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LITERATURE AND NATIONAL POLICY.
VOL. IV.--AUGUST, 1863.--No. II.
In these exciting times, when our country is enduring the throes of political convulsion, and every time-honored institution, every well-regulated law of society seems tottering from the broad foundation of the past, how few are there who ask themselves the question, What is to be our future? For the past two years we have lived in a state of extraordinary and unnatural excitement, beside which the jog-trot existence of the former days, with all its periodical excitements, its hebdomadal heavings of the waves of society, pales into insignificance. Like the grave, with its eternal 'Give! give!' our appetites, stimulated to a morbid degree by their daily food of marvels, cry constantly for more; and a lull of but a few brief months in the storm whose angry pinions are constantly bringing new wonders to our view, begets an almost insupportable _ennui_ in the public mind, and a restlessness among the masses, such as our history has never before shown. Nor will the craving be satiated so long as the war shall last; for the stirring events, following so closely upon each other, and filling every hour of our national life, will keep up the unnatural excitement, even as the stimulating effect of alcoholic drinks is prolonged by repeated draughts. Only when the source is entirely cut off will the stimulus pass away; and then, when peace is established, and we drop again into the ruts and grooves of the olden days, the reaction will set in, and happy shall we be if it is not followed by a political _delirium tremens_.
To-day we are living in and for the present alone. Men's minds are so completely absorbed in the wonderful events that are constantly passing around them, in the startling _denouements_ that each day brings forth, that their attention is entirely distracted from that future to which we are inevitably tending. And this not because that future is of little importance, but because nearer and more vital interests are staring us in the face, in which it is involved, and upon which it depends--a nearer and more portentous future, which we must ourselves control and shape, else the farther state will be utterly beyond our influence, fixed in the channel of a malignant and ever-grovelling fate. The great question now is, how soonest to end the war prosperously to ourselves; and until this problem, involving our very existence, is solved, the future, with all its prospects, good or bad, is left to take care of itself, and rightly, too; for in the event of our present success, our future will be in our own hands, while, if we fail, it will be fixed and irrevocable, without the slightest reference to our interests or our exertions. And yet, natural as this fact may seem, it is a little singular that, while thousands of minds are eagerly searching for light upon the question of the future of the American negro, few are found to inquire what is to be our own. Strange that one exciting topic should so fill men's minds and monopolize their sympathies as to entirely exclude other questions of greater importance, and bearing more directly upon our present and vital interests. Yet so it is, and so it has been in all ages of the world, though, happily, the hallucination does not last for any very extended period; for there is a compensation in human as well as in inanimate nature, which, in its own good time, brings mind to its proper balance by the harsh remedy of severe and present necessity, and so retrieves the errors of a blind past.
Yet, absorbed as is the popular mind in the stirring events of the war, and dull as all other themes may seem in comparison, it may not be without interest to examine, in connection with our future, some of those facts which are now floating about at random on the surface of society, waiting for some hand to gather and arrange them in the treasure house of prophecy. And in so doing, let it be premised that we proceed entirely upon the hypothesis--which to every truly loyal mind is already an established truth--of the ultimate success and complete triumph of the North in the present contest. For in any other event all these facts are dumb, and the inferences to be drawn from them vague and unsatisfactory, absolutely no better than mere random conjecture. And as the war has now become the great fact in our history, and its effects must modify our whole social life for many years to come, its results must not be neglected in an investigation of this kind, but, on the contrary, claim our first attention.
First and foremost, then, among the lasting results of the war, will be the _arousing of our nationality_. To the majority of readers it will seem the climax of heresy to assert that hitherto we have not known a pure and lofty nationality. What! you will ask, did not our ancestors, by their sufferings and strivings in that war which first made our land famous throughout the civilized world, bestow upon us a separate, true, and noble national existence? Have we not twice humbled the pride of the most powerful nation upon earth? Have we not covered the seas with our commerce, and brought all nations to pay tribute to our great staples? Have we not taken the lead in all adventurous and eminently practical enterprises, and is not our land the home of invention and the foster mother of the useful arts? Has not the whole world gazed with admiring wonder at our miraculous advancement in the scale of national existence? In a word, have we not long since become a great, established fact, as well in physical history as in the sublime record of that intellectual progress whereby humanity draws constantly nearer to the divine? And as for patriotic feeling, do we not yearly burn tons of powder on the all-glorious Fourth of July, and crack our throats with huzzas for the 'star-spangled banner' and the American eagle? And a caviller might perhaps go farther, and ask the significant question, Are we not known all over the world as a race of arrant braggarts?
Grant all these things, and we are yet as far from that true, firm, self-relying, high-toned nationality which alone is worthy of the name, as when the Pilgrims landed upon Plymouth rock. Our patriotism has hitherto been too utterly heartless--too much a thing of sounding words and meaningless phrases--too much of the 'sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.' We have built too much upon the exploits of our ancestors, reposed too long upon their laurels, forgetting that their efforts were but the initiatory step in the great contest that was to be carried on by succeeding generations; forgetting that we have still a destiny to work out for ourselves, a niche to secure in the great temple of humanity, obstacles to surmount, difficulties to overcome, bitter and deadly foes to vanquish. And how totally devoid of heart have been even our celebrations of our great national birthday and holiday! While we have amused ourselves with the explosion of crackers and blowing off of our neighbors' arms by premature discharges of rusty cannon, while we have rent the air with squibs, shouts, and exclamations, and listened to the periodical and hackneyed outbursts of oratorical gas, how few of us have remembered the deep significance of the day, and felt our hearts swell with genuine patriotic emotion! How few of us have realized that we were celebrating not merely the establishing of a form of government, the severing of galling bonds which bound us to the servitude of the old world, not merely the birthday of independence and of a nation, but the birthday of an immortal principle, whose beneficent effects were not more for us than for the generations of all succeeding time! The masses saw in that day but an universal _fête_, a day of national relaxation and enjoyment, and neither thought or cared much about its deep meaning; while to the few, the thinking men alone, appeared the principle which underlay all this festivity and vociferation. Henceforth this will not be so. We have lived so long and so undisturbed in the enjoyment of our political blessings, that we have not appreciated our favored lot; but now, when for the first time in our history treason has boldly lifted its head, and traitors have endeavored to deprive us of all our most cherished blessings--to strike at the very root of all that is good and pure in our political system--now for the first time do we see those blessings in their true light, and realize their inestimable value. Now that the prestige of our greatness threatens to depart from us, do we first see the glorious destiny which the great God of nature has marked out for us. Now for the first time do we realize that we have a purpose in life--that we are the exponents of one of the great truths of the universe itself, and appreciate the awful responsibility that rests upon us in the development of our great principle, as well as in protecting it from the inroads of error and corruption. And herein lies the great secret of all true national life. For no nation was ever yet truly great that had not constantly before it some lofty and ennobling object to direct all its strivings, some great central truths at its very core, continually working outward through all the great arterial ramifications of society, keeping up a brisk and healthy circulation by the force of its own eternal energy. Lack of a noble purpose, in nations as well as individuals, begets a vacillating policy, which is inevitably followed by degeneration and corruption. The soldier, who has passed many a weary month in the monotony of the camp, enduring all the hardships of rigorous winters and scorching summers, of fatigue and privation, and who has shed his blood upon many a hard-fought field, will learn to appreciate as he never has before the true value of that Government for which he has suffered so much, and, with the return of our armies to their homes, this sentiment will be diffused among the masses, and the lessons they have learned will be taught to their fellows: and this, together with the recognition of our true end and aim in existence--of the part which our country is destined to play in the great drama of life, will beget a noble, self-relying national pride, the very opposite pole to that senseless, loud-mouthed self-laudation which has too much characterized us in the days gone by. The boaster betrays the consciousness of the very weakness he wishes to conceal; while 'still waters run deep,' and the man of true courage and strength is the man of few words and great deeds. So that arrant bragging which has hitherto been our besetting sin, and which, so long as our real importance in the affairs of the world was unacknowledged, was somewhat excusable, and perhaps even necessary to sustain a yet unestablished cause, will be necessary no longer when we have proved ourselves worthy of the position we claim, and will, with the newborn consciousness of our power and strength, pass away forever, and we shall work steadily on in our appointed course, leaving it to others to recognize and proclaim our worth, to sound the trumpet which we have so long been industriously blowing for ourselves, content to let our reputation bide its time and rest upon sterling deeds rather than upon pompous declamations and empty oratorical phrases. The deeds of our ancestors were great indeed, and their patriotism and self-sacrificing devotion to a noble cause beyond a parallel: but even those will pale beside the present struggle of a full-grown nation at the very crisis of its fate; and the results which followed their efforts will be as nothing to those which shall flow from our battle of to-day. For while it was theirs to initiate, it is ours to develop and firmly establish; theirs to deliver the nation from the womb of centuries, ours to educate, to guard from danger through childhood and youth, to nurse through disease, to tone down the crudities of national hobble-de-hoy-dom, to fix and strengthen by judicious training the iron constitution, both mental and physical, which shall resist the ravages of disease and error for all time to come. How much more important, then, appears our mission than theirs! how much greater the responsibility which rests upon us to faithfully fulfil that mission! And this will be the feeling of every true American. This will be the knowledge, gained by the bitterest experience, which will give us that nationality we have so long lacked.
And not a little conducive to the development of that new-found nationality will be the respect and admiration, not to say applause, which the display of our latent power and resources, the prosperous conduct and successful close of this the most gigantic struggle of history, will win for us from the nations of the Old World. And this brings me to the second beneficial effect of this war upon our future, namely, the establishment of our position among the great powers of the earth, and our relief from all future aggressions, encroachments, and annoyances of the mother country. From the day when our independence was declared, America has been an eyesore to all the leading Governments of Europe--the object of detraction and bitter hostility, of envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness. And though these feelings have been partially concealed under the cloak of studied politeness and false, hollow-hearted friendship, occasions enough have been given for them to break forth in sufficient intensity to establish beyond a question the fact of their existence. The apostles of despotic power have suffered no opportunity to escape of dealing a blow at our national existence: even the low and disreputable weapon of slander has been brought to bear against us, and we have been held up to mankind as a race of visionaries, of fanatical reformers, whose efforts have ever been to destroy all the honored landmarks of the past, and lead humanity back over the track of ages to the socialism of primitive existence. And it was but natural for us to expect little sympathy from their hands, for in our success lay the triumph of a principle which was deadly to all their cherished institutions--a principle which, once firmly established, must in time inevitably spread beyond the waters, to the utter and eternal downfall of aristocracies and dynasties, since it is founded in one of the very first truths of universal human nature--in the recognition of the rights of the individual, and of the total dependence of the governing upon the governed. And yet they could not withhold their admiration of the indomitable energy and perseverance of the American race, and their wonder at our miraculous growth in enlightenment and power. Taught wisdom by the past, they dared not combine to crush us by brute force, and so they have waited and hoped for the downfall which they sincerely believed would, sooner or later, overtake us. England and France have ever hung about us like hungry wolves around the dying buffalo, waiting patiently for the hour when they might safely step in and claim the lion's share of the spoil. The crisis of our fate which they have so long awaited, they now fondly believe to be upon us; and old England, false, treacherous, cowardly, piratical England, fearful lest our native resources may enable us to weather the storm, has at last dropped the mask of a century, and openly encourages and abets the rebels and traitors who are desperately striving for our dismemberment, even furnishing them with the very bone and sinews of war, that they may compass their unholy ends, and effect the ruin which will give to her another fat colonial province. While the more wily French emperor, looking to our possible success, and anxious for a subterfuge beneath which he may skulk in that event, and so escape the retribution which will assuredly fall upon his head, has really outwitted his island rival, in his Mexican expedition, whereby he hoped to 'kill two birds with one stone,' securing, in either event, the richest portion of the American continent, and thereby establishing a foothold, that, in case of our ruin, he may be first 'in at the death,' and carry off the larger share of the booty. And what will be the result? Checked, defeated, disgraced on the very threshold of his undertaking, his chosen and hitherto invincible legions, furnished with all the appliances of warlike invention, and perfected in the boasted French skill and discipline, baffled and routed by the half-civilized Mexicans, to whose very capital our own raw volunteers marched in a single season, he will be by no means anxious to measure his strength with ours when we shall have emerged from a war in which the lessons of military science, learned by hard experience, have been widely diffused among our hitherto peaceful people, and when we shall have nearly a million of trained troops ready to spring to arms at an hour's call; troops who will fight a foreign foe with double the courage and desperation which has characterized the present war. If he cannot subdue the rude Mexicans, can he conquer us?
The development of those latent resources of which even ourselves were ignorant, the display of wealth and power at which we are astonished no less than foreign nations, the energetic prosecution of more than two years of war on such a magnificently extended and expensive scale, without even feeling the drain upon either our population or treasure, have taught Great Britain a lesson which she will not soon forget, and of which she will not fail to avail herself. What nation ever before, without even the nucleus of a standing army, raised, equipped, and put into the field, within a brief six months, an army of half a million of men, and supported it for such a length of time, at the cost of a million dollars per day, while scarcely increasing the burden of taxation upon the people? And yet this was done by a portion only of our country--the Northern States; and that, too, by a people totally of and hitherto unaccustomed to warlike pursuits. If such are our strength and resources when divided, what will they be united and against a foreign foe? England cannot fail to see the question in this light, and in the future she will find her interest in courting our friendship and alliance, rather than in continual encroachment and exasperation. We shall hear no more of Bay Islands or northwestern boundaries, of San Juan or rights of search; and the Monroe doctrine will perforce receive from her a recognition which she has never yet accorded to it. She will recognize as the fiat of destiny our supremacy on the western hemisphere. Foreign nations have respected us in the past; they must fear us in the future. And while they will have no cause to dread our interference with the affairs of the Old World, they will be cautious of tampering with a power which has proved itself one of the first, if not the very first, on the face of the earth.
For--and this is another effect of the war which may be noticed in this connection--for many years to come we shall be a military nation. The necessity of guarding against a similar outbreak in the future will prompt the increase of our standing army; while the same cause, as well as the taste for military pursuits which our people will have acquired during this war, will keep the great mass of the people prepared to respond to the first call in the hour of danger. The militia laws will be revived, revised, and established on a firmer basis than ever before, and the antiquated militia musters and 'June trainings' will again become our most cherished holidays. Independent military organizations will spring up and flourish all over the land, and he who aforetime wore his gorgeous uniform at the heavy cost of running the gauntlet of his neighbors' sneers and gibes as a holiday soldier, will now be honored in enrolling his name among the 'Independent Rifles' of his native village. The youth will labor to acquire the elements of military knowledge and reduce them to practice, not with a view to holiday parades, but with an eye to the possible exigencies of the future, knowing that when the hour of trial shall come, the post of honor and of fame will be open to all, and that he who has most cultivated the military art in time of peace will bid fair to win in the race for preferment. Military schools will derive a new importance in our country; they will be patronized by high and low, and most of our institutions of learning will, ere many years, have a military as well as a scientific and classical department. And thus will the knowledge of the art of war become so universally diffused among the people, that in the event of another great struggle, we shall not be left, as heretofore, to depend upon raw and undisciplined volunteers, but an army of well-trained troops will spring like magic to the field, ready to march at once to victory, without the necessity of 'camps of instruction' and twelve months' delays. And when that day does come, woe to that potentate who shall have the temerity to provoke a war with our race of soldiers: his legions will be swept away like chaff before the whirlwind, and only defeat and disgrace will settle upon his banners.
Again, the stimulus which this contest has applied to warlike invention has already placed us in that respect far ahead of the most warlike nation on earth. France has hitherto been known as the great originator in all military science: probably she will yet, for many years, retain the palm in the province of tactics and executive skill. But as an originator and perfecter of the engines and defences of war, America has already robbed her of her crown, and stands to-day unsurpassed. No greater proof is needed of our superiority in this respect than the fact that in two short years of civil strife we have revolutionized the whole art of war as it has existed for ages, rendering absurd the maxims and useless the experience of the olden days, while filling their places with systems and theories whose practical results are so clear as to overwhelmingly sustain the new order of things, and compel not only the admiration but the support and adoption of the onlooking world. The antiquated weapons of warfare are harmless to-day, and their places are supplied by new and more destructive engines, which Europe must perforce adopt in self-defence, and thus bow to the genius of American invention, whereby the old is so entirely and radically supplanted by the new, that the Napoleons and Wellingtons of a past age would be but tyros in our battles of to-day. The lesson of the Monitors is not the only one Europe has learned from us within the last two years. And we have more to teach her yet, more marvels yet to be evolved from that inexhaustible mine of invention--the Yankee brain. For as long as the war shall last, furnishing not only a promise of a golden harvest in the future, but a present and substantial support to inventive genius, at the same time that a new stimulus is being constantly supplied by the events and experience of each succeeding day, the work will go on, and weapon after weapon, engine after engine, will be thrown into the world's great market, constantly approaching nearer to the perfection of destructive power. And as there is no poison without its antidote, so the originating faculties of the American mind will be as fully exerted in the creation of defences against those very engines of destruction. Armed thus at all points, and containing within ourselves not only a source of future supply, but even the very fount of originating faculty in this speciality, we shall be a power with which it is dangerous to trifle--a power with which others will not care to come in collision in any other form than that of an overwhelming combination, which, thank God! has become in these days one of the impossibilities of political manoeuvring. Nor will they be anxious, on any slight provocation, to again arouse that inventive faculty which furnishes us with material of war far in advance of the rest of the world. We have within ourselves every element of strength, every quality necessary to inspire and compel respect from all nations. In our own God-given faculties lie both the '_Procul, procul, este profani!_' and the 'Tread not on me, or I bite,' which in all ages have constituted so-called national honor and pride, and which will be to us the broad ægis of protection when the storm-cloud of war darkens the horizon of the world. If this fail, the fault will be our own; we shall be unworthy custodians of the treasure; our downfall will be merited as it is sudden and sure, and few will be found to mourn over us.
As the effervescence of new wine brings all impurities to the surface, casting off those noxious superfluities whose presence is pollution to the liquid and disease and death to the partaker, so the present war is but the effervescence of our as yet new and unpurified political system, whereby all errors and impurities are thrown to the surface of society, ready to be skimmed off by the hand of the people, who are themselves the vintners and the rectifiers. No system of government is without radical defects, and it was not to be expected that our own would be free from error, founded as it is upon a principle new to the world, or only known as having totally failed in the past through the clumsiness of its originators and subsequent custodians--a system which had little aid from the experiences of the past, and must necessarily grope in the darkness which surrounds all new experiments of this kind, lighted only by the few, meagre, _à priori_ truths of deductive reasoning. Our ancestors, hampered as they were by the lack of this great experience of social life, legislated for the men and circumstances of their time; and though they had ever an eye to the future, yet, conscious of the fallibility of human wisdom and foresight, they themselves did not expect their work to stand unchanged for all time. New circumstances would arise--the people themselves would change with time, and with them must necessarily change the laws that govern their actions. Law and government must keep pace with the progress of humanity, else the nation itself becomes effete, superannuated, deteriorated. Many errors there doubtless are in our system, taking their rise as well in the very commencement of our existence as from the fluctuations of society. Of these, some have hitherto lain inert and concealed, from the very lack of circumstances to induce their development, and from the lack of a field of action. Others have worked so slowly and insidiously as to have remained totally concealed from our view, as well from the fact of their never having as yet been productive of any decided and palpable evil effect, as from our becoming gradually accustomed to them and their workings, and from the preoccupation of the public mind with more exciting questions. But in all times of popular excitement and tumult, of revolutionary ideas and attempted violent reform, errors spring forth in dazzling brightness from the darkness of the past, like Minerva from the brain of Jove, armed with the full panoply of destructive war, clothed in the garb of maturity, and endowed with gigantic strength. Such has been the case in our day. As the early spring sun, warming the long-frozen soil and heating the foul moistures of the earth, brings to life and to the surface of the ground swarming myriads of noxious insects and reptiles, who, during the long winter months, have slept silent and torpid far down within the oozy depths, and hatches the thrice-told myriads of eggs deposited in seasons passed away, and which have long waited for his life-giving influence to pour forth their swarming millions to the upper air; even so this war has hatched the eggs of error, and brought forth the torpid defects of long gone-by decades, affording them a broad field of operation in their work of destruction; while it has at the same time torn away the veil which has hitherto blinded our eyes, and shown us, in the disasters of to-day, the culmination of the evil effects of causes which have for long years been working secretly at the very core of the body politic. But not alone has it brought forth error and corruption; for the same harsh influence has also revivified the seeds of virtue and awakened the sleeping lion of justice, uprightness, and national honor, which shall act as healthful counterbalances to all the evil, and supplant the monsters of destructive error.
For in the [Greek: gnôthi seauton] of the Greek philosopher lies the secret of all reform. To know one's faults is already one half the battle to correct them. He who becomes conscious that health of body and mind are steadily yielding to the inroads of an insidious foe, is worse than a fool if he do not at once apply the knife to the seat of disease, however painful may be the operation. And though to-day we hear but little of reform, and all parties seem striving which shall display the most devotion to the cause of the past, the most affection for the unchanged and unchangeable _status quo ante bellum_ in all things, yet is the popular mind not the less earnestly though silently working. To-day we have a task which occupies all our attention, absorbs all our powers and resources, and there is no time for reform: the all-absorbing and vital question being the establishing of things upon the old footing. But, peace restored, and the deathblow given to treason, the work of reform will commence. Then will become manifest the workings of the great mind of the nation during all this trying and bloody war. To acknowledge our defects and miscomings now, is but to give a handle to the enemies of our cause: but, this danger removed, the axe will at once be laid at the root of those evils which have come nigh to working our destruction; all the unsightly excrescences which have for years been accumulating upon the trunk of our goodly tree will be carefully pruned away, and the result will be a healthier and more abundant fruit in the days to come. And these reforms will be brought about quietly, yet with a firm and vigorous hand, and in a manner that will show to the world our determination henceforth to leave no loophole for the entrance of the destroyer.
No race of _thinkers_ can ever be enslaved. Hitherto we have been too unreflecting, too much governed by momentary impulses, too much carried away by party cries and unhealthy enthusiasm, and hence completely beneath the sway of designing demagogues. We have left the politicians to do our thinking for us, and accepted too unhesitatingly their interested dicta as our rules of political action. The press has hitherto led the people, and so mighty an engine of political power has been eagerly seized and controlled by party leaders as a means of accomplishing their ends. All this will be done away with. We shall do our thinking for ourselves, and those who shall hereafter be put forward as the prominent actors upon the great stage of politics will become, what they have never before been save in name, the servants of the people. The press of America, like that of England, must hereafter follow, not lead, the sentiments of the nation. And while true 'freedom of the press' will be religiously conserved, that unrestrained license which has always too much characterized it will be restrained and brought within its true limits, not by statutes or brute force, but by the much more powerful agency of public opinion--by the danger of tampering with the cherished and elevated sentiments of the reading masses.
And as a result of this newborn faculty of thought, we shall see the disappearance of extreme views and the birth of charity in our midst. Men will give due weight to the opinions and respect more the natural prejudices of their fellows. While ultra conservatism is the rust which eats away the nation's life, radicalism is the oxygen in which it consumes itself too rapidly away. Or perhaps, a better simile would be found in the components of atmospheric air--nitrogen and oxygen; the one a non-supporter of combustion, the other giving it a too dazzling brilliancy at the expense of the material upon which it feeds; yet both, properly combined, so as in a measure to neutralize each other, supporting the steady and enduring flame which gives forth a mild and cheering light and heat, neither dazzling nor scorching. So conservatism and radicalism, properly intermingled and exercising a restraining influence upon each other, are the very life of a great and free people. And never, in the history of the world, have these principles been more thoroughly demonstrated, more clearly manifested to the eyes of even the unlearned and humble, than in the present war, in which one or the other of these two great mental phases has been the originator of every great movement, to make no mention of the palpable effect, now appearing upon the face of society, of their action in the past. And hence, in the future, we shall see in a noble, far-reaching, broadly spreading, heaven-aspiring _conservative radicalism_ the prevailing characteristic of American life and progress.
Hitherto the very prime principle of self-government, an intelligent cognizance of public affairs and a reflective insight into the fundamental principles of liberty, has been totally neglected in our land. And if the events of these years shall really teach our people to think--I care not how erroneously at first, for the very exercise of the God-given faculty will soon teach us to discriminate between true and false deductions, and restore Thought to her native empire,--then the blood and treasure we have so lavishly poured out, the trembling and the mourning, the trials, the toils, and the privations we have suffered, even the mighty shock which the society of the whole civilized world has received, will be but a small price to pay for the blessing we shall have gained, and our future prosperity will have been easily purchased even at so tremendous a cost. God grant it may be so.
There is no land on earth where treason may work with such impunity as in our own. And this is owing as well to the greater latitude conceded to political speculations by the very nature of our system, as to the fact that our ancestors, having, as they thought, effectually destroyed all those incentives to treason which exist in more despotic lands, and little anticipating the new motives which might with changing men and times spring up in our midst, neglected to ordain the preventives and remedies for a disease which they imagined could never flourish in our healthy atmosphere. And while they imposed an inadequate penalty, they at the same time made so difficult the proof of this the greatest of crimes, that when at last the monster reared its head and stalked boldly through the land, there was no power to check or destroy it. It will be ours to see, in the future, that this impunity is taken away from this worse than parricide, and that, while a more awful penalty is affixed to the crime, the plotter shall be as amenable to the law and as easy to be convicted as he who takes the murderous weapon in his hands.
And for the accomplishment of this and similar ends, doubtless greater power will be conceded by the States to the Federal Government. The day has gone by when the people were frightened at the bare idea of giving to the central Government the necessary power to maintain its own integrity. The pernicious doctrine of State sovereignty as paramount to the national, has in this war received its deathblow at the hands of those who have always been its most zealous supporters. The South, starting out upon the very basis of this greatest political heresy of our age, had no sooner taken the initiatory step in severing completely all the ties and bonds which held them to the Union, than they discarded the very doctrine which had been their strongest weapon in forcing their people to revolt: well knowing that no government founded upon such a basis could stand for a single year; that the upholding of such a principle was neither more nor less than political suicide. And though at the commencement of our struggle there were many at the North in whose minds the dogma had taken deep root, few are found to-day to uphold the pernicious doctrine, and those few men of more than questionable loyalty. And not this principle only, but every other which is inconsistent with republican ideas, antagonistic to the growth of the giant plant of human freedom, has come to its death at the hands of the god of war. Great commotions are the test of great ideas, and that principle either of government or of human action which can withstand the shock of such an upheaving as the present, and come unharmed through the war of such conflicting elements, may well claim our support as founded in eternal truth. The penetrating glance of human intellect, sharpened by the perilous exigencies of the times, and by the quick succession of startling events, even as the inventive faculties are said to be rendered more acute by the presence of danger, at such times sees clearly the fallacies which perhaps have blinded mankind for years, and recognizes, with unerring certainty, the misfortunes and disasters of to-day as the evil effects of theories which aforetime were only considered capable of good.
And with these theories must inevitably fall their supporters and promulgators. The men who have persistently misled the public mind and falsified the experience of the past as well as the deductions of abstract reasoning, and who, consequently, if not the originators, are at least the aggravators, of all our misfortunes, need expect no mercy at the hands of the people. They must share the fate of their doctrines, and consent to be quietly shelved, buried beyond the hope of a resurrection: and it is to be hoped that their places will be filled by good, earnest, and true men, who have proved themselves devoted to the cause of our country's advancement rather than to that of personal preferment. In this war, the men of the future must make their record, and whenever they shall come before the people for the posts of honor and distinction, they will be judged according as they have to-day sacrificed personal prejudices and partisan feeling upon the altar of unity and freedom. For years to come the first question concerning a candidate will be, Was he loyal in the troublous times? was he earnest and true? There will be no distinction between the truly loyal Democrat and the earnest Republican. Those who have to-day stood shoulder to shoulder in the common cause will, whatever may be their difference in shades of opinion, be sworn friends in the future; while he who has in these times been only noted for a carping, cavilling spirit, for activity in endeavors to hamper and thwart the constituted authorities in their efforts to restore and maintain the integrity of the Government, will to their dying day wear the damning mark of Cain upon their brows: their record will bear a stain which no subsequent effort can wipe away. And though in the days to come other exciting questions will arise to divide the people into strongly opposing parties, which, indeed, are necessary to all true national life, preserving the balance of political power, acting as a check upon injudicious and interested legislation, and, above all, evolving truths by the very attrition of conflicting ideas, yet the intimate association of the past, bringing about a thorough acquaintance with the virtues and patriotism of the great mass of those who profess radically different ideas and opinions, as well as the wearing off of the sharp corners of those ideas themselves by a closer and more impartial observation, will tend to smooth away the asperities of partisan conflict, and beget greater charity and more respect for the opposing opinions of others, based upon a knowledge of the purity of intention and loftiness of purpose of political opponents. The evils of sectional feeling and sectional legislation, so clearly manifested in present events, will be avoided in the future, as the Maelstrom current which sucks in the stoutest bark to inevitable destruction: and while we shall still retain that natural love of home which binds us most closely to the place of our abode, the principle will be recognized that the well-being of the whole can only lie in the soundness and prosperity of each particular part, and we shall know no dividing lines in our love of country, but all become members of one great brotherhood, citizens of one common and united country. The experience of the past will teach us to religiously avoid the snares and pitfalls that beset our path, the hidden rocks and shoals upon which our bark had wellnigh stranded; and the science of politics will henceforward have a broader sweep, a loftier appreciation of national responsibility, a purer benevolence, a sublimer philanthropy.
Among the influences which will greatly modify the future of American politics, not the least is the lately enacted banking law. Hitherto we have been divided in our finances as no nation ever was before. Every individual State has had not only its own system of banking, but its own separate and distinct currency; a currency oftentimes based upon an insufficient security, and possessing only a local par value. The traveller who would journey from one portion of the country to another was driven to the alternative of converting his funds into bills of exchange, or of shopping from broker to broker to procure the currency of the particular localities which he proposed to visit. Not to mention the inconvenience of such a state of things, it is productive of many dire evils, which it is not my purpose to enumerate, since they are already familiar to the majority of my readers. Suffice it to say that such a diversity in a point so vital to all enlightened nations, is antagonistic to the very spirit of our institutions, under a government whose existence depends upon the principle of unity, in a land whose prosperity depends upon the consolidation of all its constituent parts into one homogeneous whole. Not only is this diversity in the money market forever destroyed by the establishment of a uniform currency, but from the peculiar nature of the law, the stability of the Government is made a matter of direct self-interest to every individual citizen, than which no surer or more enduring bond of union can be devised. For self-interest, the Archimedean lever that moves the world, loses no jot of its influence when even honor and patriotism have withered away. Every dollar of the security upon which the currency is based must be deposited in the treasury vaults: in other words, the wealth of every individual citizen is under Government lock and key. Should, then, in the future, any misguided portion of our people see fit to withdraw from our communion, irretrievable ruin not only stares them in the face, but is actually upon them from the moment the bond is severed. On the one side is devotion to the country, and a firm, secure currency, which at any moment will bring its full value in gold; on the other, secession, with the inevitable attendant of a circulation, not depreciated, but utterly worthless, and that, too, with no other to fill its place, since the operation of the law must soon drive out of existence every dollar of the present local bank circulation: patriotism and prosperity arrayed against rebellion and ruin. The business men all see this, and in the event of any threatened disruption, they, the most influential part of community, because controlling that which is the representative of all value, will be found firm and unwavering on the side of the duly constituted authority. Thus we shall have all the benefits of a funded national debt, with none of its attendant evils. And what a bond of union is this!--a bond which involves our very meat and drink, a bond which there can be no possible motive to sever so powerful as the incentive to union and mutual coöperation.
Again, the financial crises with which our country has been afflicted at regular periods of her existence, lowering thousands at one moment from a condition of ease and comfort to one of the most pinching want, changing merchant princes to beggars, and spreading ruin far and wide, have owed their origin, not to a wild spirit of speculation, but to the over inflation of bank issues, which is itself the cause of that reckless speculation. This evil, too, will be done away with in the future, for the issue must and will be regulated by the demands of the community. The Government, in whose hands are the securities, and who furnish the circulation based thereon, will control this matter and restrain the issue to its proper bounds. And even if it should run beyond that point, there will be less danger, since there can be no spurious basis, every dollar being secured by a tangible deposit in the Government vaults. The only escape from this view is in open and barefaced fraud, which will be easy of conviction, and no more to be feared than the ordinary operations of counterfeiters, and which will be effectually provided against. So carefully drawn are the provisions of the bill that no loophole is left for speculation; and he who shall hereafter succeed in flooding the country with a 'wildcat' currency, will be a shrewder financier and a more accomplished villain than the world has yet seen. The people, too, will repose such a confidence in the banks as they have never done before. We shall hear little hereafter of 'runs upon the banks;' for the currency holders, well knowing that the Government holds in its hands the wherewithal to redeem the greater portion of the circulation of every bank in the land in the event of the closing of its doors, the only 'runs' will be upon the deposits, and this only in cases of the grossest and most patent fraud and mismanagement on the part of the banks themselves. Hence, in times of financial peril we shall see the people combining to sustain the banks of their own locality, rather than, as is the case to-day, hastening to accelerate the ruin of perfectly solvent institutions which, but for their ill-timed fright, might weather the storm. Again I say, there could be no greater element of union and strength than this, which has grown out of our necessities and tribulations. In spite of all the confusion and ruin and bloodshed, in spite of all the mourning, and suffering, and sundering of ties, and upheaving of the very foundations and apparent total disruption of American society, no greater blessing could have befallen us than this same war, which has roused us to a new life, to the consciousness of defects and determination of reform, thereby planting us firmly on the true road to prosperity and happiness and power.
The wonderful display of our power and resources has given a reputation--call it notoriety, if you will--among the middle and lower classes of the old world, which in long years of peace we could not have attained. And our success in withstanding the terrible tempest which has assailed us, in maintaining the integrity of our political system, will spread that reputation far and wide, and give us a prestige whose effect will be seen in the increased tide of immigration that will flow in upon us upon the reëstablishment of peace. The teeming soil and salubrious climate of the far West, together with the prospect it affords, not only of wealth, but of social advancement, both of which are forever denied them in their own country, and extremely difficult of attainment even in our own Eastern States, where the population is dense and every branch of industry crowded to repletion, will allure the hardy laborers of Europe by thousands and tens of thousands to the prairie land. In the immense unsettled tracts west of the Mississippi there is room for the action of men inured to toil, and promise of quick and abundant returns for their labor. There they will be free from the disastrous competition of their superiors in education and enlightenment, and have opportunities such as no other portion of the earth presents, for the founding of communities of their own, and the practical realization of their own ideas of social progress. Comparatively few years will pass after the restoration of peace before the West will be peopled by the very bone and sinew of all civilized nations. And these men will come to our shores imbued with the bitterest hatred of monarchical institutions, and an unbounded admiration and love of our own. Hence the new country will be intensely republican in its tendencies, and this will be another strong bond of union--another mighty element of strength and perpetuity to republicanism. For, as the movement goes steadily on, in time the balance of political power will rest with them. And it will be ours to see that the strong bias in favor of antiquated customs, laws, and usages, the result of centuries of unopposed tyranny, is eradicated from the minds of these men. They must be properly instructed in the principles of true liberty and self-government. They must be familiarized with the workings of free institutions and put to school in the experience of our century of experiment. Our very safety requires it; for so great is the field and so quickly will it be filled, that if we are not alive to the work, a mighty nation will soon have sprung up on our borders, and almost in our midst, which will be entirely beyond our control, and threaten the very existence of our race, and of the principles we most cherish. For the danger is that, suddenly released from all the restrictions of their own feudal climes, they will fly to the other extreme, and become lawless, reckless, and turbulent. For many years to come all legislation must have an eye to the possible and probable capacities and immense importance of the yet unsettled West, and to the exigencies arising from causes which at present we know not of save by conjecture. We have a future before us such as the past has never known, and an incentive, nay, rather a necessity, for more vigorous action than we have yet been called upon to display, and for a deeper and more far-sighted wisdom than has ever yet pervaded our councils.
The religious future of this portion of our country is veiled in the deepest obscurity. Here we shall have the free-thinking German, the bigoted Roman Catholic, the atheistic Frenchman, and the latitudinarian Yankee, in one grand heterogeneous conglomeration of nations and ideas such as the world has never seen. Whether these diverse peculiarities will by close contact and mutual attrition, by the advancing light of education and refinement as well as by the progress of intellect, be in time softened down, assimilated, and fused into a pure, elevating religion, or aggravated till they result in a godless, materialistic race, God only knows. For no man was ever yet able to prognosticate of religion, or prophecy with the remotest degree of its future action. For it is a thing of God, under his exclusive care, and subject to none of the influences of human action. In His hands we must leave it, in the earnest hope and belief that He will not suffer His divine purposes to be thwarted, and this people, to whom He has intrusted the task of the world's regeneration, to forget and deny their God, who has led them on to power and prosperity and happiness, to go back upon the scale of the soul's eternal progress, and become a race of wicked, corrupt, and God-defying sensualists.
Yet there is no maxim more true than that 'the gods help those who help themselves,' and in this great work of religious advancement we have nevertheless a part to act, a duty to perform. And the day is not far distant when the work of the missionary in our own land will overshadow that of the teacher in African climes. Here will be an ample field for all our exertions, all our contributions; and if we do our duty by our own people, we shall be forced, for a time at least, to leave the task of instructing the heathen of foreign lands to the Christian nations of the Old World. Our greatest responsibility is here, and it behooves us to look well to the religious culture of our own rapidly increasing population, that in after times they may be fitted for the task of Christianizing the world.
Every nation has its crisis, when its existence trembles in the balance, and through which it must safely pass before it can be firmly established as a great fact in history, a tangible landmark of progress, a controlling influence in the affairs of humanity. Nor is this crisis ever a mere fortuitous circumstance, but the necessary consequence of conflicting ideas and of untried systems. It is that point in the great process of assimilation when different and hitherto almost discordant elements tremble on the verge either of a harmonious blending for all time, or of flying off into eternal divergence and hostility. Hence it was not to be imagined that we could escape the common lot: our crisis was to be expected, and now that it has come upon us it is to be manfully met, and so controlled by an iron will, a loftiness of determination, and a purity of aim, that it leave us not stranded among the breakers of disunion and political death. And if we shall succeed in so controlling the mighty current of affairs, we may rest assured that we shall be purified by the trial, and shall have established a position on earth that no subsequent events can shake, until God, in His own good time, shall bid us give way to some higher development of mankind, if such shall be His will. With a noble and worthy nationality; with an incontestable position of strength and political influence, a widely diffused skill and experience in military affairs, a fund of warlike invention, and unbounded physical resources, which shall free us from all annoyances and intermeddlings at the hands of foreign nations; with a purification from the errors of the past, and a deeper insight into the capabilities as well as the exigencies of the present and the future; with a regenerated and higher-toned press; with an _anathema maranatha_ for treason, in whatever shape it may assume; with a purer charity for the opinions of others, and a more graceful yielding of the obnoxious characteristics of our own; with a firmly established and health-giving system of finance; with a rapidly increasing population, bringing with it an increase of responsibility, and furnishing a broader field for the development of our energies and resources; with a glorious past behind and a golden future before us, we shall sweep majestically on upon the waves of time, an object of admiration to the world and of justifiable pride to ourselves--a great, and glorious, and, above all, a free, happy, united, and prosperous people. God grant it may be so! God grant that we may be true to the trust reposed in us, and that the glorious cause of human liberty--the cause in which are bound up the hopes of the whole world--may not again fall to the earth through the blindness and weakness and incompetence of us, who are to-day its only exponents. May we of this day and generation live to see the crowning of all these hopes; and when our sun goes down in the shadows of eternity, may we be able to look back and thank God for the trials and sufferings and losses and mournings of to-day, as the refining fire through which we have come strong and bright, the sharp knife whereby the gnawing worms of error, and corruption and inevitable death have been cut from the heart of our goodly tree.
FROM AN UNWRITTEN POEM.
God struck the heavens' holy Harp, While sang the grand celestial choir. Earth heard the awful sound, and saw The trembling of the golden wire. 'Twas thunder to the stranger ear, And to the eye the lightning's fire.
'O Heaven! were man But constant, he were perfect; that one error Fills him with faults, makes him run through all sins.'
_Two Gentlemen of Verona_
Are they truly dying, All the summer leaves? Will the blasts of autumn Strip the happy trees? Bright the glowing foliage Paints the misty air-- Crimson, purple, golden-- Must they die--so fair?
Where has flown the sunshine Wooed them to their birth, Tempting them to flutter Far above the earth? Ruthless did it leave them In their hour of bloom, Let the chill blasts whisper Tales of death and doom?
Rapidly they robed them In each varied hue, Hoping thus the sunshine To attract anew; But the fickle glitter Looked in anger down, Freezing up the life-pulse With an icy frown.
Then the happy radiance Sinks to rise no more; Leaves of gold and crimson Strew earth's gloomy floor. Gone their summer glory, Lifeless, lost, they lie; Wilted, withered, drifting As winds will, they fly.
Thus in woman's bosom Love wakes bud and bloom, 'Neath his glowing sunshine Thinking not of doom; Covering soft life's desert Spread the branches green, Hope's bright birds sing through them-- Close the leafy screen.
Through the quivering foliage Falls a sudden fear! Leaves are rustling, trembling-- Feel _change_ drawing near! Brighter then they robe them, Call on every hue, Color every fibre-- Love to win anew.
Summon gold and crimson, Bright as dyed in blood; Hectic fever flushes Pour in anguished flood! Gone the healthful quiet Of the summer green; Hope-birds turn to ravens, Sighs the leafy screen.
Love looks down in anger On the wildering show; Freezing follows change-frost-- Love heaps ice and snow! Then the fevered radiance Fades from life's doomed tree; Wilted, withered, drifting, Bud, bloom, leaves we see.
Love looks down upon them, Wonders how it came-- Thinks through all his changing They should bloom the same: Did not know his change-frost Had the power to kill; Did not deem his frowning Life's quick pulse could still!
Gone the fickle sunshine! Gone the rosy hours! Gone love's early wooing! Gone the healthful powers! Come and cool the hectic, Chill the fevered glow, Pale the crimson flushing, Death, beneath thy snow!
ACROSS MAINE IN MID-WINTER.
A journey by stage coach in these days, when railroads are fast penetrating to the remotest corners of our country, has already become a somewhat novel experience. In the course of comparatively few years, even the 'air line' will have given place to an international railway, connecting us immediately with New Brunswick, and the stage coaches of this region will be among the reminiscences of the past.
The circumstances under which this journey of mine was performed were most painful. Still, through that remarkable power of the human mind, which seems to act independently of volition, that mysterious duality of being which observes, discriminates, and remembers, while at the same time preoccupied by an overwhelming grief, I was enabled to note each little incident with more than usual intensity.
Was it that they stood out in bolder, more sharply cut relief, because of the dark background of emotion behind?
There had been little, if any, snow on the island all the winter, and the morning of the 26th of January was bright and mild as April. Indeed, it was difficult to imagine it winter.
'Come, Fred,' said I to my second little boy, 'We must take a walk to the batteries this fine morning.'
As I stood upon the height, while the little fellow frisked about among the rocks, I stretched my eyes westward toward the hills and forests of the mainland, and thought of my father and mother, and of the letter which I almost knew was on its way to me then. Ah! little did I dream that at that very moment the gaunt sentinels of the telegraph were tossing from one to another, with lightning speed, a message of woe for me. Its long journey of four hundred miles was accomplished in less time than my short walk. I had just returned when it arrived.
I saw by my husband's countenance as he read it, and by his extreme tenderness of manner toward me, that a great misfortune had befallen me. I sank down on the floor beside him, trembling with apprehension, yet longing to know the worst. 'Is it mother?' I gasped. He handed me the telegram, which was directed to him:
'Your father-in-law died this morning. Can Elsie come to the funeral? If so, what day? Telegraph immediately.'
And this was all. My father was _dead_! How long he had been ill, or what was his disease, I knew not. 'Why did they not send for me sooner, that I might have seen him alive once more?' I asked, in the first unreasoning agony of grief. But he was _dead_. All I could do for him now was to yield him my last tribute of reverence and affection.
'Can Elsie come to the funeral?' Yes, I could go. It was all I could do for my father now; I knew that. My family would be well cared for in my absence. My husband did not oppose me, though he could not approve. But he exerted himself in every way to further my plans.
There were difficulties at the outset. The regular morning stage had already left. The 'air line,' as it is called, was the only route remaining to me. Now this 'air line' started from a point thirty miles north of us, and lay through ninety miles of wilderness. I had heard of it before I ever came to the island, and had been told a wild story about a stage coach having been chased by a pack of wolves for several miles on this route a few years before. The innkeeper, too, spoke very dubiously about it to my husband. But what were the hundred and twenty miles between me and the cars--the four hundred between me and my father, then! Should these few miles of earth detain me? No! It was possible for me to go, and go I must.
My preparations were soon made; but I found, to my dismay, on applying for a passage in the stage to C----(where the journey proper would begin) that all the seats were taken. The innkeeper sent me word, however, that he would furnish me a private conveyance, if I _must_ go. So at two o'clock, P.M., an open, low-backed buggy appeared at my gate. I kissed my little ones, who gathered wonderingly around to 'see mamma go away,' and wrapping my old plaided cloak about me (the cloak I wore when a child), I seated myself beside the buffalo-bundled driver, and was soon whirling out of town.
The air was soft and mild, and no snow was to be seen except a little here and there by the roadside as we advanced northward. The sky had become overcast, and showed signs of an approaching storm. The scenery was generally bare and uninteresting. We followed the St. Croix river in its course. Opposite St. Andrews it widens into a broad bay. It was then near sunset, and the clouds broke away a little and gave a cheery, rosy flush to the calm water.
Night soon settled down upon us. It was dark when we arrived at the ---- Hotel, after a drive of five hours. I had never been in C----, and this was my first experience in hotel life alone.
I was ushered into a large, lonesome room, in total darkness except for the light from the hall burner, which streamed dismally into its depths. A tall, black shadow soon announced himself as the landlord, to whom I made known my wants. His wife, a kind-hearted, energetic woman, took compassion on me, and showed me into her own private parlor to get warmed, for I was very chilly. Here the good lady's curiosity was piqued somewhat to find that the young man who accompanied me was _not_ my husband, and that I proposed to go on the next morning to Bangor alone. I shuddered when she told me the journey was usually made in an open conveyance. Think of riding all day and all night on a board slung across an open wagon! And what if it should _rain_!
I bethought myself of two friends of mine who were visiting in C----, and to them I despatched my cards. After tea, when I was seated quietly in my room, Aunt Carter came. She is one of those good, kind souls who are always aunts to everybody. She came to me with hearty sympathy. The evening passed pleasantly away, for her simple words of faith and hope cheered and consoled me.
I slept but little that night. I lay thinking of my father, and of the morrow's journey, and listening to every sound. I fancied I heard it raining. At last I was almost sure of it. When I peeped out of the window in the gray of the dawn, the ground was white, and it was snowing fast.
Soon after breakfast my kind friends appeared, and the good clergyman also, who went down to make some inquiries about the stage coach for me, and, returning soon, announced with a very grave countenance that it had not connected with the cars at Bangor for nearly a week. In fact, that it was unusual for it to do so at this season.
'It seems to have set in for a storm,' said he. 'All our storms this winter have terminated in rain. There is a uniformity in storms,' he added, lugubriously, 'and if this should turn to rain, you cannot possibly get through.'
For a few moments my purpose was shaken. If I did not succeed in reaching the cars the next morning, I would be too late for my father's funeral, and my journey would be all but in vain. There was my mother, to be sure, but my whole heart turned to my father now. Could I, ought I to run this risk?
But, on the other hand, how could I relinquish my object when thus far on the way to it?
Blessings on Aunt Carter! She came to the rescue.
'Now,' said she, 'I have found that a good Providence always took care of me, and _I_ believe He will take care of you. You've begun your journey and got thus far safely, and _I_ believe you'll get through to Bangor in time. At any rate, if you don't, you will have the satisfaction of comforting your mother. I've been about the world considerable,' she continued, 'and I've always found a _man_ to take care of me. Now you shall have _my man_ to take care of you.'
Reassured by her hopeful words, I exclaimed:
'Enough, I will go! If there be any power in will, or any speed in horses, I will get there!'
The minister sighed, but I commenced putting on my cloak. Just then, the young man who had driven me up from the island the day before, came to take my parting commands.
'Tell Mr. K.,' said I, 'that I start under favorable auspices. Is any one going through?'
'Two passengers, but no ladies,' he replied.
'Who are they?' I inquired.
'They are both strangers, from the 'other side''--(the Maine cognomen for the neighboring British provinces).
'What do they look like?'
'Well, they _look_ like gentlemen, and we _hope_ they are so,' he replied, with dubious emphasis.
And these were my favorable auspices! A doubtful snowstorm and two doubtful gentlemen! Nevertheless I spoke the truth.
At length I was all ready, and the landlady, who was quite interested in me by that time, took me once more into her parlor with my friends, while waiting for the stage. Again the thought of my travelling companions occurred to me. I inquired if the landlady knew aught of them.
'Nothing but their names,' said she. 'Neither of them was ever here before. They look a little rough, but you cannot always tell about these province people, they dress so differently from our folks. I dare say they are real gentlemen.'
It was decided, with the concurrence of my friends, to request an introduction to one of them through the landlord, as I was travelling alone, and might need some aid. If they were as it was 'hoped,' this would be an advantage; and if they were not, the formality might be some protection.
I confess I was not strongly prepossessed in their favor when I confronted them at the door of the hotel; the one a short, fat figure in a coarse blue coat, with a hood of the same, lined with scarlet; a flat cloth cap, and long heavy boots, reaching above the knee. An ugly red-and-green woollen scarf tied around the waist enhanced the oddity of his appearance. The other was taller and more slenderly built. His complexion was decidedly 'sandy,' with short, curling hair and a prodigious mustache. His countenance, like his dress, was grave, the latter being an iron-gray travelling suit.
With a low bow the landlord presented me to the former. It was a kindly voice that said, 'Excuse my mitten,' as, instinctively drawing off my own, my hand rested a moment in his big, shaggy palm. There was good-nature in the face too, from the roguish dark eyes to the genial, laughter-loving mouth.
I trembled, though, as, bidding farewell to my friends, I stepped into the coach.
'Take good care of this lady, driver,' said Aunt Carter, 'for she's a precious charge.'
My good friend the clergyman was the last one to bid me good-by. He reached into the coach and shook hands with me, wishing me a prosperous journey.
At last we were off. The snow fell thick and fast and moist. What if it should turn to rain? But it was not cold, and I at least was uncomfortably warm, for my kind friends had provided me with a well-heated plank for my feet, and a brick for my hands. It was heavy sleighing, and we dragged along at the rate of four miles an hour for the first twelve or fifteen miles. Occasionally the object of my journey and the novelty of my situation would come over me like a dream; but I resolutely buried my grief away down in my heart, and lived on the surface.
I entered into conversation with my travelling companions, whom I scrutinized narrowly.
We had not gone very far before the Englishman unbuttoned his overcoat and produced what is technically called a 'pocket pistol.' It was a flat flask of generous proportions, encased in leather, fitting into a silver drinking cup below, and with a stopper of the same screwing on the top. At any rate, however questionable its contents might be, its appearance outwardly was highly respectable.
'By your permission, madam,' said he, pouring a portion into the cup.
'Certainly,' said I, significantly, 'within reasonable limits.'
'Of course,' said he, pleasantly, as he offered it to the other gentleman, since I declined it. I learned to bless them both, and the brandy flask into the bargain, before I got to the end of my journey. But I will not anticipate.
They were intelligent and well-educated. Occasionally the conversation took a solemn and earnest tone. We touched on many topics. We discussed the Queen and royal family; the Prince of Wales; his visit to this country; his intended marriage, &c.; the prospect of Prince Alfred becoming King of Greece; the condition of these United States; the rebellion, &c., &c.
I was sorry to find that the young Englishman was strongly tinctured with the prejudices now so prevalent in the provinces against emancipation. He frankly acknowledged that at the time of the 'Trent affair' his sympathies turned toward the South, but that since he had read more and thought more on the subject, he had become decidedly in favor of the North.
The other gentleman was a Scotchman, born and brought up near Gretna Green. His recollections of the renowned blacksmith and the runaway couples he had often seen riding posthaste to the smithy, with pursuers close behind perhaps, were very interesting. He was recently from New Orleans, where he had resided for several years. He was there through the blockade, and served in the city troops several months, though, being a foreigner, he could not be impressed into the regular army on either side. He was reserved, of course, concerning his opinions, but it was easy to see that he regarded General Butler, whom I lauded highly, with no friendly eye.
At one o'clock we stopped at a dingy little cottage to dine. Here the Englishman took me under his special charge, assisting me into the house, while the Scotchman followed after with my plank and brick, which were duly set up before the blazing open fire to warm for the next stage. Here I first saw the Frenchman, who had ridden outside in order to enjoy his pipe. He was sitting by the fire wringing the moisture from his long black hair, and wondering if he could get any 'rum.' On seeing the lady he courteously made way, and, after, laying aside my wrappings, I seated myself before the fire, while waiting for dinner. It was a dim little room, uncarpeted, and poorly furnished with a looking glass, a map, and a few wooden chairs, and ornamented by a 'mourning piece,' which hung over the mantel, representing a bareheaded lady with a handkerchief at her eyes, standing beside a monument under a weeping willow.
But the open fire was a sight worth seeing in those days. How it roared and blazed and crackled and hissed and diffused its hospitable warmth and ruddy glow all over the little brown room! How cheerfully it contrasted with the storm without!
Dinner was soon announced, and as Mr. K.'s last injunction had been to 'be sure to eat, whether I wished to or not,' I prepared to pass through the first ordeal of eating against my inclination. There was little to excite appetite. The room was browner and dimmer than the one we had just left; the table was spread with a coarse brown cloth; the bread was brown, not honest 'rye and Indian,' but tawny-colored wheat, and sour at that; the thick uncomely slices of corned beef were brown too, and the dishes and plates were all brown. The Englishman looked despondingly on the repast, and ventured to inquire if the landlady, a quiet body in a brown dress, had any eggs.
'Yes,' she replied, with a strong nasal twang, 'but they ain't very fresh. I shud be 'fraid to resk b'ilin' 'em. I could fry some, ef yer liked.'
'It's of no consequence, madam,' said the Englishman; but the good woman, bent on being accommodating, and observing, ''Twouldn't take but a minute to do 'em,' disappeared into the kitchen, and returned in an incredibly short space of time with a plate of eggs swimming in grease. I did the best I could to obey my husband's orders, but with poor success.
We were soon on our way again. At every solitary house along the road we stopped to leave a mailbag. Whom could the letters be for? we wondered.
At one place a pretty girl ran out bareheaded through the snow to take the mail. She was neatly dressed, and wore a pretty, bright-colored 'Sontag' over her shoulders, but she spoiled her good looks by chewing vigorously a mouthful of spruce gum, a custom which prevails in this region, probably borrowed from the Indians.
Here we met the 'return stage' from Bangor--a rough, uncovered sleigh. There were two or three province men in it, whom the Englishman recognized.
'I say,' cried he, 'if you see any of my people, tell them you saw me about three days out from Bangor.'
We passed on, and met nothing more the rest of the journey. The snow shut off the distant views from us, but, clinging to every twig and rock and stump, gave a fairy-like beauty to the otherwise dreary scene. The alder bushes were particularly beautiful, filled as they were with balls of snow, resembling large bunches of white flowers.
The forest was mostly small second growth. Much of the country was partially cleared, and long logs lay by the roadside, some of which we were several minutes in passing. The stumps had been left three or four feet high. These, blackened by fire or storms, and crowned with snow, inclined their square heads forward, as if seeking to catch a glimpse of us as we passed.
The way grew more lonesome and dreary every mile, and the snow more fine and moist. Would it turn to rain? There were no bells on the horses, and the driver, a surly, silent fellow, had not even an encouraging 'chirrup' for them, while the muffled crunching of the soft snow by the runners seemed to have a somnolent influence upon them, judging from our progress. Occasionally the gentlemen would get out and run up the hills, and once the Englishman fell full length, and jumped in again, his blue coat and peaked hood well frosted with snow, looking, were it not for his youthful face, the very impersonation of Santa Claus. He had a powerful physique, and was full of vitality. These runs in the snow seemed to refresh him greatly, while they exhausted the more delicate Scotchman.
In vain we looked for the wolves. We half wished they might appear, that the horses might quicken their paces. Not a sign of life was anywhere to be seen, except one flock of snow-birds on the top of a hill.
Conversation still went on, but the intervals of silence were longer and more frequent, and the burden of my sudden grief would press upon me heavily at times. My anxiety and excitement, too, lest I should not make the connection with the cars, increased as the day advanced. At last the monotonous motion of the stage coach, added to the agitated state of my nerves, began to affect me like the rolling of the sea. The trees of the forest seemed to waltz around me in mazy circles. Faster and faster they whirled, till my sight grew dim and I could scarcely distinguish them at all. My senses were winding up. I felt them slipping from me in spite of the strongest effort of my will to hold them. A confused sound filled my ears; my strength failed me; I drooped heavily; but Aunt Carter's 'man' was by me, sure enough. His protecting arm supported me, and his calm and steady voice penetrated even my deadened hearing, as he asked my permission to apply some snow to my forehead. I uttered an almost inarticulate assent. There was one blank moment, and then the refreshing coolness on my brow and on my hands revived me. I apologized for the trouble I had given. 'We all have mothers and sisters,' he replied, quietly, as he poured a draught from his travelling flask for me. My distrust of him and his 'pocket pistol,' too, had vanished.
The Scotchman also was unwearied in his attention to my comfort. Did the snow blow in upon me? He would lower the curtain. Did I wish more air? he would raise it again. Were my feet becoming chilled? He would tuck in the buffalo. Between the two I fared certainly as comfortably as circumstances would permit.
The weather was still mild, though colder than before. As the day wore on, the wind began to rise, and I observed frequent eddies and whirlwinds of snow and ominous grooves around every wayside stone. Would the storm increase and drift? In that case my chance of getting to Bangor in time was doubtful enough.
We reached our next stopping place at half past four, P.M. It was a weather-stained house, which we must have entered by the back door, for we passed into the kitchen at once, where were a stout, pleasant-faced woman, with two stout, pleasant-faced daughters, and a big fat yellow dog, who sat up in a chair beside them at the window, as though he were indeed a part of the family. We were ushered into a small room beyond, which rejoiced in another glorious wood fire, before which the Englishman duly planted me, and the Scotchman my plank and brick. Over the mantel was another version of the sepulchral monument with the weeping woman and willow, in whimsical contrast with the jolly, rollicking fire beneath, which gave us such a hearty welcome.
As we sat luxuriating in the warmth, the two fat girls in the kitchen began to vocalize with low sweet voices that harmonized pleasantly, 'Do, re, mi, si, la, si, do.' Evidently there had been a singing school in the neighborhood. Presently they struck into 'Marching Along,' which they sang with considerable spirit.
In the mean time, an overgrown youth, apparently belonging to the house, who sat in one corner, tilting his chair, said, addressing all of us at once, 'Wal, you've got the wust half the road before yer now. Thur's a hill a mile an' a half long, jest out here a little ways. You'll have to break yer own roads, I reckon; there's nothin' else goin' along to-day. Storm's gittin' wuss.'
We looked dubiously at each other, and he, probably observing my anxious countenance, endeavored to reassure us by saying, in an uncertain tone, 'But I _rayther_ guess you'll git through.'
We were soon off again on the next stage, which was to be twenty-four miles, without any stopping-place or village between. We ascended many hills, in fact there seemed to be no going down to any of them; but when the horses came to a dead halt, and the coach began to slip backward, and the driver called out, 'I guess, gentlemen, you'll hev to git out here for a spell,' we knew we had come to the hill 'a mile an' a half long.' I kept my place, for my weight was too inconsiderable to make much difference. The Englishman, taking hold of the coach, helped the horses to start again with a vigorous push, and then the three passengers went plunging through the snow till the driver stopped and took them in again, quite out of breath.
We were now in the depths of the forest, many miles from any house. Occasionally we passed a deserted lumberman's hut by the wayside, and discussed the liability of a breakdown or an overturn in that wild region.
The white-headed, square-faced stumps which abounded in the partially cleared tracts, peered in upon us for mile after mile with haunting repetition.
The trees were heavily laden with snow, which they shook down upon us as we brushed along beneath their low-bending branches. In the dim twilight they assumed every variety of fanciful form. There were gaunt old trees, with gnarled and twisted branches, outstretched like arms in deadly Laocoon-like struggle with the writhing winds and storms; there were delicate birches, each slender twig bearing its feathery burden; and there were spruces and hemlocks, regal in snowy splendor. It lay upon them in heavy masses, and gave their bending boughs a still more graceful dip. There was something which harmonized with my grief in the silent snow and the drooping trees. They sank beneath the snow as the human heart sinks beneath its burden of sorrow. Yet it fell gently and beautifully upon them, as affliction falls from the hand of our Father, 'who chasteneth whom he loveth.' One tree, which bent completely over in a perfect abandonment of grief, particularly impressed me. There was something in the sweep of the branches which suggested the utter prostration of the heart beneath the first shock of a great affliction.
How still it was! It was not dark, for the moon had risen, and the clouds were thin. The snow, too, made it lighter.
It was at this solemn, awe-inspiring hour that my companions first learned the object of my journey. The sympathy with which they met me did honor to human nature.
'I thought,' said the Englishman, 'that the urgency of my own journey was great, but it is nothing compared to yours.'
He apologized for any light or careless conversation in which they had indulged, not knowing the circumstances of my journey, and entered fully into the sentiment which had prompted me to undertake it. He assured me that he would see that I got through in time for the cars the next morning, and begged me to feel no further uneasiness about it.
From that moment, both my companions were more assiduously devoted to my comfort than ever. Their interest was increased on finding that my father was the son of a well-known inventor.
His history was soon told. He had inherited his father's business (now passed out of the family) with something of his mechanical talent. Of a confiding disposition, he had been wronged by those whom he had intrusted most extensively, and, property gone and strength failing, his misfortunes, which he had at all times borne with exemplary patience and fortitude, had culminated in the loss of his old home, the home of his father before him, by the hand of the incendiary. He had left me a precious legacy in his memory, to which my present journey was an inadequate tribute.
The hours wore on. It did not grow much darker, but oh, it was so still! You could hear the stillness when the coach stopped, as occasionally it did.
It was there, in the depths of this remote wilderness, that our subdued voices mingled in those grand old chorals which belong to the church universal, and in which, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Unitarian as we were, we could all heartily join: 'Old Hundred,' so full of worship; 'Dundee,' with its plaintive melody; and 'America,' breathing the soul of loyalty, whether sung to 'God save the Queen,' or 'Our country, 'tis of thee.'
My voice was feeble, and soon gave out. I had come near fainting repeatedly, and had only been resuscitated by the snow and the Englishman's brandy. I was now nearly exhausted.
'You had better make use of my shoulder as a pillow,' he said, perceiving my condition.
'You had better, by all means,' chimed in the Scotchman.
I hesitated a moment. What would Mrs. Grundy say--and my husband? I was too tired to care for the former, and the latter, I knew, would be only grateful to my compassionate friends.
'Circumstances must dispense with ceremony,' I observed, suiting the action to the word.
'Madam,' rejoined the Englishman, with warmth, 'I hope you will find, before you get to the end of your journey, that you are in honorable company.'
'I have found it out already,' I murmured, and then, committing myself to the care and keeping of the Good Father, my last shadow of distrust vanished.
I was too weary to hold my eyelids open, and too much excited to sleep. At length I was aroused by a sudden stop. The 'whippletree' had broken. In a few minutes we proceeded, the 'leader' being still driven loosely, as before.
Again we came to a pause--this time to water the horses at a wayside spring. While the others were refreshing themselves, the 'leader' quietly walked off, to the great indignation of the driver, who began to swear as he chased him through the snow. He was captured at last, and we continued on our way.
The poor Frenchman had by this time become so chilled that he was glad to come inside, though by so doing he felt obliged to give up the luxury of his pipe.
All at once the striking difference in our nationalities occurred to me, and I exclaimed, on the impulse of the moment:
'See, do we not represent the four leading nations of the earth--England, France, Scotland, and America?'
'Yes,' replied the Englishman, with some hesitation in his manner; 'England is surely one of the leading nations; so is France;'--(here the Frenchman broke in with some inarticulate jargon to the glory of France)--'but Scotland--I don't know about that being a 'leading nation.''
This roused the Scotchman. 'Scotland _has_ been a glorious nation! She has proud memories for her sons!' he cried, with a fire of enthusiasm, not without pathos, in its unavoidable admission that the glory of his country as an individual power in the world was past.
'That is right,' said I, admiring his sudden warmth; 'cling to your own country before all others, come what may.'
The Englishman then reverted to the present lamentable condition of these United States, and with characteristic complacency pointed to the stability and grandeur of his own Government.
It was in vain that I spoke of the future of our country, and represented our present troubles to be, as I firmly believe, the means of our regeneration into a nobler and truer national existence. His English prejudices were not to be shaken. England was, and would remain _the leading_ nation of the earth.
How much longer the discussion would have continued I know not, had we not caught sight of lights, and driven up to a more pretentious mansion than we had yet seen on our way.
Scarcely able to stand, I alighted, and the landlord, seeing the lady, ushered us into the parlor, which showed signs of approaching civilization in the large-figured Kiddermister carpet and the 'air-tight' stove.
A fine-looking young man, whom they called 'Doctor,' in a gray suit with deep fur cuffs, sat at a table, looking over a volume of house plans with a pretty young lady. Apparently the occupation had been of absorbing interest, for the fire was nearly out, and the room was quite cold, and the look with which they greeted our entrance betokened surprise rather than pleasure.
The Englishman made himself at home, and, not waiting to call a servant, procured three or four sticks of wood from some unknown quarter, and began piling them into the stove. They burned feebly, for the fire was very low indeed, and I still shivered; so, catching up the rocking chair, he ran off with it into the other room.
'There's a good open fire out here,' said he; 'it doesn't look quite as tidy, perhaps, but I guess you'll get warm.'
That was the main thing, to be sure; so I followed on. Here the fire was not so good as it might have been, but by dint of a little bluster, a quantity of 'light-stuff' and more solid fuel was soon forthcoming, and we shortly had a blaze almost strong enough to set the chimney and my inevitable plank on fire. Here we wound our watches. After a little delay supper was announced--fried beefsteaks, potatoes, and doughnuts.
This was the place where we were to exchange drivers, and where a delay of several hours frequently occurred.
When we were about half through supper, which my travelling companions discussed with enviable zeal, a short, stoutly built, sharp-visaged man appeared in the doorway, and cried out, 'All ready!'
'Well, I'm not,' said the Englishman, looking up good-humoredly. With a muttered threat about going on and leaving us, the new driver turned away, and we thought the prospect of getting to Bangor in time had decidedly improved. Still, there were more than forty miles between.
'I will take one of your doughnuts, madam,' said I, putting it into my pocket, for I had been able to eat but little.
'Certainly,' said the landlady; 'take as many as you wish.'
There was something in her kindly tone that did me good. It cheered and helped me more than she could know.
We were to pay our passage here to the returning driver. I had secured a 'through ticket' at C----, but my companions, having only English gold with them, had not done so, having been assured by this same man that they could just as well pay at Bangor, where they would obtain a higher premium on their money. Now, however, he demanded his pay, and at first was not disposed to allow any premium for the gold. This, of course, excited their indignation, and some high words passed. However, the matter was compromised by the driver giving them twenty per cent., when gold was at that moment worth fifty at Bangor.
I had stolen from the room, and was hastily putting on my numerous wrappings, when the Englishman came to me with what he called a 'dose, which he thought would do me good.'
I took part of it, and then hesitated, for it contained strong reminiscences of the 'pocket pistol.'
'Would you really advise me to take the rest?' said I gravely.
'I certainly would,' he replied, with conclusive solemnity. So I took it, and I think it did 'do me good.'
'This is a hard journey for you,' said the landlady, compassionately regarding my diminutive stature and frail aspect.
The driver was very impatient. She half apologized for him, saying, 'He is very anxious to get through to-night. He doesn't like to go through in the night always, for there are many dangerous places along the road; but it is sleighing to-night, and not very dark, so he thinks he can do very well.'
The urgency of my case, which the Englishman had represented to him, with what other inducements I can only imagine, occasioned his unwonted haste.
When we entered the coach once more for the long night ride, one of the buffaloes was missing.
'It's over to the other stable,' said the driver, carelessly; 'twas left over there by mistake. You shall have it when we get there.'
You would have thought, from his manner of speaking, that the 'other stable' was just across the road, instead of being twenty miles away. As we drove away, I observed, 'I have a doughnut in my pocket; the first one hungry shall have it.'
The curtains were now buttoned closely down for the first time, and we were in total darkness. We rode in silence for some time, each resolutely trying to go to sleep. The Frenchman succeeded best. He had served as a soldier on the Continent, and was evidently accustomed to hardship. He slept as soundly as though he were on a down bed, instead of riding backward in a stage coach.
Again insensibility threatened me. I could not speak, but my labored breathing aroused my companions just in time to save me from entire unconsciousness. The faithful Scotchman had raised the curtain, and the air rushed in freshly upon me. It was very chilly, and much colder than it had been. It had ceased snowing, and the moon was shining feebly through the breaking clouds. We were going at a goodly rate of speed. By and by I thought of my doughnut, and inquired who was hungry. The Scotchman was not; the Englishman was not; the Frenchman still slept.
'Give it to me, if you please,' said the Englishman, a sudden idea seeming to strike him.
'Here,' said he, making a thrust at the Frenchman; 'wake up! here's a doughnut for you.' The old soldier muttered something drowsily. He was not hungry. 'Won't you take it for the lady?' said the former, with a dash of sentiment.
'I only eat for the satisfacti-on of mine appétit!' he exclaimed, sulkily, settling himself back again to sleep.
The night wore on, interrupted only by frequent stoppages, when the driver dismounted to apply the 'drags' in going down the hills. Before this, we had seemed to be going up all the hills; now there seemed to be a continual descent.
I was too weary to sleep. Let me change my position as I might, I could not be comfortable. My mind was constantly busy, and, since outward objects could no longer engage my attention, I could no longer escape my thoughts. At one time I would think of my husband and my five little ones at home, all sleeping quietly in their beds. I wondered if they had all said their prayers to their father, and if he had tucked them all up warmly. Then I would think of my mother. Was she expecting me? I wondered. My poor mother! what a sad meeting that would be! And then my dead father would come to mind. How sad, how strange it would seem, to receive no warm greeting from him!
It was about two o'clock in the morning, when we stopped for our last change of horses. The house stood black and sombre as a tomb in the dim moonlight. The family had evidently retired to rest. At length we were admitted into a dimly lighted room, where a table was spread with substantial food. The old gentleman, whose slumbers we had so ruthlessly disturbed, fumbled among a pile of letters and papers, which he distributed in three monstrous mailbags, that flapped about on the floor like so many whales out of water. His toilet had evidently been hastily made, and he shuffled the letters and papers about with the manner of a person half asleep. His hair, which was white and very abundant, stood erect all over his head, and contrasted queerly with his nut-brown face, which was strongly marked and deeply wrinkled.
We were all sleepy and stupid enough by this time, and, had the Scotchman been a less chivalrous knight than he had proved himself, I doubt not he would have experienced some satisfaction in placing my plank and brick before the fire to heat for the last time.
We were none of us hungry but the sharp-visaged driver, who devoured his supper, or breakfast, whichever it might be called, with the air of a man who was determined to get through to Bangor before morning.
The Frenchman, who had been completely cowed down by the old gentleman's indignant 'No, _sir!_ we don't keep no sich stuff abaout these premises!' in reply to his demand for 'rum,' meekly took refuge in a cup of coffee.
In the mean time a baby in the adjoining room, awakened by our movements, began to cry. It was quite a young cry. It could not be more than three or four months old, I thought, as I compared it mentally with the efforts of my own youngest in that direction. But the baby shoe which hung by the fireplace betokened an older child. It must have been the old gentleman's grandchild. I pitied its mother, for it might lie awake until morning.
Once more our resolute driver, with an authoritative 'All ready!' summoned us to depart.
'Amaziah, bring the light around here!' cried the Englishman, who seemed to know the names of every one at these stopping places by a sort of intuition.
'Amaziah' promptly obeyed, and by the aid of his lantern I settled myself for the last stage of my journey. To the Scotchman's comfort, the missing buffalo was produced here, according to the driver's promise.
The Frenchman, who had been over the 'line' before, had hinted that four gray horses were to take us into Bangor; but it seemed to be the fate of three only.
It was then not far from three o'clock, and we had more than twenty miles before us. As the distance lessened, my excitement increased. I became so feverish that I could no longer bear my mittens on my hands. Anxiety and fatigue produced a nervous exhaustion, and the harsh grating of the 'drags' as we descended the oft-recurring hills, threw me into an uncontrollable tremor. I was too tired to sleep--too tired, almost, to think. Strength, sense, hope seemed to lose themselves in my utter weariness. It seemed at times to become a question whether I should even live to reach my destination.
My companions cheered and comforted me as best they could, with never-to-be-forgotten kindness. We stopped once to throw out a mailbag, and I thought, from the appearance of the place as well as I could see it, that we were already on the outskirts of Bangor.
'What place is this?' the Englishman inquired.
'Eddington Bend,' replied the driver.
'How far from Bangor?'
Toward dawn we all lost ourselves for a few minutes. I first aroused, and, through the interstices beside the curtains, perceived the gray light of morning. It was six o'clock, and we were but four miles from Bangor, the driver informed us.
Only four miles! but how long they seemed! The cars left at half past seven o'clock, and the daylight was fast advancing.
'Shall we after all get there in time?' said I.
'Not in time for breakfast, I imagine,' replied the Englishman, resignedly.
At last came the welcome announcement, 'Bangor! There is Bangor!'
'Where is it? I do not see it,' said I, looking eagerly out into the gray morning mist.
'Why, there, to be sure! Don't you see that steeple? There's another! and there's another!'
Yes, surely there was Bangor at last, welcome to me as ever the Holy City to the penance-worn pilgrim.
In my gratitude, I overflowed with benignity to all the world, and even granted the poor Frenchman permission to enjoy his pipe, a privilege of which he made haste to avail himself. It was an ill-timed charity, to be sure, but I could well afford to submit to the temporary discomfort in the fulness of my satisfaction.
The driver hastened the horses. With ever-increasing speed we passed the lowly cottages in the suburbs, where people were getting up and preparing breakfast by candle light, and at last the 'three grays' cantered triumphantly to the ---- Hotel--in time for breakfast, too!
There was not a moment to spare, however, and so, without waiting even to make my toilet, we hurried to the train.
The relief I experienced when fairly seated in the car, the excitement of finding myself in the world once more, among bustling, wide-awake people, stimulated me, and for some time I was unconscious of my fatigue.
The Englishman was to leave me at a station a few miles beyond Bangor, as his journey lay in a different direction. We exchanged cards, and I could not help saying, as we parted:
'I met you a stranger, but I have found in you a friend and a brother.'[A]
The Scotchman continued on to Boston with me.
His chivalrous and thoughtful consideration remained undiminished.
At last, after many intervals of lassitude and reanimation, I broke down altogether. My strength left me. Over-powered with grief and fatigue, I was glad to rest my weary head on my old plaid cloak, which the Scotchman rolled into a pillow for me in the saloon of the car, where I lay for the last six hours until we reached Boston.
Kind friends were there to meet me, and the Scotchman gave me into their charge, a poor, exhausted creature.
But I was in _time_--and that was enough.
[A] The accomplished author of 'Intuitive Morals,' in an article in _Fraser's Magazine_, entitled 'A Day at the Dead Sea,' takes occasion to render a high tribute to the courtesy of our countrymen. She writes:
'If at any time I needed to find a gentleman who should aid me in any little difficulties of travel, or show me a kindness, with that consideration for a woman, _as a woman_, which is the true tone of manly courtesy, then I should desire to find a North American gentleman.... They are simply the most kind and courteous of any people.'
It is with heartfelt pleasure that I return this compliment, in this account of my winter journey, which, but for the constant and delicate kindness of her countrymen, would have proved wellnigh insupportable.
DIARY OF FRANCES KRASINSKA;
OR, LIFE IN POLAND DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Yesterday, amid the drinking of toasts, the peals of joyous music, and the volleys of musketry from our dragoons in honor of the investiture of the Duke of Courland, the chamberlain despatched to Warsaw returned, with letters announcing that the ceremony had been delayed, on account of the king's illness: it has been postponed until the eighth of January. Our little Matthias says it is a bad omen, and that as the ducal crown eludes his grasp, so will a royal one. I felt quite uneasy,... but then there came several visitors, and they distracted my thoughts. After dinner came Madame Dembinska, wife of the king's cupbearer, with her sons and daughters; the pantler Jordan, with his wife and son, and M. Swidinski, Palatine of Braclaw, with his nephew, the Abbé Vincent. The latter gentleman has been several times at Maleszow; he is a very pious man; my parents love and esteem him very much. Although he is quite young, we kiss his hands as a minister of God. Barbara has completely won his good opinion; he has given her a rosary, and the 'Christian's Daily Manual.' He was seated next to her at supper, and even addressed his conversation to her twice. This is not at all astonishing, for Barbara is so good; besides, she is the eldest, and hence entitled to more politeness than the rest of us.
_Friday, January 5th._
The palatine and his nephew are still with us, and we are daily expecting other guests. The eldest of the palatine's sons is Starost of Radom, and the younger is a colonel in the king's army. The palatine, who has been a widower several years, has also two daughters, one married to Granowski, Palatine of Rawa, and the other recently wedded to Lauckorouski, Castellan of Polaniec. I am very curious to see the palatine's sons; they were educated at Luneville, in France; they must have an air and manner different from those of our young Poles.
The good King Stanislaus, though he dwells in a foreign land, is always seeking to be useful to his compatriots; several young Polish gentlemen are maintained and educated by him at Luneville. They receive the best instruction, and the sons of our first families strive for the honor, using the pretext of relationship, however distant, to obtain their desires. Indeed, they are quite right, for when one can say of a young man, He has studied at Luneville, and has been to Paris, he has certainly an excellent foundation for the beginning of his career. Every one feels quite sure that his manners will be irreproachable, that he can speak French, and dance the minuet and quadrilles. All the gentlemen who have been in France are very successful in society, and very pleasing to ladies.... Really, I am exceedingly curious to see the palatine's two sons!
Saturday, _January 6th._
They finally arrived yesterday afternoon, and do not in the least correspond to the idea I had formed of them, the starost less than his brother. I thought I should see a young, lively, and agreeable man, in short, a young man like Prince Cherry, in Madame de Beaumont's tales, who would speak French all the time; but I was quite mistaken. The starost is no longer young; he is thirty years old, and quite stout; he is not fond of dancing, and never speaks a single word of French. Every now and then he puts in a word or two of Latin, like my father. I am much better pleased with the colonel; he wears a uniform, is young, and says at least a few words in French.
To-day is Twelfth day, and Michael Chronowski will be emancipated before nightfall. They are baking a great cake in the kitchen, with a bean in it. Who will be king? Heavens, if I were to be queen! I should wear a crown on my head during the whole evening, and should bear absolute sway in the castle.... There would be plenty of dancing then, I'll answer for it!... But whether I command it or not, there must be dancing, I am sure, for a crowd of visitors has been pouring in ever since morning; the servants are grumbling, and the keeper of the table service is quite provoked. When he sees all the carriages standing on the square facing the church of Piotrkowicé, he says there is no end to work for him. As for me, I jump with joy; and so it is in this world, where some are happy from the very cause which makes the torment of others.
Sunday, _January 7th_.
How many people! The castle is so gay and lively! We amused ourselves finely. I was not queen, for Barbara got the bean, and when she saw it in her portion of the cake, she blushed to her very eyes. Madame, who was seated near her, announced the fact, and all the guests and attendants testified their satisfaction by loud shouts. Our little Matthias laughed and said: She who has the bean will marry Mr. Michael (kto dostal migdala dostanie Michala) a Polish proverb always repeated upon such occasions. It is also a common saying that when a young girl has it, she will be married before the end of the carnival. God grant that this prophecy may be verified, for then we shall have a wedding, and abundance of dancing!
I cannot become accustomed to the starost; his gravity does not please me; he would dance nothing yesterday but Polish dances. He never mentions Paris or Luneville, and takes no notice of young people; he never addresses to us any of those little gallantries which are the small change of good society; he talks only to our parents, plays cards, and reads the newspapers. I still continue to think that his brother is worth more than he; at least he is more sociable, he talks about Paris and Luneville, and is not so old.
But I am forgetting to relate the ceremonies accompanying Michael Chronowski's emancipation; I was quite diverted with them. When all the company had assembled in the great hall, my father took his place upon the highest seat; the folding doors were thrown open, and the steward, accompanied by several young courtiers, introduced the candidate for emancipation, very richly dressed in a full suit of new clothes. He knelt before my father, who touched his cheek lightly in sign of good will; he then fastened a sword at the young man's side, drank off a cup of wine, and presented him with a fine horse, accompanied by a groom, also well mounted and equipped. The two horses were in the castle court.
My father asked Chronowski if he preferred trying his fortune in the world or remaining in his service. Michael replied, timidly, that he was very happy in the castle, but would like to see more of his country, and ventured to ask a recommendation to Prince Lubomirski, Palatine of Lublin, my father's brother-in-law. His request was granted, my father slipped a roll of twenty gold ducats into his hand, and invited him to remain with us during the carnival. Chronowski seemed delighted with this proposition, and after paying his homage to my father and mother, he kissed the hands of all the ladies present; from that moment he was admitted into our society, and danced his best in Mazurkas and Cracroviennes with Barbara. He certainly dances very well, and my sister is equally graceful; it was charming to see them!
Monday, _January 8th._
The prophecy has been really fulfilled! Barbara is to be married at the termination of the carnival, and she is to marry Mr. Michael, for such is the name of the Starost Swidzinski. He asked Barbara's hand of my mother yesterday, and to-morrow they will be betrothed! Poor Barbara was all in tears when she came to tell us the great news; she shrinks from the idea of marriage, and it will be very painful to her to leave her parents and her home. But it would have been very unadvisable to have refused the match, when my father and mother assure her that she will be very happy. The starost seems to me a very pious, gentle, and upright man; his family is noble, ancient, and wealthy. What more is necessary?
The three brothers Swidzinski, Alexander, Michael, and Anthony, died as brave men should, near Chocim, under the command of the celebrated Chodkiewicz. This renown is a glory for those who still live. The starost's parents have already conferred upon him the entire ownership of the castle of Sulgostow. He holds, besides, a considerable starosty under the king's appointment, and expects soon to be a castellan. The Palatine Swidzinski and the Abbé Vincent have come to speed on the marriage; they desire it exceedingly. The palatine is charmed with Barbara, and I am sure he will love her dearly when he knows her better. The wedding will take place at the castle of Maleszow on the 25th of February. What fine balls and concerts we shall have! We will dance until we can scarcely stand. Barbara will be: Your ladyship the starostine. I shall be very sorry when I can no longer call her Barbara, dear Barbara.
I really feel quite remorseful at having described the starost so ill in my journal; however, I do not think I have said anything very offensive. I hope Barbara may be happy, and I think she will be, for she has always told me she did not like very young people; the starost is reasonable, and in my mother's opinion such men make the best husbands. If my mother says so, it must be true; but for my part, I much prefer gay and agreeable young men. One is certainly entitled to one's own individual taste.
I have not forgotten that this is the day selected for the investiture of the prince royal with the dukedom of Courland. The king's health is reëstablished. Colonel Swidzinski speaks in the highest terms of Prince Charles, whom he knows very well; but the palatine and his eldest son do not wish him to succeed his father; they say that the crown should be placed upon the head of a compatriot.
Wednesday, _January 10th._
The betrothal took place yesterday. Dinner was served at the usual hour. When Barbara entered the saloon my mother gave her a ball of silk to untwist; she was red as fire, and her eyes were fixed on the ground. The starost did not leave her a moment. Our little Matthias laughed with his malicious air, and gave vent to a thousand pleasantries, which diverted every one exceedingly; all laughed aloud, and although I did not understand the meaning of his jests, I laughed more than any one else. After dinner, Barbara seated herself in the recess by the window; the starost approached her, and said, aloud:
'Is it indeed true, mademoiselle, that you will oppose no obstacles to my happiness?'
Barbara replied, in a low and trembling voice:
'My parents' will has always been for me a sacred duty.'
Here the conversation ended.
When the chamberlains, attendants, and servants had retired, the palatine, followed by the Abbé Vincent, conducted the starost to my parents, who were seated on a sofa. The palatine addressed my father in the following words:
'My heart is penetrated with the sincerest affection and most profound esteem for the illustrious house of the Corvini Krasinski; I have always ardently desired that the modest arms of Polkozie might be united with the glorious and illustrious arms of Slepowron. My happiness is at its height on beholding that your highnesses will deign to grant me this great honor. Your daughter Barbara is a model of virtue and grace; my son Michael is the glory and consolation of my life; deign, then, to consent to the union of this young couple; deign to confirm your promise on this very day. Behold the ring which I received from my parents: I placed it upon the hand of my betrothed, who is, alas! now no more, but who will live eternally in my heart. Permit, then, that during a similar ceremony my son may offer it to your daughter, as a token of his affection and unalterable attachment.'
As he said these words, he placed the ring upon a silver dish held by the Abbé Vincent. The abbé also made a discourse, but he put so much Latin into it that I could not understand it.
My father replied to the two speeches in the following terms:
'I am most happy to confirm the promise I have made to you; I consent to the marriage of my daughter with the starost; I give her my blessing, and surrender to your honorable son all the rights I possess over her.'
'I unite in the desires and intentions of my husband,' added my mother. 'I give this ring to my daughter; it is the most precious jewel of our house. My father, Stephen Humiecki, received it from the hand of Augustus II, when he had fortunately succeeded in concluding the peace of Carlowitz, by which the Turks restored the fortress of Kamieniec-Podolski to the Poles. With this ring, which recalls so many dear remembrances, was I myself betrothed; I give it to my eldest daughter, with my blessing, and the hope that she may be as happy as I have been since my marriage.'
Thus saying, she placed on the dish a ring set with superb diamonds, enclosing a miniature of Augustus II.
'Barbara, come to me,' said my father; but the poor child was so confused, so agitated and trembling, that she could scarcely walk; I cannot understand how she moved even those few paces. At last, however, she placed herself at my father's side, and the Abbé Vincent gave them his benediction in Latin. One of the rings was given to the starost, and the other to my sister; her betrothed placed it upon the little finger of her left hand, called the heart finger (serdeczny). He then kissed Barbara's hand, and she in her turn presented her ring; but she was so much overcome that she found great difficulty in encircling the end of his finger with the glittering hoop. The starost again kissed her hand, after which he threw himself at my parents' feet, and swore to watch over the happiness of their beloved daughter.
The palatine kissed Barbara on the forehead, while the colonel and the abbé made her a thousand compliments, each more beautiful than the last. My father filled a great goblet with old Hungarian wine; he toasted the new couple, and all who were present drank by turns out of the same cup.
All this passed so solemnly and tenderly that I wept unrestrainedly.
'Do not weep, little Frances,' said Matthias, who was present at this scene; 'a year hence it will be your turn.'
A year would be too soon; but if it were in two years, I would not be sorry.
The whole Swidzinski family are so kind and attentive to Barbara! and my parents for the first time kissed her face when she bade them good night. Since yesterday, every one in the castle treats her with the greatest respect; all congratulate her, and she is overwhelmed with homage and compliments. Each one would like to be employed in her establishment; my father has given 1,000 Holland ducats to my mother, recommending her to do all for her daughter that she may think necessary. They consulted a long time over the trousseau that should be given to her. To-morrow Miss Zawistowska will go to Warsaw with the commissary, to make purchases. This Miss Zawistowska is a very respectable person; she is about thirty, and has lived in the castle ever since she was a child. There are in the storeroom four large chests filled with silver, destined for our use. My father had Barbara's brought to him and examined it carefully; this chest will be sent to Warsaw, that the silver may be cleaned.
The palatine and the starost leave us to-morrow. They go to Sulgostow, where they will make all the preparations necessary for Barbara's reception.
My father has had the customary letters written to announce the marriage, and will send them by the chamberlains to the various parts of Poland. The most distinguished among our chamberlains, and an equerry richly equipped, will depart in two days to carry letters to the king, the princes his sons, the primate, and the principal senators. My father announces the marriage, and begs them to give it their benediction; if he does not exactly invite them, he gives them to understand that he would feel highly honored by their presence. Ah! if one of the princes were to come--the Duke of Courland, for example--what a lustre it would throw upon the wedding! But they will merely send their representatives, as is usual upon such occasions.
The castle is in a state of constant activity; great preparations are making for the approaching festivities. The starost has displayed an unexampled generosity; he has made us all the most beautiful presents. He has given me a turquoise pin; Sophia has received a ruby cross; Mary, a Venetian chain, and even my parents have condescended to accept gifts from him. My father has a silver-gilt goblet, admirably chased; and my mother, a beautiful box made of mother-of-pearl mounted in gold. Even madame has not been forgotten, for she found a blonde mantle on her bed this morning; she praises the generosity of the Polish lords to the skies. But this is the only virtue she concedes to our nation, so that I cannot love madame; her injustice toward my countrymen repels me. We had yesterday a grand state supper; the orchestra played unceasingly, toasts were drunk in honor of the happy couple, and the dragoons fired numberless volleys of musketry; their captain gave them as their watchword for the day, 'Michael and Barbara.'
Barbara begins to take courage; she only blushes now when she looks at her ring; she hides it as much as she can; but it is of no use, for every one sees it, and the brilliants sparkle like stars.
This morning all the court went hunting, in accordance with the old custom, which renders this action of good omen to the wedded pair. Formerly before they set out, the betrothed was obliged to display her ankle to the hunters. God be praised that this custom no longer exists, for I am sure Barbara would have died of shame. But our little Matthias insisted upon the performance of this ceremony, saying that if it were omitted the chase would certainly be unfortunate. For once his prophecy failed; they killed a wild boar, two bucks, an elk, and many hares. The starost killed the wild boar with his own hand, and laid it at Barbara's feet.
My father had all the horses brought out of his stables for the hunters to ride upon. Among them was one of exceeding beauty, but so unmanageable that the best groom had never yet been able to mount him. The starost was confident he could control him, and, notwithstanding the terror of the spectators, he leaped on his back and guided him three times round the castle of Maleszow. It was truly a noble sight. Barbara was very pale; she trembled for her betrothed; but when she saw him so firmly seated on the fiery animal, the bright color returned to her cheek. From that moment I felt reconciled to the starost. In truth, he is not so bad; he looks well on horseback, and possesses that dauntless courage so dear to the heart of a woman. I must then forgive his ignorance of the minuet and quadrilles. My father gave the starost the horse he had so well merited, completely caparisoned, and with a groom to take care of him.
Sunday, _January 20th._
I have neglected my journal during the past week; we have been so busy with the preparations for the marriage; there are such crowds of people at the castle; every one is occupied doing the honors; both mornings and afternoons are passed in company. Our studies are laid aside--the chronology, the French grammar, and even Madame de Beaumont lie quiet and undisturbed in their places. We are busily engaged with our needles, because each one of us desires to make a present to Barbara. I am embroidering a morning dress, which will be charming; I even steal some hours from my sleep that I may the sooner finish it. Mary is embroidering a straw-colored muslin, with shaded silks mingled with gold thread, and Sophia is making a lovely toilet cover.
My mother is entirely occupied with the trousseau; she opens her wardrobes and chests, bringing out linen, cloth, furs, curtains, and tapestry. I help her as well as I can; she is sometimes good enough to ask my opinion; she is so scrupulous, so much afraid of not dividing our shares equally. She is so particular, that she even sends for the chaplain to judge of the exactness of the division. The tailors and lace-makers who have come from Warsaw to make up the trousseau will hardly be able to finish their work during the next month. The linen is all ready. The young ladies belonging to our suite have aided materially. They have been sewing at linen during the past two years, and now they are marking it with blue cotton. These poor girls will soon be very expert in making the letters B and K. The trousseau will be magnificent.
Barbara cannot conceive what she will ever be able to do with so many dresses! Until now none of us have ever had more than four at a time: two brown woollen ones, with black aprons, for every-day wear, a white one for Sundays, and a more elegant one for grand occasions, ceremonials, etc. We always found them quite enough, but my mother says that her ladyship the starostine will need an entirely different toilette from that required by Miss Barbara; that what was proper for a young girl will not be sufficient for a married woman.
I spoke of a ball of silk given to Barbara by my mother on the day of the betrothal; well, that was to make a purse for the starost. Barbara works at her purse from morning till night: the tangled silk was given her as a trial of her care and patience; for she must first wind the skeins without breaking them or dimming their lustre. She has succeeded admirably. Barbara may marry without doubt or fear; our little Matthias answers for her vocation.
The chamberlains and the equerry have departed with their letters of announcement. Barbara is terrified at the thought that the princes and lords of the court may perhaps come from Warsaw. What a child she is! As for me, I should be delighted! But I just remember--the investiture of the prince royal took place on the eighth of this month. The evening before the ceremony, our cousin, Prince Lubomirska, Palatine of Lublin and the prince royal's marshal, gave a magnificent ball. The dinners, balls, and concerts are said to have lasted more than a week. The new Duke of Courland made a speech in Polish, which produced an excellent effect. He is now regarded as an independent prince, and has shown both dignity and greatness of mind throughout this whole affair.
The _Polish Courier_ gave all the details of the ceremony. If I had had time I should have copied them, they interested me so deeply! But all these details are nothing to what I should have seen with my own eyes had I been there. What is description compared with one's own observation? I am really very glad of the final investiture of the prince; it is the only public matter which pleases and consoles me; all else seems to be in a most lamentable condition. While I am so diligently working at Barbara's morning dress I am forced to hear things which sadden me deeply. The chaplain reads the papers aloud to us, and I see that the republic loses daily in power and dignity; the neighboring powers invade it under divers pretexts; their troops pillage and devastate the country, while the Government refuses to interfere.... I dare not think of the future, but my father says we must enjoy the present. All speak in subdued tones of the woes which threaten Poland, and then dance and drink; the joyous festivals and banquets would deceive one into thinking the times must be prosperous. The Poles, perhaps, act like our little Matthias; when he is vexed he never lets the glass leave his hands, repeating always: He who pines, needs good wines (dobry trunek na frasunek); the sadder he is, the more he drinks.
Friday, _January 25th, 1759._
The starost arrived yesterday, and Barbara found on her table this morning two beautiful silver baskets filled with oranges and bonbons; she distributed them among us (her sisters) and the young ladies of the court; even the waiting women received their share. Our work is progressing; my morning dress is nearly finished.
My mother gives Barbara a bedstead with all its furniture. We have long had our flocks of geese and swans. There is a poor creature in the castle who can do nothing but pick down; poor Marina is so stupid that she is incapable of comprehending anything more difficult, and passes her whole life in this occupation. Each of us has her share of the down; Barbara will have two large feather beds, eight large pillows of goose down, and two small ones of swans' down. The pillows are made of stuff spun in the castle, and are to be covered with crimson damask, besides which they will have an upper case of Holland cambric, trimmed with lace. The young ladies of our suite have put a great deal of work upon them.
Saturday, _February 2d._
The starost remained a week at the castle, and left us yesterday. When he again returns, it will be to carry Barbara away with him. I cannot imagine her going off alone with a stranger, it is truly inconceivable; I must see it with my own eyes before I can believe it.
Barbara seems to feel daily more and more esteem and friendship toward the starost. He, however, rarely addresses her; all his conversation is directed to our parents--his cares and attentions are exclusively for them. I am told that this is the proper way for a well-bred man to make his court, and that he should win the heart of his betrothed by pleasing her family.
In three weeks the wedding will take place. My sisters and I have each a new dress, presented to us by Barbara; she has given a dress to all the young girls in the castle.
Nearly all the persons invited to the wedding have accepted; but the king and the princes, to my great regret, will merely send their representatives.
I doubt whether the palatiness, Princess Lubomirska, can come; she will find difficulty in leaving Warsaw at the present time. She approves highly of Barbara's marriage, and has written her a charming letter of congratulation; my father is delighted.
My morning dress will be finished in time; but then I have worked unceasingly, that is, as much as I could; for my mother is constantly calling upon me; she is so kind to me, and condescends to make use of my services in all her preparations. Until now, Barbara alone was consulted and had confidence placed in her, as being the eldest; this happiness was her right, but my good parents desire that I should now take her place. I have already been twice intrusted with the key of the little room where the cordials and sweet-meats are kept; that gives me importance. I have consequently assumed a graver air; every one must see that I have grown a year older. I will try to imitate Barbara, so that when the starost takes her away my parents may not feel her loss too deeply. I have plenty of good will, but shall I be able to satisfy them?
Tuesday, _February 12th._
It seems that the splendor and magnificence displayed at the investiture had never before been equalled. The Warsaw gazettes are never weary of dilating upon this subject.
The guests begin to arrive; people are pouring in from the most distant quarters. Notwithstanding the number and size of the apartments, it will be impossible to lodge all in the castle; preparations have been made in the village, in the priest's house, and even in the better class of huts belonging to the peasants, to receive some of our guests.
The cooks and confectioners are all busy; the laundry is in a state of unceasing activity; the trousseau is nearly finished; and the bedsteads, two cases filled with mattresses, pillows, and carpets, a box of silver, and a thousand other things, were sent off to Sulgostow this morning. The bedsteads are of iron and beautifully wrought; the curtains are of blue damask, and fastened to the four corners by bunches of ostrich plumes.
Barbara ought to kiss both the feet and the hands of our parents, who have given her so many precious things. My father has inscribed an exact list of the trousseau in a large book, preceded by the words which I here copy, lest I should forget them:
'List of the trousseau which I, Stanislaus, of the Corvini Krasinski, etc., etc., and my wife Angelica Humiecka, give to our dear and well beloved daughter Barbara, on the occasion of her marriage with His Excellency, Michael Swidinski, Starost of Radom. We implore the blessing of Heaven upon our dear child, and we bless her with parental affection in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.'
I do not copy the list of the trousseau, for I have no time; I shall, besides, be one day obliged to do it upon my own account.
Wednesday, _February 20th._
Well! time flies, and the wedding will take place in five days. The starost arrived yesterday evening. Barbara trembled like a leaf in an autumn wind when he was announced by the chamberlain. We expect to-day the palatine, the colonel, the Abbé Vincent, and the Palatine Granowski, with the palatiness, the starost's sister. Madame Lanckoronska, the starost's second sister, cannot come to Maleszow; she is in Podolia with her husband. Barbara is really sorry, for she is very anxious to know her, every one speaks so highly of her. My sister is about entering into a good family; all the persons composing it are pious and honorable; they show her the most unbounded attention, and pay her homage as if she were a queen.
The trousseau is entirely finished; all that could not be sent to Sulgostow has been deposited in chests, of which Miss Zawistowska keeps the keys. Barbara is very well pleased that she is to take Miss Zawistowska with her; she has been accustomed to see her ever since she was a child, and, when far away from her mother, will be very happy to have near her a careful person whom she can trust, and with whom such dear remembrances are linked.
She will also be accompanied by several of our suite. She will have two chamberlains, two young girls (her god-daughters) who embroider beautifully, a waiting woman, and a young lady companion. The latter is of an excellent family, and is endowed with infinite wit and good sense; her name is Louisa Linowska: she has lived in the castle several years, and Barbara is passionately fond of her. There are several other young girls desirous of entering the service of the future lady starostine; if my parents would consent, she would soon have a dozen at least. When I marry, I will take a still larger number into my service; I have already promised three of our young girls that I will take them with me. One is the daughter of Hyacinth, keeper of the table furniture. The poor man made me a profound bow, and his brows unbent for the first time in his life.
Sunday, _February 24th._
To-morrow will be Barbara's wedding day. What a crowd there will be! The minister Borch, the king's representative, has arrived, as also Kochanowski, son of the Duke of Courland's castellan, and the duke's favorite. Kochanowski is a very accomplished young man; one may truly say: As the master, so the man (iaki pan taki kram).
The invitations were issued for yesterday evening, and every one has been exact in coming. The arrival of the guests was magnificent; everything had been prepared for their reception; expresses announced their coming, and our dragoons, all ranged in battle array, presented arms to each lord as he appeared. The cannon were discharged, and the musketry kept up a rolling fire, while at intervals were heard joyous peals of music. I never witnessed any scene so beautiful, so animated, and imposing as that of the reception. One may well believe that the most especial honors had been reserved for the king's representative. My father awaited him with uncovered head upon the drawbridge, and before he reached the castle he was obliged to pass through a double file of courtiers, guests, and attendants. He received profound salutations from right and from left, and the hurrahs seemed never ending.
The contract of marriage was signed to-day amid a large concourse of persons, and in presence of the appointed witnesses. I do not understand the forms of the document, but I do know that the young bride's presents are superb and in the best taste. The starost has given her three strings of Oriental pearls and a pair of diamond earrings with drops. The palatine's gifts are a diamond cross, an aigrette, and a diadem; the colonel, always amiable and gallant, has presented her with a charming watch and chain from Paris. The Abbé Vincent's gifts are worthy of himself, consisting of certain precious relics. She is indeed overwhelmed with kindness.
Barbara has never worn any jewelry; until now, her only ornament has been a little ring bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin; she will certainly not lay that aside, notwithstanding all her pretty new things.
But I must stop writing, for here comes my morning dress, all nicely bleached and ironed. The embroidery makes an excellent effect; I must put the last stitches into the dress and then carry it to Miss Zawistowska, that she may offer it to Barbara to-morrow when she dresses; how lovely she will look in the pretty white morning dress!
THE SLEEPING PERI.
LINES SUGGESTED BY PALMER'S STATUE.
Lo! upon the stone reposing, Dewy sleep her eyelids closing, Rests the Fay; Wearily hath the exile wandered, Sadly o'er her sorrow pondered, All the day.
Flinty pathways, lone and dreary, Quite unmeet for foot of Peri, Soft and fair;-- Heavy air with vapors laden, Shrinking, fragile wings from Aidenn May not dare;--
Such the gifts our planet proffers, Such the thorny home she offers Spirits fine: Artists, poets, earthward sent us, Heavenly natures, briefly lent us, Droop like thine!
Happy if, amid their dreaming, They can feel the glories streaming From above;-- See the light, and hear the flowing, Gushing anthems--melting, glowing Strains of love!
Happy Peri! faintly smiling; Quivering lip, the sense beguiling, Dimpled cheek, Form ethereal, heavenly moulded, Shadowing eyelids, soft wings folded Rest to seek,--
All betray thee, young immortal, Eden's child, without its portal Doomed to roam! Yet thy spirit sees the glory, Hears entranced the rapturous story Of thy home.
Who, O Fay, would dare to wake thee, From ecstatic visions take thee But to weep? Softly dreaming, waking never Till thy dreams are truths forever, Sweetly sleep!
MY LOST DARLING.
The boom of cannon in the distance, flags floating gaily in the bright morning air, strains of martial music filling it, a waving of caps and handkerchiefs, shouts in the streets below, and the tramp of many feet. A regiment is passing! To a stern fate, that beckons darkly in the distance, these patriots are moving, with firm, determined tread--to long, exhausting marches, and fireless bivouac; to hunger and cold; to sufferings in varied forms; to wounds and imprisonment; _to death_! God knows when and how they are going;--and, amid the doomed throng slowly passing, the bright face of my darling smilingly upturned to mine. I wave my hand and kiss it; my handkerchief is wet through and through.
He came to me but an hour since, decked in his uniform (a lamb decked for the slaughter). 'I'm a lieutenant now,' he said, tapping his shoulder gaily; 'I shall rival Sam Patch at a leap, and jump to the head at once. Three months is enough to make a colonel of me.' And so, with his young heart beating high and warm, upborne by wild hopes like these, he held me to his heart at parting, and went away quite joyously, my poor darling! shedding only a few tears in sympathy with mine. I watch his form until I lose it in the mass before me; then I watch the mass moving slowly, slowly on, bearing him away from me; till the heavy tramp dies out upon the air, and the dark mass, growing less and less, becomes a dim speck in the distance; and the music wanes, and wanes, and dies out also, and in the still air about me only the voice of the wind is heard: coming and going at long, lazy intervals, it speaks to my inner sense with a warning note, a low requiem sound. Why is it that it takes that weird tone always when sorrow is darkly waiting for me in the future? What prophet's voice speaks to me in it? What invisible thing without addresses its wild warning to the invisible within? As I listened, my soul grew chill and dark with the shadow of a coming gloom; my heart grew cold. God help me! How wildly, how almost despairingly I prayed for my darling's life!
Alone in the world, we were all in all to each other. Mine was a wild, exclusive love. Heart and soul were bound up in him. Other girls had their lovers; my fond heart beat for him alone. What tie nearer and dearer than the tie of blood united us? What bond, sacred and invisible, bound our souls together? I know not; I only know that my heart and mind echoed always the thoughts and moods of his; that, no matter what dreary distance lay between us, our souls held communication still; that I rejoiced when he was glad; and wept when I said, 'He is sorrowful to-day.' He had gone away gay and hopeful, and had left me weeping--oppressed by vague fears and chill forebodings, my heart could not echo _now_ the happy mood of his. Wild and weird, all that dreary day, the wind moaned its warning; and the sad echo sounded through other dreary days that followed this; and dreary nights came also, when I prayed and wept, and covered the pictured face with tears and kisses--when I cried, 'God keep my precious one, and bring my darling back to me;' and that was all my prayer;--when I sank to fitful slumbers, and wildly dreamed of shell and cannon ball, and bullets thick as hail, of foes met in deadly fray, of shielding my darling's form with mine--there, where all was smoke and darkness and blood and horror--and dying gladly in his stead. Or the scene changed from horror to desolation, and, with a dreadful sense of isolation on me, alone in the darkness I wandered up and down, blindly searching for him I never found; or finding him, perhaps, covered with ghastly wounds, and dead, quite dead; and then starting broad awake with horror at the sight.
God help us! us women, with our wild, inordinate affections, when Death waits in ambush for our darlings, whom we are powerless to save from the smallest of life's ills and perils! A letter came at last, eight dear pages, with all the margins filled. Long, confidential, loving, with just a thought of sadness in it; a slight, almost imperceptible shadow resting on the glowing hopes with which he left; yet bright withal, bright like himself. The charm of novelty was potent yet. How I read it o'er and o'er, this first dear message from him; how I kissed the senseless thing; how my tears fell upon it; how day and night I wore it on my heart, until another took its place!
They came at stated intervals _now_, and as the time wore on, and their tone changed, little by little, I knew that the hard life he led began to tell upon him--that, petted, fondled, cherished as he had been, unfitted for hardship of any kind, they grew at times almost too great for calm endurance. He never complained, my grand, brave boy; he spoke of them lightly always, sometimes jestingly, but he could not deceive that fine interior sense. I knew there were times when he turned heartsick from the wild life that claimed him; I could see how his noble nature shrank from all that was coarse and revolting in it; how he longed for fireside joys and sweet domestic peace, and pined with dreary homesickness; how his heart cried out for me in the melancholy night. And then even this comfort, that had softened the dull, longing pain within, was denied me--no letters came. Mail after mail went and came, and I grew feverish with suspense. I imagined him beset by ghastly perils, and, with torturing uncertainty wearing my very life away, I watched and waited as women are wont to do. Then dark rumors were afloat of foes making a desperate advance, and of bloody battle pending. One night a horror fell upon my troubled sleep--an appalling gloom, a shuddering, suffocating sense of some impending doom. Battling fiercely and blindly with this dread, invisible something, I awoke in deadly fright, to find the terror no less clear to my perceptions, no less palpable and real, and to wrestle with it still. Some blind instinct in me called aloud for air; with difficulty mastering an almost overpowering impulse to rush out into the night, I flew to the window, raised it, and looked out. A fierce storm was raging--a storm of whose very existence I had until that moment been unconscious. The thunder rolled, and muttered, and broke in wild, fearful crashes. Sheets of lightning every instant lighted up the blackness, and made the sky terrific. Gushes of wind and rain wet and chilled me through and through. Unmindful of it, with that fine interior sense aroused, I listened with all my soul--not to the thunder's fearful voice, to the wild beating of the storm, or to the wind's melancholy moaning, but to _something_ on the tempestuous air, and yet a stranger to it.
There came a lull in the storm at last, and then, O God! O God! through the sullen gloom, his voice was calling to me. Now faint and low, as if his life was ebbing; then raised in agony, wild with supplication and sharp with pain. I saw him covered with gaping wounds, on a hideous field, piled with slain and soaked with blood. I went mad, I think: I have a vague remembrance of rushing out into that fearful storm, undressed as I was, with wild resolve to follow the sound of the voice, to reach him somehow, or die in the mad attempt; of being brought back, shut up in my room, and a sort of guard placed over me; of making wild attempts to rush out again, and struggling ineffectually with those that held me back--of raving wildly; then of long and dreamless slumbers, when I had become exhausted, and the sharp agony was past; of rousing myself to go about in a listless, apathetic way, waiting with dulled sense for lists of killed and wounded; of the doctor bringing the paper to me and saying, with his face all light: 'He is not dead; you will find his name among the wounded;' of finding where he was, eluding their vigilance, and travelling night and day until I reached the place. All this seems vague and unreal, as a half-forgotten dream--too dim and lifeless for memory. Entire change of scene, new sights and faces, and, more than all, the conviction that the time had come for action _now_, and that _he_ would need me, roused me from this misty state a little. When I landed at the place, I think I recovered the clear consciousness of my surroundings, while standing in the provost-marshal's office (the city was under military rule) waiting my turn to speak.
Then I thought for the first time what a mad thing it was in me to have come at all--at least, to have come in the way I had come; I, so unpractical, so wofully lacking in that sterling common sense, that potent weapon with which women battled successfully with the stern realities of life; and thinking, too, with a dull pain at my heart, that doubtless my darling would suffer by reason of my ignorance and inability. I studied the mass of strange faces about me, thinking to which I would turn for help, if help were needed. After reading them, one after another, and rejecting them, I turned at last to a group in front of me, and singled out one that was addressing the others, a man of consequence among them--at least a certain superiority of air and manner led to that conjecture. He had a fine open face, whose expression changed continually; and the more I studied the face, the more I placed a blind trust and reliance in it. Attracted by the magnetism of a fixed gaze, probably, his eyes wandered from the group about him, after a little while, wandered aimlessly about the room, and then met mine. Seeing that I was watching him, or observing, perhaps, that I was suffering, though, Heaven knows, the sight of misery of all kinds _there_ was common enough, he crossed the room and came to me. 'You may be obliged to wait some time longer yet,' he said, in a tone of hearty kindness; 'you look ill, madam. You had better sit down.' He found a chair and brought it to me. He was on the point of leaving, but I grasped his arm as he turned to go. 'If you have any influence here,' I said, in a half-distracted way, 'tell the clerk, tell somebody to let my turn come next. My brother is here and wounded; I have travelled night and day to get to him; it's dreadful to be so near, and yet to wait and wait.' He turned in grave surprise, and looked at me narrowly, fancying, from my incoherency, I was taking leave of my senses possibly. 'Your name, young lady?' he said, at last. I gave it, 'Margaret Dunn.' He started at the name, and a heavy shadow came over his face: 'And your brother,' he said, hurriedly, 'is Lieutenant Dunn, of the Fifty-fifth Illinois Volunteers, Company A? I am surgeon of the Fifty-fifth; I know him well. He was a brave fellow, and as fine, manly, and handsome a fellow as one need wish to see.' He ended with a sigh, and mingling with the shadow there came a look of pity in his face. The past tense, which I am sure he used unconsciously; the look of pity; the sigh but half suppressed, overpowered me with dread. 'He has not died of his wounds?' I gasped, grasping his arm convulsively, 'O God! he is not dead?' 'He is alive,' said the doctor, gravely. 'Father, I thank Thee, Thou hast heard my prayer!'
The sudden transition from that mortal dread of death to the blessed certainty of life was too much; my joy was too great; forgetful of my surroundings, unmindful of his presence, I wept and sobbed aloud. When I had controlled my emotion in a measure, or at least their stormy outward manifestation, I found the doctor regarding me with the same grave face. 'You should not have come here in your present weak, excited state,' he said, at last, 'or, rather, you should not have come at all. From sights and sounds of a hospital, even strong men turn with a shudder. It's no place for a delicate woman.' 'He is there,' I murmured, tremulously; 'I can suffer anything for those I love.' Regarding me in silence for a moment, he looked as if taking my measure. 'These women that _can_ bear,' he said, with a sigh, 'sometimes overrate their powers of endurance.' 'Do you think I shall have to wait much longer? do you think I can go soon now?' I questioned, appealingly, breaking the silence that had fallen between us. 'No, you must wait your turn,' said the doctor, decidedly; 'besides, you are not calm enough yet; the surgeons are at work in the ward where we are going. They are taking off a man's limb--two or three of them, for that matter. I shan't take you there until the operations are finished.' Then first came the horrid thought that _he_ might be mutilated in the same way. Vague, indistinct, dreadful visions uprose before me, of all sorts and kinds of horrid disfigurement, and I grew sick and faint. 'Not _his_ limb!' I gasped, struggling with a deathly faintness. 'No, not his,' said the doctor, sorrowfully. The same cloud was still there that had settled on his face when he first spoke of him; the same pity for me shining through it. 'There is a room here where the ladies go when they have long to wait. You had better go in there and rest yourself. I will bring you some tea and something light and palatable in the shape of food, and you must eat and drink. Confiscated property, you see,' he said, as he entered; 'a rebel family walked out, and we walked in; comfortable quarters.' I noticed then there was a carpet on the floor, sofa, mirrors, and other comforts. 'Sit down,' said the doctor. He had taken the tone of command with me--a tone I would have resented at any other time; now, nerveless and weak, relying on him solely, I obeyed him like a sick child. He brought the tea, watched me while I drank it, looked on while I choked down tears and food together. He ordered me to go to sleep, and left me. Doubtless even this command had its effect. Things grew dreamy and indistinct after a while; perhaps I slept a little; but the time seemed very, very long. At last his tap at the door roused me from this half-conscious state. 'Ready?' he briefly questioned, as he looked in, a moment after. I said yes, tremulously: now that the time had come, I trembled so I could scarcely keep my feet. He gave me his arm as we went out together. 'It's not far,' he said, encouragingly, 'just across here.' The fresh air did me good. Quite likely, the conversation he perseveringly maintained on indifferent subjects, in spite of my random replies, was also of service to me. I grew calmer as we went along. The distance was but short, and we soon reached the place of our destination--a large hotel, which had been hurriedly converted into a hospital.
'Come,' said the doctor, pausing with his hand upon the door, and turning to me, 'cheer up! There is no misery, after all, but what is in the comparative degree. Things are never so bad but that they may have been worse. I dare say, on occasion you can be a brave little woman.'
'I can,' I returned, eagerly, too grateful for his penetration, or at least his good opinion, and too sad and abstracted altogether, to notice that he was paying me a compliment. 'I can, indeed; indeed, you haven't seen the best part of me.'
He smiled just the ghost of a smile in answer, as we went in. He led me through several rooms into what had been a large dining hall--a chill, bare, desolate place. Cots were ranged up and down the room, cots across it, cots filled up the centre, and all, _all_ filled with sick and wounded men. I thought if I was once in the room with my brother, some instinct would lead me to him; but I felt no drawing toward any one of those miserable bedsides, and a chill of disappointment fell upon me. 'Take me to the ward where my brother is lying,' I said to the doctor, pleadingly, 'ah, pray do!' 'This _is_ the ward,' he replied, but he did not take me to him. He stopped at every cot we passed. Of my burning impatience, which he could not choose but see, of the urgent and almost passionate appeals I made to hasten his progress, he took no notice whatever. He stopped almost every moment; he felt the pulse of one patient, questioned another, dealt out medicine here and there--took his own time for everything. We stopped at last where, on the outside of the coverlet, lay a wounded soldier, half dressed; a poor, mutilated creature; a leg and an arm were gone. The face was turned toward the wall, away from us; not a muscle moved; he was sleeping, probably. 'Take me to my brother,' I piteously moaned, shuddering with horror as I turned from the unaccustomed sight. 'I have waited so long; do take me to my brother.' 'This is somebody's brother!' said the doctor, sharply. Something in the tone, not the sharpness of it--something half familiar in the broken outline of the form, caused a half-suffocating sense of a vague, unutterable horror. A deathly faintness seized me; I sank into a chair beside the bed. The doctor gave me water to drink--hastily and silently sprinkled some water upon my head and face. There was a movement of the poor maimed form upon the bed--he gave me a warning look--the face turned toward us. It was my darling's! 'My life!' Shivering and shuddering I threw myself upon the narrow bed beside him, clasped my poor darling in my arms, and held his stricken heart to mine. The hard, defiant look upon his features melted into one of tenderness--down the worn face the tears fell slowly. 'I didn't know as you would love me just the same,' he said. It was his right arm that was gone. Calling him by every endearing name with wild expressions of affection, I wiped the tears tenderly away, covering the dear face with kisses, while my own fell fast. The doctor left us together for a little--albeit used to scenes like this, wiping _his_ eyes as he went away.
A gust of bitter passion swept over my darling. He started up. 'Rascally rebels!' he cried; 'cursed bullets! Why couldn't they have been aimed at my heart, and _killed_ me! I was willing to give my life--but to make a wreck, a broken hull of me! Look at me, Maggie, a poor, maimed wretch. What am I fit for? Who will care for me _now?_ To be an object of loathing!' he continued, between his set teeth; 'to be a sight of horror; to win, perhaps, after she gets used to the deformity, a little meagre love for charity's sake; to be scorned, and loathed, and pitied; if I could get only off from the face of the earth--out of the sight of men; if God would let me die!' Wounded sorely as he was, his boyish vanity in his really handsome person, his manly pride in its strength, was more sorely wounded still. Yes, strangers _would_ think him a sight to behold: had not even I turned shuddering from that disfigured form, before I knew it was my darling's? He _was_ ruined for life, and he was young too--only nineteen. He was very weak, and this passionate outbreak of feeling had exhausted him. It was but a flash of his old fire at best. His head sank back upon my arm again; he lay with his eyes closed, resting for a little; when he spoke again, his voice was low and wavering, tremulous with tears.
'I wouldn't care so much, only----' He paused, hesitated, drew with difficulty a little locket from his bosom, and gazed upon it tearfully. A jealous pain shot through my heart. I had thought until that moment that I was all in all to him, first in his affections, as he was in mine; that no rival shared his heart. _This_ was the bitterest pang of all. I looked down at the beautiful face set in the locket, perfect as to form and color, with such a fierce hatred of its original as I hope in God's name I shall never feel again for any mortal breathing.
'It's all over between us,' he sighed; 'even if I were ungenerous enough to ask it, she wouldn't receive me now.' My face spoke my scorn. 'Don't blame her,' he said, pathetically; 'it isn't natural she should, poor little thing! This for what she might have been to me.' Then, he kissed the pictured face, and sorrowfully laid it back again upon his heart. 'I thought to go back to her a colonel at least--a general, perhaps,' he went on, with a piteous smile; 'to be crowned with laurels, loaded with honors and proudly claim her as my bride: I little thought that this would be the end!' It was a man's grave comment on a boy's wild dream. He had buried his youth in those two weeks of anguish. It was a man's face that looked upon me, and I read in it a man's strong endurance and stern resolve. That, and the smile with which he said it, moved me more than any emotion, however hopeless or despairing, could have done. My grief burst forth anew.
Dearer, a thousand times dearer, now that love had left him, and youthful friends turned coldly away. Ah! thank God! bless God! There are none so dear to each other, so inexpressibly dear, as those whom sorrow joins; no tie that binds so closely as the sacred bond of suffering. I said so brokenly, sobbing out my love and sorrow, as I held him to my heart. His longing for home had been intense; now that he had seen me, it became wellnigh insupportable. To go away from this his place of suffering--from the myriad eyes bent upon him here, and creep back broken-hearted to that sacred sheltering haven, and hide his great grief there--this wish absorbed him quite. 'I want to go home, Maggie,' he said, in a broken-hearted whisper, clinging to me the while; 'I want to go home and die.' Die! I wouldn't hear the word; I stopped its half-formed utterance with tears and kisses. The doctor shook his head at the suggestion and counselled delay; but he was burning with impatience, and I was resolute. We started the very next day. We travelled by easy stages, but he grew weaker all the time: toward the last, with his head upon my breast, he would sleep for hours, peacefully as a little child. Reduced to almost infant weakness when we reached our journey's end, they took him in their arms tenderly as they would have taken an infant, and laid him on my bed. There, in that darkened room, I nursed him night and day, striving to win him back to thoughts of life, and love of it. 'It's too late, Maggie,' he would say, with placid resignation; 'life has nothing for me, dear; I want to go to sleep--to that long, dreamless sleep, where memory never wakes to haunt us!' But I couldn't bear it--I wouldn't have it so. I bade him think of how _my_ heart would break if he, too, died and left me! In my earnest love, I called Heaven to witness that I was ready not only to die for him, if need be, but to do a better, nobler thing, God helping me--to live for him; eschewing other ties, to devote my life and heart to this one affection. We had wealth, thank God! (I never thanked God for that before.) We would go to far-off lands as soon as he was able--away from old sights and scenes, where no familiar object would recall the past, and where, cut off from all association, we could be all and all to each other; and, with ardent hope, I commenced immediate preparations for our voyage. I read him books of travel; showed him the half-finished garments intended for our journey; purchased all things needful, even to the books we would read upon the way--richly paid for toilsome endeavor, for days of patient waiting, if I but roused in him even a passing interest in the subject, won from him but the shadow of a smile. Ah! even those days had their gleams of sunshine. I was his only nurse, his sole dependence, his all; there was exquisite happiness in that! I said to myself, he is mine now, and always will be; and then I thought of the fair face so lovingly resting against the weary heart, and grew exultant, Heaven forgive me! and said, 'Nothing will take him from me now.' One day he rallied very suddenly. A portion of his old vigor seemed to animate his frame; something of the old look was in his face. He took my hand and laid it tenderly against his cheek; he smiled twice during the morning; I kissed him and said, 'We shall be able to start soon now, my darling!' The doctor gravely watched us both, but I would not let his gravity disturb me. He called me to him as he left the room. As I went out, the dear brown eyes were watching me. I turned to nod and smile to him, saying blithely, as I joined the doctor, 'Don't you think we shall be able to start in three weeks, doctor?' 'Shut the door, my dear,' he said; I had left it ajar. The tone startled me. There was compassion in it; and I noticed now that he was walking up and down the room in an agitated way. 'My dear,' he said again, 'you had better take a seat farther from the door.' His voice was hoarse this time--his tone, his air, his unwonted tenderness, were ominous. 'What is the matter?' I said, in sudden fear; 'can't we go as soon as we have intended?'
He did not answer me at first; he walked to the window and looked out; he turned to me again after a little:
'He is bound on a longer voyage,' he said, with a tremor in his voice; 'he is going to a more distant country.'
I did not start or cry; I did not comprehend the meaning of his words. I sat silent, looking at him. He came to me, took both my hands in his: 'Hush!' he said; 'don't cry aloud--it would disturb him. But I must tell you the truth: he won't live three days.' I understood it all now--took in the _full_ meaning of his dreadful words. I did not cry or faint; I did not even weep; I thought my heart was bleeding--that the blood was actually oozing from it drop by drop. I clung to the doctor as I would to the strong arm of an earthly saviour with wild entreaty, with passionate appeal. I prayed him to save my darling, as if he held within his grasp the keys of life and death. I offered all my wealth; I made unheard-of vows--promised impossible things. In the anguish of my supplication, I fell at his very feet. 'My dear,' he said, as he raised me tenderly up again, 'even in this world there is a limit to wealth's potent power; it is always powerless in a time like this.' I had sunk into a chair, exhausted by emotion, and chill with dread, my face buried in my hands despairingly. He laid his hand upon my head in fatherly compassion: 'It's what we've all got to come to, sooner or later,' he went on, tremulously. 'As life goes on, our hopes die out one by one; and, one after another, death claims our treasures. Bow to what is inevitable; pray for resignation.'
I couldn't--I wouldn't. I prayed for _his_ life, yet in a hopeless, despairing way. To the All-powerful my soul went out continually in one wild, desperate cry. I battled fiercely with that stern impending fate, yet I felt from the first how vainly. Around my poor, wounded, dying boy, night and day I hovered constantly--I would not leave him for an instant. Every hour was bearing him away from me--drifting him farther and farther out into an unknown sea. I crept to his side when I could do nothing more for him, and laid my head beside his on the pillow. Sometimes I slept there for very sorrow, grasping him instinctively the while, seeking even in sleep, with fierce, rebellious will, to stem the invisible tide of that dark river, and bear him back to life. 'He would not live three days,' the doctor had said: he _did_ live just _three days._ It was on the evening of the third, just as the day was fading, that he called me softly to him. I had opened the window and put back the curtain, to admit the air and the waning light.
The wind rose as the twilight deepened, waking at intervals in the gloomy stillness, as if from sleep. It filled the room every now and then with a sad, sighing sound, then died out slowly, again to swell, again to fall, sad as the tolling of a funeral knell. He lay listening to it when I went to him, with parted lips and strange solemnity of face. Too heart-broken for speech, I knelt beside him with a stifled moan. 'Magsie,' (that was his pet name for me,) 'I thought it was your notion, dear, but there is a voice in the wind to-night, and it is calling me.' I made an effort to answer him, to speak; to tell him at the last how precious he had always been to me--how inexpressibly dear; to win from him some parting word of fond endearment that I might remember always; but the words died out in hoarse, inarticulate murmurs. 'Yes, a voice _is_ calling to me, and it falls through miles and miles of air; then the wind takes it up and brings it to me. They want me up there, and I am going, Magsie; kiss me, dear.' The one arm stole around my neck; the chilled lips met mine in a lingering farewell pressure. He went on, feebly: 'I have been wild and wayward, Magsie, in the times gone by; I have grieved your great love sometimes, by giving you a cross word or look, not meaning it, dear, never meaning it, but because a perverse mood seized me. Forgive me, dear; don't remember it against me, sister!' Words came at last; they burst forth in a low moan of anguish: 'My darling! my darling! you break my heart!' Then my poor boy crept closer to me, in a last fond effort at endearment, and laid his cold cheek close against my own. The gloom deepened. The form within my clasp grew cold, became a lifeless weight. I knew it, but I could not lay it down. I still chafed the pulseless hand, and kissed it, and still I pressed the poor, maimed, lifeless form closer and closer to my heart, till reason fled, and I remember nothing. They unwound the chilled arm from about my neck; they thought I, too, was dead.... With muffled drumbeat and martial music, with horrid pomp of war, they buried my darling as soldiers are buried that die at home; but on the grave over which was fired the parting volley there fell no kindred's tear: I, the only mourner, lay _raving_ in my room.
Wintry winds have piled the dreary snow above that grave; spring has kissed it into bloom and verdure; summer skies have smiled above it; and the maimed form they laid there has melted into nothing _now!_ Time has softened the despair of my grief--the worst bitterness is past.
Through the gloomy portals of that dark gate of suffering, an unseen Hand has led me out into a broader and a higher life; and the heart that held darling _only_, purged from its selfishness by the fierce fire of affliction, beats now for all humanity. Hearts whose love and gratitude God has given me the power to win, say, out of the fulness of their love for me, that a ministering angel is among them in woman's guise; that no hand is half so lavish in its gifts, no heart so full of sympathy, no watcher's form so constant beside the couch of pain. The sick follow me with murmured prayer and blessing; and wounded soldiers turn to kiss my shadow as I pass. Yet ever as the twilight falls I steal away to listen to the night wind's moaning, and ever in the gloom I feel an unseen presence--an arm about my neck--a cheek laid close to mine. Journeying on the lonely, rugged path of duty, 'following meekly where His footsteps lead,' I work and wait, and patiently abide my time--content if, when the welcome summons come, when life's day is fading, I may feel my darling's face pressed close to my own. He may not come to me, but I shall go to him, where he may wear his glorified body forever!
REASON, RHYME, AND RHYTHM.
The Divine Attributes, the base of all true Art.
Having already shown that the aspirations of man, made in the image of his God, are always directed toward that wondrous background from which all life projects--the Infinite, we now propose to make a few remarks upon the manifestation of some of the remaining attributes revealed to him, and which he is forever striving to incarnate in the works of art.
Beauty, in its proper expression, must be allied to or suggest the Infinite, for in it alone can ceaseless _variety_ be united with absolute _unity_. Unity is an essential characteristic of life itself; variety resolving itself into unity, and unity expanding itself into variety, mark all that God has made. As a necessary consequence of the position we have assumed, viz.: 'That art is not a servile copy, but rather a creation of man in the Spirit of Nature,' _Variety and Unity_ must characterize every great work of art, as they mark every work of the Creator. Let us take any of the humblest things which He has made, a flower, for example: Unity, Order, Proportion, and Symmetry are in all its fragile leaves--the Great Over-Soul seems to have lingered lovingly over the elaboration of its idea, and stamped upon its fragrant leaves, perishing and trivial as they may seem, the secrets of Infinity! With what variety it is marked! How many shades in the gradations of the color! What infinitesimal changes in the direction of the gentle curvature of the rounded lines! what richness in the details! what subtle and penetrating tenderness in the perfume! _Love_, _Infinity_, _Unity_, _Order_, _Proportion_, _Symmetry_, mark all the Divine Works: _Unity_, _Order_, _Proportion_, _Symmetry_, _Love_, as manifested in the careful rendering of the subject in hand, with the suggestion of that mystic Infinite in which all being is cradled, and from which all art is nurtured, should, on their lower level in their finite degree, mark every work of art. But to our subject: the divine attribute of unity, and its manifestation in and through the finite.
All things, except God, receive externally some perfection from other things. We will not now consider the unity of His mystical Trinity, but rather dwell upon the necessity of His inherence in all things, without which no creature could retain existence for a moment. We speak of His comprehensive unity because it is an object of hope to men; it is that of which Christ thought when he said: 'Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that they may be all One, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee.' There is no matter, no spirit, that is not capable of unity of some kind with other creatures, in which unity is found their several perfections, and which is a source of joy for all who see it. The Unity of Spirits is partly in their sympathy, partly in their giving and taking, and ever in their love, their inseparable dependency on each other and _always_ on their Maker--not like the cold peace of undisturbed stones and solitary mountains, but the living peace of trust, the living power of confidence, _of hands that hold each other and are still_! Who has not felt the strength of united love? In the sudden emotion common to humanity which we all experience at the sight of suffering, and which brought tears from the Holy One on the death of Lazarus, in the strange shivering which we feel pervade our souls at the shrill cry of anguish, do we not recognize more than a simple resemblance of nature--do we not feel that the _race_ is really _One_, that a common grief again unites it, that in this _oneness_ we are all justly partakers in the sin of Adam, that in this _oneness_ we may partake of the glory of the Brother who died to _unite_ the finite with the Infinite?
It is to this essential _unity_ of the race that the dramatist owes much of his power; for let him but strike the common strings of grief and love, and the crowd at once show by their words, their gestures, their looks, and often by their tears, their earnest sympathy. Even at the spectacle of an imaginary grief their hearts are moved, the sorrow thrills through every soul; if the poet has been true to nature, they feel that his imaginary characters are but part and parcel of themselves in their woe. Thus the emotion excited by dramatic representations has its source in the very root of our being, the _unity_ of our common nature, in our common brotherhood; consequently, neither in the instincts of the body nor the caprices of the poetic fancy. If the poet would not break the bond, let him respect the _unities_ of nature, whatever view he may take of those of convention. It is to this wonderful unity with our common nature that the greatest of all uninspired writers, Shakspeare, owes his universal acknowledgment, his unequalled power.
If, as we have labored to teach, matter always symbolizes mind, we should expect to find it also pervaded with the unity pertaining to its lower rank, and so indeed we find it. In its noblest form the unity of matter is that organization of it which builds it into living temples for the indwelling spirits, those houses not made with hands--the bodies of noble men, of fair and loving women.
In a lower form, it gives that sweet and strange affinity which adds the glory of orderly arrangement to its elements, gifting them with the fair variety of change and assimilation that turns the dust into crystal, and separates the waters above the firmament from those below. It is the walking and clinging _together_ that gives power to the winds, weight to the waves, heat to the sunbeams, and stability to the mountains. It is the 'clinging together' which throws our syllables into words, gives metre to poetry, and melody and harmony to sound. Indeed, the clinging together of sounds, as seized by the ear in _time_, with the ever forming and living ebb and flow of widely different rhythms, exerting the most mysterious influences upon the soul, is not less remarkable than its more familiar history in space.
Manifold, indeed, would be the generalizations of the different species of unity, for it is the secret link of all being.
We have the unity of separate things subjected to one and the same influence, as the unity of clouds as they are driven by parallel winds, or ordered by electric currents: there is the unity of myriads of sea waves, of the bending and undulating of forest masses.
In creatures capable of will, there would be the unity of acts controlled, in all their apparent variety, by its directing power; and the unity of emotions in the masses, when swayed by some common impulse.
There is also the unity of the origin of things arising from one source, always suggesting their common brotherhood: in matter this is manifested in the unity of the branches of the trees, of the petals and starry rays of flowers, of the beams of light, of heat, &c., &c.; in spiritual creatures it is their filial relation to Him from whom they have their being.
There is the unity of sequence, which is that of things which form links in chains, steps in ascent, and stages in journeys; this, in matter, is the unity of communicable forces in their continuance and propagation from one thing to another; it is the passing upward and downward of beneficent effects among all things; it is the melody of sounds; the beauty of continuous lines; and orderly successions of motions and times. In spiritual creatures, it is their own constant building up by true knowledge and consecutive efforts to higher perfection, and the singleness and straightforwardness of their tendencies to more complete union with God.
There is the unity of membership, which is the union of things separately imperfect into a perfect whole; this is the great unity of which all other unities are but parts and means. In matter it is the consistency of bodies, the harmony of sounds;--with spiritual beings, it is their love, happiness, and life in God. But this unity cannot subsist between things _similar_ to each other. Two or more equal or like things cannot be members the one of the other, nor can they form one or a whole thing. _Two_ they must remain both in nature and in our conception unless they are united by a _third_. Thus the arms, which are like each other, remain always two arms in our conception, and could not be united by a third arm, but must be linked by something which is not an arm, and which, imperfect without them as they without it, will, with them, form one perfect body. Nor is unity even thus accomplished without a difference and opposition of direction in the setting on of members. Therefore, among things which are to have membership with each other, there must be difference or variety; and though it is possible that many like things may be made members of one body, yet it is very remarkable that this stricture appears rather characteristic of the lower creatures than the higher, as the many legs of the caterpillar, and the arms and suckers of Radiata seem to prove. As we rise in the order of being the number of similar members becomes less; their structure appearing based on the principle of two things united by a third;--a constant type even in matter of the Triune Existence.
Out of the necessity of _unity_ arises that of _variety_, a necessity vividly felt, because it lies at the surface of things, and is assisted by our love of change and the power of contrast. It were a mistake to suppose that mere variety, without a linking principle of unity, is, necessarily, either agreeable or beautiful.
'All are needed by each one, Nothing is fair or good alone. I thought the sparrow's note from heaven, Singing at dawn on the alder bough; I brought him home in his nest at even; He sings the song, but it pleases not now, For I could not bring home the river and sky;-- He sang to my ear,--they sang to my eye. The delicate shells lay on the shore; The bubbles of the latest wave Fresh pearls to their enamel gave; And the bellowing of the savage sea Greeted their safe escape to me. I wiped away the weeds and foam, I fetched my seaborn treasures home; But the poor, unsightly, noisome things Had left their beauty on the shore With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar.'
It is not mere unrelated variety which charms us, for a forest of all manner of trees is poor in its effect, while a mass of one species of trees is sublime;--the swan, with its purity of unbroken whiteness, is one of the most beautiful of creatures. It is, indeed, only harmonious and chordal variety, that variety which is necessary to secure and extend unity (for the greater the number of objects which by their differences become members of one another, the more extended and sublime is their unity), which is essentially beautiful. _Variety_ is never so conspicuous as when united with some intimation of _unity_. For example, the perpetual change of clouds is monotonous in its very dissimilarity, nor is difference ever striking where no connection is implied; but if through a range of barred clouds crossing half the heavens, all governed by the same forces, and falling into one general form, there be yet a marked and evident dissimilarity between each member of the great mass--one more finely drawn, the next more delicately moulded, the next more gracefully bent--each broken into differently modelled and variously numbered groups,--the _variety_ is doubly striking because contrasted with the perfect _unity_ and _symmetry_ of which it forms a part.
Now, of that which is thus necessary to the perfection of things, all types and suggestions must be beautiful in whatever way they may suggest or manifest it. To the perfection of beauty in lines, colors, forms, masses, or multitudes, the appearance of unity is absolutely essential. Let the artist look to it, that our pictures may gain expression; our music cease to weary us through the unceasing dissimilarity of its parts, highly adorned arabesques running into each other, graceful, but without significance, without any perceptible principle of unity in the jarring '_motifs_;' and our poems have some certain theme, that their highly wrought details may not confuse and bewilder the spirit always in search of some central unity. Like the burning sands which, clinging not together in any sweet union of fellowship, blind and confuse us with their drifting masses, are all such essays in art; for an idea capable of quickening an artistic creation must be vitally One, and every great work, notwithstanding its variety and the manifold complexity of its parts, must form a Whole.
The _association of ideas_, upon which is based the _unity_ of the continuous life of the individual, with the pervading sense of personal identity, has been aptly called the '_cohesion of the moral world_.' It is not less powerful, less irresistible, than that of the physical world. The association of ideas is a constituent and necessary phase of the _unity_ of our mental and moral being, the indispensable condition of all development, whether of mind or soul. Without the power of association, the intellect would strive in vain to construct consecutive trains of thought; it would indeed be condemned to eternal infancy, because, as it ascertained new relations, those already acquired would escape, and a labor constantly renewed would be requisite to regain them. Without association of ideas, no voluntary virtue would be possible; and at the end of long years of effort and self-restraint, we would have gained no additional control over the course of our impetuous passions.
The fact that much of the difference in intellectual capacity so strongly characterizing different individuals arises from their various powers over the flow and logical association of ideas, has scarcely elicited the attention it so well deserves. It is of immense importance in the history of mental development. If an individual connects his ideas with difficulty, or can continue to chain them in rational sequence only with the most laborious efforts, he will have either a dull and heavy, or flighty and illogical, mind.
If another has great trouble in modifying or arranging the association of ideas which arise spontaneously in the soul, he will suffer himself to be ruled by them, in place of exercising rational domination over them; he will pursue every chimera; he will trust every impulse; he will but dream, even when he tries to think; and will be of a weak and fickle, but obstinate and self-opinionated, intellect. His whole exhaustive logic will consist in clothing in exact and reiterated assertions the heterogeneous order in which ideas are arbitrarily, accidentally, and spontaneously associated in his own imagination.
Another will associate his ideas in logical sequence, yet with startling rapidity; in a manner and through subtle relations quite unknown to common men, incapable of such vivid, rational, and consequential combinations; and will, in consequence, be a man of clear and vivid intellect.
The wonderful faculty of improvisation so often seen in Italy, is an example of the power of appropriate and rapid association. There is no doubt that this power is susceptible of development and cultivation, and that much that is brilliant in intuition is lost through the want of it. In spite of this, no system has as yet been devised for its culture. Let him who would labor for the real improvement of humanity think of it, write for it, and aid us in its development: as the law of _internal unity_ with regard to the immense range of possible associations is so vital to our moral well being, so essential to our intellectual sanity, let our deepest thinkers devote themselves to its culture in the race!
We may distinctly trace the intuitive strivings of the human spirit for _unity_ even in the theology of nations without revelation. In one of the ancient fragments of Greek poetry known as Orphic Hymns, we find them thus articulated:
'Jupiter is the First and Last; Jupiter is man and immortal Virgin; Jupiter is the base of Earth and Heaven; Jupiter is the living breath of all beings; Jupiter is the source of Fire; the root of the Sea; Jupiter is the Sun and Moon; Jupiter is King of the universe; He created all things; He is a Living Force; a God; the Heart of all that is;--a supernal Body which embraces all bodies, fire, water, earth, air, night, day, with Metis the first Generatrix, and Love, full of magic. All that is, is contained in the immense Body of Jupiter.'
The reader will not fail to observe how much this Greek hymn resembles in its spirit the extract we have already given him from the Vedas; how closely it coincides with the transcendental philosophy of the Hindoos.
But the idea of God, vague and indeterminate apart from revelation, soon lost its _pantheistic_ unity in the wildest _polytheistic_ variety. The primitive idea of unity, passing through the distorting prism of the fallen and corrupt human imagination, was divided, decomposed, clothed in a thousand colors and forms to allure and satisfy the senses. Thus there was no part of nature without its appropriate god, invested with supreme power over the class of being subjected to its care. No one had ever seen any one of these gods, but the people had no doubt of their existence. Names in close accordance with their separate functions were given them; these names became symbols destined to represent the different active principles of the physical world.
Thus in their literary and sacred language they substituted the names of Jupiter, Hyades, Hamadryads, Apollo, for those of Air, Fountains, Forests, and Sun. Nature almost disappeared under this traditionary language, which, giving play to the lighter fancy, chilled the imagination, and singularly limited the view. Indeed, it so amused and allured the fancy by its diversity that the mind scarcely cared to rise from this fantastic and grotesque world to seek the sublime principles of Infinity, of Unity. If the ancients had regarded nature as a vast system of signs designed to manifest the ideas of the Great Artist; if they had at all understood the marvellous Unity of the Divine Works, it would have been worse than idle in them to have invented a language which thus lowered nature, robbing it of its solemn majesty, its august dignity. As all these divinities had the human figure, God was banished from His own universe, man everywhere substituting his own personality. Speaking of the great dearth of vivid descriptions of natural scenery among the ancients, Chateaubriand says: 'It must not be supposed that men as full of sensibility as the ancients wanted eyes to see nature, or talent to depict it, if some powerful cause had not blinded and misled them; this cause was their mythology, which, peopling the universe with graceful phantoms, robbed creation of its solemnity, of its sublime repose. Christianity came--and fauns, satyrs, and wanton nymphs disappeared; the grottos regained their holy silence; the dim woods their mystic reveries; the vast forests their vague and sublime melancholy; the streams overturned their petty urns to drink only from the mountain tops, to pour forth only the waters of the abyss. The true and One God, in reappearing in His own mystical works, again breathed through the voice of nature the secret thrill of His perfect Unity, His incomprehensible Infinity.'
'Earth outgrows the mythic fancies Sung beside her in her youth; And those debonaire romances Sound but dull beside the truth. Phoebus' chariot race is run! Look up, poets, to the Sun! Pan, Pan is dead.
'Christ hath sent us down the angels; And the whole earth and the skies Are illumed by altar candles Lit for blessed mysteries; And a Priest's hand through creation Waveth calm and consecration-- And Pan is dead.
'O brave Poets, keep back nothing; Mix not falsehood with the whole! Look up Godward! speak the truth in Worthy song from earnest soul! Hold, in high poetic duty, Truest truth, the fairest Beauty! Pan, Pan is dead.'
As we have already intimated, Pantheism is the negation of the Divine Personality in order to arrive at Unity; Polytheism is the negation of the Divine Unity, which is fractioned and divided that its multitudinous action may be conceived. The light fancy was delighted with such divisions, resulting in varied gods and goddesses; but the soul could find no satisfaction for its deeper needs in such conceptions; urged on by its secret instincts, it sought to recompose the broken unity of the divine nature.
All government requires a Head; and when an attempt was made to apply the heterogeneous qualities and contradictory powers of the gods to the regulation of society--when it was necessary to find in an Olympus filled with quarrels and scandals, a steady Power capable of directing the destinies of a great people toward a single aim--men were again forced to recompose the fractioned Unity, to form an idea of one God superior to those with whom they had peopled earth and heaven. They were thus forced upon the conception of a Being superior to Jupiter, who subjected all the gods to his inflexible laws; and giving wings to those instincts of dread always present in the soul of a fallen race, they invented an invisible Divinity who never manifested himself to men; who dwelt in inaccessible and dreadful regions, in which an inscrutable Horror forever reigned; and through this new Terror, Unity was again brought into the design of creation, for all beings were, in despite of themselves, forced to fulfil the decrees of its pitiless will. All struggle was vain, all effort useless, prayer was without avail, and human anguish utterly unheeded by this terrific phantom of irresistible and crushing Power without a heart!
It is this dread idea which, pervading the pages of Eschylus, gives them that peculiar character of simplicity and grandeur, with which no other tragedies are marked in a like degree. Such was the source of the inspiration of classic tragedy, the spring of that stern and severe poetry which throws the lurid hues of a melancholy so profound upon the pallid and affrighted face of humanity. Man, struggling with all the gloomy energy of despair against this vague but formidable Horror, which no virtue or agony could conciliate--this dark Fate, the creation of his own misled and perverted intuitions--and vainly seeking to escape from the inflexible circle which he had traced around himself, is an object which cannot fail to awaken the deepest pity. He asks from his fellow men, from nature, from the gods, the meaning of the dire enigma of life. Alas! they leave him to struggle in the stony hands of an unbending Fate! no reply is ever given to his wild demand, and the 'veil of Isis is never raised!' The world quivered under some strange anathema; a mystic malediction wreathed its thorns round the anguished heads of men; even in the midst of their festivals, when seeming to drink deep of joy from the brimming cup of life, the invisible hand of a Gorgon Fate was forever felt tracing upon their walls the decrees of a dark, inscrutable, inflexible, and terrible destiny!
Yet there are poets among us, who would willingly return to the days of Paganism, and resuscitate the gods of Greece!
'Get to dust as common mortals, By a common doom and track! Let no Schiller from the portals Of that Hades call you back, Or instruct us all to weep: Everlasting be your sleep! Pan, Pan is dead!'
''Twas the hour when one in Zion Hung for Love's sake on a cross-- When His brow was chill with dying, And His soul was faint with loss; When His priestly blood dropped downward; And His kingly eyes looked homeward-- Then Pan was dead!'
The Prometheus of the rock, the Tantalus of the fable, man, plunged in this world of woe with his lips thirsty for happiness, stretches out his hand to pluck the bitter Dead-Sea fruits of this earth. With his profound instincts of the Infinite, his craving for the Absolute, he seizes madly upon every object which suggests their image to him; the foul fiend, adapting his temptations to the nature of the tempted, still whispers, as into the ear of the mother of mankind: 'Ye shall be as gods;'--but the phenomenal flies before him, and he everywhere falls upon the thorns closely hedging in the narrow circle of the actual. Without Faith, the artist is among the most miserable of men, for through the illimitable horizons of the Infinite, genius catches secrets which it can never fully utter; symbolic signs, whose sense it cannot articulate; while the voice of the invisible Love loads every breeze. What profound and mournful aspirations for that _Unknown_ which the mortal may not see, surge through the soul of the imaginative!
'E'en the flowing azure air Thou hast charmed for his despair.'
While the artist strives to incorporate with the works which their presence shall render immortal, suggestions of Infinity, of Unity, let him hopefully turn to the Author of all Beauty for true inspiration and peace.
As satisfaction and response to the longings of the spirit, the Gospel has brought Life and Immortality to light. The assurance that 'God is Love' responds to the inmost wish of the soul. The problem of antiquity, the possible Union of the finite with the Infinite, has been solved in the most marvellous manner. No longer are we oppressed with the loss of all personal identity, all moral responsibility, as in pantheism; nor confused by the debasing fractioning of the Divine Unity, as in polytheism; nor bound hand and foot under the crushing despotism of a pitiless Fate;--but in the Glorified Humanity of Christ these perplexing problems of the soul are answered, and the incomprehensible union of the Infinite and finite at last accomplished, He took our nature upon Him that Infinite Love might pass through all degrees of suffering, even to the last dying gasp of agony, to release us from the horrors of the 'second death.' Every human feeling is known to Him, but in infinite purity; the Real and Ideal are in equal perfection. Far higher, indeed, than the most sublime conception that uninspired thought could ever have engendered; human, yet far above humanity; ruling all ages; winning all adoration; sublime in tender simplicity--behold the meek Lamb of God, the Holy Son of the Blessed Virgin!
Oh, eternal, immaculate Beauty! if in this world Thou but sufferest us to divine Thy Perfections; if Thou hast given us ephemeral delights which always escape our eager grasp at the very moment we dream of their full enjoyment; if the flower fades so fast--the days of spring are so fleeting; if nature, like a thick veil thrown between this world and the next, suffers but a few rays of Thy glory to pierce its folds, while it keeps us from Thee even in kindling the flame of desires which it never satisfies--it is because Thou knowest that in the inexhaustible richness of Thy Being there are everlasting fountains to quench the insatiate thirst of the human soul, when in the bosom of infinite splendor we may contemplate and adore Thee forever and ever!
'That they _all_ may be _One_, as Thou, Father, in me, and I in Thee: that they also may be _one_ in us.'
Oh, inconceivable and glorious Unity! What wonder that thy types on earth are so full of meaning--so rich in delight!
THE BUCCANEERS OF AMERICA.
A still more terrible name to the Spaniards, as a leader of the buccaneers, was Francis Lolonois, a Frenchman, who in his youth was transported as a slave to the Caribbean Islands. Passing thence to Tortuga, he became a common mariner, and conducted himself so well in several voyages as to win the confidence of the governor, M. de la Place, who gave him a ship in which to seek his fortune. The beginning of his career on his own account was favorable; but his cruelties toward the Spaniards were such as to make his name terrible throughout the Indies; and the Spanish mariner preferred death in any form to falling into his hands. Fortune, however, being ever inconstant, Lolonois did not escape reverses. Encountering a tempest on the coast of Campeachy, his ship was wrecked, and himself and crew cast on shore. Scarcely had he dried his dripping clothes when he was met by an armed force, and defeated in a severe battle. Being wounded, and concealing himself among the dead bodies of his companions, he escaped, and arrived at Campeachy in disguise, in time to take part in the thanksgiving and religious rejoicings of the Spaniards on account of his supposed death. Here he succeeded in enticing some slaves from their masters, with whom he again put to sea, with the design of ravaging the small town of De los Cayes, on the south side of Cuba. Divining his project, however, some fishermen conveyed information to the governor at Havana, who immediately despatched a vessel of war of ten guns in pursuit, with orders not to return until the pirates were captured, and every man executed except Lolonois himself, who was to be brought to Havana. This vessel entered the port of De los Cayes while the pirates were yet at sea; but they were advised of every particular of the pursuit, and concerted their measures accordingly.
It was on a clear, starlight night, when the Spaniard lay quietly at anchor in the glassy waters of the bay,
'Secure that nought of evil could delight To walk in such a scene on such a night,'
that the pirates entered the harbor in two canoes. Stealing upon their intended prey so silently as to escape observation, they boarded her on both sides at once, and, after a sharp conflict, succeeded in her capture. Lolonois then informed the prisoners that he knew their orders, and it was his purpose to execute them upon those who were to have enforced them upon him. Supplications and entreaties were in vain. He successively struck off the heads of every one with his own hand--sucking, at each stroke, the drops of blood that trickled from his sabre. Only one person was saved, whom he sent back to the governor with a letter stating what he had done, and declaring his determination thenceforward to show no quarter to a Spaniard, adding: 'I have great hopes I shall execute on your own person the punishment I have upon those you sent against me. Thus have I retaliated the kindness you designed to me and my companions.' The governor was much troubled at the message, and declared that no quarter should ever again be granted to a pirate; but knowing who would have the advantage in such a war of retaliation, the inhabitants induced him to change his determination.
Encouraged by his success, Lolonois forthwith set about organizing a force to make a descent upon the main, with a view of taking Maracaibo itself. While engaged in these preparations, he formed a connection with Michael de Basco, who, having retired from the sea, was living upon his gains. De Basco had served in the wars of Europe as an officer with distinguished gallantry; and he now engaged with Lolonois as the land commander. When the expedition sailed, it consisted of eight vessels and six hundred men. On their passage they fell in with a Spanish armed ship from Porto Rico for New Spain. Lolonois parted from the fleet and insisted on engaging the Spaniard alone. He did so, and carried the ship after an engagement of three hours. She mounted sixteen guns, carried a crew of sixty men, and was, moreover, richly laden with specie, jewels, and merchandise. Shortly after another vessel was taken, when on her voyage to Hispaniola to pay the troops. This was a valuable capture, the prize being laden with arms and ammunition as well as specie. The prize vessels were sent into Tortuga, where they were unladen; and one of them was immediately armed and sent back to join the main squadron as the flagship. Their marine thus augmented, they sailed first into the Bay of Venerada, the fort guarding the entrance to which was taken, the guns spiked, and the garrison, numbering two hundred and fifty men, put to the sword. The pirates next sailed into the Lake of Maracaibo, landed their forces, and proceeded at once to attack the castle that guarded the entrance to the harbor. The governor had made judicious dispositions for its defence, having formed an ambuscade for the purpose of bringing the pirates between two fires. His design, however, in this respect, was frustrated, for those forming the ambuscade, being discovered and routed, fled to the town, the inhabitants of which, remembering the former visitation of the pirates, deserted in wild consternation, and fell back upon Gibraltar, thirty leagues distant. Meantime the pirates, though armed with swords and pistols only, attacked the castle with such impetuosity as to compel its capitulation. The slaughter was great. After the surrender the guns were spiked, and the castle demolished. The next day the invaders advanced upon the town, which they found desolate. It was well stored with provisions, but all the valuables had been removed or buried. Lolonois demanded information of the prisoners where the plate, jewels, and money were concealed, and attempts were made to extort confessions by the rack, but to little purpose. He then hacked one of the prisoners to pieces with his sword, declaring that such should be the fate of all, unless the hidden treasures of the town should be forthcoming. But the poor wretches were unable to give the information, as the owners had fled as best they could, changing their own hiding places, and taking away their valuables. Having remained fifteen days in Maracaibo, and supposing that the people had carried their treasures with them to Gibraltar, Lolonois determined to sail to that town. The deputy governor, however, without the knowledge of the pirates, had made vigorous preparations for its defence; and accordingly, on their arrival in sight of the town, they unexpectedly discovered the royal standard floating from two strong batteries guarding a very narrow channel through which the pirate squadron must pass. A council of war was called, at which, after a spirited speech from Lolonois, it was agreed to land and carry the works by storm--the leader declaring that he would pistol any man who should flinch, with his own hand. The Spanish forces numbered eight hundred men, well appointed; but nothing could daunt the resolution of the pirates. The Spaniards conducted themselves bravely; and not until five hundred of their number had fallen did they yield. The buccaneers had eighty killed and wounded, not one of the latter recovering--an evidence of the desperation with which they fought. The town of Gibraltar, of course, fell into their hands; but it was a bootless conquest, inasmuch as during the time the pirates had wasted at Maracaibo, the people had secured their treasure by carrying it away. To save the town from the torch, however, the inhabitants paid a ransom of ten thousand pieces of eight, yet not until a portion of it had been burned. After spending two months on shore, the buccaneers reëmbarked, carrying away all the crosses, pictures, and bells of the churches, for the purpose, as they alleged, of erecting a chapel in the island of Tortuga, to which pious object a portion of the spoils was to be consecrated! The amount of their booty, during their expedition, was two hundred and sixty thousand pieces of eight, together with vast quantities of plate, jewels, and merchandise--most of which was soon dissipated, after their return, in debauchery, and other rude pleasures of such a ruffian race.
The next exploit of Lolonois was the capture, in the mouth of the Guatemala river, of a Spanish ship, carrying forty-two guns, and manned by one hundred and thirty fighting men; the pirate carrying only twenty-two guns, and being attended by a single small vessel. The Spaniard made a good defence, and the pirate chief was at first repulsed. Yet afterward, under cover of a thick mist, rendered more dense by the smoke of the powder, the pirates boarded the Spaniard from their small craft, and bravely accomplished their purpose.
The career of this desperado was soon to come to an end. Shortly after this last exploit, while cruising in the Bay of Honduras, his own ship was wrecked, and he, together with his crew, were thrown upon an island. Their next business was to build a boat from the remains of the broken ship--a work which occupied them six months, and when finished she would carry but half their number--the other half remaining behind by lot. Lolonois then directed his course for Carthagena; but venturing ashore at Darien, he was made prisoner by a wild tribe of Indians, who became the instruments of divine justice in avenging his many cruelties. They were not ignorant of his character, and, believing that no trace or memorial of such a wretch ought to remain upon earth, they tore him in pieces alive, throwing his body limb by limb into the fire, and afterward scattering his ashes to the winds. Fitting death for such a horrible monster!
But the career of the most formidable chief in this bloody catalogue remains yet to be described. It was that of Henry Morgan, whose very name, as it has been justly remarked, 'spread such terror abroad, that with it the old women frightened their children asleep, and then lay awake themselves through fear.' Morgan was the son of a wealthy farmer in Wales, but not satisfied with his secluded condition, he sought a seaport, and sailed for Barbadoes, where he was sold for a term of years for his passage. The term of his service having expired, he repaired to Jamaica, where the temptations spread before him by the buccaneers of rapidly arriving at wealth and fame, induced him to join their community. In the course of several voyages, which were attended with great success, he evinced so much intrepidity, skill, prudence, and judgment, as to win the confidence of his companions, several of whom proposed the purchase of a ship on joint account, the command of which was conferred on him. About this time, also, Morgan became acquainted with Mausvelt, an old pirate, and who had now on foot an expedition destined for a descent upon the Spanish main. Mausvelt induced Morgan to join him as his vice-admiral, and they were shortly at sea with a fleet of fifteen sail, great and small, and five hundred men, chiefly French and Maroons. Their course was first directed against the two small islands, nearly contiguous, of St. Catharine's, on the coast of Costa Rica. These, though strongly fortified, were easily taken, by reason of the inefficiency both of the commander and his troops, superinduced by the terror inspired by the very name of the pirates. The design of Mausvelt in the acquisition of these islands, was to fortify and hold them as a place of rendezvous. Leaving, therefore, a garrison of one hundred men in the forts, Mausvelt and Morgan continued their course to the main; but as a knowledge of their intentions had preceded them, such preparations had been made by the Spaniards on the coast for their reception, as induced them to return to St. Catharine's. Thence they sailed back to Jamaica for recruits; but not being favored by the governor, Mausvelt repaired to Tortuga, where he died. The command now devolved upon Morgan, who endeavored to prosecute the designs of his predecessor; but the Spaniards having regained possession of St. Catharine's, his projects were for a time defeated. Not only had the Spaniards recovered the island, but a large English ship, despatched thither from Jamaica for the aid of the buccaneers, and well supplied with arms, men, provisions, and women, also fell into their hands. This was a severe disappointment to Morgan, who had made extensive arrangements for preserving St. Catharine's as a storehouse and place of refuge, and had opened a correspondence with Virginia and New England upon the subject. These events took place in 1665.
But, far from relinquishing the profession he had chosen, Morgan had only just entered upon it. He soon succeeded in organizing another fleet of nine sail of different-sized vessels, manned by four hundred and fifty men. With these he made sail for Porto Bello, the third strongest post at that time in the American dominions of Spain. In order to secure secrecy, Morgan had communicated his purpose to no living soul, until he came almost in view of the town. Some of his bold spirits then faltered for a moment; but he had the power to dissipate their doubts of success, even against odds so great. Landing his forces in the night, Morgan arrived at the very citadel before he was discovered, having taken captive the sentinel so suddenly as to prevent the least alarm. The castle was summoned to surrender on pain of putting every man found therein to death. The summons being disregarded, the assault was begun, and bravely repelled for a time; but the fortress was at length compelled to yield to the impetuous assaults of the pirates. But there were yet other castles, and one of the strongest, to be subdued. With this latter Morgan was hotly engaged from daylight until noon--losing many of his men, and at times almost despairing himself of success. At length another of the lesser castles gave way, and Morgan was encouraged and strengthened by the return of the detachment that had been engaged against it. As a device, moreover, to compel the Spanish governor to yield the principal castle, the pirate chief caused its walls to be planted round with scaling ladders, upon which, in front of his own men, the religious prisoners in his hands, priests and nuns, were forced to ascend. But although these people called to the governor in the name of all their saints to yield and save their lives, his determination was inflexible. He declared he would yield only with his life, and that the castle should be defended to the last. Night approached, and the contest yet raged; but finally, after performing prodigies of valor, the assailants succeeded in scaling the walls, and the castle was entered sword in hand. The garrison thereupon submitted, all but the governor, who, deaf to the entreaties of his wife and daughter, fought on, killing several of the pirates with his own hand, and also some of his own soldiers for surrendering, until he was himself killed. The entire town was now in possession of the rapacious invaders; and all the treasures of the churches, having been placed in the castles for safety, of course fell into the hands of the victors, as also did a vast amount of money and plate.
Amazed that a town so strongly fortified as Porto Bello, and so well garrisoned, should have been captured by so small a force, the president of Panama sent a message to Morgan, desiring a pattern of the arms by which he had performed so desperate an exploit. Morgan treated the messenger with courtesy, and returned to the president a pistol and several bullets, as a slender pattern of the arms he had used, requesting his Excellency to preserve them carefully for a twelvemonth, when he promised to come to Panama and bring them away. The president, however, sent the articles back again, to save the pirate chief the trouble of coming after them. He also sent him as a gift a gold ring, with a civil request that he would not trouble himself to come to Panama at the time mentioned, since he would not be likely to fare so well as he had at Porto Bello. Morgan, after having destroyed the military walls at Porto Bello, reëmbarked with his numbers greatly diminished by battle, debauchery, and disease, and returned to Jamaica.
The fame of exploits like these caused the name of Morgan to resound throughout Europe; and large numbers of the English chivalry, men of family and rank, hastened to the New World, either to mend dilapidated fortunes, or to acquire new ones, and to participate in the unlawful glory which even the darkness of the deeds by which it was won could not eclipse. These recruits attached themselves to Morgan, and eagerly accepted commands under him. The bold rover gave them commissions in the name of the king of England, authorizing them to commit hostilities against the Spaniards, whom he declared to be the enemies of the British crown. To such an amazing extent did the buccaneering system increase, that more than four thousand men were now engaged in it, two thousand of whom were under Morgan, with a fleet of thirty-seven vessels, divided into squadrons, and appointed with all the formality of an independent sovereignty. Their place of rendezvous was between Tortuga and St. Domingo, the coast of the latter being plundered for provisions. A squadron of four sail was also sent to the region of the Rio de la Hacha upon the same errand, where a large ship was captured, the coast successfully ravaged, and many prisoners put to death, as in former instances, by the most exquisite tortures.
All things being in readiness, the expedition sailed in December, 1670, the ultimate destination of which was to pay the promised visit to the governor of Panama--the richest city of Spanish America. Preliminary, however, to their landing upon the isthmus, a detachment of the fleet was sent against a fortress at the mouth of the Chagu--which river it was necessary to ascend before disembarking for Panama. This fortress was built upon a steep rock, against which the waves of the sea were continually breaking, and was defended by an officer of distinguished ability and courage, and by a garrison in all respects worthy of such a commander. For a time the contest was doubtful, but the fates favored the freebooters. The Spanish commander was slain, and, the fort taking fire, the position fell into the hands of the besiegers. The manner in which the fire was communicated to the fortress was very remarkable. During the fight, an arrow from the bow of one of the garrison was lodged in the eye of one of the pirates, standing near his chief. Extracting the barbed shaft from his head with his own hand, and binding some cotton around the missile, he set it on fire, and shot it back into the fortress from the barrel of his gun. The burning arrow fell upon the roof of a house thatched with palm leaves, which were dry, and a conflagration ensued, which the garrison strove in vain to resist. But for this untoward occurrence, it was believed that Brodley, the pirate vice-admiral, would have been repulsed.
Brodley was now joined by the main fleet under Morgan himself; and the vessels, having been brought to anchor, were left with a sufficient guard, while the commander, with twelve hundred men, embarked in boats and canoes, and commenced the ascent of the river toward the capital, the sacking of which was to be the crowning act of his career of outrage and blood. They were compelled soon to leave their boats; and their march for nine days was one of the severest operations ever successfully encountered by man. The country was desolate, villages and plantations being alike deserted, and in the flight of the people nothing had been left behind that could possibly be converted into food, or in any wise minister to the cupidity of the invaders. The hardships they underwent in climbing mountains almost inaccessible, and traversing morasses nearly impassable, while in a state bordering upon starvation, exceed the power of language to describe. The carcass of an ass found by the way afforded an uncooked tempting meal; and such cats and dogs as did not flee with their owners, were considered delicious morsels.
On the eighth day a narrow defile was feebly defended by a company of Indians, by whom ten of the pirates were killed, and fourteen others wounded. On the ninth, having gained the summit of a lofty mountain, to their infinite delight they came in view of the great Southern ocean, and saw beneath them the glittering spires of Panama, and the shipping in the harbor. The despondency which had been brooding over them for several days, was now lighted up by the most extravagant demonstrations of joy. They leaped, and sang, and threw up their hats, and blew their trumpets, and beat their arms, as though the prize were already their own without a struggle. Seemingly refreshed in strength by the sight of the object of their desires, the pirates rushed eagerly forward, and before nightfall encamped upon the great plain on which stood the city, dispersing with ease several strong reconnoitring parties who had thrown themselves in their way. The Spaniards had evidently been preparing for their reception, and they played their artillery upon the invaders all night, but with little effect; the pirates sleeping on the grass with great composure, anxious for the arrival of the day which was to reward their sufferings with untold riches.
The invaders were early on foot on the morning of the tenth day, and in full march for the city. Arriving upon the summit of a little hill, they were brought to a pause by a force which they saw advancing to meet them. Their own numbers had been reduced on the march to less than a thousand effective men; and they now beheld an army consisting of two squadrons of horse, and four regiments of foot, led by the governor in person, and preceded by a large herd of wild bulls, the design of which singular description of light troops was to throw the buccaneers into confusion. Beyond these, in immediate proximity to the city, they discovered the people of Panama in arms, in yet greater numbers. The action with the advanced army, under the governor, soon commenced, the wild cattle being of no avail against the pirates, who shot them all down in a very brief space of time. But the Spaniards, especially the cavalry, fought bravely for more than two hours. The horse having at length been compelled to yield, the infantry fled, after a brief resistance. Six hundred Spaniards lay dead upon the field, and the buccaneers suffered so severely that they were forced to desist from an immediate pursuit, and obtain some rest. From a prisoner they ascertained that the city was defended by two thousand five hundred men, with a large number of heavy guns, planted at different points. But the buccaneers, though sadly diminished in numbers, were determined to finish the work they had begun on the same day; and taking an oath that they would stand by each other to the last, they again advanced, and a second fierce and bloody encounter took place at the very gates of the city, which, after a resistance of three hours, fell into the hands of the buccaneers. Neither party gave or received quarter, and after the conquest the pirates killed nearly all who fell into their hands, sparing neither ecclesiastics nor women.
The city was at that time one of remarkable splendor, containing two thousand houses of great magnificence. The private dwellings were chiefly built of cedar, and embellished with hangings, paintings, and everything that luxury and taste could supply. It was the see of a bishop, with two large churches, and seven monasteries, all richly adorned with altar pieces, paintings, gold, silver, and precious stones. But the gorgeous palaces and solemn temples were doomed to the flames by the order of Morgan himself, although he afterward endeavored to fix the act of vandalism upon others. They were probably burned in revenge because found empty, for many of the inhabitants had sought refuge in flight, carrying away such of their valuables as they could. Still, by the horrible processes of torture, immense discoveries were made of treasures concealed in the wells and caves, and in the woods. Some valuable freights were taken from boats in the harbor, which had been left aground at low water; and rich deposits were frequently discovered in the earth, under the excruciating tortures of the rack.
Morgan lingered at Panama for a considerable period, until, indeed, his men began to murmur at their protracted inactivity. The cause of this inaction will hardly be divined from the character thus far developed of this stupendous freebooter; but it was the tender passion! He had among his prisoners a beautiful Spanish lady, who attracted his particular attention. She was a native of Spain, and the wife of an opulent merchant, whose business had some time before called him to Peru. According to the historians of that day, she was still in the bloom of youth; 'Her cheeks, naturally ruddy, were heightened by a tropical sun into a warmer glow; and her fine black eyes, dazzling with uncommon lustre, gave animation to the noblest countenance that ever the hand of nature delineated, or poet's fancy conceived. The interest which her unhappy situation excited was heightened into admiration by her elevated mien; and her whole deportment indicated a soul incapable of being degraded from its native rank, by any reverse of condition, or any depth of misery.' Morgan, rude as he was, and unused to the melting mood, was nevertheless charmed with her conversation, and the admiration which he felt for her bearing was ere long changed into yet more tender emotions. He provided a house for her, and assigned to her service a retinue of domestics. Shortly afterward he attempted to open such a correspondence with her as might favor his desires, but failing in this, he proceeded to usurp some freedoms, at which her delicacy revolted. Her rebuke, firm and noble, drove him back abashed; but his impetuous temper could not well brook disappointment, and in the ardor of his passion he subsequently attempted to force her into compliance with his brutal desires. But with a virtue as exalted as that of the Roman matron, who resisted, but in vain, the advances of the son of Tarquin, and with a yet higher courage, she sprang from his attempted embrace, exclaiming, 'Stop! Thinkest thou, then, that thou canst ravish mine honor from me, as thou hast wrested from me my fortune and my liberty? Be assured that I can die and be avenged!' Having said this, she drew from her bosom a poniard, which she would have plunged into his breast, had he not avoided the blow. From that moment she became an object not only of his hate, but of his cruelty, until at length she was ransomed by some of her friends. History has not preserved the name of this lofty specimen of female purity and honor; but, like that of Lucretia, it deserves the topmost niche in the temple of virtue.
At length, in the month of February, Morgan took his departure from Panama, having one hundred and seventy-five beasts of burden laden with silver and gold, jewelry, and other precious things. He also took with him six hundred prisoners, men, women, and children, for the purpose of extorting enormous ransoms for them by the way; the cries of the women and children were pitiful to hear; but the freebooter's heart was steeled against every humane emotion. Returning down the river Chagre, he destroyed the castle at its entrance, and prepared to reëmbark for Jamaica. Before going on board, however, a division of the plunder was made, which gave great dissatisfaction. It seemed unaccountable to his men that so large an apparent amount of booty should yield only about two hundred pieces of eight _per capita_, and rumors of foul play were rife. Meantime he had richly laden his own ship with merchandise; and in the course of the following night, while his companions were in a deep sleep, he put to sea and escaped to Jamaica, and thence to England. Such an instance of treachery had never been before known among the buccaneers, and the rage and resentment that ensued cannot be described. His departure was the signal for the dispersion of the fleet. The French returned to Tortuga. Some of the English attempted to overtake the mighty robber and make him disgorge, but were unsuccessful. Others of the crews dispersed with their vessels to seek their fortunes as best they might. Morgan ultimately returned to England laden with wealth, and was well received. He afterward became a commander in the naval service of his country, and obtained the honor of knighthood from William III.
The capture of Panama, however, was the last great land expedition successfully undertaken by the buccaneers. A few other land expeditions, it is true, were begun by chiefs of lesser note; but the indifferent success which attended these, induced the freebooters insensibly to confine their operations more exclusively to the water, and there was no sea left untraversed by them, from the Atlantic to the Indian ocean. The commerce of almost all nations was annoyed by them, although their depredations continued more particularly to be directed against the first objects of their hate, the Spaniards. It is a curious fact, illustrating the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church at that time, that in one of the Spanish ships captured while on her way to South America, by an Englishman named White, there were found no less than two millions of Papal bulls, granting indulgences to the Spaniards of the New World! These were a royal trade, and had been purchased by the king of Spain for three hundred thousand florins, _prime cost_, and by him were designed to be retailed for five millions. Thus, by their capture, his Catholic Majesty lost the benefit of a fine speculation. Had these indulgences been captured by Yankees, they would have contrived to barter them away at a profit; or had the captors been good Catholics, they might have ravaged the whole continent with very quiet consciences, having the Pope's pardon already in their pockets.[B]
It is a curious fact, not, I believe, very extensively understood, that the great English circumnavigator Dampier was for a considerable period connected with the buccaneers after the flight of Morgan. Dampier found himself among them at first by accident, having gone ashore on the Spanish main in great distress to procure provisions. Falling in with a party of the marauders, he was induced to join them. He was at the taking of Porto Bello; and afterward crossed the Isthmus of Darien with Sawkins, Sharp, and others. Sawkins, the commander, was killed in an attack on Puebla Nova in 1679. Dampier, in his 'Voyages,' gives an interesting account of their subsequent course along the coasts, and among the islands of the Pacific, which was rather disastrous. A mutiny, however, occurring among those of the buccaneers engaged in the expedition, Dampier returned across the Isthmus and came to Virginia in July, 1682, where, after he and his companions had dissipated all their wealth, they fitted out another piratical expedition for the South seas, doubling Cape Horn in the spring of 1684. Proceeding northward to Panama, Dampier's party were joined by large numbers of buccaneers who had just crossed the Isthmus; and obtaining a number of additional vessels, they prepared to intercept the Plate fleet on its departure from Lima for Spain. After a few successes, and several disasters, Dampier and his companions sailed to the Philippine Islands in 1686; and subsequently visited most of the islands in the Pacific, sometimes rioting in luxury, and at others brought to the verge of starvation. Dampier quitted the buccaneers at the island of Nicoba, in the spring of 1688. Subsequently, however, he again joined them, as the commander of a fine vessel; but the treachery of his officers and crew defeated the objects of the cruise. Returning from this bootless voyage, he was presented to Queen Anne, and well received. He subsequently made a fourth voyage to the Pacific, during which he discovered and took from the island of Juan Fernandez the celebrated Alexander Selkirk, the hero of De Foe's Robinson Crusoe--a story ever delightful and ever new to readers old and young. The actual experience of Selkirk, as related by Dampier, corresponds more closely with the narrative, probably, than has generally been supposed.
The last great enterprise of this remarkable race of men was directed against Carthagena in 1697. It was planned in France, from one of the ports of which a squadron of twelve vessels sailed, under the command of Pointis. It was joined by twelve hundred buccaneers in the West Indies; and although Carthagena was then the strongest city in the New World, its forts and castles were carried by storm in rapid succession. The booty thus acquired by Pointis amounted to one million seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, with which he embarked and made sail. But they had not been long at sea before the buccaneers discovered that their rapacious commander was meditating how he should deprive them of their share of the plunder. Exasperated at this treatment, they at first determined to put him to death. This purpose, however, was diverted by a suggestion to return to Carthagena and demand a heavy ransom to save the city from destruction, that they might fill their pockets in that way. This project was carried into execution. Entering the city without resistance, the men were confined in the great church, and a ransom demanded of more than two hundred and eighteen thousand pounds sterling. A venerable priest ascended the pulpit, and by his eloquent address persuaded the people to comply with the demand, by surrendering all their remaining money and jewels. But the amount fell short of the demand, and the city was sacked a second time. Having amassed all the wealth they could find, the adventurers once more put to sea. But they did not long enjoy their ill-gotten riches. Meeting with a fleet of ships belonging to England and Holland, both of which nations were then in alliance with Spain, an engagement ensued, in which several of the pirates were taken and sunk, and among them were lost the treasure ships, so that the booty went to the bottom of the sea. This was the last memorable event in the history of the buccaneers of America, although a lower order of piracy prevailed, both in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, for many years afterward.
There had been for the most part a separation between the English and French buccaneers on the revolution of 1688, which brought William and Mary to the throne of England, and terminated the friendly relations between that nation and the Gauls. By the peace of Ryswick, moreover, in 1697, peace was restored between France and Spain, and it then became the interest as well as the policy of Europe to put an end to the associated existence of the most extraordinary combination of men who ever trod the earth. History affords no parallel to the buccaneers. 'Without any regular system, without laws, without any degree of subordination, and even without any fixed revenue, they became the astonishment of the age in which they lived, as they will be of posterity.' In their actions is to be found a mixture of the most opposite feelings and principles. They were at once undauntedly brave, and cowardly brutal; full of justice and honor to each other, and yet a lawless banditti. As an evidence of their feelings of honor, it is related that on a certain occasion a company of their fraternity--'Brothers of the Coast,' as they styled themselves--had stipulated, for a certain sum, to escort a Spanish ship richly laden. One of them ventured to propose to his companions to enrich themselves at once by taking the ship. Montauban, the commander of the troop, had no sooner heard the proposal, than he desired to resign his command and be set on shore. 'What!' replied the freebooters, 'would you then leave us? Is there one among us who approves of the treachery you abhor?' A council was thereupon called, and it was agreed that the person who had made the proposition should be thrown upon the first coast they should reach. 'The history of past times,' says a quaint writer, 'doth not offer, nor will that of future times produce, an example of such an association, almost as marvellous as the discovery of the New World. Their swords and their daring spirit, which they exercised with such terrible effect, were the only fortune they possessed in Europe. In America, being enemies of all mankind, and dreaded by all, perpetually exposed to the most extreme dangers, and considering every day as their last, their wealth was dissipated in the same manner in which it was acquired. They gave themselves up to all excesses of debauchery and profusion, and on returning from their expeditions, the intoxication of their victories accompanied them in their feasts: they would embrace their mistresses in their bloody arms and fall asleep for a while, lulled by voluptuous pleasures, from which they were aroused to proceed to fresh massacres. It was a matter of indifference to them whether they left their bodies upon the earth or beneath the waters, and they consequently looked upon life and death with the same composure. Ferocious in mind, misguided in conscience, destitute of connections, of relatives, of friends, of fellow citizens, of country, of an asylum; without any of those motives which moderate the ardor of bravery by the value which they attach to existence, they were ever ready to rush, as without sight, upon the most desperate attempts. Equally incapable of submitting to indigence or quiet; too proud to employ themselves in common labor; they would have been the scourge of the Old World, had they not been that of the New.'
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In closing this paper, it remains to glance for a moment at the real history of William Kidd, the buccaneer of the American colonies, whose name, as remarked in the former part of this article,[C] has for a hundred and fifty years stood at the head of the pirate legends of the North, but who, in reality, must have been one of the smallest members of the fraternity. I have not been able to ascertain the place of Kidd's nativity. He was, however, the captain of a merchant vessel, trading between New York and London, and was celebrated for his nautical skill and enterprise. The first mention of him, in our authentic criminal history, occurs in 1691, in which year, as we learn from the journals of the New York Assembly, much was allowed to be due him 'for the many good services done for the province in attending with his vessels.' But in what capacity, or for what object, he 'attended with his vessels,' does not appear. It was also declared that he ought to be suitably rewarded. Accordingly, in the same year, it was ordered by the Assembly 'that the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds be paid to Captain Kidd, as a suitable acknowledgement for the important benefits which the colony had derived from his services.' The presumption is, that those services were in some way connected with the protection of the colonial merchant ships from the attacks of the pirates, who were even yet hovering along the coasts of the Northern colonies. Indeed, the harbor of New York itself was no stranger to the pirate vessels, and the commerce between them and the 'people of figure' in the city was not inconsiderable. It was no secret that the pirates were freely supplied with provisions by the inhabitants of Long Island. Further yet, it was well known in the year 1695, that the English pirates had fitted out the vessels in the harbor of New York. On the arrival of the pirate vessels from their cruises, their goods were openly sold in the city, and the conduct of the Colonial Government was such, that collusion, if not actual partnerships between them and the public authorities, was not doubted. Colonel Fletcher, a poor and profligate man, was governor at that time. He was beyond doubt concerned with the freebooters, as also was William Nicoll, a member of the privy council. Complaints upon this subject having reached England, Fletcher was succeeded, in 1695, by the Earl of Bellamont, the appointment being made in the belief that, from his rank and the wealth of his character, he would be able to retrieve the character of the Colonial Government.
Justice, however, to the memory of Kidd requires it to be said that he was not at that period, so far as it is known, a pirate himself. Before Lord Bellamont sailed from England for his government, he met with Robert Livingston of New York--the ancestor of the Livingstons of Livingston's Manor--with whom he held a conversation respecting the pirates, and the best means that could be adopted to put them down. The project of employing a swift-sailing armed ship of thirty guns, and one hundred and fifty men, to cruise against them, was spoken of; and Livingston recommended his lordship to Kidd, as a man of integrity and courage, acquainted with the pirates and their places of rendezvous, and as one in all respects fit to be intrusted with the command of a vessel engaged in such a difficult service. He had, indeed, commanded a privateer, in regular commission, against the pirates in the West Indies, in which service he had acquitted himself as a brave and adventurous man. The project not being entertained by the Board of Admiralty, a private adventure against the pirates was suggested by Mr. Livingston, one fifth part of the stock of which he would take himself, besides becoming security for the good conduct of Kidd. The proposition was approved by the king, who became interested to the amount of one tenth; and the residue of the expense was supplied by Lord Chancellor Somers, the Duke of Shrewsbury, the Earls of Romney and Oxford, and Sir Edmund Harrison and others. The ship having been procured and equipped, Kidd sailed for New York under a regular commission, in April, 1696--the direction of the enterprise being committed to the Earl of Bellamont and himself. For a time he served faithfully and with advantage to the commerce of the colonies and mother country; for which services he received much public applause, and another grant from the colony of two hundred and fifty pounds. Tradition, moreover, says that, on visiting the government house, he was received with public honors, and invited to a seat with the speaker of the House of Assembly.
On his next voyage, however, he stretched away to the Indian ocean, and turned pirate himself. Selecting the island of Madagascar as his principal place of rendezvous, and burning his own ship after having captured one that suited him better, his depredations upon the commerce of all nations were represented to have been great. It is said that he 'ranged over the Indian coast from the Red sea to Malabar, and that his depredations extended from the Eastern ocean back along the Atlantic coast of South America, through the Bahamas, the whole of the West Indies, and the shores of Long Island.' But it will presently be seen that this statement must have been an exaggeration, as time was not afforded for operations so extensive before his arrest.
It is beyond doubt true that Long Island contained several of his hiding places. 'Kidd's Rock' is well known at Manhasset, upon Long Island, to this day. Here he was supposed to have buried some of his treasures, and many have been the attempts of the credulous to find the hidden gold, but it could not be found. There is also no doubt that he was wont to hide himself and his vessel among those curious rocks in Sachem's Head Harbor, called the Thimble islands. There is also upon one of those rocks, sheltered from the view of the Sound, a beautiful artificial excavation of an oval form, holding perhaps the measure of a barrel, called 'Kidd's Punch Bowl.' It was here, according to the legend of the neighborhood, that he used to carouse with his crew. It is a fact, however, beyond controversy, that he was accustomed to anchor his vessel in Gardner's bay. On one occasion, in the night, he landed upon Gardner's island, and requested Mrs. Gardner to provide a supper for himself and his attendants. Knowing his desperate character, she dared not refuse, and fearing his displeasure, she took great pains, especially in roasting a pig. The pirate chief was so pleased with her culinary success, that, on going away, he presented her with a cradle blanket of gold cloth. On another occasion, also, when he landed at the island, he buried a small casket of gold, silver, and precious stones in presence of Mr. Gardner, but under the most solemn injunctions of secrecy.
Repairing soon afterward to Boston, where Lord Bellamont happened to be at the time, he was summoned before his lordship, and directed to give a report of his proceedings in the service of his company. Refusing to comply with this demand, he was arrested on the third of July, 1699, on the charge of piracy. He appears to have disclosed the fact of having buried the treasure at Gardner's island, for the same was demanded by his lordship, and surrendered by Mr. Gardner. I have conversed with a gentleman who has seen the original receipt for the amount, with the different items of the deposit. The amount was by no means large, and affords evidence of no such mighty sweepings of the seas as have been told of in story and in song. Of gold, in coins, gold dust, and bars, there were seven hundred and fifty ounces. Of silver, five hundred and six ounces, and of precious stones about sixteen ounces.
Lord Bellamont wrote home for a ship of war, to carry Kidd to England for trial. The 'Rochester' was despatched upon that service, but being obliged to put back, a general suspicion prevailed in England that there was collusion between the pirates and the ministers, and, in fact, that they dared not bring the sea robber home for trial, lest it should be discovered that the Lord Chancellor and his noble associates in the enterprise were confederates in the piracies also. Party spirit ran high, and the opponents of the ministers brought a resolution into the House of Commons for excluding from place all the partners of Kidd in the original enterprise. And although this resolution was voted down, yet the Tories contrived afterward to impeach the Whig lords upon the charge of having been concerned with Kidd. But the articles were not sustained. Meanwhile Kidd had been taken to England, tried on an indictment for piracy and murder, and hung in chains, with six of his crew. In addition to the indictment for piracy, he was indicted for the murder of one of his own subordinate officers, named Moore, whom he killed in a quarrel, by striking him over the head with a bucket. He was convicted upon both charges, but protested to the last that he was the victim of conspiracy and perjury.
But, after all, suspicions were entertained by the public that the execution was a sham--that the Government dared not put him to death; and that, to avoid disclosures, a man of straw was hung in his place. In proof of this assertion, it was gravely and strongly alleged that Kidd had been seen alive and well, many years afterward, by those who could not be mistaken as to his identity. I think there is no doubt, however, of his having been honestly hung at 'Execution Dock,' in London, on the 12th of May, 1701. Yet, when compared with the nobler villains, Lolonois and Morgan, Kidd must have been a pirate upon an insignificant scale--a mere bottle imp by the side of Satan, as portrayed in stupendous grandeur by Milton!
[B] An indulgence was never granted in advance of any crime yet to be committed. It was simply a remission or commutation of a part of the temporal penalty attached to crime, after the sin itself had been repented, confessed, renounced, and forgiven. Two millions of Papal bulls!!!--_Ed._
[C] See CONTINENTAL for June, 1863.
UNDER THE PALMETTO.
On Saturday, the 31st of January, 1863, the steamer 'S.R. Spaulding,' flagship of General Foster's fleet, left the harbor of Morehead City, N. C., on a supposed expedition to some point on the Southern coast. For two days we had watched from her deck the long procession of vessels moving slowly round Fort Macon, and then, with all sails set, or under full head of steam, passing proudly on in their southward course. Only those who have witnessed such scenes can realize the eager interest and intense excitement which attend the preparation for a naval expedition. Then, too, there were glories of the past to kindle hope and stimulate ambition. The successes of Burnside, Du Pont, and Farragut were fresh in memory, and why should not we win new laurels for the old flag, and place our commander's name high on the list of fame? And so, with feelings of pride and expectation, we gladly saw the shores of North Carolina with their forests of pines recede from sight, as, under a cloudless sky and over a waveless sea, we glided on toward the hated mother State of the rebellion.
The sequel of the 'Foster Expedition' is well known. We anchored, on the 2d of February, in the capacious harbor of Port Royal, and were flagship no longer. Fortunately, the long interval between our arrival and the final departure for Charleston under another commander, gave abundant opportunities for studying new phases of life and character, and for learning something of the 15,000 freedmen who compose the loyal population of the Sea islands.
ON THE PLANTATIONS.
A geographical description of these outlying islands of South Carolina is hardly necessary at a time when we are studying the map of the republic under the guidance of bayonets and rifled cannon; and the guns of Admiral Du Pont revealed more of Port Royal and its surroundings than we should ever have learned from our geographies. Previous to the rebellion these islands seem to have been rarely visited--so rarely, indeed, that the presence of one of our naval vessels in the Beaufort river, a few years ago, was the signal for a week's festivities and a general gathering of all the inhabitants to see the strangers--while the 'cotton lords' vied with each other in entertaining the distinguished guests. For the most part the islands are low, abounding in salt-water creeks and marshes, and covered, here and there, with forests of pine and live oak. The climate in winter is delightful, and the rapid advance of vegetation in March and April--the sudden bursting into bloom of a great variety of flowers and flowering shrubs--lends additional charms to the early spring. Sitting, on one of those delicious April days, in the upper piazza of an old plantation house--the eye resting on the long stretch of the cotton fields, now green with the growing plant--or tracing the windings of the creek through the numerous small islands, till it is lost in the haze which covers all the distance--or, again, watching the shadows as they pass over the groves of oak and pine--while over the whole scene there broods the stillness of a midsummer's noon--I could but wonder at the madness which had driven the former dwellers in such a fair land into the desperate hazards and unaccustomed privations of civil war.
Those who visit these islands to-day, must not expect to realize, in the altered condition of affairs, their ideal of plantation life, however that ideal may have been formed. The change which has been wrought in little more than a year, is truly wonderful. The traces of slavery may indeed be found in an exhausted soil and an exhausted race, but all outward signs of the institution have been removed. 'The whip is lost, the handcuff broken,' the whipping post destroyed, and the cotton gins broken down. At the 'great house' you find, instead of the master and overseer, the superintendent and school teacher. In the field, the cotton tasks are comparatively small, but the garden patch in the rear of the cabin is large, well fenced in and well cultivated. If you see few indications of positive happiness, you find no appearances of overburdened misery. There is about the whole place something of the air of a New England farmstead, where labor, being honored, crowns even the humblest with dignity and peace. You take unspeakable comfort in the fact, that, open what door you may into the life of these people, there is no _skeleton_ of oppression to startle and haunt you. Go with me, then, on this calm, bright day of early March, to visit one of the plantations on Port Royal Island, a few miles out of Beaufort. The quartermaster kindly furnishes us with a carriage, somewhat shabby and rickety to be sure, but one of the best that 'Secesh' has left for our use. Our steeds, too, are only slow-moving Government mules, but there is one aristocratic feature of our establishment to remind us of the life that was, viz.: a negro coachman 'educated to drive,' under whose skilful guidance many a happy family party have been conveyed from plantation to plantation on social visits like ours to-day. Uncle Ned speaks kindly of his 'ole massa,' and says he 'would hab stayed wid 'um, ef massa hadn't run away from heself.'
'But why didn't you _go_ with him, uncle?'
'Oh, sah, I could nebber go to de Secesh.'
Doubtless many more of the house slaves and body servants of the planters would have followed their masters, had they not been deterred by fear of the rebel soldiers and hard work in the trenches.
'Use your whip, uncle,' and away we go at a respectable trot over the principal road on the island, which, from the fact of its having been made of oyster shells, is called the 'Shell road,' and extends ten miles to Port Royal Ferry, at the extreme western point of the island. Timely showers have laid the dust, and all the trees and bushes wear clean faces. In the yards there are peach trees in bloom, beautiful crimson japonicas, the jonquil and snowdrop; while everywhere by the roadside we see the ungainly form and coarse flower of the prickly pear. Passing the rifle pits and picket station, we soon turn off from the Shell road, and pass through what was formerly a handsome forest of pines, but which now has been cleared by the soldier's axe, and rejoices in the title of 'pickpocket tract.' Few of the plantations lie on the main road, and many of them, like the one we are now seeking, are approached only by going over several cross roads and by lanes. Our last turn takes us into a handsome avenue of live oaks, whose overarching branches are adorned with long ringlets of the graceful Spanish moss. In the woods on either side of the drive way are dogwood and Pride-of-Asia trees in full blossom, wild honeysuckle, and the sweet yellow jasmine which fills the air with its delicious fragrance. As we drive into the yard, the plantation house suddenly appears to view, half hidden by the dense foliage of magnolia and orange trees. Although called one of the finest residences on the island, the house is inferior to many of our larger farmhouses in New England, and is a simple two-story structure of wood, resting on brick piles, with a veranda in front. Just beyond the path that leads by the house, is a handsome flower garden, while both in the rear of the 'great house' and beyond the flower garden are rows of negro huts. We are soon greeted by our hosts--one, a brave Vermonter, who served faithfully in the army till disabled, the other, a Quaker of Philadelphia, who has left family and friends to labor for the freedman--and ushered into the principal room of the house, where we are presented to a party of the neighboring superintendents and school teachers. Dinner is all ready, and we sit down to a right royal entertainment, the chief dishes of which are portions of an immense _drumfish_ cooked in various fashion. Few entertainers can prove more agreeable than Northern men with Southern hospitality, and we eat and make merry without even a thought of Colonel Barnwell, whose home we have thus 'invaded,' and who, perchance, is shivering in the cold, and suffering the privations of a rebel camp in Eastern Virginia. We must not omit the praise due to our cook, a woman taken from the 'field hands,' and whose only instructors have been our hosts, neither of whom can boast of much knowledge of the art of cooking. It would, however, be hardly safe to trust to an untutored field hand, as I once learned to my cost, when my contraband of the kitchen department called me to dinner by announcing that the eggs had been boiling for an hour, and the oysters stewing for twice that time!
HOME LIFE OF THE FREEDMEN.
After dinner we visit the negroes in their cabins. The _home life_ of the freedmen is at once the most noticeable and most interesting feature of their new condition. Even in former days, however often the sanctity of their homes may have been violated, with however weary limbs and suffering souls they may have gone to them, yet here they must have found their chiefest joy. Now, the humble cabins have become transfigured, and we find therein not only joy, but peace and comfort, and, indeed, in greater or less degree, every element of that domestic order which makes the home the corner stone of our free institutions. I have frequently, when conversing with the freedmen about the flight of their former masters, asked them why they did not accompany them, and have invariably received the reply, 'Oh, sah, we couldn't do dat. We belongs yere. _Dese are our homes._' This strong attachment to the soil, which has been made still stronger by the removal of everything which could in any way remind them of their former condition, has proved to be the great _lever_ to raise them into the dignity of free laborers. It is true their cabins are not yet free-holds; but the assurance that, unless the Government itself fails, no fault or misfortune of another can ever deprive them of their homes, puts them at once on their good behavior, that they may retain in their possession what they prize so dearly. The good results of this transformation of the home are seen in every direction. The marriage relation is observed with a constantly increasing strictness. Family ties are knitted more closely together. Parents take a deep interest in the education of their children, and the children become in turn teachers to the parents of much that is improving and civilizing. In the field there are generous rivalries between families to see which will cultivate the largest patches of corn and cotton. Greater neatness and order are observable about the dwellings, and wherever new cabins have been erected--always by negro carpenters--there has been marked improvement in the style and comfort of the buildings. Freedom has also created new wants, and the freedman purchases from time to time, as he has ability, articles of luxury and of ornament for his home.
I must, however, acknowledge a feeling of disappointment at not finding the negroes more joyous in this new condition of freedom and progress. Those who know them best--the superintendents and teachers--testify to the happiness of their daily lives and their light-hearted enjoyment of all their blessings; but to the casual observer there seems to be a general absence among the freedmen of that cheerfulness and mirth which he naturally expects to find in their homes. A simple explanation of this fact may be found in the _sense of insecurity_ which the uncertain issue of the civil war that rages about them creates in their minds. They have seen one after another of those islands which have been in our possession given up to the reoccupation of the rebels; the disastrous battles of James's Island and Pocotaligo and the fruitless campaigns in Florida are fresh in their minds; while that wearisome waiting for something to be accomplished which spreads such a spirit of restlessness and discontent among our soldiers, is felt even more keenly by the freedmen. There is very much in the uncertainties of their present condition to justify the favorite allusion of their preachers, who often compare the freedmen to the children of Israel before they had fairly gained the promised land. Until a permanent peace shall give to these people that feeling of security, without which, though there may be contentment, there can be little joyousness, it is absurd for us to 'require of them mirth,' or ask them to sing songs of gladness.
Cochin, in his admirable work on the 'Results of Emancipation,' asserts of the negroes: 'This race of men, like all the human species, is divided into two classes, the diligent and the idle; freedom has nothing to do with the second, while it draws from the labor of the first a better yield than servitude.' Has this statement proved true on the Sea Islands? The prejudiced are ready with their negative answer, and point to the comparatively small amount of cotton raised during the past year. By such persons no allowance is made for the peculiarly unfavorable circumstances under which the experiment of free labor thus far has been tried, and they are only too happy to charge upon emancipation all the evils which labor has suffered from the presence of our soldiers and the continuance of the war. The causes of the smallness of the cotton crop produced last year, are obvious to the most careless observer. Owing to the late arrival of the first company of superintendents who were sent from the North, no preparations were made for planting till more than two months after the usual time. On many of the plantations the seed used was of a poor quality, while it was almost impossible to find any implements of culture or to obtain the necessary mules or horses. As a consequence of the late planting, the cotton was not sufficiently advanced to resist the attacks of the caterpillars in September, and for a month these insects held grand carnival on the yet immature plants, causing widespread damage to the crop. The low wages offered to the freedmen by Government were no offset to the attractions of trading with the army and navy, and all the negroes were ambitious to have some connection with camp life. As a natural result of this condition of things, both the industry and interest of the freedmen were drawn away from the cotton fields. Early in the season, also, when the young crops required constant attention, all the able-bodied men were drafted into General Hunter's regiments, and kept in camp till the fall. The influence of the draft upon those who remained at home, added to the delay and smallness of the Government payments, made the laborers discouraged at their prospects, disaffected toward the superintendents, and careless at their work.
The obstacles in the way of successful agricultural operations, produced by the military occupation of the islands, are still further evident from the fact that both provision and cotton crops improved in proportion to the distance from the camps. Thus, on Port Royal and Hilton Head Islands, where most of the troops were encamped, very little cotton was raised, and so small a crop of provisions, that it became necessary for Government to ration many of the freedmen during a brief period. On Ladies' and St. Helena Islands, away from the immediate vicinity of the camps, very fair crops of cotton were raised, and nearly enough provision for the support of all the laborers. The rations furnished by Government, and which have given rise to so much unfriendly comment, were called for, either by the refugees from the mainland and adjacent islands, many of whom had at first no means of subsistence, or by the freedmen on those plantations so exposed to the camps and so harassed by the soldiers, that the crops which they were able to gather failed to last them through the year. In one district on St. Helena Island, including three plantations, which was under the care of a capable and judicious superintendent, of sufficient means to advance his private funds to the payment of the laborers, the total receipts from the sale of the cotton and the surplus provisions raised were more than double all the expenses incurred in wages, clothing, and superintendence.
Such were the results of the first year's experiment. Early in the present year several of the plantations passed into the possession of private individuals, and thus an important change has been effected in the aspect of the free-labor problem. On the Government plantations, which are under the care of salaried superintendents as last year, a uniform system of labor has been adopted, embodying the results of previous experience. Under this system, the laborers agree as to the amount of cotton land which they will cultivate, and are then paid twenty-five cents a day for their work. At the end of the year they are to receive a bonus of two cents per pound of unginned cotton for picking. This additional reward at once stimulates them to exertion, and teaches them that steady and continued labor brings the best return. In addition to raising the amount of cotton agreed upon, each freedman is responsible for cultivating corn and potatoes enough for his own subsistence, and land is allotted for this purpose. The laborers are also required to produce corn enough for the subsistence of the plantation mules and horses, for the use of the superintendents, and for the subsistence of all the old and disabled persons for whom provision is not otherwise made. As regards payments, the Government theory is most excellent, inasmuch as it provides for partial payments while the work is going on, so as to furnish the freedman enough money for his immediate wants, and then, by the bonus which is paid at the end of the year, supplies him with an amount greater than his wages, to be laid up or put out at interest. Unfortunately the practice of the Government has been most injurious. The delay in the monthly payments during the past year, sometimes for as long a period as six months, caused the laborers to become discouraged, discontented, and suspicious. Unlike the soldier, the freedman is not clothed or fed by Government (except in the case of those who are utterly destitute), nor can he, like other laborers, obtain credit to the extent of the wages due him. Under these circumstances, the delay on the part of the Government in paying the freedman has been not only unjust to the laborers but disastrous to the workings of the free-labor system.
On the purchased plantations we find a wholly different state of things, and, as might be expected, a great variety of systems of labor. Some of the best managers keep up the Government scale of prices, but pay the laborers more promptly, and increase their wages by many indirect means, such as giving them bacon and molasses in proportion to the amount of cotton land which they cultivate, providing a store for the plantation, where the freedmen can purchase articles at a much lower rate than elsewhere, keeping the cabins in good repair, building new ones, and having always on hand the necessary plantation implements for facilitating the culture of the cotton. Others pay higher wages, and also increase the bonus which is paid for picking the cotton. Some promise the freedmen so much per pound for the cotton which they shall raise, and see that all their wants are supplied till the crop is gathered; while still others, from lack of judgment or capital, offer the negroes a certain portion of the crop--in some cases as high as two thirds--in return for their labor. On all these plantations the freedmen are doing better than on those which are still retained by Government. The average amount of cotton land which has been planted this spring is from an acre and a half to two acres for each 'full hand.' Under slavery a full hand took care on an average of three acres, but it must be remembered that all the able-bodied negroes, excepting only a foreman to each plantation, have been drafted into the army, or are working in the Quartermaster's Department.
At the present time all indications point to a successful season. Riding over many of the plantations, I have seen the negroes at work breaking up the ground or planting the seed, and everywhere found them laboring diligently, and even showing a manly emulation in their tasks. Yet it would be unreasonable to expect too much where so many obstacles beset the way. As one of the new planters writes: 'For success in an experiment of free hired labor among ignorant blacks just emancipated, conditions of peace and quiet are absolutely necessary. However, the difficulties in our way are purely natural workings, and merely show that black is more nearly white than is usually allowed.' Perhaps the greatest of these obstacles is the vicinity of the camps at Beaufort and Hilton Head, which tempts the freedmen to leave their regular employments and obtain an easy livelihood by the sale of eggs, chickens, fish, oysters, &c. Such markets affect the blacks on the plantations just as the California fever affected the laboring men of the North a few years ago; and it is a matter of surprise and congratulation that the presence of the soldiers has not produced a greater demoralization among the negroes than we find to be the case.
Five of the plantations were bought by the freedmen themselves, who are now carrying them on as independent cultivators. Everywhere the freedmen, on hearing that the lands were to be sold, were eager to buy, and it was found in many cases that they had saved considerable sums of money from their earnings of the previous year. This almost universal desire of the negroes to become landowners, is a complete refutation of the charge that sudden emancipation from forced labor opens the door for the return of the blacks to barbarism.
The conditions under which the trial of free labor is now carried on in South Carolina, are unparalleled in history. Those who are familiar with the results of emancipation in the French and English colonies, will find few points of comparison between those results and the present workings of freedom on the Sea Islands. Consider that at no previous time, and in no other country, has there ever been an immediate and unconditional abolition of slavery. France, in the frenzy of the Revolution, declared that slavery was abolished, but was forced to reëstablish it under the Consulate; and, during the half century which followed before the complete and final emancipation of the slaves in 1848, we find continually acts and measures adopted which gradually paved the way to this ultimate success. England, too, after the abolition of the slave trade, made repeated efforts to ameliorate the condition of the slave population of her colonies, and when, in 1833, the Act of Emancipation was passed, it was found that, while declaring all slaves on English soil to be instantly free, it made provisions for transforming them into apprenticed laborers. In South Carolina, emancipation, proclaimed by the guns of Admiral Du Pont, was instant, unlooked for, and without conditions. However ardently it may have been desired by the slaves themselves, they surely could not have expected it, at a time when the belief universally prevailed among the planters that the forts which defended their islands were impregnable.
In the colonies of France and England, there was no civil war, bringing into the midst of the plantations the demoralizing influences of the camp, harassing the simple-minded freedmen with constant fear of reverses, which would consign them to a worse bondage than they had ever known, and tending, in the absence of all civil law and the restraints of a well-ordered society, to draw away the laborer from the cultivation of the soil. In South Carolina, moreover, no masters or overseers were left, as in the French and English colonies, to direct the negroes in their labor; and, in consequence, their guidance has been intrusted to a body of superintendents from the North, most of them young men, and all without experience, either in the management of the blacks or the culture of the cotton. This complete separation of the freedmen from their former masters, by reason of the flight and escape of all the planters, has been, in many respects, most favorable to their progress in liberty. Consider for a moment what would have been the result if, at any time during the past thirty years, it had been possible to effect the abolishment of slavery in these islands by an act of the General Government. Who can doubt that such an act, passed against the wills of the slaveholders, would have produced the most disastrous consequences, and that such an experiment of free labor as is now going on would have been utterly impossible? Those, at least, who have had opportunities for observing the bitter hate engendered toward the negroes, among those masters whom the proclamation of the 1st of January deprived of their former 'chattels,' cannot but regard with satisfaction such peaceful solutions of this fearful problem as that effected at Port Royal, where the shot and shell of our gunboats, in breaking the chains of the slave, at the same moment compelled the master to flight.
RELIGION OF THE FREEDMEN.
The religious condition of the South Carolina freedmen presents many peculiar and interesting features. Whether, like the negroes in the 'old North State,' they celebrated their new birth into freedom by services of praise and thanksgiving at the altar, I have been unable to learn; but certain it is, that the wonderful tranquillity of their sudden transition from bondage, and the good use which they have made of their liberty, are owing in great measure to their deep religious earnestness. This earnestness, it is evident, is not the result of conviction or enlightenment, so much as of the strong emotional nature of the blacks, intensified by sympathy, and kept alive to religious feeling by their frequent meetings for prayer and praise. Yet, to the careful observer, the blind and often superstitious worship of these people, which, as is now so plainly seen, was fostered by slavery, is one of the saddest results of the system. Those who are now permitted to watch over the religious progress of the freedmen, can bring new and abundant proof to the assertion of De Tocqueville, that 'Christianity is a religion of _freemen_.' The present opportunities for religious worship which the freedmen enjoy consist of their 'praise meetings'--similar in most respects to our prayer meetings--which are held two or three times a week on the plantations, and the Sunday services at the various churches scattered about the islands. These services are usually conducted by white preachers, and are attended not only by the negroes, but also by the superintendents, teachers, and many casual visitors from the camps. At Beaufort and Hilton Head large and flourishing Sunday schools are in operation. Most of the freedmen belong either to the Baptist or Methodist denomination, and the fervor and zeal of the preachers of the latter persuasion always find a response in the excitable and impulsive nature of the blacks. It is not a little singular that, while Cochin can write concerning the freedmen in the French colonies that 'the _Catholic_ worship has incomparable attractions for the blacks,' we find the negro in our own country everywhere attracted toward that sect of Protestants which has always been the most powerful antagonist to Romanism.
On Sunday, the 15th of March, in company with a party of superintendents and teachers, I attended a service held for the freedmen on St. Helena's Island. Our ride from the plantation took us through field and wood, till we reached the main road on which the church is situated. It is a simple, unpretending structure of brick, shaded on all sides by handsome live oaks. Near by is the small cemetery, and the drooping moss from the oaks hangs in sombre beauty over the graves. Under the trees is a group of superintendents discussing the news and the last order of General Hunter. As we ride up, a party of officers comes galloping in from camp, while from the other direction is seen approaching a venerable carryall, conveying a party of lady teachers from a distant plantation. The service has already begun, and the church is crowded with the dusky auditors, while here and there may be seen a pew filled with 'white folks.' The day is warm, so we can stand by the open window and take in the whole scene at a single glance. No danger to-day of any manifestations of overwrought feelings; no groans nor excited shoutings of 'Amen.' The preacher has taken his text from the first chapter of Genesis, and he is describing the wonders of the creation. His sermon might properly be entitled a 'Disquisition upon the Universe.' It is evident that his colored hearers fail to see the 'beauty and mysterious order of the stellar world' which he is portraying, for most of them are already dozing, and the rest are nodding their heads as if in sleepy assent to the undoubted truth of the good man's words. He has overreached his mark, and hits neither the heads nor the hearts of his congregation. At length the discourse is ended, and all rise to join in the closing hymn, which is 'deaconed off' by the minister, and responded to by the negroes in a monotonous '_yah, yah_.' They have not recovered from the soporific effect of the sermon, and, besides, can hardly be blamed for not catching the feebly uttered words. But their time is coming. No sooner is the benediction pronounced, than one of the negro elders strikes up a well known hymn, and, suddenly rousing from their stupor, the whole congregation join in singing in clear and ringing tones verse after verse of the jubilant song. Then follow other hymns and chants peculiar to the negro worship, the crude expressions of their deep emotional feeling. As we leave the church, we are convinced that the religious teachers of the newly freed blacks are sadly at fault in repeating so much the kind of preaching to which the negroes were accustomed under the old system, and in neglecting to pour into their perceptive souls both the light and warmth of the Gospel. As an officer remarked who had stood at our side listening to the service: 'These people had enough of the Old Testament thrown at their heads under slavery. Now give them the glorious utterances and practical teachings of the Great Master.'
At some of the meetings of the freedmen, they are addressed by negro preachers, who never fail to speak with great effect. In Alexandria, Va., I was told by the superintendent of the freedmen of an old negro teacher and exhorter, the self-elected pastor of all the blacks there, going about from house to house to minister to the wants of the sick and afflicted, teaching the young, and speaking in all the meetings. 'This old negro,' said the superintendent, 'has more influence over the blacks, and does more good among them, than all the missionaries and chaplains who have been sent here.' To the same effect is the testimony of all who have listened to the colored preacher at Port Royal, and who know the great power which the chief elders of their churches possess over the rest of the negroes. A verbatim report of an exhortation given, just before the expedition to Jacksonville, Fla., to the soldiers of Colonel Higginson's 1st South Carolina Volunteers, by one of these negro preachers, would be worthy a place in 'American Oratory.' I remember only one striking passage, where, in his appeal to the troops to fight bravely, he urged them to seek always the post of danger, since heaven would be the immediate reward of all who should be killed in battle; for, said he, as if moved by an oracle: 'What hab been, dat will be. He who is de fust man to get into de boat, and de fust to jump on shore, him, if he fall, will be de fust to get to heaben.' Then, as if standing already in the midst of the fight, and with all the feelings of his nature roused against his enemies, he added: 'An' when de battle comes--when you see de Kunn'l put his shoulder to de wheel, and hear de shot and shell flying all round like de rain drops, den remember dat ebery one ob dose shot is a bolt ob de Almighty God to send dem rebels to deir eberlasting damnation.' Such fervent utterances are not uncommon among the negro preachers, and are well calculated to produce a powerful effect upon the susceptible natures of their hearers, 'deep answering unto deep.'
NEGRO 'SHOUTS' AND SHOUT SONGS.
At the 'praise meetings' on the plantations, one of the elders usually presides, and conducts the exercises with great solemnity. Passages of Scripture are quoted from memory, and the hymns, which constitute the principal feature of the meeting, are deaconed off as at church. Sometimes the superintendent or one of the teachers attends these meetings, and is then expected to conduct the exercises and make an address. After the praise meeting is over, there usually follows the very singular and impressive performance of the '_Shout_,' or religious dance of the negroes. Three or four, standing still, clapping their hands and beating time with their feet, commence singing in unison one of the peculiar shout melodies, while the others walk round in a ring, in single file, joining also in the song. Soon those in the ring leave off their singing, the others keeping it up the while with increased vigor, and strike into the shout step, observing most accurate time with the music. This step is something halfway between a shuffle and a dance, as difficult for an uninitiated person to describe as to imitate. At the end of each stanza of the song the dancers stop short with a slight stamp on the last note, and then, putting the other foot forward, proceed through the next verse. They will often dance to the same song for twenty or thirty minutes, once or twice, perhaps, varying the monotony of their movement by walking for a little while and joining in the singing. The physical exertion, which is really very great, as the dance calls into play nearly every muscle of the body, seems never to weary them in the least, and they frequently keep up a shout for hours, resting only for brief intervals between the different songs. Yet, in trying to imitate them, I was completely tired out in a very short time. The children are the best dancers, and are allowed by their parents to have a shout at any time, though, with the adults, the shout always follows a religious meeting, and none but church members are expected to join. It is to one of these shouts of the negro children that Mr. Russell alludes in his Diary when describing a visit which he paid to a plantation near Charleston in April, 1861. He speaks of the children as a set of 'ragged, dirty, and shoeless urchins, who came in shyly, oftentimes running away till they were chased and captured, dressed into line with much difficulty, and, then, shuffling their flat feet, clapping their hands, and drawling out in a monotonous sort of chant something about the 'River Jawdam.'' Such a sketch conveys no idea of the shout as it may be witnessed to-day on any of the plantations among the Sea Islands. You will find the children clean, and, in general, neatly dressed, coming into the room when asked by the superintendent, rendering their impressive and oftentimes pleasing melodies in a manner seldom surpassed in our schools at the North, while their 'shouting' reveals a suppleness of limb and peculiar grace of motion beyond the power of our dancing masters to impart.
There are many features of the negro shout which amuse us from their strangeness; some, also, that strike the observer as wholly absurd. Yet, viewed as a religious exercise--and in this light it is always considered by the older negroes--I cannot help regarding it, in spite of many of its characteristics, as both a natural and a rational expression of devotional feeling. The negroes never indulge in it when, for any reason, they feel downhearted or sad at their meetings. The shout is a simple outburst and manifestation of religious fervor--a 'rejoicing in the Lord'--making a 'joyful noise unto the God of their salvation.'
The words of the shout songs are a singular medley of things sacred and profane, and are the natural outgrowth of the imperfect and fragmentary knowledge of the Scriptures which the negroes have picked up. The substitution for these crude productions of appropriate hymns, would remove from the shout that which is now the chief objection to it in intelligent minds, and would make of the dance, to which the negroes are so much attached, a useful auxiliary in their religious culture. The tunes to which these songs are sung, are some of them weird and wild--'barbaric madrigals'--while others are sweet and impressive melodies. The most striking of their barbaric airs it would be impossible to write out, but many of their more common melodies are easily caught upon being heard a few times. This music of the negro shout opens a new and rich field of melody--a mine in which there is much rough quartz, but also many veins of sparkling ore.
What, for example, could be more animated, and at the same time more expressive of the thought conveyed in the verse than the following chorus?--the introduction to which is a sort of recitative or chant:
I'd a like to die as a Jesus die, An' he die wid a freely good will, He
lay in de grabe, An' he stretchy out he arms, O, Lord, remember me.
O, Lord, remember me, Do, Lord, remember me; Re-
member me when de year rolls round, O, Lord, remember me.
The words of the chant are evidently a very childlike expression of the wish to die with the same good will and spirit of forgiveness which were manifested in the Saviour's death.
Of a very different character is the following verse, sung to the same recitative:
'O, Death he is a little man, He goes from do' to do', He kill some soul, an he wounded some, An' he lef' some soul for to pray.'
A most striking contrast between the recitative and chorus, is presented in the following:
RECITATIVE (_Sung to one note like a chant, with a cadence at the end_):--
'I wonder why Satan do follow me so? Satan hab noting 't all for to do, long 'wid me.'
CHORUS. _Slow and forcibly._
Hold your light, Hold your light, Hold your light on Canaan's shore.
The next song presents a greater variety in melody, as well as in the different verses, which seem to have no connection whatever with each other. The 'Parson Fuller' referred to is the Rev. Dr. Fuller, of Baltimore, who owns a plantation on one of the islands:
Dar's a meetin' here to-night, Dar's a meetin' here to-night, Dar's a
[music notation] ( 1. Parson Fuller sittin' on de meetin' here to-night, I hope to meet you dar. ( 2. Little children learn to ( 3. Let no angry word or
Tree of Life, An' he heary when Jordan roll.) fear de Lord, An' let your days be long. ) Roll, Jordan, roll Jordan, spiteful boast Be heard up-on your tongue. )
Roll, Jor-dan, roll, Roll, Jordan, roll, O roll, Jordan, roll, O my
soul will rise to heab'n above, An' heary when Jordan roll.
The following has evidently been composed since the negroes became free, and expresses very forcibly their feelings toward 'driber, massa, and missus':
Done wid driber's dribin', Done wid driber's dribin',
Done wid driber's drib-in', Roll, Jordan, roll.
2. Done wid massa's hollerin', Done wid massa's hollerin', Done wid massa's hollerin', Roll, Jordan roll.
3. Done wid missus' scoldin', Done wid missus' scoldin', Done wid missus' scoldin', Roll, Jordan, roll.
4. Sins so heaby dat I cannot get along, Sins so heaby dat I cannot get along, Sins so heaby dat I cannot get along, Roll, Jordan, roll.
5. Cast my sins to de bottom ob de sea, Cast my sins to de bottom ob de sea, Cast my sins to de bottom ob de sea, Roll, Jordan, roll.
Perhaps the best illustration of the Scriptural patchwork which characterizes many of the shout songs, is seen in the 'Lonesome Valley,' the music of which is very quaint and plaintive:
O brudder William, you want to get religion, Ri' down in de lonesome valley,
1. Down in de lonesome valley, Go down in de lonesome valley, my Lord, Ri' 2. You feed on milk and honey, You feed on milk and honey, my Lord, You
down in de lonesome valley, You meet my Jesus dere. feed on milk and honey, And meet my Jesus dere.
The third and fourth stanzas are:
3. When Johnny brought a letter, When Johnny brought a letter, my Lord, When Johnny brought a letter, He meet my Jesus dere.
4. An' Mary and Marta read 'em, An' Mary and Marta read 'em, my Lord, An' Mary and Marta read 'em, Dey meet my Jesus dere.
The example above given will convey a good idea of the general character of the shout songs. Apart from these religious songs, there is no music among the South Carolina freedmen, except the simple airs which are sung by the boatmen, as they row on the rivers and creeks. A tinge of sadness pervades all their melodies, which bear as little resemblance to the popular Ethiopian melodies of the day as twilight to noonday. The joyous, merry strains which have been associated in the minds of many with the Southern negro, are never heard on the Sea Islands. Indeed, by most of the negroes, such songs as 'Uncle Ned' and 'O Susanna' are considered as highly improper. In the schools, many of the best songs which are sung in our Sunday and public schools have been introduced, and are opening new sources of pleasure to a race so musical by their very nature as are the negroes of the South.
While in Beaufort, I attended a concert given by a band of genuine 'negro minstrels.' The company had taken the name of the 'Charleston Minstrels,' and was composed mainly of refugees from Charleston, who were then servants to various officers in General Saxton's Department. The concert was held in the Episcopal Church, and the proceeds devoted to the benefit of the sick and wounded of the First South Carolina Volunteers. The first view of the performers, as they sat round the stage, a dozen finely formed and good-looking negroes, caused the spectator to fancy himself in the presence of the famous band of Christy, or some other company of white Ethiopian serenaders. Soon, the opera glass revealed the amusing fact, that, although every minstrel was by nature as black as black could be, yet all the performers had given their faces a coating of burnt cork, in order that their resemblance to Yankee minstrels might be in every respect complete. There were excellent voices among the singers, and some of the players handled their instruments with surprising skill; but the presence of an audience composed entirely of white people, and including many of the highest officers in the Department, evidently caused great embarrassment to performers so unaccustomed to the stage. Not a single song which could be called comic was included in the programme; and, with the exception of a few patriotic airs, the songs were of the 'Lily Dale,' half-mournful sort. Between the pieces there was the customary telling of anecdotes and cracking of jokes, some of which were quite amusing, while others excited laughter from the manner in which they were told. As an imitation of our Northern minstrelsy given by a band of uneducated negro musicians, the performance was a wonderful success. Yet the general impression left upon the mind of the hearer was far from pleasing. One could not help feeling that a people, whose very natures are attuned to harmony, are capable of something better than even the most perfect imitation of those who have so grossly caricatured their race.
SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION AMONG THE FREEDMEN.
The education of the children of the freedmen was begun simultaneously with the work of employing the negroes as free laborers. Teachers, both men and women, from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, accompanied the superintendents who were sent to Port Royal in March, 1862. The results of their labors during the past year have been most encouraging, in spite of the changes and confusion caused by the war and the numerous obstacles in the way of a steady and continued application on the part of the children. The teachers in their reports all unite to attest the 'universal eagerness to learn,' which they have not found equalled in white persons, arising both from the desire for knowledge common to all, and the desire to raise their condition now so very strong among these people. The details of these reports present few points of special interest to the common reader. A common mistake, both of those who visit these schools for the first time, and of others who have merely heard of their existence, arises from comparing the negro schools, where children of all ages are to be seen, with our district schools in New England, where difference of age implies a corresponding difference in attainments. 'What are your most advanced classes studying?' is very often asked of the teachers, when a moment's reflection would convince the inquirer, that the Primer and First Reader are the only books which we expect to see in the hands of children who have but just learned their letters. Viewing the rapid progress which these colored children have made in learning to read during the past year--many of them being obliged to leave school and work in the field during a considerable portion of the time--the retentive memories which they have shown in their studies, and their great eagerness to learn, which requires no urging from parents or teachers, and which manifests itself in the punctual attendance even of those who are obliged to walk from long distances to the school house--we may well be satisfied with what has already been accomplished, and with the prospects for the future.
As a general rule, the _adults_ are as eager to learn as the children, and the reading or spelling book is the almost invariable companion of the freedmen when off duty. On the wharves, in the intervals between labor--in the camp, whenever a leisure moment is found--on the plantations, when work is done--everywhere, you will see the negroes with book in hand, patiently poring over their lesson, picking the way along as best they can, or eagerly following the guidance of some kind friend who stops to teach them. Probably few of these adult students will ever advance beyond a simple knowledge of reading, and many, doubtless, will stop short of this, lacking the perseverance necessary to attain success. Most of the freedmen, however, are so earnest and determined in their pursuit of knowledge, so patient and untiring in their efforts to learn, and, withal, enjoy such keen pleasure in this awakening to consciousness of their mental powers, that they cannot fail to elevate themselves thereby, and also to feel an increased interest in the education of their children.
Negro soldiers on the Sea islands have long since ceased to be objects of wonder or curiosity, and may be seen to-day in camp, on picket, or on detached service, everywhere doing their work in a quiet, soldierly manner, and attracting no more attention than the white troops about them. Through many difficulties, and against great opposition, they have conquered their present honorable position in the Department of the South. The untimely draft of the freedmen made by General Hunter in May, 1862, the violence and deception with which the order was enforced, as well as the refusal of the Government to receive these regiments into the service, causing the dispersion of the troops without pay and without honor, was enough to discourage all further enlistment. But when, last winter, General Saxton called for volunteers, an entire regiment was soon raised, and early in the present year, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers were ready to take the field. Fortunately for the regiment and for the country, the services of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, of Worcester, Mass., were secured as commander of this first regiment of Union soldiers raised in South Carolina. 'The right man in the right place' has not become so common a sight in our army, as to prevent our being thankful that so fit an appointment was made and accepted. Surely we are but just beginning to learn what heroes we have, when we see a man of high literary attainments, whose eloquent words, both spoken and written, have contributed so largely to the physical, mental, and moral culture of his countrymen, laying down the pen for the sword at the call of duty, and winning at once by his wisdom and skill the two highest objects of an officer's ambition, the devotion of his men, and the commendation of his superiors.
Soon after arriving at Port Royal, I paid a visit to Colonel Higginson's regiment, then encamped about four miles from Beaufort. Setting out on horseback in company with one of the superintendents, our ride took us along the banks of the Beaufort river, past cotton plantations, and through pleasant woods bright with the golden blossoms of the pines. Although it was early in February, we saw the negroes at work in the fields, 'listing' the ground--a process of breaking up the soil with hoes--while here and there a solitary palmetto stood, like a scarecrow, as if to warn away all invaders. We soon reached 'Camp Saxton,' which we found pleasantly situated near a large and magnificent grove of live oaks, just at the bend of the river, where a fine view is given of the winding stream, the harbor of Port Royal, and the low-lying islands in the distance. The grove, which is the handsomest on the islands, was formerly part of a plantation belonging to a master well known by his cruelty toward his slaves, and the tree which served as the whipping post is still pointed out. A short distance from the camp, by the river side, may be seen the remains of an old Spanish fort, built of oyster shells, and said to have been erected in the year 1637.
To one accustomed to notice the sanitary appearance of camps, the neatness observable both in the streets and tents of 'Camp Saxton' was an agreeable surprise. Few camps in any department of the army are better policed, or present to the visitor such a general air of order and cleanliness as this first encampment of Colonel Higginson's regiment. As we enter one of the streets a company inspection of arms is going on, which displays to good advantage the proficiency of the colored soldier in the minutiæ of his work. Soon after, we are summoned to witness a battalion drill, and my companion, who has been both an army officer and a 'Democrat,' is extravagant in his praise of the movements and evolutions of the troops. Before leaving the camp we visit the snug and comfortable hospital into which Yankee ingenuity has metamorphosed the upper story of an old ginhouse. The surgeon informs us that the most common disease in the regiment is _pneumonia_, and that, in order to guard as far as possible against this, he has the middle board of the tent floor taken up just at night, and a fire built on the ground, to remove the dampness.
We are careful to make our exit at the proper place, as negro soldiers on guard observe unwonted strictness, and we hear of their having threatened to shoot the commanding general himself for attempting to pass out at some other than the regular passage way.
I have seen the soldiers of Colonel Higginson's regiment on several other occasions than the one above described, and have always found them displaying the same soldierly qualities. Their picketing of Port Royal island has not been surpassed by any white regiment for the rigor and watchfulness with which it was enforced. 'Will they fight?' is a question which the events of the war are fast answering in the affirmative. The South Carolina volunteers have not as yet met the rebels in close conflict; but, in holding captured places against large numbers of the enemy, in passing rebel batteries on the Florida rivers, and in hazardous excursions into the heart of the enemy's country, where they have been constantly exposed to the fire of sharp-shooters and guerillas, they have behaved as bravely as any other regiments in the service; while they have united to their ready obedience and prompt execution of orders, a dash and fierceness such as might have been expected from their excitable nature when under the stimulus of actual warfare. In view, therefore, of the admirable manner in which these freedmen have performed all the duties of a soldier's life which have thus far been required of them, it is fair to presume that in the fierce shock of open battle, they will acquit themselves like men. A striking illustration of the wide difference between the theories of those who oppose the use of the negro as a soldier, and the facts which the war is constantly revealing, was furnished on our passage from North Carolina to Port Royal. 'Will the negro troops be clean?' was asked of an officer of the regular army, and his reply was a highly wrought and imaginary description of the horrible condition of the garrisons, and the fearful epidemics, which would be occasioned by placing black soldiers in the forts on our Southern coast. The facts of the case in reference to the comparative cleanliness of white and black troops showed that, while the companies of regulars under this officer's care habitually neglected on ship-board the simplest sanitary regulations, such as sweeping and washing the decks, the negro soldiers who had been taken on our Government transports to various points on the Florida coast, daily observed these important rules, gaining thereby the commendation of the ship's officers, and promoting at the same time their own health and comfort. The explanation of this fact is found in the prompt and unquestioning obedience of the black soldier, the peculiar characteristic of those who have been accustomed in a state of servitude to execute the commands of those who were over them.
The tide of public opinion is setting so strongly in favor of the use of negroes as soldiers, that the present danger seems to lie in the direction of our indulging in too extravagant expectations of their efficiency. We must not overlook the fact that, in the case of the former slaves, as much depends upon the character of their officers as upon the valor of the men. Nor should it be forgotten that among the freedmen who come within our lines, there is only a small proportion of able-bodied men capable of enduring the hardships of the service. In too many instances slavery has sapped the vigor of their lives, and the examinations of our surgeons have revealed an extent of physical weakness which is truly surprising. There can, however, no longer be any doubt in the minds of candid and loyal men, that the freedmen who are able to bear arms will prove themselves valiant soldiers, jealous defenders of their own and their country's liberties, and a terror to their enemies, who have so madly attempted to destroy both 'Liberty and Union.'
A SPIRIT'S REPROACH.
I stood beside the altar with a friend, To hear him plight his faith to a young bride, A rosy child of simple heart and mind. Yet two short years before, on that same spot, I heard the funeral chant above the bier Of a first wife--a woman bright as fair, Or blessed or cursed with genius, full of fire-- Who loved him with a passion high and rare; Whom he had won from paths of fame and art To walk unknown life's quiet ways with him. My mind was with the past, when the loud swell Of music rose to greet the childlike bride, The organ quivering as with solemn joy: Alas! another voice breathed through it all, Reproachful, haughty, wild, but very sad; Near, though its tones fell from that farthest shore, Where the eternal surge beats time no more! Sadly I gazed upon my friend, to mark If his new joys were quelled by the weird strains: He heard it not--he only saw the face, Blushing and girlish, 'neath its bridal veil; Saw not the stronger spirit standing by, With immortelles upon its massive front, And drooping wings adown its snowy shroud, And sense of wrong dewing its starry eye; Nor heard the chant of agony, reproach, Chilling the naïve joy of the marriage song.
* * * *
'Say, canst thou woo another for thy bride, Whilst I am living--ever near thee still! Renounce the faith so often pledged to me, Forget me, while I dream of thee in heaven! When the word _love_ first fell upon my ear, I was a dreamer wrapped in pleasant thoughts, Dwelling in themes apart from common life, Nor needed aught for bliss save my still hours, My studies, and the poet's golden lyre. The stars revealed to me their trackless paths, The flowers whispered me their secrets sweet, And science oped her ways of calm and light. Yet love, like ancient scroll, was closely rolled; I had no wish to read its mystic page; Its wooing wakened in me wondering scorn, Its homage insult to my virgin pride; If lovers knelt, 'twas but to be denied.
And yet it pleased to know myself so fair, Because I loved the Beautiful. We met! Dark, fierce, and full of power thy features were, Yet finely cut, chiselled and sculptured well, Reminding me of antique demigod. The dream of the wild Greek, maddened with light From Beauty's sun, before me living stood. Ah! not of marble were thy features pale! Like summer's lightning, lights and shadows danced As feelings surged within thy stormful soul. Full of high thoughts and poetry wert thou: I left the paths of thought to hear thee speak Of love and its devotion, endless truth. All nature glowed with sudden, roseate light; The waves of ocean, mountains, forests dim, The waterfall, the flower, the clinging moss, Were woven in types of purity and peace, To etherealize and beautify thy love. Marriage of souls, eternal constancy, Gave wildering love new worth and dignity. My maiden pride was soothed, and if I felt Repelled by human passion, still I joyed In sacrifice that made me wholly thine. We wedded--and I rested on thy heart, Counted its throbs, and when I sadly thought They measured out the fleeting sands of life, I smiled at Time--_Love lives eternally!_ I was not blind to my advantages, Yet I became a humble household dove, Smoothing to thy caress the eager wings Which might have borne me through the universe. All wealth seemed naught; had stars been in my gift, I would have thrown them reckless all to thee! Two happy years--how swift they fleeted by!-- And then I felt a fluttering, restless life Throbbing beneath my heart; and with it knew (I ne'er could tell you how such knowledge came) That I must die! A moment's dread and pang O'ercame me--then the bitter thought grew sweet: My passing agony would win the boon Of life immortal for _our_ infant's soul; The innocent being, through whose veins would flow Our mingling hearts for ever--ever--one! We spoke of death, and of eternal life; Many and fond the vows then pledged to me: 'If cruel death must sever us on earth, Rest calmly on my never-changing love; Now and forever it is solely thine! _Thou art my soul's elect--my Bride in Heaven!_'
So deeply did I trust thy plighted faith, I nerved my ardent soul to bear it all, And calmly saw the fated hour approach, Nor quailed before the pangs of death to give Our living love to a fond father's kiss: Smiling I placed him in thy arms--then died. The songs of angels wooed me high above, But my firm soul refused to leave its loves! I won the boon from heaven to hover near, To count the palpitations of thy heart, And speak, unseen, to thee in varied ways. I breathed to thee in music's plaintive tones, I floated round thee in the breath of flowers, I wooed thee in the poet's tender page, And through the blue eyes of our orphaned child I gazed upon thee with the buried love So fraught with faith and haunting memories. With spirit power I ranged the world of thought To twine thee with the blue 'Forget me not!'
* * * *
Oh, God! thine eye seeks now a fresher face, Thy voice has won another's earnest love, Her head rests on the heart once pledged to me, And I have poured my worship on the dust! He loves again, and yet I gave him all-- Been proud--is this 'the worm that never dies?' Ah, what am I?--a ruined wreck adrift Upon a surging sea of endless pain! Are human hearts all fickle, faithless, base? Does levity brand all of mortal race? When we shall meet within the Spirit's land, How wilt thou bear my sorrow, my despair? Wilt strive to teach me there thy new-found lore-- Forgetfulness? I could not learn the task! Wilt seek to link again our broken ties? Away! I would not stoop my haughty brow To thing so false as thou! I love--yet scorn! We give ourselves with purity but once; The love of soul yields not to change of state; Heaven's life news the broken ties of earth; There is no death! all that has _truly_ lived, Lives ever; feeling cannot die; it blooms Immortal as the soul from which it springs! Why do I shrink to own the bitter truth? _I never have been loved--'twas mockery all!_'
* * * *
Thus sang the tortured spirit, while the chant Of the new bridal filled the quivering air. The ring of gold upon the finger placed, The girlish blushes, the groom's joyous smile, Told all was over, and the crowd dispersed: But the high face of the wrung spirit pressed Upon my heart, haunting me with its woe. What was her doom? Was she midst penal fires, Whose flames must burn away the sins of life, The hay and stubble of idolatrous love? Ah, even in its root crime germs with doom! Must suffering consume our earthly dross? Is't pain alone can bind us to the Cross? She worshipped _man_; true to his nature, he Remained as ever fickle, sensuous, weak. 'Love is eternal!' True, but God alone Can fill the longings of an immortal soul: _The finite thirst is for the Infinite!_
JEFFERSON DAVIS AND REPUDIATION.
LETTER OF HON. ROBERT J. WALKER.
LONDON, 10, Half Moon Street, Piccadilly,
_June 30th, 1863._
Soon after my arrival in London from New York, my attention was called, by some English, as well as American friends, to an article which had appeared more than a month previously in the London _Times_ of the 23d of March last. In the money article of that date is the following letter from the Hon. John Slidell, the Minister of Jefferson Davis at Paris.
'MY DEAR SIR:
I have yours of yesterday. I am inclined to think the people of London confound Mr. Reuben Davis, whom I have always understood to have taken the lead on the question of repudiation, with President Jefferson Davis. I am not aware that the latter was in any way identified with that question. I am very confident that it was not agitated during his canvass for Governor, or during his administration. The Union Bank bonds were issued in direct violation of an express constitutional provision. There is a wide difference between these bonds, and those of the Planters' Bank, for the repudiation of which, neither excuse nor palliation can be offered. I feel confident that Jefferson Davis never approved or justified that repudiation. What may have been his private opinions of the refusal to consider the State of Mississippi bound to provide for the payment of the Union Bank bonds, I do not know.
It is due to the editor of the _Times_ here to state, that, in his money article of the 23d March last, he refers to the controversy of that press with Jefferson Davis on that question in 1849, and, as regards the suggestion of Mr. Slidell, that it might have been Reuben Davis who was the repudiator in 1849, instead of Jefferson Davis, the editor remarked, 'it is to be feared that the proof in the other direction is too strong.' Indeed, the editor might well be astonished at the supposition that Jefferson Davis, who subscribed the repudiation letter in question of the 25th May, 1849, as well as a still stronger communication of the 29th August, 1849, should have been confounded, during a period of near fourteen years, by the press of Europe and America, with Reuben Davis, and that the supposed mistake should just now be discovered, especially as Reuben Davis never was a Senator of the United States from Mississippi, or from any other State.
I was asked if it really was Reuben or Jefferson Davis who was the author of the letter in question advocating the repudiation of the Union Bank bonds of Mississippi, their recollection being, that it was the latter. I said that the repudiation letter in question of the 25th May, 1849, was subscribed and published at its date in the Washington _Union_, by Jefferson Davis, as a Senator of the United States from Mississippi, which position he then held, that he was personally well known to me for nearly a fourth of a century, as was also Reuben Davis, and that the latter never had been a Senator of the United States from Mississippi, or any other State, as was well known to me, and would be shown by reference to the Journals of the United States Senate. I stated, that I had represented the State of Mississippi in the Senate of the United States from January, 1836, until March, 1845, when, having resigned that office, I was called to the Cabinet of President Polk, as Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and remained in that position until the close of that administration in March, 1849. I added, that I was in Washington City, the capital of the Union, and residing there as a counsellor at law in the Supreme Court of the United States, when the first repudiation letter of Jefferson Davis, communicated by him to the editor of the _Union_ (a newspaper of that city), was published, on the 25th May, 1849, in that print, and very generally throughout the United States. It was remarked by me, that it was well known to myself personally, and I believed to every prominent public man of that date, especially those then in Washington, that Mr. Jefferson Davis was the author of that letter then published over his signature, and that he defended its doctrines, with all that earnestness and ability for which he was so distinguished. I was also residing in Washington, when Mr. Jefferson Davis published, over his signature, as a Senator of the United States from Mississippi, his well-known second repudiation letter, dated at his _residence_, 'Brierfield, Miss.,' August 29, 1849. This letter was addressed to the editors of the _Mississippian_, a newspaper published at Jackson, Mississippi, and was received by me in due course of mail. This letter extended over several columns, and was an elaborate defence of the repudiation of Mississippi. This letter also was generally republished throughout the United States. These views of Mr. Jefferson Davis attracted my most earnest attention, because, after a brief interval, he was one of my successors in the Senate of the United States, from Mississippi. I had always earnestly opposed the doctrine of repudiation in Mississippi, and the Legislature of 1840-'41, by which I was re-elected, passed resolutions by overwhelming majorities (hereafter quoted), denouncing the repudiation either of the Union Bank, or Planters' Bank bonds.
At the period of the conversations before referred to, late in April or early in May last, I was, on this recital of the facts, strongly urged to make them known in Europe, to which my consent was given.
After some investigation, however, the necessary documents fully to elucidate the whole subject could not be obtained here. It was necessary, therefore, to write home and procure them. This has been done, and I now proceed to a narrative of these transactions from the authentic historical public documents.
The first letter of Mr. Jefferson Davis before referred to, of the 25th of May, 1849, was published by him as a Senator of the United States from Mississippi, over his signature, in the _Union_, a newspaper published at Washington City. That letter is in these words:
'DAILY UNION, WASHINGTON CITY, _May 25th, 1849_.
'_Statement furnished by Jefferson Davis, Esq., Senator of the United States._
'The State of Mississippi has no other question with bondholders than that of debt or no debt. When the United States Bank of Pennsylvania purchased what are known as the Union Bank bonds, it was within the power of any stock dealer to learn that they had been issued in disregard of the Constitution of the State whose faith they assumed to pledge. By the Constitution and laws of Mississippi, any creditor of the State may bring suit against the State, and test his claim, as against an individual. To this the bondholders have been invited; but conscious that they have no valid claim, have not sought their remedy. Relying upon empty (because false) denunciation, they have made it a point of honor to show what can be shown by judicial investigation; i. e., that there being no debt, there has been no default. The crocodile tears which have been shed over ruined creditors, are on a par with the baseless denunciations which have been heaped upon the State. Those bonds were purchased by a bank then tottering to its fall--purchased in violation of the charter of the bank, or fraudulently, by concealing the transaction under the name of an individual, as may best suit those concerned--purchased in violation of the terms of the law under which the bonds were issued, and in disregard of the Constitution of Mississippi, of which the law was an infraction. To sustain the credit of that rickety bank, the bonds were hypothecated abroad for interest on loans which could not be met as they became due.
'A smaller amount is due for what are termed Planters' Bank bonds of Mississippi. These evidences of debt, as well as the coupons issued to cover accruing interest, are receivable for State lands; and no one has a right to assume they will not be provided for otherwise, by or before the date at which the whole debt becomes due.
To this letter the London _Times_, in its money article, of the 13th July, 1849, replied as follows:
'The case of Mississippi stands thus: In 1838 the State issued bonds for five millions of dollars, to establish the Union Bank. These bonds were dated June, 1838, bearing five per cent. interest from date, and it was stipulated with the bank that they should not be sold under their par value. On the 18th August following, the bank sold all these bonds to the United States Bank for five millions of dollars, payable in five equal instalments in November, January, March, May, and July, but without interest. The money was punctually paid to the Mississippi Bank, and the Legislature of Mississippi, on the terms of the sale being communicated to them, resolved, _'That the sale of the bonds was highly advantageous to the State, and in accordance with the injunctions of the charter, reflecting the highest credit on the Commissioners, and bringing timely aid to an embarrassed community.'_ In little more than two years, however, the Mississippi Bank became totally insolvent, having lost the entire five millions invested in it by the State. Immediately on this having transpired, the Governor of the State sent a message to the Legislature recommending them to _repudiate_ (this was the first time the word was used) their obligations, being founded on the plea, that as the bonds were issued with interest payable from the date, and they had been sold to the United States Bank for their nominal amount only, the stipulation that they should not be disposed of below their par value had been departed from. He further urged that although the bonds had been sold ostensibly to Mr. Biddle, the president of the United States Bank, the sale was actually to the bank itself, which, by its charter, could not legally purchase them. Hence, although Mississippi had received the money for the bonds, it was thus proposed to refuse to repay it, on the ground that the purchaser had no right to buy them. The Legislature, however, was not quite prepared for this, and accordingly, in responding to the Governor's message, they resolved: '1st. That the State of Mississippi is bound to the holders of the bonds of the State sold on account of the bank for the amount of principal and interest. 2d. That the State of Mississippi will pay her bonds, and preserve her faith inviolate. 3d. That the insinuation that the State of Mississippi would repudiate her bonds and violate her plighted faith, is a calumny upon the justice, honor, and dignity of the State.' But after this, the pecuniary condition of the State became rapidly worse, and the disposition to pay diminished in proportion. Accordingly a joint committee of the Legislature appointed in 1842, reported that the State was not bound to pay the bonds, advancing the reasons before mentioned, and also another, namely, that the bonds had not been sanctioned in the manner required by the Constitution, since, although the provision that no loan should be raised, unless sanctioned by a law passed through two successive Legislatures, had been complied with, and the bonds had been legally authorized, the act also prescribed certain conditions regarding the Bank of Mississippi, which conditions had been altered by a subsequent act, that had only passed through one Legislature.
'In addition to the five millions thus repudiated, Mississippi owes two millions which she recognizes. It has always, however, been a difference without distinction, since she pays no dividends on either. From the period of repudiation up to the present moment, all representations of the bondholders have been treated with disregard. About a year and a half back, however, one of the citizens of Mississippi, a Mr. Robbins, admitted the moral liability of the State, and proposed that the people should discharge it by voluntary contributions.
'The next step is the appearance of the letter from Mr. Jefferson Davis, with whom we are now called upon to deal. This statement, which was transmitted by him to the Washington _Union_, in reply to our remarks of the 23d February last, runs as follows.'
Here the _Times_ inserts Mr. Jefferson Davis's repudiation letter before quoted.
'The assurance in this statement that the Planters' Bank, or non-repudiated bonds, are receivable for State lands, requires this addition, which Mr. Jefferson Davis has omitted, that they are only so receivable upon lands being taken at three times its current value. The affirmation afterward, that no one has a right to assume that these bonds will not be fully provided for before the date at which the principal falls due, is simply to be met by the fact that portions of them fell due in 1841 and 1846, and that on these, as well as on all the rest, both principal and interest remain wholly unpaid.
'Regarding the first part of the statement no comment could be made which would not weaken its effect. Taking its principle and its tone together, it is a doctrine which has never been paralleled. Let it circulate throughout Europe, that a member of the United States Senate in 1849, has openly proclaimed that at a recent period the Governor and Legislative Assemblies of his own State deliberately issued fraudulent bonds for five millions of dollars to 'sustain the credit of a rickety bank;' that the bonds in question, having been hypothecated abroad to innocent holders, such holders had not only no claim against the community by whose executive and representatives this act was omitted, but that they are to be taunted for appealing to the verdict of the civilized world, rather than to the judgment of the legal officers of the State by whose functionaries they have been already robbed; and that the ruin of toilworn men, of women, of widows, and of children, and the 'crocodile tears' which that ruin has occasioned, is a subject of jest on the part of those by whom it has been accomplished; and then let it be asked if any foreigner ever penned a libel on the American character equal to that against the people of Mississippi by their own Senator.'
To this reply of the London _Times_, which (except in portions of Mississippi) was generally approved throughout the Union, Mr. Jefferson Davis responded in a very long letter, dated from his residence, Brierfield, Mississippi, August 29, 1849, addressed to the editors of the _Mississippian_. He begins as follows:
'The London _Times_ of July 13, 1849, contains an article which most unjustly and unfairly attacks the State of Mississippi and myself, because of a statement I made in refutation of a former calumny against her, which was published in the same paper.'
This article of the London _Times_ Mr. Davis denounces as 'a _foreigner's slander_ against the government, the judiciary, and people of Mississippi;' 'very well for the high Tory paper as an attack upon our republican government;' as 'untrue;' 'the hypocritical cant of stockjobbers and _pensioned presses_' 'reckless of reputation;' 'hired advocates of the _innocent_ stock dealers of London 'Change;' 'a calumnious imputation.' These are pleasant epithets which Mr. Jefferson Davis applied to the London _Times_ and the London 'Change. But Mr. Jefferson Davis was very indignant, not only with London, but with all England; for he says,
'With far more propriety might _repudiation_ be charged on the _English Government_, for the reduction of interest on her loans when she consolidated her debts; for the income tax, which compels fundholders to return part of the interest they receive on their evidences of public debt, for the support of the Government which is their debtor.'
According, then, to Mr. Jefferson Davis, the London _Times_ and the London 'Change are great reprobates, and it is not Mississippi, but 'THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT' which has repudiated their own public debt.
From such angry epithets and fierce denunciation, the reader will be prepared to find very little argument in Mr. Jefferson Davis' second letter. He denies that Mississippi received the money. But a bank, of which she was the sole stockholder, and whose directory was all appointed by her, received it. They received it also for her exclusive benefit, for she, _as a State_, was to derive large profits on the stock of the bank, which was hers exclusively, and was paid for entirely by the proceeds of these bonds. Mississippi then, as a State, through her agents appointed by her, received this money. All governments must act through human agency, and the agency in this case, which received the money, was appointed entirely by the State. But this is not all. The Bank, which was exclusively a State bank, and based entirely on the proceeds of these State bonds, with no other stockholders, was directed by the charter to loan this money, the proceeds of these bonds, only to 'the citizens of the State,' sec. 46, and so the loans were made. The State, then, through an agency appointed exclusively by itself, received this money, the proceeds of the State bonds, and the State, through this same agency, loaned this money to 'the citizens of the State,' who never repaid the loans. The State then received the money and loaned it out to its own citizens, who still hold it; and yet this money, obtained on the solemn pledge of the faith of the State, her citizens still hold, and the State repudiates her bonds on which the money was received, and Mr. Jefferson Davis sustains, indorses, and eulogizes this proceeding. Never was there a stronger case.
Mr. Jefferson Davis reiterates in this letter his arguments contained in his previous communication of the 25th May, 1849, so fully answered by the editors of the London _Times_ in their money article before quoted of the 13th July, 1849. He elaborates, particularly, the legal position, that the bonds were invalid, because he says not sanctioned by two successive Legislatures as required by the Constitution of Mississippi. This statement is erroneous, because the loan, in the precise form in which the bonds were issued, was sanctioned by two successive Legislatures in perfect conformity with the Constitution. This is shown, as will be proved hereafter, by reference to the laws passed by the State, and such was the decision on this very point by the highest judicial tribunal of Mississippi, in 1842 and 1853. But let us suppose that there was some technical legal informality as to the law, would that justify the repudiation of these bonds? The Legislature had passed laws in 1837 and 1838 authorizing the issue and sale of these bonds, those acts had been all signed and approved by the Governor of the State, the bonds had been signed by the Governor and Treasurer of the State, the broad seal of the State had been affixed to them by the Governor, they were placed in the hands of the authorities of the State for sale, they were sold by them, and the full amount paid over to the agency appointed by the State, and by that agency the money was loaned to the 'citizens of the State' and still retained by them. When the sale of these State bonds in August, 1838, together with all the facts and documents, were placed by the Governor before the Legislature in 1839, they ratified and highly approved the sale, as before quoted by the _Times_, and again still more decidedly in 1841. And yet the State, on the technical grounds stated by Mr. Davis, repudiated their bonds. It was unconstitutional to return the money which they had borrowed and used! Could anything be more absurd or dishonorable than this? The law says, if a man borrows money without certain legal authentications, he shall not be forced to repay; but if he receives and uses the money, and then interposes such technical pleas, he is justly deemed infamous. He has violated his honor. And is the honor of an individual more sacred than that of a state or nation? State and national debts rest upon faith, they repose upon honor, the obligation is sacred, and must be fulfilled. It can never he illegal or unconstitutional to _pay a debt_, where the money has been received by a state or a nation. And, where a State, acting through its supreme Executive and Legislature, has issued its bonds and affixed its seal, and they have passed into the hands of _bona fide_ holders, the obligation must be fulfilled. For a state or nation, having issued its bonds under its highest legislative and executive sanction, to say, that their own functionaries mistook some of the formalities of the law, and refuse payments, is a fraud upon the _bona fide_ holders, and can never be sustained before the tribunal of the world. But when, besides the Legislature and Executive of the State, its highest judicial tribunals have declared the bonds perfectly constitutional and valid, and to have been sold in accordance with the terms of the law, for such repudiation of such bonds it is difficult to find any language sufficiently strong to mark the infamy of such a transaction.
If indeed the formalities of the Constitution had not been complied with, and this were not a mere pretext, how easy would it have been to have passed a new act in conformity with the constitutional formalities, assuming the debt, or providing for the issue of new bonds to be delivered to the holders on the return of those alleged to be informal. But the truth is, this alleged unconstitutionality was a mere pretext for repudiating a just debt: it never occurred to the Legislatures which passed these laws in 1837 and 1838, or to the Governor, who signed them, and was rejected by the Legislature in 1839, and again, in the most solemn form, in 1841.
And now let me trace the history of this transaction chronologically. The original act chartering the bank, with the 5th section authorizing the loan, was passed by the Legislature January 21st, 1837, and again, in strict compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, reënacted in the same words on the 5th of February, 1838. Now the bonds issued are in strict conformity with this law, and an exact copy of the form of the bonds prescribed by the law. If then, the supplemental act of the 15th February, 1838, was unconstitutional, null, and void, as contended by the repudiators, then the whole original act remained in full force, and the bonds were valid under that law, and such was the unanimous decision of the High Court of Errors and Appeals of Mississippi, as will be shown hereafter. It was contended before the court (and by Mr. Davis in his last letter) that, under the original law, certain acts were to be performed before the bonds could issue. But here again, it is plain on the face of the law, and so the High Court of Errors and Appeals of Mississippi unanimously decided, that these acts were not required to be performed as _conditions precedent_ to the issue of the bonds, and that the issue and sale of the bonds were perfectly valid before these acts had been performed. The bonds then are in exact conformity with a law, which was passed by two successive Legislatures, precisely as provided by the Constitution.
In 1836 there was a great pecuniary embarrassment in Mississippi, attributed by many to what was called the _specie circular_, and soon followed a suspension of the banks. Under these circumstances there was an almost universal demand in Mississippi for relief measures. As a consequence, the attention of the Legislature was absorbed almost exclusively in the consideration of remedies for the existing embarrassments. The result was the enactment, on the 21st January, 1837, of the law, creating the Union Bank of Mississippi. This bank was based upon loans to be obtained upon bonds of the State, the proceeds of which, when sold, were to constitute the capital of the bank, which money, by the terms of the charter, was to be loaned to the '_citizens of the State_,' to relieve the existing embarrassments.
The fifth section of the act was the only one in which any authority was given for a loan by the State, and any power to pledge its faith. That section, entire, was as follows:
'That, in order to facilitate the said Union Bank for the said loan of fifteen millions five hundred thousand dollars, the faith of this State be, and is hereby pledged, both for the security of the capital and interest, and that 7,500 bonds of $1,000 each, to wit: 1,875 payable in twelve years; 1,875 in fifteen years; 1,875 in eighteen years; and 1,875 in twenty years, and bearing interest at the rate of five per cent. per annum, shall be signed by the Governor of the State to the order of the Mississippi Bank, countersigned by the State Treasurer, and under the seal of the State; said bonds to be in the following words, viz.:
'$2,000. Know all men by these presents, that the State of Mississippi _acknowledges to be indebted_ to the Mississippi Union Bank in the sum of two thousand dollars, which sum the said State of Mississippi _promises to pay_ in current money of the United States to the order of the President, Directors, and Company in the ---- year ----with interest at the rate of five per cent. per annum, payable half yearly, at the place named in the indorsement hereto, viz.: ---- on the ---- of every year until the payment of the said principal sum: in testimony whereof the Governor of the State of Mississippi has signed, and the Treasurer of the State has countersigned these presents, and caused the seal of the State to be affixed thereto, at Jackson, this ---- in the ---- year of our Lord.
The whole act, of which this section was a part, was passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor in 1837, and the entire section as to the loan as required by the provision of the Constitution of the State, was referred to the action of the next succeeding Legislature. That succeeding Legislature was chosen in November, 1837, and assembled, at its regular session, in January, 1838. After full discussion in both houses, this act of 1837 was passed by large majorities in both branches of the Legislature, and approved by the new Governor, A. G. McNutt, on the 5th of February, 1838. The act of 1837, including the 5th section, before quoted, was thus reënacted by the succeeding Legislature, without any change whatever. There was then a full, complete, and undisputed compliance with the requirements of the Constitution, and, under this act, thus sanctioned by two successive Legislatures, it is conceded that the faith of the State was pledged, and that the bonds might be issued and sold. But it is contended by Mr. Jefferson Davis in his first, as well as his second letter, before quoted, that the bonds are invalid, because of the supplemental act of the 15th of February, 1838. Now, it will be observed, that no change whatever was made by this supplemental act, in this 5th section of the original act, before quoted, by which alone the faith of the State was pledged for the payment of these bonds, and which section alone, as required by the Constitution, had been referred to the action of the succeeding Legislature. No change whatever was made by the supplemental act in that section of the original act, the bonds were issued and sold in precise conformity with its provisions, and, indeed, these bonds, thus actually issued and sold, are a precise and literal copy of the form of the bonds as given in the original act, as before quoted. The supplemental act changed only some of the '_details_' of the charter of the Bank, but made no alteration whatever in the 5th section. This supplemental act, which is now denounced by Jefferson Davis as unconstitutional, was passed, after the fullest investigation of this question, as to the power of the Legislature, with favorable reports as to the constitutional power by the joint Committee of both Houses. The Committee reported to the Senate, that, by a 'supplemental bill' 'it is competent for this Legislature to alter and amend the details of the bill, incorporating the subscribers to the Mississippi Union Bank, passed at the last session of the Legislature of this State.' (Senate Journal, 103.)
The report of the Committee to the House was as follows: 'The said Committee are of the opinion, that it is within the province of the Legislature to amend or change the details of the said Mississippi Union Bank Charter,' &c. (House Journal, p. 117.) Such was the opinion of the joint Committee of both Houses of the Legislature, which reported this supplemental act, which act was passed by the vote of 22 to 3 in the Senate (Journal, 320), and 55 to 22 in the House. (Journal, 329-30.) It would appear, then, that in the opinion of an overwhelming majority of both branches of the Legislature of Mississippi, the supplemental act was constitutional; and the act was approved by A. G. McNutt, the Governor of the State, and thus became a law on the 15th of February, 1838. Indeed, the idea that a subsequent Legislature could change none of the details of a bank charter, because there was embodied in the act a separate and distinct section authorizing a loan of money by the State, seemed to me never to rise to the dignity of a question. Such, we have seen, was the view of the Legislatures of 1838, 1839, and 1841, and such was the unanimous decision, hereafter quoted, of the Chancellor and Circuit Judge of Mississippi, and of the supreme judicial tribunal, the High Court of Errors and Appeals of the State, in two decisions, on this very point, and in favor of the constitutionality of this law. One of these decisions was made in January, 1842, and the other in April, 1853. These decisions were conclusive against the State, and binding upon the Legislature, the Governor, and the people, for the following reasons. The Constitution of the State of Mississippi contains the following clause:
'ARTICLE II. _Distribution of Powers._
'Sec. 1. The powers of the Government of the State of Mississippi shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate body of magistracy; to wit, those which are legislative to one, those which are judicial to another, and those which are executive to another.
'Sec. 2. No person or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.'
It is not pretended that any exception was made for this case. The contrary has always been held by the courts of Mississippi. Indeed, as late as October term, 1858, this very question was decided by the High Court of Errors and Appeals of Mississippi, when it was ruled by the court that 'the Legislature may not, therefore, exercise powers which in their nature are judicial.' (Isom. _v._ Missis. R. R. Co., 7 George 314.)
In the 9th section of the 7th article of the Constitution of Mississippi is found the provision on which Mr. Jefferson Davis relies requiring the assent of two successive Legislatures to pledge the faith of the State. Immediately succeeding this provision is the following: 'The Legislature _shall direct_ by law in what courts suits may be brought against the State.'
These two consecutive sections of the _same article_ of the Constitution, being in _pari materia_, are to be construed together. Indeed, it is a well known historical fact, that this 9th section, as regards the pledge of the faith of the State, which is now perverted to a wholly different purpose, was intended to give greater solemnity and a higher credit to the bonds of the State, as was likewise the provision in the same Constitution of 1832, sanctioning by name the Planters' Bank bonds of the State (now unpaid), in consequence of which, they were sold at a premium of thirteen and a half per cent. In pursuance of the provision of the Constitution before quoted, the Legislature of Mississippi, in 1833, passed an act, designating the Court of Chancery as the one in which suits might be brought against the State, with the right of appeal by either party to the High Court of Errors and Appeals. That act was passed in 1833, in pursuance of this _mandatory_ provision of the Constitution before quoted. That act provided, that, if the decree of the court should be against the State, the Governor _shall issue_ his mandate to the Auditor to draw on the Treasurer to pay the decree, but 'no execution whatever shall ever issue on any decree in chancery against the State of Mississippi, whereby the State may be dispossessed of lands, tenements, goods and chattels.' (Howard's Dig. 523, 524.)
Here, then, are the two consecutive provisions of the Constitution in _pari materia_, the one designating the mode by which the bonds of the State might be issued, and the other the judicial tribunals in which all disputes as to such bonds might be _definitively_ settled, and payment made, if the decree were against the State. That Constitution vested the _whole judicial power of the State_ in the courts, it vested nothing but 'legislative power' in the Legislature, and it prohibited the Legislature and Executive from exercising judicial power; it adopted the great fundamental principle of constitutional government, separating the executive, legislative, and judicial power. Indeed, it is the great doctrine of American law, that the concentration of any of these two powers, in any one body or functionary, is dangerous to liberty, and that the _consolidation_ of all of these powers creates a despotism. The interpretation of a law, and particularly of a constitution, which is made the 'supreme law,' the _lex legum_, has uniformly been regarded as exclusively a judicial, and not an executive or legislative function. In this case, however, it has been made clear by an express provision of the Constitution separating these functions, and designating, under its mandate, the _courts_ in which _suits_ shall be brought against the State, and the form of the decree to be rendered, and requiring payment to be at once made. A suit is a judicial act, and so is the decree of a court. Well, then, the highest judicial tribunals of Mississippi have twice decided this question; they have declared this supplemental act constitutional, these bonds valid, and the sale of them to be in conformity with the law; and, in a suit on one of these very bonds, after the fullest argument, the court entered a decree of payment, overruling every point made by Jefferson Davis; and yet the State still repudiates, as well after the first decision in 1842, as the second in 1853. It is difficult to imagine a more palpable infraction of the Constitution, or a clearer violation of every principle of justice than this.
The State prescribes certain forms under which her bonds may issue; she adds to this, in the very _next section_, a provision _commanding_ the Legislature to designate the judicial tribunals in which suit may be brought on such bonds against the State; those tribunals are designated by the Legislature, namely, the Court of Chancery, with appeal to the High Court of Errors and Appeals of the State; both those tribunals (including the Chancellor) have unanimously decided against the State, and a decree is entered for payment of the bonds. And yet the State persists in repudiation, and Jefferson Davis defends her course. When the High Court of Errors and Appeals of Mississippi first decided this question, it was composed of Chief Justice Sharkey, and Justices Turner and Trotter (one of the framers of the Constitution). When, again, in 1851, suit was brought against the State on one of these repudiated Union Bank bonds, and a decree for its payment rendered by the Chancellor, that decree, on full argument on appeal, was unanimously confirmed by the highest judicial tribunal of the State, composed entirely of different judges, namely, Chief Justice Smith, and Justices Yerger and Fisher. Here, then, are eight judges, all chosen by the people of Mississippi, concurring in 1842, as well as in 1853, as to the validity of these bonds; and yet Jefferson Davis justifies their repudiation. The judges of Mississippi all take an oath to support the Constitution, and it is made their duty to interpret it, and especially this very clause: the Legislature is confined to law making, and forbidden to exercise any judicial power; the expounding this supplemental law, and the provisions under which it was enacted, is exclusively a judicial power, and yet the Legislature _usurps_ this power, repudiates the bonds of the State, and the acts of three preceding Legislatures, and the decision of the highest tribunals of the State: Jefferson Davis sustains this repudiation, and the British public are asked to take new Confederate bonds, issued by the same Jefferson Davis, and thus to sanction, and encourage, and offer a premium for repudiation. These so-called Confederate bonds are issued in open violation of the Constitution of the United States; they are absolute nullities, they are tainted with treason, they never can or will be paid, and yet they are to be thrust on the British public under the sanction of the same great repudiator, Jefferson Davis, who applauds the non-payment of the Mississippi bonds, and thus condemns hundreds of innocent holders, including widows and orphans, to want and misery. Talk about _faith_, about _honor_, about _justice_, and the _sanctity of contracts_. Why, if such flagrant outrages, such atrocious crimes, can be sustained by the great public of any nation, small indeed must be the value of their bonds, which rests exclusively on good faith.
Suppose some astute lawyer could find some informality in the law authorizing the issue and sale of the bonds representing the British consols; would any member of either House propose in Parliament to repudiate such bonds, and would not such a motion cause his immediate expulsion? Yet, this is what the Legislature of Mississippi has done, what Jefferson Davis approves and applauds, and what, _he says_, the 'English Government' _has done_.
The London _Times_ has heretofore quoted the proceedings of the Legislature of Mississippi in 1839, approving the sale of these bonds and eulogizing the transaction. It has also referred to the Message of Governor McNutt, of 1841, nearly three years after the sale of the bonds, first recommending their repudiation, and to the resolutions of the Legislature of Mississippi of that date, affirming the legality of these bonds and the duty of the State to pay them. As these resolutions are of great importance, and ought to have closed the whole controversy, I will state, what is shown by the Journals of the Senate and the House, that they passed both Houses, in great part _unanimously_, and for the remainder, by large majorities. (Sen. Jour. p. 312; House Jour. pp. 416-417, 249, 324-329.)
The objections made by Governor McNutt in 1841, were as follows:
'1st. The Bank of the United States is prohibited by its charter from purchasing such stock, either directly or indirectly.
'2d. It was fraudulent on the part of the bank, inasmuch as the contract was made in the name of an individual, when, in fact, it was for the benefit of the bank, and payment was made with its funds.
'3d. The sale was illegal, inasmuch as the bonds were sold on a credit.
'4th. Interest to the amount of about $170,000 having accrued on those bonds before the purchase money was stipulated to be all paid, the bonds were, in fact, sold at less than their par value, in direct violation of the charter of the bank.' (House Journal, p. 25).
It will here be remarked, that the great objection now urged by Jefferson Davis against these bonds, namely, that the act under which they were alleged to have been issued was unconstitutional, is _not enumerated_ by Governor McNutt. Surely if such an objection existed to the payment of the bonds, it must have found a place in this celebrated message. Is not this conclusive proof that this constitutional objection was a mere afterthought and pretext of Jefferson Davis and his associate repudiators?
Let us examine the Governor's objections. As to the 1st and 2d--the bank did not make the purchase; the contract was made by an individual, although the performance was guaranteed by the bank. As this is a mere technical objection, surely the Bank guarantee, even if void, could not affect the contract itself. 2d. The purchase, even if made by the bank, was not of _stock_, but a _loan_ made upon _bonds_. 3d. The right of the bank to make the purchase is immaterial, if the money was paid, as in this case, the bonds received, payable to bearer, and passed for value, into the hands of _bona fide_ holders. What an objection to the refunding the money--that, although it was received, the purchaser of the bonds had no right to buy them, and therefore the _bona fide_ holders should lose the money. It might have been in violation of its charter for the bank to purchase the bonds, but it was '_fraudulent_,' when the money was received by the State, to retain it, on the allegation, that the bank could not legally make the purchase, especially when the bonds, in the mean time, had passed into the hands of _bona fide_ holders. As to the 3d objection--as the money was paid before the objection was made, and the Union Bank authorized to draw _at once_ for the amount, at a point beyond the limits of the State, which it did do, and realized a large premium on the exchange, and profit on the transaction, the objection is as unfounded in law as it is in morals or good faith; especially as the bonds were payable to bearer, upon their face, in exact conformity to the law, and had passed, for value, into the hands of _bona fide_ holders. Besides, there was no such restriction in the charter. The only restriction in the supplement was, that they should not be sold _below par_. Suppose the bonds for five millions of dollars had been sold for five millions and a half, payable in sixty days, and the money paid at the time, it is equally absurd and fraudulent to contend, that for such a reason, the whole money could be retained, and bonds repudiated. As to the 4th objection, the original 5th section which passed two successive Legislatures, did not require that the bonds should not be sold for 'less than their par value.' If, then, as contended by Jefferson Davis, the supplemental act containing this provision, was unconstitutional, null and void, then no such restriction existed, and the sale was valid under the original act. But the truth is, the bonds were not sold _below par_, but _above par_, as shown by the High Court of Errors and Appeals of Mississippi, in the decision hereafter quoted by me. Indeed, all these four objections of the Governor, as well as those of Jefferson Davis, are shown in that decision to be as unfounded in fact, as they were in law or morals.
But suppose the bonds were sold below par, that is, that the State had lost $170,000, or less than four per cent., on bonds for five millions of dollars. Was that a just or valid ground for repudiating the whole, principal and interest? The plea of _usury_ is always disgraceful, even if true, especially where the security was negotiable to bearer and had passed, for full value, into the hands of _bona fide_ holders. But if such a plea is disgraceful to individuals, what shall be said when it is made on behalf of a State? And what shall be thought of those who make such an objection? What of a Governor, or of a United States Senator, who urges such objections on behalf of a State? Do we not feel as if the State were some miserable culprit on trial, and some pettifogging lawyer was endeavoring to screen him from punishment, by picking a flaw in the indictment. Yet such are the pleas on behalf of a State, urged by Governor McNutt and Senator Jefferson Davis. On reference to the letter before referred to, of Jefferson Davis, it will be found that he does not confine himself to the constitutional objections. In his first letter, before quoted, of 25th May, 1849, Mr. Jefferson Davis says, 'Those bonds were purchased by a bank then tottering to its fall--purchased in violation of the charter of the bank, or fraudulently, by concealing the transaction under the name of an individual, as may best suit those concerned, purchased in violation of the terms of the law under which the bonds were issued, and in disregard of the Constitution of Mississippi, of which the law was an infraction.' These positions are deliberately repeated by Jefferson Davis, in his second letter, before referred to, of the 29th August, 1849. That is, the State should pay _none_ of the money received, because the purchaser, as alleged, had no right to buy the bonds--and because the sale was, as erroneously stated, an infraction of the law, that is _usurious_, or a sale below par. He insists the money was not received by the State, because, he says, 'Mississippi had no bank, and could not have a bank of issue, because forbidden by the tenth section of the first article of the United States Constitution--'no State shall emit bills of credit.'' Surely Mr. Davis must have known, that in the case of the Bank of Kentucky, a State bank of issue owned exclusively by the State, it was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, that such a bank was constitutional, and no politician of the secession school can object to that decision. (2 Peters 257.) But however this might be, what kind of a plea is this? Why, if, as alleged by Mr. Davis, Mississippi had violated the Federal Constitution, by establishing a bank of circulation, that therefore the _bonds_ of the State should be repudiated. Is it not incredible that a Senator should assume such a position on behalf of his State? But, if this be sound, it clearly follows, that, inasmuch as the Confederate bonds are issued in plain violation of the Constitution of the United States, those bonds should be repudiated; so also if they were sold below par, or if there be any other technical objection. Nor will it avail that the bonds may have passed into the hands of _bona fide_ holders, for, Mr. Jefferson Davis says, in his letter of the 29th August, 1849, 'If the bonds have passed into the hands of innocent holders, the fact does not vary the legal question, as the purchaser could not acquire more than the seller had to dispose of.' And again, he says, referring to the alleged inability of the first purchaser to buy the bonds, 'The claim of foreign holders is as good, but no better, than that of the first purchaser.' It is difficult to say which is most astounding, the law or the morals of this position. At all events, 'the foreign holders' of Confederate bonds are informed by Jefferson Davis, that this is the law. Indeed it is a singular coincidence, that one of the objections made to the payment of the Union Bank bonds by the Governor, was, as he alleged, 'the monstrous assumption of power on the part of the bank, in seeking to monopolize the _cotton crop_ of the State, and becoming a _factor_ and _shipper_ of our great staple.' (Senate Journals, 29.) Why, this is what is being attempted by these Confederate cotton bonds, although the State-rights strict constructionists of slavedom would in vain look for any clause in their so-called constitution, authorizing any such transactions in cotton. And here, let me say, that the objection of a Senator from Mississippi to the payment of her bonds, that, in issuing them, her Governor and Legislature had violated _their own Constitution_, proposes to cure one fraud, by committing another far more stupendous. The bonds were issued by the highest legislative and executive functionaries of the State, the broad seal of the State attached, the bonds sold, and the money received. In such a case, there is a legal, as well as a moral estoppel, forbidding such a plea, for, by the English, as well as by the American doctrine, an estoppel excludes the truth, whenever such proof would enable the party, who obtained money on false pretences, to commit a fraud on third persons, by disproving his own averment. This is not a mere technical rule, but one which is based upon experience, and sustained by the most exalted morality.
I have given the several objections made by Governor McNutt and Senator Davis to the payment of these bonds, with one exception. This will be found in the following extract from the executive message of Governor McNutt, (p. 502): 'The bank, I have been informed, has hypothecated these bonds, and borrowed money upon them of the Baron Rothschild; the blood of Judas and Shylock flows in his veins, and he unites the qualities of both his countrymen. He has mortgages on the silver mines of Mexico and the quicksilver mines of Spain. He has advanced money to the Sublime Porte, and taken as security a mortgage upon the holy city of Jerusalem, and the sepulchre of our Saviour. It is for the people to say, whether he shall have a mortgage upon our cotton fields and make serfs of our children.' I trust the baron will have the good sense to smile at such folly, and realize how universally, at least throughout the North, the malice and dishonesty of these suggestions was condemned and repudiated. We have no such prejudices, worthy only of the dark ages, against 'God's chosen people,' 'the descendants of the patriarchs and prophets,' and the 'countrywomen of the mother of our Lord.'
But this whole question has been twice unanimously decided by the highest judicial tribunal of Mississippi against the State, and every point made by Governor McNutt and Jefferson Davis overruled by the court. One of these decisions was in January term, 1842, more than seven years before the date of Jefferson Davis's letters, and the other was at April term, 1853, nearly four years subsequently.
The first decision, at January term, 1842, is in the case of Campbell et al. _v._ Mississippi Union Bank (6 Howard 625 to 683). In this case it was pleaded 'that the charter of the Mississippi Union Bank was not enacted and passed by the Legislature in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the State, in this, that the supplemental act of 15th February, 1838, the same being a law to raise a loan of money on the credit of the State, was not published and submitted to the succeeding Legislature, according to the provisions of the Constitution in 9th section, 7th article.' Here the direct constitutional question was presented, requiring the decision of the Court. The case was most elaborately argued on both sides. The able and upright circuit judge, Hon. B. Harris, had decided that the supplemental act was constitutional, and the bonds valid, and the High Court of Errors and Appeals of Mississippi, after full argument on both sides, unanimously affirmed that decision. In delivering the opinion of this highest judicial tribunal of the State, and the one designated by the Legislature in 1833, under the _mandatory_ clause of the Constitution, Chief Justice Sharkey said:
'The second plea is, in substance, that the act supplemental to the charter of the Union Bank, was not agreed to by a majority of each House of the Legislature, and entered on the journals with the yeas and nays, and referred to the next succeeding Legislature, after publication in the newspapers, according to the provisions of the 9th section of the 7th article of the Constitution; but the said supplemental act made material alterations in the original act, and was only passed by one Legislature, and that no loan of money can be made on the faith of the State without the assent of two Legislatures, given in the manner prescribed by the Constitution.'--'I shall then proceed to notice the constitutional provision, and to inquire, by an application of it to the bank charter, whether the position can be sustained. The 9th section of the 7th article (of the Constitution) is in these words: 'No law shall ever be passed to raise a loan of money on the credit of the State, for the payment or redemption of any loan or debt, unless such law be proposed in the Senate or House of Representatives, and be agreed to by a majority of the members of each House, and entered on their journals, with the yeas and nays taken thereon, and be referred to the next succeeding Legislature, and published for three months previous to the next regular election, in three newspapers of the State, and unless a majority of each branch of the Legislature, so elected after such publication, shall agree to pass such law, and in such case, the yeas and nays shall be taken, and entered on the journals of each House.'
'The 5th section of the original act provides--'That in order to facilitate the said Union Bank for the said loan of fifteen million five hundred thousand dollars, the faith of this State be and is hereby pledged, both for the security of the capital and interest,' &c. It appears that the original charter in which this provision is contained, was passed in accordance with the provision in the Constitution. The supplemental act makes no alteration whatever in regard to this section. It changes in some respects the mere details of the original charter, in the mode of carrying the corporation into successful operation, and authorizes the Governor to subscribe for the stock on the part of the State. The object of the pledge is not changed; on the contrary, the supplemental act was passed in aid of the original design. In applying the constitutional test to the 5th section, I am not able to perceive any reason which to me seems sufficient to justify the conclusion that it is unconstitutional.'
'The plea presents no bar to the action.'
Justices Turner and Trotter concurred.
Mr. Howard, the distinguished State reporter, gives, in the heading of the case, the following as the decision of the court. 'The act supplemental to the charter of the Union Bank, being in aid of the charter, and changing the same only in some of the mere details, is a constitutional act.'
Surely this decision should have settled the question. But it did not. The Governor, A. G. McNutt, who had signed the laws authorizing these bonds, and the bonds themselves, anticipating the decision of the court (as he indicates in his message) in favor of 'the holders of certain bonds heretofore issued to the Planters' and Union Bank,' recommends the Legislature, in his message of January, 1842, to create a 'revenue court,' the judge of which shall be appointed 'by the Executive or Legislature,' to which such cases should be transferred. (Sen. Jour. p. 22.) Thus the case, on the bonds, was to be taken from the high tribunal (where it was then pending) created by the Constitution, and chosen by the people, and transferred to a revenue judge to be appointed by the repudiating Governor and Legislature of 1842, of course a mere executive parasite, or legislative minion, placed on the bench to repudiate the bonds. Fortunately, such an appointment was forbidden expressly by the Constitution, and would have been disregarded by the court; so this attempted usurpation failed.
The Governor says in that message:
'It never was intended by the framers of the Constitution, that every public creditor should be permitted to harass the State at pleasure by vexatious suits. Neither the judgment of a court nor the decree of the Chancellor _can be obligatory on the Legislature_,' &c. (P. 17.)
In conformity with this recommendation of the Governor, the Legislature passed a series of resolutions declaring that 'the Legislature is the exclusive judge of the objects for which money shall be raised and appropriated by its authority,' &c.; that the Legislature has no right to 'levy or appropriate money for the purpose of executing the object of a law, by them deemed repugnant to, or unauthorized by the Constitution;' that the 'Supplemental (Union Bank) Bill is unconstitutional;' that 'the bonds delivered by said bank, and by it sold to Nicholas Biddle on the 18th August, 1838, are not binding upon the State,' &c. (Acts of 1842, ch. 127.) But, unfortunately for these positions, the Constitution of the State had deprived the Legislature of all 'judicial power;' it had vested this power exclusively in 'the courts;' it had, in the very case of all bonds of the State, required and commanded the Legislature to designate the _courts_ in which such cases should be decided; it had, by the act of 1833, passed in obedience to the imperative mandate of the Constitution, referred all such cases to the decision of the Court of Chancery, with appeal to the High Court of Errors and Appeals; it had made their decision conclusive; it had already appropriated the money, to pay _all such decrees_, and made it the _duty_ of the Governor to command the Auditor to draw his warrant on the Treasurer for payment: this was the constitution of the law when these bonds were issued and sold in 1838--such was the _contract_ of the State, in regard to which the Federal Constitution declares, 'no State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts'--which clause has been uniformly held by all the Federal as well as State Courts, to apply to contracts of a State--and yet, in flagrant defiance of the highest duties and the most sacred obligations, the Legislature passed these resolutions, to nullify the anticipated decisions of the court. We have seen, however, that this executive and legislative usurpation was ineffectual. The court stood firm, not a single judge wavered, and, by a unanimous decree, reversed the legislative and executive repudiation--vindicated the majesty of the law and the Constitution--upheld the sacred cause of truth and justice--resisted the popular frenzy, and defied the unprincipled demagogues by whom the people of the State had been deceived and deluded. It was a noble spectacle, when those three upright and fearless Judges, Sharkey, Turner, and Trotter, entered the temple of justice, and declared to the people, by whose ballots they were chosen, that the State was bound to pay these bonds, and decreed accordingly. The same sublime scene was reënacted by a similar decree, in a suit against the State, on one of these bonds, by the same court, in 1853, then composed of different judges--Smith, Yerger, and Fisher. And not one judge or chancellor of the State ever wavered. Amid all this heaven-daring iniquity, thank God! the judicial ermine was unstained. Whilst constrained to denounce the repudiating Legislature, Governor, and _Senator_ of Mississippi, let me point to another green spot amid the moral waste and desolation of that dreadful period.
With scarcely an exception, the _Bar of Mississippi_ was true to the cause of honor, law, and justice. They knew the objections of McNutt and Davis were wretched pretexts, and they vindicated the reputation of that noble profession, which, in all ages, has been the champion of constitutional liberty. They were men of the same stamp as their illustrious English ancestry, Hampden, Sidney, and Russell, whose names cover the map of my country, and whose deeds have exalted the character of man; and although the blood of our anti-repudiating heroes did not flow like that of the British martyrs, as a sacrificial offering on the altar of freedom, they sacrificed ease, and affluence, and ambition, and political preferment, and endured obloquy and reproach. I rejoice in the recollection, that, during this contest they should have selected a sentence from my address against repudiation, and placed it on their banners, and at the head of their presses, in these words: 'The honor of the nation and of every State is the birthright of every American--it is the stainless and priceless jewel of popular sovereignty--it has been preserved unsullied, in all times that are past, through every sacrifice of blood and treasure, and it must be maintained.' Ay! and it will yet be maintained. The time will come, when repudiation will be repudiated by Mississippi--when her wretched secession leaders, the true authors of her disgrace and ruin, will be discarded--when her insolent slaveholding oligarchy will be overthrown, when the people will break the chains of their imperious masters, and labor, without regard to color, will be emancipated. _Secession_, _repudiation_, and _slavery_ are the same in principle and had the same leaders. Jefferson Davis carried the repudiation banner in 1849, as he now does that of secession and slavery. Secession is a repudiation of law, of constitution, of country, of the flag of our forefathers, and of the Union purchased by their blood. Driven at home within a circle of fire, which narrows every day, it is crouching before foreign rulers, and imploring their aid to accomplish the ruin of our country. It appeals to their ambition, their avarice, their fears, their hatred of free institutions and of constitutional government. It summons them to these English shores, it unsheathes the imperial sceptre in the House of Commons, denounces the Ministry of England, and dictates the vote of Parliament on the most momentous question in the history of the world. Why, when these sentiments were uttered, I almost expected to see the shades of Burke and Fox, and Pitt and Chatham, and Peel and Wellington, rise in the midst and denounce the degenerate bearer of such a message. What! the British Commons become the supple tools, the obsequious minions, the obedient parasites, to do the bidding of a foreign master, and tremble when his envoy should stamp his foot and wave the imperial banner in the halls of Parliament. From whom was this message, and to whom? Was it to the England of Trafalgar and the Nile? Was it to the descendants of the men who conquered at Agincourt and Cressy, and changed for ages at Waterloo the destiny of the world? Why, Nelson would speak from his monument, and the Iron Duke from his equestrian statue, and forbid the degradation of their country. But there stood the Confederate messenger, delivering the mandate of a foreign power to the House of Commons, describing England as a crawling reptile, exalting the Government he professed to represent, as controlling the Continent, and fearing lest the Imperial Eagle alone should swoop down upon his prey. And such language, such sentiments! Was I in Billingsgate, that ancient and illustrious institution, so near the House of Parliament? Why, the whole code of morals and of international law was repudiated in a sentence, and our demagogues distanced in the race. Did the envoy echo the voice of his master, when he announced that the American Union must be dissolved by foreign intervention, because, if reunited, it would be too strong, and bully the world--therefore France and England combined must strike us when we were supposed to be weak and divided. It is not the author of such atrocious and dastard sentiments that would lead the banner of France or of England anywhere except to humiliation and disgrace. 'Non talis auxilii, nec defensoribus ipsis.' No, when England seeks leaders, it will not be the sycophants of power, those who worship alternately democracy and autocracy, who slaver over despotism one day with their venom, and the next with their still more loathsome adulation.
But there was a change. The Ministry, and one of an order supposed to be our most deadly foes, spoke. There were some opinions as to the results in which no American could concur--there was deep devotion to England--but there was also the voice of reason, of justice, of international law: it was not so cosmopolitan as I expected, but the argument of felon force and robber violence was discarded. The scholar, the statesman, the gentleman, the philanthropist addressed the English Commons. Yes, and the nobility of nature also spoke, one who could rise above the reputed prejudices of his order, and do justice to a kindred race of simple republicans, though they may know neither diadems nor coronets. Such examples exalt and dignify the character of man. They teach us republicans a useful lesson--that those who differ from us as to some of the forms of government, may most sincerely support that system which in their judgment will best promote the welfare and happiness of the people. That indeed is the only question. Let England and America work out the problem in peaceful and friendly rivalry. Time and experience will decide the question. If, when slavery is extinguished in our Union, and the only aggressive element of our system is extirpated, we should run a grand and peaceful career of honor and glory and prosperity, we will want no other argument than the results. The blasphemous doctrine of the divine rights of kings was discarded by England in the revolution of 1688. The British throne reposes now on the alleged basis of the welfare and happiness of the people. What form of government will best promote that end--this is the only question. I believe it is ours--but only with slavery extinguished, and universal education--schools--_schools_--SCHOOLS--common schools--_high schools_ for all. Education the criterion of the right of suffrage, not property. I do not believe in a government of ignorance, whether by the many or the few. With the constant and terrible opposing element of slavery, we have certainly achieved stupendous results in three fourths of a century, and to say that our system has failed, because slavery now makes war upon it, is amazing folly. Why predict, that, when reunited, and with slavery extinguished, we would _bully the world_. Who were our bullies? Who struck down Charles Sumner, the Senator of Massachusetts, the eminent scholar and orator, on the floor of the Senate, for denouncing the horrors of slavery? A South Carolinian, whilst all slavedom approved the deed. Who endeavored to force slavery on Kansas by murder and rapine, and the forgery of a constitution? Who repealed the Missouri Compromise, in order to force slavery upon all the Territories of the United States? Who are endeavoring now to dissolve the Union, and spread slavery over all this wide domain? There is a plain answer to all these questions. It is the lords of the whip and the chain and the branding iron, who are our bullies--who insist upon forced labor, and repudiate all compensation to the toiling millions of slaves--who repudiate, among slaves, the marital and parental relation, and class them by law as chattels--who forbid emancipation--who make it a crime to teach slaves to read or write--ay, even the Bible--who keep open the interstate slave-trade (more horrible than the African, making Virginia a human stock farm), tearing husband from wife, and parents from children--founding a government boldly announcing the doctrine of _property_ in man, based avowedly on the divinity, extension, and perpetuity of slavery--these are our bullies; and when they are overthrown, we shall commence a new career of peaceful progress and advanced civilization. And why sow the seeds of international hatred between England and America? Is war really desired between the two countries, or is it supposed that we will yield to foreign intervention without a struggle? No, the North will rise up as one man, and thousands even from the South will join them. The country will become a camp, and the ocean will swarm with our privateers. Rather than submit to dismemberment or secession, which is anarchy and ruin, we will, we must fight, until the last man has fallen. The Almighty can never prosper such a war upon us. If the views of a foreign power have been truly represented in Parliament, and such an aggression upon us is contemplated, let him beware, for in such a contest, the political pyramid resting upon its apex, the power of one man, is much more likely to fall, than that which reposes on the broad basis of the will of the people.
Returning from this episode, I resume the narrative.
We have seen the repudiating Executive message and repudiating legislative resolutions of January, 1842, and their failure to influence the decision of the court. And now, we approach another act in the drama. The court having affirmed the constitutionality of the Union Bank bonds, and as the act of 1833 directed their payment, the Legislature of 1844 enacted a new law, in these words: 'That hereafter, no judgment or decree of any court of law or equity having jurisdiction of suits against the State, shall be paid by warrants on the Treasurer, or otherwise, without an appropriation by law, any former law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.' The 'law and usage' were plain, to pay such decrees, as required by the law and Constitution; but both were disregarded, and the act of 1833, for all practical purposes, repealed. It remained in part, on the statute book, only to invite to the gambler's game of 'odd I win, even you lose'--that is, if, under the act of 1833, there should be a decision in any case in favor of the State, it should be conclusive, but if against the State, the money should not be paid, where (as in the case of these bonds) the Legislature differed from the court, and had already repudiated its decision. Such was the action of the Legislature in 1842 and 1844. In 1842, it repudiated, in advance, the decision of the court on these bonds, and, after that decision, repealed so much of the law as required the payment of the decrees of the court. Now, with a full knowledge of these facts, is it not amazing, incredible, that, several years subsequently, Mr. Jefferson Davis should have declared, in his first letter of 1849, 'By the Constitution and laws of Mississippi, any creditor of the State may bring suit against the State, and test his claim as against an individual; but, conscious that they have no valid claim, they have not sought the remedy;' and he repeats this averment, substantially, in his second letter. Now, who would have supposed, that more than five years before the date of Mr. Davis's letters, the highest judicial tribunal of the State, the one designated by the law and the Constitution, had already unanimously decided that these bonds were valid, and that the State Legislature, instead of paying the money, had _repealed the appropriation_. But there came a new court, all chosen by the people, under the wretched system, in many of the States, of an elective judiciary, but unknown to the independent Federal judicial system. A suit was brought in 1851, under the act of 1833, on one of the Union Bank State bonds and coupons before the Chancellor. After elaborate argument, the Chancellor decided against the State, and entered a decree for the payment of the money. The State, as authorized by the law, appealed from this decision to its own High Court of Errors and Appeals, elected by the people.
Surely, it was supposed, that this new court, so recently chosen by the people, after the legislative repudiation, would be governed by '_a proper regard for the public interest and public opinion_.' Before the Chancellor, as well as the High Court, all the objections made by Governor McNutt and Senator Davis were earnestly pressed by the Attorney-General of the State and associate counsel, but in vain; the decision of the Chancellor was against the State, and it was unanimously affirmed by the High Court. This case will be found reported by the State reporter, Johnson _v._ The State, April term, 1853. (3 Cushman, 625 to 882,--257 pages.)
In this case, the bond sued on is given in the record, and will be found an exact copy of that (heretofore quoted) under the original act, which had passed two successive Legislatures, the principal as well as coupons being payable in Federal currency.
On the reverse side of the bond is the following:
'£450 sterling. The President, Directors, and Co. of the Mississippi Union Bank, do hereby designate the agency of the Bank of the United States in London, as the place of payment of the within bond and interest, and hereby assign and transfer the same for value received to the bearer, principal equal to £450 sterling, and guarantee the payment of the same at the place designated.
'S. GWIN, _Cashier_.
'H. G. RUNNELLS, _President_.
'Mississippi State Bond, No. 91. 'Redeemable February 25th, 1850.'
As to the place where the bond was made payable, there could be no objection, for the original, as well as the supplemental act, gave full authority to make the bonds payable abroad. But as to the objection that they were said to be payable in sterling, at the rate of four shillings and sixpence to the pound, the answer was, as shown: 1st. That this was the true rate of exchange. 2d. That the bond was payable in Federal currency, and this was all the bondholder ever asked from the State. As to the allegation that the bonds were sold below par, the court showed most conclusively from the facts and agreed case, that they were sold above par, and their constitutionality was fully affirmed.
The argument of the Attorney-General (Glenn) for the State, embraced 32 printed pages; in addition to which was an elaborate argument by his associate, Mr. Stearns. The opinion of Chief Justice Smith embraced 45 pages, the concurring opinion of Justice Yerger, 27 pages, and Justice Fisher concurred. The State was not satisfied, but moved for a reargument, that of Wharton for the State, embracing 54 pages, and that of Mays, on the same side, 32 pages; but the court adhered to their decision, and unanimously affirmed the decree of the Chancellor against the State. The decision of the court, in the heading of the case, is thus given by the reporter.
'The bonds might have been legally issued to the bank, by the Governor, on the 5th June, 1838, pursuant to the provision of the original charter of the bank, and the faith of the State pledged for the purpose of raising the capital.' 'The supplement was not void in consequence of not having been passed in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution contained in the 7th article, 9th section of that instrument.' 'The object of the original pledge of the faith of the State, was not changed by the supplemental charter, but it was passed in aid of the original charter.' 'Campbell _v._ Union Bank (6 Howard 625) _cited and confirmed_.' 'The liability of the State, under the operation of the charter of the bank, attached so soon or whenever the bonds were legally executed to the bank, and the execution of the mortgages was neither a condition precedent to the pledge of the faith of the State, nor the condition on which the State bonds were to be executed and delivered.' 'It does not appear from the facts that the bonds were sold for less than their par value. Held that the sale was neither illegal nor void.' 'If the commissioners in the sale of the bonds received 'sterling money of Great Britain' at the rate of four shillings and sixpence to the pound, that is not such an act on their part as would avoid the bonds.'
Here, then, the whole case was again fully decided in 1853, by the very tribunal to which Jefferson Davis, in 1849, invited the bondholders. And did he or the State then yield or pay the obligations. Not at all, but they adhered to the repudiation of these bonds, disregarded and defied the decision of the court, and have never paid one dollar of principal or interest, and never will, so long as slavery exists in Mississippi.
And now, after the almost unanimous passage of the supplemental act in 1838, the sanction of the Legislature in 1839 and 1841, the decision of the Circuit Court and Chancellor, and of the High Court of Errors and Appeals, how strange is the assertion of Mr. Slidell, that 'The Union Bank bonds were issued in direct violation of an express constitutional provision.' It is a well settled principle of American law, so adjudicated by the State Courts, as well as by the Supreme Court of the United States, that, 1st, To authorize the court to decide that a law is unconstitutional, the repugnance to the Constitution must be '_plain and palpable_.' 2d., That the interpretation given by the _highest court of a State_, to a State law, or constitution, '_is conclusive_.' But the truth is, as is proved by Mr. Slidell's own letter (having never resided in the State), he knew nothing of the subject, or he never would have spoken of Jefferson Davis as 'Governor,' or alluded to 'his administration,' when he never held that office. But it is of some moment, at least to the unfortunate bondholders, that the minister of Jefferson Davis at Paris, _avers now_ that these bonds are _unconstitutional_.
But, Mr. Slidell says, 'There is a wide difference between these bonds and those of the Planters' Bank, for the repudiation of which, neither excuse nor palliation can be offered.'
Now, in a subsequent letter, I will prove conclusively, from authentic documents, that the State of Mississippi has, _most effectually_, repudiated those bonds also, and that Jefferson Davis has sustained that repudiation.
In the case, also, of another slaveholding State, I will prove, from the public documents, that Jefferson Davis volunteered to sustain her in the repudiation of her State bonds, in a case more atrocious, if possible, than that of Mississippi. As Jefferson Davis is now at the head of a slaveholding conspiracy, endeavoring to destroy the Government of my country, and is now also engaged in selling worthless Confederate bonds in this market, I have deemed it my duty to make this publication.
R. J. WALKER.
NOTE.--Since this was written, the supposed menacing message from the Continent has been officially contradicted. Surely, however, I had a right to conclude, after such solemn assurances from a member to the House, that, although acting in the character of a Confederate messenger, and avowing such atrocious sentiments, he at least spoke the truth on that point.
R. J. W.
Perhaps if my early home had stood upon an island of evergreens, or if I had dreamed my first bright dreams among pine hills and cliffs of laurel, I should have loved their changeless beauty less. But through all my early years I saw but little of our native evergreens, and none of cultured, save a stunted cedar, that grew, or, rather, refused to grow, in our front yard at home; and thus they have ever attracted me exceedingly--the charm of rarity and novelty being added for me to their exceeding beauty.
And yet, if brought up among them, I might but have loved them more. For all I know of philosophy, if I had been earlier familiar with shrubs, hedges, groups, cedared cliffs, and tall forests of evergreens, they might have brought me still nobler conceptions, a more exquisite sense of beauty, than they now do.
Be that as it may, two years 'among the pines' of Virginia and her piny mountains, have enriched my mind with rare pictures of scenic beauty that shall keep fresh and green in memory while memory endures! I am no botanist, I have made no studies of the evergreens, nor shall I attempt to write of them as scholar or critic, but only as a fascinated observer. I neither care to know or tell whether the shrubs and trees in my evergreen pictures are angiosperms or gymnosperms; we have no 'transportation' for text books for students! During these two years, however, I have been charmed with a thousand views of landscape scenery, embracing every form, hue, and combination of our lovely native evergreens, whether on mountain, hill, or plain. I have seen them along winding streams, with backgrounds of bold, rocky bluffs; sweeping across undulating plains; rising with the uplifting mountains; peering into and over romantic mountain gorges; and growing up through the interstices of bowldered cascades. Or, standing on the mountain peaks, I have seen them sweep away into the vastness and grandeur of mighty, varied, and almost boundless expanse. These are but parts of my evergreen pictures. I have looked upon a simple holly bush when the wind of winter was upon it, scattering in lovely fragments its pure white robe of snow, revealing the gleaming of the rich green leaves, and the half-hidden clusters of the carmine berries. Three distinct colors thrown carelessly together, but no want of harmony--only pure and exquisite beauty!
In the summer months our evergreens are greatly less noticeable. They are overshadowed and eclipsed by the rich and exuberant foliage of our common but noble forest trees; but their beauty is not, even then, lost. They give variety of hues to the forests which they fringe or help to form; variety of shapes, and always exquisite, spicy, and healthful odors. But when the autumn comes, with its infinitely varied tintings of orange and vermilion; when the frost works its wonders, and the wooded hills are clothed with splendor--then the rich groups of our native evergreens rise in their immortality of freshness. How exquisitely their bright unfading green sets off and contrasts with the rich golds, glowing scarlets, russet browns, purples, and crimsons, in all their delicate shades and evanescent hues! The forest leaves grow sere and fall from their stems, sailing down singly or in groups, like bevies of frightened birds, until the hickory, oak, maple, and elm stand uncrowned, disrobed, lifting their bare arms to the winter skies; then higher and ever higher rises, as the gloom of winter deepens, the glory of evergreen shrub and tree.
The fields are dull russet, the forests are black, each tree seems a skeleton; all nature, save the evergreen, looks dead. But our mountains of firs, our hills of pine, our groves of cedar, our thickets of holly, our cliffs crowned with laurel, full of life, and covered with unchangeable verdure, keep eternally fresh and beautiful. Then come the great white silent snowflakes, sailing round and falling gently down, alighting on trunk, branch, and leaf, and covering and draping the hills, until they are pure and fair as the hills of Beulah. There is a dreamlike beauty in an evergreen forest mantled with snow. What words could tell the purity of coloring, the gracefulness of form of the pine boughs bending under their white burden of feathery crystals? Especially is this true of the young and pliant trees in hedgerows and thickets, and such as are everywhere springing up over the waste and wornout lands of Virginia.
The old monarch pine stands out like a sculptured column of ebony against the blue sky. Its umbel top, crowned with white, makes a fitting capital for a shaft so noble. It is a picture, in and of itself. The shrubs and young trees, so rich in leaves and verdure, so pliant to the lines and curves of grace, when happily and picturesquely grouped, are almost bewilderingly beautiful. Yet perhaps that which contains in itself the greatest number of the elements of beauty, is the medium-sized pyramidal tree, be it of spruce, Norway pine, or balsam fir. It unites at once, in its pyramidal shape, the strength and majesty of the old, and in its gracefully curved limbs and abundant leaves, the beauty and freshness of the young tree. When loaded down with a spotless burden of snow until its limbs are almost ready to break, no pyramid of art, no monument chiselled by human hands, can hope to approach its pure and model beauty.
The evergreen itself, however, seems to know no season but spring. In none other does it appear to change, and even then it casts not off the old--it only puts on the new in tenderer and fresher beauty! The new growth of the spruce and fir, the pale yellowish-green tips set in the dark old background, are exquisitely lovely; nor are the light green shoots of the white, yellow, and pitch pine much, less beautiful.
Later comes the glory of the laurel bloom, the most beautiful woodflower in our climate. As the other trees put on their leaves successively, the tinting of light, dark, and yellowish green are infinitely varied and pleasing.
Nor must I pass over, in my picture of evergreen, the mosses and ferns of the mountains of Virginia. More fragile than the trees and shrubs, they cannot be considered less beautiful. Indeed, the mosses of Cheat Mountain are the most luxuriant, exquisite, delicate, and richly beautiful things in nature. No dream of fairyland could, to my imagination, be lovelier than are the evergreen heights of these mountains, covered, matted, fringed, heaped, piled as they are with the greatest variety of mosses of the most delicate texture, feathery forms, and wondrously beautiful combinations. No one who has not seen them can have any just conception of mountain mosses, nor of the marvellous luxuriance of beauty with which they clothe rock, and tree, and earth, and everything upon these lone wild slopes and summits. Over the rocks, amid the mosses, hang the long pendent ferns, in richer, darker green. And with the grand old pine and fir trees lifting their heads to the heavens, and the thick tanglewood of shrub and underbrush, there is grandeur, grace, and beauty in bewildering, changeful, and ravishing confusion.
How I have loved, in leisure hours, to turn aside from the stern duties of the field, or the dull monotony of the camp, to gallop under the great pines, or wind through pathless thickets and native parks of evergreen, feasting my very soul on their eternal freshness and glory! How I have loved to see 'Black Hawk' crush with his feet, and sink up to his fetlocks, in the tender and fairy-like mosses that drape the mountains! How I have delighted to weave the trailing evergreens into wreaths, trellises, and bowers in front of my white tent! And, alas! with hushed and solemn pride, I have planted the holly and the pine on the graves of my dead comrades, hoping they might live in all their wondrous beauty over the quiet mound, and keep green the memory of the brave forever!
DYING IN THE HOSPITAL.
I am dying, mother, dying, in the hospital alone; With a hundred faces round me, not a single one is known; And the human heart within me, like a fluttering, wounded dove, Hungers with a ceaseless yearning for one answering word of love.
Oh, 'tis hard, 'tis hard, my mother, thus to linger day by day, Dying here, without the music of the battle's fierce array;-- Dying, far from home and kindred, robbed of all life's dearest ties, With the eager eyes out-gazing but to meet with stranger eyes.
It were sweet to fall, my mother, with the battle raging round, And to leap from earth to heaven at a single patriot-bound; It were sweet to feel that glory would check the tears of woe-- That o'er hearts whose griefs were deepest a gush of pride would flow.
But to lie at night, dear mother, and to list the warder's tread, As it falls upon my heart, I seem a prisoner with the dead; And I long to lose my sense of pain, to find a calm release, And to sink each vain, vain longing, in a silent sea of peace.
Oh, could I see, dear mother, the dog that guards our door, It would make each life throb at my heart beat quicker than before; And the nursing of your own dear hands, the breath of our old hills, Would send a flood of fresh life back through all these draining rills.
But it may not be, loved mother: I must die here, all alone; Where, a hundred faces round me, not a single one is known; With the human heart within me hungering, like a wounded dove, For the soft glance of my mother, and her dear home-words of love.
Oh, the heart of man, loved mother, is as dauntless as a rock In a time of mortal danger--in the battle's deadly shock; But alone--alone and dying, how he craves affection's ties-- Craves a woman's strength in weakness, and the lovelight in her eyes!
Oh, the dreams, the dreams, my mother, that have vanished from my sky, Like the misty mountain vapors that before the sunlight fly-- All the golden dreams of glory, with their rainbow tints of fame, That would link with deeds of valor my bright, my deathless name!
Where are they now, dear mother? Like a mirage of the plain, Like a bubble on the ocean, like a jewel on the main, Like the sweetest flowers of autumn, when they feel the biting frost, All those glorious aspirations--they are lost, forever lost!
Yet if I could live, my mother, I know I still should go And help to rid our country of her fratricidal foe; For you have taught me, long ago, that he was no true man Who would not, in a time like this, step forward with the van.
And though I leave, my mother, no laurel crown of fame, There is not linked with my past life a single breath of shame; And though I ne'er shall see your face, I will no more complain, For I know that not a sparrow falleth to the ground in vain.
But another dawn, sweet mother, is breaking o'er me now; When to-morrow's sunlight beameth, it will find a calm, cold brow; And another rough, rude coffin will be taken from the door: God bless you, dearest mother, and good-by forevermore!
WEAK LUNGS, AND HOW TO MAKE THEM STRONG; or, Diseases of the Organs of the Chest, with their Home Treatment by the Movement Cure. By DIO LEWIS, M. D. Profusely illustrated. Ticknor & Fields, Boston, 1863.
Diet, air, sunshine, dress, exercise, and water, are all indispensable hygienic agents, but considerable knowledge and experience are necessary for their proper adaptation to particular cases. Dr. Lewis's work is designed (to a certain degree) to impart such knowledge, and, while the general rules he gives cannot fail to be useful to all, we doubt not there are many instances of the especial malady under consideration in which the proposed mode of treatment would prove entirely efficacious. The numerous and carefully elaborated illustrations contained in the book render the application of the text simple and easy. The feature which especially pleases us is, that arrangements are made for home treatment, for, if there is anything depressing to the human spirit, it is an association of invalids. We do not mean a regular hospital, where people are suffering from acute forms of disease, and are learning and teaching the grand lessons of patience, endurance, and fortitude so necessary to humanity, but a community of individuals, able to walk about, talk to one another, and be generally engrossed with one idea, the pursuit of health. We once spent thirty days in a water-cure establishment, and can truly say that it was one of the most miserable months we ever passed. The totally physical atmosphere, the selfish, material countenances surrounding us, weighed upon our spirit until our nerves gave way, and we wondered which were on the broad road to insanity, our companions or ourselves. We examined narrowly, and found (in the generality of cases) that the angels within the bodies of those men and women had had their wings cut away until nothing remained but the senses and the limited knowledge they are capable of conveying.
Our experience may have been peculiarly unfortunate, but it has rendered us always happy to welcome a rational treatment of disease that may be pursued at home. Self-denial and activity are the two principal lessons inculcated in the work; and if we be careful to lift them from the body to the soul, we need not fear the slight tinge of materialism that seems almost inseparable from essays on bodily health. We repeat that Dr. Lewis's book abounds in excellent suggestions, essential to all, and its wide circulation will doubtless tend to the improvement of the general health of our people. Those even who, in some points, fail to agree with the author, must acknowledge the usefulness and practicability of the general ideas advanced, together with the simplicity of their application.
LIFE OF CHOPIN, by F. LISZT. Translated from the French by MARTHA WALKER COOK. 12mo, pp. 202. Philadelphia: F. Leypoldt. New York: F. W. Christern and James Miller. 2d Edition.
We are glad to see that this little work has already gone into its second edition. It gives evidence that, in spite of our domestic afflictions, more interest is felt in this country for art, than is generally believed to be the case, even by the most astute publishers among us. In calling the attention of our readers to this second edition of Liszt's 'Chopin,' we do not think we can do better than place before them the following extracts from a critique which appeared in the New York _Daily Tribune_ of June 11th, 1863.
'The lovers of musical art may justly be congratulated on the appearance of this extraordinary biographical study in an appropriate English dress. It is the enthusiastic tribute of a man of noble genius to a kindred spirit, whose mastership he acknowledged, and with whom he cherished a deep and tender friendship, beyond the vitiating touch of personal or artistic rivalry. The volume, indeed, affords a no less admirable illustration of the impulsive, generous, unworldly character of the author, than of the rare and wonderful gifts of its unique subject. It is the product of the heart rather than the head, and its frequent passages of childlike _naïveté_, its transparent revelations of the inmost soul of the writer, and the radiant atmosphere of spiritual beauty in which thoughts and images are melted together with a magic spell, transport it from the sphere of prose composition to that of high poetry. In spite of the trammels of words, it gives expression to the same subtle and ethereal conceptions which inspired the genius of Liszt as a musical artist. As a sketch of the life of the great composer, it possesses an interest with which few biographical works can compare; but no details of incident could imprison the soul of the author; and a fine æsthetic aroma breathes from every page, fragrant with the blossoming out of a rich, original nature, as well as with an exquisite sense of art.
'Chopin was born in Poland, near Warsaw, in the year 1810. His boyhood was marked by no events that gave promise of the greatness of his future career. He early became the victim of ill health, which was almost the perpetual torment of his after life. He grew up in simple and quiet habits, surrounded by the purest influences, conversant with bright examples of piety, modesty, and integrity, which gave to his imagination 'the velvety tenderness that characterizes the plants which have never been exposed to the dust of the beaten highways.' Commencing the study of music when he was but nine years old, he was soon after confided to a passionate disciple of Sebastian Bach, who for many years directed his studies in accordance with the prevailing classic models. Through the liberality of a distinguished patron of art, Prince Radziwill, he was placed in one of the first colleges in Warsaw, where he received a finished education in every branch of learning. The following picture, although partaking of the nature of a fancy piece, is introduced by Liszt, from the pen of one of the greatest living writers of fiction, as a just representation of the youthful artist at this period of his life.
'Gentle, sensitive, and very lovely, at fifteen years of age he united the charms of adolescence with the gravity of a more mature age. He was delicate both in body and in mind. Through the want of muscular development he retained a peculiar beauty, an exceptional physiognomy, which had, if we may venture so to speak, neither age nor sex. It was not the bold and masculine air of a descendant of a race of magnates, who know nothing but drinking, hunting, and making war; neither was it the effeminate loveliness of a cherub _couleur de rose_. It was more like the ideal creations with which the poetry of the Middle Ages adorned the Christian temples: a beautiful angel, with a form pure and slight as a young god of Olympus, with a face like that of a majestic woman filled with a divine sorrow, and as the crown of all, an expression at the same time tender and severe, chaste and impassioned.
'This expression revealed the depths of his being. Nothing could be purer, more exalted than his thoughts; nothing more tenacious, more exclusive, more intensely devoted, than his affections.... But he could only understand that which closely resembled himself.... Everything else only existed for him as a kind of annoying dream which he tried to shake off while living with the rest of the world. Always plunged in reveries, realities displeased him. As a child, he could never touch a sharp instrument without injuring himself with it; as a man, he never found himself face to face with a being different from himself without being wounded by the living contradiction....
'He was preserved from a constant antagonism by a voluntary and almost inveterate habit of never seeing or hearing anything which was disagreeable to him, unless it touched upon his personal affections. The beings who did not think as he did, were only phantoms in his eyes. As his manners were polished and graceful, it was easy to mistake his cold disdain or insurmountable aversion for benevolent courtesy....
'He never spent an hour in open-hearted expansiveness, without compensating for it by a season of reserve. The moral causes which induced such reserve were too slight, too subtle, to be discovered by the naked eye. It was necessary to use the microscope to read his soul, into which so little of the light of the living ever penetrated....
'With such a character, it seems strange he should have had friends: yet he had them, not only the friends of his mother, who esteemed him as the noble son of a noble mother, but friends of his own age, who loved him ardently, and who were loved by him in return.... He had formed a high ideal of friendship; in the age of early illusions he loved to think that his friends and himself, brought up nearly in the same manner, with the same principles, would never change their opinions, and that no formal disagreement could ever occur between them....
'He was externally so affectionate, his education had been so finished, and he possessed so much natural grace, that he had the gift of pleasing even where he was not personally known. His exceeding loveliness was immediately prepossessing, the delicacy of his constitution rendered him interesting in the eyes of women, the full yet graceful cultivation of his mind, the sweet and captivating originality of his conversation, gained for him the attention of the most enlightened men. Men less highly cultivated, liked him for his exquisite courtesy of manner. They were so much the more pleased with this, because, in their simplicity, they never imagined it was the graceful fulfilment of a duty into which no real sympathy entered.
'Could such people have divined the secrets of his mystic character, they would have said he was more amiable than loving--and with respect to them, this would have been true. But how could they have known that his real, though rare attachments, were so vivid, so profound, so undying?...
'Association with him in the details of life was delightful. He filled all the forms of friendship with an unaccustomed charm, and when he expressed his gratitude, it was with that deep emotion which recompenses kindness with usury. He willingly imagined that he felt himself every day dying; he accepted the cares of a friend, hiding from him, lest it should render him unhappy, the little time he expected to profit by them. He possessed great physical courage, and if he did not accept with the heroic recklessness of youth the idea of approaching death, at least he cherished the expectation of it with a kind of bitter pleasure.'...
'After completing his studies in harmony with a celebrated master, he complied with the wishes of his parents, who desired that he should travel, in order that he should become familiar with the best musical productions under the advantage of their perfect execution. For this purpose he visited many of the German cities, and was absent from Warsaw on one of his excursions when the revolution broke out in the autumn of 1830. He was thus forced to remain in Vienna, and was heard there in some concerts, but failed to receive the appreciation from the artistic public of that city which he had a right to anticipate. Leaving Vienna, he repaired to Paris, which was henceforth to be the scene of his brilliant triumphs. His constitution, being frail and delicate, could not long sustain the rude shocks of life unscathed, and we accordingly find Chopin at the age of thirty with rapidly declining health; and for the next decade, his existence was only a continued succession of the alternations of disease. At last, he began to fail so rapidly that the fears of his friends assumed the shape of despair. He scarcely ever left his bed, and spoke but rarely.
'His sister, upon receiving this intelligence, came from Warsaw to take her place at his pillow, which she left no more. He witnessed the anguish, the presentiments, the redoubled sadness around him, without showing what impression they made upon him. He thought of death with Christian calm and resignation, yet he did not cease to prepare for the morrow. From week to week and soon from day to day, the cold shadow of death gained upon him. His end was rapidly approaching; his sufferings became more and more intense; his crises grew more frequent, and at each accelerated occurrence resembled more and more a mortal agony. He retained his presence of mind, his vivid will upon their intermission, until the last; neither losing the precision of his ideas, nor the clear perception of his intentions. The wishes which he expressed in his short moments of respite, evinced the calm solemnity with which he contemplated the approach of death.'
'The inevitable hour came finally not without a certain strange, romantic beauty in its solemn aspects.
'The parlor adjoining the chamber of Chopin was constantly occupied by some of his friends, who, one by one, in turn, approached him to receive a sign of recognition, a look of affection, when he was no longer able to address them in words. On Sunday, the 15th of October, his attacks were more violent and more frequent--lasting for several hours in succession. He endured them with patience and great strength of mind. The Countess Delphine Potocka, who was present, was much distressed; her tears were flowing fast when he observed her standing at the foot of his bed; tall, slight, draped in white, resembling the beautiful angels created by the imagination of the most devout among the painters. Without doubt, he supposed her to be a celestial apparition; and when the crisis left him a moment in repose, he requested her to sing; they deemed him at first seized with delirium, but he eagerly repeated his request. Who could have ventured to oppose his wish? The piano was rolled from his parlor to the door of his chamber, while, with sobs in her voice, and tears streaming down her cheeks, his gifted countrywoman sang. Certainly, this delightful voice had never before attained an expression so full of profound pathos. He seemed to suffer less as he listened. She sang that famous Canticle to the Virgin, which, it is said, once saved the life of Siradella. 'How beautiful it is!' he exclaimed. 'My God, how very beautiful! Again--again!' Though overwhelmed with emotion, the Countess had the noble courage to comply with the last wish of a friend, a compatriot; she again took a seat at the piano, and sang a hymn from Marcello. Chopin again feeling worse, everybody was seized with fright--by a spontaneous impulse all who were present threw themselves upon their knees--no one ventured to speak; the sacred silence was only broken by the voice of the Countess, floating, like a melody from heaven, above the sighs and sobs which formed its heavy and mournful earth accompaniment. It was the haunted hour of twilight; a dying light lent its mysterious shadows to this sad scene--the sister of Chopin, prostrated near his bed, wept and prayed--and never quitted this attitude of supplication while the life of the brother she had so cherished lasted.
'His condition altered for the worse during the night, but he felt more tranquil upon Monday morning, and as if he had known in advance the appointed and propitious moment, he asked to receive immediately the last sacraments. In the absence of the Abbé ----, with whom he had been very intimate since their common expatriation, he requested that the Abbé Jelowicki, one of the most distinguished men of the Polish emigration, should be sent for. When the holy Viaticum was administered to him, he received it, surrounded by those who loved him, with great devotion. He called his friends a short time afterward, one by one, to his bedside, to give each of them his last earnest blessing; calling down the grace of God fervently upon themselves, their affections, and their hopes--every knee bent--every head bowed--all eyes were heavy with tears--every heart was sad and oppressed--every soul elevated.
'Attacks, more and more painful, returned and continued during the day; from Monday night until Tuesday, he did not utter a single word. He did not seem able to distinguish the persons who were around him. About eleven o'clock on Tuesday evening he appeared to revive a little. The Abbé Jelowicki had never left him. Hardly had he recovered the power of speech, than he requested him to recite with him the prayers and litanies for the dying. He was able to accompany the Abbé in an audible and intelligible voice. From this moment until his death, he held his head constantly supported upon the shoulder of M. Gutman, who, during the whole course of this sickness, had devoted his days and nights to him.
'A convulsive sleep lasted until the 17th of October, 1849. The final agony commenced about two o'clock; a cold sweat ran profusely from his brow; after a short drowsiness, he assessed in a voice scarcely audible: 'Who is near me?' Being answered; he bent his head to kiss the hand of M. Gutman, who still supported it--while giving this last tender proof of love and gratitude, the soul of the artist left its fragile clay. He died as he had lived--in loving.
'His love for flowers being well known, they were brought in such quantities the next day, that the bed in which they had placed them, and indeed the whole room, almost disappeared, hidden by their varied and brilliant hues. He seemed to repose in a garden of roses. His face regained its early beauty, its purity of expression, its long unwonted serenity. Calmly--with his youthful loveliness, so long dimmed by bitter suffering, restored by death--he slept among the flowers he loved, the last long and dreamless sleep!'
'We must not forget to thank the intelligent translator of this volume for the fidelity with which she has executed her by no means easy task. The elevated, almost aerial conceptions of Liszt, often seeming as if they disdained the bonds of language, are presented in lucid, idiomatic English, which derives a certain vital force more from warmth of sympathy with the original than from the use of any of the arts of vigorous expression.'
ROCKFORD; or, Sunshine and Storm. By Mrs. LILLIE DEVEREUX UMSTED. Author of Southwold. Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway, New York.
A novel of considerable ability. The characters are well drawn, and the moral unexceptionable. The scenes occur in fashionable life; the descriptions are vivid, the conversations (in which it abounds) are easy and sparkling, and the pictures of social life varied and interesting.
GOOD THOUGHTS IN BAD TIMES, AND OTHER PAPERS. By THOMAS FULLER, D. D. Price, $1.50. Ticknor & Fields, Boston.
Coleridge says of Fuller: 'Next to Shakespeare, I am not certain whether he, beyond all other writers, does not excite in me the sense and emotion of the marvellous.'
Thomas Fuller was born in 1608, was a chaplain in the army during the great civil war in England, and died in 1661, so that much of his fifty-four years of life was spent among no very peaceful scenes. He followed the army with a loyal heart and courageous spirit, and wrought earnestly to mitigate the violence of hostile parties. One of the wisest and wittiest divines who have ever ascended the pulpit, he has left behind him a fame second to none who have labored to elevate and make their fellow creatures better. 'Untiring humor seemed the ruling passion of his soul. With a heart open to all innocent pleasures, purged from the leaven of malice and uncharitableness, it was as natural that he should be full of mirth as it is for the grasshopper to chirp or bee to hum, or the birds to warble in the spring breeze and bright sunshine.'
His good thoughts are clothed in pure and beautiful language, are wise, quaint, genial, and witty. Being collected and matured during his marches and countermarches through the country at the time of the great civil war, we look upon their present publication as very timely and judicious, considering the disturbed state of our own suffering country.
THE GENTLEMAN. By GEORGE H. CALVERT. Ticknor & Fields. Boston. Price, 75 cts.
A book which we hope will have a wide circulation, and exercise a beneficial influence in this country. It is no superficial essay on external matters of etiquette, or even of mere æsthetic culture: it goes to the very heart of the meaning of the abused word, Gentleman, and proves its root to be _unselfishness_. The author says: 'It is the _moral_ element which, in my conception of the gentleman, is pivotal. Dealing with the highest type, I conceive that in that type not only are morals primary, but that manners result from them; so that where there is not a solid substratum of pure, elevated feeling there cannot be a clean, high, and unaffected demeanor.' 'The true gentleman is a Christian product.
'The best of men That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer, A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit, The first true gentleman that ever breathed.''
These views are illustrated with genius and scholarship. Their dissemination among ourselves is especially important, because our ideas of what is requisite to form a gentleman are essentially vague, crude, unformed, and often false.
It is no dull book of commonplace thoughts, but a high and noble essay on an important subject, and we commend it to the attention of our readers. Let him who would look upon the reverse of the gentleman, turn to the Editor's Table of the July issue of THE CONTINENTAL, and regard the repulsive sketch of the 'Southern Colonel,' whose ideal seems to be 'Brandy Smash and Cocktails.' Alas! that such ideals too frequently occur among ourselves. Bayard and Sir Philip Sydney are valuable studies for our own young and gallant soldiers.
POINT OF HONOR. By the Author of the 'Morals of May Fair,' 'Creeds,' &c., &c. Harper & Brothers, publishers, Franklin Square, New York.
This is no sensational tale. Its interest is not derived from intricacy of plot or mysterious developments; it presents us with admirable studies of male and female character, the traits of which are manifested in the progress of the plot. The portraits are detailed, natural, and living; the heroine feminine and lovely. The moral is good, and the 'Point of Honor' ably displayed.
SCIENCE FOR THE SCHOOL AND FAMILY. Part I. Natural Philosophy. By WORTHINGTON HOOKER, M. D., Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine in Yale College, Author of 'Human Physiology,' 'Child's Book of Nature,' 'Natural History,' &c., Illustrated by nearly 300 engravings. Harper & Brothers, publishers, Franklin Square, New York.
A valuable offering to teachers and pupils.
Professor Hooker has published a graduated series of books, carefully adapted to the different periods of the course of study; exceedingly simple for the beginner, stepping carefully from the known to the unknown, and widening their range with the increasing knowledge and mental growth of the student. The first in the graduated series is the 'Child's Book of Common Things.' Next, the 'Child's Book of Nature,' in three Parts, viz.: 'Plants,' 'Animals,' 'Air, Water, Light, Heat,'--then follow the 'First Book in Chemistry' and 'First Book in Physiology.' The next step in the gradation brings us to three books under one title: 'Science for the School and the Family;' Part I, Natural Philosophy; Part II, Chemistry; Part III, Mineralogy and Geology.
Our author says: 'One grand essential for giving interest to any study is the presentation of the various points in the _natural order_ in which they should enter the mind. _They should be so presented that each portion of a book shall make the following portions more interesting and more easily understood._ This principle I have endeavored to observe strictly in the preparation of my volumes.' We believe Professor Hooker has succeeded in the observation of this principle, and that its observation must insure success.
THE STORY OF THE GUARD: A Chronicle of the War. By JESSIE BENTON FREMONT. Knapsack Edition. Price, 50 cts. Ticknor & Fields, Boston.
We are glad to see this little work of affection and patriotism from the hand of a gifted lady (who says: 'For any personal object I should never use my name, which has been to me a _double_ charge to keep; but I think my father would more than approve, when it is to do justice, and to aid the widow and the orphan') already passed into the _sixth_ edition.
'To do justice to brave men and to aid the widow and orphan!' What nobler motive could there be for publishing a book, than the prevailing one so simply given by Mrs. Fremont in the lines just quoted! Truly the most determined hater of the so much read and so much abused 'women's books,' must cease to sneer in acknowledging that here indeed was inducement sufficient to make the most timid and shrinking of the sex face the frowns of the critic, the scoff of the antagonistic politician, and the astonishment of the fashionable world that one who had long been one of its most brilliant ornaments should condescend to become known as an authoress! We heartily congratulate her on the success of her book, which, as achieving its object, must be dear to her heart. Very charming, too, are the extracts given from General Fremont's letters. Domestic love and peace are surely holy!
'To do justice to brave men!' 'Major Zagonyi, with one hundred and fifty of the body guard, attacked and drove from Springfield over two thousand rebels, with a loss of only fifteen men.' All honor to the brave Zagonyi! His Hungarian English is strong, graphic, simple, and, like himself, true. With a thorough military education, dauntless courage, untiring energy, and a natural, perhaps national, love for horses and horsemanship, we doubt not he is one of the best cavalry officers in our service. He has long chafed under a forced inaction, and, full of unselfish devotion, burns to do and dare in what he believes to be the cause of freedom and humanity. May he soon add fresh laurels to his glorious Springfield wreath--and may the same gentle chronicler again twine them for his brave brow!
SUBSTANCE AND SHADOW; or, Morality and Religion in their Relation to Life: An Essay upon the Physics of Creation. By HENRY JAMES. Ticknor & Fields, Boston.
We advise such of our readers as take interest in metaphysical theology, in the vexed questions of the origin of evil, of free will, of God's communication with the spirit of man, of the growth of faith in the soul, to read this book for themselves. We are not Swedenborgians, though we believe Swedenborg to have been a great and good man; we do not deem ourselves able to pronounce upon the truths or errors elaborated in the pages of Mr. James's book, but we feel convinced that its author is as sincere as able, and that he really aims at reaching the heart and marrow of his important subjects. His argument with the German and Scotch philosophies is profound and skilful. He is a believer in revelation, in its unfolding a true philosophy of the Infinite; showing how the infinite is contained in the finite, the absolute in the relative, not spatially or by continuation, but by exact correspondency, as the soul is contained in the body. He always steers clear of the shoals of atheism, and of the dim and chaotic abysses of pantheism. He is often obscure, but has the power to be concise and luminous. His style is vigorous, though we object to the meaning he attaches to two words very dear to the human heart: for _religion_ is not _ritualism_, nor is _morality_ made of the starched buckram of _selfhood_. Religion is love to God--morality, love to our neighbor. We differ from him in many of his positions, his standpoint is not ours, but he struggles bravely to rescue philosophy from a degrading bondage to sense, and to restore her to the service of revelation. No analysis within our present limits would avail to combat the errors, to make manifest the truths contained in the book, nor do we feel ourselves competent to undertake the task.
If the lucid and vigorous writer, author of the article entitled 'Mill on Liberty' in our June issue, as well as of some able remarks headed 'Matter and Spirit' published in the Editor's Table of the July number of THE CONTINENTAL, would review this book of Mr. James, he might be able to pour a flood of light on many mooted questions, many metaphysical queries; for a clear mind is a marvellous solvent.
THE WESTERN LAW MONTHLY. June, 1863. Hon. JOHN CROWELL, WILLIAM LAWRENCE, Editors. Cleveland, Ohio: Fairbanks, Benedict & Co. New York: John S. Voorhies, law bookseller and publisher, No. 20 Nassau street.
THE MASSACHUSETTS TEACHER: A Journal of School and Home Education. June, 1863. Boston: Published by the Massachusetts Teachers' Association, No. 119 Washington street.
VERMONT SCHOOL JOURNAL: Devoted to the Educational Interests of the State. HIRAM ORCUTT, Editor and Proprietor, West Brattleboro.
THE ILLINOIS TEACHER: Devoted to Education, Science, and Free Schools. Editors: ALEXANDER M. GOW, Rock Island; SAMUEL A. BRIGGS, Chicago. Published monthly, Peoria, Illinois, by N. I. Nason.
THE HOME MONTHLY: Devoted to Home Education, Literature, and Religion. Edited by Rev. WM. M. THAYER. Boston: Published by D. W. Childs, No. 456 Washington street, corner of Essex.
THE BRITISH AMERICAN. A Monthly Magazine, devoted to Science, Literature, and Art. Toronto. Rollo & Adams, publishers. No. 1, May, 1863. THE BRITISH AMERICAN contains: North West British America; My Cousin Tom; Early Notices of Toronto; The Bank of Credit Foncier; Holiday Musings of a Worker; The Emigrants; Flowers and their Moral Teaching; Sketches of Indian Life; Given and Taken; The Post Office and the Railway; Insect Life in Canada; Reviews, &c.
THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER. July, 1863. Boston: By the proprietors, at Walker, Wise, & Co.'s, 245 Washington street. Contents: Conditions of Belief; Mrs. Browning's Essays on the Poets; Rome, Republican and Imperial; The Pulpit in the Past; Kinglake and his Critics; The Colenso Controversy; Art and Artists of America; Reviews, &c.
THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW. July, 1863. Contents: Traits of Jean Paul and his Titan; Peerages and Genealogies; The Chronology, Topography, and Archæology of the Life of Christ; Story's Roba di Roma; Liberia College; Samuel Kirkland; Leigh Hunt; Acarnania; The American Tract Society; May's Constitutional History of England; Critical Notices, &c.
THE SUSPENSE.--Seldom, in the eventful course of human affairs, have great nations, with their rich and populous cities, been placed in the attitude of danger and of solemn suspense in which the American people find themselves at this momentous crisis. Even while we write this sentence, a great battle is raging in one of the fairest valleys of Pennsylvania, and although the actual struggle is destined to be decisive in its bearing, there is no possibility of knowing how the strife goes from hour to hour. Issues of immense and incalculable importance are involved in the immediate result: the cities of Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, to say nothing of the existence of the nation itself, so gravely imperilled, on the one hand; and Richmond, with all the desperate hopes and daring purposes of the rebellion, on the other, are the mighty stakes played for in the bloody game now going on upon the chessboard in the vicinity of Gettysburg.
With the overthrow of Lee's army, and its effectual cut off from escape, not only will come the speedy fall of Richmond, but the rebellion itself will be virtually at an end; for it will never be able to recover from the blow. On the other hand, with the complete discomfiture of our own army, we should be temporarily at the mercy of the enemy, as we do not seem to have contemplated the contingency of defeat, and have made little preparation for it. The victorious Lee would drive our shattered forces into Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, and would follow close upon their heels with his irresistible columns. Dark would be the day for our country and for human liberty, and terrible would be the struggle made necessary afterward to enable us to recover from so great a disaster. Assuredly we would be able to recover; and in this fact lies our great superiority over the adversary, who stakes his all upon the issue of this desperate and reckless invasion into the heart of the loyal States. But, with all our confidence in the justice and ultimate triumph of our cause, how great is the patriotic anxiety with which our hearts are burdened, and how intensely earnest are the prayers we offer to the Most High for the success of our noble army in the pending battle! In our excited imaginations, we see only the impenetrable cloud of smoke which envelops the bloody field; we hear the loud thunders of the murderous artillery, the rattle of musketry, the groans of the wounded and dying, and the shouts of infuriated columns as they rush into the jaws of death, and are rolled away on the fiery billows of the mighty conflict. We feel all the frenzy of the deadly strife as if we were in the midst of it; and yet, though we strain our inward vision to the utmost, no ray of light comes from the terrible scene to inform us how the scale of victory inclines. We only know that thousands of our brothers lie on the battle field dead or dying, wounded and suffering, and we anticipate the melancholy wail which their wives and children, their brothers and friends will utter on the morrow. Shall it be mingled with shouts of victory, and softened by the sweet consolation that the death and suffering of so many noble victims have been repaid by the safety of our country, and the reëstablishment of liberty under the glorious Constitution of our fathers?
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THE RELIEF.--Time rolls on. In spite of anxieties and torturing uncertainties; over broken hearts and ruined hopes; over fields of slaughter, where the harvest of death has been garnered in abundance so great as to sicken the soul of man; over pillaged cities and countries laid waste; over all the works of man, good and bad, time rolls on, careless alike of the joys and sorrows, the victories and defeats of men and nations. And, with the steady and remorseless march of time, events, however bound up with the mightiest interests of mankind, necessarily hasten to their consummation. The web of fate is unravelled--the tide of battle flows in its irrevocable course, and having stranded the hopes of the defeated power, there is no ebb, no reflux, by which the disaster may be undone, and the ruined cause restored again to prosperity and hope.
Gradually the cloud breaks away from the battle field, and the various incidents and accomplished results of the contest become known. The silent, faithful wires, stretching away to the intervening cities and villages, are burdened with their mysterious messages, to be delivered from time to time to the expectant crowds who await them with eager impatience. With the dawn of Independence Day, some gleams of light come up from the scene of conflict, and some encouraging words are heard from high quarters. In their patriotic assemblages, the people are full of hope and confidence, though still not without intense anxiety with regard to the final result, yet imperfectly made known. Every additional message, with which the wires tremble, makes the hopeful impression stronger and stronger; and, upon the whole, the 4th of July, 1863, is a day of rejoicing to all those who love their country and desire to see it restored to its pristine vigor and glory. Scarcely a doubt remains that the daring traitors have been defeated and the country saved; though it is yet uncertain whether the victory will be complete and the army of the enemy scattered and destroyed or captured.
If by possibility Lee should again escape and make his way back to the exhausted fields of Eastern Virginia, there may still be some hard work for our armies in order to put a final end to the great rebellion. But the failure of this last desperate enterprise gives the deathblow to the wicked and ambitious power of the usurpers at the head of the pretended confederacy. They may obstruct our march and harass our armies, but they can no longer hope to place any permanent obstacle in the way of our progress toward the restoration of the Union. The tide has turned at last. We have seen the darkest day of our mortal struggle, and the hour of deliverance is at hand.
AGRICULTURE AND WAR.
Agriculture is the foundation of all other industries. It is quite as indispensable for the support of armies in the field as it is for that of commerce and manufactures in the halcyon days of national repose. If those who have gone forth with arms in their hands to do battle for the preservation of our free government are performing services of the highest importance to the nation, those also who remain at home to till the earth are doing work indispensable to the success of our sacred cause. If they do not strike the enemy with their hoes and scythes, they at least sustain and invigorate those who carry the bayonet and meet the shock of actual war.
Under all circumstances the great operations of agriculture must still go on. The seasons do not cease their appointed rounds; the sun does not fail to dispense his genial stores of light and heat; nor do the fertilizing showers of heaven refuse to descend upon the soil, because the fierce passions of man have aroused him to discord and battle. Nature still maintains her serenity in the midst of all the fearful agitations of mankind; and she still scatters her blessings with a lavish hand, though they may be trampled under foot by the gathering hosts of infuriated men. Even, therefore, while the human tempest rages around us, we may well pause to contemplate the peaceful beneficence of nature, and to rejoice in the thought that all the wickedness and violence of man cannot provoke or derange into confusion and disorder the great natural elements which minister to his comfort and happiness--which cause the seed to germinate, the flower to bloom, and the fruit to ripen, regardless of all his passions, and in spite of his ingratitude. The unambitious pursuits of the husbandman may have in them nothing of the pomp and circumstance of glorious war; but they are at least in harmony with the beneficence of God and the permanent interests of man; while they are also of the highest importance to the country, even in the extremity of her peril.
The harvest, now approaching, everywhere gives promise of a bounteous supply of the productions which annually bless our favored land. The vast invading army of the enemy, soon to be driven with disaster out of the loyal States, will have made no serious impression upon the abundance of our overflowing stores. There may be some scarcity of labor to secure the maturing crops, but we shall still supply all our own wants abundantly, leaving a large surplus for shipment abroad, and even for meeting the necessities of our suffering brethren in the South, when they shall have utterly failed in their wicked purpose of destroying the Government, and when their sharp cry of hunger and suffering shall appeal to our relenting hearts for succor.
THE EARTH AND THE AIR.
The great bulk of all vegetation is derived from the atmosphere. The air is always loaded with watery vapor, and it contains a vast quantity of carbonic acid gas, which furnishes the chief material for the woody fibre of all plants, for the starch, sugar, gums, oils, and other valuable compounds produced by them. Nitrogen, also, is one of the large constituents of the air, and is found in it likewise in the form of ammonia. It is wonderful to reflect that of all the vegetable productions of the earth--its vast forests, the flowery clothing of its boundless prairies, the immeasurable productions raised by the industry of the whole human race in its countless fields of labor--that of all this mighty growth which covers and adorns the face of the whole solid globe, more than ninety-five hundredths are derived exclusively from the atmosphere. This vast ocean which surrounds the earth, in which we are immersed, and which is actually the breath of life to us, indispensable to our existence during every moment of our lives, is also the great reservoir from which the mighty vegetable world draws almost the whole of its substance. While we are inspiring the invisible fluid, and with every breath renewing the ruddy currents of the heart and sending them glowing with warmth and vitality to all the extremities of the frame, every leaf in the mighty forest, and every herb, and flower, and blade of grass on the surface of the whole earth, is maintaining a similar commerce with the air, drawing from its boundless stores of carbon, piling up cell upon cell and adding fibre to fibre, until trunk, and branch, and stem, and leaf, with all the gorgeous productions of vegetable life, stand forth in their maturity, filling the bosom of the conscious atmosphere with wonderful creations of beauty and fruits of joy.
But in fact the atmosphere is only an appendage to the solid earth, existing in that plastic form which is necessary to the creation both of animal and vegetable life. It is her breath, by which, as the minister of God, she breathes life into the nostrils of men and animals, and imparts vitality and growth to all plants. But in this life-giving process, she furnishes also a part, minute though it be, of her own proper substance. Consume with fire the trees of the forest, or the grass of the prairie, and though the greater part of the burning mass will disappear and mingle with the air from which it came, there will yet remain the ashes, which cannot be dissipated, but must return again to the earth which gave them. These solid constituents of plants are the contributions of the soil; and though they seem to be comparatively inconsiderable, yet when taken in connection with the large operations of agriculture continued through a series of years, they become so great as to be of the utmost importance. They perform an interesting part in the economy of vegetable life, for they are to the plant what the bones are to the animal. In the stalks of wheat and Indian corn, as indeed of all the grasses, the flinty surface is constituted largely of silex; as the shells of crustacea and the bones of animals are composed mostly of lime. Without these earthy substances, nothing that grows from the soil can come to perfection. They are equally important to animals and to man himself, who receives them from the vegetable world and assimilates them in his own marvellous organization--building up his bony frame with the lime of the earth; filling his veins with its iron; constructing the very seat and citadel of the soul, and flashing its spiritual mandates through the nerves, by the help of the phosphorus which he derives from the soil through the elaboration of plants and inferior animals.
WE'RE NOT TIRED OF FIGHTING YET!
Oh, we're not tired of fighting yet! We're not the boys to frighten yet! While drums are drumming we'll be coming, With the ball and bayonet! For we can hit while they can pound, And so let's have another round! Secesh is bound to lick the ground, And we'll be in their pantry yet!
Oh, we're not tired of tramping yet-- Of soldier life or camping yet; And rough or level, man or devil, We are game for stamping yet. We've lived through weather wet and dry, Through hail and fire, without a cry; We wouldn't freeze, and couldn't fry, And haven't got through our ramping yet!
We haven't broke up the party yet; We're rough, and tough, and hearty yet; Who talks of going pays what's owing, And there's a bill will smart ye yet! So bang the doors, and lock 'em tight! Secesh, you've got to make it right! We'll have a little dance to-night; You can't begin to travel yet!
Oh, we're not tired of fighting yet, Nor ripe for disuniting yet! Before they do it, or get through it, There'll be some savage biting yet! Then hip, hurrah for Uncle Sam! And down with all secesh and sham! From Davis to Vallandigham, They all shall rue their treason yet!
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We cannot close the present number of THE CONTINENTAL without a few words of fervid congratulation to our readers and countrymen. We may greet each other now with glad hearts and uplifted brows. What a glorious "Fourth" was ours, with our Eagle scattering the heavy war-clouds which hung around us, soaring to gaze once more undazzled at the sun of liberty; our stars again shining down clear upon us from their heaven of light! Joy sparkles in every eye, and high, strong words flash from every tongue. Grant victorious--Vicksburg ours--the army of the Potomac covered with glory--Meade everywhere triumphant, and in full pursuit of our flying and disheartened foe! Heroes and soldiers, your country blesses and thanks you!
Let us now resolve that with every day our Union shall grow closer. Let faction die; political intrigue cease to rear its serpent head; let doubt become trust; suspicion, faith! Countrymen, let us also learn to pity the unhappy race whom this war must free. You cannot now prevent it; its first tocsin of liberty pealed with the first gun fired at Fort Sumter. After long ages of barbaric night, of slavery, of misery, these beings cut in ebony begin to robe themselves as men; on the battle field they have at last put on the virile toga dyed in blood, not now drawn by the lash from the back of the wretched chattel, but from the heart of the man face to face with his oppressor on the field of righteous battle. Rude and uncultured, they hold up to you hands hard with labor, still bleeding from the scarcely fallen manacles, and implore aid and manly mercy. Let it be granted without stint, and let not the freedom God has given, become a curse to them! You cannot roll back the stately steppings of destiny--and let this great and magnanimous people show its magnanimity now!
And, oh, ye glorious dead, now resting in eternal peace, whom the drum and fife will rouse no more to superhuman effort in our behalf, sweet be your sleep in the heart of the country you died to save, and ever green the laurel above your grassy graves! We will not forget you, wrapped in your gory shrouds for the land ye loved! Never shall our national hymns again greet our ears without awakening tender thoughts of you! Hot, sad tears will mourn your loss in the homes your smiles shall light no more--but your names shall be an heirloom of glory to your mothers, wives, and children, and your country will weep with them! We greet you, holy graves! As the onward path of humanity passes over your new-made mounds, her children will veil their heads and honor the martyrs who lie below. And when the coming centuries shall have covered you with moss and flowers, they will never forget to throw the laurel as they pass, acknowledging that these tombs have made progress and happiness possible! Brothers, the Union shall be sacred which you died to save! In the more intense and glowing patriotism engendered by your sacrifice, we swear it on your blessed sepulchres, and this shall be your deathless epitaph!
M. W. C.
The readers of the CONTINENTAL are aware of the important position it has assumed, of the influence which it exerts, and of the brilliant array of political and literary talent of the highest order which supports it. No publication of the kind has, in this country, so successfully combined the energy and freedom of the daily newspaper with the higher literary tone of the first-class monthly; and it is very certain that no magazine has given wider range to its contributors, or preserved itself so completely from the narrow influences of party or of faction. In times like the present, such a journal is either a power in the land or it is nothing. That the CONTINENTAL is not the latter is abundantly evidenced _by what it has done_--by the reflection of its counsels in many important public events, and in the character and power of those who are its staunchest supporters.
Though but little more than a year has elapsed since the CONTINENTAL was first established, it has during that time acquired a strength and a political significance elevating it to a position far above that previously occupied by any publication of the kind in America. In proof of which assertion we call attention to the following facts:
1. Of its POLITICAL articles republished in pamphlet form, a single one has had, thus far, a circulation of _one hundred and six thousand_ copies.
2. From its LITERARY department, a single serial novel, "Among the Pines," has, within a very few months, sold nearly _thirty-five thousand_ copies. Two other series of its literary articles have also been republished in book form, while the first portion of a third is already in press.
No more conclusive facts need be alleged to prove the excellence of the contributions to the CONTINENTAL, or their _extraordinary popularity_; and its conductors are determined that it shall not fall behind. Preserving all "the boldness, vigor, and ability" which a thousand journals have attributed to it, it will greatly enlarge its circle of action, and discuss, fearlessly and frankly, every principle involved in the great questions of the day. The first minds of the country, embracing the men most familiar with its diplomacy and most distinguished for ability, are among its contributors; and it is no mere "flattering promise of a prospectus" to say that this "magazine for the times" will employ the first intellect in America, under auspices which no publication ever enjoyed before in this country.
While the CONTINENTAL will express decided opinions on the great questions of the day, it will not be a mere political journal: much the larger portion of its columns will be enlivened, as heretofore, by tales, poetry, and humor. In a word, the CONTINENTAL will be found, under its new staff of Editors, occupying a position and presenting attractions never before found in a magazine.
* * * * *
TERMS TO CLUBS.
Two copies for one year, Five dollars. Three copies for one year, Six dollars. Six copies for one year, Eleven dollars. Eleven copies for one year, Twenty dollars. Twenty copies for one year, Thirty-six dollars.
PAID IN ADVANCE.
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JOHN F. TROW, 50 Greene St., N. Y., PUBLISHER FOR THE PROPRIETORS.
--> As an inducement to new subscribers, the Publisher offers the following liberal premiums:
--> Any person remitting $3, in advance, will receive the magazine from July, 1862, to January, 1864, thus securing the whole of Mr. KIMBALL'S and Mr. KIRKE'S new serials, which are alone worth the price of subscription. Or, if preferred, a subscriber can take the magazine for 1863 and a copy of "Among the Pines," or of "Undercurrents of Wall Street," by R. B. KIMBALL, bound in cloth, or of "Sunshine in Thought," by CHARLES GODFREY LELAND (retail price, $1 25.) The book to be sent postage paid.
--> Any person remitting $4 50, will receive the magazine from its commencement, January, 1862, to January, 1864, thus securing Mr. KIMBALL'S "Was He Successful?" and Mr. KIRKE'S "Among the Pines," and "Merchant's Story," and nearly 3,000 octavo pages of the best literature in the world. Premium subscribers to pay their own postage.
[Illustration: THE FINEST FARMING LANDS WHEAT CORN COTTON FRUITS & VEGETABLES]
EQUAL TO ANY IN THE WORLD!!!
MAY BE PROCURED
At FROM $8 to $12 PER ACRE,
Near Markets, Schools, Railroads, Churches, and all the blessings of Civilization.
1,200,000 Acres, in Farms of 40, 80, 120, 160 Acres and upwards, in ILLINOIS, the Garden State of America.
The Illinois Central Railroad Company offer, ON LONG CREDIT, the beautiful and fertile PRAIRIE LANDS lying along the whole line of their Railroad, 700 MILES IN LENGTH, upon the most Favorable Terms for enabling Farmers, Manufacturers, Mechanics and Workingmen to make for themselves and their families a competency, and a HOME they can call THEIR OWN, as will appear from the following statements:
Is about equal in extent to England, with a population of 1,722,666, and a soil capable of supporting 20,000,000. No State in the Valley of the Mississippi offers so great an inducement to the settler as the State of Illinois. There is no part of the world where all the conditions of climate and soil so admirably combine to produce those two great staples, CORN and WHEAT.
Nowhere can the industrious farmer secure such immediate results from his labor as on these deep, rich, loamy soils, cultivated with so much ease. The climate from the extreme southern part of the State to the Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Railroad, a distance of nearly 200 miles, is well adapted to Winter.
WHEAT, CORN, COTTON, TOBACCO.
Peaches, Pears, Tomatoes, and every variety of fruit and vegetables is grown in great abundance, from which Chicago and other Northern markets are furnished from four to six weeks earlier than their immediate vicinity. Between the Terre Haute, Alton & St. Louis Railway and the Kankakee and Illinois Rivers, (a distance of 115 miles on the Branch, and 136 miles on the Main Trunk,) lies the great Corn and Stock raising portion of the State.
THE ORDINARY YIELD
of Corn is from 50 to 80 bushels per acre. Cattle, Horses, Mules, Sheep and Hogs are raised here at a small cost, and yield large profits. It is believed that no section of country presents greater inducements for Dairy Farming than the Prairies of Illinois, a branch of farming to which but little attention has been paid, and which must yield sure profitable results. Between the Kankakee and Illinois Rivers, and Chicago and Dunleith, (a distance of 56 miles on the Branch and 147 miles by the Main Trunk,) Timothy Hay, Spring Wheat, Corn, &c., are produced in great abundance.
The Agricultural products of Illinois are greater than those of any other State. The Wheat crop of 1861 was estimated at 85,000,000 bushels, while the Corn crop yields not less than 140,000,000 bushels besides the crop of Oats, Barley, Rye, Buckwheat, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Squashes, Flax, Hemp, Peas, Clover, Cabbage, Beets, Tobacco, Sorgheim, Grapes, Peaches, Apples, &c., which go to swell the vast aggregate of production in this fertile region. Over Four Million tons of produce were sent out the State of Illinois during the past year.
In Central and Southern Illinois uncommon advantages are presented for the extension of Stock raising. All kinds of Cattle, Horses, Mules, Sheep, Hogs, &c., of the best breeds, yield handsome profits; large fortunes have already been made, and the field is open for others to enter with the fairest prospects of like results. DAIRY FARMING also presents its inducements to many.
CULTIVATION OF COTTON.
_The experiments in Cotton culture are of very great promise. Commencing in latitude 39 deg. 30 min. (see Mattoon on the Branch, and Assumption on the Main Line), the Company owns thousands of acres well adapted to the perfection of this fibre. A settler having a family of young children, can turn their youthful labor to a most profitable account in the growth and perfection of this plant._
THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD
Traverses the whole length of the State, from the banks of the Mississippi and Lake Michigan to the Ohio. As its name imports, the Railroad runs through the centre of the State, and on either side of the road along its whole length lie the lands offered for sale.
CITIES, TOWNS, MARKETS, DEPOTS.
There are Ninety-eight Depots on the Company's Railway, giving about one every seven miles. Cities, Towns and Villages are situated at convenient distances throughout the whole route, where every desirable commodity may be found as readily as in the oldest cities of the Union, and where buyers are to be met for all kinds of farm produce.
Mechanics and working-men will find the free school system encouraged by the State, and endowed with a large revenue for the support of the schools. Children can live in sight of the school, the college, the church, and grow up with the prosperity of the leading State in the Great Western Empire.
PRICES AND TERMS OF PAYMENT--ON LONG CREDIT.
80 acres at $10 per acre, with interest at 6 per ct. annually on the following terms:
Cash payment $48 00 Payment in one year 48 00 " in two years 48 00 " in three years 48 00 " in four years 236 00 " in five years 224 00 " in six years 212 00 " in seven years 200 00
40 acres, at $10 00 per acre; Cash payment $24 00 Payment in one year 24 00 " in two years 24 00 " in three years 24 00 " in four years 118 00 " in five years 112 00 " in six years 106 00 " in seven years 100 00
Number 21. 25 Cents.
_Literature and National Policy_.
JOHN F. TROW 50 GREENE STREET
(FOR THE PROPRIETORS).
HENRY DEXTER AND SINCLAIR TOUSEY.
WASHINGTON, D. C.: FRANCK TAYLOR.
Southern Hate of New England. By Miss Virginia Sherwood, 241
Waiting for News. By Mrs. Mary E. Nealy, 255
Early History of Printing and the Newspaper Press in Boston and New York. By W. L. Stone, 256
Reconnoissance near Fort Morgan, and Expedition in Lake Portchartrain and Pearl River, by the Mortar Flotilla of Captain D. D. Porter, U. S. N. By F. H. Gerdes, Asst. U. S. Coast Survey, 269
Diary of Frances Krasinska, 274
The Isle of Springs. By Rev. Mr. Starbuck, 284
The Grave, 292
Reason, Rhyme, and Rhythm. By Mrs. Martha W. Cook, 293
Remembrance. By G. F. G. 296
The Great Riot. By Edward B. Freeland, 302
The Deserted House, 312
Spring Mountain, 314
Japanese Foreign Relations, 333
Was He Successful. By Richard B. Kimball, 346
Jefferson Davis and Repudiation, 352
Editor's Table, 355
* * * * *
CHARLES GODFREY LELAND and EDMUND KIRKE have withdrawn from the editorial management of this Magazine.
All communications, whether concerning MSS. or on business, should be addressed to
JOHN F. TROW, Publisher,
50 GREENE STREET, NEW YORK.
* * * * *
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by JOHN F. TROW, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
JOHN F. TROW, PRINTER.