following Audubon's course in June,
1916, or ninety-five years later, Mr. Arthur found the region about St.
Francisville wonderfully rich in birds, and there noted seventy-eight
resident kinds which were seen on the same day, from shortly before noon
to seven o'clock in the evening.

Upon reaching the plantation house, Audubon and his companion were
kindly received by the Scotchman, James Pirrie, who introduced to them
his daughter, Eliza, then a beautiful and talented girl of seventeen—"my
lovely Miss Pirrie, of Oakley," as Audubon once characterized her in
his journal—who was to become his pupil in drawing, and who, as after
events proved, was destined to a romantic and checkered career.

The "Oakley" house, which by a strange turn of fortune's wheel thus
became the naturalist's home in the summer of 1821, has changed but
little since that time, but the century that has nearly sped its course
has added strength and beauty to the moss-hung oaks which now encompass
it and temper the heat of the southern sun in the double-decked
galleries which adorn its whole front. Built of the enduring cypress,
as my correspondent remarks, the house stands as firm and sound as the
gaunt but living sentinels of that order which tower from the brake not
far away.

Audubon spent nearly five months at the Pirrie estate. He worked with
great ardor at his _Ornithology_ and produced the originals of many
of his plates that were afterwards published, while his assistant,
Joseph Mason, who had followed him from Cincinnati, labored with
equal diligence at the plants that were chosen as a setting for the
birds.[286] An early drawing of the Chuck Will's Widow is dated "Red
River, June, 1821," and it is probable that he followed this stream into
Arkansas, for on leaving Cincinnati in the autumn of the previous year,
he had planned to enter that State, and later references in his journals
clearly imply that this object was attained. Another favorite hunting
ground was Thompson's Creek, and he often recalled its heated banks,
where, on a Fourth of July, he once satisfied his hunger by "swallowing
the roasted eggs of a large soft shelled turtle."

On August 11, 1821, while Audubon was living at "Oakley," he made this
entry in his journal:

     Watched all night by the dead body of a friend of Mrs. P——; he
     was not known to me, and he had literally drunk himself to an
     everlasting sleep. Peace to his soul! I made a good sketch of
     his head, as a present for his poor wife. On such occasions
     time flies very slow indeed, so much so that it looked as if
     it stood still, like the hawk that poises over its prey.

In the same journal also, for August 25, occurs a record which throws
light on one of Audubon's most discussed and questionable pictures, that
of the mocking-birds defending their jessamine-embowered nest from the
sinister designs of a rattlesnake;[287] little did he think at the time
how much discord this venomous reptile, when coiled in the branches of
a tree, could later breed.[288] The entry was:

     Finished drawing a very fine specimen of a rattlesnake, which
     measured five feet and seven inches, weighed six and a quarter
     pounds, and had ten rattles. Anxious to give it a position
     most interesting to a naturalist, I put it in that which the
     reptile commonly takes when on the point of striking madly
     with its fangs. I had examined many before, and especially
     the position of the fangs along the superior jaw-bones, but
     had never seen one showing the whole [of the fangs] exposed
     at the same time.

He then described the generous provision which nature has made to keep
the rattlesnake in fighting trim, by giving it a dental arsenal on which
it can draw in case of loss; he added that the heat of the day was such
that he could devote only sixteen hours to the drawing.

At this time Audubon was a handsome and attractive man; his pupil, who
did not enjoy the best of health, was attended by a young physician
who was also her lover. It is not surprising therefore to learn that
jealousy on the part of the doctor led to a misunderstanding, and that
the naturalist suddenly made his departure and returned to New Orleans.
In recording this incident Audubon could not repress his amusement at
the prescription of the physician, who ordered the young lady to abstain
from all writing and drawing for a period of four months, but meanwhile
permitted her to eat anything which pleased her fancy, in spite of the
relapses of fever that occasionally occurred. Audubon was allowed to see
her only at appointed hours, as if, he said, he were an extraordinary
ambassador to some distant court, and was obliged to preserve the utmost
decorum of manner; he expressed the belief that he had not once laughed
in the presence of the young lady during the entire term of his tutorial
engagement, which lasted from the 18th of June to the 21st of October.
Later, in December of the same year, when his former pupil passed him
without recognition in the streets of New Orleans, he indulged in the
reflection that she had apparently quite forgotten the great pains
with which at her own request he had done her portrait in pastels, but,
thanks to his talents, he thought that he could run the gauntlet of the
world without her help.[289]

At New Orleans Audubon soon found new pupils, particularly through
the aid of Mr. R. Pamar and Mr. William Braud,[290] who came to his
assistance, Mrs. Braud and her son paying him at the rate of three
dollars for a lesson of one hour. On November 10, 1821, he wrote:

     Continued my close application to my ornithology, writing
     every day, from morning until night, omitting no observations,
     correcting, re-arranging from my notes and measurements, and
     posting up; particularly all my land birds. The great many
     errors I found in the work of Wilson astonished me. I try to
     speak of them with care, and as seldom as possible, knowing
     the good will of that man, and the vast many hearsay accounts
     he depended on.



     This and the above after photographs by Mr. Stanley Clisby
     Arthur, 1916.]

Again, on the 25th of that month is this entry:

     Since I left Cincinnati I have finished 62 drawings of birds
     and plants, 3 quadrupeds, 2 snakes, fifty portraits of all
     sorts, and the large one of Father Antonio,[291] besides
     giving many lessons, and I have made out to send money to
     my wife sufficient for her and my Kentucky lads, and to live
     in humble comfort with only my talents and industry, without
     _one cent_ to begin on. I sent a draft to my wife, and began
     to live in New Orleans with forty-two dollars, health, and
     much anxiety to pursue my plan of collecting all the birds of

The close of the year 1821 found Audubon teaching a few pupils at New
Orleans, where, he said, his style of work and the large prices he
received caused him the ill will of every artist in the city. The figure
which he cut in the streets, with his loose dress of nankeen and long,
flowing locks, made him wish to appear like other people, and he was
soon able to rejoice in a new suit of clothes. Though still in need of
work, when he was asked to aid in painting a panorama of New Orleans,
he refused, begrudging the time, saying that he did not wish to see any
other perspective than that of the last of his drawings.

Having been from home for over a year, Audubon now wished to have his
family about him again.[292] His plan did not appeal to his practical
wife, who had many friends at Cincinnati, where she was assured of a
good income through her teaching; Mrs. Audubon also felt that to be
constantly shifting about was anything but favorable to the education of
their children. Her reluctance, however, gave way, and in December she
joined her husband in New Orleans, but only to find that the city could
afford them no settled means of support. The situation of the Audubon
family during the winter of 1821-22 became precarious in the extreme,
and for two months Audubon gave up his habit of journalizing, one reason
being that he could not afford the paltry sum necessary to buy a blank
book for this purpose.

Compelled at last to make a new move, Audubon started for Natchez, on
the 16th of March, 1822, paying for his passage on the steamer _Eclat_
by doing a crayon portrait of the captain and his wife. It was while
going up the river at this time that he opened a chest containing two
hundred of his drawings to find them sadly damaged by the breaking of a
bottle of gunpowder, but the loss then sustained was apparently slight
in comparison with that which he had experienced in an earlier disaster.
To follow his account of this earlier and better known incident, when
leaving Henderson for Philadelphia, he carefully placed all of his
drawings in a wooden box and entrusted them to the care of a friend,
with injunction that no harm should befall them; upon returning several
months later, his treasure chest was opened, but only to reveal that "a
pair of Norway rats had taken possession of the whole, and had reared
a young family amongst the gnawed bits of paper, which but a few months
before represented nearly a thousand inhabitants of the air." The heat
that was immediately felt in his head, said the naturalist, was too
great to be endured, and the days that followed were days of oblivion
to him; but upon recuperation he took up his gun, his notebook and
his pencils, "and went forth to the woods as gaily as if nothing had
happened"; after a lapse of three years his portfolio was again filled,
and the earlier work replaced by better. Audubon's drawings and plates
were also repeatedly ravaged by fires, but this was at a much later day.

While Audubon was engaged in teaching French, music, or drawing, now to
private pupils at Natchez, now in a school at Washington, Mississippi,
nine miles away, the summer of 1822 passed with the outlook as ominous
as ever. On August 23 he wrote: "My friend, Joseph Mason, left me
today, and we experienced great pain at parting. I gave him paper and
chalks to work his way with, and the double barrelled-gun ... which I
had purchased in Philadelphia in 1805." Mason, who, for a year and nine
months, was Audubon's aid and constant companion, seems to have settled
eventually as an artist in Philadelphia, where we hear of him in 1824
and again in 1827.[293]

In the following December Audubon received a fresh impetus towards the
goal of his ambition by the arrival at Natchez of a traveling portrait
painter, named John Stein, who gave him his first lessons in the use
of oils; his initial attempt was the copy of an otter from one of his
own drawings. Audubon and Stein together later painted a full-length
portrait of Father Antonio which was sent to Havana. Artists who have
worked long in one medium are not always successful in another, but
those who have seen some of Audubon's later and better works in oil,
such as his large canvas of the Wild Turkeys,[294] must admit that he
attained a high degree of skill. As will be seen, this acquisition was
a strong string to his bow; when in England his brush helped largely to
pay for the issue of his early plates.

Mrs. Audubon, who joined her husband in New Orleans on December 8, 1821,
soon felt obliged to seek employment. She engaged as nurse or governess
in the family of Mr. Braud, presumably the same whose wife and son had
received instruction in drawing from the naturalist the previous autumn,
and remained with that family until September, 1822, when the death
of the child that was placed in her charge left her free to follow her
husband to Natchez. After attempting a similar position in the home of
a clergyman there and finding it impossible to obtain her salary, in
January, 1823, she was invited by the Percys to West Feliciana,[295]
then a prosperous cotton district, at the apex of the salient made by
the neighboring state of Mississippi and bordered on two sides by the
great river. Her worth was evidently appreciated, for she was encouraged
to establish a private school on the Percys' plantation, which she
conducted successfully for five years.

Captain Robert Percy, who before coming to America in 1796 had been an
officer in the British Navy, was living at this time with his wife and
five children at their plantation of "Weyanoke," on Big Sara Creek,
fifteen miles from St. Francisville; this town, owing to its large
shipments of cotton, was then at the height of prosperity, and its
population no doubt exceeded that of the present day; it now stands at
about one thousand souls. Letters and journals of the period constantly
refer to "Beechwoods," which was not the mansion house, though it
undoubtedly belonged to the Robert Percy estate. There it was that
the wife of the naturalist lived, and there she started her school,
for the benefit not only of the Percy boys and girls, but also of a
limited number of children of their wealthy neighbors; her own son,
John Woodhouse Audubon, then eleven years of age, at this time received
instruction at her hands. The parish of West Feliciana, at this early
period, was one of the richest cotton-producing sections of the entire
State; its care-free planters led an easy life until the "king" was
unceremoniously dethroned by a small, but not insignificant insect which
has proved mightier than either fire or sword, namely, the boll-weevil;
now many a fine old estate which has languished under the influence of
the pest could probably be bought for a song. "Beechwoods," thus devoted
to educational purposes, later came into the hands of Thomas Percy, but
the house, like that of "Weyanoke," was long since burned to the ground.

While Mrs. Audubon was establishing her rules and authority at the
Percy school, the naturalist was painting with Stein at Natchez, and
he remained there with his elder son until the spring of 1823. At this
period he wrote in his journal: "I had finally determined to break
through all bonds, and follow my ornithological pursuits. My best
friends solemnly regarded me as a madman, and my wife and family alone
gave me encouragement. My wife determined that my genius should prevail,
and that my final success as an ornithologist should be triumphant."

In March, 1823, Audubon and friend Stein bought a horse and wagon, and
in the hope of raising money through their joint efforts as itinerant
portrait painters, set out with Victor on a tour of the Southern States.
This venture, however, did not succeed, and after visiting Jackson and
a number of other towns, they disbanded at New Orleans. Audubon then
started north with his son for Louisville, but upon paying a visit
to his wife at the "Beechwoods" school, he was invited by the Percys
to remain there for the summer and "teach the young ladies music and
drawing." According to a tradition which has survived among the Percy
descendants, Audubon spent most of his time in roaming through the
woods, but he also taught his wife's pupils to swim in the large spring
house at "Weyanoke," where the water could be deepened at pleasure. It
was also said that he painted the Wild Turkeys in the woods of Sleepy
Hollow near by, but I have already given Audubon's own record in regard
to one of these pictures, and, as Mr. Arthur remarks, the places in
Louisiana where he drew these famous subjects are as numerous as the
beds in which Lafayette slept when at New Orleans.

Audubon remained with the Percys during the greater part of the summer,
or until some misunderstanding arose, when he was again adrift and upon
a sea of difficulties. While visiting a plantation near Natchez, both
he and Victor were stricken with fever; his faithful wife hastened to
them, and after nursing both back to health, she returned with them to
the Percy plantation, where they remained from the 8th to the 30th of

In the autumn of 1823 Audubon was determined to visit Philadelphia,
in the hope of finding a sponsor for his "Ornithology." Although the
work was then far from ready for publication, he felt that at least
he might better his condition, and with this end in view he sent his
drawings from Natchez to that city; a hasty visit was made also to
New Orleans, for the purpose, no doubt, of obtaining credentials to
possible patrons in the East. At last, on October 3, he started with
Victor on the steamer _Magnet_[296] for Louisville. Low water quickly
held them up after entering the mouth of the Ohio, and they were obliged
to disembark at the little village of Trinity, at the mouth of Cash
Creek, the scene of Audubon's misadventures with Rozier thirteen years
before. The remoteness of the situation and the state of their funds,
which corresponded with that of the river, left no alternative but to
walk, and they undertook to reach Louisville, several hundred miles
distant, afoot. Two other travelers joined them, and with Victor, then
a lad of nearly fourteen, the party left the creek at noon on October
15 and struck across country through the forests and canebrakes. At
Green River, which was reached on the 21st, Victor gave out from sheer
exhaustion,[297] and the remainder of the journey was finished in
a Jersey wagon. At length, said Audubon, "I entered Louisville with
thirteen dollars in my pocket." At Shippingport, then an independent
town at the Falls of the Ohio, he was obliged to settle down for the
winter. A place for Victor was found in the counting-house of Nicholas
A. Berthoud, while the father undertook anything that came to hand,
painting portraits, landscapes, panels for river boats, and even street
signs, so hard pressed was he at times to eke out a subsistence for them
both. Yet Audubon was as sanguine as ever, and on November 9 he recorded
the resolution "to paint one hundred views of American scenery," and
added: "I shall not be surprised to find myself seated at the foot of
Niagara," a prediction which was fulfilled in the following year.

During the winter spent at Shippingport, Audubon lost a gentle friend in
Madame Berthoud,[298] the mother of Nicholas. In his journal for January
20, 1824, we read his emotional words:

     I arose this morning by the transparent light which is the
     effect of the moon before dawn, and saw Dr. Middleton passing
     at full gallop towards the white house; I followed—alas!
     my old friend was dead!... many tears fell from my eyes,
     accustomed to sorrow. It was impossible for me to work; my
     heart, restless, moved from point to point all round the
     compass of my life. Ah Lucy! what have I felt to-day! ...
     I have spent it thinking, thinking, learning, weighing my
     thoughts, and quite sick of life. I wished I had been as quiet
     as my venerable friend, as she lay for the last time in her



     Audubon makes his bow at Philadelphia—Is greeted with
     plaudits and cold water—Friendship of Harlan, Sully,
     Bonaparte and Harris—Hostility of Ord, Lawson and other
     friends of Alexander Wilson—A meeting of academicians—Visit
     to "Mill Grove"—Exhibits drawings in New York and becomes a
     member of the Lyceum—At the Falls of Niagara—In a gale on
     Lake Erie—Episode at Meadville—Walk to Pittsburgh—Tour of
     Lakes Ontario and Champlain—Decides to take his drawings
     to Europe—Descends the Ohio in a skiff—Stranded at
     Cincinnati—Teaching at St. Francisville.

In 1824 after five hard years of struggle and embarrassment, Audubon
decided that the time had come to bring his labors to the light of day.
At thirty-nine, he read and spoke two languages but was without adequate
training in either; he had never written a line for publication, and to
the scientific world he was a stranger. Though without a definite plan,
he cherished the ardent hope of presenting the birds of his beloved
America as he had depicted them, to the size of life, and with all the
added interest and zest that a natural environment could give them.

To Philadelphia the naturalist now turned his steps, for that city
was then a Mecca for scientific men. Leaving Shippingport in March,
he reached the Quaker capital on the fifth day of April. There he
purchased a new suit of clothes, and, dressed "with extreme neatness,"
paid his respects to Dr. William Mease, the one friend there whom he
had known intimately in his younger and more prosperous days. It was
primarily through this excellent man's interest that Audubon met the
leading artists and scientific men of the city, including Thomas Sully,
Robert and Rembrandt Peale, Richard Harlan, Charles Le Sueur, and
Charles L. Bonaparte, the latter then a rising young ornithologist of
one and twenty. It was Bonaparte who introduced Audubon to the Academy
of Natural Sciences, where his drawings were exhibited and generally
admired. Among his critics on that occasion was George Ord, who from
their first interview seems to have looked upon the new luminary with
jealous eyes. Whether this was true or not, there is no doubt that Ord
became one of his few really bitter and implacable adversaries, and not
many days elapsed before Audubon came to feel that many in Philadelphia
would be glad to see him return to the backwoods of the Middle West,
from which, like an apple of Sodom, he seemed suddenly to have dropped
into their midst. Those who were most interested in the continued sale
and success of Wilson's _Ornithology_, he declared, advised him not to
publish anything, and threw not only cold water but ice upon all his
plans. Thus began that unseemly rivalry, fostered for many years by
George Ord in this country, between the friends of Alexander Wilson and
those of John James Audubon, the dead embers of which are occasionally
stirred even to this day.[299]

Ord, who was about Audubon's own age, was a quiet, persistent, and
unassuming worker, held in high esteem by many of his associates.
Audubon seems to have done his best to conciliate him then and at a
later day, but all to no purpose; Dr. Harlan once advised him to give
up the attempt, since Ord, he declared, had no heart for friendship,
having been denied that blessing by nature herself. Ord, as we have
seen, had edited the eighth and written the ninth, or concluding, volume
of Wilson's _American Ornithology_, as well as a life of its author;
the appearance of a new star in the ornithological horizon may not have
been a welcome sight. At all events, we soon find him engaged upon a
new edition of Wilson's work.[300] Ord had objected to Audubon's method
of combining plants and other accessories with his drawings of birds,
a criticism that in the case of purely technical works could be easily
sustained, and some of his later charges, though carried too far, were
not wholly without foundation.[301]

Bonaparte,[302] on the other hand, was captivated by Audubon's drawings
and anxious to secure his services for his own work, then well in hand.
This was the _American Ornithology_, for which Titian R. Peale was then
making the drawings, and Thomas Lawson, who had been Wilson's engraver,
was engaged on the plates; though quite distinct in itself, this was
much in the style of Wilson's earlier work, of which it was virtually a
continuation. When Bonaparte introduced Audubon to these men, it is not
surprising that the meeting was not productive of the best of feeling on
either side. Peale's stiff and rather conventional portraits of birds
naturally failed to awaken enthusiasm in "the trader naturalist," as
some who looked upon him as a rival rather contemptuously called him.
The interview with Lawson, if correctly reported by his friend,[303]
shows that his interest could not have been of the most disinterested
sort. "Lawson told me," said this reporter, "that he spoke freely of
the pictures, and said that they were ill drawn, not true to nature,
and anatomically incorrect." Thereupon Bonaparte defended them warmly,
saying that he would buy them and that Lawson should engrave them. "You
may buy them," said the Scotchman, "but I will not engrave them ...
because ornithology requires truth in the forms, and correctness in the
lines. Here are neither." Other meetings are said to have followed, but
to have ended only in mutual dislike. Nevertheless, one of Audubon's
drawings was engraved by Lawson and appeared in Bonaparte's work,[304]
but most of the figures in Bonaparte's concluding volumes were by the
hand of a German named Alexander Rider. It was doubtless a fortunate
circumstance that the prejudice and obstinacy of this overbearing Scot
was a bar to any further absorption of Audubon's talents.[305]

Audubon met at this time a more appreciative engraver in Mr. Fairman,
who urged him to take his drawings to Europe and have them engraved in
a superior style; on July 12 the naturalist wrote that he had drawn
"for Mr. Fairman a small grouse to be put on a banknote belonging to
the State of New Jersey." By some lucky chance this incident brought
him the acquaintance of Edward Harris,[306] whom he met that summer in
Philadelphia, and who became one of his most constant and disinterested
friends. It was Harris who a few days after their meeting took all
of the drawings which Audubon had for sale and at the artist's own
prices;[307] who for years was continually sending him rare or desirable
specimens of birds; who accompanied him through the Southern States to
Florida in 1837 and on the famous Missouri River Expedition in 1843.
Edward Harris became a patron of science through his friendship with
scientific men, and many besides Audubon were indebted to him for
judicious advice as well as more substantial benefits.


     From the Jeanes MSS. Audubon's last letter to Edward Harris,
     from the same source, is reproduced in Volume II, page 287.]

The Academy of Natural Sciences, founded in 1812, was well established
at this time, and its rapidly growing Museum was already the largest
and most valuable in the New World; ornithology was a favored subject,
and the Academy's roll embraced every American pioneer worker of note
in the entire field of the natural sciences. The following account of
a meeting of the Academy, held on October 11, 1825, when Ord presided,
has been preserved in a letter of the period:[308]

     A few evenings since I was associated with a society of
     gentlemen, members of the Academy of Natural Sciences. There
     were present fifteen or twenty. Among the number were Le
     Sueur, Rafinesque, Say, Peale, Pattison, Harlan, and Charles
     Lucien Bonaparte.

     Among this collection life was most strikingly exemplified: Le
     Sueur, with a countenance weather-beaten and worn, looked on,
     for the muscles of his ironbound visage seemed as incapable
     of motion, as those on the medals struck in the age of Julius
     Cæsar. Rafinesque has a fine black eye, rather bald and black
     hair, and withal is rather corpulent. I was informed that
     he was a native of Constantinople; at present he lives in
     Kentucky. Dr. Harlan is a spruce young man.... Peale is the
     son of the original proprietor of the Philadelphia Museum,
     and one who visited the Rocky Mountains with Major Long;
     he is a young man, and has no remarkable indications of
     countenance to distinguish him. Say, who was his companion in
     the same expedition, is an extremely interesting man; to him
     I am particularly obligated for showing me their Museum and
     Library. I think he told me that their society had published
     nine volumes.... Bonaparte is the son of Lucien Bonaparte
     and nephew to the Emperor Napoleon; he is a little set,
     black-eyed fellow, quite talkative, and withal interesting
     and companionable.

Among the working naturalists at Philadelphia Dr. Richard Harlan was
possibly one whose friendship was most valuable to Audubon; the artist
from whom he received most encouragement was Thomas Sully, the portrait
painter, who took him into his studio and gave him lessons in the use
of oils. Sully was one of those who saw the good side of Audubon's
character, discerned his talent, and predicted for him a great future;
at a later day Sully was able to rejoice in finding his prediction amply

Convinced that the advice which Fairman and Bonaparte had given him was
sound, Audubon decided to look to Europe for a publisher of his _Birds_,
and with this end in view, set hard to work at his drawings. "I had
some pupils offered," he said, "at a dollar per lesson; but I found the
citizens unwilling to pay for art, although they affected to patronize
it. I exhibited my drawings for a week, but found the show did not pay,
and so determined to remove myself." Audubon remained in Philadelphia
until August, and while in doubt as to what step he should take next,
he was cheered by a visit to "Mill Grove," made in the carriage of his
Quaker friend, Reuben Haines. To quote his journal:

     As we entered the avenue, which led to the farm, every
     step brought to my mind the memory of past years, and I was
     bewildered by the recollections until we reached the door of
     the house, which had once been the residence of my father as
     well as of myself. The cordial welcome of Mr. Wetherill, the
     owner, was extremely agreeable. After resting a few moments,
     I abruptly took my hat and ran wildly to the woods, to the
     grotto where I first heard from my wife that she was not
     indifferent to me. It had been torn down, and some stones
     carted away; but raising my eyes towards heaven, I repeated
     the promise we had mutually made. We dined at Mill Grove, and
     as I entered the parlor I stood motionless for a moment on
     the spot where my wife and myself were forever joined.

In this dramatic rehearsal the naturalist clearly implies that he was
married in the parlor of his own home, but his excellent wife, who was
surely in this instance the better authority, explicitly states that
their marriage took place in her father's house at "Fatland Ford." Since
Audubon was in the habit of sending extracts from his journal to his
family, it is clear that errors of this sort were the simple result
of an impulsive temperament; the moment his imagination pictured his
wedding as having taken place in his old abode, down went the jotting
in the journal, which was written at odd moments anywhere, often at late
hours, and with no care in revision or thought of future publication.

On August 1, 1824, Audubon recorded in his diary that he had left
Philadelphia for New York on the day before, "in good health, free
from debt, and free from anxiety about the future." Sully had given
him glowing letters of introduction to Gilbert Stuart, Washington
Allston and Colonel Trumbull, but then as now midsummer was not a
propitious time to find city people at home, and he began to consider
the advisability of visiting both Albany and Boston. Alternately elated
or depressed by the prospects of the day or the hour, Audubon wrote
on August 4 that he had called with a letter of introduction on Dr.
Mitchell, who had given him "a kind letter to his friend Dr. Barnes."
This hurriedly penciled note from the Nestor of American science of that
day has been carefully preserved, and reads as follows:[310]

_Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell to Dr. Barnes_

     Mr. A. who brings strong testimonial of excellence from our
     friends in Pha is now sitting with me—I have been delighted
     and instructed by a Display of his Port Folio containing
     Drawings Done from Life of North American Birds and
     illustrating the Connect, of ornithology with Botany. he has
     Superior attainments & skill in the natural sciences which he
     has cultivated for more than 20 y.

     he wishes to show his Elegant performances to the Members of
     the Lyceum and to be made a Member of that Society—it is his
     intention to Leave this City for Boston on Sunday morning.
     Meanwhile I recommend him to your good offices.

          Yours Truly as ever

          SAM, L. MITCHELL
          Aug t 4 t 1824

     BARNES, AUGUST 4, 1824

     From the Howland MSS.]

Dr. Mitchell, who was the father and first president of the Lyceum
of Natural History, had been a friend of young Audubon when he was
clerking in New York in 1807.[311] His recommendation was accepted,
and the naturalist was enrolled on the Lyceum's list of members; to
justify his election, two papers, representing his first contribution
to ornithology, were presented to the Society, and appeared in its
_Annals_ of that year.[312] Audubon visited the Lyceum with Dr.
DeKay and exhibited his drawings, but said that he felt awkward and
uncomfortable. On August 3 he called on John Vanderlyn, the artist,
examined his pictures, and "saw the medal given him by Napoleon, but was
not impressed with the idea that he was a great painter." Upon meeting
Vanderlyn again a little later, he was asked to sit for a portrait
of Andrew Jackson; his journal entry regarding the incident was as

     August 10. My spirits low, and I long for the woods again; but
     the prospect of becoming better known prompts me to remain
     another day. Met the artist Vanderlyn, who asked me to give
     him a sitting for a portrait of General Jackson, since my
     figure considerably resembled that of the General, more than
     any he had ever seen. I likewise sketched my landlady and
     child, and filled my time.

The context shows that the sitting was given, and as Mr. Stanley C.
Arthur remarks, Vanderlyn's portrait, which now hangs in the City Hall
in New York, shows "Old Hickory" from the shoulders up, but from the
shoulders down it is John James Audubon.

On the 14th Audubon wrote cheerfully to Sully:

_Audubon to Thomas Sully_

     My reception in New York has surpassed my hopes. I have been
     most kindly [received], and had I seen Col. Trumball, I would
     have found him the gentleman you represented, but his absence
     at Saratoga Springs has deprived me of that pleasure.

     New York is now an immense city. Strangers are received here
     with less reserve generally than at Philadelphia. I found the
     Academy well supplied with paintings, and sculptures of the
     Greek masters. The steam boats of the Sweet Ohio, with all
     their swiftness of motion and beautiful forms, do not interest
     the eye like those that are here tossing over the foaming
     billows with the grace of the wild swan. Were I a painter—ah
     could I, like ——, carry in my mind's eye all my mind feels
     when looking at the Battery at the moon's tender reflections
     on the farthest sails, forcing the vessel they move with the
     very wind's heart,—express as he does the quick moving tar
     hauling in a reef at the yard's end,—and make on the canvas a
     noble commander speak, as you have done; then, my dear friend,
     I could show you New York's harbor and all its beauties....

     I cannot part with that Fair City [Philadelphia] this soon;
     I cannot help thanking Fairman, Peale, Neagle, Le Sueur,
     and many others besides Mc Murty for their attentions to
     me. Should you see honest Quaker Haines, beg him to believe
     me his friend; should you see Mr. Ord, tell him I never was
     his enemy. Think of me some time, and accept the truest best
     wishes of

          JOHN J. AUDUBON.

     I leave for Boston tomorrow. Should you please to write to
     me, direct to Care of Messrs. Anshutz & Co, Pittsburgh, where
     I shall be in about 40 days.

The very next day Audubon changed his plans and sailed up the Hudson to
Albany, where he hoped to meet De Witt Clinton, then at the height of
his fame, who in the course of his great undertakings had found time
to write letters on the natural history and antiquities of his State,
and Dr. Beck, the botanist. Failing to find either at home, Audubon was
compelled by the depleted state of his pocketbook to give up his plan
of visiting Boston, and being determined to see Niagara Falls, he took
passage on a canal boat to Buffalo instead. The Falls were reached on
the 24th of August, and it was then, on recording his name at an hotel,
that Audubon wrote underneath: "Who, like Wilson, will ramble, but
never, like that great man, die under the lash of a bookseller."[314]
Upon his first view of the Falls he was satisfied that Niagara never had
been and never could be painted. He wanted to cross the bridge at Goat
Island but was deterred by the necessity of economy. Visitors it seems,
had already learned to venture under a small section of the American
Falls, and Audubon said that while looking through the falling sheet of
water, "at their feet thousands of eels were lying side by side, trying
vainly to ascend the torrent." After strolling through the village to
find some bread and milk, the naturalist recorded that he ate a good
dinner for twelve cents, and that he went to bed "thinking of Franklin
eating his roll in the streets of Philadelphia, of Goldsmith traveling
by the aid of his musical powers, and of other great men who had worked
their way through hardships and difficulties to fame, and fell asleep,
hoping, by persevering industry, to make a name for himself among his

The schooner from Buffalo to Erie, Pennsylvania, on which Audubon had
taken deck passage, as he was unable to afford a berth in the cabin,
was caught in a violent gale on the way and was obliged to anchor in
the harbor of Presque Isle. "It was on the 29th of August, 1824," his
diary reads, "and never shall I forget that morning." Captain Judd, of
the United States Navy, had sent a gig with six men to its relief, and
"my drawings," he continues, "were put into the boat with the greatest
care. We shifted into it, and seated ourselves according to direction.
Our brave fellows pulled hard, and every moment brought us nearer the
American shore; I leaped upon it with elated heart. My drawings were
safely landed, and for anything else I cared little at the moment."

At this point Audubon set out with a fellow traveler, who was also
an artist, for Meadville, Pennsylvania. The earliest version of his
journal[315] which gives an account of this experience reads as follows:

     On the shore of upper Canada, my money was stolen. The thief,
     perhaps, imagined it was of little importance to a naturalist.
     To repine at what could not be helped would have been unmanly.
     I felt satisfied Providence had relief in store. Seven dollars
     and a half were left to us, two persons, 1500 miles from home,
     at the entrance of Presque-Isle Harbor.

Five dollars was paid to their driver, and when they reached Meadville,
and entered J. E. Smith's "Traveler's Rest," they had but one hundred
and fifty cents between them. No time was to be lost, and Audubon at
once started out with his portfolio and his artist friend to look for

     I walked up the Main Street, looking for _heads_, till I saw a
     Hollander gentleman in a store, who looked as if he might want
     a sketch. I begged him to allow me to sit down. This granted,
     I remained perfectly silent till he very soon asked: "What
     is in that portfolio"? This sounded well; I opened it. He
     complimented me on my drawings of birds and flowers. Showing
     him a portrait of my Best Friend, I asked him if he would like
     one of himself. He said "Yes, and I will exert myself to gain
     as many more customers as I can."

According to a story current at Meadville long after the event Audubon
made the acquaintance of Mr. Benedict, a merchant, lately come from
New Haven, whose attractive daughter, named Jennett,[316] was then one
and twenty; his family lived at the village tavern, called the "Torbett
House," in which Mr. Augustus Colson had a store. It was Mr. Colson, to
whom Audubon probably refers, who responded generously to his appeal for
work, and called in a number of his young friends as possible patrons.
Among them was Miss Jennett Benedict, and the naturalist, attracted
by her agreeable manners and pleasing appearance, asked permission to
make a portrait-sketch, saying that he would pay for the privilege by
presenting her with a copy. This was evidently good business enterprise,
for, according to the story, a grain bin in the Colson store was
soon converted into a studio, and Audubon was rewarded by a number of
sitters. Here is his account from the record just quoted:

     Next day I entered the _artist's room_, by crazy steps of the
     store-garret; four windows faced each other at right angles;
     in a corner was a cat nursing, among rags for a paper-mill;
     hogsheads of oats, Dutch toys on the floor, a large drum,
     a bassoon, fur caps along the walls, a hammock and rolls of
     leather. Closing the extra windows with blankets, I procured
     a painter's light.

     A young man sat to try my skill; his phiz was approved; then
     the merchant; the room became crowded. In the evening I joined
     him in music on the flute and violin. My fellow traveller also
     had made two sketches. We wrote a page or two in our journals,
     and went to rest.

     The next day was spent as yesterday. Our pockets replenished,
     we walked to Pittsburgh in two days.



A month was spent at Pittsburgh, where Audubon searched the country for
birds and continued his drawings. While there he made the acquaintance
of the Reverend John Henry Hopkins, a man of superb appearance and rare
conversational and oratorical powers, later known as the learned and
versatile first Episcopal Bishop of Vermont. Audubon attended some of
the ministrations of this remarkable man, through whose influence, he
said, "I was brought to think, more than I usually did, of religious
matters; but I never think of churches without feeling sick at heart
at the sham and show of some of their professors. To repay evil with
kindness is the religion that I was taught to practice, and this will
forever be my rule."

In the autumn of 1824 Audubon planned another visit to the Great
Lakes in search of new birds, and tried to induce his friend, Mr.
Edward Harris, to accompany him. While wandering in the forests along
those lakes he thought out the plan which was finally followed in the
publication of his _Birds of America_:

     Chance, and chance alone, had divided my drawings into three
     different classes, depending upon the magnitude of the objects
     to be represented; and, although I did not at that time
     possess all the specimens necessary, I arranged them as well
     as I could into parcels of five plates—I improved the whole as
     much as was in my power; and as I daily retired farther from
     the haunts of man, determined to leave nothing undone, which
     my labor, my time, or my purse could accomplish.[317]

Audubon's journal kept on the lakes has been lost, but that journey was
fresh in mind when he wrote the following letter to Edward Harris.[318]

_Audubon to Edward Harris_

          _Jany. 31 1825._

     Surely I have not dismerited your esteem; when on the
     Lakes, both Ontario and Champlain, I wrote to you—again from
     Pittsburgh, all without any answer, and I am sorry to say that
     I have been either abandoned or forgotten by all those other
     persons who had promised to keep up a correspondence with

     The country I visited was new, in great measure, to me. I
     have been delighted with the tour, but will forever regret
     that your sister's indisposition could not allow you time to
     augment my pleasure by your company.

     [Audubon offers to send his friend shrubs and fruits from the
     South, and concludes;] In fact, my dear Mr. Harris, I am yet
     the same man you knew at the corner of 5th, and Minor Streets
     [in Philadelphia], and will continue forever the same.

After his tour of the Lakes Audubon returned to Pittsburgh, and on
October 24, 1824, started down the Ohio in a skiff, intending to descend
to the Mississippi and thence reach his family in Louisiana. Bad weather
and lack of funds interfered with this plan, and ere long he was once
more stranded in Cincinnati, where he was beset by claimants for payment
upon articles ordered for the Western Museum five years before. Finding
it difficult at this time to replenish an empty purse, Audubon felt
that he must borrow fifteen dollars, but could not make up his mind
how to ask the favor until he had several times walked past the house
where he had once been known. Nevertheless, he succeeded in obtaining
the necessary funds, took passage on a boat bound for Louisville, and
slept cheerfully that night on a pile of shavings which he managed to
scrape together on deck. "The spirit of contentment which I now feel,"
he wrote, "is strange; it borders on the sublime; and, enthusiastic or
lunatic, as some of my relatives will have me, I am glad to possess such
a spirit"; later he added: "I discover that my friends think only of my
apparel, and those upon whom I have conferred acts of kindness prefer
to remind me of my errors."

Louisville was reached on November 20, and a number of days were spent
in visiting his eldest son, Victor, who was then at Shippingport.[319]
He finally arrived at Bayou Sara in late November, 1824. The captain
of his vessel, which was bound for New Orleans, put him ashore at
midnight, and he was left to grope his way to the village on the hill.
St. Francisville, to his dismay, was nearly deserted, a scourge of
yellow fever having driven most of its inhabitants to the pine woods.
The postmaster, however, was able to assure him that his wife and son
were well, and Mr. Nübling, a friendly German, whom he described as "a
man of cultivation and taste, and a lover of Natural Science," gave him
refreshment and a horse. In his eagerness to cover the fifteen miles to
the Percy house as rapidly as possible, he tried to strike a straight
course through the dark forest, but missed his way, and dawn found him
on unfamiliar ground; he then learned from a negro that he was two miles
beyond the place. When he arrived at last "with rent and wasted clothes,
and uncut hair, and altogether looking like the wandering Jew," his wife
was busily engaged in teaching her pupils. During his absence of nearly
fourteen months she had prospered greatly, and she was not only ready
but eager to place her earnings at her husband's disposal.

When he had finally decided to take his drawings to Europe for
publication, Audubon set to work to increase his capital, and soon had
pupils in French, music, and drawing, while a dancing class of sixty was
organized in a neighboring town. His country lads and lassies proved
rather awkward material, and he broke his bow and nearly ruined his
violin in his impatience to evoke a single graceful step or motion;
when, however, he consented to dance to his own music, he never failed
to bring down thunders of applause. These efforts were continued for
over a year, until he had realized a considerable sum. With this money
in hand, supplemented by what his wife could spare, he determined to
seek his fortunes in the Old World.



     Audubon sails from New Orleans—Life at Sea—Liverpool—The
     Rathbones—Exhibition of drawings an immediate success—Personal
     appearance—Painting habits resumed—His pictures and
     methods—Manchester visited—Plans for publication—_The
     Birds of America_—Welcome at Edinburgh—Lizars engraves the
     Turkey Cock—In the _rôle_ of society's lion—His exhibition
     described by a French critic—Honors of science and the
     arts—Contributions to journals excite criticism—Aristocratic
     patrons—Visit to Scott—The Wild Pigeon and the
     rattlesnake—Letter to his wife—Prospectus—Journey to London.

When Audubon had reached the age of forty-one, his fortunes were
destined to undergo still further kaleidoscopic changes, but the
patterns and hue were now of a more agreeable character. He had failed
repeatedly in business ventures of various kinds; he had failed also
to find either encouragement or support for his ambitious schemes of
publishing his drawings in the United States. But there was still a
chance for success in the Old World, and thither he was determined to go
to try the hazard of fortune in either England or France. Accordingly,
he left his family at St. Francisville and went to New Orleans, where
he engaged passage on a cotton schooner bound for Liverpool, named the
_Delos_, Captain Joseph E. Hatch. With his drawings, a few books, and
a purse, if not ample, at least sufficient for his immediate needs, and
fortified with numerous letters, he finally set sail on the 17th of May,

     TOTAL 19 POUCES POIDS 1 lb. 6 oz. QUEUE 12 PENNES."

     Published by courtesy of Mr. Joseph Y. Jeanes.]

     18TH, 1826."

     Published by courtesy of Miss Maria R. Audubon.]


     Reproduced by courtesy of the Misses Florence and Maria R.

This voyage, like every other which the naturalist ever made, was turned
to good account; the log book or journal kept on this occasion abounds
in interesting observations upon the life of the sea, particularly on
the fishes and birds which were encountered in the Gulf. The first page
of this journal,[320] reproduced with orthographic exactness, reads as

     26 April 1826—

     I Left My Beloved Wife Lucy Audubon and My Son John Woodhouse
     on Tuesday afternoon the 26th April, bound to England,
     remained at Doctr Pope at St Francisville untill Wednesday 4
     o'clock P. M.: in the Steam Boat Red River Cape Kimble—having
     for Compagnons Messrs D. Hall & John Haliday—reached New
     Orleans Thursday 27th at 12—Visited Many Vessels for My
     Passage and concluded to go in the Ship Delos of Kennebunk
     Cape Joseph Hatch bound to Liverpool, Loaded with Cotton

     The Red River Steam Boat left on her return on Sunday and I
     Wrote by her to Thee My Dearest Friend and forwardd Thee 2
     Small Boxes of Flowering Plants—

     saw, spoke to & walked with Charles Briggs, much altered young

     Lived at New Orleans at G. L. Sapinot in Company with Costé—

     During My Stay at New Orleans, I saw my old and friendly
     acquaintances the familly Pamar; but the whole time spent in
     that City was heavy & dull—a few Gentlemen Calld to see My
     Drawings—I Generally Walked from Morning untill Dusk My hands
     behind me, paying but very partial attention, to all I saw—New
     Orleans to a Man who does not trade in Dollars or any other
     Such Stuffs is a miserable Spot ==

     fatigued and discovering that the Ship could not be ready for
     Sea for several days, I ascended the Mississipy again in the
     Red River and once more found Myself with my Wife and Child.
     I arrived at Mrs Percy at 3 o'clock in the morning, having
     had a Dark ride through the Magnolia Woods but the Moments
     spent afterwards full repaid me—I remained 2 days and 3
     Nights, was a Wedding—of Miss Virginia Chisholm with Mr. D.
     Hall &c. I Left in Company With Lucy Mrs Percy house at
     Sun rise and went to Breakfast at My good [friend's, Augustin

The captain and mates of the _Delos_ were friendly, and whenever their
vessel was becalmed, they would let down a boat so that Audubon could
procure the stormy Petrel and numerous other birds which he was anxious
to examine in the flesh or depict for his "Ornithology."

During his long voyage of sixty-five days our adventurous traveler was
alternately elated or depressed by hopes or fears for the future, until
land was at last reached on Friday, July 21, 1826. The appearance of
Liverpool, said Audubon, "was agreeable, but no sooner had I entered
it than the smoke became so oppressive to my lungs that I could hardly
breathe." At the customs he was charged two pence on each of his
drawings, "as they were water-colored," but on his American books he had
to pay "four pence per pound," a circumstance in which he was possibly
favored by the following letter which he had brought with him from a
friend in New Orleans:

_Edward Holden to George Ramsden_

          NEW ORLEANS, _May 26th., 1826_.


     DEAR SIR.

     The present will be handed to you by Mr. J. J. Audubon of this
     city, whom most respectfully I beg to introduce to you.

     The principal object of Mr. Audubon's visit to England is
     to make arrangements for the publication of an extensive and
     very valuable collection of his drawings in Natural History,
     chiefly if not wholly of American Birds, and he takes them
     with him for that purpose. Can you be of any assistance to
     him by letters to Manchester and London? If you can I have
     no doubt that my introduction of him will insure your best
     attention and services.—Mr. Audubon is afraid of having to
     pay heavy duties upon his drawings. He will describe them to
     you, and if in getting them entered Low at the Custom House,
     or if in any other respect you can further his views, I shall
     consider your aid as an obligation conferred upon myself.
     Pray introduce him particularly to Mr. Booth, who I am sure
     will feel great interest in being acquainted with him, were
     it only on account of the desire he has always expressed to
     be of service to the new Manchester Institution, to which Mr.
     Audubon's drawings would be an invaluable acquisition.

     I am Dr. Sir

          Yours truly,

          EDWARD HOLDEN.

Among the letters which Audubon carried on this occasion, but which
apparently he did not deliver, was the following, addressed by a friend
in New Orleans to General Lafayette:[321]

_Louis P. Caire to General Lafayette_

          NEW ORLEANS, _15 May, 1826_.


     Monsieur Audubon, after having spent twenty-two years
     in the United States, is returning to Europe in order to
     publish a work to which he has devoted his entire life.
     This distinguished ornithologist, who bears letters from
     the most eminent citizens of the Union, will find, I trust,
     the encouragement to which his talents and his perseverance
     so fully entitle him, and however flattering may be the
     recommendations which his friends are eager to give him, these
     are yet, my dear General, beneath his merits. I have presumed
     to assure him of your patronage, and in introducing him to
     you I am convinced that it will be agreeable to you both.

     Adieu my General: give my kind regards to all your family,
     and permit me to embrace you as I love you.

          LOUIS P. CAIRE.

Before Audubon left New Orleans, an old acquaintance, Mr. Vincent
Nolte[322] of that city, had also furnished him with credentials, in
which it was stated that the naturalist was carrying with him four
hundred original drawings, and that his object was "to find a purchaser
or a publisher." "He has a crowd of letters," continued Nolte, "from Mr.
Clay, De Witt Clinton, and others for England, which will do much for
him; but your introduction to Mr. Roscoe and others will do more." This
judgment was sound, but the most valuable letter which Audubon carried
proved to be that of Nolte himself addressed to Richard Rathbone, Esq.,
of Liverpool, for it brought him into immediate friendly relations
with an influential family of merchants which also included William
Rathbone, a brother, as well as their father, William Rathbone, Senior,
whose interest in birds had made him in his younger days an amateur
collector and student. Seldom has the _rôle_ of Mæcenas been played more
effectively and with less ostentation than by those intelligent men of
affairs, to whom Audubon, with his fine enthusiasm and bold literary
plans, seemed to embody all the romance of the New World. They stood
sponsor for his work and worth, and did all in their power to make
their new discovery known. At the home of the senior Rathbone, called
"Greenbank," three miles out of Liverpool, the naturalist was warmly
welcomed, and his excellent hostess, Mrs. William Rathbone, the "Queen
bee," as he called her, received from him lessons in drawing and became
his first subscriber.

At this period Audubon often complained of shyness felt in meeting
strangers, but his "observatory nerves," as he said, never gave way.
He studied his English friends as closely as he had the birds of
America, and the results of his shrewd observations were often turned to
practical account. That he was as diffident as he declared himself to be
may be doubted, for he seems to have met nearly everyone of prominence
wherever he went, and a list of his acquaintance at the end of his
sojourn abroad would read much like a "Blue Book" of the British Isles.

At Liverpool Audubon received much assistance also from Edward
Roscoe, botanist and writer, Dr. Thomas S. Traill[323] and Adam
Hodgson, who introduced him to Lord Stanley. When he came to write his
_Ornithological Biography_, these early friends were all publicly called
by name, and we thus had (though, as it afterwards appeared, in name
only) the "Rathbone Warbler,"[324] "Stanley Hawk," "Children's Warbler,"
"Cuvier's Regulus," "Roscoe's Yellow-throat," "Selby's Flycatcher,"
and still possess "Bewick's Wren," "Traill's Flycatcher," "Henslow's
Bunting,"[325] "MacGillivray's Finch," and "Harlan's Hawk," to cite a
few instances of this form of acknowledgment.

Within barely a week after landing at Liverpool a total stranger,
Audubon was invited to show his drawings at the Royal Institution. The
exhibition, which lasted a month, was a surprising success; 413 persons,
as he recorded, were admitted on the second day, and it netted him one
hundred pounds although no charge for admission was made during the
first week.

Everyone, said the naturalist, was surprised at his appearance, for
he wore his hair long, dressed in unfashionable clothes, rose early,
worked late, and was abstemious in food and drink. Shortly after his
arrival, his sister-in-law, Mrs. Alexander Gordon, urged him to have
his hair cut and to buy a fashionable coat, but he could not then
bear to sacrifice his ambrosial locks, which continued to wave over
his shoulders until the following March. If we can accept Sir Walter
Besant's characterization of the period, the "long-haired Achæan"
was no stranger to the streets of London as late as 1837: "brave is
the exhibition of flowing locks; they flow over the ears and over the
coat-collars; you can smell the bear's grease across the street; and
if these amaranthine locks were to be raised you would see the shiny
coating of bear's grease upon the velvet collar below."

Audubon had not been in England three weeks before he resumed his
drawing and painting habits, at first in order to repay his friends
for their kindness, and later as a means of support; at times he would
devote every spare moment to this work, and he was then able to paint
fourteen hours at a stretch without fatigue. On October 2 he recorded
that he had made in less than twenty minutes a diminutive sketch of the
Turkey Cock from his large twenty-three hour picture. This was for Mrs.
William Rathbone, Senior, who later presented it to him in the form of a
handsome gold-mounted seal, inscribed with his favorite motto, "America,
my country."[326] The facility which Audubon displayed in producing his
pictures of animal life—American wild turkeys, trapped otters, fighting
cats, English game pieces, and the like, in a style both novel and
individual, added much to his immediate popularity in England, as it
later did to his purse. His painting devices are thus referred to in a
journal entry for January, 1827:

     No one, I think, paints in my method; I, who have never
     studied but by piece-meal, form my pictures according to my
     ways of study. For instance, I am now working on a Fox; I take
     one neatly killed, put him up with wires and when satisfied
     with the truth of the position, I take my palette and work as
     rapidly as possible; the same with my birds; if practicable I
     finish the bird at one sitting,—often, it is true, of fourteen
     hours,—so that I think they are correct, both in detail and

When he was painting pheasants and needed a white one as "a keystone
of light" to his picture, a nobleman sent word that he would be
given "leave to see the pictures" in his hall, but this Audubon
characteristically refused, being determined to pay no such visits
without invitation.

On the 10th of September, 1826, Audubon left Liverpool, in a hopeful
mood, for Manchester, with the intention of visiting the chief cities
of England and Scotland. He was fortified with a bundle of letters
to a long list of distinguished people, including Baron von Humboldt,
General Lafayette, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Humphry Davy and Sir Thomas
Lawrence. His first step proved a disappointment, and when he finally
left the City of Spindles six weeks later, he found himself poorer
than when he had entered it. At Manchester, however, he added to his
list of interested friends and possible patrons, and acting upon their
suggestion, opened a subscription book for the publication of his long
meditated work, to be called _The Birds of America_. The Rathbones, as
well as other friends whose advice he esteemed, tried to dissuade him
from the plan of publishing his drawings in their full size, which was
that of life, on account of the great expense involved and the enormous
bulk such a work would assume; but he could not bring himself to give
up the idea, in which he received the support of the London bookseller,
Mr. Bohn, who, after seeing Audubon's drawings reversed his opinion,
saying that they must be brought out in their full size, and that they
would certainly pay.

After coming to England Audubon often thought of the shifting scenes and
strange contrasts his life had brought. One day he felt the pinch of
poverty, but on the next fared sumptuously at the tables of the rich;
now a rambler in the wilds of America, glad to accept the hospitality
of the humblest prairie squatter, now the guest of some metropolitan
aristocrat. "The squatter," he said, when writing in England, "is rough,
true, and hospitable; my friends here polished, true, and generous. Both
give freely, and he who during the tough storms of life can be in such
spots may well say that he has tasted happiness."

While at Manchester Audubon was driven to the town of Bakewell, "the
spot," he wrote in deference to his wife, "which has been honored
with thy ancestor's name." Shortly after, on October 23, he started by
stage for Edinburgh, and the distance of 212 miles was covered in three
days; the fare was £5 5s. 5d., which he regarded as exorbitant, but he
complained not so much of the charge as of the beggarly manner of the
drivers, who never hesitated to open the door of their coach and ask
for a shilling at the slightest provocation.

At Edinburgh Audubon was welcomed so warmly that he began to feel that
ultimate success was at last within his reach. Professor Robert Jameson
of the University did much to make his work known, and invited him to
coöperate in an enterprise upon which he was then engaged;[327] this
was pronounced by Dr. Knox of the Medical School to be a "job book," but
whatever its merits may have been, Audubon decided after due reflection
to stand on his own feet.

Not long after reaching the Scottish capital, Audubon made the
acquaintance of Mr. W. Home Lizars, styled "a Mr. Lizard" by a snapshot
biographer of a later day, a well known, expert engraver and painter,
who engaged in various publishing enterprises. When Audubon had held
up a few of his drawings for his inspection, Lizars rose, exclaiming:
"My God! I never saw anything like this before." The picture of the
Mockingbirds attacked by a rattlesnake particularly struck his fancy,
but when he came to the drawing of the Great-footed Hawks, "with
bloody rags at their beaks' ends, and cruel delight in their daring
eyes," Lizars declared that he would both engrave and publish it. "Mr.
Audubon," said he, "the people here don't know who you are at all, but
depend upon it, they _shall_ know." Lizars eventually agreed to engrave
and bring out the first specimen number of _The Birds of America_, and
about the 10th of November made a beginning with the first plate. On
November 28, 1826, he handed Audubon a first proof of the Wild Turkey
Cock, a subject chosen to justify the great size of the work, which was
to be in double elephant folio, and which in point of size is perhaps
to this day the largest extended publication in existence.[328] This and
the second plate, which represented the Yellow-billed Cuckoo[329] in the
act of seizing a tiger swallowtail butterfly on a branch of the paw-paw
tree, were finished by December 10; the first number of five plates was
ready some weeks later. Lizars engraved at Edinburgh the first ten of
Audubon's plates, but most of these were subsequently retouched, colored
and reissued by his successor in London, as will presently appear.


     PLATE I

     _Wild Turkey_ MELEAGRIS GALLOPAVO. Linn. _Male._
     _American Cane. Miegia macrosperma._

     Drawn from nature by J. J. Audubon F.R.S.F.L.S.
     Engraved by W. H. Lizars Edinr.
     Retouched by R. Havell Junr.]

When Audubon's pictures were exhibited at the Royal Institution of
Edinburgh, their success was immediate, and like the appearance of a new
Waverley novel, they became the talk of the town; the American woodsman
had provided a new thrill for the leaders of fashion, as well as for the
literati and the scientific men. The "noblest Roman of them all," Sir
Walter Scott, refused to attend, but after having met the naturalist he
wrote this in his journal: "I wish I had gone to see his drawings; but
I had heard so much about them that I resolved not to see them—'a crazy
way of mine, your honor.'"

Philarète-Chasles, a well known French critic of the period, has left
the following record[330] of the effect which this exhibition made on
his impressionable mind:

     We have admired in the rooms of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
     the public exhibition of [Audubon's] original watercolor
     drawings. A magic power transported us into the forests which
     for so many years this man of genius has trod. Learned and
     ignorant alike were astonished at the spectacle, which we will
     not attempt to reproduce.

     Imagine a landscape wholly American, trees, flowers, grass,
     even the tints of the sky and the waters, quickened with
     a life that is real, peculiar, trans-Atlantic. On twigs,
     branches, bits of shore, copied by the brush with the
     strictest fidelity, sport the feathered races of the New
     World, in the size of life, each in its particular attitude,
     its individuality and peculiarities. Their plumages sparkle
     with nature's own tints; you see them in motion or at rest,
     in their plays and their combats, in their anger fits and
     their caresses, singing, running, asleep, just awakened,
     beating the air, skimming the waves, or rending one another
     in their battles. It is a real and palpable vision of the
     New World, with its atmosphere, its imposing vegetation, and
     its tribes which know not the yoke of man. The sun shines
     athwart the clearing in the woods; the swan floats suspended
     between a cloudless sky and a glittering wave; strange and
     majestic figures keep pace with the sun, which gleams from the
     mica sown broadcast on the shores of the Atlantic; and this
     realization of an entire hemisphere, this picture of a nature
     so lusty and strong, is due to the brush of a single man; such
     an unheard of triumph of patience and genius!—the resultant
     rather of a thousand triumphs won in the face of innumerable

Another French writer[331] remarked that Audubon produced the same
sensation among the savants of England that Franklin had made at the
close of the eighteenth century among the politicians of the Old World;
his works, he added, should be translated into his native tongue, and
produced in a form which would enable them to reach the library of every
naturalist in France.

One after another the scientific, literary, and arts societies of
the modern Athens elected Audubon to honorary membership; Combe, the
phrenologist and author of _The Constitution of Man_, examined the
naturalist's head and modeled it in plaster, for of course it proved
to be a perfect exemplification of his system; Syme, the artist, did
his portrait for Lizars to engrave. Meanwhile the press was giving
such flattering accounts of the man and his work that Audubon confessed
that he was quite ashamed to walk the street. At the annual banquet of
the Royal Institution, held at the Waterloo Hotel and presided over by
Lord Elgin, Audubon was toasted, and it required all his resolution to
rise and, for the first time in his life, address a large assembly;
this, however, he managed to do in the following words: "Gentlemen;
my command of words in which to reply to your kindness is almost as
limited as that of the birds hanging on the walls of your Institution.
I am truly obliged for your favors. Permit me to say; may God bless you
all, and may this society prosper." On the 10th of December he wrote:
"My situation in Edinburgh borders on the miraculous," and he felt
that his reception in that city was a good augury for the future. But
the life that he was compelled to lead was extremely fatiguing, and
he often longed to return to his family and to his favorite magnolia
woods in Louisiana. "I go to dine," he wrote, "at six, seven, or even
eight o'clock in the evening, and it is often one or two when the
party breaks up; then painting all day, with my correspondence, which
increases daily, makes my head feel like an immense hornet's nest,
and my body wearied beyond all calculation; yet it has to be done;
those who have my best interests at heart tell me I must _not refuse_
a single invitation." But notwithstanding the tax which society always
levies upon the lion's strength, he wrote almost daily in his journal
or diary,[332] and its pages, from which we have been quoting, became
a mirror of all that he saw, heard, or did. Audubon was generous with
his time, as with everything else, and would never hesitate to lay
aside his own work for the sake of a friend who was eager to acquire
his method of drawing. But when his entertainment commenced with an
invitation to breakfast, he began to be alarmed at the large share of
his working hours which had to be surrendered to his friends. "I seem,
in a measure," he said, "to have gone back to my early days of society
and fine dressing, silk stockings and pumps, and all the finery with
which I made a popinjay of myself in my youth.... It is Mr. Audubon
here, and Mr. Audubon there, and I can only hope they will not make a
conceited fool of Mr. Audubon at last."

In response to urgent appeals he began at this time to contribute to the
scientific journals of the Scottish capital, a step which only served
to remind him that the rose was more prolific in thorns than flowers.
Dr. Brewster, however, in his _Journal of Science_, and John Wilson
in _Blackwoods_, sang pæans in his praise, and there is no doubt that
"Christopher North," so like and yet so unlike the American woodsman,
did much to smooth his path in his own country as well as in Europe.
Though keenly feeling the need of literary advice in those early
contributions, Audubon was quite shocked at the alterations which Dr.
Brewster had made in one of these articles, for though the editor had
"greatly improved the style," he had quite "destroyed the matter."

On December 21, 1826, Audubon wrote to Thomas Sully that he would send
him a copy of the first number of his _Birds_, with the request that he
forward it in his name "to that Institution which thought me unworthy
to be a member.... There is no malice in my heart," he continued, "and I
wish no return or acknowledgment from them. I am now _determined_ never
to be a member of that Philadelphia Society." Let it be noted, however,
that Audubon was elected to membership in the American Philosophical
Society, when their recognition could no longer be withheld and when
mutual animosities had died down. Three days later he recorded that all
of his drawings had been taken from the walls of the Royal Institution,
where they had been on exhibition a month, and that he was intending to
present to the Society his large canvas of the Wild Turkeys, for which
Galley, the picture dealer, had offered him a hundred guineas on the
previous day.[333]

Among Audubon's early patrons were Lord and Lady Morton, and more than
once he was invited to visit them in their beautiful country seat
of "Dalmahoy," where a large, square, half-Gothic building, crowned
with turrets and adorned with all the signs of heraldry, overlooked a
beautiful landscape to Edinburgh, marked by its famous castle, seen in
miniature on the horizon, eight miles away. Being somewhat apprehensive
of meeting the former Chamberlain to the late Queen Charlotte, Audubon
had imagined the Earl to be "a man of great physical strength and size";
instead, however, he saw

     a small, slender man, tottering on his feet, weaker than a
     newly hatched partridge; he welcomed me with tears in his
     eyes, held one of my hands, and attempted speaking, which was
     difficult to him, the Countess meanwhile rubbing his other
     hand. I saw at a glance the situation, and begged he would be
     seated ... and I took a seat on a sofa that I thought would
     swallow me up, so much down swelled around me. It was a vast
     room, at least sixty feet long, and wide in proportion, let
     me say thirty feet, all hung with immense paintings on a rich
     purple ground; all was purple about me. The large tables
     were covered with books, instruments, drawing apparatus, a
     telescope, with hundreds of ornaments.

After luncheon Audubon's "Book of Nature" was produced, and his drawings
spread out and admired. Next day the Countess, who was "a woman of
superior intellect and conversation," was given "a most unnecessary
lesson" in drawing, for, said the naturalist, "she drew much better than
I did; but I taught her to rub with cork, and prepare for water-color."
Before he left the Countess wrote her name in his subscription book,
and arranged that he should return and resume his instruction.

One of Audubon's early friends at Edinburgh was Captain Basil Hall,[334]
traveler and writer, who was then about to start on a journey through
the United States; he told the naturalist that he was a midshipman
on board the _Leander_ "when Pierce was killed off New York," at the
time of Audubon's return with Rozier to America in 1806, when Captain
Sammis, upon seeing the British frigate, "wore around Long Island Sound,
and reached New York by Hell Gate." It was at Captain Hall's home that
Audubon met Francis Jeffrey. The indomitable critic and reviewer was
described as "a small (not to say tiny) man," who entered the room
"with a woman under one arm, and a hat under the other." "His looks were
shrewd," said the naturalist, his eyes "almost cunning" and though he
talked much, he appeared unsympathetic. Their meeting was productive of
no friendly feelings on either side.

Three months after reaching Edinburgh, the long awaited opportunity
of meeting the greatest literary figure of the day came to Audubon
unexpectedly, for he did not wish to be introduced in a crowd. Under
date of January 22, 1827, he wrote that Captain Hall came to his rooms
and said: "Put on your coat, and come with me to Sir Walter Scott: he
wishes to see you now." "In a moment," said Audubon, "I was ready....
My heart trembled; I longed for the meeting, yet wished it over." When
they were ushered into Sir Walter's study, the great Scot came forward,
and warmly pressing the hand of his visitor, said he was glad to have
the honor of meeting him. Audubon's record of the meeting continues:

     His long, loose, silvery locks struck me; he looked like
     Franklin at his best. He also reminded me of Benjamin West;
     he had the great benevolence of William Roscoe about him, and
     a kindness most prepossessing. I could not forbear looking
     at him; my eyes feasted on his countenance. I watched his
     movements as I would those of a celestial being; his long,
     heavy, white eyebrows struck me forcibly. His little room
     was tidy, though it partook a good deal of the character of
     a laboratory. He was wrapped in a quilted morning-gown of
     light purple silk; he had been at work writing on the "Life
     of Napoleon." He writes close lines, rather curved as they go
     from left to right, and puts an immense deal on very little
     paper.... I talked little, but, believe me, I listened and

Two days later Audubon paid Scott a second visit, this time with his
portfolio, but little was recorded of this interview other than that
it was more agreeable than the first, and that he greatly admired the
accomplished Miss Scott, to whom he later sent as a gift the first
number of his plates. Audubon's drawings were exhibited at a meeting of
the Royal Society over which Sir Walter presided, and Scott was also
in attendance at the Royal Institution when Audubon's large painting
of the Black Cocks was shown. "We talked much" on this occasion, said
the naturalist, "and I would have gladly joined him in a glass of wine,
but my foolish habits prevented me." This restriction on wine was soon
removed, as was that on whisky, whether of the Scotch or Kentucky brand,
and during his later life in America Audubon was never a teetotaler
by any means. While at the Exhibition Sir Walter pointed to Landseer's
picture of the dying stag, saying, "many such scenes, Mr. Audubon, have
I witnessed in my younger days." Audubon was doubtless too polite to
express an opinion of that popular artist, though of that very picture
he had written in his journal three days before that there was no nature
in it, and that he considered it a farce; "the stag," he said, "had
his tongue out, and his mouth shut! The principal dog, a greyhound,
held the deer by one ear, just as if a loving friend; the young hunter
had laced the deer by one horn very prettily, and in the attitude of a
ballet-dancer was about to cast the noose over the head of the animal."

Scott and Audubon were kindred spirits in their love of sport, of wild
and untameable nature, as well as of man in his Homeric relation to
it. Shortly after their first interview the great Scotsman wrote this
handsome tribute in his journal:

     January 22 [1827].—A visit from Basil Hall with Mr. Audubon,
     the ornithologist, who has followed that pursuit by many a
     long wandering in the American forests. He is an American by
     naturalization, a Frenchman by birth; but less of a Frenchman
     than I have ever seen—no dash, or glimmer, or shine about
     him, but great simplicity of manners and behaviour; slight
     in person, and plainly dressed; wears long hair, which
     time has not yet tinged; his countenance acute, handsome
     and interesting, but still simplicity is the predominant

Of the later visit of which we just spoke we find this account:

     January 24.—Visit from Mr. Audubon, who brings some of his
     birds. The drawings are of the first order—the attitudes of
     the birds of the most animated character, and the situations
     appropriate; one of a snake attacking a bird's nest, while
     the birds (the parents) peck at the reptile's eyes—they
     usually, in the long-run, destroy him, says the naturalist.
     The feathers of these gay little sylphs, most of them from
     the Southern States, are most brilliant, and are represented
     with what, were it [not] connected with so much spirit in
     the attitude, I would call a laborious degree of execution.
     This extreme correctness is of the utmost consequence to
     the naturalist, [but] as I think (having no knowledge of
     _vertu_), rather gives a stiffness to the drawings. This
     sojourner in the desert has been in the woods for months
     together. He preferred associating with the Indians to the
     company of the Back Settlers; very justly, I daresay, for
     a civilized man of the lower order—that is, the dregs of
     civilization—when thrust back on the savage state becomes
     worse than a savage....

     The Indians, he says, are dying fast; they seem to pine
     and die whenever the white population approaches them. The
     Shawanese, who amounted, Mr. Audubon says, to some thousands
     within his memory, are almost extinct, and so are various
     other tribes. Mr. Audubon could never hear any tradition about
     the mammoth, though he made anxious inquiries. He gives no
     countenance to the idea that the red Indians were ever a more
     civilized people than at this day, or that a more civilized
     people had preceded them in North America. He refers the
     bricks, etc., occasionally found, and appealed to in support
     of this opinion, to the earlier settlers,—or, where kettles
     and other utensils may have been found, to the early trade
     between the Indians and the Spaniards.

Audubon was anxious to receive a written recommendation from the great
"Wizard of the North" touching the merits of his work, the publication
of which had just begun, but Sir Walter Scott sensibly demurred, on the
ground that his knowledge of natural history was insufficient to qualify
him to pass expert judgment. "But," he added, "I can easily and truly
say, that what I have had the pleasure of seeing, touching your talents
and manners, corresponds with all I have heard in your favor; and I am
a sincere believer in the extent of your scientific attainments."

While Audubon was playing the _rôle_ of society's pet lion at Edinburgh
in the winter of 1827, he was painting to meet the expense of engraving
his first plates, and writing at odd times of the day or night. On
February 20 he recorded that his paper on the "Habits of the Wild Pigeon
of America" was begun on the previous Wednesday, and finished at half
past three in the morning; so completely, said he, was he transported
to the woods of America and to the pigeons, that his ears "were as if
really filled with the noise of their wings"; yet he added that were it
not for the facts it contained, he would not give a cent for it, "nor
anybody else, I dare say." Four days later, at the Wernerian Society,
he read his paper on the rattlesnake, but the torrent of abuse which
soon rewarded his efforts in this direction finally led him to reserve
all literary efforts for a future and more propitious time.[335]

A large painting begun in January of this year, called "Pheasants
attacked by a Fox," was probably a variant of the "Pheasants attacked
by a Dog" (illustrated at page 394), the original of which is now in
the American Museum of Natural History, New York City. This canvas,
which was exhibited by the Scottish Society of Artists in February,
1827, measured nine by six feet, and was the largest piece he had ever
attempted. "Sometimes I like the picture," he said, and "then a heat
rises in my face and I think it a miserable daub." "As to the birds,"
he added, "so far as _they_ are concerned I am quite satisfied, but the
ground, the foliage, the sky, the distance, are dreadful."[336]

In the spring of 1827 Audubon enjoyed the novel sensation of going to
church in a sedan chair, and of hearing Sidney Smith preach. "He pleased
me at times," he said, "by painting my foibles with care, and again I
felt the color come to my cheeks as he portrayed my sins." Later there
was an opportunity to meet the famous preacher with his fair daughter,
and to show them his drawings of American birds.

The following letter[337] was sent at this time to his wife in America:

_Audubon to his Wife_

          EDINBURGH _March 12th, 1827_.


     I am now proud that I can announce thee the result of the last
     meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. I was unanimously
     elected a Foreign Member of that Institution on the 5t.h.
     Instant and am at last an F. R. S..—Wilt thou not think it
     wonderful; to me it is like a dream, and quite as much so when
     I see the particular attentions paid me by all ranks of the
     best Society. On the 6t.h. I received the official Letter
     from the Secretary with the seal of the Society and the arms
     of Scotland—this along with my other diplomas and Letters, I
     assure thee enable me to be respected and well received in any
     portion of the Civilized World. Sir Walter Scott has also been
     so kind as to give me a Letter that I may exhibit wherever
     I may go==I have Two Letters from him very kind==all this I
     think will afford thee great Pleasure.

     I am now preparing to leave Edinburgh and will do so in a few
     days, I am _now_ anxious to visit London as soon as I possibly
     can, and yet want to spend a few days at New Castle, York,
     Liverpool, Dublin, then back again to England, go by Cambridge
     and Oxford.—If I meet the success that I expect in that Tour
     it is very probable that soon after my reaching London, I will
     write for thee to Come, and when I do so, my Lucy may come
     without the _least Hesitation_ for I will then be ready to
     receive her!

     Since my last of the 22d of February, I have received thine
     of the 31t of December, 3d of January and 8th of Do.
     this last mostly John's, I am particularly glad that thou
     hast left the Beech Woods, yet thou might as well have given
     me at once _thy good reasons for doing so_. I hope that at
     this Instant that I am writing, thou art snug and comfortably
     settled afresh.

     The Trees and Segments have not yet arrived, but I hope to
     hear soon that they have—I have not a word about the Seeds
     reaching yet. do my Love always say by what vessel any thing
     comes, as John as concluded to take Lessons of Music I have no
     wish to sell my Gun but wish to give it him as his ow[n] in
     Fee Simple, _as soon as he deserves it from thy own Hands_.
     May God bless him!—if all continues well with me Victor and
     him may rise to eminence and therefore try _Johny's Spunk_. do
     beg or make him draw all kinds of Limbs of Trees or Flowers
     for me and whenever he kills a bird of any kind tell him to
     measure the Guts _particularly_ and make a regular list of
     the names of the Birds, length and thickness of those Guts
     and their contents==[338]

     I wrote a long letter to each Victor and N. Berthoud on
     the 27 February, but not a word from either of them as yet
     reached me. I was quite shocked to see thy last letter of the
     8th of January without the print of thy new Seals, I am
     quite frightened at thy watch not having reachd thee, yet
     I hope every new Letter will bring me better tidings. I now
     collecting Letters from all my Friends here and will have God
     knows enough of them. I only hope I may soon be in a _regular
     way_ of making a _comfortable living for ourselves all_:

     All the papers and books I send thee mention my name. My work
     is lookd upon as unrivalled in any Country, I will soon
     know how it will pay.—I can only add that I will write to
     thee from all the places I visit==Let Victor have a copy of
     this==Collect all kinds of Curiosities whatever==try to send
     or bring with thee but send first if Possible Live Birds of
     hardy kinds such as _Blue Jays_ by THEMSELVES. Red Birds Do.
     red wingd Starling Do, Partridges &c &c.—present my humble
     respects to Mr & Mrs Johnsons and remembrances to good
     Friend bourgeat—try to send me an account of the growing of
     Cotton from A to Z, written by an able Planter—I wish thee to
     make regular memorandums thyself respecting all about Habits
     & Localities &c &c.==thou wilst scarce believe that this
     day there [are] in many places 16 feet of snow. the weather
     has been tremendous—yet with all this no Invitation is ever
     laid aside and the other _evening_ I went to _Diner_ in a
     Hackny Coach drawn by 4 Horses, and to church on Sunday last
     in a Sedan chair to hear the famous Sidney Smith, curious
     diferences of manners here I assure thee.

     I have seen and know personally all the great men of Scotland
     and many of England.

     What a curious interesting book a Biographer—well acquainted
     with my Life could write, it is still more wonderfull and
     extraordinary than that of my Father!

     Fear not my connecting myself in any way with Charles M. he
     is a mere worm on the hearth, and since he has abandoned his
     _Grand Flora_ is out of my books—it has perhaps been an error
     in our Lives that thou didst not come with me. So much indeed
     do I now think so that I have advised Capn Hall to take his
     Lady and child with him. be sure to pave the way for them to
     Judge Mathews and N. Berthoud to whom I have given him letters
     to.—I send thee his Travels, read his interview with Napoleon;
     I write my Journal every day, it seems that that portion of
     it forwardd thee long ago as never reachd thee as thou dost
     not mention it. I am sorry for all these little misfortunes
     and can hardly a/c for them. I have not heard from H. Clay but
     will refresh his memory, I hope at the same time to receive a
     Letter from the President==I hope this day the last beautiful
     broach I sent thee as a new Years gift is shining on thy
     bosom, as I have witnessed the brightness of thy own sweet
     Eyes, oh my Lucy what would I give now in my possession for
     a kiss on thy Lips and——God for ever bless thee thine Husband
     and Friend for ever—

          JOHN J. AUDUBON

          F.R.S.E.   Fellow Royal Society Edinburgh—

          F.A.S.—    Fellow Royal Society antiquarians—

          M.W.S.N.H.—Member Wernerian Society of Natural History

          M.S.A.—    Member Society of Arts of Scotland—

          M.P.L.S.—  Member Philosophical & Literary Society Liverpool

          M.L.N.Y.—  Member Lyceum of New York.


     I am very thankfull to you for your Letters continue to write
     from time to time, draw, and study music closely, there is
     time for all things—I give you my Gun with all my Heart best
     wishes, but earn it at your Dear Mamma's will—God bless You—

          Your Father and Friend—
          JOHN J. AUDUBON

At Edinburgh Audubon met a young landscape painter, Joseph B. Kidd, and
the two worked together for some time, Kidd receiving instruction in
animal painting and Audubon hints on the treatment of his landscapes,
which had always been a source of trouble to him. Kidd was Audubon's
Edinburgh agent for a time, and later entered upon the ambitious project
of reproducing all of his birds in oils, as will be noticed later.[339]

On March 17, 1827, when the second number of his _Birds_ was in
preparation, Audubon boldly issued his "Prospectus," contrary to the
advice of some of his friends, who could see only egregious folly
in such an undertaking and regarded it as foredoomed to failure. As
everybody knows, it is easier to say things than to do them, but all
these friendly critics sang a different tune later on, when they had
seen more of the indomitable will and self-reliance of the man, who
was to carry steadily forward to a successful issue a work which was
in press nearly twelve years and which cost over $100,000 to produce.
In Audubon's original prospectus of _The Birds of America_ the
specifications as to the form, size, and cost of the work, which had
been determined for some months, underwent little change in subsequent
editions of this printed statement.[340]

Audubon left Edinburgh for London on April 5, 1827, with locks shorn
but energy unabated. He followed a roundabout course, visiting Belford,
"Mitford Castle," Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York, Leeds, Liverpool, and
Shrewsbury, at every point extending his acquaintance, showing his
drawings to many, and adding appreciably to his growing list of
subscribers. Several days were spent in hunting and drawing birds with
the Selbys, at their beautiful country place called "Twizel House,"
at Belford, in Northumberland, where he was soon made to feel as much
at home as with his older Liverpool friends, the Rathbones, at "Green

P. J. Selby, after whom Audubon named a Flycatcher which appeared in
his second number, was an amateur artist and ornithologist, and at that
time was engaged upon an extensive publication to which Audubon was
invited to contribute, a single volume of plates and text having then
been published.[341]

At Newcastle, where Audubon spent a week, he saw much of its grand old
man, Thomas Bewick, "the first wood cutter in the world," and conceived
a deep regard for him, which he afterwards expressed in one of his
"Episodes." As they parted, this great son of nature held him closely by
the hand, and for the third time repeated, "God preserve you!" "I looked
at him in such a manner," said Audubon, "that I am sure he understood
I could not speak."

As he proceeded southward, his subscription list augmented apace,
Manchester alone giving him eighteen new names, and he began to feel
more sanguine of success, if, he added, "I continue to be honest,
industrious, and consistent."



     Impressions of the metropolis—A trunk full of
     letters—Friendship of Children—Sir Thomas Lawrence—Lizars
     stops work—A family of artists—Robert Havell, Junior—_The
     Birds of America_ fly to London—The Zoölogical Gallery—Crisis
     in the naturalist's affairs—Royal patronage—Interview with
     Gallatin—Interesting the Queen—Desertion of patrons—Painting
     to independence—Personal habits and tastes—Enters the
     Linnæan Society—The White-headed Eagle—Visit to the great
     universities—Declines to write for magazines—Audubon-Swainson
     correspondence—"Highfield Hall" near Tyttenhanger—In Paris
     with Swainson—Glimpses of Cuvier—His report on _The Birds of
     America_—Patronage of the French Government and the Duke of
     Orleans—Bonaparte the naturalist.

Audubon reached London on May 21, 1827, and put up at the "Bull and
Mouth" tavern, but soon moved into more permanent lodgings at number
55 Great Russell Street, near the British Museum. Though for a long
time eager to see the capital, no sooner had he reached it than he was
anxious to be away and more homesick than ever for his family and his
beloved America. London then seemed to him "like the mouth of an immense
monster, guarded by millions of sharp-edged teeth," from which he could
escape only by miracle.

He had brought with him a formidable array of letters addressed to the
_élite_ of the capital,[342] and he bore besides nearly a trunkful
for the Continent, as well as general letters from Henry Clay,
Andrew Jackson and others in America for our consular and diplomatic
representatives in Europe. His epistolary basis for the acquisition
of useful acquaintances could hardly have been better, and further
testimonials were gathered at every stage of his progress to the city
of his hopes, but Audubon's best letter of credit, which could be
read by all the world, was an open, winning countenance. After he had
wandered over London for the greater part of three days without finding
a single individual at home, he was tempted to consign his valuable
documents to the post, an error which he did not repeat, as it deprived
him of the acquaintance of fully one-half of the people to whom they
were addressed. One of these London letters which follows, written by
Captain Basil Hall to John Murray, the noted publisher and founder of
the _Quarterly Review_, is particularly interesting in showing that
Audubon was far from pleased with the progress of his work in Edinburgh,
and that he was then contemplating a change which was later effected.

_Basil Hall to John Murray_

          EDINB _23rd Feby. 1827_


     This will be delivered to you by my friend Mr John Audubon, an
     American Gentleman who has been residing here this winter, &
     I beg in the most particular manner to introduce him to your
     acquaintance and to ask for him the advantage of your good

     Mr Audubon has spent [a] great part of his life in making
     a collection of drawings of the Birds of North America, &
     in studying their Habits, with the intention of publishing
     a Complete Ornithology of America. For such a work his
     materials, both in the shape of drawings and of written notes,
     are immense and he is now going to London in order to set this
     gigantic work in motion.

     Mr Audubon, however, is not very well versed in the details
     of such matters, & therefore I beg of you to have the
     goodness to aid him with your advice on the occasion—to
     introduce engravers printers & so forth to him, and generally
     speaking to put him in the way of bringing out his work in an
     advantageous manner to himself.

     I trust all this will give you no more trouble than you will
     be willing to take at my earnest solicitation.

          I remain Ever, My Dear Sir,
          Most Sincerely Yrs

          BASIL HALL.
          JOHN MURRAY Esqr

Audubon carried also a long letter from "Mr. Hay,"[343] dated at "16
Athol Crescent, Edinburgh, 15 March, 1827," and addressed to the care
of his brother, Robert William Hay, of Downing Street, West, in which
this curious statement occurs: "Mr. A. is son of the late French Admiral
Audubon, but has himself lived from the cradle in the United States,
having been born in one of the French colonies."

The document which was to prove of greatest service to him, however, was
addressed to John George Children,[344] then in charge of the Department
of Zoölogy in the British Museum and secretary of the Royal Society.
Children assumed the management of Audubon's work when he returned to
America in 1829 and again in 1831; to him and Lord Stanley, in 1830,
the naturalist probably owed his nomination to membership in the Royal

Soon after reaching London Audubon paid his respects to Sir Thomas
Lawrence, for whom he had two letters, and made an appointment for
showing his work to this famous artist. He was also gratified to receive
the subscription of Lord Stanley and of Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who
was then in London.

Audubon had not been in London a month before word was received from
Lizars that all his colorers had struck work and that everything was at
a stand. Accordingly, he began to search London for skilled workmen, and
on June 18 wrote: "I went five times to see Mr. Havell, the colorer, but
he was out of town. I am full of anxiety and greatly depressed. Oh! how
sick I am of London!" Three days later another discouraging letter came
from Lizars, who shortly after threw up his contract and left his patron
in a sad predicament—with an enormously expensive work, still-born, on
his hands, without adequate funds, and, in short, with all his cherished
plans suspended in mid-air. Audubon no doubt realized that if his grand
undertaking were to succeed at all, it must experience a new birth in
London, where an expert engraver of the requisite enterprise and zeal
must be found without delay. He closed his journal on the second day of
July with the remark that he was too dull and mournful to write a line,
and it was not opened again for nearly three months.

     AMERICA," VOLUME II, 1831-1834.]

This gap in Audubon's record can now be filled in reference to some
important particulars, for in the interval he made his greatest
discovery in England, in Robert Havell, Junior, then a young and
unknown artist of thirty-four, who through eleven years of the closest
association with his new patron was to become one of the greatest
engravers in aquatint the world has ever seen. Until recently the
intimate story of Audubon's relation to the Havells has been much
obscured.[345] The reference in the journal record of June 19, just
given, was undoubtedly to Robert Havell, Senior, who for many years
was associated with his father, Daniel Havell, the first of five
generations of artists of that name, in the engraving and publishing
business, but who at this time was established independently at 79
Newman Street, London; he also conducted a shop called the "Zoölogical
Gallery," at which were sold engravings, books, artists' materials,
naturalists' supplies, and specimens of natural history of every sort.
His three sons, Robert, George, and Henry Augustus, all became artists,
but the eldest, who bore his father's name, was educated for a learned
profession. Contrary to his father's injunctions and advice, Robert,
who was bent on becoming an artist, abruptly left his home in 1825,
determined to shift for himself. He began with an extensive sketching
tour on the River Wye, in Monmouthshire, and produced numerous paintings
which, as his biographer remarks, display all the charm found in the
work of his distinguished cousin, William Havell. These won immediate
recognition in London, where he received commissions from various
publishers, including the house of Messrs. Colnaghi & Company.

Robert Havell, Senior, then in his fifty-eighth year, though deeply
interested in Audubon's adventurous plans, felt himself too old to
embark on so extended a work, which it was then believed would require
from fourteen to sixteen years for completion; he volunteered, however,
to do his best to find a substitute. With this in view, he applied to
Mr. Colnaghi, the publisher, and was immediately shown the unsigned
proof of a beautiful landscape, exquisitely drawn and engraved by one
of the youthful retainers of his establishment. The elder Havell, after
scrutinizing it carefully, exclaimed, "That's just the man for me!"
"Then," replied the publisher, "send for your own son!" Through this
singular coincidence, father and son became reconciled and a partnership
between them was soon announced.

As a test of young Havell's skill, to follow the story of his
biographer, Audubon gave him his drawing of the Prothonotary Warbler,
which had already been engraved and issued by Lizars as Plate iii
of _The Birds of America_ earlier in that year. Havell finished the
engraving in two weeks, when a proof was struck and the naturalist
summoned. Audubon examined the print with the utmost keenness and
deliberation; then he seized the sheet, and holding it up, danced about
the room, calling out in his French accent: "Ze jig is up, ze jig is
up!" The Havells, who at first thought this might signify disapproval,
were quickly disabused when Audubon approached young Robert and,
throwing his arms about his neck, assured him that his long-sought
engraver had been found at last. Having given this story, I wish it were
possible to confirm it, but a close examination of this plate proves
either that the story is a fiction, or that some other drawing was used
as a test of Havell's skill.[346]

The part which this interesting family played in Audubon's success
will be unfolded later.[347] Suffice it now to say that Messrs. Robert
Havell & Son, in London, undertook afresh the production of _The Birds
of America_ in the summer of 1827. The partnership was divided or
dissolved in 1828, when Robert, junior, who from the first did all of
the engraving, took entire charge of that part of the business, and
moved his engraving establishment around the corner to 77 Oxford Street;
there it remained until broken up in 1838. Robert Havell, Senior,
continued in charge of the printing and coloring until 1830, when he
seems to have permanently retired, two years before his death in 1832,
events which, as will be seen, are indirectly registered in the legends
of some of Audubon's plates.[348]


Under the younger Havell's guiding hand, Audubon found that his
illustrations could be produced in better style, more expeditiously,
and at far less cost than in Edinburgh. When Lizars was later shown the
third number which the Havells had produced, he called his assistants
and observed how completely the London workmen had beaten them; he
even offered to resume work on the engraving and at Havell's price, but
Audubon was averse to further experimenting. "If he can fall," said he,
"twenty-seven pounds in the engraving of each number, and do them in a
superior style to his previous work, how enormous must his profits have
been; a good lesson to me in the time to come, though I must remember
Havell is more reasonable owing to what has passed between us in our
business arrangements, and the fact that he owes so much to me."

This characteristic note was sent from Liverpool, December 6, 1827, to
his agent, Daniel Lizars, father to W. H. Lizars, at Edinburgh:

     I will not ask if you have any new name for me, as I _might_
     be disappointed were I to expect an affirmative answer.

     If you see Sir Wm. Jardine tell him that Charles Bonaparte has
     left the U. S. for ever, and has gone to reside in Florence,

     I have wrote to Mr. Havell to send you a No. 5, which I wish
     you to send to Professor Wilson, or indeed a whole set, to
     enable him to write the notice he has promised for me the 1st.
     of next month.



     From the only copy known to exist, in possession of Mr.
     Ruthven Deane. It is a strip of heavy paper, 18 by 3⅝ inches
     in size, printed on both sides, and folded twice, the folded
     size being 4½ by 3⅝ inches. One side bears the four panels,
     engraved by Robert Havell, reproduced on this and the
     following page; and the reverse, the printed matter reproduced
     on pages 386 and 387.]


     The lower panel shows the interior of the "Zoölogical
     Gallery," 77 Oxford Street. Audubon's plate of the Cock Turkey
     is being examined at one of the tables.]


Audubon sent another letter to this agent, from London, January 21,
1828, when he was still waiting for an answer to his last: "When I write
to any one I expect an answer, but when I write to a man I esteem, and
to whom I entrust a portion of my business, I feel miserable until I
hear from him.... I am extremely anxious to close my business for 1827,
and cannot do so without receiving your a/c, and the money due by my

The summer of 1827 was probably Audubon's most critical period in
England. His work was then in the air and ruin of all his hopes seemed
inevitable, but with palette and brush he again extricated himself from
financial difficulties. At this time, he said, "I painted all day, and
sold my work during the dusky hours of the evening as I walked through
the Strand and other streets where the Jews reigned; popping in and out
of Jew-shops or any others, and never refusing the offer made me for
the pictures I carried fresh from the easel." He sold seven copies of
the "Entrapped Otter" in London, Manchester, and Liverpool, and from
seven to ten copies of some of his other favorite subjects; once when he
inadvertently called at a shop where he had just disposed of a picture,
the dealer promptly bought the duplicate and at the same price that he
had paid for the first.

In the autumn of this year, when it was found that his agents were
neglecting their business, Audubon determined to make a sortie to
collect his dues and further augment his subscription list. He left
London on September 16, and visited in succession Manchester, Leeds,
York, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Alnwick Castle and Belford, to see the Selbys,
finally reaching Edinburgh on the 22nd of October.

Audubon had set his mark at obtaining 200 subscribers by May, 1828,
but he fell far short of realizing it. On August 9 he wrote: "This day
seventy sets have been distributed; yet the number of my subscribers
has not increased; on the contrary, I have lost some." At York he found
that a number of his _Birds_, which had been forwarded from Edinburgh
before he had taken his departure, "was miserably poor, scarcely colored
at all"; and a copy of his first number which was later examined at
the Radcliffe Library in Oxford was so unsatisfactory that he rolled it
up and took it away, with the reflection that Lizars, whom he had paid
"so amply and so punctually," could have made him a better return. The
colorists gave no end of trouble, but he never hesitated to reject their
work when it did not meet his requirements, and the defective plates
were invariably sent back to Havell's shop to be washed, hot-pressed,
and done over again. To such watchful care must be ascribed, in large
measure, the high degree of perfection which his big work eventually
attained. When it is remembered that upwards of one hundred thousand
of his large plates had to be colored laboriously by hand, and that at
one time fifty persons were engaged at the Havell establishment, we can
understand the difficulties involved in maintaining a uniform standard
of excellence in a work that was issued piecemeal and spread over a long
period of time.

In August, 1827, Audubon wrote to Mrs. Thomas Sully of Philadelphia
to announce the removal of his business to London. By this change he
expected to save "upwards of an hundred pounds per annum, a large sum,"
as he remarked, "for a man like me." His third number had then been
issued, and he expressed the hope that all would go smoothly after "this
first year of hard trials and times," and that he would be able to send
for his wife and one of his sons in the coming autumn or winter. He was
then painting "a flock of Wild Turkeys for the king, who had honored
him with his particular patronage and protection." When writing to his
young son, John W. Audubon, on the 10th of the same month, he charged
him to devote two hours daily to the preparation of bird skins, and to
send him not only the skins but live birds and mussel shells, for which
he would be duly paid. Said the father:

     I would give you 500 dollars per annum, were you able to make
     for me such drawings as I will want. I wish you would draw one
     bird only, on a twig, and send it [to me] to look at, as soon
     as you can after receiving this letter.... I should like to
     have a large box filled with branches of the trees, covered
     with mosses &c., such as Mama knows I want; now recollect,
     _all sorts_ of Birds, males and females, ugly or handsome.

Audubon had come to London with the idea of having his work published
under the patronage of King George IV; in order to gain a personal
interview with the Sovereign he had brought a letter to Robert Peel,
who was then the Home Secretary, but a change in the Cabinet had upset
his plans and the letter was returned. He then applied to the American
Ambassador, Mr. Albert Gallatin, who upon their first meeting addressed
him in French and showed "the ease and charm of manner of a perfect
gentleman"; but when the question of an audience with the King was
broached, Gallatin laughed at the idea as preposterous. "The king," he
declared, "sees nobody; he has the gout, is peevish, and spends his time
playing whist at a shilling a rubber. I had to wait six weeks before I
was presented to him in my position of ambassador, and then I merely
saw him six or seven minutes." When Audubon then suggested that the
Duke of Northumberland might interest himself in his behalf, Gallatin,
who disliked the English heartily, replied: "I have called hundreds of
times on like men in England, and have been assured that his grace, or
lordship, or [her] ladyship was not at home, until I have grown wiser,
and stay at home myself, and merely attend to my political business,
and God knows when I will have done with that."

     OF AMERICA" FOR 1831.]

As the American Ambassador had predicted, King George evinced no ardent
desire to meet the American woodsman, though he consented to take the
work under his patronage and to become a subscriber on the usual terms;
this plan, however, fell through, for the King, who was reported to
have taken his copy, failed to pay for it. With Queen Adelaide, on the
other hand, the naturalist was more successful, and in his "Prospectus"
of 1831 she was announced as his special patron, with her name heading
his list. Negotiations to interest the Queen were going on when the
following note was sent to Audubon by Sir J. W. Waller, who occupied
some position in the king's household and was spoken of as "oculist to
his majesty":

_Sir J. W. Waller to Audubon_

          Saturday 9 o clock [1830].

     I have scarce an Instant as I am going to Town to breakfast
     with the Dk. of Gloucester, but yr. Letter is _urgent_ &
     therefore I can only desire Mr. A. to _send_ his Number
     _immediately_ to the Stable Yard, directed to her Majesty, &
     the first moment I can see _her_, I will speak on the subject,
     but at this Moment I will not promise to mention it to the
     King for reasons I cannot put on paper.

          Yrs. ever,

          J. W. WALLER

At Edinburgh Audubon was alarmed to find that subscribers were rapidly
deserting him, six having cancelled their names without the formality of
giving reasons. He hoped to supply their places at Glasgow, then a rich
city of one hundred and fifty thousand people, but after a visit there
of four days in November, 1827, he was obliged to return to Edinburgh
with but one new name on his list.

On October 22 he expressed the resolve for the coming year "to
_positively keep_ a cash account" with himself and others, "a thing"
he had "never yet done." The wisdom of that decision was apparent upon
settling his accounts for 1827 with both Lizars and Havell, as appears
from this note, written in his journal on January 17, 1828: "It is
difficult work for a man like me to see that he is neither cheating
nor cheated. All is paid for 1827, and I am well ahead in funds. Had I
made such regular settlements all my life I should never have been as
poor a man as I have been; but on the other hand I should never have
published the "Birds of America." Again, for February 7 we find this
record: "Havell brought me the sets he owed me for 1827, and I paid
him in full. Either through him or Mr. Lizars I have met with a loss
of nearly _£_100, for I am charged with fifty numbers more than can be
accounted for by my agents or myself. This seems strange always to me,
that people cannot be honest, but I must bring myself to believe many
are not, from my own experiences."

Shortly after reaching London, as we have seen, Audubon had made the
acquaintance of Sir Thomas Lawrence, then at the head of the Royal
Academy and favorite painter of the Court and fashionable society. The
friendship of this influential artist at a critical moment proved most
fortunate, for Sir Thomas called repeatedly at his lodgings, and at each
visit brought patrons who went away with some of his pictures but not
without leaving a handsome toll of sovereigns in his lap; the "Entrapped
Otter" again did duty by bringing him twenty-five pounds, while others
returned from seven to thirty-five pounds. At a later time the artist
visited the "Zoölogical Gallery," as the Havell establishment in Newman
Street was then known, and saw Audubon's large paintings called "The
Eagle and the Lamb," and "English Pheasants Surprised by a Spanish Dog"
or "_Sauve qui peut_." Audubon, who on this occasion missed seeing his
distinguished visitor, had written in his journal three days before
(December 23, 1828) that the paintings were what he called "finished,"
but that, as usual, he could not bear to look at either. Sir Thomas
praised the "Eagle," admired an "Otter," which was later exhibited in
London, but gave no opinion on the "Pheasants." Afterwards, however,
when Audubon proposed to present this canvas to King George, the artist
assured him that this picture was worth 300 guineas and that it was too
good to be given away; if offered to the King, no doubt, said he, "it
would be accepted and placed in his collections, but you would receive
no benefit from the gift." According to a later record, this canvas
was sold to Mr. John Heppenstall of Sheffield; whether it was ever
delivered, or not, I do not know, but either the original or a copy,
here reproduced, now forms the central figure in the large Audubon
collection in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and
is an excellent illustration of the elaborate and ambitious character
of Audubon's larger compositions. These fortunate windfalls came none
too soon, for to follow the journal:

     Mr. Havell had already called to say that on Saturday I must
     pay him sixty pounds. I was then not only not worth a penny,
     but had actually borrowed five pounds a few days before to
     purchase materials for my pictures. But these pictures which
     Sir Thomas sold for me enabled me to pay my borrowed money,
     and to appear full-handed when Mr. Havell called. Thus I
     passed the Rubicon.



This was before the reform of the penal laws in England, when it seems
to have been hard for a man to escape hanging, not to speak of being
sent to prison for debt, the chief terror of life in certain circles.
There were 223 capital offenses, and in 1829 in the city of London alone
7,114 persons were sent to the debtors' prison.[349]

Without the sale of his pictures in the summer of 1827, Audubon felt
that he must certainly have become a bankrupt, yet he was periodically
displeased with the results of his efforts in oil colors, and resolved
to "spoil no more canvas" but to draw "in my usual old untaught way,
which is what God meant me to do"; "I can draw," he continues, "but I
shall never paint well." In the fall of 1828, however, he was again
working in oils, and produced four large pieces, one of which was
called "The Eagle and the Lamb," and two others which were doubtless
variations of his "Pheasant" and "Otter" pictures. "It is charity,"
said the artist, "to speak the truth to a man who knows the poverty of
his talents, and wishes to improve; it is villainous to mislead him,
by praising him to his face, and laughing at his work as they go down
the stairs of his house." Sir Thomas Lawrence had praised some of these
pictures and had promised to select one for exhibition at Somerset
House. As regards "The Eagle and the Lamb," which Audubon hoped would
go to Windsor Castle, William Swainson would give no opinion; the same
canvas, or else a replica, was in possession of the Audubon family in

On December 14, 1827, Audubon wrote that, acting upon the advice of Mr.
Maury, the American consul at London, he had presented a copy of his
_Birds_ to John Quincy Adams, the President of the United States, and
another, through Henry Clay, to the American Congress; in order that
the latter should be as perfect as possible, Havell was asked to do the
coloring himself, but these proposed gifts do not appear to have been

New Year's, 1828, found the naturalist in Manchester, where but a few
days before he had received the fifth and last number of his plates
for 1827 and expressed himself well pleased with it. While returning
to London by coach, he consented to take a hand at cards to accommodate
his fellow passengers, but declined to play for money; "I never play,"
he confessed, "unless obliged to by circumstances; I feel no pleasure
in the game, and long for other occupation." "I missed my snuff," he
added, and whenever his hands went into his pockets in search of the
box, he "discovered the strength of habit thus acting without thought";
but he remembered a resolution he had formed to give up the habit and
stuck to it for a time at least; doubtless, like his later friend, John
Bachman, he reformed more than once, for in a letter to Victor Audubon,
of November 5, 1846, Bachman added this postscript: "To Audubon: The
snuff—the snuff, it is here! I have just taken a pinch, and the ladies
have blown _you_ up—sky-high, for teaching me such a bad practice; I
say, however, that you beat me all to pieces in that art."

The first winter in London dragged heavily for the naturalist, who
exclaimed in January, 1828: "How long am I to be confined in this
immense jail"; when Daniel Lizars reported from Edinburgh the loss of
four of his subscribers, he writes, "I am dull as a beetle. Why do I
dislike London? Is it because the constant evidence of the contrast
between the rich and the poor is a constant torment to me, or is it
because of its size and crowd? I know not, but I long for sights and
sounds of a different nature," such, we might add, as the flocks of wild
duck which were occasionally seen from Regent's Park as they passed over
the city and made him more homesick than ever. Audubon hated the city
quite as cordially as Charles Lamb ever affected to detest the country,
and when leaving it, afoot or by stage, it seemed as if he could never
be rid of it. "What a place is London," he would say, but naïvely add:
"many persons live there solely because they like it."

On February 4, 1828, Audubon was elected to membership in the Linnæan
Society, and in November he presented it with a copy of his work, which
was then well under way. This was noticed in a letter to Swainson,
written on November 7, when no acknowledgment of the gift had then been
received; and he mentioned also the sale of his picture of "Blue Jays"
for ten guineas. At a meeting of the Linnæan Society not long after
his election, copies of Selby's _Illustrations of British Ornithology_
and of his own work were placed side by side for inspection, and "very
unfair comparisons were drawn between the two"; had Selby, Audubon
reflected, been given "the same opportunities that my curious life has
granted me, his work would have been far superior to mine"; "I supported
him," he added, "to the best of my power."

Revision of his older drawings demanded much of Audubon's attention
during these years. On February 10, 1828, he began the Whiteheaded Eagle
(No. 7, Plate xxxi), the original of which had been procured on the
Mississippi, where the bird was represented as dining on a wild goose;
now, he said, "I shall make it breakfast on a catfish, the drawing of
which is also with me, with the marks of the talons of another eagle,
which I disturbed on the banks of the same river, driving him from his
prey." On the 16th of that month he was engaged with this drawing from
seven in the morning until half after four, stopping only to take the
glass of milk which his landlady would bring to him. This plate was
engraved in the following April, and on May 1, 1828, a first proof was
sent to the Marquis of Landsdowne, president of the Zoölogical Society,
as a mark of appreciation by its author, who had become a member of that
body in the preceding winter.

A striking characteristic of Audubon's work was its diversity, produced
not only by attractive embellishments of many kinds, but by the moving
force and action with which he ever sought to vitalize his subjects.
It is therefore not surprising that he was nettled by an incident like

     February 28. To-day I called by appointment on the Earl of
     Kinnoul, a small man, with a face like the caricature of an
     owl; he said he had sent for me to tell me all my birds _were
     alike_, and he considered my work a swindle. He may really
     think this; his knowledge is probably small; but it is not the
     custom to send for a gentleman to abuse him in one's house. I
     heard his words, bowed, and without speaking, left the rudest
     man I have met in this land.

Audubon had not yet visited the great university towns of England, the
support of which he knew would be a valuable asset, and on March 3,
1828, he set out by stage for Cambridge. His driver, he remarked, "held
confidances with every grog-shop between London and Cambridge, and
his purple face gave powerful evidences that malt liquor [was] more
enticing to him than water." His reception at Cambridge was hearty; he
was entertained by Professors Sedgwick, Whewell, and Henslow, dined
repeatedly "in Hall" with the dons, and received the subscription
of the librarian of the University. It is interesting to recall that
young Charles Darwin, "the man who walks with Henslow," as some of the
dons called him, was then an undergraduate at King's College, and that
thirty-one years were to pass before modern biology was born in 1859,
the year of the appearance of the epoch-making _Origin of Species_.

By the 15th of March Audubon was again in London, and on the 24th he
started for Oxford. Dr. Williams, as he noted in his journal, subscribed
for his _Birds_ in favor of the Radcliffe Library, as did also Dr. Kidd
for the Anatomical School; but, though hospitably treated by all, not
one of the twenty-four colleges of that great University emulated their
example, and the naturalist went away disappointed.

Upon his return to London in early April, Audubon received a call from
John C. Loudon, editor of the _Magazine of Natural History_, and was
invited to contribute to that journal. "I declined," he said, "for I
will never write anything to call down upon me a second volley of abuse.
I can only write _facts_, and when I write these, the Philadelphians
call me a liar." He was then chafing under the criticism which his
rattlesnake stories had produced.[352] On April 6 the persistent Mr.
Loudon called again and offered Audubon eight guineas for an article,
only to be again refused. Still unwilling to admit defeat, the editor
proposed to engage William Swainson to prepare an extended review of
the naturalist's work, and in this he succeeded so well that Audubon
immediately relented and sent him a paper.[353] Swainson offered to
write the review for a copy of the work at its cost price, and Audubon
replied in the following letter:[354]

_Audubon to William Swainson_

          LONDON, _April 9th 1828_.


     Mr. Loudon called on me yesterday and showed me a letter
     from you to him, in which many very flattering expressions
     respecting myself and my works you are so kind as to offer to
     review the latter so as to have your opinion in writting in
     time for the first no. of the magazine that will appear next
     month.—you also desire that I should send you a sett of the
     works as far as publishing which you wish to keep provided
     I will let you have it at the price _it costs me._ I assure
     you my Dear Sir, that was I to take you at your word it would
     be a sore bargain for you as the a/m would be very nearly
     double that for which it is sold to my subscribers.—therefore
     you will permit me to alter your offer and to say that if it
     suits you to pay 35 shillings per number I will be contented;
     I would be still more so was I rich enough to present it to

     It is the only set on hand at present except one which I must
     have to exhibit.—

     The answer respecting the Shrieke [Shrike] has I hope met with
     your wishes.—

     Ever since I became acquainted with our mutual friend Dr.
     Fraill [Traill] I have had a great desire to see and speak to
     you & I regret that I never have had an opportunity. My time
     is so completely taken up that it is with difficulty that I
     can enjoy a day's rest—Should you come to town pray call on
     me when I may have the pleasure of shaking your hand and to
     assure you verbally that I am truly and sincerely

          yours obe st

          JOHN J. AUDUBON

          95 Great Russell St.
          Bedford Sq.



     From the Deane MSS.]

Thus began an intimate friendship between William Swainson and John
James Audubon which lasted until 1830, and their intercourse did not
wholly cease before 1838. In his use of English at this time Audubon was
not far behind Swainson, whose mother tongue it was. Swainson, according
to Dr. Günther, was "extremely careless in orthography and loose in his
style of writing: he persistently misspelt not only technical terms,
but also the names of foreign authors, and even of some of his familiar
friends and correspondents; he knew no other language but his own,
and the application of Latin and Greek for the purpose of systematic
nomenclature was a constant source of error."

At this time Swainson was living in semi-retirement at a farmstead of
considerable size, called "Highfield Hall,"[355] near Tyttenhanger
Green, a small settlement, off the highroad, two miles southeast of
the historic town of St. Albans, in Hertfordshire; though his letters
were always dated from "The Green" at Tyttenhanger, his associations
were with the more considerable village of London Colney, but a mile
to the south, on the road to Barnet. Audubon had brought a letter
of introduction from Dr. Traill, a valiant champion of Swainson
at Edinburgh, but was unable to go to the country to deliver it.
Swainson, however, attended promptly to the review, and on April 11,
1828, sent it to Mr. Loudon, who published it in the May number of his

Swainson's review was extremely laudatory, and Audubon reproduced
extracts from it in later editions of his "Prospectus." To quote a
characteristic paragraph, he said that the naturalist's ornithological
papers printed in one of the Scotch journals, are as valuable to the
scientific world, as they are delightful to the general reader. They
give us a rich foretaste of what we may hope and expect from such a man.
There is a freshness and an originality about these essays, which can
only be compared to the animated biographies of Wilson.... To represent
the passions and the feelings of birds, might, until now, have been
well deemed chimerical. Rarely, indeed, do we see their outward forms
represented with any thing like nature. In my estimation, not more
than three painters ever lived who could draw a bird. Of these the
lamented Barrabaud [Barraband], of whom France may be justly proud, was
the chief. He has long passed away; but his mantle has at length been
recovered in the forests of America.

Audubon spent four days with Swainson and his family at Tyttenhanger,
from May 28 to June 1, 1828, when they talked birds and made drawings;
Audubon also showed Swainson "how to put up birds in _his_ style, which
delighted him." The friendship between these men, though very intimate
while it lasted, received a sudden check two years later, when Audubon
was about to publish the letterpress to his plates, as will be related
farther on.[357]

Though his hands were already more than full at this time, Audubon seems
to have played with the idea of publishing a work on the birds of Great
Britain, but on May 1 he wrote to Swainson that the plan did not meet
with favor, and later he relinquished all claims in such a project to
his assistant, William MacGillivray.[358]

In the spring of 1828 Audubon began to think of returning to the United
States, to renew or revise his drawings and extend his researches.
"I am sure," he said, "that now I could make better compositions, and
select better plants than when I drew mainly for amusement." In order
to raise the necessary funds, he resorted again to picture painting,
his never failing resource, and worked in oil colors daily from morning
light until dusk, unless called to Havell's to decide some question of
necessary detail. The following letters to Swainson shed further light
on this work and on the progress of _The Birds of America_, the eighth
number of which was published early in July:

_Audubon to William Swainson_

          LONDON, _July 1st 1828_.

     MY DEAR SIR.—

     I have been expecting to have the pleasure of seeing you for
     upwards of a week, having mentioned in your last note that
     you intended spending a couple of days in London before the
     end of June.—When are you coming?—the beautifull lamb came
     quite safe and is now on the canvas (in efigy) for ages to
     come—I bought a superb Golden Eagle from Mr. Cross that also
     has helped to fill it —— [_Here apparently some words have
     been deleted, and it is impossible to read them._] I long to
     shew them to you.—I have finished the picture of the Turkeys,
     and painted a white headed eagle—in fact I have worked from
     4 every morning untill dark—but the best news I have to tell
     is; that I have received 4 letters from my wife, one dated 2nd
     of May, all well—but not quite settled about coming before
     the end of summer. I have changed quarters and am now at 79
     Newman Street Oxford Street, in Mr. Havell's house where I
     have taken 3 rooms and feel more comfortable although I have
     not the little piece of ground to walk on.—I imagine the
     country to be now quite beautifull and had I time to spare
     would walk out to see you Mrs S & the dear little folks at
     Tittenhanger Green.—I received a visit on Saturday last of
     the whole of Lord Milton's family who after complimenting the
     author of the "Birds of America" very kindly subscribed for
     two copies of the work.—I have mended my pen—I should have
     sent the Blackwood magazine to you, but I so much expected
     to see you here that it is yet on my table, and will keep it
     untill you come.—All my exertions to procure live grouses have
     been abortive here—I have written to Scotland to a friend and
     perhaps will have some soon.—The 8th number is now printing
     and colouring and will be out this month—the 9th is began.—If
     you are hungry or thirsty when you come to town please make
     for my [_here a word is omitted_], and I will try to manage
     matters in this way.—May I ask what you are doing?—I saw Dr
     Fraill's [Traill's] son a few days ago—he inquired after your
     son and family.—I expect a copy of Loudon's magazine this
     evening. I feel anxious to see what sort of a cut the Doves
     make, as well as the birds of Washington.—

     With sincerest regards & esteem to yourself and Lady—

          I am yours most truly

          JOHN J. AUDUBON.

          79 Newman Street,
          Oxford Street.

_Audubon to William Swainson_

          LONDON _Thursday July 1828_.


     Although your last note said that you knew not when I should
     have the pleasure of seeing you in town, I have hoped every
     morning to see you that day.—When will you come?—_There is
     a talk_ of my picture of the Eagle and the Lamb going to her
     Majesty, Sir Walter Waller has been written to on the subject
     and every thing is in train to lead _poor I_ like a lamb to
     Windsor Castle!—I am told the picture is a _grand one_ but
     _you_, my dear Sir, have not said so! When you come I will
     show you 13 grouses pretty fairly grouped on one canvas, with
     seven pheasants with a Fox on another, etc. etc. I have worked
     hard this month from 4 p.m. untill 7 a.m. [_sic_] every day—I
     regretted that your brother did not come to see me—I have a
     great desire to see you but I cannot at present leave town.—My
     8th No. is just out.—The 9th & 10th are engraving.—I have
     sent word to my son to land [?] & bring some skins for you
     & perhaps you may have a rare assortment bye and bye.—I hope
     your Lady and dear Children are all quite well Pray remember
     me kindly to them.——I wish to name a bird after you in the
     1st No. of 1829 & wish you to choose a name.

     Believe yours ever and truly obliged

          J. J. AUDUBON

          79 Newman Street,
          Oxford Street.

By the 9th of August eight pictures had been begun, but none was
finished, and the number of his subscribers had fallen to seventy.
At about this time Captain Basil Hall[359] returned from his journey
through the United States, and brought direct news from Victor Audubon,
who was then at Louisville, from Dr. Richard Harlan and Thomas Sully,
to all of whom the naturalist's letters had been delivered the previous
year. Towards the end of the month Audubon received the following note
from the secretary of the Zoölogical Society, N. A. Vigors, who was also
anxious to obtain from him an article for his _Journal_:

_N. A. Vigors to Audubon_

          BRUTER CT
          _Aug. 23, 1828._

     MY DEAR SIR:—

     I hope you do not forget your promise of giving us a paper for
     the Zoölogical Journal. We should be much gratified by having
     your name with us: and, if possible, should wish to have
     whatever you may favour us with within the next ten days. I
     have been but a few hours in town, and shall leave town again
     tomorrow for a few days, or I should have called upon you to
     speak personally upon the subject. I believe I have already
     mentioned, that we are in the habit of remunerating those of
     our correspondents who wish for payment for their labours, at
     a rate not exceeding £10.10.0 per sheet.

     A letter from you in answer will reach me, if sent to Bruter
     Ct: before Wednesday on which day a parcel will be forwarded
     to me from thence.

     Believe me my dear Sir,

          Yours faithfully,

          N: A: VIGORS.

          [Addressed] J. J. AUDUBON Esq.,
                      69 Great Russell St.;

          [Readdressed] Newman Street,
                        Oxford Street

Audubon refused this request, saying that "no money can pay for abuse,"
and this time he did not retract.

Without immediate prospect of seeing his family, for neither Mrs.
Audubon nor her sons were enthusiastic over the proposal that they
should go to England, the naturalist was momentarily depressed; he
turned to Swainson for advice, at the same time suggesting that they
visit Paris together. Audubon wrote in his journal for August 16, 1828,
that he had invited Swainson to accompany him to France, whither his
friend had expressed a desire to go when the subject had been broached
at Tyttenhanger; on the 25th of that month he added: "I do not expect
much benefit by this trip, but I shall be glad to see what may be done."
The letter just referred to follows:

_Audubon to William Swainson_

          LONDON, _Wednesday Augt. 13, 1828_.


     I reached my lodging in great comfort by the side of your
     amiable Docr Davie two hours and a half after we shook
     hands—I wish I might say as much of my _Journey through
     Life_.—I have had sad news from my dear wife this morning,
     she has positively abandoned her coming to England for some
     indefinite time, indeed she says that she looks anxiously for
     the day when tired myself of this country I will return to
     mine and live although a humbler (Public) Life, a much happier
     one—her letter has not raised my already despondent spirits in
     _somethings_ and at the very instant I am writing to you it
     may perhaps be well that no instrument is at hand with which
     a woeful sin might be committed—I have laid aside brushes,
     thoughts of painting and all except the ties of friendship—I
     am miserable just now and you must excuse so unpleasant a
     letter—Would you go to _Paris_ with me? I could go with you
     any day that you would be please to mention, I will remain
     there as long and no longer than may suit your callings—I
     will go with you to Rome or anywhere, where something may be
     done for either of our advantage and to drive off my very
     great uncomfortableness of thoughts—My two sons are also
     very much against coming to England, a land they say where
     neither freedom or simplicity of habits exist and altogether
     uncongenial to their mode of life.—What am I to do? As a man
     of _the World_ and a man possessed of strong unprejudiced
     understanding I wish that you would advise me.—But now on your
     account I will change the subject—I called on Newman two days
     ago & to the following enquiries he gave me yesterday the
     following answers

          What the price of

          ½ doz best Pure Lake     dowards [?] _answer_ 12/—
          ½  "   "   Carmin           "          "      20/—
          ½  "   "   UltraMarine      "          "      84/—
          ½  "   "   Vermillion       "          "       6/—
          ½  "   "   Terra di Verona  "          "       4/—

     As I thought the above prices enormous I have declined
     advising chalks for you & will await your advent.—

     Should you not feel inclined to go to France at present which
     by the bye is the very best season on account of seeing the
     vintage etc. etc.—please write to me so or come to town which
     would be still more agreeable & talk the matter over as I
     think I would persuade you to absent yourself for a month
     or so—I hope your kind lady continues quite well & your Dear
     Little ones—

     Believe me yours most sincerely

          JOHN J. AUDUBON.

          Please write by return of Post—
          79 Newman Street
          Oxford Street.

On this journey to Paris Audubon was accompanied by Mr. and Mrs.
Swainson and an American artist, named Parker, who had been at work
on a portrait of the naturalist in oils. For Audubon it was mainly
a canvassing tour; Parker hoped to obtain orders for portraits, and
Swainson, new ornithological material at the great museum in the Jardin
des Plantes, for a work upon which he was then engaged.[360]

The party set out on the 1st of September, traveling by way of Dover
and Boulogne, and reached Paris on Thursday, September 4. They alighted
at the Messagerie Royale, Rue des Victoires, and, after looking up
lodgings, went at once to the Jardin des Plantes to pay their respects
to Cuvier. The Museum of Natural History was closed, but they knocked
and asked for the Baron. "He was in," said Audubon, in the journal of
his Paris experience,

     but, we were told, too busy to be seen. Being determined to
     look at the great man, we waited, knocked again, and with a
     certain degree of _firmness_ sent in our names. The messenger
     returned, bowed, and led the way up stairs, where in a minute
     Monsieur the Baron, like an excellent good man, came to us; he
     had heard of my friend Swainson and greeted him as he deserves
     to be greeted; he was polite and kind to me, though my name
     had never made its way to his ears. I looked at him, and here
     follows the result: age about sixty-five; size corpulent,
     five feet five, English measure; head large; face wrinkled and
     brownish; eyes gray, brilliant and sparkling; nose aquiline,
     large and red; mouth large, with good lips; teeth few, blunted
     by age, excepting one on the lower jaw, measuring nearly
     three-quarters of an inch square.[361]

They were immediately invited to dine on the following Saturday at six
o'clock, and later saw Cuvier at his home, at his Museum, and at the
Academy of Sciences, over which he presided.

Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire pleased Audubon greatly and proved to him by
his conversation that he understood perfectly the difference between
the French and the English. The Duke of Orleans, who then occupied the
Palais Royal, seemed to him the finest physical type of man he had ever
met. "He had my book brought up," said the naturalist, "and helped me
untie the strings and arrange the table, and began by saying that he
felt great pleasure in subscribing to the work of an American, for he
had been most kindly received in the United States and should never
forget it." When the plate of the Baltimore Orioles was held up to
view, the Duke exclaimed: "This surpasses all I have seen, and I am not
astonished now at the eulogiums of M. Redouté." He conversed in both
English and French, had much to say of American cities and rivers, and
added: "You are a great nation, a wonderful nation." The Duke wrote his
name in Audubon's subscription book, promised to try to enlist a number
of the crowned heads of Europe in his behalf, and gave him besides a
number of orders for pictures of animals.

Audubon had already made friends with the veteran painter of flowers,
Pierre Joseph Redouté, and when it was proposed that they should
exchange works, the "Raphael of Flowers" consented, gave Audubon at once
nine numbers of his _Belles Fleurs_, and promised to send "_Les Roses_."

During this visit of eight weeks Parker painted portraits of both
Cuvier and Redouté; Swainson worked steadily at the Museum, where
Isidore Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire gave him the use of his private study;
while Audubon, for the most part, was driving from post to pillar in
his not altogether successful efforts to extend his subscription list.
As already intimated, his greatest success in Paris was in winning the
friendship and endorsement of Cuvier, who reported upon his work at
a meeting of the Royal Academy of Sciences held on September 22.[362]
Audubon has related how on this occasion he had an appointment to meet
the Baron in the library of the Institute at precisely half past one
o'clock; he waited; the hall filled, and the clock ticked on, but the
great savant did not appear. Finally, said Audubon, after an hour had
passed, "all at once I heard his voice, and saw him advancing, very warm
and apparently fatigued. He met me with many apologies, and said, 'Come
with me'; and as we walked along, he explaining all the time why he had
been late, while his hand drove a pencil with great rapidity, and he
told me that he was actually now writing the report on my work!"[363]
Cuvier's published report, which was extremely laudatory, showed little
signs of haste. After speaking of Audubon's talents and accomplishments
he said:

     The execution of these plates, so remarkable for their size,
     seems to us equally successful in the drawing, the engraving,
     and coloring, and though it may be difficult to represent
     relief in a colored print with as much effect as in painting
     proper, this is no disadvantage in works on natural history;
     naturalists prefer the true color of objects to those
     accidental shades which result from the diverse inflections of
     light; necessary though these be for completing the truth of a
     picture, they are foreign as well as prejudicial to scientific

  [Illustration: AUDUBON


By November Audubon was once more in London, busy at painting to fill
his orders and his purse. On the 11th of the month, we find Swainson,
whose own exchequer was empty, writing to Audubon for a loan; this
letter, and one soon to follow, illustrate some of the characteristics
to which we have referred:

_William Swainson to Audubon_

          _Tuesday 11 Nov. 1828._

     I had written the enclosed, my dear Mr. Audubon, before your
     letter of Monday reached me. It has come this instant, Dreams,
     you know, must always be interpreted _contrawise_, we might
     have lifted up our arms, as you saw in your dream but, if you
     had not awoke, it was no doubt to have shaken hands! But that
     my regard for you may be evinced, I will bring myself to lay
     under an obligation, which I would only ask for one of my own
     family. I was that moment thinking to which I should write,
     to ask the loan of 80 £ for a few months, and now I will ask
     it of _you_. If you was aware of the peculiar feelings which
     we Englishmen have on such occasions, perhaps you would smile,
     but so it is that we never ask any one, from whom we have the
     least idea of a refusal. Now, did I not believe you to be a
     sincere friend, do you imagine I should have told you I was
     in want of Money much less have asked you to lend me some.
     The fact is, I have suffered a severe loss during my being
     in Paris, what little I had _on hand_ has been spent there
     and in making preparations for the publication of my Zool.
     Illustrations. Two or three months however, hard work will
     bring me round again & repay you.

     Let me see your letter to the President of the Zool. Soc.
     before it goes, and you shall see mine.

     I shall be most thankful for the Grouse. I send 2 drawings to
     Havell to be engraved _spur him on_ for I want to have every
     thing ready before the new year.

          Yours most sincerely,

          W. SWAINSON.

          JOHN J. AUDUBON, Esq.
          79 Newman St.

In December the Swainsons invited Audubon to dine with them at
Christmas; in his letter Swainson said:

     Why are you so sad? I would lay ten shillings that old Havell
     has been disappointing you as he has done me. He is in matters
     of business a complete _daudle_—an old woman, and I have done
     with him. His son I think better of he has a good idea of
     punctuality in business.... In one of your walks I hope you
     have thought about the _French Wine_ that we talked so much
     about and have ascertained the particulars from your friend,
     so that we may order a cask. I hope you have not mistaken the
     price,—for if not, nothing that can be drank in this country
     is one half as cheap.

In the following letter Swainson refers to the second series of his
_Zoölogical Illustrations_,[365] the sale of which was irritating
him, and to N. A. Vigors, with whom he had entered upon a notorious
controversy in 1828:

_William Swainson to Audubon_

          _18 January, 1829._


     I write this in utter uncertainty whether it will find you in
     London. My first number has now been out three weeks—it has
     been seen and universally admired, and how many copies do you
     think the Publisher has sold? now pray guess as the Americans
     say. 100—no. twentyfive, no. fifteen, no. ten? yes. positively
     ten copies and _no more_, has been sold. I blush almost to
     confess this mortification to even, _you_, but so it is. Now,
     my dear Sir, what am I to think of the "generally diffused
     taste," as the phrase is, for Natural History.

     This allthough vexing to _me_, may be a consolation to _you_,
     who are able to exhibit on what I call your _Red Book_ the
     names of a good portion of 150 subscribers to a 200 guinea
     Book. Think yourself my friend exceedingly well off.

     The amount of sale must be kept silent, it would be a nice
     nut to crack for V [igors]. & his friends.

     I shall be able to do without the water birds, if you have
     not found any.

     I have had a most extraordinary letter from Waterton, which
     will highly amuse you. The man is mad—stark, staring mad.

          Yours very faith'ly

          W. SWAINSON.

     Can you tell me any safe expeditions made of sending and
     receiving letters and Parcels from Philadelphia.

          J. J. AUDUBON Esq.
          79 Newman St.
          Oxford St.

Early in 1829 Bonaparte wrote from Rome, where he had then settled, and
the following letter shows that he had then heard of Audubon's visit to
France, and was keenly interested in his success:

_Charles L. Bonaparte to Audubon_

          ROME _January 10 th 1829_.

     DEAR SIR,

     I received in due time your favours of November 3d. & December
     21 st. & now come to thank you for them, wishing you or
     rather expressing to you at the occasion of the renewal of
     the year, the warm wishes I constantly have for your health,
     happiness & especially for the success of your work. From the
     contents of your letter I clearly perceive that one at least
     of my letters to you must have miscarried. Nothing could be
     more interesting to me than the narrative of your journey
     to France, though I had heard from other quarters the good &
     well deserved reception you met with. Your letter of August 20
     th. never came at hand, & it must have been the same with _at
     least_ one of mine to you. What you mention about _Temminck
     quite astonishes me_! ... I thought he would have undertaken
     even a journey to see you & your drawings!!! Please let me
     know when you write whether the Ornithological Illustrations
     of Jardine, Vigors & Co are stopped or still going on.—The
     animals I spoke to you of were reported as delivered to you
     by Mr Gray of the British Museum who had received them for me
     from the U. States. Is it not so? ... Corvus Cornix with us is
     very fond of the sea shore & feeds occasionally on fish, but
     I never observed it had the singular habits of C. ossifragus
     at least as described by Wilson.

     I am surprized at Messrs J B's conduct; I have always
     found them extremely kind and well disposed towards me; &
     although we have settled our accounts I had no reason to
     believe they would refuse our box. However we can do without
     their interference quite as well, & I hope you have already
     forwarded the box to Leghorn recommending it to the care of my
     agent in that port. Messrs F. & A. Filuchs.(?) I shall keep
     a good lookout for it being extremely anxious to see your
     new number. I should never have done if I was [to] repeat
     [to] you all the praise given to your work by our Italian
     artists & men of science!... I shall merely state that on my
     part I prefer the plate of Goldfinches to any other, birds
     and plants, being life itself; & that I am most anxious to
     see Astur Stanleyi which I strongly suspect to be my Falco
     Cooperii.... By this time, however you may have been able
     to ascertain the fact ... please let me know how the thing
     stands. It is only by your letter that I hear of my work (2
     d) being in London: I have not yet seen a copy myself nor did
     I know positively that it had been published. You must surely
     have received one _from myself_ at all events, for I directed
     Messrs Gay & Lea to let you have one of the very first out.
     Let me know whether you have it & your opinion about it.—I
     think you are right in going to Russia, especially as in
     giving them the American Birds you will probably _give_ us the
     Russians, some of which are hardly known. Try to get for me
     Pyrrhula longicauda, P. rosea & Scalopax—thalina, _the latter
     especially_. I shall not loose sight of the portrait, but it
     will be still more difficult to get the signature. I will
     however endeavor from some of my relations. You were right
     in supposing me "dans les bras de la paix & le bonheur d'un
     heureux père de famille" but greatly mistaken to think I was
     taking "le plaisir des sciences". Settling and other cursed
     worldly affairs have so much taken up my time, that I have not
     looked a specimen or a book since I am in Rome ... my small
     library itself & my Cabinet have not even been arranged & I
     _tremble_ to find all my birds destroyed when the happy day
     will come to look into them. In the mean time an addition has
     been made six weeks ago to my small family. I have another son
     who has received the names of Lucien Louis Joseph Napoleon
     & better than that who is the porthrait of health itself.
     I am sure you will divide my happiness & excuse my delay in
     answering you principally on that account. I am in debt with
     half the scientific world & this has been the first letter I
     scratched since I am in Rome!... I hope to be more regular &
     less in a hurry in future ... though God knows!... I will not
     however close this letter without mentionaing the pleasure I
     had the other day in getting you a new subscriber & that among
     the English themselves.! The Earl of Shrewsbury & his good
     Lady highly admired your work the other day at my house & were
     so pleased with it that they said they would write immediately
     to add their name to the list. The Earl of Shrewsbury is as
     you know the first Earl of Great Britain a catholic & what
     is more to you a man of great taste. His not having heard of
     your work shows that you have not made enough noise about it:
     & I am sure his name will be followed by a great many others
     to which Mr. Chapittar (Lord Shrewsb. friend) has promised
     me to show the work & deliver the prospectuses. Did you hear
     of the death of poor Mr Barnes killed by a stag (?). It is a
     great loss for the Queen. I remain, Dear Sir, begging you the
     London news

          your most obliged friend


          [Addressed] Mr. J. J. AUDUBON
                      79 Newman Street
                      Oxford St.

          [Endorsed] Answered Feby. 8 th. 1829.
                     J. J. A.

Audubon continued to work on his paintings during the winter of 1828-9,
hoping to put his affairs in such order that he might be able to start
for America in the following year.

     AUDUBON, JANUARY 10, 1829.

     From the Howland MSS.]



     Audubon settles for a time in Camden—Paints in a fisherman's
     cottage by the sea—With the lumbermen in the Great Pine
     Woods—Work done—Visits his sons—Joins his wife at St.
     Francisville—Record of journey south—Life at "Beechgrove"—Mrs.
     Audubon retires from teaching—Their plans to return to
     England—Meeting with President Jackson and Edward Everett.

Audubon laid his plans to visit America in 1829 with unusual care, and
was fortunate in being able to entrust his publication to the competent
hands of John George Children, of the British Museum. This was to be
actually his third voyage to the United States, but it was the first
which he made from English soil, and after he had become known as an
ornithologist and animal painter. He wished to renew at least fifty of
his earlier drawings and to obtain new materials of every description.
Although he was naturally anxious to see his wife, from whom he had been
absent for nearly three years, and his boys, the elder of whom had been
left at Shippingport five years before, he felt constrained to devote
to his work every moment that could be spared.

When writing to his wife of his difficulties and prospects at this
period, he assured her that he would act cautiously, with all due
diligence and sobriety, and continued:

     Thou art quite comfortable in Louisiana, I know; therefore
     wait there with a little patience. I hope the end of this year
     will see me under headway sufficient to have thee with me in
     comfort here, and I need not tell thee I long for thee every
     hour I am absent from thee. If I fail, America will still be
     my country, and thou, I will still feel, my friend. I will
     return to both and forget forever the troubles and expenses
     I have had; when walking together, arm in arm, we can see our
     sons before us, and listen to the mellow sounding thrush, so
     plentiful in our woods of magnolia.[366]

A little later in 1829 he also wrote: "I have finished the two first
years of publication, the two most difficult to be encountered." At
that time he fully expected that fourteen years would be required for
the completion of his task, owing to the many difficulties experienced,
especially in securing competent workmen, as well as the necessity of
distributing the expense for the benefit of his subscribers.

When Havell had been provided with all the drawings needed for the
remainder of the year 1829 and the first issue of 1830, Audubon
sailed from Portsmouth on the 1st of April, 1829, in the packet ship
_Columbia_, which reached New York on the opening day of May. "I chose
the ship," he said, "on account of her name, and paid thirty pounds for
my passage."

He paused in New York to exhibit his drawings at the Lyceum of Natural
History, of which he had become a member in 1824, but soon hurried
to Philadelphia, and finally settled down for work at Camden, in New
Jersey, later known to fame as the home of "the good gray poet." There,
at a boarding house kept by a Mr. Armstrong, he remained three weeks,
from about May 23 to June 13, hunting and painting every day. From
Camden he went to Great Egg Harbor, then a famous resort of both land
and water birds in great variety, and for three weeks more he lived and
worked in a fisherman's cabin by the sea. It is interesting to recall
that Alexander Wilson, in company with George Ord, had spent a month at
this point in the spring of 1813.

The following letter[367] from Swainson was probably the one to which
Audubon replied from New Jersey on September 14:

_William Swainson to Audubon_


     I welcomed the news of your arrival in America yesterday,
     and as I am making up a packet for Liverpool today, I seize
     the opportunity of wishing you joy and happiness in the new
     world. I am surprised and disappointed as not receiving one
     line from Ward it is at the best negligent, and somewhat
     ungrateful. Hope you have begun your studies among the birds
     on a better plan than formerly, that is, in preserving the
     skins of every one on which there is the least doubt whether
     the bird is young or old, particularly the former. If you are
     to give scientific descriptions and definitions of the species
     this precaution is absolutely necessary. What your Americans
     do with their money I know not, Mr. Lea tells me he cannot
     procure one purchaser for my new Illustrations: _here_ it is
     now going on very well.

     You asked me what you can do for me in America. I will tell
     you. Send me a cart load of shells from the Ohio, or from any
     of the _Rivers near New Orleans_. The _very smallest_, as well
     as the _very_ largest—_all sizes_. I have been long expecting
     those which your son promised you for me near twelve months
     ago! _but I have heard nothing of them_! you may spend a few
     dollars for me and send people to fish the shells at the dry
     season, when the waters are _low_, that is the best time.

     Things go on here much as usual, but I have not been in London
     since Xmas. The first volume, containing the Quadrupeds, of
     Dr. Richardson's work, is out. I am now busy in preparing the
     second, which contains the Birds. Let me particularly direct
     your attention to the manners of the Cedar Bird, Ampelis
     Americana. I suspect it feeds much on Insects in default of
     fruit, but what is desirable, is to know _the way_ in which
     it captures Insects, whether as a flycatcher i.e. by seizing
     them on the wing, or like the Gold crest—by picking them up
     among the branches or leaves. I am now in close correspondance
     with Charles Bonaparte, & a most valuble correspondant he is.

     Mrs. Swainson is just recovering from her confinement after
     giving me another little son I am happy today they are both
     going on well.

     Wilson I believe mentions _two_ birds very like the Red eyed
     Flycatcher, this is a point deserving your attention, but
     the _manners_ of these birds are much more important. I feel
     convinced there are several species of my Genus _Ammodramus_
     shore finch, in the So. States, they all have narrow pointed
     tails, like the seasidefinch of Wilson. I further suspect
     there is more than one species confounded with the Towee

     I hope soon again to hear more fully from you, and of your
     ornithological acquisitions. The dear little ones are quite

          Yours very sincerely,

          WM. SWAINSON

          THE GREEN _26 June 1829_.

          MR. JOHN J. AUDUBON
          care of
          Mess. THOMAS E. WALKER & CO.
          New York [Philadelphia]

On the 4th of July Audubon returned to Philadelphia and prepared for a
longer sojourn in the Great Pine Forest, or Great Pine Swamp, as it was
sometimes called, in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. In this letter
to his son we shall find an account of his plans and accomplishments:

_Audubon to his son, Victor_

          PHILADELPHIA, _July 5 th., 1829_.


     I have been in America two months this day, and not a word
     from you have I had in answer to my several letters, dated
     New York, and at this place. I am also without answer from
     your Mama, but do not feel so surprised as I know that about 2
     months is the time necessary to have a return from Louisiana.

     I have come to take your Mama over to England, if her wish
     inclines her to do so, and have wrote fully to her, giving
     her all the particulars respecting my situation that I thought
     could possibly be trusted to a letter.

     I have also come to America to redraw some of my earliest
     productions, and am now closely engaged at this. I remained
     near this city for 3 weeks, and since have spent 3 more at
     Great Egg Harbour, from which place I returned yesterday. I
     have already 13 drawings by me. I have letters from London, up
     to 30 th. April, when all my business was going on well with
     an increase of 4 subscribers. I have no news to transmit; on
     the contrary, I was in hopes that ere this I should have had
     at least one long letter from you. I beg you will write me
     when you last heard from your Mama. Direct your letter to the
     care of Messrs Thos. E. Walker, & Co, merchants here, who know
     all my movements, and will see anything forwarded to wherever
     I may choose to go to.

     I hope your uncle Berthoud & family are all well; present them
     my best regards, and to all others who may feel interested in
     my welfare, and believe me

          your affectionate father,

          JOHN J. AUDUBON.

     I have bought a good gold time-keeper, intended for you,
     and a copy bound, of my work, and wish to know how it can be
     forwarded. God bless you.

After outfitting himself in Philadelphia, Audubon proceeded to Mauch
Chunk; his provisions for this journey to the forest consisted of
a "wooden box containing a small stock of linin, drawing-paper, my
journal, colors and pencils, together with twenty pounds of shot,
several flints, a due quantum of cash, my gun 'Tear Jacket,' and a heart
as true to nature as ever." From Mauch Chunk he traveled fifteen miles
into the heart of the wooded hills, and was received into the family of
Jedediah Irish, lumberman and philosopher, whose praise was celebrated
in a later "Episode."[368] "What pleasure," said the naturalist, "I had
in listening to him, as he read his favourite poems of Burns, while
my pencil was occupied in smoothing and softening the drawing of the
bird before me. Was this not enough to recall to my mind the early
impressions that had been made upon it by the description of the golden
age, which I here found realized?"

During his stay in the forest Audubon paid particular attention to the
smaller land birds, such as finches, warblers and flycatchers, and
many of the original drawings which were made in the summer of 1829
still bear his penciled designations of time and place[369]. About ten
weeks[370] were spent in the woods, from late July until the 10th of
October, when the naturalist returned to Philadelphia and settled again
for a time in Camden. At this period he was enjoying the best of health
and spirits, and he worked during the entire season under the highest
pressure of which he was capable. At Camden, October 11, 1829, he wrote:

     I am at work, and have done much, but I wish I had eight pairs
     of hands, and another body to shoot the specimens, still I am
     delighted at what I have accumulated in drawings this season.
     Forty-two drawings in four months, eleven large, eleven middle
     size, and twenty-two small, comprising ninety-five birds, from
     Eagles downwards, with plants, nests, flowers, and sixty kinds
     of eggs.[371] I live alone, see scarcely any one, besides
     those belonging to the house where I lodge. I rise long before
     day, and work till night-fall, when I take a walk, and to bed.

At about the middle of October Audubon set out to join his family in the
South. Crossing the mountains by mail-coach to Pittsburgh, where he met
his former partner in business, Thomas Pears (see p. 254), he descended
once more his favorite river, the Ohio. It was no longer necessary to
rough it on a flatboat or to sleep on a steamer's deck; it was to be
"poor Audubon" no longer. To be sure, he was not rich, but he had made
his way and his mark, and the attention which he now began to receive
when traveling in his adopted land must have gratified his heart. He
paused at Louisville to visit his two boys, the elder of whom, Victor,
was then a clerk in the office of his uncle, William G. Bakewell, while
John was with another uncle, Nicholas A. Berthoud. Hastening on he
reached Bayou Sara on November 17, where he finally joined his wife, who
was living at the home of William Garrett Johnson, in West Feliciana
Parish, near Wakefield. Some account of this journey is given in the
following letter,[372] written on the eighteenth to Dr. Richard Harlan;
in the postscript Audubon gives the first reference to a new hawk which
he proposed to name after his friend, and which has given no little
trouble to ornithologists ever since:[373]

_Audubon to Dr. Richard Harlan_

          [Superscribed] RICHD HARLAN Esqr. M. D. &c &c &c
                         Philadelphia Pensa

          ST FRANCISVILLE LOUISIANA _Novembr 18th


     You will see by the data of this the rapidity with which I
     have crossed _two thirds_ of the United States. I had the
     happiness of pressing my beloved wife to my breast Yesterday
     morning; saw my two sons at Louisville and all is well.—from
     Philadelphia to Pittsburgh I found the Roads, the Coaches,
     horses Drivers and Inns all much improved and yet needing
     a great deal to make the traveller _quite comfortable_—The
     slownesse of the stages is yet a great bore to a man in a
     hurry—I remained part of a day at Pittsburgh where of course I
     paid my respects to the Museum! I was glad to see the germ of
     one—it is conducted by a very young man named Lambdin—I made
     an arrangement with him [place of seal—paper gone] &c. &c.
     &c. at Cincinnati I also visited the Museum [paper gone] it
     scarsely improves since my last view of it, except indeed by
     wax figures and such other shows as are best suitable to make
     money and the least so to improve the mind.—I could not see
     D [illegible] my time was very limited.—The Ohio was in good
     order for Navigation and I reached Louisville distant from
     you about 1,000 Miles in one week.==as you spoke of travelling
     westwardly I give you here an a/c of the Fare.—to Pittsburgh
     all included 21$.—to Louisville 12$.—and 25$ more to Bayou
     Sarah where I Landed. 30$ is the price from Louisville to N.
     Orleans.==our Steam Boats are commodious and go well—but my
     Dear Friend the most extraordinary change has taken place
     in appearance as I have proceeded.—The foliage had nearly
     left the Trees in Pensylvania, the Swallows had long since
     disapeared severe frost indeed had rendered Nature gloomy
     and uninteresting—Judge of the contrast: I am now surrounded
     by _Green Trees_ and Swallows gambole around the house as in
     Pensylvania during June & July==The mock bird is heard to sing
     and during a Walk with my Wife yesterday I collected some 20
     or 30 Insects==that is not all, a friend of mine here _says_
     that he has discovered 2 or 3 _New Birds_!!!—new Birds are new
     birds our days, and I shall endeavour to shew you the Facts
     Simile when again I shall have the pleasure of shaking your

     although so lately arrived, I have established the fact that
     Mrs A. and myself will be on our way towards "Old England"
     by the 15th of Jan.y. we will ascend the Mississipi and
     after resting ourselves at Louisville with our sons and other
     relatives about one month and then proceed with the Rapidity
     on the Wild Pigeon should God grant our wishes!—

     have you seen or heard any thing of Ward?—have you the little
     sketch of Dear?==we had a passenger on Board the Huntress
     named _Potts_ from your City who knows you well as lively
     young Gentleman; has a Brother (a Clergyman) established and
     married at Natchez.—

     I will begin Drawing next week having much scratching with the
     Pen to perform this one, and I am also desirous to make [paper
     gone] Large Shipment of aborigines both animal and vegetal as
     soon as possible.—Turkeys, Aligators, Oppossums, Paroekett,
     and plants, as Bignonias &c &c &c. will be removed to
     the Zoological Gardens of London, from the Natural ones of
     this Magnificent Louisiana!—meantimes I will not forget _my
     Friends in Phila._ no I would rather forgive all, to all
     my Ennemies there.—assure Dr. Hammersley that Ivory Billed
     and Peleated Woodpeckers will be skinned, and who knows but
     I may find something more for him.—I will give free leave to
     Dr. Pickering to chuse amongst the Insects and who knows but
     I may find something new for him. remember me most kindly to
     both, nay not in the common manner of saying "Mr Audubon begs
     to be remembered" no not [at] all. This way Mr A remembers
     _you_ and _you_ and _I_ will remember _you_ and _you_ and _I_

     May I also beg to be remembered in humble words to a fine pair
     of Eyes; divided, not by the Allegany Mountains; but by a nose
     evidently imported from far _East_, to a placid forehead, to
     a mouth speaking happiness to——[dash nearly across page.]

     Should you see Friend Sully remember me to him also—and should
     you see George Ord Esqr. _Fellow_ of all the Societies
     _Imaginable_ present him my most humble——[dash line more than
     across the page.]

     Should you see that good woman where I boarded at Camd'den
     tell her that I am well and thankful to her for her attentions
     to me.—

     I cannot hope the pleasure of an answer from you here but you
     may do so, and I say pray do so, directed to the care of N.
     Berthoud Esqr Louisville Kentucky.—by the bye my sons are
     taller than me, the eldest one so much altered that I did not
     know him at first sight, and yet I have _Eyes_—

          God bless You, Your Friend

          JOHN J. AUDUBON.

     [The following is written across the first page:]

     I reopened my letter to say that I have Just _now_ killed a
     Large _New Falcon yes positively a new Species of Hawk almost
     black about_ 25 Inches Long and 4 feet broad tail square Eye
     yellowish White, Legs and Feet bare short & strong.——I will
     skin it!!!—

     remember me to Lehman——

     What I have said about the Hawk to You must be _Lawful_ to
     _Academicians_ and you will please announce _Falco Harlanii_

          JOHN J. AUDUBON
          _F. L. S. L._

The following extracts are from a letter[374] written by Swainson,
January 30, 1830, and sent to Havell in London to be readdressed:

_William Swainson to Audubon_

     I know not in what part of the Wilds of America you may now
     be wandering, but I hope you are fully intent upon your great
     object, and that you are not only making drawings, and taking
     notes, _but preserving Skins_, of all your little favorites.
     Don't forget the _Shrikes_, of which I have strong suspicions
     there are 2 or 3 species mixed up with the name of Loggerhead.
     Should you be in the land of the _Scarlet Ibis_, do pray
     procure a dozen or two of the best skins, they are the most
     magnificent birds of No. America, and are said to be common
     towards New Orleans.

     You will learn frm the Newspapers how uncommonly severe is
     our winter the snow has now been upon the ground five weeks
     and it is still falling. I manage, however, to walk out every
     day, and thus have acquired better health than I have enjoyed
     for many years.

     Previous to your embarking to England, which I hope you will
     do very early in the spring you must do me one favor. Bring
     me two Grey Squirrels alive, and a cage full of little birds,
     either the painted or non-Pareil finch the Blue finch, or the
     Virginian Nightingale, as they are called, 3 or 4 of each to
     guard against casualties by death on the voyage. I do not care
     one farthing whether they sing or not, so that I presume they
     may be got for a mere trifle. The Squirrels would delight the
     little people beyond measure, and would prove a never-failing
     source of amusement to them. I believe you have other kinds
     than the _grey_, so that any will do. If you cannot get them
     pray supply their place by two Parrots of America.

     We continue pretty well at the Green. Seldom go to town,
     but I find people begin to discover the true character of V
     [igors]. and many that were formerly his friends now speak
     very differently of him. His father having died the property
     has come to him. He has now taken a fine house in the Regents
     park, and holds _conversaziones_ (in humble imitation of those
     of the President of the Royal Society) every Sunday evening
     _during the season_!! all this is very grand, and he appears
     to have abandoned writing any more papers on ornithology,
     since I have begun to point out his errors.

     Ward wrote to me since my last, he is a poor weak fellow, with
     a good natural disposition, but so little to be depended upon,
     that he is turned round by every feather, after inserting that
     he could not go on "in my service" as he called it, under
     _ten dollars_ a week, he now says he should be most happy
     to receive _four_. He says not a word of his marriage, which
     proves his wish to decive one. I have done with him.... I hope
     you have got me _lots of River shells_.

     About the beginning of the year 1827 Mrs. Audubon gave up
     her "Beechwoods" school, and thereafter took a position as
     governess in the home of Mr. William Garrett Johnson, whose
     plantation, called "Beechgrove," was situated in the same
     parish. An anonymous writer thus referred to this house in

     In the hospitable mansion of W. G. J——, in the parish of West
     Feliciana, if one will look into the parlor, they will see
     over the piano a cabinet sized portrait, remarkable for a
     bright eye and intellectual look. The style of it is free, and
     there is an individuality about the whole that gives assurance
     of a strong likeness. Opposite hangs a proof impression of the
     bird of Washington, a tribute of a grateful heart to an old
     friend. The first is a portrait of Audubon painted by himself;
     the other is one of the first [of his] engravings that ever
     reached the United States.

There Audubon spent nearly two months at the close of 1829, and followed
his usual occupations of hunting and drawing, while his wife prepared
for their contemplated journey to Europe. He is said to have drawn at
this time the "Black Vulture attacking a herd of Deer," several large
hawks, squirrels, and heads of deer which were never finished.

Although Audubon's business affairs in England had been left in charge
of his trustworthy friend, John G. Children, his engraver, Havell, had
become alarmed at the loss of subscribers and the failure of certain
of their agents, and particularly M. Pitois of Paris,[376] to render
due returns. Havell, as it proved, was unduly disturbed, but his gloomy
accounts tended to hasten the naturalist's departure, a circumstance
that was later deplored. These matters are clearly reflected in the
following letter written from the Johnson home in Louisiana when the
Audubons were preparing to leave it; particularly interesting are
the included statements through which it was hoped that a competent
successor might be secured for the duties of the position which Mrs.
Audubon had so ably filled:

_Audubon to Robert Havell_

          _Decr 16th 1829_


     I received yesterday from New York your letter of the 29th.
     Sept. which must have reached Philadelphia 3 days after my
     departure for home==

     I am sorry that Bartley should have made you suffer a
     moment by sending you the intelligence of the failure of the
     several subscribers you mention in your favor—it cannot be
     helped—there is none of your fault and _I_ must repair these
     matters when I reach England again==

     I am considerably more sorry and much vexed that Sowler should
     have failed in his _written_ promise to accept your Dfts.—even
     in a case of the diminution of subscribers he could certainly
     have sent you a progressional amount—I am now _almost_ sure
     that Pitois has failed or acted the Rogue==

     We are making all preparations in our power to leave Louisiana
     on the 5 or 10th. of Jan.y and we will proceed as fast as
     Steam Boats, Coaches and the weather will admit of and we will
     sail for England from New York with all possible dispatch.
     I have made a shipment of Forest trees to England that I
     hope will turn to good account as they are to be presents to
     Public Institutions &c and that I think it necessary to be
     _remembered myself_.—

     We are both well—our sons are at Louisville, Kentucky where
     we will see them about the 20th. of next month.—I sent you
     in my letter a proposal for your sister and should you not
     have received it I send it you again here in Mrs A.'s. hand
     writing.—_I would advise your sister to come_ if the _money_
     is an object.—I think that besides she will be comfortable
     with the familly Johnson—if she thinks fit to wait untill we
     see her, we can tell her all about it.==

     I have received only one letter from friend Children during
     all this absence against my very many—I hope the insects I
     sent him by the Annibal have reached safely.—have no news to
     give you—Keep up a good heart—we will be in London as soon
     as possible.—I have not had a letter from Miss Hudson for a
     long time—I hope her mother & her are well—Remember me kindly
     to your Dear Wife and Little ones—Mrs Audubon joins me in all
     good wishes—If you see Parker my remembrances to him==I will
     carry with me some Drawings that I know will make the _graver_
     and the _Acid_ Grin again.—

          Believe me your friend—

          JOHN J. AUDUBON.

     When you present my sincere regards to friend Swanson
     [Swainson] tell him that I have had only one letter from him
     and that I am now quite unable to say where Mr Ward is==I
     had a letter from Henry Havell[377] the other day merely
     acknowledging the money I have paid him—he was in New York,
     I hope quite well—


     A friend of ours here named Wm. Garrett Johnson (a cotton
     planter) a gentleman who resides in a perfectly healthy and
     agreeable part of the country, desires that I should write
     to England to procure for him a Governess, one who can teach
     music, drawing and the usual branches of education to young
     Ladies. Mr. Johnson will pay the sum of one thousand dollars
     per annum, board, lodging &c, also and considered in all
     respects as a member of the family, to any lady who will
     undertake occupation (the sum is about 230£) the governess
     will have to instruct ten or twelve young persons of various
     ages, and may make the arrangement for five years if desirous
     of it. I have thought this would suit your sister precisely,
     and for my part knowing the family Johnson as I do I should
     think it an excellent thing for her. if not I will look for
     some one when I am in England, Sailing from England direct for
     New Orleans, steam Boats reach the place of Mr Johnson in two


     I, Wm. Garrett Johnson do authorize my friend J. J. Audubon
     to make the above proposition and do by these present obligate
     myself to comply with them punctually and particularly.



          79 Newman Street
          Oxford Street

"On January 1, 1830," said the naturalist, "we started for New Orleans,
taking with us the only three servants yet belonging to us, namely,
Cecilia, and her two sons, Reuben and Lewis. We stayed a few days at
our friend Mr. Braud's, with whom we left our servants, and on the
seventh of January took passage on the splendid steamer _Philadelphia_
for Louisville, paying sixty dollars fare."[378] After a long visit
with their sons, on the seventh of March they ascended the Ohio to
Cincinnati, and at Wheeling took the mail-coach to Washington. At
the national capital Audubon met the President, Andrew Jackson, and
was befriended by Edward Everett, at that time a leader in the House
of Representatives. "Congress," said the naturalist, "was then in
session, and I exhibited my drawings to the House of Representatives,
and received their subscription as a body." He also recorded that he
obtained three subscribers in Baltimore, and left for Philadelphia,
where they remained a week. The following note, which Edward Everett
gave Audubon for New York, is particularly interesting, since it
expressly states that at that time the ornithologist had not received
a single subscriber in the United States:

_Edward Everett to Dr. Wainwright_

          WASHINGTON _18 March 1830_


     Allow me to introduce to your acquaintance, the bearer of this
     letter, Mr. Audubon of Louisiana. His drawings of American
     Birds, of which he will show you some, will I am sure command
     your approbation, as they have the applause of Europe.—I
     am sorry to say, that he has not yet procured a single
     subscriber, in the United States of America. Will not one
     of your Institutions in New York—or your wealthy and liberal
     individuals—take a copy? I pray you endeavor to procure him
     at least one subscriber, in New York.—

          Yours with great regard

          E. EVERETT.


Audubon had evidently reconsidered his expressed intention of presenting
a copy[379] to Congress, and to Edward Everett belongs the credit of
subscribing to _The Birds of America_ in behalf of the Congressional
Library. At about this time also he obtained another subscriber at
Washington, in the person of Baron Krudener, the Russian envoy, but
later experienced difficulty in collecting his dues.[380]



     Settlement in London—Starts on canvassing tour with
     his wife—Change of plans—In Edinburgh—Discovery of
     MacGillivray—His hand in the _Ornithological Biography_—Rival
     editions of Wilson and Bonaparte—Brown's extraordinary
     atlas—Reception of the _Biography_—Joseph Bartholomew Kidd
     and the Ornithological Gallery—In London again.

On the 1st of April, 1830, Audubon and his wife sailed from New York in
the packet ship _Pacific_, bound for Liverpool, where they landed after
a voyage of twenty-five days. Upon returning to London the naturalist
found that upon the 18th of the preceding March he had been elected to
membership in the Royal Society, an honor for which he felt indebted
to Lord Stanley and his friend Children, of the British Museum; after
paying the entrance fee of £50, he took his seat in that body on the
6th of May. The painting of pictures was at once resumed to meet his
heavy expenses, but towards the end of July he started with Mrs. Audubon
on a canvassing tour, in the course of which his plans suddenly were
changed so that London did not see him again for nearly a year.[381]
On this journey they touched at Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, York,
Hull, Scarborough, Whitby, New Castle, and Belford, to visit the Selbys,
and on the 13th of October reached Edinburgh, where they were soon
comfortably settled in the naturalist's old lodging place, the house of
Mrs. Dickey, Number 26, George Street.

Audubon was now ready to begin the text of his _Birds of America_, to
be called _Ornithological Biography_, which is often referred to as his
"Biography of Birds." This work, which was eventually extended to five
large volumes of over three thousand pages, was published at Edinburgh
from 1831 to 1839. He had made crude beginnings with this in view as
early as 1821, and on October 16, 1830, he wrote: "I know that I am
not a scholar ..." but, "with the assistance of my old journals and
memorandum-books, which were written on the spot, I can at least put
down plain truths, which may be useful, and perhaps interesting, so I
shall set to at once. I cannot, however, give scientific descriptions,
and here must have assistance." To supply this need, as we have
seen already, he had earlier applied to William Swainson, but the
negotiations with that naturalist were soon broken off, and led to a
sharp and acrid discussion upon the authorship of the work itself.[382]

By a rare stroke of genius or good fortune, Audubon chose for his
assistant a young Scotch naturalist, William MacGillivray, who had
been introduced to him by another naturalist, James Wilson, soon after
he reached the Scottish capital. MacGillivray agreed "to revise and
correct" his manuscript at the rate of two guineas per sheet of sixteen
pages, and in the latter part of October, 1830, they set to work.
We shall soon have occasion to speak more fully of his debt to this
estimable Scotchman,[383] and will only add here that a better trained
or more competent helper than MacGillivray could hardly have been found
in Great Britain or elsewhere.


     After a photograph in possession of Mr. Ruthven Deane.]


     After an old print; reproduced from _Cassinia_ for 1910.]

No sooner had Audubon begun to write than it was learned that "no
less than three editions of 'Wilson's Ornithology' were about to be
published, one by Jameson, one by Sir W. Jardine, and another by a
Mr. Brown." The outlook could not be considered encouraging, but this
intelligence only nerved him to greater effort, and he was determined to
push his own publication with such unremitting vigor as to anticipate
them all. "Since I have been in England," he wrote in his journal, "I
have studied the character of Englishmen as carefully as I have studied
the birds in America, and I know full well that in England novelty is
always in demand, and that if a thing is well known it will not receive
much support." Audubon worked continuously at his _Biography_, rising
before the dawn and writing all day, while the able worker at his side
carried his efforts far into the night, and in three months the first
volume was ready for the printer; Mrs. Audubon meanwhile copied their
entire manuscript to be sent to the United States in order to secure
the American copyright. When this work was offered to the publishers at
Edinburgh, however, not one of them, said the naturalist, would offer a
shilling for it, but this did not deter him from publishing it at once
and at his own expense.[384] On March 13, 1831, he wrote: "The printing
will be completed in a few days, and I have sent copies of the sheets
to Dr. Harlan, and Mr. McMurtie, at Philadelphia, and also one hundred
pounds sterling to Messrs. T. Walker & Sons, to be paid to Dr. Harlan
to secure the copyright, and have the book published there."

The following friendly letter from one of Wilson's editors belongs to
this period:

_Sir William Jardine to Audubon_

          JARDINE HALL _3 d Decr. 1830_—


     I only learnt a few days since that you were to winter in
     Edinburgh, and perhaps since you are not Hurried for time in
     Trovelly [?] will come out to spend a day or two with me—If
     you can come out before the 10 th. when I shall have the
     pleasure of shewing you some Blackgame Shooting—The season
     expires on the Tenth of the Month partridges have bred so
     ill that there is scarsely any in the whole country, and
     pheasants have been so lately introduced that they are yet
     rather scarce—In a wet day you may have your easel & brushes
     I should wish much to hear your account of Wilson during the
     times you hunted with him—and also some account of the New
     Species you figure in the american Ornithology—

     I am happy to learn you intend _figuring_ the learned Men
     of America as accompanyment to your work particularly the
     ornithologists, do you know the painter of the portrait of
     Wilson—I have three portraits of him in the House, and also
     a profile taken by the machine I should like to have your
     opinion of them one of the portraits was painted from an
     original that went to America—

     I shall expect to hear you are coming soon—Mr Lizars will tell
     you about coaches—&c

          With best regards believe me

          Sincerely yours

          WM JARDINE

          [Addressed] J. AUDUBON Esqr
          Care of W. H. LIZARS Esqr
          3 James Square


   From a copy presented by Audubon to William MacGillivray and
   bearing the latter's signature.]

Audubon was not outstripped by his Edinburgh rivals, who to all
appearances had planned to cover the field of American ornithology
so thoroughly as to render his work a drug on the market, if not to
make it superfluous. Whether this were really true or not, there is
no doubt that Audubon's activity furnished the stimulus to the sudden
appreciation of the work of his predecessor that was manifested in
Edinburgh at this very moment of time. It will be interesting to see
just what these rival enterprises were. Professor Jameson, who had
been of great service to Audubon at the beginning of his undertaking,
prepared a pocket edition of Wilson's and Bonaparte's _Ornithology_,
with miniature plates which were issued separately, and the two works,
which were intended to go together, were published in 1831.[385] Sir
William Jardine brought out an edition of Wilson's and Bonaparte's
work, in three large volumes, with plates engraved by W. H. Lizars after
the originals and carefully colored by hand.[386] This was thoroughly
legitimate enterprise, but the climax was reached when Captain Thomas
Brown began to publish an "Audubonized edition" of Wilson's and
Bonaparte's plates, or an attempt to present their plates of American
birds in the Audubonian manner, to the extent at least of showing the
characteristic flowers, trees, and insects of the American continent,
a plan to which some of Audubon's earlier critics in Philadelphia
had offered strenuous objection. Brown's large atlas of plates[387]
was issued in parts, from 1831 to 1835, and was intended as a further
companion to Jameson's text for all who could afford that expensive form
of illustration. By a curious coincidence Audubon's _Ornithological
Biography_ (vol. i), Jameson's edition of Wilson and Bonaparte (vol.
i), and Brown's _Illustrations_ (pt. i), were all noticed on the same
page of the _London Literary Gazette_ for April 9, 1831. "This day is
published," so reads the advertisement of Audubon's work, "price 25s.
in royal octavo, cloth, Ornithological Biography...." If the desire
of these various editors were to cripple the work of the American
naturalist, their efforts were certainly vain, for he was able to make
his way against all competitors. Brown's work was a failure, so few
copies having been distributed that it is doubtful if more than one ever
came to this country, and only one is known to be in possession of any
large library in England.

Audubon's initial volume of the _Biography_ was well received and
drew forth immediate and unstinted praise from many sources. He was
anxious that MacGillivray should contribute some account of it to the
London _Quarterly Review_, then under the editorial management of John
Gibson Lockhart, but his suggestion was coldly received and drew forth
the following declaration of independence from his able, if as yet
undistinguished, coadjutor:[388]

     With respect to the review, I can only say that if Mr.
     Lockhart is so doubtful as to my powers, he may doubt as
     long as he lists. I shall not submit any essay of mine to his
     judgment. If you had informed me that he or the conductor of
     my other review would print a notice of your works, I should
     have agreed to write one with pleasure, but under existing
     circumstances I shall not, it being repugnant to my feelings
     and contrary to my practice and principles to sue for favor
     with any man. I have already written three reviews of your
     books which have been printed, and when I am applied to for
     a fourth I shall write it too, with "an elegance of style, a
     power of expression, and knowledge of the subject" equal to
     those usually displayed by the editor of the Quarterly.

Some of the criticism, whether friendly or hostile, which this work
eventually evoked will be considered in a later chapter.

Shortly after his arrival in London, Audubon received a call from
Joseph Bartholomew Kidd, a young artist whom he had met at Edinburgh
the previous March, and was attracted so much by his "youth, simplicity
and cleverness" that he again invited him to paint in his rooms. On the
31st of March, 1831, an agreement was made with Kidd[389] to copy some
of his drawings in oils and put in appropriate backgrounds. "It was our
intention," said Audubon, "to send them to the exhibition for sale, and
to divide the amount between us. He painted eight, and then I proposed,
if he would paint the one hundred engravings which comprise my first
volume of the Birds of America, I would pay him one hundred pounds."
In 1832 Captain Thomas Brown gave this notice of the undertaking in the
_Caledonian Mercury_:

     About a year ago Audubon conceived the grand idea of a Natural
     History Gallery of Paintings, and entered into an agreement
     with Mr. Kidd to copy all his drawings of the same size, and
     in oil, leaving to the taste of that excellent artist to add
     such backgrounds as might give them a more pictorial effect.
     In the execution of such of these as Mr. Kidd has finished,
     he has not only preserved all the vivacious character of the
     originals, but he has greatly heightened their beauty, by the
     general tone and appropriate feeling which he has preserved
     and carried throughout his pictures.

Kidd worked intermittently on some such scheme for about three years,
and produced numerous pictures on canvas or mill-board. He was thus
engaged in 1833 when he wrote to ask for an advance of from twelve
to fourteen pounds on account of an accident that had befallen him
on the 16th of May of that year. Kidd said in his letter that while
he was attending a sale of Lord Eldin's pictures, the floor of the
building suddenly gave way with a crash and precipitated the whole
company, together with the furniture, into a room below; that he had
sustained many bruises himself, not to speak of a dislocated arm, but
what with blisters, cupping, nurses and remedies of all sorts, he was
then slowly mending. Another of their projects was to publish Kidd's
copies of Audubon's drawings as individual pieces, and a notice of this
appeared in _Blackwood's Magazine_ for 1831. John Wilson, in reviewing
Audubon's work in the magazine for that year said: "it is expected that
there will be completed by Audubon, Kidd, and others,—Four Hundred
Subjects. Audubon purposes opening, on his return [from America], an
Ornithological Gallery, of which may the proceeds prove a moderate
fortune!" All such plans, however, seem to have been delayed or
frustrated, and a misunderstanding with Kidd brought them suddenly to a
close in 1833. Audubon's explicit directions under this head were given
in a letter to his son Victor, written at Charleston on Christmas Day
of that year.[390]

When his letterpress was finished, Audubon left Edinburgh with Mrs.
Audubon on April 15, 1831. Newcastle, York, Leeds, and Manchester were
again visited, and a pause of several days was made at Liverpool before
proceeding to London, when, as the naturalist recorded, they "traveled
on that extraordinary road, called the railway, at the rate of 24 miles
an hour." In May[391] they visited Paris, Audubon no doubt wishing to
collect the money due from his agent there, as well as to introduce his
wife to the unrivaled attractions of the great city. Upon returning to
London in July he had the pleasure of again meeting his _fidus Achates_,
Edward Harris,[392] of Moorestown, New Jersey, and immediately began to
put his affairs in order for a long period of absence.

While Audubon was in Paris, the following letter[393] was written by
his staunch friend and supporter in Congress, Edward Everett, who, as
has been seen, fully appreciated the national character of his great
undertakings. The effort of this able advocate to give _The Birds of
America_ free passage to their native land, however, do not appear to
have been successful until two years later, as a letter to be quoted in
due course clearly indicates.

_Edward Everett to Audubon_

          CHARLESTOWN, MASS., _May 19th, 1831_.


     I duly received your favor of the 1st. of Nov. accompanied
     with some copies of the Prospectus, and a few days since your
     letter of the 5th. March reached me. I owe you an apology for
     being so tardy in my reply to the former letter. It reached
     me at Washington, while I was confined with a severe illness,
     with which, since Oct. last, I have till lately been much
     afflicted. I was, most of the session, in such a state of
     health, as to be kept at my lodgings, and when in my place,
     in the House of Representatives, little able to attend to
     business. As soon as I went abroad, after the receipt of your
     letter, I consulted some of the most influential members of
     Congress, as to the probability of being able to pass a bill
     for the free introduction of your work. Last winters session
     was the short session, terminating by the Constitution on the
     3d. of March. At this session, it is always very difficult
     to pass any bills, originating during the session. The time
     is regularly taken up by bills, prepared the previous winter.
     In addition to this circumstance, more than half of the last
     session was taken up, by an impeachment before the Senate.
     A procedure, which suspended during its continuance, the
     legislative business of the two Houses, and left no time for
     scarce anything, beyond the annual appropriation bills for
     the support of the government. Under these circumstances,
     the gentlemen, whom I consulted, were of opinion with me that
     it was impossible, for want of time, to pass a bill in your
     favor, and that it was therefor better not to attempt it, at
     the late session, but to reserve it for next winter, when it
     can be brought up seasonably, and with good hope of success.
     I shall take great pleasure to seize the first moment, at
     the opening of the next session, to bring the subject before

     The portions of your work, which arrived at Washington before
     I left it, were publicly exhibited in the library, and
     attracted great attention and unqualified admiration. The
     same is true of the copy received by the Boston Athenaeum.
     The plates were specially exhibited in the great hall of the
     Athenaeum, to the entire satisfaction and delight of those
     who saw them.

     The copy-right law authorizes any citizen of the U. States to
     take out a copy-right of his work, on depositing a _printed
     copy_ of the _title page_ in the office of the District Court.
     I infer from your letter of the 5th. of March, that you had
     sent copies of the printed sheets of your work to Drs. Harlan
     and M. Mertrie [McMurtie] of Philadelphia with a view of
     having the copy-right.

     I have distributed a part of your prospectuses, and shall
     do the same with the rest, in the manner that may seem most
     likely to promote your interest. I regret to say, that I
     have not yet been able to add another, to the list of your

     You mention, in each of your letters, the little picture you
     were so kind, as to propose sending me. This alone leads me to
     say, that whenever it comes to hand, it will be most welcome:
     but that, engaged as you are in laboring in the cause of
     science and of America, you must not feel obliged to consume
     one hour of your precious time at the sacrifice of those
     higher objects.

     I am happy to be able to say to you, that my health, though
     not wholly restored, is greatly improved, and that if you will
     continue to favor me with your commands, I will prove myself,
     hereafter, a more punctual correspondent.

     I look forward with sincere pleasure, to the prospect of
     meeting you again, on this side of the Atlantic, and with my
     respectful compliments to Mrs. Audubon, I beg leave, dear sir,
     to tender you the assurance of my high respects, and with it
     my most friendly salutations.


     P.S. Since the foregoing was written, I have received your
     favor of the 23d. of April. I beg leave particularly to thank
     you for your kindness in reference to the picture. I shall
     prize it, not merely on account of its scientific value and
     beauty as a work of art, (both of which I feel assured it will
     be found to possess) but as a token of your friendly regard.
     It will give me great pleasure to furnish you any letters in
     my power, for your adventurous south western tour. These I
     shall have the pleasure of handing you, when we meet this side
     the water.

     You were elected in November last a fellow of the American
     Academy of Arts and Sciences, on the nomination which I had
     the honor to submit to that body. Owing to a change in the
     secretaryship a delay arose in preparing your diploma, which
     will however be forwarded in a few days.

Upon balancing his accounts with _The Birds of America_ at about this
time, Audubon thought it was truly remarkable that $40,000 should have
passed through his hands for the completion of the first volume.

     Who would believe that once in London I had only a sovereign
     left in my pocket, and did not know to whom to apply for
     another, when at the verge of failure; above all, that I
     extricated myself from all my difficulties, not by borrowing
     money, but by rising at four o'clock in the morning, working
     hard all day, and disposing of my works at a price which a
     common labourer would have thought little more than sufficient
     remuneration for his work? To give you an idea of my actual
     difficulties during the publication of my first volume, it
     will be sufficient to say, that in the four years required
     to bring that volume before the world, no less than fifty of
     my subscribers, representing the sum of fifty-six thousand
     dollars, abandoned me! And whenever a few withdrew I was
     forced to leave London, and go to the provinces, to obtain
     others to supply their places, in order to enable me to
     raise the money to meet the expenses of engraving, coloring,
     paper, printing ...; and that with all my constant exertions,
     fatigues, and vexations, I find myself now having but one
     hundred and thirty standing names on my list.


     [1] Samuel Johnson, _The Rambler_, No. 60.

     [2] _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. iv, p. 222.

     [3] Elliott Coues, _Key to North American Birds_, 4th ed., p.
     xxi (Boston, 1890).

     [4] Audubon, in Audubon County, Iowa, in Beeker County,
     Minnesota, and in Wise County, Texas, as well as Audubon,
     Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in which his old farm,
     "Mill Grove," is situated. Audubon Avenue is the first of the
     subterranean passages which lead from the entrance of Mammoth
     Cave, and is noted for its swarms of bats. Audubon Park, New
     York City, between the Hudson River and Broadway and extending
     from 156th, to 160th Streets, embraces a part of "Minnie's
     Land," the naturalist's old Hudson River estate, but is a
     realty designation and is now almost entirely covered with
     buildings (see Chapter XXXVI).

     [5] The Audubon Monument Committee of the New York Academy of
     Sciences was appointed October 3, 1887, and made its final
     report in 1893, when this beautiful memorial was formally
     dedicated. Subscriptions from all parts of the United States
     amounted to $10,525.21. The monument is a Runic cross in
     white marble, ornamented with American birds and mammals which
     Audubon has depicted, and surmounts a die bearing a portrait
     of the naturalist, modeled from Cruikshank's miniature, with
     suitable inscriptions, the whole being supported on a base of
     granite; the total height is nearly 26 feet, and the weight
     2 tons. It was presented to the Corporation of Trinity Parish
     by Professor Thomas Eggleston, and received by Rev. Dr. Morgan
     Dix. The cemetery has since been cut in two by the extension
     of Broadway; the monument is in the northerly section, close
     to the parish house of the Chapel of the Intercession.

     The monument at New Orleans, mentioned below, was erected
     under the auspices of the Audubon Association, at a cost of
     $10,000, most of which was secured through the efforts of Mrs.
     J. L. Bradford, $1,500 having been contributed by residents
     of the Crescent City. The figure is in bronze, and stands on
     a high pedestal of Georgia granite.

     The beautiful bust of Audubon at the American Museum of
     Natural History is by William Couper, of Newark, N. J.

     [6] As will later appear, this was in reality the 120th

     [7] The first Audubon Society, devoted to the interests of
     bird protection, was organized by Dr. George Bird Grinnell,
     editor of _Forest and Stream_, in 1886, and 16,000 members
     were enrolled during the first year; Dr. Grinnell was also
     the father of the _Audubonian Magazine_ (see Bibliography,
     No. 190), which made its first appearance in January,
     1887; by the middle of that year the membership in the new
     society had increased to 38,000, but with the disappearance
     of the _Magazine_ in 1889 the movement languished and
     came to a speedy end. In 1896 a fresh start was taken by
     the inauguration of State societies in Massachusetts and
     Pennsylvania, and the movement gathered greater force through
     the inauguration in 1899 of the admirably conducted magazine,
     _Bird-Lore_, as its official organ. The State societies were
     federated in 1902, and the National Committee then created
     gave place in 1905 to the National Association. See Gilbert
     Trafton, _Bird Friends_, for an excellent summary of the work
     of the Audubon Societies, and the "Twelfth Annual Report of
     the National Association of Audubon Societies," _Bird-Lore_,
     vol. xviii (1916).

     [8] In this year Charles Lanman, writer, and at a later time
     librarian of the Library of Congress, wrote to Victor Audubon
     as follows: "Are not you and your family willing _now_ to
     let me write a book about your illustrious father? I feel
     confident that I could get up something very interesting and
     which would not only help the big work, but make money. I
     could have it brought out in handsome style, and should like
     to have well engraved a portrait and some half dozen views
     in Kentucky, Louisiana, and on the Hudson. Write me what you
     think about it." Lanman's letter is dated "Georgetown, D. C.,
     Oct. 8, 1856"; on November 1 Victor Audubon replied, declining
     the proposal.

     [9] Messrs. C. S. Francis & Company, of 554 Broadway, New

     [10] The publishers in this instance do not appear to have
     been better informed, for the text of the _Quadrupeds_, from
     which they quote, was written by John Bachman, and the first
     volume of it was issued in London in 1847; see Bibliography,
     No. 6.

     [11] Rev. Dr. Adams was rector of this parish for twenty-five
     years, from 1863 to his death in February, 1888; he was the
     author of three volumes on religious subjects and various
     smaller tracts; from 1855 to 1863 he had charge of a church in
     Baltimore, Maryland, and while there published an anonymous
     pamphlet entitled "Slavery by a Marylander; Its Institution
     and Origin; Its Status Under the Law and Under the Gospel" (8
     pp. 8vo. Baltimore, 1860).

     [12] Buchanan said that the manuscript submitted to him was
     inordinately long and needed careful revision; he added that
     "while he could not fail to express his admiration for the
     affectionate spirit and intelligent sympathy with which the
     friendly editor discharged his task, he was bound to say
     that his literary experience was limited." After copying a
     passage from one of Audubon's journals, this editor had the
     unfortunate habit of drawing his pen through the original;
     in this way hundreds of pages of Audubon's admirable
     "copper-plate" were irretrievably defaced.

     [13] Robert Buchanan, _The Life of Audubon_ (Bibl. No. 72),
     p. vi.

     [14] See Harriet Jay, _Robert Buchanan: Some Account of His
     Life, His Life's Work, and His Literary Friendships_ (London,
     1903). Robert Williams Buchanan was born at Caverswell,
     Lancashire, August 18, 1841, and died in London, June 10,

     [15] For similar spelling of the name by John James Audubon,
     see Appendix I, Document No. 12.

     [16] For notice of these records of Jean Audubon and his
     family, see the Preface, and for the most important documents,
     Appendix I.

     [17] Pierre Audubon's service in the merchant marine of France
     is undoubtedly recorded in the archives of the Department of
     Marine in Paris, but all researches in that direction were
     suddenly halted by the war.

     [18] Jean Audubon had a brother Claude, and on February
     27, 1791, he wrote to him, asking for 4,000 francs, which
     he needed for the purchase of a boat. It was probably this
     brother who lived at Bayonne, and left three daughters, Anne,
     Dominica, and Catherine Françoise, who married Jean Louis
     Lissabé, a pilot (see Vol. I, p. 263). If this inference be
     correct, and the sum referred to was demanded in payment of
     a debt, it may explain a statement of the naturalist that his
     father and his uncle were not on speaking terms.

     Another brother is said to have been an active politician
     at Nantes, La Rochelle and Paris from 1771 to 1796, when he
     dropped out of sight for a number of years. When heard of
     again he was living at La Rochelle in affluence and piety.
     This was apparently the Audubon to whom the naturalist
     referred in certain of his journals and private letters as one
     who, possessing the secret of his birth and early life, had
     done both him and his father an irreparable injury (see Vol.
     I, p. 270).

     A sister, Marie Rosa Audubon, was married in 1794 to Pierre de
     Vaugeon, a lawyer at Nantes; their only son, Louis Lejeune de
     Vaugeon, was living at Nantes as late as 1822, when he deeded
     his former home to Henri Boutard. (The substance of this and
     the preceding paragraph is based partly upon data furnished
     by Miss Maria R. Audubon.)

     Jean Audubon gave his daughter, Rosa, the name of her aunt,
     but in later life seems to have broken off all relations with
     his brothers. Upon his death his will was immediately attacked
     by Mme. Lejeune de Vaugeon, of Nantes, and by the three nieces
     from Bayonne (see Chapter XVII). The naturalist does not give
     the name of the aunt who, as he said, was killed during the
     Revolution at Nantes, but I have found no reference to any

     [19] This was recalled by the naturalist on March 5, 1827,
     when he wrote: "As a lad I had a great aversion to anything
     English or Scotch, and I remember when travelling with my
     father to Rochefort in January, 1800, I mentioned this to
     him.... How well I remember his reply.... 'Thy blood will
     cool in time, and thou wilt be surprised to see how gradually
     prejudices are obliterated, and friendships acquired, towards
     those that we at one time held in contempt. Thou hast not been
     in England; I have, and it is a fine country.'" (See Maria R.
     Audubon, _Audubon and His Journals_ (Bibl. No. 86), vol. i,
     p. 216).

     [20] In 1789 over 7,000,000 pounds of cotton and 758,628
     pounds of indigo were exported from the French side of
     the island, while further products of that year, including
     smaller amounts of cocoa, molasses, rum, hides, dye-woods,
     and tortoise shell, swelled the grand total of exports to
     205,000,000 livres or francs. Bryan Edwards, however, whose
     deductions were based on official returns, placed the average
     value of all exports from French Santo Domingo for the years
     1787, 1788, and 1789, at 171,544,000 livres in Hispaniola
     currency, or £4,765,129 sterling; this would be equivalent to
     about $23,158,426, and imply a purchase value of the French
     livre or franc of about 13½ cents in American money.

     The number of plantations of every kind in the French colony
     was estimated by Edwards in 1790, at the outbreak of the
     Revolution, at 8,536; there were over 800 sugar plantations,
     over 3,000 coffee estates, to mention two such resources.
     If to these items we add nearly half a million slaves, the
     total valuation of the movable and fixed property of the
     French planters and merchants of this period would reach
     1,557,870,000 francs. In 1788, 98 slave ships entered the six
     principal ports on the French side, and landed 29,506 negroes;
     Les Cayes received 19 of these ships, which delivered at that
     port 4,590 blacks. These slaves were sold for 61,936,190
     livres, or at the rate of 2,008.37 livres each; according
     to Edwards this was equivalent to £60 sterling, or to about
     $291.60 in American money, at the rate of 14½ cents to the
     livre or franc. See particularly Francis Alexander Stanilaus,
     Baron de Wimpffen, _A Voyage to Santo Domingo in the Years
     1788, 1789, and 1790_, translated by J. Wright (London, 1817);
     and also Bryan Edwards, _An Historical Survey of the French
     Colony in the Island of San Domingo_ (London, 1797).

     [21] As signed by herself, but variously spelled "Moinet,"
     or "Moynette" in family documents of the period. On August
     28, four days after their marriage, they drew up and signed
     a mutual contract regarding the disposition of their property
     in case children should be born to them.

     [22] The destruction of _Le Comte d'Artois_ is noticed in a
     document bearing date of January 19, 1782; the name of the
     town only is given, but it is probable that it refers to the
     United States.

     [23] For repeated reference to this unsettled claim, see his
     letter of 1805 to Francis Dacosta (Chapter VIII), where the
     name is written "Formont."

     The bill of sale of _Le Comte d'Artois_ was drawn on February
     21, 1779, when Jean Audubon appeared "before the notaries
     of the king in the seneschal's court of Saint Louis," and
     was described as "resident at Les Cayes, opposite the Isle à
     Vaches." The document, which in my copy is incomplete, reads
     in part as follows:

     "The present M. Jean Audubon, captain-commander of the ship
     _Le Comte d'Artois_, of Nantes, armed for war and now laden
     with merchandise, anchored in this roadstead of Les Cayes,
     dispatched, and at the point of departure for France; armed
     by the Messrs. Coirond Brothers, merchants at the said city
     of Nantes, acting in his own name as one interested in the
     armament and cargo of the vessel, as well as in his capacity
     as captain; [he] acting as much also for the said furnishers
     of arms as for the others interested in the said armaments,
     and the merchandise, which will be hereafter mentioned,
     in consideration of the rights of each, promises to have
     these presents accepted and approved in due time; which said
     person, appearing in said names, in the quality aforesaid,
     by these presents has sold, ceded, given up, transferred,
     and relinquished all his legal rights in the aforesaid ship,
     to the business-associates Lacroix, Formon de Boisclair &
     Jacques, three merchants in partnership, living in this town,
     purchasers conjointly and severally, for themselves and the
     assigns of each, to the extent of one third; To wit: the
     said ship _Le Comte d'Artois_, of the said port of Nantes,
     of about two hundred and fifty tons, at present anchored in
     this roadstead of Les Cayes, dispatched, and at the point
     of departure for France, with all its rigging, outfit, and
     dependences, which consist among other things of two sets of
     sail, complete, and newly fitted out, all the tools, and the
     reserve sets of these, with the munitions of war, consisting
     of ten cannon, four of them mounted on gun carriages, and all
     that goes with them...." (Translated from the French original
     in possession of Monsieur Lavigne.)

     [24] The fact that Captain Audubon did not accompany
     Rochambeau's fleet which assembled at Brest in April, 1780,
     and reached Newport in mid-July, may account for the omission
     of his name from the lists that have been recently published.
     See _Les Combattants François de la Guerre Américaine_,
     1778-1783 (Paris, 1903).

     [25] Others interested in this vessel were Messrs. David
     Ross & Company, with whom Captain Audubon later had financial
     difficulties (see Chapter VIII).

     [26] See letter to Dacosta, Vol. I, p. 121.

     [27] The proper name of this seaport town, as given by all
     French cartographers and writers, is _Les Cayes_, meaning "the
     cays" or "keys" (small islands, Spanish _cayos_); omitting the
     article it is often simply written "Cayes." French residents
     on the island, however, when dating or addressing a letter
     or receipting a bill would naturally write "_aux Cayes_,"
     meaning of course "at The Cays," where the document was signed
     or where the person to whom the letter was addressed resided
     (see the Sanson bill, and bills of sale of negroes, Appendix
     I, Documents Nos. 1, 4, 5, and 6). It was thus an easy step
     for Englishmen, in ignorance or disregard of the French usage,
     to call the town "Aux Cayes"; even as early as 1797, Bryan
     Edwards, though giving the name correctly on his map, which
     doubtless had a French source, wrote "Aux Cayes" in his text;
     the corruption has survived, and is occasionally found in
     standard works, but is too egregious to be tolerated.

     [28] And sometime as _marchand_, more strictly a retailer.

     [29] Since a colonist's wealth was estimated upon the number
     of slaves he could afford, and since a slave was regarded as
     equivalent to a return of 1,500 francs a year, Jean Audubon's
     income on this basis would have been 63,000 francs.

     [30] See Sir Spencer St. John, _Hayti, or the Black Republic_,
     2d ed. (New York, 1889).

     [31] Bryan Edwards, Esq., M.P., F.R.S., &c., _An Historical
     Survey of the French Colony in the Island of San Domingo_
     (London, 1797).

     [32] See Note, Vol. I, p. 31.

     [33] The Superior Council, sitting at Port-au-Prince, in
     1780 fixed the tax for the parish of Les Cayes at the rate
     of 2 francs, 10 centimes per head, which in this instance was
     certainly trifling. (Note furnished by M. L. Lavigne.)

     [34] Baron de Wimpffen sailed from Port-au-Prince for Norfolk,
     Virginia, in July, 1790, about a year after Jean Audubon had
     left the island.

     [35] This was one of the commonest names among the French
     Creoles of Santo Domingo, and was possibly assumed, though
     the evidence is inconclusive. See Vol. I, p. 61.

     [36] For photographic reproduction see p. 54; and for
     transliteration and translation, Appendix I, Documents Nos.
     1 and 1a; for "Fougère" see Appendix I, Documents Nos. 2 and
     3; and for "Jean Rabin," Documents Nos. 14, 16, 17 and 18.

     [37] The word "_Joue_," which occurs eleven times in
     this document—as "mulatto Joue," "Joue mulatto," "negro
     bossal named Joue," and "little negro Joue"—suggests the
     English equivalent "Cheek," but no such usage appears to be
     authorized. It is evidently a proper name, and is more likely
     to prove the French rendering of a word common to one of
     the negro dialects of the island. On the other hand it might
     represent a corrupted pet name, like "_joujou_" or "_bijou_,"
     bestowed by the French Creoles of Santo Domingo upon their
     favorite _négrillons_ or _petits nègres_, which played a
     more or less ornamental _rôle_ in many households, whether
     as footmen or servants. In any case the use of this word is
     doubtless purely local.

     [38] See Vol. I, p. 46.

     [39] It was stated in the act of adoption, which was drawn
     up in March, 1794, that Audubon's mother had then been dead
     "about eight years," and the testimony of the Sanson bill
     shows that she was alive as late as October, 1785.

     [40] The following letter of inquiry concerning Louise was
     written by Rosa's husband when Jean Audubon's will was being
     attacked in the courts at Nantes. It is dated at Couëron, June
     26, 1819, and is addressed to "Monsieur Carpentier Chessé,
     engraver, place Royale, Nantes:"

     "Following the friendly offer that you made me, I have the
     honor of asking you to undertake, at your next visit to La
     Rochelle, the following inquiries:

     "1. There should be at La Rochelle (it is thought at the home
     of the widow Scipiot) a Miss Louise Bouffard, born at Les
     Cayes, Santo Domingo, in America.

     "What is her position? What is she doing? What is her conduct?
     In short I should like to know absolutely all about her, being
     charged by the Madame, her mother, to make all inquiries."

     (Translated from original in French, Lavigne MSS.)

     [41] A principal street in the old quarters of Nantes, leading
     from the Place Royale to Place Graslin. Jean Audubon named
     this street as his place of residence in 1792, when he was
     living in a house belonging to Citizen Carricoule. He made his
     home also at No. 39, rue Rubens, a short street, with many of
     its houses still intact, in the same quarter; this was rented
     of Françoise Mocquard for five years, beginning June 24, 1799
     (_le 6 Messidor, an 7_), at four hundred francs per annum. He
     also dwelt at various times at No. 5, rue de Gigant, and in
     the rue des Carmes, where his wife possessed a house, as well
     as in the rue des Fontenelles and the rue Saint-Leonard. Very
     likely "La Gerbetière" at Couëron was occupied intermittently,
     especially in summer, after the outbreak of the Revolution
     and his reverses in fortune; even after his retirement there
     in 1801, he still kept a lodging (_pied-à-terre_) at Nantes,
     where, as it chanced, he died, though it was not his usual
     stopping-place. See Note, Vol. I, p. 86.

     [42] See Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and His Journals_ (Bibl.
     No. 86), vol. i, p. 8.

     [43] For the original text of this act, here given in
     translation, see Appendix I, Document No. 2.

     [44] Research at Nantes in 1915 revealed that the baptismal
     records of the parish of Saint-Similien were wanting for
     the period from 1792 to 1803, so it is probable that they
     were destroyed in the Revolution. The municipal archives of
     Nantes possess a book of baptismal records of the city without
     distinction of parishes, but this shows the names of neither
     "Fougère," "Rabin," nor "Audubon," for the year in question.

     The Abbè Tardiveau was _un prêtre assermenté_, or one of
     those priests who had sworn in 1790 to recognize the civil
     constitution of the clergy.

     For copy of the act of baptism in the French original, see
     Appendix I, Document No. 3. It is impossible to say whether
     the heading as given in my copy of this act was in the
     original or not.

     [45] An English writer once gave the name of Audubon's mother
     as Mlle. La Forêt.

     [46] Audubon's signature underwent frequent variations during
     the first twenty-five years of his life, but after 1820
     he almost invariably signed himself "John J.," or "J. J.
     Audubon." In the record of the civil marriage of his sister,
     at Couëron in 1805, his name appears as "J. J. L. Audubon;" in
     the "Articles of Association" with Ferdinand Rozier, signed at
     Nantes in 1806, it is "Jean Audubon," and in the release given
     on the dissolution of this partnership, at Ste. Geneviève, in
     1811, the English form, "John Audubon," appears.

     [47] This statement was made to me by Miss Maria R. Audubon
     in 1914.

     [48] For full text of the six wills drawn at different times
     by Jean Audubon and his wife see Appendix I, Documents Nos.

     [49] See Chapter XVII.

     [50] This unique document reads as follows:

     "To all to whom these presents may come: know ye that I, John
     Audubon, having special trust and confidence in my friend,
     G. Loyen Du Puigaudeau, of the Department of Loire and
     [_sic_] Inférieure, and Parish of Couëron, near Nantes, in
     the kingdom of France, [do constitute him] my true and lawful
     attorney, and the true and lawful attorney in fact of Jean
     Rabin, husband of Lucy Bakewell, of the County of Henderson
     and State of Kentucky, in the United States of America, for
     us [?], the said Jean Rabin, and in our name to our use and
     benefit, to ask, demand, sue for, recover, and receive all
     and every part of the Real and Personal Estate, that is to
     say Lands, Tenements, Grounds, Chattels, and credits, which I
     have, or either of us, in the Department of Loire and [_sic_]
     Inferieure in the kingdom of France, aforesaid, and to make
     sale of the same, either at auction, or by contract of the
     said Lands and Tenements, Goods, Chattells, and Credits, to
     receive the money arising from said sale, to give any Receipt,
     acquittance, or other discharge for the said money or any part
     thereof, if money or specie shall be received, or for any
     property he may receive in exchange or barter for said Real
     and personal Estate, and our said attorney, or the attorney
     of Jean Rabin aforesaid, is hereby authorized and empowered
     to make, give, execute, and deliver any Deed, Covenant, or
     transfer of said Real and Personal Estate to the purchaser of
     all or any part thereof for us, or for the said Jean Rabin,
     in as full and ample a manner as he, the said Jean, could do,
     was he personally present in said Department, in the Kingdom.
     In testimony whereof the said John Audubon has hereunto set
     his hand and affixed his seal the Twenty Sixth day of July,
     Anno Domini One thousand & Eight hundred and Seventeen.
          JOHN J. AUDUBON [Seal within]

     On the back of the preceding is the notary's certificate that
     Jean Audubon appeared before him; seal affixed, and dated July
     26, 1817.

          Signed, "A[MBROZE] BARBAND,
          Notary of Henderson County, Kentucky."

     [51] See Chapter XVI.

     [52] Vol. i, p. v; see Bibliography, No. 2.

     [53] Published by Maria R. Audubon (Bibl. No. 78) in
     _Scribner's Magazine_, vol. xiii (1893).

     [54] Whether Jean Audubon had other sons born in Santo Domingo
     is not recorded, and this reference of the naturalist, which
     was repeated in his later sketch, cannot be verified.

     [55] See Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and His Journals_, (Bibl.
     No. 86), vol. i, p. 7.

     [56] See Note, Vol. I, p. 38.

     [57] See J. W. Crozart, "Bibliographical and Genealogical
     Notes Concerning the Family of Philippe de Mandeville, Ecuyer
     Sieur de Marigny, 1709-1800," _Louisiana Historical Society
     Publications_, vol. v (New Orleans, 1911). The portrait
     referred to below now hangs in the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial
     College, New Orleans.

     [58] Gordon Bakewell (Bibl. No. 90), _ibid._, p. 31.

     [59] See _Laws of the United States, Treaties, Regulations,
     and Other Documents Respecting the Public Lands_, vol. i, p.
     301 (Washington, 1836). In Number 756, entitled "An Act for
     the Relief of Bernard Marigny, of the State of Louisiana,"
     Marigny is mentioned as assignee of Antonio Bonnabel, and
     his claim, which was confirmed, is described as follows: a
     tract of land of 4,020 superficial arpents, in the State of
     Louisiana, parish of St. Tammany, "bounded on the southwest
     by Lake Ponchartrain, and on the northwest by lands formerly
     owned by the heirs of Lewis Davis."

     I am informed by Mr. Gaspar Cusachs, president of the
     Historical Society of Louisiana, who has carefully
     investigated the titles of this property and to whom I am
     indebted for much information concerning it and its owners,
     that the tract described above included the estate of
     "Fontainebleau." Marigny's claim included also a smaller tract
     of 774 arpents in the same parish. This land was bounded on
     the southwest by Lake Ponchartrain, on the north by Castin
     Bayou, and on the south by the tract acquired from Bonnabel;
     it was granted to the heirs of Lewis Davis in 1777, and
     certain of them filed a claim for it in 1812.

     [60] One period of this service bears date of May 31.

     [61] See Note, Vol. I, p. 27.

     [62] The mayor, Saget, at the moment he was crossing the Place
     Egalité (the Place Royale of today) received point-blank a
     ball in his right thigh and another in his left leg, and lost
     both limbs.

     [63] For the revolutionary history of Nantes I am chiefly
     indebted to M. A. Guépin's excellent _Histoire de Nantes_,
     2d ed. (Nantes, 1839); Hipp. Etiennez, _Guide du Voyageur à
     Nantes, et aux Environs_ (Nantes, 1861); A. Lescadien et Aug.
     Laurent, _Histoire de la Ville de Nantes_, t.2 (Nantes, 1836);
     F. J. Verger, _Archives curieuses de la Ville de Nantes et
     des Départments de l'Ouest_, t. 5 (Nantes, 1837-41); and to
     a scholarly monograph by Dugast-Matifeux, entitled _Carrier à
     Nantes: Précis de la Conduite patriotique et révolutionnaire
     des citoyens de Nantes_ (Nantes, 1885).

     [64] The unpublished documents of this Department are
     preserved in the archives of the Préfecture at Nantes,
     and through the courtesy of their custodians I was enabled
     to examine them freely. These documents deal with all the
     revolutionary changes in church and state consequent upon the
     breaking down of the old _régime_, and with the enrollment
     of volunteers and the dispatch of armed forces to centers of
     disturbance throughout that district. The present manuscripts
     are said to represent but a fraction of those which originally
     existed, the archives having been subjected to repeated
     raids, thefts, and wanton destruction by fire and other
     means. The most important have been listed and published by
     the Government in summary form under the title, _Les Archives
     du Département de la Loire Inférieure, 1790-1799_, Série L.
     (Nantes, 1909).

     [65] During the Revolution Jean Audubon always added to his
     signature the cabalistic sign of three dots between parallel
     lines, which possibly stood for the three watchwords of the
     Republic—"_Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité_."

     [66] In the published orders and correspondence of the
     royalist General Boulart the following letter, given here
     in translation, is addressed to Citizen Audubon: "I give you
     notice, Citizen, that my aide-de-camp will arrive immediately
     from Niort. I beg you to do all in your power to come this
     evening to confer with me, since I have something to ask
     you of the utmost importance. I also inform you that there
     has arrived at Les Sables Citizen Anguis, the people's
     representative. Perhaps it would be more advantageous that
     you should see him this evening, and that tomorrow early we
     attempt to bring all three together. You could depart in the
     morning for Nantes." [Signed] "THE GENERAL BOULART." Jean
     Audubon filed this letter from the enemy with his Department,
     but his answer is not given. See Ch. L. Chassin, _Etudes
     Documentaires sur La Révolution Française: La Vendée Patriote,
     1793-1800_, vol. ii, p. 306, t. 1-4 (Paris, 1894-1895).

     [67] _Délibérations-Arrêtés de Directoire du Département._ In
     MSS. pp. 107-108.

     [68] Jean was actually in command of this war vessel in March
     of that year, as shown by a document given in full in Chapter
     IV (p. 59).

     [69] These records are on file in the archives of the
     Department of Marine at Paris, but access to them will
     doubtless be denied until peace is restored in Europe.

     [70] M. L. Lavigne writes that he possesses a copy of a letter
     addressed by M. G. L. du Puigaudeau to a lawyer in Paris, in
     which it is stated that Lieutenant Audubon's losses amounted
     to 1,500,000 francs. After making due allowance for the
     psychological tendency to overestimate losses, especially when
     sustained in remote and romantic lands, the true amount was
     no doubt large.

     [71] Or "lieutenant of a frigate," and corresponding to "mate"
     in the merchant marine.

     [72] The certificate which Lieutenant Audubon received at
     the time of his discharge is preserved among the Lavigne
     manuscripts and documents at Couëron, and is headed:

     [Sidenote: PORT DE ROCHEFORT.]

     ETAT des Services du Citoyen _Jean Audubon_ natif des Sables
     d'Ollonne Département de La Vendée âgé de 58 ans.

     It is signed by the Chief of Administration, Daniel, the Naval
     Commander-in-Chief of the District, Martin, and by the naval
     commissioner and clerk, February 26, 1801 (_le sept Ventose,
     an 9 de la République_).

     [73] Jean Audubon was 11 years, 6 months and 25 days in
     the service of the merchant marine of France (_service au
     commerce_), in the course of which he rose to the rank
     of captain of the first grade in 1774. He served in the
     French navy (_service à l'état_) 8 years, 2 months and 17
     days, ranking successively as sailor, ensign-commander, and
     lieutenant-commander (_lieutenant de vaisseau_); 8 months and
     22 days of this period (1768-1769) were in intervals of peace,
     and 7 years, 5 months and 25 days (1793-1801), in times of
     war. Any conflict which may seem to occur in titles must be
     attributed to this double service.

     [74] This property was evidently encumbered to a considerable
     extent, for he repeatedly filed with the Department letters
     for the removal of restrictions placed upon it (_lettres pour
     obtenir la main levée_). I cannot give the dates of these
     letters, but believe that they were drawn in 1801 or shortly

     [75] This house was rented at the time to Françoise Mocquard
     (see Note, Vol. I, p. 57), but it is probable that
     Lieutenant Audubon had reserved rooms which were occupied
     during his visits to the city while his permanent home was at
     Couëron. In the power of attorney issued by Jean Audubon, his
     wife, and Claude François Rozier, at Nantes, April 4, 1806,
     the senior Audubon gave his residence as "rue Rubens, No. 39."

     [76] Presumably a widow of one of the Coyrons (or Coironds),
     merchants at Nantes, whose business interests in Santo Domingo
     were entrusted to Jean Audubon's hands in 1783 (see Chapter
     III, p. 38).

     [77] The following extract from the registry of deaths at
     Nantes, which is here given in translation, indicates that
     Lieutenant Audubon passed away suddenly, since his death did
     not occur in his own apartments (for original see Appendix I,
     Document No. 19):

     "In the year 1818, on the 19th day of February, at eleven
     o'clock in the morning, in the presence of the undersigned,
     deputies and officers of the civil service, delegates of
     Monsieur the Mayor of Nantes, have appeared the Messrs.
     Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, gentleman of leisure, son-in-law
     of the deceased, residing hereafter at Couëron, and Francis
     Guillet, grocer, living on the Quai de la Fosse, of legal age,
     who have certified in our presence that on this day, at six
     o'clock in the morning, Jean Audubon, retired ship-captain,
     pensioner of the State, born at Les Sables d'Olonne,
     department of La Vendée, husband of Anne Moinet, died in the
     house of Mlle. Berthier, in the Chaussée de le Madeleine, No.
     24, 4th Canton.

     "The witnesses have signed with us the present act, after it
     was read to them. The deceased was 74 years of age."

                                   { GABRIEL LOYEN DU PUIGAUDEAU,
          "Signed in the register:-{ GUILLET, and JOSEPH DE LA
                                   { TULLAYE, deputy

     The Audubons and Du Puigaudeaus were probably buried in one
     of the large cemeteries at Nantes, since no trace of their
     graves has been found at Couëron by M. Lavigne.

     [78] Audubon said that he was at the time fourteen years
     old, which could not have been the case, but when writing in
     1835 he placed this experience at shortly before his return
     to America, which would have been in the winter of 1805-6;
     "I underwent," to quote this later account, "a mockery of an
     examination, and was received as a midshipman in the navy,
     went to Rochefort, was placed on board a man-of-war, and ran a
     short cruise. On my return, my father had in some way obtained
     passports for Rozier and me, and we sailed for New York."

     [79] Audubon, writing in 1820, described himself at this time
     as "a young man of seventeen, sent to America to make money
     (for such was my father's wish), brought up in France in
     easy circumstances;" but in the same journal he said that he
     did not reach Philadelphia until three months after landing,
     and that "shortly after" his arrival at "Mill Grove" the
     Bakewell family moved to "Fatland Ford." Mr. G. W. Bakewell,
     the historian of his family, states that in the spring of
     1804, William Bakewell, Audubon's future father-in-law, with
     his son, Thomas, traveled through Pennsylvania, Virginia and
     Maryland in search of a farm; they purchased "Fatland Ford,"
     which was then the property of James Vaux. Audubon's account
     of the Pewee (_Ornithological Biography_, vol. ii, p. 124)
     shows that he was at "Mill Grove" before April 10, when "the
     ground was still partially covered with snow, and the air
     retained the piercing chill of winter." If these various
     statements are correct, they would indicate that Audubon left
     Nantes about the middle of November, 1803, and that he finally
     reached "Mill Grove" not far from the end of March, 1804.
     On the other hand, Mr. W. H. Wetherill, the present owner of
     "Mill Grove," informs me that his records indicate that the
     Bakewells occupied "Fatland Ford" in January, 1804. If this
     were the case, young Audubon could not have left France later
     than August, 1803. Too much weight, however, should not be
     attached to such references of a biographical character in
     Audubon's own writings; for in the account referred to above
     Audubon said that after his first visit to the United States
     he remained two years in France and returned to America "early
     in August;" while we know that his sojourn in France lasted
     but little more than a year and that he landed in New York on
     the 28th of May.

     [80] A plague of genuine yellow fever had visited New York in
     1795, but in 1804 and 1805 the city suffered from a malignant
     fever of another type, and to such an extent that 27,000
     persons, or one-third of the entire population, are said to
     have fled to escape the pestilence. This was possibly the
     malady which seized young Audubon not far from the beginning
     of the former year.

     [81] The rough draft of a letter in English, evidently written
     by Lieutenant Audubon to be delivered by his son to the ship's
     captain, and probably in duplicate to his agent, Miers Fisher,
     but bearing no name or date, (Lavigne MSS.)

     [82] See Note, Vol. I, p. 98.

     [83] The yearly rent of "Mill Grove" in 1804, according to
     the accounts of Francis Dacosta, who had then acquired a half
     interest in it, amounted to $353.34.

     [84] "Mill Grove" farm is in Montgomery County, twenty-four
     miles northwest of Philadelphia, in the town known, after
     1823, as Shannonville, but in 1899 rechristened "Audubon;"
     Norristown is five miles to the east.

     [85] Mr. William H. Wetherill of Philadelphia, whose
     hospitality I have enjoyed and to whom I am indebted for many
     interesting facts and records pertaining to "Mill Grove."
     Samuel Wetherill, Mr. W. H. Wetherill's grandfather, was one
     of the first to bring "black rock," or coal, from Reading to
     Philadelphia. Samuel Wetherill, Junior, who is said to have
     started the first woolen mill in the country and to have
     produced the first white lead made in the United States,
     purchased "Mill Grove" for the sake of its minerals in 1813,
     the war having put a stop to all importations from England at
     that time. He actually succeeded in extracting several hundred
     tons of lead from the "Mill Grove" mines, doing better, it
     is thought, than any who preceded or followed him. Samuel
     Wetherill, Junior, died in 1829, and was succeeded in the
     lead and drugs industry by his four sons, of whom Samuel Price
     Wetherill became the owner of "Mill Grove" in 1833. The farm
     remained in the hands of the Wetherill family until 1876,
     and returned to them again, when the present owner came into
     possession, in 1892.

     [86] In 1761 James Morgan, the first miller and builder,
     conveyed one-half of the mill site of five acres to Roland
     Evans, who came into possession of the other half, with the
     adjoining farm, in 1771; the property was sold to Governor
     John Penn in 1776; it passed to Samuel C. Morris in 1784, and
     to the Prevosts in 1786.

     [87] The lease, which was drawn up in English, April 10,
     1789, reads in part as follows: "This indenture, made on the
     tenth Day of April in the Year of our Lord, One thousand Seven
     hundred & Eighty nine, Between John Audubon, of the Island of
     St. Domingo, Gentleman, now being in the City of Philadelphia,
     of the one party, and Augustine Prevost...." The lease
     included the messuages, grist mills, saw mills, plantation and
     tract of land, which is described, tools, implements, stock,
     and furniture of the mills and farm, and was drawn for one
     year; it was signed in the presence of Miers Fisher, agent
     and attorney for Jean Audubon.

     In the inventory were included one windmill, one pair of
     scales, with weights of 56, 28 and 7 pounds, "skreen," four
     bolting cloths, two hoisting tubs, and one large screw and
     circle for raising the millstones. This lease was renewed
     in October, 1790, when Jean Audubon, who was then living at
     Nantes, agreed to keep the house in good repair from that time
     onward. It was the Prevost mortgage that Miers Fisher paid but
     forgot to cancel (see Vol. I, p. 122); it was finally cleared
     up by Dacosta in October, 1806.

     Miers Fisher's Philadelphia residence, called "Ury," which
     Audubon often visited, was near Fox Chase, now in the
     Twenty-third Ward. See Witmer Stone, _Cassinia_, No. xvii
     (Philadelphia, 1913).

     [88] For a photograph of this portrait of Lieutenant Audubon
     here reproduced, I am indebted to Miss Maria R. Audubon; the
     originals of both portraits are now in possession of Audubon's
     granddaughter, Mrs. Morris F. Tyler.

     [89] See Note, Vol. I, p. 99.

     [90] For this and the preceding quotation, see Maria R.
     Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl. No. 86), vol. i,
     pp. 18 and 27.

     [91] In Dacosta's final statement of his account, which
     was disputed, carried into court, and eventually settled by
     arbitration at Philadelphia, on August 1, 1807, these items
     occur: "Omitted, $300.00, paid by Francis Dacosta to Miers
     Fisher, on May 24, 1803;" and "Ditto $176.67, the proportion
     of Francis Dacosta in the rent of the first year, which has
     not been paid to him." (See Appendix I, Document 11a; MSS. in
     possession of Mr. Welton A. Rosier.)

     It seems probable that Dacosta was sent to this country by
     Lieutenant Audubon to act as his agent for the disposition of
     "Mill Grove," and to succeed Miers Fisher in the conduct of
     his business affairs. Interest in the neglected and forgotten
     mine may have diverted them from their original plans.

     [92] The following notice, copied from _Relf's Gazette_,
     appeared in the _New York Herald_ for Saturday, November 17,

     "The lead mine discovered on Perkiomen creek, in Montgomery
     county, Pennsylvania, the property of Francis Dacosta, has
     been lately opened, and attended with great success. The
     vein proves to be a regular one, and of long continuance. Its
     course is N.N.E.; its direction is nearly perpendicular, and
     its thickness from one foot to 15 inches. Two tons of that
     beautiful ore were raised in a few hours, and one ton more
     at least was left in the bottom on the pit, which is yet but
     nine feet deep. From the situation of this mine, its nearness
     to navigation and market, its very commanding height, its
     richness in metal, and the large scale it forms on; it is
     thought by judges to be one of the first discoveries yet made
     in the U. S.

     "From the analysis made of 100 parts, it contains:

          Oxyd of lead      85
          Oxyd of iron       1
          Sulphuric acid    13
          Water              1

     "The lead being coupelled, has proved to contain 2½ oz. fine
     silver to 100, which is nearly 3 dollars worth of that metal."

     [93] For the sum of 31,000 francs, or $6,200, a slight advance
     on the cost to Jean Audubon, when he had taken over the farm
     fifteen years before (see Vol. I, p. 105).

     [94] The following item appears in Dacosta's final account:
     "To compensation claimed by Francis Dacosta for making up
     half of his expenses, in managing the mining works, the
     mill-repairs, and taking up the formation of a company during
     two years of constant cares, troubles, and loss of time,
     at 300 dollars a year—$600.00." (From statement of disputed
     claim; see Note, Vol. I, p. 168.)

     [95] For copies of a part of the Audubon-Dacosta
     correspondence, which is perhaps half of what exists but all
     that it was possible to obtain, I am indebted to Monsieur
     Lavigne. The first letter, the present copy of which is
     incomplete, was evidently written in the winter of 1804-5.
     Lieutenant Audubon, who at this time was sixty-one years
     old, was living at Couëron, but came to Nantes to conduct his
     correspondence. All the letters were carefully transcribed in
     a separate copybook, and are here translated as literally as
     possible from the French.

     [96] That is, after having become a part owner of the "Mill
     Grove" property.

     [97] That is, at Couëron.

     [98] This name appears as "Rost" in all the letters.

     [99] Member of the firm of Audubon, Lacroix, Formon & Jacques,
     engaged in the Santo Domingo trade (see Chapter II, p. 33).
     In these letters the name usually appears as "Formont."

     [100] Vessels in which Jean Audubon was personally interested,
     and upon which he endeavored in vain to collect the money
     and interest due him (see Vol. I, p. 34). In a document in
     English, dated [Les Cayes] April 9, 1782, concerning the
     _Annette_, of which Jean Audubon was captain and part owner,
     and signed by him and David Ross & Company, it is stated this
     vessel was bound for Nantes with a cargo of tobacco, in the
     purchase and sale of which Captain Audubon was under orders
     of Mr. Ezekiel Edwards of Nantes.

     [101] This was probably the mortgage which Jean Audubon gave
     to Prevost when "Mill Grove" was purchased in 1789, for in
     Dacosta's final account for 1806-1807 this item occurs under
     October 15, 1806: "To the recorder in Norristown for entering
     satisfaction of John Audubon mortgage to John Augustin Prevost
     ... $2.83."

     [102] The principal house at "Mill Grove," which Dacosta was
     preparing to occupy.

     [103] Owing to the delay in receiving his legal papers from
     France, Dacosta had threatened to carry his case to the
     courts, and had stopped work at the mine.

     [104] In the light of the preceding letters, Dacosta would
     appear in these respects to have been only attempting to carry
     out his instructions.

     [105] Probably Sarah White Palmer, Benjamin Bakewell's
     sister-in-law, and widow of the Rev. John Palmer, who at one
     time was associated with Joseph Priestley in editing the
     _Theological Repository_, an organ of the Unitarians. Her
     son-in-law, Thomas W. Pears, was later a partner in Audubon's
     business ventures at Henderson, Kentucky. Her grave is in the
     Bakewell burying plot at "Fatland Ford."

     [106] See Appendix I, Document No. 7.

     [107] Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl. No.
     86), vol. i, p. 39.

     [108] Dr. d'Orbigny had three sons, all of whom were born in
     Couëron: Alcide Charles Victor in 1802, Gaston Edouard in
     1805, and Charles in 1806; the youngest and eldest became
     distinguished naturalists. So far as known, Audubon was
     godfather only to the second, Gaston Edouard, who according
     to the records of the Catholic church at Couëron, "was
     born on the 3d day of the present [month], the issue of the
     legitimate marriage of Mr. Charles Marie d'Orbigny, doctor of
     medicine, and of Anna Pepart," was christened on August 20,
     1805, in the presence of the godfather, John James Audubon,
     the godmother, Rosa Audubon, the father and mother, together
     with the "undersigned" (Extracted by Monsieur Lavigne).
     D'Orbigny appears as a witness to the powers of attorney which
     Jean Audubon and his wife issued jointly to their son and to
     Ferdinand Rozier at Couëron in 1805 (see Appendix I, Document
     No. 8) and on November 20, 1806 (see Vol. I, p. 153).

     [109] For copies of this and the following letters, which are
     here translated from the French, I am indebted to Monsieur

     [110] A daughter of Catharine Bouffard, regarding whom see
     Vol. I, p. 56.

     [111] See Appendix I, Document No. 8.

     [112] The civil ceremony of Rosa Audubon's marriage was
     performed at the mayor's office in Couëron, on December 16,
     1805 (_le 26 frimaire, an 14_), when the bride was in her
     eighteenth year; the contract had been drawn on the 12th
     day of that month (_le 22 frimaire, an 14_) by notary Martin
     Daviais, who was mayor of Couëron in the following year, and
     the religious ceremony was conducted by the Bishop of Nantes.
     "The following have assisted," so reads in translation the
     Couëron record, "at the marriage, aforesaid, on the side of
     the groom, M. André Loyen du Puigaudeau, his brother, and
     M. Honoré François Guiraud, his brother-in-law; by the side
     of the bride, her father, and M. Jean Audubon, her brother,
     [and these have] undersigned, together with the bridegroom."
     Audubon's signature reads "J. L. J. Audubon."

     [113] For the full text of these two documents, which are so
     interesting for our story, see Appendix I, Documents Nos.
     9 and 10; and for translations, Documents Nos. 9a and 10a.
     For the privilege of examining and reproducing the first of
     these papers I am indebted to Mr. Charles A. Rozier, of St.
     Louis, and for the second, as well as the power of attorney
     of 1805 (see Document No. 8), referred to earlier, to Mr. Tom
     J. Rozier, of Sainte Geneviève, Missouri. In the case of this
     second warrant it will be noticed that the grantors signed
     only the minute which was filed with the notaries, who, with
     the judge of the Court of the First Instance, affixed their
     names to the document itself. No better illustration could be
     given of the dignity which the French attach to the office
     of notary, to the honored incumbents of which their private
     affairs are unreservedly entrusted, than this elaborate
     judicial document.

     [114] In the register of the Central Committee of Nantes
     it is noted, under date of October 4, 1793, that "owing
     to the friendly relations then existing between France and
     the citizens of the United States, and to the good feeling
     evinced by them in sending to us for food, four American ships
     are accordingly permitted to leave the port of Nantes, with
     cargoes of wine, sugar, and coffee, and also to take enough
     biscuit for the voyage."

     [115] The receipt which the captain handed the young men,
     and which the methodical Rozier preserved, remains as a
     souvenir of this voyage (in the Tom J. Rozier MSS); it reads
     as follows:

          Recvd. from Mr. John Audubon &
          ferdinand Rozier the sum of five Hundred
          and twenty five Livers being in full for their
          passage from Nantes to New York in the Ship
          Polly........................... S. Sammis

          [In Rozier's (?) handwriting] New York May 28, 1806

          [Indorsed by Rozier on back] Payé le 11 avril 1806

     [116] The total population of Couëron, as given in the
     official directory for 1913, was 2,035, but the total working
     population is probably three times as great.

     [117] There is also the _grand calvaire_, which stands on
     an eminence in the village. This was erected in 1825 on the
     foundations of the chateau of the dukes of Brittany, the last
     of whom, Francis II, died at Couëron in 1488. His tomb is
     in the nave of the cathedral at Nantes; the _grand calvaire_
     was restored by two Couëron families in 1873, and is a very
     elaborate structure.

     [118] Mr. William Beer, who paid a visit to "La Gerbetière"
     with Dr. Louis Bureau in 1910, writes me that the woodwork
     was poor in quality, and that all the rooms had been altered
     in size and appearance.

     [119] But not related to M. L. Lavigne, to whom I am indebted
     for extracts from the deed, a translation of which is given
     below, as well as for many other references.

     [120] That is, the landlord to receive one-half the produce.

     [121] A "journal" of land being as much as a man could
     cultivate in a day's labor.

     [122] See Chapter XVII.

     [123] For the privilege of examining Ferdinand Rozier's
     copy of their "Articles of Association" I am indebted to the
     kindness of Mr. Charles A. Rozier, of Saint Louis. This is
     written on three sides of hand-made, hand-ruled Government
     linen, small letter size, with printed revenue stamp (50
     centimes) of the French Republic at top, and stamped with
     the seal of the Department of Registration and Stamps ("ADM.
     DES DOM. DE L'ENREG. ET DU TIMBRE REP. FRA.—_Administration
     des domaines de l'enregistrement et du timbre, République
     Française_"). The signature of "Jean Audubon" bears a close
     resemblance to that of the father, Lieutenant Jean Audubon,
     who was undoubtedly the author of the document. For the
     "Articles" in full, in French and English, see Appendix I,
     Documents Nos. 9 and 9a.

     [124] Among the elder Rozier's papers was part of an old
     letterbook belonging to his son; it is written in French,
     and labeled "Correspondence of Ferdinand Rozier." On one
     of the four sheets preserved this item occurs: "4 July,
     1806, Philadelphia; record of an agreement with Mr. Dacosta
     proprietor of one half of the Mill Grove farm,—at least of the
     value of sale." The first entry is dated "19 février—1806, New
     York," which, if correct, would imply that Rozier spent two
     years instead of one in the United States when he visited this
     country in 1804 (or came a second time), and that he returned,
     with young Audubon, almost immediately after reaching France
     (see Vol. I, p. 245); the last record is "August, 1807, New
     York." (MS. in possession of Dr. Louis Bureau, Nantes.)

     [125] According to the records of Montgomery County, as
     collated for Mr. W. H. Wetherill, the remaining half interest
     in "Mill Grove" was sold by J. J. Audubon (and Ferdinand
     Rozier) to Francis Dacosta & Company, for a consideration of
     $9,640.33. The business was conducted mainly by Rozier, acting
     under the advice of their friend, Miers Fisher.

     [126] Translated from the French of Ferdinand's copy, in
     possession of Mr. Welton A. Rozier, to whom I am indebted for
     the privilege of reproducing it.

     [127] "_Gourdes_," that is, piasters or Spanish dollars.

     [128] Claude François Rozier, at this time an aged man,
     died at Nantes on September 7, 1807; he had two sons and
     six daughters, of whom Ferdinand was the second son and the
     fifth child; his wife, Renée Angelique Colas, died at Nantes,
     February 9, 1824.

     [129] This was issued, so the letter reads, to "their son,
     John Audubon, and Ferdinand Rozier, both of the said city of
     Philadelphia, Gentlemen," by "John Audubon, late of the city
     of Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, now
     residing in the commune of Couëron, near the city of Nantes
     in France, Gentleman, and Anne Moynette, his wife," to apply
     to all lands and other property belonging to them in the
     United States, with the power to "raise or borrow money on
     the whole or any part or parts of the said lands, tenements,
     or hereditaments, to secure the repayment of said monies
     by bond, warrant of attorney, to contest judgment of the
     mortgage of the said lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or
     any part or parts thereof...." Written in French and English;
     signed by Jean Audubon, Anne Moynet, his wife, by Doctors
     Chapelain and C. d'Orbigny as witnesses, by the mayor of
     Couëron, the prefect of the arrondissement and the prefect of
     the department; countersigned on December 4, 1806, by W. D.
     Patterson, of the "Commercial Agency of the United States at
     Nantes." For the favor of examining this paper, I am indebted
     to the kindness of Miss Maria R. Audubon.

     [130] For the privilege of examining these letters I am
     indebted to the courtesy of Dr. Louis Bureau, Director of
     the Museum of Natural History and Professor in the School of
     Medicine at Nantes, maternal great-grandson of François, and
     grandnephew of Ferdinand Rozier. The letters were found in
     an old trunk that once belonged to his grandfather, François
     Denis Rozier. Five were written in French (Nos. 1, 2, 4, 6
     and 7), and addressed from New York to François Rozier at
     Nantes; one (No. 3) in English and another (No. 5) in French
     were sent in care of Rozier, to his father, John Audubon,
     Esq., Nantes, with the direction to be delivered as soon as
     possible; all are on unruled foolscap, wafer-sealed, and each
     also bears an outside seal in wax, stamped with Bakewell's
     initial (B). It is not possible to say whether Lieutenant
     Audubon ever received these letters of his son; if received,
     it is not very obvious why they should have been left in the
     old merchant's hands, unless his ill health at the time, and
     subsequent death were the cause (see Note, Vol. I, p. 152).
     I am further indebted to Mr. William Beer, for the perusal of
     his copies, which have been followed to a large extent.

     Since all of these early letters throw an interesting light
     upon the times as well as upon Audubon's personal history, we
     shall give them in full, rendering the French into English as
     literally as practicable.

     [131] This Philadelphia merchant was evidently in France and
     intending to visit Nantes at this time.

     [132] "Of the St. Domingo packet."

     [133] "Mr. L. Huron did, a few days ago, receive some wines
     on a/c of M. Rozier, and hopes they prove good," etc.

     [134] Miers Fisher, for many years Jean Audubon's trusted
     agent and attorney in America. See Vol. I, p. 100.

     [135] Gabriel Loyen du Puigaudeau, his brother-in-law.

     [136] That is a miniature or an old portrait of his father
     in the uniform of a lieutenant-commander, which with its
     companion, representing Mme. Jean Audubon, his stepmother,
     then hung in the house of "La Gerbetière" at Couëron. The
     original portraits, which are reproduced facing page 78,
     measure 23½ by 18½ inches, and were painted probably between
     1801 and 1806; they were inventoried in documents bearing
     date of November 14, 15 and 17, 1821, shortly after Mme.
     Jean Audubon's death. They were restored in Paris about ten
     years ago for Monsieur Lavigne, to whom I am indebted for the
     photographs and this information.

     [137] Audubon's intimate friend, see Vol. I, p. 128.

     [138] "_Serinettes_," the old time music boxes, or
     bird-organs, of Swiss origin, that were very popular in
     America down to the time of the Civil War, or even later. They
     were manufactured at St. Croix as late as 1880; instruments
     of similar type, with dancing figures, have been adapted to
     the penny-in-the-slot machines common in Switzerland to-day.

     [139] _Marchand_, or retail merchant.

     [140] Initials of the head of his firm, Benjamin Bakewell.

     [141] The reference was to Mme. Stephanie-Felicité de Genlis
     (1746-1830), teacher of the children of the Duke of Orleans,
     Philippe-Egalité, and authoress of many works on education,
     once popular, but now known only to the antiquary and the

     [142] Meaning possibly his prospective brother-in-law, Thomas
     W. Bakewell, a fellow clerk in the office.

     [143] One Louis was equal to twenty francs, or four dollars.

     [144] Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl. No.
     86), vol. i, p. 32.

     [145] Especially his account current, from June 1, 1806, to
     July 25, 1807, with the "Mill Grove" farm, and "John Audubon
     of Nantz," drawn up and signed at Philadelphia on the latter
     date. Dacosta then claimed a balance due him of $950.64 above
     the returns from farm and mine, of which he was entitled to
     one-half; this sum included his salary and numerous minor
     expenditures. When his account was contested and taken out of
     court for settlement, it was cut by the arbitrators to $530.
     See Appendix I, Document 11a.

     The following is a "copy of the Award given by John Laval &
     Laurence Huron appointed referees by Francis Dacosta and John
     Audubon the elder by a rule of reference in the Common Pleas
     of this county to have their differences in accounts settled:"

          "We the within named referees, having heard the
          parties and examined their respective accounts
          & vouchers, do award that there is due by the
          defendant, John Audubon the elder, to the plaintiff,
          Francis Dacosta, the sum of five hundred and thirty
          dollars, which we find to be the full balance of all
          current accounts between them, and we award that the
          said ballance be paid by the said John Audubon the
          elder to the said Francis Dacosta by defalking the
          same from the account of the condition of the Bond
          of Eight Hundred Dollars—mentioned in the within
          rule of reference conformably to the agreement
          endorsed on the said Bond."

          "Witness our hands Philadelphia 1st August, 1807."

               "Signed—JOHN LAVAL."

               "LAURENCE HURON."

     (Copy of original MS., in possession of Mr. Welton H. Rozier.)

     [146] In 1811 "Mill Grove" was conveyed by Francis Dacosta &
     Company, to Frederick Beates, who in 1813 sold it to Samuel
     Wetherill, Jr., for $7,000, the property having shrunk to
     less than one-half the value placed upon it in 1806. For the
     enterprises of the Wetherills, see Note, Vol. I, p. 102.

     [147] Since we have been obliged to enter rather minutely
     into the history of "Mill Grove," in order to trace the
     relations of the Audubons to it in an important period of
     the naturalist's career, the reader may be interested in the
     anticlimax which its famous mines reached at a later day. The
     Ecton Consolidated Mining Company had been in operation at
     "Mill Grove" for a considerable period, when, in 1848, the
     Perkioming Association was formed and ten thousand dollars was
     at once invested in machinery. In 1851 these two companies
     were combined under the name of the Perkioming Consolidated
     Mining Company, which issued 50,000 shares of stock, at six
     dollars each, thus representing a capital of $300,000. A
     mining settlement quickly sprang up on Audubon's old farm,
     where numerous buildings of stone, a general store, and
     miners' houses were to be seen. In the first annual statement
     issued by this company, the buildings were said to represent
     an outlay of $15,000, while $140,000 had been expended on
     machinery, both above and below ground. A Cornish expert,
     who was summoned from England, was paid $1,414 for a verbose
     report, the substance of which, it was said, was expressed in
     conveying the information, already known, that the "mineral
     mined is copper ore" (copper pyrite occurring in association
     with lead). This company closed its business in 1851, by
     assessing its stockholders one dollar a share, thus bringing
     the total loss in this final effort to $350,000, nearly
     one-third of which had been drawn from Philadelphia. After
     one, or two, further unsuccessful attempts had been made,
     all the substantial buildings of the mining works became a
     quarry, from which stone was sold by the perch, the ruins of
     the old engine house alone remaining to this day as a witness
     of the follies of the generations that are gone. (This account
     is based upon reports which have appeared in the press of
     Philadelphia or in other Pennsylvania newspapers.)

     [148] Samuel Latham Mitchell (1764-1831), physician,
     naturalist, politician and voluminous writer on many subjects.
     In 1797 he founded, in association with Dr. Edward Miller
     and Dr. Elihu H. Smith, the _New York Medical Repository_,
     and was its chief editor. He began also, at the University
     of New York, one of the earliest collections in natural
     history, and in 1817 appealed to the Historical Society of
     his city for the foundation of a Zoölogical Museum; in the
     same year he organized the Lyceum of Natural History, and was
     its first president, Joseph Le Conte serving as corresponding
     secretary, and John Torrey as one of its curators. On April
     9, the following subjects were assigned to different members
     for investigation, "Ichthyology or fishes, Plaxology or
     crustaceous animals, Apalology or mollusca, and Geology or the
     earth" being reserved for the president; Samuel Constantine
     Rafinesque (see Chapter XIX) took charge of "Helmintology
     or worms, Polypoligy or polyps, Atmology or Meteorology,
     Hydrology or waters, and Taxodomy or classification;"
     John Torrey, who became a distinguished botanist, was more
     modest, and assumed charge only of "Entomology or insects;"
     while to John Le Conte were given "Mastodology or mammalia,
     Erpetology or reptiles, and Glossology or nomenclature." See
     the _American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review_ (New York)
     for August, 1817, p. 272.

     [149] See Vol. I, p. 185.

     [150] Cuvier stated in his report on Audubon's _Birds_,
     delivered at the Academy of Sciences, Paris, September 22,
     1828, that the author had been twenty-five years before a
     pupil in the school of David. This would place the date in
     1803, but earlier than the autumn of that year, when Audubon
     started for America. See Note, Vol. I, p. 99.

     [151] _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i, p.

     [152] F. T. Verger, _Archives curieuses de la ville de Nantes
     et des départements de l'ouest_ (Nantes, 1837-41); for further
     references to David in this chapter I am mainly indebted to
     Georges Cain, _Le Long des Rues_ (Paris, 1812), and Charles
     Saunier, _Louis David_ (Paris, no date).

     [153] The implication as to time, which is repeated above,
     contradicts an earlier statement, which is probably more
     nearly correct, for when Audubon returned to America in 1806
     he was twenty-one.

     [154] See R. W. Shufeldt, in _The Auk_ and the _Audubonian
     Magazine_ (Bibliography, Nos. 184 and 190).

     [155] Referring to the fire of 1835, in New York.

     [156] See Chapter XXI.

     [157] When it passed into the equally worthy hands of Mr.
     Joseph Y. Jeanes, of Philadelphia. Mr. Jeanes purchased from
     the estate of Mr. Edward Harris, 2d, directly or indirectly,
     and at different times, about 110 of these early originals;
     others were dispersed, four of early date being in the Museum
     of Harvard University. Mr. Jeanes also possesses a large
     section of the Audubon-Harris correspondence, which extended
     over nearly a quarter of a century, and of which little
     has been published; to his kindness I am indebted for the
     privilege of reproducing some of the drawings, as well as
     numerous extracts from the letters, in the present work.

     [158] Audubon said that some of the originals of _The Birds of
     America_ were "made as long ago as 1805," which may well have
     been the case, but the earliest date which has been preserved
     on the drawings is that of July 1, 1808, for "Rathbone's
     Warbler," later recognized as an immature form of the Summer
     Warbler. The Carbonated Warbler was drawn May 7, 1811.
     Seven bear the date of 1812, namely: Yellow-rumped Warbler,
     April 22; Le petit Caporal, April 23; Wood Pewee, April 28;
     Blackburnian and Bay-breasted Warblers, May 12; Chestnut-sided
     Warbler, May 17; and Cuvier's Wren, June 8.

     [159] For a list of Audubon's early dated drawings see
     Appendix II. Through the courtesy of Mr. Jeanes, I am able
     to reproduce a fuller series of Audubon's early drawings of
     French and American birds than has hitherto been published,
     and have chosen the subjects to illustrate the development of
     his style.

     [160] See Vol. I, p. 125.

     [161] _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i, p.

     [162] See Appendix II.

     [163] See Appendix I, Document No. 11.

     [164] This diary was first brought to my attention by Mr.
     Ruthven Deane, and for permission to reproduce it I am
     indebted to the kindness of a great-grandson of Ferdinand, Mr.
     Welton A. Rozier, of Saint Louis. Mr. Rozier writes that the
     original French notes have been mislaid or lost, but that they
     were closely followed in this translation, whenever complete.
     Though numerous verbal changes have been made in the present
     draft, these have not altered the meaning in any respect.
     Ferdinand Rozier's narrative begins as follows:

     "I left Nantes, France, in company with John James Audubon,
     on Saturday, the 12th day of April, 1806, bound for the
     city of New York, U. S. A., on an American ship named the
     _Polly_, commanded by Captain Sammis, and arrived at New York
     on Tuesday, the 27th day of May. While on the voyage across
     the ocean our vessel was stopped, overhauled, searched, and
     robbed by an English privateer, named the _Rattlesnake_, which
     detained us a day and a night.

     "We remained in New York City for a few days, and then
     removed to Mill Grove, on Pickering [Perkioming] Creek, in
     Pennsylvania, a tract of land owned by our fathers, and at
     that time thought to contain valuable minerals."

     [165] In the rich bottom-lands of the Ohio River basin the
     hackberry or sugarberry (_Celtis occidentals_) sometimes
     exceeds one hundred feet in height, and has a diameter of from
     four to five feet.

     [166] The population of the second city of Pennsylvania
     in 1800 was 1,565; in 1840, 4,768; and in 1910, after the
     annexation of Allegheny, 533,905.

     [167] Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl. No.
     86), vol. i, p. 28.

     [168] See Appendix I, Document No. 11.

     [169] See Chapter XI, page 158.

     [170] When Audubon was returning with his wife and infant son
     from Pennsylvania to Kentucky in the autumn of 1810; see "The
     Ohio," _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i, p.

     [171] In 1800 the population of Louisville was 600, and in
     1810 it had risen to 1,350; see Charles Cist, _Cincinnati in
     1841_ (Cincinnati, 1841).

     [172] For this and the letter of Thomas Bakewell's uncle,
     William Bakewell, which follows later, I am indebted to Mr.
     Tom J. Rozier; see Note, Vol. I, p. 133, and for accompanying
     "Account Current" of Audubon & Rozier, Appendix I, Document
     No. 11.

     [173] See Note, Vol. I, p. 196.

     [174] The lead mine at "Mill Grove," which with the remaining
     Audubon and Rozier interests in the farm had been taken
     over by Dacosta's company in September, 1806. The failure
     of Dacosta followed in about a year after the date of this

     [175] Victor Gifford Audubon, who was then nine months old.

     [176] See Vol. I, p. 153.

     [177] William Bakewell died at Philadelphia on March 6, of the
     same year, after suffering from the effects of a sunstroke,
     and was, eventually, buried at "Fatland Ford;" in 1822 his
     farm, originally of 800 acres, passed into the hands of
     Dr. William Wetherill. See Note, Vol. I, p. 99, and W. G.
     Bakewell, _Bakewell-Page-Campbell_ (Bibl. No. 200).

     [178] In a letter to Alexander Lawson, written from
     Pittsburgh, on February 22, 1810; see Elliott Coues, "Private
     Letters of Wilson, Ord, and Bonaparte," _Penn Monthly_, vol.
     x, pp. 443-455 (Philadelphia, 1879).

     [179] See Elliott Coues, _loc. cit._

     [180] Letter to Alexander Lawson, dated at Lexington, April
     4, 1810; see Grosart, _Poems and Literary Prose of Alexander
     Wilson_, vol. i, p. 189.

     [181] See Grosart, _Poems and Literary Prose of Alexander
     Wilson_, vol. i, p. xxiv.

     [182] For "The Shark, or Lang Mills Detected," a satire
     directed against William Sharp, a manufacturer of Paisley;
     Wilson was fined £12 13s. 6d.

     [183] See Bibliography, No. 43.

     [184] At Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on October 3, 1799,
     Alexander Wilson sent George Simpson, Esq., a State
     Treasurer's check in favor of Joseph Brown for $475, to be
     entered to the credit of Mr. Brown as one installment on 38
     shares of scrip in the new loan at eight per cent, in the
     names of Thomas Eyes, 14 shares; Alexander Wilson, 14 shares;
     and Kenneth Sewell, 10 shares.

     [185] This was the American edition of Abraham Rees' revision
     of Ephraim Chambers' _Cyclopædia_, which had appeared in
     London in 1728; it was published at Philadelphia, in forty-one
     quarto volumes of text and six volumes of plates, by Samuel F.
     Bradford and the Messrs. Murray, Fairman & Company, 1810-1824.

     [186] "The types," said Charles Robert Leslie, "which were
     very beautiful, were cast in America, and though at that time
     paper was largely imported, he [Mr. Bradford] determined that
     the paper should be of American manufacture; and I remember
     that Ames, the paper maker, carried his patriotism so far that
     he declared that he would use only American rags in making
     it." (_Autobiographical Recollections_, Boston, 1860.)

     [187] The _American Ornithology: or, the Natural History
     of the Birds of the United States_: Illustrated with Plates
     Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings taken from Nature,
     by Alexander Wilson, was published in nine imperial quarto
     volumes by Messrs. Bradford and Inskeep, at Philadelphia,
     1808-1814. Each volume contained nine plates and from 100 to
     167 pages of text, exclusive of prefatory and other matter.
     The eighth volume, which was nearly ready for press at the
     time of the author's death, was edited by George Ord, Wilson's
     friend and executor; the final volume, which was wholly
     by Ord, and which was issued in the same year, contained a
     life of Wilson. After the appearance of the initial volume,
     the edition was extended to 500 copies and the first volume
     was entirely reset. Ord's life of Wilson was expanded for a
     three-volume edition of the _Ornithology_, and from oversheets
     of this work was produced as a separate volume in 1828 (see
     Note, Vol. I, p. 223).

     Wilson's published lists of subscribers show 449 names,
     calling for 458 copies, more than half of which were taken by
     residents of Pennsylvania, New York and Louisiana; 70 were
     subscribed for in Philadelphia, chiefly by business men,
     artists, and "those in the middle class of society;" New
     Orleans in seventeen days gave him 60 subscribers; Europe
     supplied 15, among whom were William Roscoe, later a patron
     of Audubon, and Benjamin West, the artist. Wilson figured and
     described 278 species of American birds (within the limits of
     the United States), of which 56 were supposed to be new, and
     the total number, given by Wilson and Ord, is said to be 320.
     Twenty-three species were erroneously supposed to be identical
     with their European counterparts, yet all of Wilson's birds
     except the "Small-headed Flycatcher," referred to at the end
     of this chapter, have been identified. Considering the time
     and the difficulties under which he labored, his mistakes were
     remarkably few.

     [188] See Vol. I, p. 340.

     [189] See a letter to Professor S. S. Haldeman, dated February
     6, 1879, in _Penn Monthly_, vol. x (Philadelphia, 1879).

     [190] _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i, p.

     [191] _Sketch of the Life of Alexander Wilson, Author of
     the American Ornithology_, by George Ord, F. L. S. &c. pp.
     i-cxcix, Philadelphia, 1828; taken from vol. i of an octavo
     edition of Wilson, edited by Ord, and issued by Harrison Hall,
     in three volumes, at Philadelphia in 1828-29, with folio atlas
     of plates reproduced from the original work; see Note 187,

     [192] See Ord's charge of plagiarism against Audubon (Bibl.
     No. 145) in the _Proceedings of the American Philosophical
     Society_, vol. i (1840). So far as could be ascertained
     in the summer of 1915, Wilson's diary of 1810 was not in
     the possession of any library or scientific society in
     Philadelphia, nor was it in the large collection of books
     which was given by Ord to the College of Physicians and
     Surgeons of that city at the time of his death in 1866.

     [193] The bracketed lines are from Waterton, who once stated
     that he had examined the original.

     [194] This sentence is quoted from Burns' biographical
     sketch of Wilson (Bibl., No. 161), but tenses are changed to
     correspond with other entries.

     [195] _Musicapa minuta_, which appears in Figure 5, Plate 50,
     of volume vi of Wilson's _American Ornithology_ (pp. 62-63
     of the text), and in Figure 2, Plate ccccxxxiv, of Audubon's
     _Birds of America_ (_Ornithological Biography_, vol. v, pp.

     [196] Nevertheless so careful and discerning a naturalist
     as Thomas Nuttall confidently asserted that his friend, Mr.
     M. C. Pickering, had "obtained a specimen several years ago
     near Salem (Massachusetts)"; see _A Manual of the Ornithology
     of the United States and Canada_ (Cambridge, 1832). Dr.
     Elliott Coues at one time thought that it might have been the
     Pine-creeping Warbler, and Professor Baird identified it as
     the female or young of the Hooded Warbler.

     [197] Compare _Ornithological Biography_, vol. iii, p. 203,
     where in Audubon's article on the Whooping Crane, there is
     this note: "Louisville, State of Kentucky, March, 1810. I had
     the gratification of taking Alexander Wilson to some ponds
     within a few miles of town, and of showing him many birds of
     this species, of which he had not previously seen any other
     than stuffed specimens. I told him that the white birds were
     the adults, and that the grey ones were the young. Wilson, in
     his article on the Whooping Crane, has alluded to this, but,
     as on other occasions, he has not informed his readers whence
     his information came."

     [198] What appear to be the original legends, written on
     this drawing in ink, are as follows: "Chute de l'Ohio. July
     1, 1808. No. 31. J. A. Que j'avais figuré [?] 12 pennes à
     la queue." Above were later added, also in ink, the names,
     "sylvia Trochilus delicata; Sylvia delicata, Aud."

     [199] On this drawing, which with Audubon's other originals
     is in the collections of the Historical Society of New York,
     the legends are as follows: "Mississippi Kite, Male, Falco
     mississippiensis; Drawn from nature by John J. Audubon,
     Louisiana, parish of Feliciana, James Perrie's Esq.,
     Plantation. June 28th, 1821. Length 14 inches; Breadth 3 feet,
     ½ inches; Weight 10¾ ounces; Tail feathers, 12." It is drawn
     in his usual style of that period, in pastel, water color and
     pencil, and has been dismounted.

     [200] See Vol. I, p. 305.

     [201] _American Ornithology_, vol. iii, p. 80.

     [202] See Witmer Stone, "Some Letters of Alexander Wilson and
     John Abbot," _The Auk_, vol. xxiii, 1906.

     [203] In 1840, by W. B. O. Peabody, naturalist; author of a
     _Life_ of Wilson; see Bibliography, No. 105.

     [204] Vincent Nolte, _Fifty Years in Both Hemispheres_ (Bibl.
     No. 176).

     [205] The first steamboat on the Ohio was the _Orleans_, a
     vessel of 200-400 tons, built at Pittsburgh in the summer and
     fall of 1811, by Robert Fulton and Robert M. Livingston; her
     first voyage, when she touched at Henderson, was signalized,
     as it seemed to many, by the great earthquakes of that year.
     The first Kentucky steamer was built at Henderson in 1817, the
     same year that a small vessel was constructed by Samuel Bowen
     and J. J. Audubon at the same place (see Chapter XVI). Compare
     Edmund L. Starling, _History of Henderson County, Kentucky_
     (Bibl. No. 186).

     [206] Known first as Redbank or Redbanks, to distinguish
     it from Yellowbank, or Owensboro, on a similar bend farther
     upstream; called also Hendersonville, but this term had no
     official standing. The population of Henderson in 1810 is
     given as 159, and that of the entire county, then larger than
     at present, as 5,000. See Starling, _op. cit._

     [207] See Vol. I, p. 235.

     [208] See translations from copies of the originals, in
     French, in possession of the Louisiana Historical Society,
     New Orleans, in Appendix I, Document No. 21.

     [209] Boat for the exchange of prisoners of war.

     [210] Compare Note, Vol. I, p. 152.

     [211] See Note, Vol. I, p. 148.

     [212] For this characterization of Ferdinand Rozier I am
     indebted mainly to an account by his son, Firman A. Rozier,
     at one time mayor of Ste. Geneviève and member of the State
     Legislature; see his _History of the Early Settlement of the
     Mississippi Valley_ (Bibl. No. 202) (St. Louis, 1890).

     [213] For a photograph of the old Rozier store at Ste.
     Geneviève, as well as for the likeness of Rozier, made in
     1862, when he was in his eighty-fifth year, I am indebted to
     the kindness of Mr. Ruthven Deane, who received them from a
     son of Ferdinand, Felix Rozier, in November, 1905, when the
     latter had attained his eighty-third year.

     [214] While living at Henderson the Audubons lost their two
     daughters, Rosa and Lucy, both of whom died when very young.

     [215] "The Earthquake," _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No.
     2) vol. i, p. 280.

     [216] This journey was probably made in February, though the
     date is given as April (see Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his
     Journals_, vol. i, p. 44), if the legends of four drawings of
     this time are to be trusted; all are labeled Pennsylvania, and
     bear the following dates: Swamp Sparrow, March, 1812; Spotted
     Sandpiper, April 22, 1812; White-throated Sparrow, April 24,
     1812; and Whippoorwill, May 7, 1812.

     [217] _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i, p.
     81. In his biographical sketch of 1835 Audubon said that this
     occurred on his first return from Ste. Geneviève to Henderson
     (in 1811), a contradiction characteristic of his manner of
     dealing with biographical and historical details. For an
     account of this "Episode," see Chapter XVIII.

     [218] For early references to Henderson I am indebted mainly
     to Edmund L. Starling, _History of Henderson County, Kentucky_
     (Bibl. No. 186), who had access to all the town and county

     [219] In 1819, the year of Audubon's departure, 129 town lots
     had been sold, while 29 had been given to privileged persons
     or to prospective settlers.

     [220] According to the town records, as quoted by Starling,
     on December 22, 1813, Audubon purchased lots numbers 95
     and 96, which were one-half of the square lying on the west
     side of Third Street and between Green and Elm Streets, from
     General Samuel Hopkins, agent of the Messrs. Richard Henderson
     & Company; on September 3, 1814, he bought lots numbers 91
     and 92, or one-half of the square on the west side of Second
     Street, between Green and Elm. The mill site on the Ohio River
     was a part of the land given to Henderson by the Transylvania
     Company, the original owners of a large part of Kentucky;
     this site was leased for 99 years to J. J. Audubon, was sold
     and resold, but reverted to the city of Henderson in 1915.
     In the latter year the project was broached of obtaining the
     original mill site, together with adjoining property along the
     river, and converting the whole into a public park dedicated
     to Audubon.

     [221] At a somewhat later time the naturalist occupied a
     one-story frame house, built in 1814, which stood at the
     corner of Fourth and Main Streets; see Starling, _op. cit._

     [222] See Note 15, Vol. I, p. 124.

     [223] A Henderson correspondent of Joseph M. Wade, under the
     signature of "W. S. J.," August 8, 1883, gave the following
     account of the structure. The original mill covered forty-five
     by sixty-five feet, and consisted of four stories and
     basement; the basement walls of stone stood four feet thick,
     while at the third story the thickness was three feet; the
     three upper stories were in frame. The studding measured
     three by six, and the rafters four by eight, inches. Many
     of the large timbers that could then be seen were sound
     and apparently good for a century or more. Parts of the old
     machinery that had been used in the grist mill were lying
     about under the eaves; the building was then used as a tobacco
     stemmery. See Joseph M. Wade (Bibl. No. 182), _Ornithologist
     and Oölogist_, vol. viii, p. 79 (1883).

     The old Audubon mill in more recent times was incorporated
     into a warehouse for the storage of leaf tobacco; it was
     burned to the ground on March 18, 1913.

     [224] The mill is supposed to have cost about $15,000; of this
     sum Thomas Pears is said to have contributed from $3,000 to
     $4,000, and William Bakewell a similar amount in the interest
     of his son, while Audubon presumably furnished the balance.

     [225] Maria R. Audubon, _op. cit._, vol. i, p. 47.

     [226] In his journal of 1820 Audubon said that after the
     withdrawal of Bakewell, "men with whom I had long been
     associated offered me a partnership. I accepted, and a
     small ray of light appeared in my business, but a revolution
     occasioned by a numberless quantity of failures put all to an

     [227] One of J. J. Audubon & Company's bills is here
     reproduced from Starling, _op. cit._

     "To the President and Directors of the Bank of Henderson to
        Henderson steam mill:

       "To three pieces of scantling, 56 feet, 4½ c       $2.52

       "To ten pieces of scantling, 34 feet                  ——

       "To sixty rafters, 714 feet, at 4 c                28.56

       "To five pieces scantling, 40 feet, at 3 c          1.20

       "To fifteen joists [?], 278½ feet, at 6 c          16.71
                "J. J. Audubon & Co."                    $48.99

     [228] According to W. G. Bakewell, _Bakewell-Page-Campbell_
     (Bibl. No. 200), Thomas Bakewell sold his interest in the
     store and mill to Audubon in 1817, but this is contradicted
     by other accounts. For the incident which follows, see Maria
     R. Audubon, _op. cit._, vol. i, p. 34.

     [229] See Dixon L. Merritt (Bibl. No. 226a), "Audubon in
     Kentucky," _The Taylor-Trotwood Magazine_, vol. 10 (1909), p.

     [230] Thomas Bakewell later became a successful builder of
     steamboats, first at Pittsburgh, and after 1824 at Cincinnati,
     where he was an important factor in the rising commerce of the
     Ohio Valley, and where he left his mark on the history of that
     city. As a theoretical mechanic in iron and wood he is said to
     have had no superior; his business was nearly destroyed in the
     panic of 1837, and he never regained his financial position.
     To his credit also it must be added that in 1860, at the age
     of seventy-two, he began at the bottom of the ladder again by
     engaging as a clerk with a paper company at Cincinnati, and,
     refusing the proffered aid of his children, he did not give up
     work until his eightieth year, seven years before his death
     in 1874. See W. G. Bakewell, _Bakewell-Page-Campbell_ (Bibl.
     No. 200).

     [231] Audubon was not so accurate when in his biographical
     sketch of 1835 he said: "Finally I paid every bill, and
     at last left Henderson probably forever...," for when at
     Charleston with Bachman in 1834, one of his former creditors
     attempted to sue him for debt and apparently carried his case
     to court. When Bachman asked for an explanation, Audubon wrote
     from New York, April 5, 1834, as follows: "Respecting the
     suit let me tell you ... that I went to Gaol at Louisville
     after having given up all to my creditors, and that I took
     the benefit of the act of insolvency at the Louisville
     Court House, Kentucky, before Judge Fortunatus Crosby & many
     witnesses, and that a copy of the record of that step can
     easily be had from that court.... I wish friend Donkin to
     do all he can to put a _Conclusion_—stop to this matter, for
     it makes me sick at heart." The lawyer here referred to was
     probably Judge Dunkin, friend of Bachman and distinguished
     in his profession, who had a plantation at Waccamaw, near
     Charleston, South Carolina (see Chapter XXVII, Vol. II, p. 64.)

     [232] See Chapter IX, p. 63.

     [233] For complete text of these wills, in the original, See
     Appendix I, Documents 13-18.

     [234] See Note 4, Vol. I, p 27. The suit brought by these
     plaintiffs was based upon a French law, which at that time
     debarred a natural child from inheriting property.

     [235] Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl. No.
     86), vol i, pp. iii and 130.

     [236] Lucy B. Audubon, ed., _The Life of John James Audubon_
     (Bibl. No. 73), p. 55.

     [237] See Chapter VIII, p. 121.

     [238] See Chapter II, pp. 33 and 34.

     [239] From G. L. du Puigaudeau's copy of his letter to John
     James Audubon (at Henderson), dated "Couëron, August 15,
     1819," translated from the French. (Lavigne MSS.)

     [240] See Vol. I, p. 64.

     [241] This, and the letter to follow, translated from Gabriel
     du Puigaudeau's copies. (Lavigne MSS.)

     [242] This reference is evidently to the litigation over
     Lieutenant Audubon's will and the final disposition of his

     [243] It was thought that Victor had come to settle the
     family's financial affairs, and his uncle and aunt asked
     if this were the case; he replied that it was not, that the
     children of Jean Audubon who were in America had taken their
     [share of the] property in that country, while those in France
     had theirs in France; he considered that all was settled,
     but if Rosa's children wished for any money, they had but to
     ask for it, and the heirs in America would send them what
     they desired; the subject was then dropped. A considerable
     correspondence followed this visit, but the letters were
     all destroyed about twenty-five years ago by Monsieur du
     Puigaudeau, when putting his effects in order. This account
     is given on the authority of Monsieur Lavigne.

     [244] These passages, which were shown to me by his
     granddaughter, Miss Maria R. Audubon, in 1914, but not for
     publication, occur in his journals under the following dates;
     June 4, 1826, at sea; March 15, 1827, at Edinburgh, after
     describing a visit of Lady Selkirk and her daughter; again
     on the 18th of March of the same or the following year; and
     on October 8, 1828, when writing to his wife from Paris and
     reflecting on the advisability of visiting his old home at
     Nantes. While these extraordinary passages are not quoted,
     out of deference to the wishes of his granddaughters, it
     seems only just to Audubon, in view of the revelations that
     have already been made, to add this brief reference to the
     incidents in question.

     [245] This statement was made to me in 1914 by Miss Maria R.

     [246] See Note, Vol. I, p. 27.

     [247] In the first three volumes only of the _Ornithological
     Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), being omitted from the last two on
     account of the exigencies of space.

     [248] _Ornithological Biography_, vol. iii, p. 270.

     [249] While the object of this visit is not mentioned in the
     "Episode," it is stated in the second biographical sketch;
     the ambiguities connected with the sale of this farm, in which
     others besides Audubon were then interested, are discussed in
     Chapter XI.

     [250] Vincent Nolte, _Fifty Years in Both Hemispheres_ (Bibl.
     No. 176).

     [251] See Chapter XXI, p. 352.

     [252] Limestone or, as it was later called, Maysville, was on
     the left bank of the river, in Kentucky, and about a hundred
     miles east of Cincinnati.

     [253] "The Earthquake," _Ornithological Biography_, vol. i,
     p. 239.

     [254] These historic earthquakes, which were most destructive
     of life and property in the lower Mississippi Valley, began
     on December 16, 1811, and therefore before Audubon and Nolte
     had reached the western country. They were noted for their
     remarkable frequency and persistence, 221 shocks having been
     recorded in a single week at Henderson, Audubon's home at
     that time; though their force was mostly spent after the first
     three months, they did not wholly die away in the Ohio Valley
     until December 12, 1813, when the last feeble vibration was
     recorded by Dr. Daniel Drake at Cincinnati; the worst shocks
     at this point were experienced on December 16, 1811, on
     January 23 and February 7, 1812. See Daniel Drake, _Natural
     and Statistical View of Cincinnati, and the Miami Valley; with
     an appendix, containing observations on the late Earthquakes_,
     (Cincinnati, 1815); and Edmund L. Starling, _History of
     Henderson County, Kentucky_ (Bibl. No. 186).

     [255] "The Hurricane," _Ornithological Biography_, vol. i, p.

     [256] James Hall (Bibl. No. 123), _Western Monthly Magazine_,
     vol. ii (1834).

     [257] "The Regulators," _Ornithological Biography_, vol. i,
     p. 105.

     [258] "Colonel Boone," _ibid._, vol. i, p. 503.

     [259] See Chapter V, p 88.

     [260] "The Prairie," _Ornithological Biography_, vol. i, p.

     [261] John Burroughs, _John James Audubon_ (Bibl. No. 87), p.

     [262] "See _History of Sutton, New Hampshire_, compiled by
     Augustus Harvey Worthen, pt. I (Concord, 1890).

     [263] "The Eccentric Naturalist," _Ornithological Biography_
     (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i, p. 455.

     [264] For the characterization of Rafinesque given in the
     present chapter I am chiefly indebted, aside from his own
     writings, to his two most sympathetic biographers, Richard
     Ellsworth Call and T. J. Fitzpatrick, as well as to David
     Starr Jordan; see Bibliography, Nos. 198, 228, and 183.
     Fitzpatrick gives photographic reproductions from Rafinesque's
     exceedingly diversiform and scattered works; his bibliographic
     titles extend to 939, and "Rafinesquiana" to 134.

     [265] "At Palermo," said Swainson, "I had the pleasure of
     meeting ... Rafinesque Schmaltz, whose first name is familiar
     to most zoölogists. In the society of such congenial minds, I
     passed many happy hours, and made many delightful excursions
     ... by the inducement of the latter, I was led to investigate
     the ichthyology of the western coast." (See Bibliography, No.

     [266] See Vol. I, pp. 171 and 336.

     [267] See David Starr Jordon (Bibl. No. 183), _Popular Science
     Monthly_, vol. xxix (1886). "The true story of this practical
     joke was told me by the venerable Dr. Kirtland, who in turn
     received it from Dr. Bachman;" the latter, I might add, was
     the friend and correspondent of the "Sage of Rockport" after
     a visit at his home near Cleveland in the summer of 1852.
     In the private notebooks of Rafinesque copies of Audubon's
     drawings are still to be seen, and "a glance at these," said
     Dr. Jordon, "is sufficient to show the extent to which science
     through him has been victimized."

     Audubon was also responsible for a number of extraordinary
     "new species" of birds, the most notorious of which was the
     Scarlet-headed Swallow, of which Rafinesque published the
     following account in 1820: "_Hirundo phenicephala_. Head
     scarlet, back gray, belly white, bill and feet black. A fine
     and rare swallow seen only once by Mr. Audubon near Henderson,
     Kentucky...." See Samuel N. Rhoads, "Constantine S. Rafinesque
     as an Ornithologist," _Cassinia_, No. XV (Philadelphia, 1911).

     [268] _The Western Review and Miscellaneous Magazine_,
     Lexington, 1819-20.

     [269] _Ichthyologia Ohiensis, or Natural History of the Fishes
     inhabiting the River Ohio and its tributary Streams, preceded
     by a physical description of the Ohio and its branches._ By
     C. S. Rafinesque, Professor of Botany and Natural History in
     Transylvania University, Author of the Analysis of Nature,
     &c. &c. Member of the Literary and Philosophical Society of
     New-York, the Historical Society of New-York, the Lyceum of
     Natural History of New-York, the Academy of Natural Sciences
     of Philadelphia, the American Antiquarian Society, the Royal
     Institute of Natural Sciences of Naples, the Italian Society
     of Arts and Sciences, the Medical Societies of Lexington and
     Cincinnati, &c. &c.

     "The art of seeing well, or of noticing and distinguishing
     with accuracy the objects which we perceive, is a high faculty
     of the mind, unfolded in few individuals, and despised by
     those who can neither acquire it, nor appreciate its results."

     Lexington, Kentucky: printed for the author by W. G. Hunt.
     (Price one dollar.) (Pp. 1-90. Lexington, 1820.)

     Fitzpatrick (see Bibliography, No. 228) gives a list of 14
     copies of this work, the whereabouts of which are known; we
     can add another from the library of Dr. Jared P. Kirtland,
     now in the collections of Western Reserve University; it is
     bound up with Dr. Kirtland's notebook on birds and fishes, and
     labeled "Scraps of Natural History. My Note Book;" a written
     notice on the inside of the cover, imploring the finder to
     return the volume to its owner if lost, is signed by Dr.
     Kirtland and dated "Cleveland, O., Oct. 16th, 1839." Probably
     fewer than 20 original copies of the work now exist. It was
     reproduced in a limited edition, with a sketch of Rafinesque's
     life and works by Richard Ellsworth Call, published by the
     Burrows Brothers' Company of Cleveland in 1899.

     [270] Probably not before October of that year, when Audubon
     first met John Bachman, at Charleston, South Carolina.

     [271] Reply to a criticism of G. W. Featherstonhaugh
     (_The Monthly American Journal of Geological Science_), in
     Rafinesque's _Atlantic Journal and Friend of Knowledge_, No.
     3, p. 113 (Philadelphia, 1832). Rafinesque occasionally spoke
     of meeting "my friend Audubon," who, he declared, had invited
     him to join his expedition to Florida in 1831-32.

     [272] Isaac Lea, in _A Synopsis of the Family of Naiades_,
     pp. 8-9 (Philadelphia, 1836).

     [273] See Bibliography, No. 204.

     [274] The landlord, to whom Rafinesque had been in arrears for
     rent, had locked his body in the room and refused permission
     for its burial, thinking to find a market for it in one of the
     medical schools of the city. Rafinesque was buried in a little
     churchyard, then outside of the limits of the city, known as
     Ronaldson's cemetery, now at Ninth and Catharine Streets. See
     Call and Fitzpatrick, Bibliography, Nos. 198 and 228.

     [275] Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl. No.
     86), vol. i, p. 36.

     [276] _Ibid._, vol. i, p. 49.

     [277] Dr. Daniel Drake (1785-1852) was one of the most
     versatile and prolific writers on medicine which the West has
     ever produced, and Cincinnati owed to him much, for he was
     instrumental in organizing in that city a church, a literary
     society, a museum, a hospital, a college, and a school of
     medicine, while he enjoyed a large medical practice, lectured
     on botany, and was a partner in two mercantile establishments.
     We might also add that his "Notice concerning Cincinnati" (pp.
     1-28, i-iv. Printed for the author at Cincinnati, 1810), of
     which only three copies are known to exist, is the earliest
     and rarest published record of that city. This little pamphlet
     included a "Flora" of the city for 1809, and from it we
     transcribe this interesting extract (p. 27): "May 10. Black
     locust in full flower.

     "It is highly probable that the flowering of this beautiful
     tree, the Robinia pseudocacia of Linnæus, indicates the proper
     time for planting the important vegetable the Indian corn. For
     several successive years I have observed our farmers generally
     to plant corn during some stage of its flowering. This from
     the 10th to the 20th of May."

     For the privilege of examining one of the original copies of
     this paper, I am indebted to Mr. Wallace H. Cathcart of the
     Western Reserve Historical Society of Cleveland.

     [278] See Audubon's letter to Thomas Sully, reproduced in Vol.
     II, p. 68. In his Ohio and Mississippi Rivers Journal Audubon
     wrote on April 5, 1821: "Cap. Cumming left us on the 10 for
     Phila; the poor man had not _one_ cent with him."

     [279] This early journal fills a large unruled book, measuring
     about 13 by 8 inches, of 201 pages, beginning with Oct.
     12, 1820, and closing with December 31, 1821; it forms a
     part of the John E. Thayer collection of Audubon and Wilson
     manuscripts and drawings in possession of Harvard University,
     having been once included in the estate of Joseph M. Wade. The
     collection embraces four early drawings by Audubon, presumably
     at one time in the hands of Edward Harris (see Note, Vol. I,
     p. 180); 73 of Audubon's original letters, comprising largely
     his correspondence with Dr. John Bachman; 60 letters by Victor
     G. Audubon; and a few by other members of the naturalist's
     family. See the _Annual Report of the Curator of the Museum
     of Comparative Zoology for 1910-1911_.

     Through the courtesy of Professor E. L. Mark, and the Director
     of the Museum, Dr. Samuel Henshaw, I have been permitted to
     examine these numerous documents. In any direct or casual
     reference to this valuable material, I have endeavored not to
     overstep the bounds of propriety, in view of the fact that the
     University contemplates publishing copious extracts from it
     at an early day. It should be noticed that excerpts from this
     journal have already appeared in print. See following Note.

     [280] See Ruthven Deane (Bibl. No. 41), _The Auk_, vol. xxi,
     pp. 334-338.

     [281] "Natchez in 1820" and "The Lost Portfolio,"
     _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. iii, pp. 529
     and 564.

     [282] The original of this admirable drawing had been shot
     at New Madrid, on the Ohio, on November 23, and Audubon, who
     immediately began to work on it, recorded his conviction that
     the White-headed or Bald Eagle and the "Brown Eagle," which
     he later called "The Bird of Washington," were two different
     species; he thought that the young of the former, which was
     also brown, was much smaller in size. See Vol. I, p. 241.

     [283] These drawings were as follows:

          "Common gallinule; Not described by Willson;
          Common gull; Not described by Willson;
          Marsh hawk;
          Boat tailed grackle; Not described by Willson;
          Common Crow;
          Fish Crow;
          Rail or Sora;
          Marsh Tern;
          Snipe; Not described by Willson;
          Hermit Thrush;
          Yellow Red poll Warbler;
          Savannah Finch;
          Bath Ground Warbler; Not described by Willson;
          Brown Pelican; Not described by Willson;
          Great Footed Hawk;
          Turkey Hen; Not described by Willson;
          Carrion Crow or Black Vulture;
          Imber Diver;
          White Headed or Bald Eagle."

     [284] Vanderlyn, like Audubon, had been a pupil of David at
     Paris; he produced historical paintings of merit, as well as
     panoramas, then coming into vogue; some of the latter were
     exhibited in the "Rotunda" which he erected for that purpose
     in City Hall Park, New York, but this enterprise failed, and
     his building was seized by the city for debt. Vanderlyn died
     in absolute want in 1852. See Samuel Isham, _The History of
     American Painting_ (New York, 1915).

     [285] "Bayou," in Louisiana, is a term commonly applied to any
     slow-running stream. According to the tradition gathered on
     the spot by Mr. Stanley C. Arthur, both stream and settlement
     were formerly called "New Valentia," while the present name
     was derived from an old woman called "Sara," who many years
     ago lived at the mouth of the Bayou, where she practiced
     some sort of spurious physic. St. Francisville, on the hill,
     received its name from the circumstance that the brothers
     of St. Francis, who had a mission at Pointe Coupée, on the
     opposite bank, were in the habit of ferrying their dead
     over the river, in order to bury them on the high ground;
     "Bayou Sara" and "St. Francisville" are used interchangeably
     by the inhabitants. See S. C. Arthur (Bibl. No. 230),
     _Times-Picayune_, New Orleans, August 6, 1916.

     [286] On the original drawing of the Pine-creeping Warbler,
     _The Birds of America_ (Plate cxl), the following legends
     appear in Audubon's autograph: "Drawn from Nature by John J.
     Audubon, James Pirrie's Plantation, Louisiana, July 10, 1821.
     Plant, J. R. Mason."

     Sixteen of Audubon's originals, which still bear the
     designations of time and place, were produced during this
     interval, in the year 1821; they embrace the Mississippi Kite
     (Plate cxvii, see Vol. I, p. 228), June 28; Yellow-throated
     Vireo (Plate cxix), July 11; Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Plate
     ccclxxxix), July 29; American Redstart (Plate xl), August
     13; Summer Red-bird (Plate xliv), August 27; Prairie Warbler
     (Plate xiv), Sept. 3; and the Tennessee Warbler (Plate cliv),
     Oct. 17.

     [287] _The Birds of America_, Plate xxi.

     [288] See Chapter XXVIII, p. 72.

     [289] The vivacious Miss Pirrie did not marry the young
     doctor, but eloped to Natchez with the son of a neighboring
     planter, who died within a month in consequence of a cold,
     said to have been contracted when he waded a deep stream
     with his lady-love in his arms. Audubon's pupil was thrice
     married, and bore five children; she died April 20, 1851, and
     her ashes now rest by the side of her second husband, the
     Reverend William Robert Bowman, the parish minister at St.
     Francisville. See Arthur (Bibl. No. 230), _loc. cit._

     [290] Mistakenly written "Brand" by Audubon's biographers,
     according to Mr. Stanley C. Arthur, who writes that "Braud"
     is a very common name in New Orleans.

     [291] Father Antonio de Sedella, popularly known as "Père
     Antoine," after 1791 pastor of St. Louis Cathedral; an idol
     of the people, but execrated by historians.

     "This seditious priest is a Father Antoine; he is a great
     favorite of the Louisiana ladies; has married many of them,
     and christened all their children; he is by some citizens
     esteemed an accomplished hypocrite, has great influence
     with the people of color, and, report says, embraces every
     opportunity to render them discontented under the American
     Government." _Executive Journal of Governor Claiborne._ See
     Charles Gayarré, _History of Louisiana_, vol. iv, pp. 154-155
     (New Orleans, 1903).

     [292] This item occurs in Audubon's journal for October 25;
     "Rented a house in Dauphine street at seventeen dollars per
     month, and determined to bring my family to New Orleans."

     [293] See Audubon's letter to Sully, Vol. II, p. 69.

     [294] Now in the collection of Mr. John E. Thayer, Lancaster,

     [295] Mr. Stanley C. Arthur, whose recent visit to this region
     has already been noticed, gathered there from the lips of
     old residents, some of whom were descendants of those who
     had known the Audubons, a store of reliable data by which
     the history of the naturalist at this important phase of his
     life is revealed in its true light; to him I am indebted for
     a series of excellent photographs of the region, its historic
     houses and people, as well as for much needed information.
     See Arthur (Bibl. No. 230), _loc. cit._

     [296] One of the early steamboats on the Ohio that had been
     built at Pittsburgh, in 1821, by Thomas W. Bakewell, his
     brother-in-law and former partner.

     [297] See "A Tough Walk for a Youth," _Ornithological
     Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. iii, p. 371; and "The
     Hospitality of the Woods," _ibid._, vol. i, p. 383.

     [298] This lady had a remarkable history. She was the widow
     of the Marquis de Saint Pie, and was at one time a _dame
     d'honneur_ of Queen Marie Antoinette; like many others of
     noble birth, she had fled from Paris during the Revolution,
     and emigrated to America, where with her husband she assumed
     the name of Berthoud. Her son, Nicholas Augustus, had married
     Mrs. Audubon's sister, Eliza Bakewell, in 1816.

     [299] See Chapter XIV.

     [300] This was the third edition of the _American
     Ornithology_, issued by Messrs. Collins & Company in New York
     and by Harrison Hall of Philadelphia, in three octavo volumes,
     with an atlas of 76 plates colored by hand, in 1828-9. Mr.
     Hall, who appears to have been the person most interested
     financially in this edition, was a brother of James Hall,
     author of a notorious review in which this work was praised
     at the expense of Audubon, who was viciously attacked (see
     Bibliography, No. 123). Friends of Audubon repeatedly asserted
     that as soon as his popularity and success began to check
     the sales of Wilson's work, Ord and a few others, aided by
     interested publishers, began a systematic series of attacks,
     some notice of which is taken in Chapter XXVIII.

     [301] See Chapter XIV.

     [302] Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte, Prince of
     Canino and Musignano, the eldest son of Lucien, and nephew
     of Napoleon, Bonaparte, was born at Paris in 1803, and died
     there in 1857. At this time he was settled with his uncle
     and father-in-law, Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Spain,
     at Philadelphia, and there and at Bordentown, New Jersey,
     where Joseph had an estate, he undertook the study of
     American birds. His best known scientific works are: _American
     Ornithology, or the Natural History of the Birds of the United
     States, not Given by Wilson_, 4 volumes, quarto, with 27
     colored plates, Philadelphia, 1825-1833; and _Iconographica
     della Fauna Italica_, Rome, 1833-1841. In 1828 he retired
     to Italy, where he was devoted to literary and scientific
     pursuits. He was an early subscriber to Audubon's _Birds of
     America_, but their relations were somewhat strained on the
     publication of the _Ornithological Biography_ in 1831 (see
     Chapter XXIX). Bonaparte later entered politics in Italy,
     and was leader of the republican party at Rome in 1848 and
     1849; after having been expelled from France by the order of
     Louis Napoleon, he was permitted to return in 1850, and became
     director of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

     He was a closet naturalist rather than a field student, but
     did much for the reform of nomenclature. In his _Ornithology_
     the number of American birds was raised to 366, nearly one
     hundred having been added since the work of Wilson was revised
     by Ord, but he added only two that were new, Cooper's Hawk,
     (_Accipiter cooperi_), named after William Cooper of New
     York, and Say's Phœbe (_Sayornis saya_), dedicated to Thomas
     Say, and first procured by Titian R. Peale in the Rocky
     Mountain districts of the Far West. Perhaps his most important
     technical work, the _Conspectus Generum Avium_, begun in 1850,
     was incomplete at the time of his death.

     [303] William Dunlap, _History of the Rise and Progress of the
     Arts of Design in the United States_ (Bibl. No. 59), vol. ii,
     p. 402 (New York, 1834).

     [304] The Boat-tailed Grackle, vol. i, plate iv.

     [305] He seems, however, to have supplied Bonaparte liberally
     with notes, for after devoting fifteen pages to the biography
     of the Wild Turkey, Audubon said: "A long account of this
     remarkable bird has already been given in Bonaparte's American
     Ornithology, volume I. As that account was in a great measure
     derived from notes furnished by myself, you need not be
     surprised, good reader, to find it often in accordance with
     the above." _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i,
     p. 16.

     [306] Edward Harris was born at Morristown, New Jersey, in
     1799, where he died in 1863. Without the incentive to earn
     money or the ambition to acquire fame, he lived the life of
     a gentleman of leisure, devoted to natural history, to sport
     and to the cultivation of his paternal acres. He had the gift
     of friendship, was widely traveled, wrote charming letters,
     and kept careful records of his observations, but rarely
     published anything. The breeding of fine stock was one of
     his hobbies, and as a result of a journey to Europe in 1839,
     when he visited a horse fair in Normandy, he is credited with
     having first introduced the Norman breed into America. "The
     beneficent results of his quiet, unobtrusive life," says an
     appreciative biographer, "reach down to our time, and, after
     half a century, we are glad that Edward Harris lived." See
     biographical sketch by George Spencer Morris, in _Cassinia_,
     vol. vi (Philadelphia, 1902).

     [307] See Chapter XII, p. 179.

     [308] Written by Dr. Edmund Porter of Frenchtown, New Jersey,
     to Dr. Thomas Miner of Haddam, Connecticut, on October 25,
     1825. See Witmer Stone, "Some Philadelphia Ornithological
     Collections and Collectors, 1784-1850," _The Auk_, vol. xvi
     (New York, 1899).

     [309] Thomas Sully (1783-1872), Englishman by birth, who had
     come to America at an early age, and like Audubon had waged
     a bitter struggle before success was achieved, became one of
     the first portrait painters of the early American School.

     In 1831 Sully wrote to Audubon that his success in England
     and France had charmed all of his friends in America, that
     it was like a personal triumph to them, and that it would
     soon silence his few remaining enemies; "Be true to yourself,
     Audubon," he added, "and never doubt of success." It has been
     said that when Audubon first came to Philadelphia in 1824 he
     applied to Sully for instruction, saying that he wished to
     become a portrait painter (see Dunlap, _op. cit._); again that
     he was ready to sell his drawings to the highest bidder; but
     the records of his journals from 1820 onward are sufficiently
     consistent to show what his purpose really was.

     [310] For the favor of examining a collection of interesting
     autograph letters written to Audubon in Europe and America,
     some of which are here reproduced, I am indebted to the
     kindness of Mr. Henry R. Howland, secretary of the Buffalo
     Society of Natural Sciences. This note was written on a narrow
     strip of manila-colored drawing paper.

     [311] See Chapter XI.

     [312] See Bibliography, Nos. 15 and 16.

     [313] See Lucy Audubon, ed., _Life of John James Audubon, the
     Naturalist_ (Bibl. No. 73), p. 107.

     [314] See Vol. I, p. 219.

     [315] Probably first published in a newspaper, and reprinted
     in pamphlet form, dated "April 9, 1846"; see Bibliography,
     No. 42.

     [316] Miss Jennett Benedict in 1836 became Mrs. Butts; the
     crayon portrait which Audubon made at this time was carefully
     treasured by her daughter, the late Mrs. Frederick A.
     Sterling, of Cleveland, Ohio, to whose kindness I am indebted
     for the privilege of reproducing it. This original drawing,
     which is presumably a fair specimen of Audubon's itinerant
     portraiture, was made on a sheet of buff, water-marked paper,
     14½ by 10½ inches in dimensions; it was outlined in pencil,
     and carefully finished in crayon-point; its legend "J. J.
     Audubon-1824," was inserted in pencil, in a very fine hand
     at the lower margin of the sketch. The Colson store was at
     the corner of Water Street and south of Cherry Alley. For an
     account of this incident I am indebted to Mrs. Sterling, and
     to an article in the _Tribune Republican_, of Meadville, for
     February 7, 1907.

     [317] _Ornithological Biography_, vol. i, p. xi.

     [318] The Jeanes MSS.; see Note, Vol. I, p. 180.

     [319] "Shipping Port," as the village below the rapids or
     falls of the Ohio was then called, was joined to Louisville by
     the Louisville and Portland Canal, a channel two and one-half
     miles long, in 1830, two years after the city received its
     charter. The "Louisville" or "Portland" cement, a name now
     applied to the product of a considerable district, was first
     manufactured at Shipping Port, in 1829, for the construction
     of this canal.

     [320] Audubon's 1826 manuscript journal, which I examined
     through the courtesy of Miss Maria R. Audubon in 1914, was
     written, mostly in pencil, in a ruled blank book, of similar
     size and quality to that used on the Ohio River in 1820-21
     (see Note, p. 307), and was illustrated with a number of
     pencil sketches, chiefly of fishes. On page 2 was a rough
     outline sketch of first mate Sam L. Bragdon, of Wells, Maine,
     reading in the booby hatch; to his kindness Audubon paid
     a written tribute; there was also a drawing of a "Balacuda
     [Barracouta] Fish, June 17, 1826;" of a "Shark, 7 ft. long;
     off Cuba, Jn. 18" (see reproduction); and of a "Dolphin;
     Gulph of Florida, May 28;" other sketches were of a line or
     "thread-winder," a Flying Fish, and outlines of the Cuban

     Audubon presented a sketch of the "Dolphin" to Captain Hatch,
     whose vessel, the _Delos_, went down on the Grand Banks of
     Newfoundland in the summer of 1831, but not until her crew and
     valuables had been transferred to another boat that stood by.
     (For this note I am indebted to Miss Maria R. Audubon.)

     [321] Addressed "_General Lafayette_,
           Paris ou Lagrange."

     Translated from the French original, kindly sent to me by Mr.
     Ruthven Deane.

     [322] For an account of Audubon's meeting with Nolte see
     Chapter XVIII.

     [323] Dr. Thomas Stuart Traill, after whom one of our common
     flycatchers was named, was a founder of the Royal Institution
     at Liverpool, and later a professor of medical jurisprudence
     at Edinburgh. When the keepership of the Department of
     Natural History in the British Museum became vacant through
     the resignation of Dr. Leech in 1822, Dr. Traill supported
     William Swainson for the position; when George J. Children
     received the appointment, he was disinclined to accept defeat,
     and entered upon a crusade against the Museum's trustees in a
     series of anonymous articles contributed to the _Edinburgh_
     and _Westminster_ Reviews. Traill's exposure of the neglect
     which the natural-history collections had suffered in the
     custody of the British Museum paved the way to a separate
     Department of Zoology, which in the able hands of John E.
     Gray, and later in those of Sir Richard Owen, led to the
     present great Museum of Natural History at South Kensington.

     [324] In dedicating the _Sylvia rathbonia_ Audubon said: "Were
     I at liberty here to express the gratitude which swells my
     heart, when the remembrance of all the unmerited kindness
     and unlooked-for friendship which I have received from the
     Rathbones of Liverpool comes to my mind, I might produce a
     volume of thanks. But I must content myself with informing
     you, that the small tribute of gratitude which it is alone in
     my power to pay, I now joyfully accord, by naming after them
     one of those birds, to the study of which all my efforts have
     been directed. I trust that future naturalists, regardful of
     the feelings which have guided me in naming this species, will
     continue to it the name of the _Rathbone Warbler_."

     [325] Named after John Stevens Henslow, Professor of Botany
     in the University of Cambridge, whom Audubon had met in 1828,
     when Charles Darwin was still his pupil.

     [326] This seal, the design of which has since been adapted
     for a bookplate, was long in use, and though at one time lost,
     is still in possession of the family. A copy of the large
     original, which was to serve as his first plate, was presented
     to the Royal Institution of Liverpool as an acknowledgment of
     its hospitality, for it had refused remuneration in any other

     [327] See Note, Vol. I, p. 375.

     [328] The plates as issued, untrimmed, measured 39½ by 29½
     inches; see Bibliography, No. 1.

     [329] See Note, Vol. II, p. 197. Incidentally it may be
     noticed that the "tiger swallowtail" in this plate was
     possibly added for effect, for few of our birds, which
     habitually hunt moths, ever prey upon butterflies. I have
     seen the cabbage butterfly and a few of the smaller kinds
     brought to the nests of the Chebec and Wood Pewee but never
     a "monarch" or "papilio"; yet some affirm that the Kingbird
     will attack the "monarch."

     [330] Translated from _Études sur la Littérature et les
     Mœurs des Anglo-Americains au XIXe siècle_, "Audubon," pp.
     66-106 (Paris, 1851). Philarète-Chasles, who wrote chiefly on
     American, English and European authors and books, has seventy
     volumes credited to him in the National Library at Paris.

     [331] P. A. Cap, in _L'Illustration_ for 1851. Cap's hint was
     taken by Eugène Bazin, who translated copious selections from
     the _Ornithological Biography_, which were published in two
     volumes in Paris in 1857 (see Bibliography, No. 38).

     [332] See Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl.
     No. 86).

     [333] Audubon's copy of this oil painting remained in the
     possession of his family until a few years ago, when it was
     sold for a much greater amount. It now adorns the beautiful
     ornithological museum of Mr. John E. Thayer, at South
     Lancaster, Massachusetts; it represents a cock and hen turkey
     in life size, adapted from the subjects of his two most famous
     plates, and is in an admirable state of preservation. Mr.
     Thayer's collection also embraces Audubon's large canvas of
     the Black Cocks, from the Edward Harris estate, a charming
     study of the Hen Turkey, with landscape setting, and, also
     in oils, several smaller panels of Flickers and Passenger
     Pigeons, which, if not the work of the naturalist, are copies
     after his originals, and possibly made by Joseph B. Kidd.
     (See Vol. I, p. 446; and for a notice of Mr. Thayer's other
     Audubonian drawings, Vol. II, p. 227, and Appendix II.)

     [334] Basil Hall (1788-1844), noted for his travels in China,
     Korea, and on the coasts of Chili, Peru and Mexico, visited
     the United States in 1827-28; his _Travels in North America_
     appeared in 1829.

     [335] See Chapter XXVIII.

     [336] Maria R. Audubon, _op. cit._, vol. i, p. 204.

     [337] Which I owe to the kindness of his granddaughter,
     Miss Maria R. Audubon; it is superscribed "Mrs. Audubon, St.
     Francisville, Bayou Sarah, Louisville, p Wm Penn;" it reached
     New Orleans on June 13, and is endorsed as answered on June

     [338] John Woodhouse Audubon at this time was in his fifteenth
     year, and this injunction regarding the internal anatomy of
     birds, to which ornithologists had hitherto paid but little
     attention, was given three years before his father made the
     acquaintance of MacGillivray. (See Chapter XXX.)

     [339] See Chapter XXV.

     [340] The work, as originally announced, was to appear in
     parts of 5 plates each, at 2 guineas a part, and in order to
     distribute the expense to purchasers it was expected to issue
     but 5 parts a year. The plates, to be engraved on copper, were
     of double elephant folio size, and printed on paper of the
     finest quality, all the birds and flowers to be life-size,
     and to be carefully colored by hand, after the originals;
     any subscriber was at liberty to take a part or the whole.
     It was stated in the prospectus of 1829, when 10 parts had
     been published: "There are 400 Drawings, and it is proposed
     that they shall comprise Three Volumes, each containing 133
     Plates, to which an Index will be given at the end of each,
     to be bound up with the volume.... It would be advisable for
     the subscriber to procure a Portfolio, to keep the Numbers
     till a volume is completed." To avoid the expense entailed
     by copyright regulations in England, indices and all other
     letterpress were eventually omitted; the number of parts was
     extended to 87, or 435 plates, and the number of volumes to
     4, a necessity imposed by the discovery of many new birds,
     even after the omission of the figures of the eggs, which
     Audubon had reserved for the close, and the undue crowding
     of many of his final plates. The "Prospectus" issued with the
     first volume of the text in 1831 contained a list of the first
     100 plates, together with extracts of reviews by Cuvier and
     Swainson, and a list of subscribers to the number of 180. For
     further details, see Bibliography, No. 1, and Appendix III,
     No. 2.

     [341] _Illustrations of British Ornithology_, by Prideaux
     John Selby. The British Museum copy of this work is in two
     large folio volumes (measuring about 25½ by 20½ inches),
     and was issued originally in numbers which appeared at
     irregular intervals. Vol. I, plates i-iv (of bills, heads,
     and feet), i-c (of land birds); most of the plates are by
     Selby, and many were etched by him and autographed, 1819-1821;
     plates xiv, xvi, and xx are by Captain R. Mitford, whose
     home, "Mitford Castle," near Morpeth, Northumberland, was
     visited by Audubon in April, 1827; published at Edinburgh
     by Archibald Constable & Co., and by Hurst, Robinson & Co.,
     London, 1825(?)-1827. Volume II, plates i-ciii; printed for
     the Proprietor & published by W. H. Lizars, Longman, Rees,
     Orme, Brown, Green & Longman, London; and W. Curry, Junr.
     & Co., Dublin, MDCCCXXXIV. Quaritch, in offering a copy in
     1887, at £55, stated that there were 383 figures, in 221
     colored plates, and that the published price was £105. Newton
     (_Dictionary of Birds_, p. 27) says that the first series of
     these "Illustrations" was published in coöperation with Sir
     William Jardine, in 3 volumes of 150 plates, in 1827-1835,
     after which a second series was started by them, and completed
     in a single volume of 53 plates, issued in 1843. This was the
     "job book" mentioned earlier in this chapter (see p. 358),
     but neither Jardine's nor Jameson's name is mentioned in the
     volumes which I have examined.

     In a letter to Audubon, dated "Sept. 13h 1830 Twizel [l?]
     House," and postmarked "Belford," Selby said: "I expect to
     bring my own work to a conclusion during the course of this
     winter having only the plates of another Number to finish. I
     am happy to add that the Work is doing well & is more than
     paying itself. The second Vol: of letter press will appear
     with the last No."

     Two volumes of text were published in 1825 and 1833
     respectively; the first, after readjustment to fit the
     "quinarian doctrine," to which Selby was a temporary convert
     (see Vol. II, p. 94), was issued in a second edition at
     London, in 1841; the second volume bore the imprint of Lizars,
     who soon after began to work for Audubon.

     Selby's plates were for the most part rather crudely drawn,
     etched and colored, and could be commended only as the work
     of amateurs who strove for accuracy.

     [342] Among the sixty or more persons to whom Audubon carried
     written credentials at this time were the following: the Duke
     of Northumberland, Robert Peel, Sir Humphry Davy, Sir J. D.
     Aukland, Albert Gallatin, the American Minister, Sir Thomas
     Lawrence, David Wilkie, Dr. Buckland, Dr. Holland, Dr. Roget,
     Dr. Wollaston, William Swainson, Sir William Herschel, and
     his son, afterwards Sir John Herschel, John George Children,
     R. W. Hay, N. A. Vigors, Captain Cook, John Murray and Robert
     Bakewell (see Vol. II, p. 134).

     [343] Probably the same that is referred to in his journals
     as "Mr. Hays, the antiquarian."

     [344] J. G. Children (1777-1852) was early interested in
     chemistry, and at Tunbridge built a good laboratory, in which
     Humphry Davy conducted many of his early experiments, and
     while there was seriously injured in October, 1812. In 1824
     Children discovered a method of extracting silver without the
     use of mercury. When Mr. Children, Senior, became insolvent
     through the failure of his bank, his son obtained a position
     at the British Museum; in 1816 he was librarian in the
     Department of Antiquities, but in 1823 he was transferred to a
     post in zoölogy which was eagerly sought by William Swainson;
     he was secretary of the Royal Society in 1826-27, and again
     in 1835-37. He resigned his position at the Museum in 1840,
     when Swainson was again an unsuccessful candidate, and was
     succeeded by J. E. Gray (see Note, Vol. I, p. 353). Children was not
     a productive zoölogist, but has been described as a lovable
     soul, who was never soured by illness or other misfortunes,
     and who was as zealous in his friendships as in science. See
     "A. A." (Anna Atkins), _Memoir of J. G. Children, Esq._ (Bibl.
     No. 175).

     [345] In the account which follows, as well as in numerous
     instances in Chapter XXXII, I am most indebted to George
     Alfred Williams, who in "Robert Havell, Junior, Engraver
     of Audubon's _The Birds of America_," (Bibl. No. 232)
     (_Print-Collectors Quarterly_, vol. vi, no. 3, pp. 225-259,
     Boston, 1916), has given the only satisfactory account of the
     Havell family and the best analysis of the work of the great

     [346] Mr. Charles E. Goodspeed, who recently sent me two of
     the original plates of the Prothonotary Warbler, one bearing
     the legend "Engraved by W. H. Lizars Edinr," and the other,
     "Engraved, Printed & Coloured, by R. Havell Junr," called
     attention to the identity of the two engravings. That these
     two impressions are absolutely identical in aquatint and
     line is proved by applying a magnifying glass to any part
     of their surfaces, and by counting and comparing the lines
     or dots within any selected area whatsoever; in short, they
     differ only in their legends, and in the coloring which was
     applied by different hands. That such methods should have been
     adopted for excluding Lizars' name is certainly surprising.
     In the first or Edinburgh impression of Lizars' original
     plate, the artist's legend reads: "Drawn by J. J. Audubon
     M. W. S.," and names of bird and plant appear at the bottom
     of the plate in three lines: "PROTHONOTARY WARBLER. _Dacnis
     protonotarius._ Plant Vulgo Cane Vine." In the London edition
     the corresponding designations are: "Drawn from nature by
     J. J. Audubon F, R, S. F, L, S.," and PROTHONOTARY WARBLER.
     _Sylvia Protonotarius._ Lath, Male. 1. Female, 2. Cane
     Vine.," in four lines.

     [347] See Chapter XXXII.

     [348] See _ibid._

     [349] See Sir Walter Besant, _London in the Nineteenth
     Century_ (London, 1909).

     [350] See Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl.
     No. 86), vol. i, p. 342, where the "Eagle and the Lamb" is

     [351] See Vol. I, p. 436.

     [352] See Chapter XXVIII.

     [353] The seventh which he had contributed to the scientific
     press of Europe, entitled "Notes on the Bird of Washington
     (Falco Washingtoniana), or Great Sea Eagle," now believed
     to have been mistaken by him for an immature stage of the
     true "bird of freedom," the White-headed Eagle. It was
     dated "London, April, 1828," and was published in Loudon's
     _Magazine_ for July of that year. See Bibliography, No. 23.

     [354] From the originals in possession of the Linnæan Society
     of London. Swainson's scientific correspondence was taken
     with him to New Zealand, where it remained fifty years, until
     returned by his daughter, who sent it to Sir Joseph Hooker; it
     was finally purchased by a number of Fellows of the Society,
     and presented to its historical collections. It consists of
     934 letters written by 236 correspondents, from 1806 to 1840.
     Of the 24 letters written by Audubon, and dated 9 April, 1829,
     to 11 January, 1838, none has been previously published. Dr.
     Albert Günther, who has given a summary of their contents
     (_Proceedings of the Linnæan Society_, 112th Session, 1900;
     Bibliography, No. 204) found them rather disappointing, since
     they dealt mainly with personal and domestic matters, and were
     written in a style characterized as "fantastic and unnatural."
     Through the kindness of my esteemed friend, George E. Bullen,
     Esq., of the Hertfordshire County Museum, St. Albans, and
     through the courtesy of the Council of the Linnæan Society
     and its secretary, Dr. Daydon Jackson, I am able to reproduce
     transcripts of the most interesting of these letters, which
     readers in America will, I believe, find interesting because
     of their personal details. I am indebted also for their good
     offices to John Hopkinson, F.L.S., and to William Rowan, Esq.

     From the context of the nine letters which are here reproduced
     without change, it is evident that Audubon paid little
     attention to grammar, syntax, or orthography, but if the
     reader will compare the letters written before and after 1830,
     or before and after his first serious discipline in English
     composition (see Chapters XXIII and XXIX), he will find marked
     improvement in all these respects.

     [355] Swainson's house has been kindly identified by my
     friend, Mr. George E. Bullen, to whom I am indebted also
     for an interesting photograph, taken from an old print. Mrs.
     Swainson, who died February 12, 1835, was buried in the parish
     church, with which she was closely identified, at London
     Colney, and a tablet to her memory is still to be seen there.
     Swainson probably preferred the historic associations of
     Tyttenhanger, a name originally applied to the manor and manor
     house of the Abbot of St. Albans, a famous abbey property
     acquired before the Conquest, with a history extending over
     six hundred years, but he did not live there. The oldest
     resident now on the spot, a man over ninety, told Mr. Bullen
     that as a boy he often collected butterflies, moths and other
     specimens of natural history which he took to "Highfield
     Hall," and was always paid by one of the Swainson children.
     Since Swainson's time the original house, which was approached
     by a long walk, has become almost unrecognizable, having
     received an addition to one side; the grass land which then
     surrounded it has been converted into beautiful lawns.

     [356] See Bibliography, No. 95.

     [357] See Chapter XXIX.

     [358] See Vol. II, p. 130.

     [359] See Note, Vol. I, p. 364.

     [360] _Fauna Boreali-Americana; or the Zoology of the northern
     parts of British America_; Part Second, "The Birds;" by
     William Swainson and John Richardson (London, 1831).

     [361] Maria R. Audubon, _op. cit._, vol. i, p. 306.

     [362] See Vol. I, p. 3.

     [363] Maria R. Audubon, _op. cit._, vol. i, p. 323.

     [364] See Bibliography, No. 93a.

     [365] The three volumes of this series bear date of 1832-33,
     but the preface is inscribed "Tittenhanger Green St. Albans,
     24th July, 1829."

     [366] Mary F. Bradford, _Audubon_ (Bibl. No. 85).

     [367] Published originally by Ruthven Deane (Bibl. No. 218),
     _The Auk_, vol. xxii, 1905.

     [368] See "The Great Pine Swamp," and "Great Egg Harbour,"
     _Ornithological Biography_ (Bibl. No. 2), vol. i, p. 52, and
     vol. iii, p. 606.

     [369] Though the year is not usually indicated on the
     originals, the following drawings probably belong to this

          Black Poll Warbler, New Jersey, May.
          Wood Pewee Flycatcher, New Jersey, May.
          Small Green-crested Flycatcher, New Jersey, May.
          Golden-crowned Thrush, New Jersey, May.
          Warbling Flycatcher, _Vireo gilvus_, New Jersey, May 23.
          Yellow-breasted Chat, New Jersey, June 7.
          Sea Side Finch, Great Egg Harbour, June 14.
          Marsh Wren, New Jersey, June 22.
          Bay-winged Bunting, Great Egg Harbour, June 26.
          Canada Flycatcher, Great Pine Swamp, August 1.
          Pine Swamp Warbler, Great Pine Swamp, August 11.
          Black and Yellow Warbler, Great Pine Swamp, August 12.
          Hemlock Warbler, Great Pine Swamp, August 12.
          Autumnal Warbler, Great Pine Swamp, August 20.
          Connecticut Warbler, New Jersey, September 22.
          Mottled Owl, New Jersey, October.

     [370] Though Audubon said that he spent only six weeks in
     the forest, the indications upon his drawings imply a longer

     [371] At this time Audubon intended to figure, in full size
     and natural colors, the eggs of the "Birds of America," for
     which the concluding numbers of his plates had been reserved,
     but when the time came, these numbers had to be given over to
     new acquisitions, so the eggs were eventually crowded out.

     [372] At one time in possession of Dr. R. W. Shufeldt, who
     received it from Mrs. Audubon; given verbatim by Elliott Coues
     (Bibl. No. 43), _Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club_,
     vol. v, 1880.

     [373] Harlan's Hawk, or the Black Warrior, is now regarded as
     a southern variety of the Red-tailed Hawk, and is designated
     under the trinomen, _Buteo borealis harlani_.

     [374] Published by Ruthven Deane (Bibl. No. 217), _The Auk_,
     vol. xxii, 1905.

     [375] Thomas B. Thorpe (Bibl. No. 64), _Godey's Lady's Book_,
     vol. xlii, 1851.

     [376] While in Paris in 1828, Audubon wrote on October 26 that
     he had received a call from "a M. Pitois, who came to look at
     my book, with a view to becoming my agent here; Baron Cuvier
     recommended him strongly, and I have concluded a bargain with
     him. He thinks he can procure a good number of subscribers.
     His manners are plain, and I hope he will prove an honest
     man." See Maria R. Audubon, _Audubon and his Journals_ (Bibl.
     No. 86), vol. i, p. 339.

     [377] Henry Augustus Havell, a younger brother of Robert
     Havell, Junior; see Vol. II, p. 191.

     [378] See Lucy B. Audubon, ed., _Life of John James Audubon,
     the Naturalist_ (Bibl. No. 73), p. 203. Since black slaves
     were the only domestics available in the South at that time,
     it is probable that the "servants" referred to were employed
     by Mrs. Audubon at her "Beechgrove" school.

     [379] See Vol. I, p. 396.

     [380] See Vol. II, p. 38.

     [381] His correspondence with William Swainson from this
     point, and the history of his letterpress so far as that
     naturalist was concerned, will be unfolded later (see Chapter

     [382] See Chapter XXVIII, p. 87.

     [383] See Chapter XXX.

     [384] The first volume of the _Ornithological Biography_ in
     the European edition bears the imprint of "Adam Black, 55
     North Bridge, Edinburgh;" in the four subsequent volumes this
     was changed to "Adam and Charles Black," while the entire
     work was printed by "Neill & Co., Printers, Old Fish Market,
     Edinburgh." See Bibliography, No. 2.

     [385] _American Ornithology, or the Natural History of
     the Birds of the United States._ By Alexander Wilson and
     Charles Lucien Bonaparte. Edited by Robert Jameson ... Regius
     Professor of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh.
     Appearing as vols. lxviii-lxxi of _Constable's Miscellany_, 4
     vols., 18mo., Edinburgh and London, 1831. This was the fourth
     (?) edition of Wilson's work, and the first (?) to appear
     in Europe; with portrait of Wilson and vignettes on titles
     engraved by Lizars, memoir of Wilson by W. M. Hetherington,
     and extracts from Audubon, Richardson, and Swainson.

     The plates of this edition were issued in numbers, under
     title of _Illustrations of American Ornithology_; reduced from
     the work of Wilson; 18mo., Edinburgh and London (1831). In a
     notice of the first number which appeared in the _Caledonian
     Mercury_ (Edinburgh) for Oct. 29, 1831, it was stated that
     the plates were issued in small size to be bound up with
     Jameson's edition of the text, and that they were intended
     "for a different class of purchasers from those likely to take
     the folio edition, then being brought out by the publishers of
     Constable's Miscellany. The plates were engraved in line and
     executed in a very superior style, both plain and colored."

     [386] _American Ornithology; or Natural History of the
     Birds of the United States_, by Alexander Wilson, with a
     Continuation by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Musignano.
     The Illustrative Notes and Life of Wilson by Sir William
     Jardine, 3 vols., 8vo., London and Edinburgh, 1832.

     The second (?) European edition of Wilson and Bonaparte, with
     97 hand-colored plates engraved by Lizars. The _Caledonian
     Mercury_ in noticing the work, October 29, 1831, said: "It
     must be highly gratifying to the friends and connections of
     poor Sandy Wilson to see such honor, at last, paid to his
     memory in his native land."

     [387] _Illustrations of the American Ornithology of Alexander
     Wilson and Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Musignano._
     With the addition of numerous Recently Discovered Species,
     and Representations of the Whole Sylva of North America. By
     Captain Thomas Brown [etc., etc.]. Folio, with engraved title,
     engraved dedication, index, and 124 engraved and hand-colored
     plates. Edinburgh, Frazer & Co., 54 North Bridge, William
     Curry, Jun'r & Co., Dublin & Smith, Elder & Co., 65 Cornhill,
     London, MDCCCXXXV.

     It is stated by the editor of this extraordinary work that
     he had added 161 birds, and that 87 have been considerably
     enlarged. There are 167 representations of American trees
     and shrubs, said to have been copied for the most part from
     Michaux' _Silva_. The striking _Hibiscus grandiflorus_ (plate
     xli) was taken without acknowledgment from Audubon's drawing
     of the Blue-winged Warbler (_The Birds of America_, plate xx).
     For the most part the figures of birds are redrawn from Wilson
     and Bonaparte and given new positions and backgrounds. A few
     of the plates, as that of the California Vulture (no. 1), bear
     the legend, "Drawn by Captn. Tho. Brown;" all are uneven, and
     many extremely poor in execution, the fourteen by W. H. Lizars
     being the best. J. B. Kidd, for a time associated with Audubon
     (see Vol. I, p. 446) is credited with four plates; other
     engravers employed on the work were James Turvey, who executed
     the elaborate title, Samuel Milne, James Mayson, R. Scott, J.
     & J. Johnstone, E. Mitchell, William Davie, S. A. Miller, John
     Miller, Audw. Kilgour, Wm. Warwick, and W. McGregor. Plate
     xiv, the Snowy Owl, _Strix nyctea_, engraved by the editor,
     has the interest of a caricature. Some plates show as many
     as fourteen birds in a medley of brilliant foliage, flowers
     and fruits. The violence of the coloring is often such as to
     destroy the effect of the best plates, and gaudy butterflies
     flit through the pages as if they were the common food of
     every species, not excluding the American grouse (see Note,
     Vol. I, p. 359).

     Captain Brown's _Illustrations_ were said by a writer in
     the _Edinburgh Literary Journal_ for April 9, 1831, "to form
     a companion to the letterpress in _Constable's Miscellany_
     (see Note, Vol. I, p. 442); price, colored, 15 shillings;
     plain, 10s. 6d. A few in elephant folio (same size as Selby's
     _British Ornithology_); colored, 1 guinea. To be completed in
     10 parts, each containing 5 colored plates; 22 inches long by
     17 inches broad, being considered more than double the size of
     the original work." The first number of this work was reviewed
     in the _London Literary Gazette_ for October 8, 1831, when
     it was said that in it were represented 25 birds, 13 forest
     trees, and 12 insects; the completed work would comprehend
     "all the forest trees of America, with their fruits, together
     with the principal insects of the country," as well as all
     the birds that had been discovered up to the time of issue.

     Brown's piratical work must have had a very limited
     circulation, since it is now so rare that not even the
     British Museum possesses a copy, and, so far as known, it
     is not found in any public library of the United States. I
     was told at Wheldon's, the London shop devoted to works on
     natural history, that but two copies had ever been handled,
     and that they commanded a high price. The work was originally
     sold at £26. The only copy known to me is in the library
     of the Zoological Society in London, from which the present
     citation is made; on one of its fly-leaves is written this
     note: "I have seen the wrapper of No. 1 of this work. It
     is dated 1831. There is no information as to its contents.
     C. Davis Sanborn. 22.5.05." This copy was referred to by
     Dr. Theodore Gill; see _The Osprey_, vol. v, pp. 31 and 109
     (Washington, 1900 and 1901). Dr. Walter Faxon has traced two
     other copies, one formerly in possession of Professor Alfred
     Newton, and another, but very imperfect set, in a private
     library at Tarrytown, New York. According to Faxon, a single
     brown paper wrapper preserved in the Tarrytown copy bears a
     full printed title, which differs, however, from that which
     was subsequently engraved for the completed work; for fuller
     citation, see "A Rare Work on American Ornithology," _The
     Auk_, vol. xx (1903), pp. 236-241.

     Mr. Ruthven Deane has written me that several years ago he
     secured in New York a fragment of this work, consisting of
     the paper wrappers of four Parts, Nos. 1-4, the last three of
     which contained five plates each; there were in addition 10
     scattered plates, making 25 plates in all; the price of "21
     Shillings" is printed on each of the wrappers, which also bear
     the date "1831," but no titles.

     Another pirated work, _Illustrations of the Genera of Birds_,
     by the same author, was begun in 1845, but met with even less
     success, and was never completed; this was taken from _A List
     of the Genera of Birds_, published in 1840 by George Robert
     Gray, and according to Alfred Newton (_A Dictionary of Birds_,
     London, 1896, p. 30, note) was "discreditable to all concerned
     with it."

     [388] See Ruthven Deane (Bibl. No. 209), _The Auk_, vol. xviii
     (1901). The extract is from a letter dated "Edinburgh, 22
     Warriston Crescent 7th May, 1831."

     [389] Kidd, who was twenty-three at the time he began to
     work for Audubon, died in 1889, when he had attained his
     eighty-first year.

     [390] See Chapter XXVII, p. 62.

     [391] An indication of the time of this visit is given by the
     following inscription written in the copy of the first volume
     of the _Ornithological Biography_, which was presented to
     Cuvier at this time:

          Baron G. Cuvier,
          with the highest respect of the
          Paris—17 th. May, 1831.

     [392] On Wednesday evening, July 27, 1831, Audubon sent the
     following note to Mr. Harris: "Come to meet me _tomorrow,
     precisely_ at _twelve_ o'clock, at our lodgings, 121 Great
     Portland street."

     [393] For the perusal of this letter the reader is indebted,
     as in so many other instances, to Mr. Ruthven Deane.

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