The Project Gutenberg EBook of Continental Monthly , Vol IV, Issue VI, December 1863, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Continental Monthly , Vol IV, Issue VI, December 1863 Devoted to Literature and National Policy. Author: Various Release Date: July 30, 2006 [EBook #18946] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CONTINENTAL MONTHLY *** Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Janet Blenkinship and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by Cornell University Digital Collections)
|BUCKLE, DRAPER, AND A SCIENCE OF HISTORY.—SECOND PAPER.|
|DIARY OF FRANCES KRASINSKA;|
|THE SLEEPING SOLDIER.|
|THE GREAT AMERICAN CRISIS.—PART ONE.|
|WAS HE SUCCESSFUL?|
|THEORIES OF RECONSTRUCTION.|
|I. THEORY OF STATE SUICIDE.|
|II. THEORY OF THE STATES AS ALIEN ENEMIES.|
|III. THEORY OF THE CONSTITUTION AND COMMON SENSE.|
|SHE DEFINES HER POSITION.|
|WHIFFS FROM MY MEERSCHAUM.|
We are of the race of the Empire Builders. Some races have been sent into the world to destroy. Ours has been sent to create. It was needed that the blunders of ten centuries and more, across the water, should be given a chance for amendment. On virgin soil, the European races might cure themselves of the fever pains of ages. So they were called here to try. There was no rubbish to sweep away. The mere destructive had no occupation. The builder and creator was the man wanted. In the full glow of civilization, with the accumulated experience of the toiling generations, with all the wealth of the fruitful past, we, 'the foremost in the files of time,' have been called to this business of nation making.
The men of our blood, they say, are given to boasting. America adds flashing nerve fire to the dull muscle of Europe. That is the fact. But the tendency to boasting is an honest inheritance. We can hardly boast louder than our fathers across the sea have taught us. The boasting of New York can scarcely drown the boasting of London. Jonathan thinks highly of himself, but, certainly, John Bull is not behind him in self-esteem.
But, after all, what wonder? Ten centuries of victory over nature and over men may give a race the right to boast—ten centuries of victory with never a defeat! The English tongue is an arrogant tongue, we grant. Command, mastery, lordliness, are bred into its tones. The old tongue of the Romans was never deeper marked in those respects than our own. It is a freeman's speech, this mother language. A slave can never speak it. He garbles, clips, and mumbles it, makes 'quarter talk' of it. The hour he learns to speak English he is spoiled for a slave. It is the tongue of conquerors, the language of imperial will, of self-asserting individuality, of courage, masterhood, and freedom. There is no need of being thin-skinned under the charge of boasting. A man cannot very well learn, in his cradle, 'the tongue that Shakspeare spake,' without talking sometimes as if he and his owned creation.
For the tongue is the representative of the speaker. A people embodies its soul in its language. And the people who inherit English have done work enough in this little world to give them a right to do some talking. They, at least, can speak their boast, and hear it seconded, in [Pg 602]the bold accents their mothers taught them, on every shore and on every sea. They have been the world's day-laborers now for some centuries. They have felled its forests, drained its marshes, dug in its mines, ploughed its wastes, built its cities. They have done rough pioneer work over all its surface. They have done it, too, as it never was done before. They have made it stay done. They have never given up one inch of conquered ground. They have never yielded back one square foot to barbarism. Won once to civilization, under their leadership, and your square mile of savage waste and jungle is won forever.
We are inclined to think the world might bear with us. We talk a great deal about ourselves, perhaps; but, on the whole, are we not buying the privilege? Did a race ever buckle to its business in this world in more splendid style than our own? With both hands clenched, stripped to the waist, blackened and begrimed and sweat bathed, this race takes its place in the vanguard of the world and bends to its chosen toil. The grand, patient, hopeful people, how they grasp blind brute nature, and tame her, and use her at their word! How they challenge and defeat in the death grapple the grim giants of the waste and the storm—fever, famine, and the frost!
You will find them down, to-day, among the firedamps in the mines, to-morrow among the splendid pinnacles of the mountains, to settle a fact of science, or add a mite to human knowledge. Here is one, painfully toiling through the tangled depths of a desert continent, to find a highway for commerce or Christianity. Here is another, in the lonely seas around the pole, where the ghostly ice-mountains go drifting through the gray mists, patiently wrestling with the awful powers of nature, to snatch its secret from the hoary deep, and bring it home in triumph. Hard fisted, big boned, tough brained, and stout hearted, scared at nothing, beaten back by no resistance, baffled, for long, by no obstacle, this race works as though the world were only one vast workshop, and they wanted all the tools and all the materials, and were anxious to monopolize the work of the world.
They are workers primarily, makers, producers, builders. Labor is their appointed business as a people. Sometimes they have to fight, when fools stand in their way, or traitors oppose their endeavors. They have had to do, indeed, their fair share of fighting. Things go so awry in this world that a patient worker is often called to drop his tools, square himself, and knock down some idiot who insists on bothering him. And this race of ours has therefore often, patient as it is, flamed out into occasional leonine wrath. It really does not like fighting. That performance interferes with its proper business. It takes to the ploughshare more kindly than to the sabre, and likes to manage a steam engine better than a six-gun battery. But if imbeciles and scoundrels will get in its way, and will mar its pet labors, then, heaven help them! The patient blood blazes into lava, fire, the big muscles strain over the black cannon, the brawny arm guides the fire-belching tower of iron on the sea, and, when these people do fight, they fight, like the Titans when they warred with Jove, with a roar that shakes the spheres. They go at that as they do at everything. They fight to clear this confusion up, to settle it once for all, so it will stay settled, that they may go to their work again in peace. Fond of a clean job, they insist on making a clean job of their fighting, if they have to fight at all.
'But, after all, this race of ours is selfish,' you say. 'It works only for itself, and you are making something grand and heroic out of that. If it civilizes, it civilizes for itself. If it builds cities, drains marshes, redeems jungles, explores rivers, builds rail[Pg 603]roads, and prints newspapers, it is doing all for its own pocket.' Well, we say, why not? Is the laborer not worthy of his hire? Do you expect a patient, toiling people to conquer a waste continent here, for God and man, and get nothing for it from either? A people never yet did a good stroke of work in this world without getting a fair day's wages for the job. The old two-fisted Romans, in their day, did a good deal of hard work in the way of road and bridge building, and the like of that, across the sea, and did it well, and they got paid for it by several centuries of mastery over Europe. We rather think, high as the pay was, and little as the late Romans seem to have deserved it, it was, on the whole, a profitable bargain for Europe. The truth is, our race has, like all other great creating races, been building wiser than it knew. It is not necessary that such a race should be conscious of its mission. In its own intention it may work for itself. By the guiding of the Great Master, it does work for all humanity and all time. If a race comes on the earth mere fighters, brigands, and thieves, living by force, fraud, and oppression, even then it serves a purpose. It destroys something that needs destroying. In its own turn, however, it must perish. But an honest race, that undertakes to earn its honest living on the earth, and in the main does earn it, honestly and industriously, by planting and building, like our own, never works merely for itself. It plants and builds to stand forever. The results of patient toil never perish. They are so much clear gain to humanity.
To many, the conscious end of the existence of the Yankee nation may have been a small affair indeed. That end is only what they make it. Its unconscious end is, however, another matter. That end God has made. To one man, the nation exists that he may make wooden clocks and sell them. To another, the chief end of the nation's existence is that he may get a good crop of wheat to market during rising quotations. To another, that he may do a good stroke of business in the boot and shoe line. To another, that he may make a good thing in stocks. To some in the past, this nation existed solely that men might breed negroes in Virginia, and work them in Alabama! This great nation was worth the blacks it owned, and the cotton it raised! Actually that was all. The conscious end to thousands amounted to about this. Men looked at the nation from their own small place. They dwarfed its purposes. They made them small and mean and low. They did this three years ago more commonly, we think, than they do now. The war has taught us many things. It has certainly taught us higher ideas of the value of the Nation, and a loftier idea of the meaning of its life. We have awaked to the fact that we are trustees of this continent for the world. We have been fighting for two years and more, not to save this nation for the value of its wheat, or cotton, or manufactures, or exports, but for the value of the ideas, the hopes, the aspirations, the tendencies this nation embodies. We have risen to see that it were a good bargain to barter all the material wealth it holds for the priceless spiritual ideas it represents. France babbles about 'going to war for an idea.' We don't babble. We buckle on our armor and fight, we practical, money-making Yankees, who are said to value everything by dollars, and, after two years of tremendous fighting, are half amazed ourselves to find we have been fighting solely for a half-dozen ideas the world can lose only at the cost of despair. Since the days when men left house and home and friends, with red crosses on their hearts, to redeem from the hands of the infidel the sepulchre which the dead Christ once made holy, the world has never seen a war carried on for a more purely ideal end than our own. We fight for the integrity[Pg 604] of the Nation. We fight for what that word means of hope and confidence and freedom and advancement to the groaning and bewildered world. We say, let all else perish,—wealth, commerce, agriculture, cunning manufacture, humanizing art. We expend all to save the Nation. That priceless possession we shall hold intact to the end, for ourselves, our children, and the coming years!
Let us see what this thing is that we prize so highly. Let us see if we are paying any too high a price for our object—if it is worth a million lives and a countless treasure. What is the Nation?
There used to be a theory of 'the Social Compact.' It was a prominent theory in the French Revolution, It was vastly older, however, than that event. It was originally a theory of the Epicureans. Ovid has something to say about it. Horace advocates it. It has not perished. It exists in a fragmentary way in some books taught in colleges. It has more or less of a hold still on many minds. This theory teaches that the natural state of man is a state of warfare, an isolated savagery, where each man's hand is against his neighbor, each lord and master for himself, with no rights except what force gives him, and no possessions except what he can hold by force. This natural state, however, was found to be a very uncomfortable state, and so men contrive to get out of it as soon as possible. For this purpose they form a 'social compact.' They come together, and agree to give up some of their natural rights to a settled government, on condition that government protect them in the others. That is to say, naturally they have the right to steal all they can lay their hands on, to rob, plunder, murder, and commit adultery, if they have the power, and, generally, to live like a pack of amiable tiger cats; but that these pleasant and amusing natural rights they consent to give up, on condition they are relieved from the trouble of guarding others. Just such babblement as that you can read in very learned books, and stuff like that has actually been taught in colleges, and nobody was sent to the lunatic asylum! That is the theory of the 'Social Compact.' That is the way, according to that theory, that nations are made.
It is enough to say of this old heathen dream, that there never was such a state of savage brutalism known since man was man. All men are born under some law, some government, some controlling authority. As long as fathers and mothers are necessary, in the economy of nature, to a man's getting into the world at all, it is very hard for him to escape law and control when he comes. I was never asked whether I would be a citizen of the United States, whether it was my high will to come into 'the Social Compact' existing here. Neither were you. No man ever was. Just fancy the United States solemnly asking all the infants born this year, 'if they are willing to join the social compact and behave themselves in the country as respectable babies should!
It is vastly better to take facts and try to comprehend and use them. And, as a fact, man is not naturally a brute beast. He never had to make a Social Compact. He has always found one made ready to his hand. Some established order, some national life has always stood ready to receive the new recruit to the ranks of humanity, put him in his place, and ask him no questions. He is made for society. Society is made for him. He is not isolated, but joined to his fellows by links stronger than iron, by bands no steel can sever. The nation stands waiting for him. In some shape, with some development of national life, but always essentially the same, the nation takes him, plastic at his birth, into its great hands, and moulds and fashions him, by felt and unfelt influences, whether he will or no, into the national shape and figure.[Pg 605]
And that is what nations are made for. They do not exist to produce wheat, corn, cattle, cotton, or cutlery, but to produce men. The wheat, corn, and the rest exist for the sake of the men. The real value of the nation, to itself and to the world, is not the things it produces, but the style of man it produces. That is the broad difference between China and Massachusetts, between Japan and New York. Nations exist to be training schools for men. That is their real business. Accordingly as they do it better or worse they are prospering or the reverse. What is France about? The newspaper people tell me she is building ships, drilling zouaves, diplomatizing at Rome, brigandizing in Mexico, huzzaing for glory and Napoleon the Third. That is about the wisdom of the newspapers. She is moulding a million unsuspecting little innocents into Frenchmen! That is what she is at, and nobody seems to notice. What is England doing? Weaving cotton, when she can get it, I am told, drilling rifle brigades, blustering in the Times, starving her workmen in Lancashire, and feasting her Prince in London, talking 'strict neutrality' in Parliament, and building pirates on the Clyde. She's doing worse than that. That is not half her wrong-doing. She is taking thousands of plastic, impressible, innocent babes, into her big hands, monthly, and kneading them and hardening them into regular John Bulls! That's a pretty job to think of!
So the nations are at work all over the world. And the nation that, as a rule, takes 'mamma's darling' into its arms, and in twenty or thirty years makes him the best specimen of a man, is the most perfect nation and best fulfils a nation's purpose.
For the business of Education, which so many consider the schoolmaster's speciality, is a larger business than they think. The Family exists to do it, the Church exists to do it. It is the real business of the State. The great Universe itself, with all its vastness, its powers and its mysteries, was created for this. It is simply God's great schoolroom. He has floored it with the emerald queen of the earth and of the gleaming seas. He has roofed it with a sapphire dome, lit with flaming starfire and sun blaze. He has set the great organ music of the spheres reverberating forevermore through its high arches. He has put his children here, to train them for their grand inheritance. He has ordered nature and life and circumstance for this one great end.
Therefore the Nation is not a joint-stock company. It is not a paper association. It is not a mutual assurance society for life and property. That is the shallow, surface notion that makes such miserable babble in political speeches. The Nation is Divine and not Human. It is of God's making and not of man's. It is a moral school, a spiritual training institute for educating and graduating men. For that purpose it is alive. Men can make associations, companies, compacts. God only makes living bodies, divine, perpetual institutions, with life in themselves, which exist because man exists, which can never end till man ends. The Family is one of these. The Church is another, in any shape it comes. The Nation is another, holding Family and Church both in its arms.
True, from the fact that the power, the administration and the arrangements of details are in men's hands in the nation mistake is common, and people are tempted to think the Nation purely human. All thought below the surface will show the fallacy and stamp the Nation as the handiwork of God.
We believe true thought on this matter is, at this day and in this land, of first importance. The Lord of Hosts rules, and not the master of a thousand regiments with smoking cannon. God builds the Nation for a purpose. While it fulfils that purpose it shall stand.[Pg 606] The banded folly and scoundrelhood within and the gathered force of all enemies without shall never overthrow one pillar in its strong foundations or topple down one stone from its battlements while it works honestly toward its true end. Not till it turn traitor to its place and purposes, not till it madly plant itself in the way of the great wheels that roll the world back to light and justice, will He who built it hurl it to the earth again in crashing ruin, to build another order in its place. The man who has let that great truth, written out in flame across the dusky forehead of the Past, slip from his foolish atheist's heart and his shallow atheist's brain, is blind, not only to our own land's short history, but to the lessons of the long ages and the broad world.
We have been driven back to the loftiest ground on this question. We have found that only on that could we stand. When the very foundations of what we held most awful and reverential have been assailed by mad traitorous hands, as though they were vulgar things, when frenzied self-will has laid its profane grasp upon the Ark of the Covenant, we have been forced back to those strong foundations on which nations stand, for hope and confidence, to those tremendous sanctions that girdle in, as with the fires of God, the sanctity of Law, the majesty of Order, and established Right. We have declared these things Divine. We have said men administer truly, but men did not create, and men have no right to destroy. We arise in the defence of institutions of which Jehovah has made us the guardians for men!
We have said the Nation exists to train men, that the best nation is the one that trains the best men. Let us see how it does this.
In the first place, it educates by Written Law. To be sure, laws are passed to define and protect human rights, in person, purse, family, or good name. People sometimes think that is all they do. But consider. These laws on the Statute Book are the Nation's deliberate convictions, so far, on right and wrong, a real code of morals, the decisions of the national conscience on moral subjects. An act is passed punishing theft. It is intended to protect property indeed, but it does more. It stands there, the Nation's conviction on a point of ethics. Theft is absolutely wrong. It passes another act punishing perjury. The mere lawyer looks at this solely as a facility for getting at the truth before a jury. It is vastly more. It is a moral decision. The Nation binds the Ten Commandments on the popular conscience, and declares, 'Thou shalt not bear false witness.' It declares, 'There are everlasting distinctions, things absolutely right, and things absolutely wrong. So far has the conscience of the Nation made things clear. The good citizen knows all this without the Statute Book, and much more. But there must be a limit somewhere. Here it is. Up to this point you may come, but no farther. Everlasting distinctions must be taught by bolts, chains, and scaffolds, if there are those in the Nation who will learn them from no other teachers.'
It has been very easy to tamper with Law among ourselves, very easy to try experiments. And people get the notion that Law is a mere human affair, the act of a legislature, the will of a majority. It is all a mistake. A Nation's living laws are the slow growth of ages. They are its solemn convictions on wrongs and rights, written in its heart. The business of a wise legislator is to help all those convictions to expression in formal enactment. Meddling fools try to choke them, pass acts against them even, think they can annihilate such convictions. One day the convictions insist on being heard, if not by formal law, then by terrible informal protest against some legalized wrong. Think how laboriously lawmakers have toiled to prevent the expression[Pg 607] of the Nation's determined convictions on the subject of Slavery! Think of the end! Nay, all enactments which accord with these deep decisions of the National Conscience, which help them to better expression and clearer acknowledgment, are the real Laws of the Land. All that oppose these decisions, though passed by triumphant majorities, with loud jubilation, and fastened on the Nation as its sense of right, are mere rubbish, sure to be swept away as the waves of the National life roll on.
We, by no means, hold that even the best nation, in its most living laws, always declares perfect truth and perfect right. Human errors and weaknesses enter into all things with which men deal. And the Nation is ordered and guided by men. Nevertheless the Nation is an authorized teacher of morals, and these errors are the accidents of the institution. They are not of its essence. So far as they exist, they block its working, they stand in its way. Pure, clear Justice is the perfect ideal toward which a living, advancing Nation aims. That it daily come nearer this ideal is the basis of its permanence. And, meanwhile, though the result be far from attained, we none the less hold that the Law of the Nation is, to every man within it, the Law of God. His business, as a wise man, is to accept it, obey it, help it to amendment where he believes there is error, with all patience and loyalty.
For the first disorder in the makeup of man is wilfulness. The child kicks and scratches in his cradle. It wants to have its own small will. The first lesson it has to learn is the lesson of submission, that the untried world, into which it is thrust, is not a place of self-pleasing but of law. It takes parents and teachers years to get that fact through the stubborn youngster's head. It will burn its fingers, it will tumble down stairs, it will pitch head first over fences, because it will not learn to forego its own small, ignorant will, and submit to wiser and larger wills. In the good old days they used to think that matter ought to be learned in childhood once for all, and they labored faithfully to convince us urchins, by the unsparing logic of the rod, that the law of life is not self-will. Some of us, possibly, remember those emphatic lessons yet.
It is hard, however, to learn this thing perfectly. And so after the Mother, Father, and Teacher get through, the Nation takes up the lesson. A wise, wide, unselfish will takes command, and puts down the narrow, conceited, selfish will of the individual. The individual will may think itself very wise and very right. But the large will, the broad, strong, wise will of the Nation, comes and says: 'Here is the Law, the embodiment of the great, wide, wise will, to which the wisest and the strongest must submit and bow.'
That is the law of human position. Not self-will but obedience, not anarchy but order, not mad uncontrolledness, but calm submission, even to temporary error and wrong, is the road to ultimate perfection. Therefore, we can say nothing too reverential of Law. We cannot guard too jealously the clear trumpet-tongued preacher of everlasting right, sounding out a great Nation's convictions of obligation and duty. Hedge its sanctity with a ring wall of fire. Reverence the voice of the land for right and order. We have exploded forever, let us trust, the notion of 'the right divine of kings to govern wrong.' We must cling, therefore, with tenfold tenacity to the right divine of Law, the Sacred Majesty of the Nation's settled Order.
But the Written Law is only one way in which the Nation brings its teachings home to the individual. It is not the strongest way. The Nation's most powerful formative influence lies in its traditions, its unwritten law, its sense and feeling about the questions of human life and conduct, handed down from father to son in the[Pg 608] continuity of the national life. And the power to hand these down depends on the fact that the Nation is a living organism.
For examine, and you will find every nation has a power to mould men after a certain model. We are Americans because we have been made so by the national influence. Rome, in old time, moulded men after a certain type, and, with infinite small diversities, made them all Romans. Greece took them, and, on another model, made them Greeks. England has the artistic power, and kneads the clay of childhood into the grown up creature the world knows as an Englishman. France has the same power, and manufactures the Frenchman.
Now this moulding power, which every nation has, and the greatest nations the most markedly of all, comes mostly from what we call the National Tradition. Some people call it Public Opinion. They think they can even make it. They suppose it belongs to the present. In fact, they cannot make it to any extent at all. It belongs to the past. It is a thing inherited. It is best to call it National Tradition.
For the nation, being an organism, and living, its life does not end with one generation. The river flows to-day, and is the same river it was a thousand years ago, though every wave and every drop has changed a million times. So the generations heave on into the great sea and are forgotten, but the Nation abides the same. So all the thought, and feeling, and conviction of the Nation to-day, on questions of human life and duty, it brings from the far-away past, from the gray mists of the distant hills where it took its rise.
Just think! The life of every great, strong man and woman, who has lived, thought, worked in the Nation, has it not entered into the Nation's life? Is not here yet, a part of the Nation's influence? Every great, distinct type of human nature grown in the Nation becomes forever a mould in which to cast men. Every great deed done, every strong thought uttered, every noble life lived, is committed to the stream of this national tradition. Every great victory won, every terrible defeat suffered, every grand word spoken, every noble song sung, is alive to the last. The living Nation drops nothing, loses nothing out of its life. The Saxon Alfred, the Norman William, Scandinavian viking, moss trooper of the border, they have all gone into our circulation, they all help to shape Americans. And we have added Washington, the stainless gentleman, and Jefferson, the unselfish statesman, and Franklin, the patient conqueror of circumstance, and a thousand others, as types by which to form the children of this people for a thousand years.
Think, too, how the national tradition rejects all bad models, all mean types, how it refuses to touch them at any price, how it will only carry down the grand models, the noble types. Arnold never enters as an influence into national training. The Arnolds and their treason are whelmed and sunk, as the Davises and their treason will be. The Washingtons do live as types. Their deeds sweep on, like stately barks, borne proudly on the rolling waves of the Nation's life, with triumphal music on their snowy decks, the land's glory for evermore! Only the noble, only the good, the true in some shape, never the utterly false or vile, will this national tradition hold and keep, as an influence and a power for time.
Unseen, unfelt, but strong like God's hand, this power surrounds the cradle of the child. He finds it waiting for him. He does not know about it or reason about it. It takes him, soft and plastic as it finds him, and calls out his powers, and fashions them after its own forms. Before he is twenty-one he is made up for good and all, an American, an Englishman, or a Frenchman, for life. The creating influence[Pg 609] was like the air. He breathed it into his circulation.
There are people who think it very wise to quarrel with this state of things. They think it philosophic to sneer at national prejudices, as they call them, to call national pride and national feeling narrow and bigoted. It is simply very silly to quarrel with any divine and unalterable order of life. Better work under it and with it. Does not love of country exalt and ennoble, and all the more because of its prejudices? Does not the very meanest feel himself higher, more worthy, more self-respecting, because he is one of a strong, great, free people, with a grand inheritance of heroism from the past, and grand possibilities for the future? Who will quarrel with the Frenchman, the Englishman, or the Japanese, for holding his land the fairest land, his nation the noblest nation the sun shines on? Is it not my fixed faith that he is utterly deluded? Do I not know that my own land is the garden of the Lord? Do I not see that its valleys are the holiest, and its mountains the loftiest, its rivers the most majestic, and its seas the broadest, its men the bravest, and its women the purest and fairest on the broad earth's face? Even Fourth of July orations have their uses.
No! thank Heaven for this virtue of patriotism! It lifts a man out of his lower nature, and makes his heart beat with the hearts of heroes. There are two or three things in the world men will die for. The Nation is one. They will die for the land where their fathers sleep. They will fling fortune, hope, peace, family bliss, life itself, all into the gulf, to save its hearths from shame, its roof trees from dishonor. They will follow the tattered rag they have made the symbol of its right, through bursting shells and hissing hail of rifle shot, and serried ranks of gleaming bayonets, 'into the jaws of death, into the mouth of Hell,' when they are called. They will do this in thousands, the poorest better than the richest often, the humblest just as heroically as the leaders of the people. And therefore, we say, thank God for the elevating power of Patriotism, for national Pride, for national prejudice, if you will, that can, by this great love of country, so conquer selfishness, meanness, cowardice, and all lower loves, and make the very lowest by its power a hero, while the mortal man dies for the immortal Nation! Let a man commit himself boldly to the tendencies and influences of his race then. Let him work with them, not against them. He cannot be too much an American, too thoroughly penetrated with the convictions and the spirit of his country. And he need fear no contracting narrowness. The Nation's aims are wiser far and loftier far than the wisest and the loftiest of any one man, or any one generation.
We have faintly shadowed out here something of the meaning of The Nation. If we are right, we can pay no price that shall come near its value. For ourselves, for our children, for the ages coming, it is verily the Ark of the Covenant. We have seen that we are here to build it. Because God needed these United States, He kept a continent till the time was ripe, and then sent His workmen to the work. We are all, in our degree, builders on those walls. We are building fast, these days. Some rotten stones have entered into the structure, and it is hard work to get them out, but we shall succeed. We shall see that no more of that kind get in. Let us build on the broad foundation of the fathers a stately palace, of marble, pure and white, whose towers shall flash back in glory the sunlight of centuries, towers of refuge against falsehood and wrong and cruelty forevermore.
We are all builders, we say. The humblest does his share. There's fear in that thought, but more of hope. Nothing perishes. The private, who falls, bravely fighting, does his part like the general. The ploughman's honest[Pg 610] life gives its contribution to the Nation's greatness as the life of Webster does. All is telling in 'the long results of time,' helping to decide what style of manhood shall be fashioned in America for generations.
For the great Nation grows slowly upward to its perfect proportions, as the parent and teacher of men. And all things and all men in it help to decide and develop that capacity. Not dazzling battle-bursts alone, not alone victorious charges on the trampled plain, not splendid triumphs, when laurelled legions march home from conquered provinces and humbled lands, not the mighty deeds of mighty men in camps, nor the mighty words of mighty men in senates, though all these do their part, and a grand part too—not these alone give the great land its character and might. These come from a thousand little things, we seldom think of. By the workman's axe that fells the forest as by the soldier's bayonet, by the gleaming ploughshare in the furrow as by the black Columbiad couchant on the rampart, by the schoolhouse in the valley as by the grim battery on the bay, by the church spire rising from the grove, by the humble cottage in the glen, by the Bible on the stand at eve, by the prayer from the peaceful hearth, by the bell that calls to worship through the hallowed air; by the merchant at his desk, and by the farmer in the harvest field, by the judge upon the bench, and the workman in his shop, by the student in his silent room, and by the sailor on the voiceful sea, by the honest speaker's tongue, by the honest writer's pen, and by the free press that gives the words of both a thousand pair of eagles' wings over land and sea, by every just and kindly word and work, by every honest, humble industry, by every due reward to manliness and right and loyalty, and by every shackle forged and every gallows built for villany and scoundrelhood; by a thousand things like these about us daily, working unnoticed year by year, is the great river swelled, of thought and feeling and conviction, that floats a mighty nation's grandeur on through the waiting centuries.
The word Science has been so indiscriminately applied to very diverse departments of our intellectual domain, that it has ceased to have any distinctive or well-defined signification. Meaning, appropriately, that which is certainly known, as distinguished from that which is matter of conjecture, opinion, thought, or plausible supposition merely, its application to any special branch of human inquiry signifies, in that sense, that the facts and principles relating to the given branch, or constituting it, are no longer subjects of uncertain investigation, but have become accurately and positively known, so as to be demonstrable to all intelligent minds and invariably recognized by them as true when rightly apprehended and understood. In the absence, however, of any clear conception of what constitutes knowledge, of where the dividing line between it and opinion lay, departments of the universe of intelligence almost wholly wanting in exactness and certainty have been dig[Pg 611]nified with the same title which we apply to departments most positively known. We hear of the Science of Mathematics, the Science of Chemistry, the Science of Medicine, the Science of Political Economy, and even of the Science of Theology.
This vague use of the word Science is not confined to general custom only, but appertains as well to Scientists and writers on scientific subjects. So general is this indistinct understanding of the meaning of this term, that there does not exist in the range of scientific literature a precise, compact, exhaustive, intelligible definition of it. In order, therefore, to approach our present subject with clear mental vision, we must gain an accurate conception of the character and constituents of Science.
In his History of the Inductive Sciences, Professor Whewell says:
'In the first place, then, I remark, that to the formation of science, two things are requisite:—Facts and Ideas; observation of Things without, and an inward effort of Thought; or, in other words, Sense and Reason. Neither of these elements, by itself, can constitute substantial general knowledge. The impression of sense, unconnected by some rational and speculative principle, can only end in a practical acquaintance with individual objects; the operations of the rational faculties, on the other hand, if allowed to go on without a constant reference of external things, can lead only to empty abstraction and barren ingenuity. Real speculative knowledge demands the combination of the two ingredients—right reason and facts to reason upon. It has been well said, that true knowledge is the interpretation of nature; and therefore it requires both the interpreting mind, and nature for its subject, both the document, and ingenuity to read it aright. Thus invention, acuteness, and connection of thought, are necessary on the one hand, for the progress of philosophical knowledge; and on the other hand, the precise and steady application of these faculties to facts well known and clearly conceived.'
This explanation of the nature of Science, more elaborately expanded in The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, is limited by its author to the Physical Sciences only. In addition to this circumscribed application, it is moreover indistinct by reason of the use of the word Ideas, a word to which so many different significations have been attached by different writers that its meaning is vague and undefined—to convey the impression of Laws or Principles. The same defect exists in the detailed exposition is perhaps the most extended and complete extant.
But even when we gain a clear conception of the proposition which Professor Whewell only vaguely apprehends and therefore does not clearly state, namely—that Science is an assemblage of Facts correlated by Laws or Principles, a system in which the mutual relations of the Facts are known, and the Laws or Principles established by them are discovered;—when we understand this ever so distinctly, we are still at the beginning of a knowledge of what constitutes Science. When do we know that we have a Fact? How are we to be sure that our proof is not defective? By what means shall it be certain, beyond the cavil of a doubt, that the right Laws or Principles, and no more than those warranted by the Facts, are deduced? These and some other questions must be definitely settled before we can thoroughly comprehend the nature of Science, and the consideration of which brings us, in the first place, to the examination of the characteristics of Scientific Methods.
The intellectual development of the world has proceeded under the operation of three Methods. Two of these, identical in their mode of action, but arriving, nevertheless, at widely different results, from the different points at which they take their departure, are not commonly discriminated, but are both included in the technical term[Pg 612] Deductive Method. The other is denominated the Inductive. A brief analysis of these Methods will clear the way for an understanding of the nature of Science, particularly in its application to the subject of History, with which we are at present especially concerned.
The earliest evolution of that which has been called Science,—the Mathematics, which we dismiss for the instant, excepted,—took place under the operation of a Method, which, ordinarily confounded with the true Deductive one, is now better known among rigorous Scientists as the Hypothetical or Anticipative Method. This has two modes of expression, one of which consists in the assumption of Laws or Principles, which have not been adequately verified, or in the erection of fanciful hypotheses, as the starting points of reasoning for the purpose of establishing other Facts. The second and most common operation referred to this Method, which is, however, strictly speaking, an imperfect application of the Inductive Method, is to draw conclusions from Facts which these do not warrant—sometimes conclusions not related to the Facts, oftener those which, being so related, are a step beyond the legitimate inferences which the Facts authorize, though in the same direction. This results in the establishment of Laws or Principles as true, which are by no means proven, many of which are subsequently found to be incorrect. It is to this operation of the Hypothetical Method that Professor Whewell, who does not discriminate the two, refers when he describes the defect in the physical speculations of the Greek philosophers to have been, 'that though they had in their possession Facts and Ideas, the Ideas were not distinct and appropriate to the Facts.' The main cause of defect in the mental process here employed is the tendency of the human mind to generalize at too early a stage of the investigation, and consequently upon a too narrow basis of Facts.
This Method characterized the intellectual activity of the race from the earliest beginnings of thought up to a period which is commonly said to have commenced with the publication of the Novum Organum of Lord Bacon. It was of course fruitless of Scientific results, as it was not a Scientific, but an absolutely Unscientific Method, since certainty is the basis of all Science, and since a Method which attempts to deduce Facts from Principles which are not ascertained to be Principles, or Principles from an insufficient accumulation of Facts, cannot insure certainty.
It is common to aver that the Anticipative or Hypothetical Method failed to secure distinct and established verities, and thus to answer the purpose of a guide to knowledge, because it neglected Facts, disregarded experience, and endeavored to spin philosophy out of the unverified thoughts of men. Professor Whewell, in the two able and valuable works to which we have referred, has shown that this was not the case among the Greeks, at least, whose Philosophy 'did, in its opinions, recognize the necessity and paramount value of observation; did, in its origin, proceed upon observed Facts, and did employ itself to no small extent in classifying and arranging phenomena;' and furthermore, 'that Aristotle, and other ancient philosophers, not only asserted in the most pointed manner that all our knowledge must begin from experience, but also stated, in language much resembling the habitual phraseology of the most modern schools of philosophizing, that particular facts must be collected; that from these, general principles must be obtained by induction; and that these principles, when of the most general kind, are axioms.'
The confusion of thought which has existed and, to a considerable extent, still exists, even among Scientific men, in relation to the nature of this Method, arises from the want of an understanding of its twofold mode of operation,[Pg 613] as just explained. The assertion of those who ascribe the failure of this Method to its neglect of Facts, is true; the averment of Professor Whewell that it was neither from a lack of Facts nor Ideas, but because the Ideas were not distinct and appropriate to the Facts, is not less so. But the former statement applies to that phase of the Method which assumed unverified Laws or Principles, or fanciful hypotheses, as the starting points of reasoning without reference to Facts; while the latter refers to the process, which, while it collected Facts and derived Laws therefrom, did not stop at the inferences which were warranted by the Facts. This last was the mode of applying the Method most in vogue with Aristotle and the Greek Scientists; while the first was preëminently, almost exclusively, the process of the Greek Philosophers and the mediæval Schoolmen.
But while the endeavor to arrive at certain knowledge by the Deductive Method, by attempting to reason from Principles to Facts, from Generals to Particulars, failed so completely as far as the Anticipative or Hypothetical branch, of the Method was concerned, the same mode of procedure was productive of the most satisfactory results when applied to Mathematics, and furnished a rapid and easy means of arriving at the ulterior Facts of this department of the universe with precision and certainty. We have thus the curious exhibition of the same process leading into utter confusion when applied to one set of phenomena, and into exactitude and surety when applied to another; and behold the Scientific world condemning as utterly useless for other departments of investigation, and throwing aside, a Method which is still retained in the only Science that is called exact, and in which proof amounts to demonstration, in the strict sense of the term. This anomaly will be recurred to and explained farther on.
Soon after the invention of printing, with its resulting multiplication of books and increased intellectual activity, the mind of Europe began to emerge from the deep darkness in which it had been shrouded for centuries, and a number of great intellects engaged in the search after knowledge by the close and laborious examination of the actual existences and operations of nature around them. Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo in Italy; Copernicus, Kepler, and Tycho Brahe in Central Europe; and Gilbert in England, peered into the hidden depths of the universe, collected Facts, and established those Principles which are the foundations of the magnificent structures of modern Astronomy and Physics. About the same time, Francis Bacon put forth the formal and elaborate statement of that Method of acquiring knowledge which is often called after him the Baconian, but more commonly the Inductive Method; substantially the Method pursued by the great scientific dicoverers whom we have just named.
The characteristic of this Method is the precise Observation of Facts or Phenomena and the Induction (drawing in) or accumulation of these accurate Observations as the basis of knowledge. (This is seemingly the first or etymological reason for the use of the term Induction; a term subsequently transferred, as we shall see, to the establishment of the Laws, from which then ulterior Facts are to be deduced.) When a sufficient number of Facts have been accumulated and classified in any sphere of investigation, and these are found uniformly to reveal the same Law or Principle, it is assumed that all similar Phenomena are invariably governed by this Principle or Law, which, in reality deduced or derived, is, by this inversion of terms, said to be induced from the observed Facts. The Law so established has thenceforth two distinct functions: I, all the Facts of subsequent Observation, by the primitive Method of observation, are ranged under the Law which, to this extent, serves merely as a superior mode of[Pg 614] classification; and, II, the Law itself, now assumed to be known and infallible, becomes an instrument of prevision and the consequent discovery through it of new Facts, the same which were meant by the expression 'ulterior Facts' above used. It is this deduction of new Facts from an established Law which constitutes the true and legitimate Deductive Method of Science, the third of the three Methods above stated and the one which, as has been pointed out, is often erroneously confounded with the Anticipative or Hypothetical Method.
The mode of investigation by the Inductive Method is, therefore, in general, similar to that which Aristotle and the Greek Scientists adopted. It first Observes and Collects Facts; then it resorts to Classification for the purpose of discovering the Law by which the observed Facts are regulated; then derives from this Classification a General Law, presumed to be applicable to all similar Facts, although they have not yet been observed; and, finally, deduces from the General Law thus established, new Facts and Particulars, by bringing them in under the Law.
The Inductive Method is, therefore, almost identical in its mode of procedure with one of the processes anciently adopted for the acquisition of knowledge under the Anticipative or Hypothetical Method. It failed of fruitful results, in this earlier age, because, as we have seen, men were not content with adhering rigorously and patiently to the logical, irresistible conclusions which Facts evolved, but sought to wrench from them Principles, which required for their establishment a wider or different range of phenomena. On the revival of this Method among the modern Scientists, it was conceived, especially by Bacon, that a rigid adhesion to the legitimate deductions of Facts and a faithful exclusion from the domain of knowledge of everything which did not logically and inevitably result from the Observation and Classification of Facts, was the only safe way to arrive at certainty in any department of thought. It is this fidelity to conclusions rigorously derived from Facts, and the severe exclusion of everything not clearly substantiated by Observation, Classification, and Induction, which has given us the body of proximately definite knowledge that we now possess, and which, so far as it has been persevered in, has been productive of such beneficial intellectual results.
Under the guidance of this Inductive Method new Sciences have been gradually generated, whose foundations and Principles are capable of such a degree of satisfactory proof as the Method itself affords. During the present century, Auguste Comte, a distinguished French philosopher, often denominated the Bacon of our epoch, the special champion of the Inductive Method, has undertaken, for our day, the task which his illustrious English predecessor attempted for his, namely—an Inventory and Classification of our intellectual stores. He endeavored to bring the Scientific world up to the practical recognition of that which they had theoretically maintained since Bacon's time,—that nothing deserves to be considered as true, which cannot be undoubtedly, conclusively established by inference, from the Facts of Experience,—a theory to which they had never strictly adhered. He insisted that all Theological, Metaphysical, and Transcendental Speculations were wholly beyond the range of exact inquiry, and should therefore be excluded from the domain in which human knowledge was to be sought; and that investigation should be confined to those regions of thought and activity which were within the limits of precise apprehension. Upon this clear, logical and right application of the Inductive Method, Comte based his Classification of our existing knowledge. He denominated as Positive Sciences those systems of Principles and correlated Facts, comprising Math[Pg 615]ematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Sociology, and their derivative domains, which were founded on the exact Observation of Phenomena, and set aside all other realms of the universe of thought as departments in which exact knowledge was impossible, and whose intellectual examination was therefore fruitless. The Philosophy based on this critical Method was denominated by its founder Positivism. All modern Scientists, with rare exceptions, whether they are disciples of Comte or not, are theoretical Positivists in their modes of investigation, in their unwillingness to accept theories not proven, in their partiality for Facts, and in their devotion to the Inductive Method, although the nature of proof is still but dimly comprehended by them as a body, and much laxity creeps into their practical efforts at demonstration. Under the influence of Positivism, however, the Scientific field is being rapidly cleared of unestablished theories which formerly mingled with it, claiming to be an integral part of its area, and the boundaries of Science are becoming more closely defined. The Inductive Method is enthusiastically eulogized as the source of the success of modern Scientific investigators, as the true Scientific Method, and—except among a few of the most advanced thinkers—as the final word of wisdom in regard to the manner of establishing definite and exact knowledge. The Deductive, often called the à priori Method—in which term the Anticipative or Hypothetical and the true Deductive Method, seen in Mathematical investigations, are not sufficiently discriminated—is, on the other hand, almost everywhere denounced as essentially false, the source of all error; and we are assured that the attempt to work it was the fault of the old world, prior to Bacon, and the cause of its failure to secure great intellectual results.
A distinguished thinker, Stephen Pearl Andrews, from whose writings some of these suggestions concerning Methods have been borrowed, points out three sources of confusion in the minds even of the learned themselves, in connection with this subject. First, in the verbal point of view, the terms Induction and Deduction are applied in a way directly the opposite of that which their Etymology would indicate: In-duction is used for the De-rivation of a Law from Facts, and De-duction for the Intro-duction of new Facts under the Law. Secondly, the two terms Inductive and Deductive, which are alone usually spoken of, are not enough to designate all the processes involved in the several Scientific Methods; and, thirdly, these terms are sometimes used to denote Processes merely, and sometimes to designate Methods which are merely characterized by the predominance of one or the other of these Processes.
This intricate subject of Methods may be better understood after a statement of the following considerations. Induction, as a Process, occurs whenever Facts are used as an instrument by which to discover a Principle or Law of Nature. The Principle is derived from, or, as Scientists have chosen to conceive it, induced upon the Facts. Deduction, as a Process, occurs whenever a Principle or Law of Nature is used as an instrument by which to discover Facts. The new Facts are ranged under, or, as it is conceived, deduced from the Principle.
Each, of these Processes occurs in every Scientific Method; but different Methods are characterised by that one of these two Processes which is put first or takes the lead in the given Method. Thus, in both Methods which are included in the one generally called the Deductive, the main Process was Deduction, there being no perceptible Induction from Collected Facts in the proper Hypothetical or Anticipative Method, while in the true Deductive Method, as applied to Mathematics, the Inductive stage is so short and so slight that[Pg 616] it is performed instinctively by all people and the Deductive stage at once reached. The other branch of the Hypothetical Method, that used by Aristotle and the Greek Scientists, was, as we have seen, in reality a first and imperfect attempt to use the Inductive Method. In this Method itself, on the other hand, the main Process is the Induction or derivation of a Principle or Law from accumulated Facts, while Deduction, or the bringing in of new Facts under the Law, is a subordinate or Secondary Process.
In reality, there is but one Method, having several stages or Processes, which Processes, preponderating at different epochs, have not been clearly apprehended as necessary complements of each other, and have, hence, been regarded as different Methods. In one phase of the Anticipative or Hypothetical stage,—the assumption of basic Principles as points to reason from,—the Observation and Collection of Facts, and the Induction therefrom, were processes so imperfectly performed, that they appeared to have no existence; in another phase, that employed by Aristotle, these Processes were apparent, but still imperfectly conducted, and hence, in both cases, the Law or Principle employed for the Deductive Process was liable to be defective, and therefore insufficient as a guide to the acquisition of certain knowledge. In the Inductive stage or Method, on the other hand, the Processes thus defectively employed in the former stage, the Hypothetical, are preëminently and disproportionately active, while the Deductive Process is given a very inferior position. The establishment of the just, reciprocal activity of these two Processes in intellectual investigation would secure the perfection of the one true Scientific Method.
The Inductive Method—preserving the term Method to avoid confusion—in which the mode of procedure from Facts to Principles predominates, and which is hence sometimes called the Empirical, or the Experimental, or the Positive, or the à posteriori Method, is that which now prevails in the world, which is extolled as if it were the only legitimate Method, and the only possible route to Scientific Discovery. That the just claims of the Inductive Method are very great is universally admitted, but let us not stultify ourselves by assuming a position in its defence which is in direct violation of the teachings of the Method itself,—namely, the assumption of a theory which is not verified by Facts. That the Inductive Method is vastly superior to the Anticipative or Hypothetical one, is abundantly proved; but that it is the only correct path to Scientific truth, that it is the best path to Scientific truth which will ever be known, or that in a rightly balanced Method it would be the main Process, is an averment for which there is no warrant. On the contrary, a very cursory examination of the Inductive Method will show defects which render it unavailable as the sole or the chief guide in Scientific inquiry.
The leading characteristic of the Inductive Method, that for which it is mainly admired, is its cautious, laborious, oftentimes tedious Observation and Collection of the Facts of Experience, and their careful Classification as a basis for the derivation of a Principle or Law applicable to the Phenomena grouped together. By this means, it is said, we secure precision and certainty, by which is intended, not only the certainty of that which is already observed and classified, but also the certainty of that which is deduced from the Law or Principle derived from these known Facts. It is just here, however, that the Inductive Method is lacking. Experience may testify a thousand, ten thousand, any indefinite number of times, to the repetition of the same Phenomena, and yet we can have no certainty of the recurrence of the same Phenomena, in the future, in the same way. All the Facts of Observation and Experience for[Pg 617] thousands of years went to convince men that the earth was at rest and the sun and stars passing around it. A larger Experience showed them their error. How shall we know that our Observation has at any time included all the Facts necessary to establish a Law? The history of Science, even under the guidance of the Inductive Method, is a history of Principles announced as firmly established, which a little later were found to be defective and had to be adjusted to the advanced stage of human Experience. The very nature of the Inductive Method indicates its inadequacy for the largest and most important purposes of Science. It gives certainty, where it does give it, only up to the point of the present, it can never afford complete certainty for the future. The logical and rigid testimony of this Method can never be more than this;—Observation and Experience show that such has been the uniform operation of Nature in this particular so far as can be discovered, and in all probability it will always continue to be such. High Probability, amounting, it may be, at times, to an assurance of certainty, is the strongest proof which this Method can, from its very nature, produce. To establish a Principle or Law for a certainty beyond any possibility of doubt by the Inductive Method, it is essential that we should know that we are in possession of every Fact in the universe which has any relation to the given Principle, or rather that we should know that there are no Facts in the universe at variance with it. To know this, it is necessary to be in possession of all the Facts in the universe, since the Inductive Method has no mode of discovering when it has sifted out of the immense mass of Facts all those which exist in connection with any given Law. As we shall never be in possession of all the Facts of the universe, we shall never be able, by the Inductive Method, to possess certainty in respect to the future operations of Nature; and thus we discover the insufficiency of this Method as a perfect guide to the acquisition of knowledge.
The famed Inductive Method, like the Anticipative or Hypothetical, furnishes, in truth, only an assumption as a starting point for reasoning in the endeavor to establish other Facts than those already known. The verification of the Law or Principle assumed is, indeed, in the former Method, as complete as it can be, in the nature of the case, while in the latter it is not; but we have just seen that the strongest proof which Observation, Classification, and Induction can give is that of High Probability, on the supposition that a certain number of Facts from which a Law is derived include substantially all that the whole range of Phenomena belonging to the given sphere would represent. Any possible application of the Inductive Method is, therefore, only a nearer or more remote approximation to an Exactitude and Certainty which the Method itself can never fully attain.
The Inductive Method being thus defective as a Scientific guide, in the most important requirement of Science, it is unnecessary to enter into an exposition of minor defects, not the least of which is the slowness with which conclusions must necessarily be arrived at, when they are reached only by the gradual accumulation of Facts and the derivation of a Law from these. A Method or a Process which lacks that which is the very essence of Science—the power of making known, of introducing certainty into investigation, may be an important factor in the true Scientific Method, but cannot constitute the Method itself, or its leading feature. Let it not be understood, however, that in bringing the Inductive Method in Science to the ordeal of a critical examination, it is designed to detract from its just dues or to depreciate its true value. Science is preëminently severe in its probings; and that which, asserts its claim to the highest Scientific position, and affects to be the only[Pg 618] guide to exact knowledge, cannot expect anything less than the most rigorous inquiry into the validity of such claim, and the most peremptory insistence upon the production of proper credentials before so lofty a seat be accorded it. If inquiry discovers deficiencies in its character, Science should rejoice that truth is vindicated, and that, by correctly understanding the nature and powers of their present guide, Scientific men may avoid being tempted to consider it as competent to conduct them into regions where the blind must inevitably be leading the blind, and both be in danger of the ditch. If the devotees of the Inductive Method have in their enthusiasm set up claims for it which cannot be substantiated, they must not blame the rigorous hand, which, in the service of Science, unmasks their idol and exhibits its defects, but rather impute to their own deviation from the severity of Scientific truth, the disappointment which they may experience. The question of Method lies at the foundation of all Science. Until it is thoroughly understood, until the exact character of all our Methods or Processes is definitely and rightly apprehended, there can be no full understanding of the true nature of Science, and, hence, no critical and exact line drawn between that which is Science and that which is not.
Our examination of the Methods in use thus far in our past search after knowledge has developed these facts:—that prior to an era which is commonly said to commence with Bacon, the Method of intellectual investigation was mainly by attempting to proceed from Principles to Facts, and that the attempt exhibits three distinct phases: one, in which the Induction stage is so simple and so short as to be instinctively and correctly performed by all people, and the Deductive stage at once reached—this furnishes the Mathematics, the only Science in which hitherto the true Deductive Method has prevailed; a second, in which Principles are assumed to reason from, without any previous effort at Induction, such as existed, being unconsciously made from the supposed Facts or Knowledge which the mind was in possession of; and a third, in which Facts were collected, classified, and Induction therefrom as a basis of further investigation attempted, but in which the Laws or Principles assumed as established by the Facts were not rigorously and accurately derived from Facts; or, in other words, in which the Facts were not strictly used for the purpose of deriving from them just such Laws or Principles only as they actually established, but were wrenched to the attempted support of Laws, Principles, or Ideas more or less fanciful or unrelated to the Facts. These two last phases are included in what is known among Scientists as the Anticipative or Hypothetical Method; while the three phases are commonly undiscriminated and collectively termed the Deductive Method. It was also developed that the results of this period of intellectual activity were fruitless of definite Scientific achievements, except so far as the true Deductive Method had been employed. It was furthermore seen that since Bacon's time, the opposite Method of procedure, namely, from Facts to Principles, has been chiefly in vogue; that under its impulse distinctness and clearness have been brought to pervade those stores of knowledge which were already in our possession, thus fulfilling one of the requisites of a perfect Scientific Method, while, however, the other necessary requirement, that of furnishing a certain guide to future discoveries, has been only proximately attained by it.
It is obvious from this exhibition of the characteristics of the two leading Scientific Methods, or the two leading Processes of the one Method, in whichever light we may choose to view them, that so far from being the best or the only true Method or Process of intellectual investigation, the Inductive is[Pg 619] far inferior to the true Deductive Method or Process, in all the essentials of a Scientific guide. The Inductive can give us only a high degree of precision and definiteness, with only proximate certainty for the future as the result of a slow mode of procedure; while the true Deductive Method gives us perfect precision, exactitude, and complete certainty, as the result of a rapid mode. The true Deductive Method—brought into disrepute by being confounded with the Anticipative or Hypothetical, which differs from it only in this, that the Principles from which the latter reasons are true, while those of the former are doubtful—has thus far prevailed in Mathematics alone, and Mathematics is, up to our day, the only recognized Exact Science, the only Science in which Demonstration, in the strict sense of that term, is now possible,—the fruits of the Inductive Method being known as the Inexact Sciences, in which only Probable Reasoning prevails.
It is necessary to say, in the strict sense of the term, because the same laxity exists in the use of the word Demonstration, as in that of Science, and hence it has lost the distinctive meaning which attaches to it, in its legitimate use, as signifying a mode of reasoning in which the self-evident truths or axioms, with which we start, and every step in the deduction, 'are not only perfectly definite, but incapable of being apprehended differently—if really apprehended, they must be apprehended alike by all and at all times.' It is because this Method of proof exists only in Mathematics, that this alone is denominated the Exact Science, or its branches, the Exact Sciences; Sciences whose Laws or Principles, and the Facts connected with or deduced from them, are irresistible conclusions of thought, in all minds, which conclusions rest upon universally recognized axioms; while the Inexact Sciences, including all except Mathematics, the Sciences in which the Inductive Method prevails, are systems of Laws or Principles, with their related Facts, of the truth of which there is great probability, but of which there is, nevertheless, no complete certainty; whose conclusions are not based upon universally undeniable axioms, or are not themselves irresistible to the human mind.
The superiority of the Deductive Method, both in its mode of advancing to the discovery of new truth and in the precision, clearness, and certainty which accompany its findings, must now easily become apparent. Whether we regard Induction and Deduction as correlative Processes belonging to one Method, each of which has been disproportionately in vogue at different epochs, or as distinctive Methods, having each their own Deductive and Inductive Processes, in either aspect, Induction is only a preparative labor, leading in the more important work of the application of the Law or Principle derived. It is only, indeed, for the purpose of discovering this Law that Observation, Classification, and Induction are undertaken. It has been the triumphant boast of the Inductive Method, that it guarded, by means of these preliminary steps, in the most careful manner, against error in establishing its Laws. To the extent of its capacity it has done so. But we have already seen, that deriving its Principles, as it was obliged to, from less than all the Facts which appertained to the Principles, these must inevitably have been lacking in some particulars; it being impossible to make the whole out of less than all its parts.
The Inductive Method has obtained an importance greatly exaggerated, for the reason that it has been brought into comparison, for the most part, with the Anticipative or Hypothetical, the bastard Deductive Method only, and its superiority over this exhibited in the most detailed manner, while the right application of the Deductive Method, except in Mathematics, has not been considered possible. The reason of this can be made obvious.[Pg 620]
The immense superiority of Mathematical Reasoning, as Demonstration is often called, over all other kinds, is universally known and recognized. For in this mode of reasoning there is no room for doubt or uncertainty. It starts from Principles of whose truth there can be no doubt, because it is impossible for the human mind to apprehend them in more than one way, and proceeds by steps, every one of which can likewise be apprehended in only one way. Hence all men arrive inevitably at the same conclusion at the close of the chain of reasoning. It is, therefore, a Method of proof which sets out from a precise, definite, universally established Law or Principle which really contains the conclusion in itself, and which can be developed to the end through a series of necessary and irresistible convincements; while in the Inductive Method we are obliged to start from this or that admitted Fact or Truth assumed after Observation, Classification, and Induction, which may have been rigorously performed, but which, nevertheless, could not, in the nature of the case, prove the Fact or Truth with complete certainty, and which is not, perhaps, universally admitted, and proceed by merely probable inferences drawn from various, diverse, and often uncertain relations, until we reach a conclusion. Such reasoning may be sufficient to incline the mind to a particular conclusion, as against those which tend to any other conclusion, but they are never quite sufficient, as in Demonstrative or true Deductive reasoning, to necessitate the conclusion, and render any other impossible.
A Method of Scientific investigation which proceeds from self-evident truths to necessary results by undeniable steps, would of course be preferable to one which, starting from truths whose precision and certainty might be doubtful, advances by more or less probable inferences to a more or less probable conclusion, did there not exist some powerful cause for a contrary action. A difficulty thus far insurmountable has, indeed, stood in the way of the adoption of the Deductive Method in any department of investigation, save the one already referred to. This Method, we have seen, leads to truth or error accordingly as the Principles or Laws from which it commences its reasoning process are true or false. In the Mathematics, the basic truths, being of a simple character, were arrived at by easy and instinctive mental processes, and the Method achieved in this department great success. But the other domains of human knowledge being more complex, involving more qualities or characteristics than mere Number and Form and Force, which are all that come within the scope of Mathematics, their fundamental bases or truths were not so easily attainable. Hence, when Principles or Ideas which men believed to contain all the fundamentals of a specific domain of thought were adopted as starting points of reasoning, they were generally lacking in some important element, which caused the conclusion to be in some way incorrect. We have seen the historical results of this mode of procedure in what is denominated the Anticipative or Hypothetical Method. The failure of this to secure good results, and the absence of any standard by which to be certain when a Law or Principle was fundamental, exact, and inclusive, when it was a valid basis to reason from, led to the abandonment of the Deductive Method, except in its application to Mathematics, where true starting points were known. The Observation and Classification of Facts was then resorted to, first, in a loose way, in Greece, and afterward, in a more rigorous way, in the world at large, for the purpose of endeavoring to discover, by the only mode considered effective—the examination of Phenomena—the fundamental Principles, which, like those of Mathematics, should include all the essentials of the special domain under[Pg 621] consideration. These being discovered, might furnish, it was instinctively felt, starting points from which to work the Deductive Process, with the same success as that which attended its application to Mathematics.
The Inductive Principle, considered either as a Process or a Method, is valuable, therefore, mainly as it furnishes proper starting points for the activity of the Deductive Principle. Thus far in the history of the Natural Sciences it has been the best and safest guide in affording such starting points. But the indications are numerous all about us that the progress of Scientific discovery will ere long bring us to a stage, where the Laws or Principles which underlie every department of the Universe being fully revealed, the function of the Inductive Principle as a guide to fundamental bases, will be at an end, and the Deductive Method once more assume the leadership, opening to us all departments of investigation, with the rapidity, precision, and certainty which characterize Mathematical research and Demonstrative Reasoning.
This desideratum must necessarily result whenever a Unitary Law shall be discovered in Science; whenever the Sciences, and the Phenomena within the different Sciences, shall be basically connected. All the present conditions and tendencies of knowledge indicate that the attainment of this crowning intellectual goal was predestined to our epoch. It has been the grand work of the Inductive Method to arrange Facts under Principles, and these latter as Facts or Truths under a smaller number of Principles, and these in turn under a still smaller number, until all the Phenomena of the different domains of thought which are reckoned as Sciences are included within a few Principles which lie at the foundation of each domain. The connection of these few Principles by a still more fundamental Law, is all that is necessary to the completion of the work of the centuries and the establishment of a Universal or Unitary Science. Already those recognized as leaders in the Scientific world watch expectantly the signs of the times and await the advent of the Grand Discovery which is to usher in a new intellectual era, 'We have reached the point,' says Agassiz, in one of his Atlantic Monthly articles, 'where the results of Science touch the very problem of existence, and all men listen for the solving of that mystery. When it will come, and how, none can say; but this much, at least, is certain, that all our researches are leading up to that question, and mankind will never rest till it is answered.'
'All the Phenomena of Physics,' says Professor Silliman, in his First Principles of Philosophy, 'are dependent on a limited number of general laws, of which they are the necessary consequences. However various and complex may be the phenomena, their laws are few, and distinguished for their exceeding simplicity. All of them may be represented by numbers and algebraic symbols, and these condensed formulæ enable us to conduct investigations with the certainty and precision of pure Mathematics. As in geometry, all the properties of figures are deduced from a few axioms and definitions; so when the general laws of Physics are known, we may deduce from them, by a series of rigorous reasonings, all the phenomena to which they give rise.'
Auguste Comte, in his elaborate and encyclopædic Course of Positive Philosophy, tells us that 'these three laws [the Law of Inertia, the Law of the Equality of action and reaction, and the Law of the Composition of forces] are the experimental basis of the Science of Mechanics. From them the mind may proceed to the logical construction of the Science, without further reference to the external world. * * * We cannot, however, conceive of any case which is not met by these three laws of Kepler, of Newton, and of Galileo, and their expression is so precise that they can be immediately treated in the form of analytical equations easily ob[Pg 622]tained.' While also exhibiting the small number of Principles which lie at the foundation of other domains of our intellectual accumulations, Comte remarks: 'The ultimate perfection of the Positive system would be (if such perfection could be hoped for) to represent all phenomena as particular aspects of a single general fact;—such as Gravitation, for instance.'
These are a few specimens of what may be found in the books, pointing out the gradual approach of Scientific investigation to the discovery of a Unitary Law, and the expectation among Scientists of the advent, at some period not far distant, of a new Science, the greatest among Sciences, a true Pantology or Universology. Upon the apprehension of this Law, which must establish the true basis of every domain of thought or activity, and show it to be identical or analogous in the several domains, we shall be placed, in relation to the whole universe, precisely where we now stand in relation to Mathematics, Mechanics, and Physics; that is, the General Law or Laws of every domain of investigation will become known, as we now know those of these Sciences, and, to adopt the words of the French writer, 'from them the mind may proceed to the logical construction of the Science [being now the Science of the whole Universe], without further reference to the external world;' or to use the language of Professor Silliman, 'when the general laws of [the Universe] are known, we may deduce from them, by a series of rigorous reasonings, all the phenomena to which they give rise.' Thus, upon the discovery of a Unitary Law, linking the Sciences together, and showing the identity of their starting points or bases, the Deductive Principle, considered either as a Method or a Process, must once more take the lead, and the Inductive occupy its legitimate position as a subordinate and corroborative auxiliary. Under the guidance of this new adjustment of the Deductive and Inductive Principles, a full, exact, complete, definite, Scientific Classification of our knowledge will become possible, and the true boundaries of every domain of intellectual examination may be critically and clearly established. In the absence of such a Classification, it is only by viewing departments of the Universe with reference to the Method or Process employed in the investigation of their Phenomena, that we are able to estimate their present relations to Science, and to ascertain proximately their Scientific or Unscientific character. We proceed, then, to examine the connection of History, in its present development, with Science, a task to which the foregoing brief and incomplete consideration of the subject of Method has been a necessary preliminary.
A number of Classifications of human knowledge have been attempted, none of which were exact or complete, or could have been, for a reason which was stated above, and none of which are now considered to be satisfactory by the Scientific world. Bacon and D'Alembert, men of vigorous and vast intellectual capacity, were admirably adapted to such a work, so far as it could be performed in their day. But the state of knowledge and Scientific progress was not sufficiently advanced, at that time, to render any Classification which could be made of more than temporary value, and those furnished by these illustrious thinkers now appertain only to the archæology of Science.
The Classification of Auguste Comte, in the absence of a more exact, complete, and inclusive one, still holds the highest rank, and is the only one which now claims the attention of the general Thinker. It is very restricted in its application, professing to include only the domain which Comte calls abstract or general Science, which has for its object the discovery of the laws which regulate Phenomena in all conceivable cases within their domain, and excluding the sphere of what he denominates concrete, particular, or descriptive[Pg 623] Science, whose function it is to apply these laws to the history of existing beings. This throws such Natural Sciences as Botany, Zoology, Mineralogy, Geology, etc., out of his range. He also excludes the domain of practical Knowledge, comprising what is included under the terms, the Applied Sciences, the Arts, the Mechanical Sciences, etc. A Classification, far more detailed and comprehensive in its scope than anything yet published, is in preparation by Professor P. H. Vander Weyde, of the Cooper Institute—advanced sheets of which, so far as it is elaborated, have been kindly furnished to the writer by the author—the incomplete state of which, however, prevents a further consideration here.
The Principle which Comte adopted to guide him in his Classification was the following: 'All observable phenomena may be included within a very few natural categories, so arranged as that the study of each category may be grounded on the principal laws of the preceding, and serve as the basis of the next ensuing. This order is determined by the degree of simplicity, or, what comes to the same thing, of generality of their phenomena. Hence results their successive dependence, and the greater or lesser facility for being studied.' In accordance with this Principle, Comte establishes what he denominates the Hierarchy of the Sciences. Mathematics stands at the base of this, as being that Science whose Phenomena are the most general, the most simple, and the most abstract of all. Astronomy comes next, wherein the Static and Dynamic properties of the heavenly bodies complicate the nature of the investigation; in Physics, Phenomena must be considered in the midst of the still greater complications of Weight, Light, Heat, Sound, etc.; Chemistry has additional characteristics to trace in its subjects; Biology adds the intricacies of vital Phenomena to all below it; and Sociology, the sixth and last of Comte's Hierarchy—all other departments of thought other than those previously excluded from his survey, being regarded as out of the bounds of human cognition—deals with the still more complicated problem of the relations of men to each other in society.
This Classification is admirable for the purpose of showing the mutual interdependence of the branches of Knowledge included in it; but aside from its covering only a small part of our intellectual domain, it is also defective in not distinguishing with sufficient clearness that which is properly Science, from that which is merely Theory or Plausible Conjecture. Biology and Sociology are classed with Mathematics as Positive Sciences, as if the Laws or Principles which correlated the Phenomena of the former were established as certainly and definitely as those of the latter; while there is no prominence given to the different nature of proof in Mathematics and that in every other department of investigation—except in so far as Mathematical Phenomena and Processes enter into the latter—if, indeed, the founder of Positivism has even anywhere distinctly stated it. Chemistry, Biology, and Sociology, leaving Astronomy and Physics aside for the present, are not yet Positive Sciences, in any such sense as Mathematics. The lack of exact analysis is apparent in all of Comte's generalizations, otherwise magnificent and masterly as they undoubtedly are. In respect to the matter under consideration, it renders his Classification unavailing for determining with sufficient precision and exactitude the character of any intellectual domain. History, while it is the source whence the proof of his fundamental positions is drawn, finds no place in his Scientific schedule. Even had it been otherwise, the defect just alluded to would have rendered it useless for our present purposes, until a prior Classification had first been made, exhibiting the radical difference between the various domains, which are all indiscriminately grouped under[Pg 624] the name of Science. After such a Classification, based on the nature of proof as involved in Method, the Principle which guided Comte in the establishment of the Hierarchy of the Sciences will enable us, in a concluding paper, to estimate with proximate certainty the character of a possible Science of History, and to ascertain how far the labors of Mr. Buckle and Professor Draper have aided toward the creation of such a Science.
Easter week is over, and I am really sorry; I had found happiness in repose, and already have care and disquiet won their way into my heart and my mind.... How many sins I have committed! Poor humanity! poor nature, so frail and weak! Notwithstanding my promises and the resolutions which I fancied so strong, I yield to the least temptation.
For example, and it is indeed incredible, but a fact, that on Holy Thursday, the very day after my confession, I sinned, and sinned through pride. I should have worn black when I went to be present at the court ceremony, but I could not resist the seduction of a beautiful costume. Just as I was beginning my preparations, the Princess Lubomirska entered my room, accompanied by her maids, who brought me a charming dress of white velvet, with a long train, and trimmed with white roses; the headdress consisted of a garland of white roses, and a long white blonde veil. The taste and richness of this costume surpasses description! How could I resist the happiness of seeing myself so becomingly attired!
I asked the princess why she required me to wear so brilliant a costume to church; she replied that on Holy Thursday it was customary after the service to go into the great hall of the castle, where the king would wash the feet of twelve old men, in commemoration of the humility of our Saviour, and that he would also wait upon them at table. During this pious and edifying ceremony, a young girl belonging to one of the noblest families must make a collection for the poor; the king himself names the lady, and this year he was pleased to honor me by his selection; he at the same time announced that the results of my efforts should be given to the hospital for the poor under the Abbé Baudoin's charge.
I was very happy as I listened to the princess; but, must I confess it? I was not happy through the good action I was about to perform; I thought only of myself, of my beauty, of the charming costume, of the effect I should produce among all the other women dressed in black, and I rejoiced to think that I should be the most beautiful. What culpable vanity! And on Holy Thursday! But at least I frankly admit my sin, and humiliate myself for it.
My collection surpassed my hopes. I received nearly four thousand ducats. Prince Charles Radziwill said, as he put his hand to his purse: 'My dear (Panie Kochanku, his favorite expression), one must give something to so beautiful a lady;' and he threw five hundred gold pieces on my plate, which would have fallen from my hands had[Pg 625] I not been aided in holding it. When I began my collection, I was very much embarrassed; I trembled all over, and blushed at each new offering I received; but by degrees I gained courage, and profited by my dancing master's lessons. The grand marshal of the court gave me his hand, and named each lord as he repeated the customary formula employed in handing them the plate; as for me, I could not have said a word; I found it quite enough to make a proper and becoming courtesy to each one. When the plate became too heavy, the marshal emptied it into a large bag, borne behind us.
I heard many compliments, and I was more looked at and admired than I ever had been before in my life. The prince royal said to me: 'If you had asked each of us to give you his heart, no one could have refused you.'
I replied: 'Affection is not solicited, it is inspired.'
He seemed pleased with my frankness. I cannot comprehend how a woman could solicit love, and say: Love me, admire me.... For a king I could not thus degrade myself. Tenderness is involuntary; one may seek to win it, one may gladly accept it when offered; but to solicit it, is even more ridiculous than criminal.
The washing of the feet is one of the most striking ceremonies of our religion. A king kneeling before those twelve aged men, and then standing behind them while they are at table, is a most touching and sublime spectacle. That ceremony can never pass from my memory. Augustus III, although no longer young, is still handsome; his gestures bear the impress of dignity and nobility: the prince royal, Charles, resembles him exactly.
On Good Friday we visited the sepulchre; all the court ladies were dressed in black; we made our stations in seven churches, and in each we said appropriate prayers. I was on my knees during a whole hour in the cathedral. On Holy Saturday the services were magnificent, and the organs pealed forth the most heavenly strains of music.
Tho princess's Easter collation (swiencone) was superb; until yesterday, the tables were continually covered with cakes and cold meats. It is just one year since I assisted at Madame Strumle's very modest collation; I was then a schoolgirl; who could have guessed that on the following Easter Monday I should be with the princess palatiness, that the prince royal would partake of the same collation with myself, and that we should eat out of the same plate!
One really finds a pleasure in eating meat after a Lent so rigorously observed; for all here are as particular as at Maleszow. During holy week, everything is cooked in oil, and on Good Friday a severe fast is adhered to, each one taking only food sufficient to keep him from starving.
The prince royal has fasted so much that he has become quite thin. I noticed this yesterday, and my eyes involuntarily rested upon his features with a more tender expression than usual: as he was talking with the prince palatine, I did not think he was paying any attention to me, but thoughts springing from the heart never escape him, he is so good, so quick in understanding; soon after, he thanked me for my solicitude. I grew very red, and promised myself in future to keep a strict guard over the expression of my eyes.
A woman's part, especially that of an unmarried girl, is very difficult; not only must she measure out her words and watch the tones of her voice, but she must also command the expression of her countenance. I must ask, of what use are governesses and their lessons in such cases? The princess is quite right when she says, that ten governesses, let them be as watchful as they may, cannot guard a young girl who does not know how to guard herself.
We leave Warsaw to-morrow; I am[Pg 626] going with the prince and princess to their estate at Opole. My father has written to the princess to say that I may remain with her so long as my presence may be agreeable to her. I hope she will never be dissatisfied with me; I endeavor to please her in every possible way. She inspires me with infinite fear and respect; she controls me entirely, and I am always ready to yield to the lightest expression of her will; when she smiles upon me, when she looks at me kindly, it seems to me as if heaven were opening before me. If I should ever reach an advanced age, I would like to inspire the same feelings which I experience toward her. The prince royal himself is afraid of the princess.
Would any one believe that I am glad to think that I shall not now go to Maleszow? I dread the home of my childhood; it seems to me as if I should profane it were I to visit it with a heart so filled with unrest and disquietude!
Ought I to regret the past? Will a life of torment be the price of a single ray of happiness enlightening the highest pinnacle of human felicity? If the wish which I dare not express should ever be accomplished, I will surely be equal to my position; but I will also know how to bear the shipwreck of my dearest hopes.... Great God, how can I write, how dare I confide to paper what I fear to confess to myself! When I think of him, I tremble lest any one should divine my feelings, and yet I write!... If my journal were to fall into any one's hands I should be deemed mad, or at least most foolishly presumptuous; I must shut it up under four locks.
We have been here nearly a week; the situation of the castle is very agreeable, but I am no longer gay, and nothing pleases me. The trees should already be green, and they are still bare; it should be warm, and the air freezes me. I desired to embroider, but the indispensable silks were wanting; I tried the piano, but it was not in tune: it will be necessary to send to Lublin for the organist. There is quite a large library here, but I dare not ask the princess for the key. The prince has several new works; he paid in my presence six gold ducats for ten little volumes of M. Voltaire's works: Voltaire is now the most celebrated writer in France. The princess forbids my reading his books, and I am sure I am quite content. But what I cannot endure is, that I am not permitted to read a romance lately come from Paris, entitled La Nouvelle Héloïse. It is by a certain Rousseau, and has made a great sensation here. I picked up one volume, and read a few pages of the preface, but what did I see? Rousseau himself says: 'A mother will forbid her daughter to read it.' The princess is quite right, and I laid the book aside with a flutter at my heart which still continues.
The physicians in Warsaw have ordered the princess to ride on horseback during her sojourn in the country; they say this exercise will be excellent for her health. She laughed at the prescription, and had not the faintest intention of trying it; but the prince palatine will hear of no jesting where physicians are concerned.
He has bought a pretty mare, very gentle and well trained, as also a most comfortable saddle; but the princess still refuses to mount the animal. She was with great difficulty persuaded yesterday to mount a donkey, and thus make the circuit of the garden. She will be obliged to repeat this exercise every day. As for me, who have no fear of horses, I had a most burning desire to try the mare; I spoke of it yesterday evening; but the princess chid me, and told me with quite a severe air, that it was the most improper thing in the world for a young lady. I must of course renounce my desire; but I do it with real regret, for I already saw myself in fancy riding[Pg 627] through the forests, going to the chase, climbing the steep mountain sides with him, and admiring his strength and skill....
The castle has become more lively; several persons have come from the city and the neighborhood to present their homage to the palatine. They might perhaps afford me amusement; and yet I do not even find a passing distraction in their presence. I have seen Michael Chronowski, my father's former chamberlain; how the poor young man is changed! The prince palatine, in consequence of my father's recommendation, placed him at the bar in Lublin. They say he is doing very well, but he is thin, bent, and old before his time; his face is strangely colored, and he has some frightful scars. He has not danced once since Barbara's wedding. The time for mazourkas and cracoviennes is past: they have been replaced by law cases, pleading, chicanery, and all its tiresome accompaniments; his language is so learned that one can no longer understand him.
As a compensation, however, we have here one very agreeable visitor, Prince Martin Lubomirski, the prince palatine's cousin, though much younger than he. I had already met him in society at Warsaw. The princess, who is severe, and who never overlooks the least defect, criticizes him a little; but I find his manners very agreeable: he owns in the neighborhood the estate of Janowiec, and has given us all a most pressing invitation to visit his castle. It is possible we may go there; I should be charmed, for no one talks more agreeably. He is gay, fond of pleasantry, and a great friend to the prince royal; he often speaks of him, and always well and worthily; he appreciates him and knows how to praise him.... My heart swells with pleasure while I listen.
We came here two days ago, and Prince Martin says he will not let us soon depart. Everything is more beautiful at Janowiec than at Opole; no one can be more generous, more hospitable, or more amiable than Prince Martin. The princess says he scatters gold and silver about as if he expected it to grow. He is now having a wide avenue cut through the forest surrounding the castle. I can see from the windows of my room immense trees falling beneath the axes of hundreds of laborers; at the end of the avenue, a pavilion is being built, at which they work so rapidly that one can see it grow from hour to hour. The prince sent to Warsaw and to various other places for his workmen; he pays them double wages, and he has made a bet with the palatine that the pavilion will be entirely finished in four weeks. I am quite sure he will win. The forest is to be transformed into an enclosed park. The whole neighborhood abounds in wild beasts; but he has had many elks and bears taken to people his wonderful park. There must be some mystery lurking behind all these preparations. I feel, rather than guess it.
I like Janowiec better than any other place; the situation is charming, and the castle magnificent. It stands upon a mountain overlooking the Vistula; its architecture belongs to a very ancient period. From the castle the whole city may be seen, with the granaries of Kazimierz, and also Pulawy, belonging to the Princess Czartoryski. The apartments are large, very numerous, and gorgeously furnished; but I believe that my boudoir is the most delightful room in the castle. It is situated at the top of a tower, and while I am in it I can fancy myself a real heroine of romance. It has three windows, all opening in different directions, and each with a most enchanting view. I generally sit by the window overlooking the new avenue and the pavilion, which rises as if built by fairies. The panels of my cabinet are adorned with paintings, representing Olympus. 'Venus alone was wanting,'[Pg 628] said the prince, with that grace for which he is distinguished, 'but you have come to finish the picture.'
I feel here an incomprehensible sense of well-being, I am soothed by such sweet presentiments, I fancy myself on the eve of some very happy event.
I do not think I ever rose so early before in my whole life; the castle clock has just struck three, and I am already at my writing. I took a walk before daylight through the long corridors of the castle: had any one seen me, I should have been taken for an ancestral shade, come to visit the domain of its descendants. Prince Martin, following an old and excellent custom, has built a gallery, containing the portraits of all the most distinguished members of his family; all the memories of the race of Lubomirski may be found in this gallery. He sent to Italy for an artist to execute the portraits, and he called to his aid a learned man fully acquainted with the history of the Lubomirski family and of our country. After much deliberation and many discussions, the project was finally carried into effect in 1756, as announced by the main inscription. It is to be regretted, says the princess, that these pictures are in fresco, and not in oil colors, as they would then have been more solid and transportable.
Let what will happen in the future, at present this gallery is truly magnificent. Yesterday, Prince Martin, with the palatine and the palatiness, gave me a historical account of each picture; I immediately determined to transfer them to my journal. With this intention I rose before day and visited the gallery on tiptoe while all were still sleeping. I will write down all I have been told, and all I have seen.
In the four corners of the hall are the arms of the Lubomirski family, Srzeniawa, received on the occasion of a battle gained by one of the ancestors on the banks of the Srzeniawa, not far from Cracow. The first picture represents the division of the property between the three brothers Lubomirski; a division which was made according to law, during the reign of Wladislas I, and signed February 1st, 1088. Nearly all the other pictures are family portraits; women rendered illustrious by noble deeds, and men distinguished in political, civil, military, or religious careers, especially during the reigns of Sigismund III, of John Casimir, and of John III, Sobieski, There are several copies of the portrait of Barbara Tarlo, who brought the castle of Janowiec as a dowry to a Lubomirski.
The series is ended by a picture which is equivalent to a whole poem; it represents a winter sky and a naked forest; a furious bear endeavors to overthrow a tall and athletic man; a young woman, wearing a hunting costume, comes behind the bear and places a pistol at each ear. In the distance is a horse running away and dragging behind him an upset sledge. I asked an explanation of the picture, and was told as follows:
A certain Princess Lubomirska, who was very fond of the chase, set out one winter day on a bear hunt; as she was returning in a little sledge, drawn by one horse, and having only one attendant with her, a furious bear, driven by some other hunters, fell upon the princess. The terrified horse upset the sledge, and she and the attendant must infallibly have perished, had not the courageous servant determined to sacrifice himself for his mistress; he threw himself before the bear, saying these words; 'Princess, remember my wife and children.' But the noble and heroic woman, thinking only of the danger of him who was about to sacrifice his life for her, drew two small pistols from her pockets, placed the barrels in the bear's ears, and killed him on the spot.
In truth, I envy this noble and generous action.... It is needless to add that the servant with his wife and[Pg 629] children became henceforth the special care of the princess.
But, during the last few moments, I have heard considerable noise through the castle, and I must return to my own room. I hear Prince Martin's voice resounding through the corridors. He is calling his dogs, of which he is exceedingly fond, as indeed he may well be, for his hounds are the most beautiful in the whole country. He is always sorry when the season will not admit of hunting; but at present the most intrepid hunters are forced to renounce their sport. I must close my book. It is five o'clock, and some one might come into the gallery.
We have been to Opole, where we spent several days; but Prince Martin made us promise to return here, and here we are again installed. He wished us to see the pavilion entirely finished. The exterior is completed, and only a few interior embellishments are yet wanting. Prince Martin has then won his bet, and he talks to me about it in such strange enigmas that I cannot comprehend him; for example, he said to me this morning: 'Every one says that I am expending the most enormous sums on my park and my pavilion; but I shall receive a recompense which I shall owe to you, far above anything I can do.'
Indeed, I lose myself in conjecture; either I am mad, or all who come near me have lost their senses.
Could I ever have anticipated such happiness! The prince royal has arrived; the pavilion, the park, and all, were for him, or rather for me; for they know that he loves me, and to please him, the princes have invented this pretext for bringing him to Janowiec. Great Heaven! what will my fate be! I bless the happy accident that brought him here at nightfall, for otherwise every one must have observed my blushes, my embarrassment, and that throbbing at my heart which deprived me of the power of speech and took away my breath; he too would have understood my joy! I never saw him so tender before; but the future—what will that be?...
Until now, I have always feigned not to comprehend the meaning of his words, and have striven to hide from him all that was passing in my soul; but can I always control myself when I must see him every moment? Ah! how painful will be the effort!... What torture ever to repress the best feelings of one's soul! To refuse expression to my thoughts, when my thoughts are all personified in him.... Notwithstanding my efforts, I fear lest my heart should be in my eyes, in my voice, in some word apparently trivial.... God give me courage, for what can my future destiny be? On what can I rely?... My fate sometimes appears to me so brilliant, I foresee a superhuman happiness; and then again it seems to me so dark and menacing that a shudder runs through my whole frame.
I do not know what to decide upon; I do not know whether I should trust to my heart or my reason. Alas! my reason—I have only fears and melancholy foreshadowings, which lead me back to the truth when I have yielded too willingly to the enchantment of such sweet illusions.
If I could confide in any one; if I could find a friend and guide in the princess! But my attachment to her is too respectful to be tender and confiding; then she says, perhaps by chance, words which destroy my desire to make a confidante of her. She blames the prince's character, and pities the woman who would bind herself to him.... The palatine gives me no assistance; he doubtless believes my virtue is strong enough to suffice without aid or counsel.
I will accept all the happiness which Heaven may send me; I will guard it as a sacred treasure, but I will commit no imprudence, no action unworthy of[Pg 630] my name. God will be my refuge; he will deign to enlighten me. I passed the whole of last night in prayer. Ah! how sorry I am the Abbé Baudoin is not here, for each day will be a new trial. The prince will remain some time at the castle; the princes, his brothers, will soon join him here, and great projects for hunting have been made.
Heaven has been gracious, and my destiny is the happiest of all! I, Frances Krasinska, in whose veins runs no royal blood, am to be the wife of the prince royal, Duchess of Courland, and one day, perhaps, may wear a crown.... He loves me, loves me beyond everything; he sacrifices his father to me, and overleaps the inequality in our rank; he forgets all, he loves me!
It seems to me I must be misled by some deceitful dream! Is it indeed true that I went alone with him this afternoon to walk in the park? The princess's recent accident was the cause. As she was ascending the stairs of the pavilion, she made a false step, and was forced to remain in the saloon with one of the young lady companions. Usually, she does not leave us a single moment; but as her foot would not permit her to walk, the princes, he and I, went without her. Prince Martin stopped by the way to show the prince palatine some of his preparations for the chase. The prince royal told them he preferred to walk on, and passed my arm within his own. He was silent during some moments; I was surprised, for I had always seen him so abounding in wit, and so fertile in subjects of conversation. He finally asked me if I still persisted in misunderstanding the motive which had brought him to Janowiec. I replied, as usual, that the anticipated pleasures of the chase had doubtless determined him to accept Prince Martin's invitation.
'No,' he said, 'I came for you, for myself, to secure the happiness of my whole life.'
'Is it possible?' I cried; 'Prince, do you forget your rank, and the throne which awaits you in the future? The prince royal should wed a king's daughter!'
He replied: 'You, Frances, you are my queen; your charms first seduced my eyes, and later, your truth and virtue subjugated my heart. Before I knew you, I had been always accustomed to receive advances from women; scarcely had I said a word, when I was overwhelmed with coquetries.... You, who have perhaps loved me more than they, you have avoided me; one must divine your secret thoughts if one would love you without losing all hope; you merit the loftiest throne in the universe, and if I desired to be King of Poland, it would only be that I might place a crown upon your noble and beautiful brow.'
My surprise, my happiness, deprived me of all power to reply; meanwhile, the princes rejoined us, and the prince royal said to them:
'I here take you for the witnesses of my oath: I swear to wed no other bride than Frances Krasinska; circumstances require secrecy until a certain period, and you alone will know my love and my happiness: he who betrays me will be henceforth my enemy.'
The princes made the most profound salutations, and expressed themselves deeply honored by the prince royal's confidence; they assured him that they would keep his secret most religiously; then, passing by my side, they whispered in my ear, 'You are worthy of your good fortune,' and departed.
I stood motionless and dumb, but the prince was so tender, his words were so persuasive and so eloquent, that I ended by confessing to him that I had long loved him: I believe one may, without criminality, make this avowal to one's future husband.... The castle clock at length struck midnight, that hour for ghosts and wandering spirits; after midnight their power vanishes.... Can I yet be[Pg 631] the plaything of an illusion?... But no, all is true, my happiness is real, my grandeur is no dream.... The ring I wear upon my finger attests its truth.
Barbara gave me a ring in the form of a serpent, the symbol of eternity; the prince royal often fixed his eyes upon it, and now he has had one made exactly like it, with this inscription: 'Forever,' which he has exchanged with me for mine. Our first and holy betrothal had no witnesses but the trees and the nightingales. I will tell no one of this occurrence, not even the princess.
Alas! Barbara and my parents are also ignorant of it—they have not blessed our rings; it was not my father who promised me to my betrothed, nor has my mother given me her blessing!... Alas! my sorrow oppresses me, and my face is bathed in tears.... Yes, all is true, this must indeed be life, since I begin to suffer!
I have written, and it seems to me as if I had said nothing; I have not written during the past week, because I found no words to express my thoughts.... I am happy, and language, which is eloquent in the expression of sorrow, has no tongue for joy and happiness.
Last week, I took up my pen to write, but I soon gave up the attempt; my feelings and ideas were confused with their own constant repetition and renewal, and when my poor head would have presided over the arrangement of the words, my heart melted into hopes and desires.... I can write to-day, because the fear of misfortune, of some sudden catastrophe, has seized upon me.... If he should cease to love me!...
The royal princes, Clement and Albert, arrived last Thursday. There have been hunting parties without intermission. Prince Martin had sent for plenty of wild animals; they were let loose in the park, and the princes have had as much as they could do. My maid tells me the princes Clement and Albert leave this morning; my first thought was that he would go too.... Happiness has entirely absorbed me during the past week; happiness, unalloyed by a single fear; my cares too as mistress of the house (for since the princess's accident I have taken her place) have left me not a moment unemployed!... And now, these few words uttered by my maid have completely unsettled my mind: Great Heaven, if he were to go too! For whom would I wake in the morning, for whom would I dress with so much care, for whom would I strive to be more beautiful? Ah! without him, I can see but death and a void which nothing can fill!... I grow faint.... I must open the window.... I breathe, and already feel better.
It is only six o'clock, and yet I see a white handkerchief floating from the window of the pavilion. That is his daily signal, to say good morning. I will never confess to him that my awakening each day preceded his.... But who is that man running toward the castle; I know him well—his favorite huntsman; he brings me a bouquet of fresh flowers; they must have been sent for to an orangery four leagues from here.... How silly and unjust I was to torment myself so! He is still here, no one has told me that he is going, he will doubtless remain a long time.... Ah yes, some days of happiness will still be granted me—perhaps some weeks.[Pg 632]
On the wild battle field where the bullets were flying,
With a ball in his breast a brave soldier was lying,
While the roar of the cannon and cannon replying,
And the roll of the musketry, shook earth and air.
The red ooze from his breast the green turf was a-staining;
The light of his life with the daylight was waning;
From his pain-parted lips came no word of complaining:
Where the fighting was hottest his spirit was there.
He had marched in the van where his leader commanded;
He had fall'n like a pine that the lightning has branded;
He was left by his mates like a ship that is stranded,
And far to the rear and a-dying he lay.
His comrades press on in a gleaming of glory,
But backward he sinks on his couch cold and gory;
They shall tell to their children hereafter the story,
His lips shall be silent forever and aye.
A smile lit his face, for the foe were retreating,
And the shouts of his comrades his lips were repeating,
And true to his country his chill heart was beating,
When over his senses a weariness crept.
The rifle's sharp crack, the artillery's thunder,
The whizzing of shell and their bursting asunder,
Heaven rending above and the earth rumbling under,
Nevermore might awake him, so soundly he slept.
He had rushed to the wars from the dream of his wooing,
For fame as for favor right gallantly suing,
Stem duty each softer emotion subduing,
In the camp, on the field—the dominion of Mars.
And there when the dark and the daylight were blended,
Still there when the glow of the sunset was ended,
He slept his last sleep, undisturbed, unattended,
Overwept by the night, overwatched by the stars.
Baton Rouge, La., September 10th, 1863.[Pg 633]
I opened my eyes and looked out.
Not that I had been exactly asleep, but dreamily ruminating over a series of chaotic visions that had about as much reason and order as a musical medley. I had been riding in the cars for the past six hours, and had now become so accustomed to the monotony that all idea of a change seemed wildly absurd; in my half-awake state, I was feebly impressed with the conviction that I was to ride in the cars for the remainder of my existence.
The entrance of the conductor, with the dull little glowworms of lamps which he so quickly jerked into their proper places, made a sudden break in my train of thought; and, not having anything else to occupy me just then, I became speedily beset with the idea that the luminary just above my head was only awaiting a favorable opportunity to tumble down upon it. The thought became unpleasantly absorbing; and, not having sufficient energy to get up and change my seat, I looked out of the window again.
The prospect was, like most country views, of no particular beauty when seen in the ungenial light of a November evening: the sky rather leaden and discouraging; the earth, chilled by the sun's neglect, was growing shrivelled and ugly with all its might; and the trees were dreary skeletons, flying past the car window in a kind of mad dance, after the fashion of Alonzo and the false Imogen. I gave up the idea of making the cars my future residence, and considered that it was quite time to look about me, and inquire, for present, practical purposes, what I was and where I was going.
But, at the very outset of this laudable occupation, a disagreeable fact thrust itself impudently in my face, and even shook its fist at me in insolent defiance. There was no getting over it—I was undeniably a woman—and, what was worse, rather a womanly woman. I am aware, of course, that this depends. If you should ask that stately lily, radiant with beauty, from the crown of the head to the sole of her foot, surrounded by her kind, and cherished and admired as one of the choicest gems of the garden, whether she considered it an agreeable thing to be a flower, she would probably toss her head in scorn, as youthful beauties do, at the very question. But ask the poor roadside blossom, trampled on, switched off, and subjected to every trial that is visited on strength and roughness, without the strength and roughness to protect her, and there is very little doubt that she would express a desire to wake up, some morning, and find herself transformed into a prickly pear. Womanhood, under some circumstances, is very much like sitting partly on one chair, and partly on another, without being secure on either.
It is an unnatural combination to have the propensities of a Columbus or Robinson Crusoe united with a habit of trembling at stray dogs in the daytime, and covering one's head with the bedclothes at night. I had longed to be afloat for some time past; but now, that I was fairly out of sight of land, I shuddered at the immensity of the fathomless sea that stretched before me. Whither bound? To the 'Peppersville Academy,' in a town on the border of a lake familiar to me in my geography days at school, but which seemed, practically, to have no more connection with New York than if it had been in Kamtchatka. To this temple of learning I was going as assistant teacher; and the daring nature of the undertaking suddenly flashed upon me. Suppose that, when weighed in the examining balances, I[Pg 634] should be found wanting? Suppose that some horridly sharp boy should 'stump' me with 'Davies' Arithmetic?'
That was my weak point, and I realized it acutely. Figures never would arrange themselves in my brain in proper order; I am by no means sound even on the multiplication table; and the only dates that ever fixed themselves in my memory are 1492 and 1776. The very sight of a slate and pencil gave me a nervous headache, and as I had lately been told that idiots always failed in calculation, I considered myself but a few removes from idiocy. My answering that advertisement was a proof of it; and here I was, hundreds of miles from any familiar sight, going to teach pupils who probably knew more than I did! I had my music and French, to be sure, and that was some foundation—but not half so solid as a substantial base of figures.
In a sort of frantic desperation, I began, to ply myself with impossible sums in mental arithmetic, until I nearly got a brain fever; and the cars stopped, and the dreaded station was shouted in my ears, while I was in the midst of a desperate encounter with a group of stubborn fractions.
How I dreaded the sight of the personage who had twice subscribed himself my 'obedient servant, Elihu Summers'! My 'obedient servant,' indeed! More likely my inexorable taskmaster, with figures in his eye and compound fractions at his tongue's end. I painted his portrait: tall, wiry, with compressed lips, and a general air of seeing through one at a glance. Now, when one is painfully conscious of being deficient in several important points, this sort of person is particularly exasperating; and I immediately began to hate Mr. Summers with all my might.
Nevertheless, I shook considerably, and, having been informed that I would be met at the station, though by whom or what was not specified, I prepared to alight, with my bag and shawl and 'Harper,' attached to various parts of my person. Considering how short the step is from the sublime to the ridiculous, the length, or rather height, of that step from the car to the platform was out of all proportion; I looked upon it as an invention of the enemy, and stood hopelessly considering the impossibility of a descent without the aid of a pair of wings.
Raising my eyes in dismay, I saw in the dim light a pair of arms outstretched to my assistance; and, observing that the shoulders pertaining thereto were broad and solid-looking, I deposited my hundred and twenty pounds of flesh and bone thereon without any compunctions of conscience, and no questions asked. I almost fell in love with that individual for the very tender manner in which I was lifted to the ground; but, once safe on terra firma, I merely said, 'Thank you, sir,' and was gliding rapidly into the ladies' saloon, half afraid of encountering Mr. Summers in my journey.
But my aide-de-camp, with a hasty stride, arrested my progress, as he said inquiringly, 'This is Miss Wade, I believe?'
I turned and looked at him, as the light fell upon his figure from the open doorway—large and well proportioned, with the kind of face that one sees among the heroes of a college 'commencement,' or the successful candidates for diplomas—half manly, half boyish, with a firm mouth and laughing eyes; and he immediately added, 'I have come to conduct you to your boarding house.'
I concluded that he was either a son or nephew of 'Elihu Summers,' possibly an assistant in the school; and I felt glad at the prospect of some congenial society.
The walk to the boarding house was not a long one, and we said very little on the way. My companion had quietly relieved me of my small articles of baggage; and I had mechanically taken the offered arm as though I had known him all my life. I could not see much[Pg 635] of the town in the dark, and what I did see did not impress me with a very exalted idea of its liveliness—the inhabitants apparently considering it sinful to show any lights in the fronts of their houses, except an occasional glimmering over the hall door.
My companion suddenly turned, mounted two steps, and lifted a knocker. The sound, at first, produced no reply; but presently a sound of unbolting and unbarring ensued, and the door was opened, as Morgiana would have opened it to let in the forty thieves. A small, pale man, with whitish eyes, and gray hair standing on end, peered at us rather inhospitably; and on the lower step of the staircase a tallow candle, in a brass candlestick, emitted the brilliant light that tallow candles usually do.
We effected an entrance by some miracle; and once in that full blaze of light, the old man exclaimed:
'Oh, Mr. Summers, so it is you, is it? I was kind of puzzled to make out who 'twas. And is this the new teacher you've brought along, or a boarding scholar? Looks about as much like one as t'other.'
With a smile, I was introduced as 'Miss Wade;' and just as a pleasant matronly looking woman made her appearance, the old man seized me in an unexpected embrace, observing, quite as a matter of course, 'I always kiss nice-looking young gals.'
'Not always,' thought I, giving him a desperate push that sent him, where he more properly belonged, to the arms of Mrs. Bull, who opportunely arrived in time to restore his equilibrium.
I suppose my cheeks were blazing, they felt so hot, for the good wife gently remarked, 'It is only Mr. Bull's way—he doesn't mean anything by it, or I should have been jealous long ago.'
Had the observation not been so hackneyed, I would have advised Mr. Bull to mend his way; but he seemed so thoroughly astonished that further comment was unnecessary.
A glance at Mr. Summers, who had proved to be the redoubtable Elihu, discovered an amused smile hovering around the corners of his mouth; and it was ridiculous that, at my first entrance into a house, I should have a pitched battle with the master of it. To do the old man justice, I do not believe that he did 'mean anything,' as the intended salute was to be given in the presence of witnesses; he only labored under the hallucination of old men in general, who seem to think that, because it is an agreeable thing to them to kiss all the fresh young lips they encounter, it must be just as agreeable to the fresh young lips to receive it; reminding me of a wise saying I encountered somewhere lately, that, 'although age sees a charm in youth, youth sees no charm in age.'
But father Bull was not malicious; he only said that 'he guessed I wasn't used to country ways;' and after that little brush we became very good friends.
I took to Mrs. Bull at once; and, following her into a neat little room, where there was a stove, a rag carpet, and a table laid for one, I was informed that this was the dining room, sitting room, and room in ordinary. Tea was over long ago; indeed, as it was eight o'clock, they had begun to think of going to bed. Cars in which I travel are always behindhand; and they had almost given me up.
Having introduced me to my host and hostess, Mr. Summers took his leave, for he did not board there, and went to see that my trunk was speedily forwarded to its destination.
I sat down at the neat table, and tried what Mr. Bull denominated 'presarved squinches'—which might have passed for fragments of granite, and were a trifle sour in addition; the apple pie, which, had it been large enough, would have been a splendid foundation for a quadrille; the bread, which looked like rye, but wasn't; and the tea, which neither cheered nor inebriated. This[Pg 636] is what good, honest city people eulogize under the name of 'a real country tea;' and half an hour after I had left the festive board, I could not positively have sworn whether I had had any tea or not.
Mr. and Mrs. Bull were very hospitable, and pressed me continually to eat, remarking that 'I had an awful small appetite;' but I considered it awful under the circumstances, without being small. They had one other boarder, they said, 'a single lady, who was very quiet, and didn't disturb any one.' They evidently intended this as an eulogy for Miss Friggs, but I should have preferred an inmate with more life about her.
At nine o'clock I concluded, from various signs, that it was time to turn my steps bedward; and producing a fresh tallow candle, Mrs. Bull placed it in another brass candlestick, and led the way up stairs. The stairs were narrow, crooked, and winding, and the doors opened with latches. My sanctum was of moderate size, with a comfortable-looking bed, covered with a white counterpane (I had dreaded patchwork), a white curtain to the window, and a white cover on the table,—a pleasant harmony, I thought, with the snow that would soon cover the ground; and feeling chilled through, in spite of the fire that burned in the funny little stove, I wondered that so many people never think of providing for but one kind of hunger.
Mrs. Bull helped me to arrange my things, and kissed me good-night in a way that went to my heart at once. I did not treat her on this occasion as I had treated Mr. Bull.
'I suspect,' said she, kindly, 'that you've been used to things very different from what you'll find here; but we'll do all in our power to make it pleasant for you, and I dare say that, before long, you'll feel quite at home in Peppersville.'
People 'dare say' anything, and many things appeared more probable than that I should ever feel at home in Peppersville.
One thing I thoroughly congratulated myself upon, and that was that Mr. Summers boarded elsewhere. It is a dreadful thing to be housed under the same roof, in a place where there is a total want of all excitement, with any sort of a man—people have even become attached to spiders when shut up alone with them—and when the man is young, good-looking, and poor, the danger is increased. I did not come to Peppersville to fall in love with the principal of the Academy; and I was glad that one road, at least, to that undesirable end was cut off.
I found the evening psalms and lessons, and then climbed into my nest—where I sank down, down, down into the feathery depths, in a manner peculiarly terrifying to one whose nights had all been spent on hair mattresses. A few hours' ride had transplanted me into a new region, among an entirely different race of people, and I fell asleep to dream that a whole army of intricate sums were charging upon me with fixed bayonets.
Morning came, and I was under the painful necessity of getting up—which is always an unnatural wrench under the most favorable auspices. The first bell had rung at an unearthly hour, and I paid no attention to it, but the second bell was not much more civilized; and as I failed to appear, Mrs. Bull came to the door to see if I had made way with myself.
I told her not to wait—I would be down as soon as I could get dressed; and I plunged desperately into a basin of cold water. Thankful for the institution of nets, I hastily packed my hair into what Artemus Ward calls 'a mosquito bar,' and with a final shake-out of my hurriedly-thrown-on drapery, I descended, with the expectation of finding the family in the full enjoyment of their morning meal.
But Mrs. Bull stood at the head of[Pg 637] the table, Mr. Bull at the foot, and Miss Friggs at the side, all with their hands on their respective chairs. If they had stood in that position ever since Mrs. Bull's visit to my door, they had enjoyed it for at least half an hour.
This was very embarrassing; but the only answer that I received to my remonstrances was that 'they knew what manners was.' After that, I always managed to be down in time.
I found Miss Friggs just as she had been represented, with the addition of being very kindly disposed toward me; but between her and Mr. Bull there existed a sort of chronic squabble that led to frequent passages of wit. Mr. Bull opened the ball, that morning, by observing, with a half wink at me, that 'he see she hadn't been kerried off yet,' which referred to a previously expressed objection on the part of Miss Friggs to sleep without some secure fastening on the door of her room; and people in the country can never understand why you should want anything different from the existing state of things. Then Mr. Bull remarked that Miss Friggs had better sleep in a bandbox or an old stocking, as folks packed away valuables in such things, because they were seldom looked into by housebreakers.
Suddenly, Miss Friggs asked her tormentor if he had seen any robbers lately—when he turned around and handed me the butter. This referred to a tradition that Mr. Bull had come running home one evening, entirely out of breath, under the firm belief that he was pursued by a robber, and nearly shut the door in Mr. Summers's face, who had been in vain hallooing to him to stop, in order to apprise him of my expected arrival, and make some provision for my accommodation.
These things were all explained to me by degrees; and in the uneventful routine upon which I had entered, I learned to consider them quite spicy and champagne-ish.
Mr. Summers called at fifteen minutes before nine, according to agreement, and we set out together for the Academy. It was a one-storied edifice, after a Grecian model, which probably looked well in marble, with classical surroundings, but which, repeated in dingy wood, with no surroundings at all, grated on an eye that studied the fitness of things. But, unfortunately, my business was with the inside; and I felt uneasy when I saw the formidable rows of desks.
'And now, Miss Wade,' said my companion, with admirable seriousness, 'you see your field of action. You will have charge of about thirty girls; and when they behave badly, so that you have any difficulty with them, just send them in to me.'
This sounded as though they were in the habit of behaving very badly indeed; but I doubted if sending them in to him would have been much of a punishment for any over fifteen.
There was one scholar there when I arrived—a tall, awkward-looking girl, somewhat my senior—whom Mr. Summers introduced as 'Helen Legram.' Her only beauty was a pair of very clear eyes, that seemed to comprehend me at a glance; for the rest, her face was oddly shaped, her figure bad; and a narrow merino scarf, tied around her throat, was not a becoming article of dress.
But scarcely had I made these observations when the Philistines were upon me—arriving by twos, threes, and fours, and pouring through the open door like overwhelming hordes of barbarians. Of course, every pair of eyes that entered was immediately fixed upon me; and, although I endeavored to keep up my dignity under the infliction, I could not help wishing that it were possible to be suddenly taken up and dropped into the middle of next week, when my mauvaise honte would have had a reasonable chance to wear off by several days' contact.
This beginning is a terrible lion blocking up the way of every undertaking, and never does he appear so[Pg 638] formidable as at the outset of school teaching, unless it is in writing a story. I cast about in my mind for various models, as a sort of guide; but the only spirits that emerged from the vasty deep were Dr. Blimber and Cornelia. With an inconvenient perversity, they refused to be laid, and kept dancing before me all day. In entering upon my career, I was firmly impressed with two convictions: one was that I didn't know anything, and the other was that my pupils would speedily find it out.
The day began, as all sorts of days do; and through the open door of the adjoining apartment I watched Mr. Summers, and endeavored to follow all his proceedings. When he rang his bell, I rang mine; and, by dint of looking as wise and sober as I possibly could, I contrived to begin with a tolerable degree of success.
But a pair of clear eyes, that never seemed to be removed from my face, embarrassed me beyond expression. Their owner was a perfect bugbear. Such a formidable memory I never encountered; and in her recitations, which were long and frequent, I do not think she ever misplaced a letter. That girl had algebra written on her face; and when, in a slow, deliberate way, she approached me with slate, pencil, and book, I felt sure that this would prove my Manassas. I was inexpressibly relieved to discover that the problems, complicated enough to bring on a slow fever, were all unravelled; indeed, my feelings bore no small resemblance to those of a criminal at the gallows just presented with a reprieve.
All that I had to do was to say, 'Very well, indeed, Miss Legram; are you fond of algebra?' To which she replied, 'Very,' and went back to her seat.
Going in to Mr. Summers for some private instructions, I found his desk covered with votive offerings, as though it had been the shrine of some deity to be propitiated. There were large winter apples; hard winter pears; bunches of chrysanthemum; bags of chestnuts, and even popped corn; but the parcel that received the most honorable treatment was a paper of black-walnut kernels, carefully arranged and presented by a little, mild-eyed lame girl. I made a note of that.
With the dignity of a professor, Mr. Summers solved my difficulties; while I meekly listened, and wondered if this could be the half-boyish individual who had lifted me from the cars. He did not look over twenty-three, though, and, if not strictly handsome, had had a very narrow escape of it. His hair had a way of getting into his eyes, and he had a way of tossing it back as horses toss their manes; and this motion invariably brings up a train of associations connected with Mr. Summers.
The day's session was over, and the pupils had departed. I thought that Mr. Summers had departed also; and, nervous and wearied out with the unwonted strain upon my patience and equanimity, I applied myself dejectedly to the fascinating columns of 'Davies' Arithmetic,' for unless I speedily added to my small stock of knowledge, a mortifying exposé would be the inevitable consequence. Why, thought I, with all the ills that man is naturally heir to, must some restless genius invent figures? The people in those examples have such an insane way of transacting business, I could make nothing of them; my answers never agreed with the key, but I fully agreed with the poor man who said so despairingly, 'Wat wi' faeth, and wat wi' the earth goin' round the sun, and wat wi' the railways all a whuzzin' and a buzzin', I'm clean muddled, confoozled, and bet!' and flinging the book out of sight, I gave myself up to the luxury of a good cry.
I had not been enjoying myself long, though, before I was interrupted; and as the crying was not intended for[Pg 639] effect, the interruption was an unpleasant one. Of course, I had to answer that original question, 'What is the matter?' but instead of replying, after the most approved fashion in such cases, 'Nothing,' I went directly to the fountain head, and said, abruptly, 'Davies' Arithmetic.'
Mr. Summers quietly picked up the book, and I saw that he understood the matter at once—for the dimples in his cheeks deepened perceptibly, and beneath the dark mustache there was a gleam of white teeth. My face grew hot as I noted these signs, and I exclaimed desperately:
'Mr. Summers, I should like, if you please, to resign my situation. I am aware that I must seem to you like an impostor, for I cannot do anything at all with figures; and I thought'—
Here I broke down, and cried again, and Mr. Summers finished the sentence by saying:
'You thought that you would not be called upon to teach arithmetic? A very natural conclusion, and there is no reason why you should. I prefer taking charge of these classes myself—but no one can supply your place in French and music.'
'A sugar plum for the baby,' thought I, and kept silence.
'I think, though,' continued my mentor, 'that anything as dry and practical as figures is a very good exercise for an imaginative turn of mind, by supplying a sort of balancing principle; and, if you would like to improve yourself in this branch, I should take great pleasure in assisting you.'
Very kindly done, certainly, and I accepted the offer with eagerness. I was to rest that evening, he said—I had had enough for one day; but it was understood that on other evenings generally he was to come to Mr. Bull's and instruct his assistant teacher in the A B C of mathematics. I could not help thinking that few employers would have taken this trouble.
Mr. Bull appeared to be of no earthly use in the household except to go to the door, which, in Peppersville, was not an onerous duty; and had I not so frequently seen the same thing, I should have wondered what Mrs. Bull ever married him for. From frequent references to the time 'when Mr. Bull was in the store,' I came to the conclusion that he had once dealt in the heterogeneous collection of articles usually found in such places. I was not informed whether Mr. Bull had 'given up the store,' or whether 'the store' had given up Mr. Bull; but I was disposed to entertain the latter idea.
There was no servant in the establishment except an old Indian woman, who amused herself by preparing vegetables and washing dishes in the kitchen—not being at all active, in consequence of having lost part of her feet from indulging in a fancy for a couch of snow on one of the coldest nights of the preceding winter, when, to use a charitable phrase, 'she was not quite herself.' I believe that, even after this melancholy warning, that eccentric person was frequently somebody else. 'However,' as Mrs. Bull said, 'she didn't disturb any one'—and although I could not exactly see the force of this reasoning, I treated it with respectful silence for Mrs. Bull's sake.
Miss Friggs, who was 'quite one of the family,' and had lived in it so long that I believe she almost persuaded herself that she had been born in it, 'did' her own room—which was perfectly appalling with its fearful neatness. There was not a thread on the carpet, nor a particle of dust in the corners; and the bed, when made up, was as accurately proportioned as though it had all been scientifically measured off. I have caught glimpses of Miss Friggs going about this business with her head carefully tied up, as though it might burst with the immensity of her ideas on the subject; and when she had finished, you might have eaten off the floor—that is, if you preferred it to a table. This was her one[Pg 640] occupation in life, and she did it thoroughly; but it seemed too sad to have so few occupations that any could be accomplished in so faultless a manner.
Fired with honest but misguided zeal, I one morning entered the lists against Miss Friggs in a vain attempt to make my own bed; but those horrid feathers acted like the things in the Philosopher's Scales, for when some were up, others were down; neither north nor south, east nor west would agree to terms of equality, and it was impossible to bring them to any sort of compromise.
I related my experience to Mrs. Bull; and when I assured her that I had crawled all over the bed in the vain attempt to bring some order out of chaos, she was more amused, in her quiet way, than I had ever known her to be. She desired me, however, to leave the room, to her in future, as she enjoyed it, and I could not be expected to do everything. I did not interfere with her measures again.
A lesson had been given me to look over; and on Mr. Summers's first visit to me, in Mrs. Bull's parlor, I felt as if he had been a dentist with evil designs on my largest grinder. He was as cool as though he had been fifty and I five, and behaved himself generally as though it were a very common thing for youthful principals to give private lessons to their young lady-teachers.
Mr. Bull had made a fire, which was another talent that I discovered in him; and Mrs. Bull had given the room as much of a look of comfort as a room can have that is very seldom used. The good woman had even placed a dish of apples and doughnuts on a table in the corner—which, she said, were always on hand when Mr. Bull was paying his addresses to her; but the family did not appear to put any such construction on Mr. Summer's visits to me. I had told them that we had a great deal of school business in common; and they seemed to think it quite natural that we should have.
And to business Mr. Summers proceeded immediately on his arrival, throwing me into a state of complete confusion by asking me questions not definitely set down in the book, and calmly allowing me to blunder through to something like an end without the least interruption or assistance. I, whose childhood had for some time been made miserable by the question of a sharp schoolmate, 'Which is the heaviest—a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?' and her calm persistence that they were both alike, in spite of my passionate denial in favor of lead, was not likely to distinguish myself at these sittings; and whatever I had hitherto admired in Mr. Summers was now eclipsed by my appreciation of his extraordinary patience.
'You must think me a perfect fool!' I exclaimed, unguardedly.
'No,' replied my imperturbable companion, 'I consider you a very fair average.'
I bit my lip in anger at myself, and turned assiduously to my slate and pencil.
'You will take that for next time,' said my preceptor, rising at the end of an hour, and calling my attention to a portion that he had marked in pencil, 'when I shall be more particular about your recitations. Good evening.'
'Very romantic,' thought I, as I walked rather discontentedly into the sitting room, and I wondered what sort of stuff Mr. Summers was made of. I began to be afraid that I might be piqued into flirting with him.
He seemed to have the talent, though, of winning golden opinions from all sorts of people. Mr. Bull pronounced him 'a cute chap,' and 'real clever, too,' for he did not consider the terms synonymous. Mrs. Bull said that he was just the right person in the right place; and Miss Friggs declared that he was 'a young man among a thousand.' Not at Peppersville, certainly, for there were but five others in the place; but, to use the phraseology[Pg 641] most in vogue there, they could not hold a candle to him.
That quiet, overgrown girl, with her faultless recitations and steady pursuance of one idea, interested me exceedingly, and I determined to find out her history. I spoke of her to Mr. Summers, and he replied:
'Oh, yes; Helen Legram is quite an original. 'Born of poor, but respectable parents,' I have little doubt that she will turn out like the heroes of all biographies that commence in a similar manner. Her father is a very plain farmer, living somewhere among the mountains, with a large family to provide for; and Helen, in consequence, has hitherto enjoyed no advantages in the way of education beyond those obtained from an occasional quarter at the district school. In the intervals she had to wash, bake, mend, and make, with untiring industry, with short snatches of reading, her only indulgence; until, last summer, a relative, well to do in the world, spent some months at the mountain farm, and presented Helen with the means of obtaining her heart's desire—a thorough education. To that end she is now assiduously devoting herself in the spirit of Milton, who 'cared not how late he came into life, only that he came fit.' Helen Legram is a plain, unformed country girl; but she has those three handmaids of talent who so frequently eclipse their mistress: industry, patience, and perseverance; and I prophesy that not only will she succeed in her present undertaking, but win for herself a name among the Hannah Mores and Corinnes of posterity. What a wife such a woman would make!'
I wondered if he was engaged to her? They were about the same age, and being entirely opposite in every respect, it was quite natural that they should fall in love with each other.
I had some trouble with my tall pupil in French, as she had not quite the Parisian accent, and at her time of life it was not easy to acquire it. She persevered, though, with unparalleled firmness; and as she wished to study Latin, I was obliged to learn it myself, from Mr. Summers. I pitied that man when I began to stumble through the declensions. Virgil would have torn his hair in frenzy at such rendering of his lines, and I should have been very sorry to encounter him alone. There we sat, hour after hour, in Mrs. Bull's parlor, scarcely a word passing between us except on the subject of Latin or arithmetic. Mr. Summers was an excellent teacher; and it was worth my sojourn in Peppersville to learn what I did.
One evening, however, we were rather more sociable; and in answer to some remark of mine, Mr. Summers asked me where I supposed he was born!
Beginning with Maine, I went regularly through the Eastern States, with a strong desire to leave him in Massachusetts; but, very much to my surprise, he denied them all.
'New York, then, or New Jersey,' I persisted.
Mr. Summers only smiled; and then I tried the Hoosier States, where they are 'half horse and half alligator;' his figure was somewhat in the backwoodsman style. But none of these would do.
'Then,' said I, out of all patience, 'you could not have been born anywhere. I give it up.'
'Well,' was the reply, 'I think you might as well, for you would never guess.'
And here the matter ended. But frequently afterward did I find myself wondering what portion of the globe Mr. Summers could claim as his own, his native land; for I had come to the conclusion that he might not be an American at all.
Skating season arrived; and all Peppersville took to the lake like a colony of ducks. It was splendidly exhilarating, and my crotchet needle had for some time previous been flying through tan[Pg 642]gled mazes of crimson worsted, to the great admiration of the household, in the manufacture of a skating cap.
I must have been built expressly for going on ice, for it seemed like my native element. Those beautiful moonlight nights, with the cold blue sky above and the glittering crystal beneath, were like glimpses of fairyland. Mr. Summers taught me how to skate, for which I was sufficiently grateful; but I had no idea of being handed over to him exclusively for the benefit of Peppersville, so I seized upon 'big boys,' or staid, married men, or anything that came handy in the way of support, until I was sufficiently experienced to go alone.
Helen Legram did not skate. Nothing could induce her to venture; and probably, while we were cultivating our heels on the ice, she was cultivating her head in milder latitudes. I thought, then, that she was to be pitied; but, two weeks later, I would have given all that I possessed to have followed her example in the beginning.
It was intensely cold that night, and somehow my skates were very troublesome. Mr. Summers bent down to arrange them, and I declined making use of his shoulder as a support. I never knew how I did it, but ice is slippery; I performed an extraordinary slide—kicked Mr. Summers directly in the mouth, thereby knocking out one of his front teeth, as though I had been a vicious horse—and went backward into the arms of the oldest male pupil of the Peppersville Academy, while my unfortunate victim, knocked into a state of insensibility, fell prostrate on the ice.
A crowd gathered, of course, and raised their venerable preceptor, and brought him to his senses, while I was congratulated on my escape. I looked upon this as the most awkward predicament I had ever been placed in, and was completely nonplussed as to the course of action to be pursued under the circumstances. Had I been in love with Mr. Summers, or he with me, the case would have been different; as it was, I would have given much to have changed places with him. He declared, however, that it was nothing, laughed about the accident, and said that one tooth more or less made very little difference. Had he been a woman, he never would have forgiven me.
The next morning, Mr. Summers was not at school, and Helen Legram took his place. They boarded in the same house; and from her I learned that his mouth was so much swollen he could scarcely speak. It was very disagreeable, certainly; but, having weighed the matter all the morning, I came to the conclusion by afternoon, that it was decidedly my duty to go and see after Mr. Summers.
I found him in the parlor, considerably disfigured; and Helen Legram was making him some pap—that being the only style of sustenance upon which he could venture. His mouth was very sore, for the sharp runner of a skate is rather a formidable weapon; but he laughed with his eyes when I presented myself, and seemed to enjoy my embarrassment.
'I do not see how it happened,' said I, very much annoyed.
'All that I know of the case,' replied Mr. Summers, quite as though it had been somebody else's case, 'is that, while engaged in the discharge of my duty, a cloud of dimity suddenly floated before my eyes—a stunning shock ensued—I saw stars—and then exit into the region of know-nothingdom.'
Rather awkwardly, I suppose, I offered myself as head nurse, having been the cause of the mischief; but Mr. Summers, with many thanks for the offer, did not think there would be any necessity for availing himself of it. I felt very sorry for him, and quite as sorry for myself.
In a few days the principal returned to his school duties. He possessed a remarkable degree of reticence; and,[Pg 643] owing to this blessed quality, no one but ourselves and Helen Legram ever knew of my share in that unfortunate accident. I felt rather guilty whenever allusion was made to it by some well-meaning person; but I noticed that Mr. Summers always turned the conversation as soon as possible. We were on more social terms after that disaster; and somehow the evenings spent over Latin and arithmetic became less practical, and decidedly more interesting. Mr. Summers, however, was very cautious, and so was I. He never seemed to be swayed by impulse; and I should have nipped anything like tenderness in the bud.
One evening, however, I was considerably astonished at him, and not a little indignant. The 'faculty' of the Peppersville Academy were invited to a small party at the house of one of its wealthiest patrons, who lived some miles out of town.
They sent a covered wagon for us, and a 'boy,' that indispensable article in the country, to drive us.
The boy seemed to drive with his eyes shut; suddenly, there was a terrific jolt, and I screamed and clung to Mr. Summers for protection. Under the circumstances this was unavoidable; but, as he seemed disposed to retain my hand, I tried to disengage it.
It was held in a firm grasp; and I said, in a tone that could not be mistaken: 'Mr. Summers!'
My hand was immediately released; and neither of us spoke another word during the drive.
I did not enjoy that party. I was angry at Mr. Summers, and I let him see it; but I had no patience with any other man in the room. In driving back, Mr. Summers 'thought that he would sit outside, to get a little fresh air,'—which, as the thermometer stood at twenty, must have been exhilarating. I was handed out in silence, and went to bed in as bad a humor as that in which many a belle comes from the ball room.
There was a coolness between us for several days, which gradually thawed into a more genial state of things, but it did not seem to me that it ever became quite as it was before.
All winter there were rumblings deep and continual in the political sky—sometimes the sun broke out, and people said that it was going to clear; but usually the weathercocks predicted a long, southerly storm. I never saw a man so full of prophecy as Mr. Bull. One would have supposed that every hour brought him telegraphic despatches both from the real and the spurious Congress; and that President Lincoln and Jeff. Davis were both convinced of their utter inability to take any steps without the cognizance and approval of Mr. Bull.
Mrs. Bull said mildly that 'she hoped it would blow over;' but Mr. Bull exclaimed indignantly that 'he didn't want it to blow over—he wanted it to blow out and done with it, if it was goin' to, and not keep a threatenin' all to no purpose. It was high time that things was settled, and people knew what was what. If we was goin' to hev a rumpus, he hoped we'd hev it.'
If the old man had not been really good-natured and inoffensive, I should have taken him in hand; but these disconnected remarks appeared to give him so much pleasure that it would have been cruel to deprive him of it.
Helen Legram had a reverential way of speaking of Mr. Summers that provoked me; but she told me one day, when I laughed at this, that no one who knew his life could do otherwise. And how did she 'know his life'? He had never disclosed it to me—and I could not see what there was in Helen Legram to entitle her to this confidence. They certainly were engaged—everything went to prove it; and, if I had been at all in love with Mr. Summers, I should have classed the feeling that pervaded me under the head of jealousy.
Mr. Bull 'guessed that Mr. Summers[Pg 644] and that tall gal were goin' to make a match of it;' and, when I assented to the proposition, he added that 'she didn't pretty much, but he kalkilated she'd make a good, stirrin' wife for a young man who had his livin' to get. Should hev kind o' thought,' continued Mr. Bull, who seemed to love the subject, 'that he'd hev fancied you; but there's no accountin' for tastes.'
I glided out of the room unperceived, and the old gentleman probably talked confidentially to the four walls for some time afterward.
Sumter had fallen; and the whole school broke out in badges. Peppersville was on fire, and burning, of course, in red, white, and blue flames. No one bought a dress even that had not the loyal colors displayed somewhere in it; and a man who did not wear a cockade was rather looked askance upon.
Mr. Bull was in his element, and spent his time principally in going to the post office in search of news, and asking everybody's political shibboleth. The subject was discussed at every meal. Mr. Bull thought that half the members of Congress ought to have been hung long ago. Miss Friggs, who sometimes attempted the poetical, said that it made her heart bleed to think of the glorious figure of Liberty wandering desolate and forsaken, with her costly robe of stars and stripes trailing in the dust; and Mrs. Bull, who was one of the wisest women I ever knew, prudently said nothing on a subject which she did not quite understand.
The militia of Peppersville began to turn out in rusty regimentals, and cut up queer antics in the street; and Mr. Summers, who appeared to have a talent for everything, took them in hand to drill.
'Do you understand military tactics?' I inquired in surprise.
'Somewhat,' was the reply. He had been captain of a company of boy soldiers; and, now that I came to think of it, there was something decidedly military in his bearing.
'If I were only a man!' I exclaimed, discontentedly, 'I would be off to the war and distinguish myself; but a woman is good for nothing but to be insignificant.'
'The works of a watch are 'insignificant,' in one sense,' observed my companion; 'but what would the watch he without them?'
'I do not see any application in this case,' I replied, indifferently.
'A woman,' said he, bending down to adjust some papers, 'is often the Miriam and Aaron of some Moses whose hands need holding up. Many a bullet that finds the heart of an enemy is sent, not by the hand that pulls the trigger, but by a softer hand miles away. Something, or rather some one, to work for, is an incentive to great deeds.'
Mr. Summers's face was flushed; and he looked suddenly up when he had done speaking.
I withdrew my eyes in confusion, and, with the careless remark, 'Mrs. Partington would tell you that you were speaking paregorically,' I left a place that was getting entirely too hot to hold me.
A few days after, Mr. Summers started for the seat of war, with the commission of first lieutenant, and Helen Legram became principal of the Peppersville Academy. I think that bright spring days are disagreeable, glaring things, when some one whom you like and have been accustomed to see in certain places, is seen there no more; and the day that Mr. Summers left, I was out of all patience with the April sunshine.
He had said no more: a friendly pressure of the hand from him, and a sincerely expressed hope on my part that he would return unharmed—a request from Mr. Bull to 'give it to 'em well'—a caution from Mrs. Bull not to expose himself, if he could help it, to the night air—a pincushion from Miss Friggs, because men never have conve[Pg 645]niences-and he was gone, with, no reasonable prospect of his return.
I said this to myself a great many times; but I also said that I did not go to Peppersville to fall in love with the principal of the Academy.
Those everlasting recitations began to be unendurable; the walks about Peppersville were totally uninteresting, and I did not know what to do with myself. I cultivated Helen Legram; and, during the vacation, she took me home with her to the farm.
It seemed like a new life, that three weeks' visit, and I enjoyed it extremely. We went on expeditions up the mountains, and lived a sort of vagrant life that was just what we both needed. The roar of cannon could not reach us there; the sight of bleeding, dying men was far away; and we almost forgot that the teeth of the children whom she had nourished at her breast were tugging at the vitals of the Union.
One afternoon, amid the fragrant odor of pine trees, Helen Legram told me the story of Mr. Summers's life.
He was born and educated in Florida, much to my astonishment, and had entailed upon him the misery of a worthless, dissipated father. His mother, after dragging out a saddened existence, sank into the grave when her youngest boy was just entering upon the years of boyhood. Finally, the elder Summers, who had always boasted of his patrician blood, killed a man in a fit of mingled passion and intemperance, and then cheated the gallows of its due by putting an end to his own life. His property was quite exhausted; and the two sons who survived him could only look upon his death as a release from continued mortification and disgrace. An uncle's house was open to receive them; but, before many years had elapsed, Arthur Summers, who was described as a miracle of manly beauty, changed his name for that of a rich heiress who bestowed herself and her lands upon him, and requested his brother to follow his example in the matter of the name at once, and in the matter of the heiress as soon as convenient.
Elihu Summers, however, persisted in retaining the name that his father had disgraced; he said that he would redeem it, and declared that no wife of his should furnish him with bread while his brain and hands were in working order. His brother looked upon him as a harmless lunatic; but Elihu was firm, and took up his abode at the North, as better calculated to further his design. After a series of adventures he became principal of the Peppersville Academy, with the view of ultimately studying a profession; and there he had been for two years when I came in contact with him.
I had been studying Helen Legram's face during this recital; and at its conclusion I asked her if she was engaged to Mr. Summers.
'No, I am not engaged to him,' she replied, with a vivid blush; 'I have good reason to suppose that he is attached to some one else.'
'Well,' thought I, as I noted the blush, 'if not engaged to him, you are certainly in love with him;' and I felt sorry for her if it was not returned.
I did not go back to Peppersville that summer—I had had enough of school teaching; and I returned to the relatives with whom I had become disgusted, on promises of better behavior from them for the future. They were not near relatives—I had none; and I had rebelled at being tutored and watched like a child. Having fully asserted my independence, I was treated with more respect; but, while they supposed that I was nestling down in quiet content, I was busily casting about in my mind the practicability of another venture.
I burned to do something for my country; I could not do as meek women did, and sit down and sew for it; the monotonous motion of the needle, which some people call so soothing, fairly distracted me; and, in spite of the low diet of Latin and mathematics on which[Pg 646] I had been kept all winter, I entertained vague visions of myself, in cropped hair and army blue, following the drum.
Just at this critical juncture, when common sense was spreading her pinions for flight, I received a letter from a darling Mentor of a friend, who was spending the golden sunshine of her life as her Saviour spent His, in doing good; and she ordered me to the hospitals.
'You have youth and health,' she wrote; 'spend them in the service of your country. Many a brave soldier lies stiffening in his gore on the bloody field of Manassas; many as brave are writhing in agony in the hospitals that received the wounded of that disastrous day; go among them with words of comfort, and smooth the pillow of those brave defenders whose blood has been freely poured out to enable you to sleep in peace.'
I could wait no longer; in spite of protestation, I put my chattels in order, and was off with a noble band of women, who were all bent on the same errand.
I had heard nothing from Mr. Summers since his departure: he might have been killed at Manassas, or have fallen, side by side with the noble Winthrop, at Big Bethel, or have perished, as the lamented Ellsworth perished, by the hand of the assassin. I never expected to behold him again in this world; and I began to think that I had not appreciated him.
I cannot describe my life as hospital nurse: it was just passing from one scene of suffering to another; and I had not realized that there could be so much misery in this bright, beautiful world. At first I used to tremble and faint; but finally the intense desire to do something for these poor, mutilated wrecks of humanity conquered the weakness; and I even wondered at my own self-control.
There were pleasant gleams, too, in this life, of utter self-abandonment; blessings from fever-parched lips; grateful looks from dying eyes; pleased attention to holy words; and, wrapping all like a halo, the thought that I was working in very deed, ay, and battling, too, for the glorious flag that floated over my head.
They were constantly bringing in fresh patients, and the sight roused no curiosity; but one day, such a ghastly face was upturned to view, as they placed the shattered body tenderly on a cot, that, involuntarily, I bent closer.
'Awful things, those Minié wounds,' observed a young surgeon who stood near me; and then, as he went on to describe how the horrible ball revolves in the lacerated flesh, I suddenly caught a full view of the features, over which the shadow of death seemed to have settled, and fainted dead away.
It was a long time, I believe, before I regained my senses; but as soon as I did, I went to work. Mr. Summers was stretched before me on that cot, with a gaping wound in his shoulder, that had not been attended to in proper time. He opened his eyes once, and smiled, as he seemed to recognize me bending over him; but a fainting fit ensued, and then he became delirious.
I could not bear to have any one else attend to him, and I watched him faithfully day and night. That dreadful Minié wound seemed as if it never would heal, and I think that the doctors scarcely expected him to get up again. I almost felt as if I had been brought to the hospital for this one purpose; and without his ever having told me in plain words that he loved me—in spite of all my wise resolutions to the contrary—during silent watches beside that couch of suffering, I became convinced that I loved him with all the strength of which I was capable. Yes, I who had nominally devoted myself to the service of my country, had ignominiously closed my career by falling in love with the first good-looking patient that had been brought into my ward![Pg 647]
If any stupid man, though (a woman would know better), supposes that I informed Mr. Summers of this, either by word or look, in his first lucid moment, he is entirely mistaken. On the contrary to punish myself for this humiliating weakness, I was more severe than ever; and when the patient became well enough to thank me for my kind attention, etc., I told him, as coldly as I could, that it was no more than I would have done for the commonest soldier—(which was not strict truth)—that my labors were given to my country, and not to individuals—with much more to the same purpose.
Mr. Summers sighed deeply, and turned over on his pillow; and he did not imagine how I felt.
He said no more on the subject then; but, one evening, when he had been moved from his bed to an easy chair, he spoke out like a man, and a pretty determined one, too, in plain terms, and asked me if I would ever marry him?
In just as plain terms I told him that I never would—I had resolved to devote my life in this manner; and, with an expression of utter hopelessness, he replied that he took back all his thanks for the miserable life I had saved; he was weary of it, and would hasten to throw it away on the next battle field.
This was very dreadful, of course; but that winter's practice had given me quite a turn for arithmetic, and I fell to calculating how many battles would probably transpire before that crippled shoulder would let him take the field again.
'You will not get out under three months,' said I, confidently.
He looked at me for a moment; and then, bending closer, he whispered, 'You do not really mean it, Isabel?'
My face flushed uncomfortably at this address, but, making a last struggle, I inquired carelessly, 'And why not, pray?'
'Because,' he replied, with a steady voice, 'you have too kind a heart to consign to a disappointed life one who loves you so devotedly.'
I suppose I had; for, after that, he had the impudence to assure me that I was engaged to him.
'Providence seems to smile upon us,' observed my convalescing patient, the next morning; 'read this, Isabel.'
The formidable looking document was placed in my hand, and I learned that Lieutenant Elihu Summers, for gallant conduct at the battle of Bull Run, was promoted to the rank of colonel.
'Mrs. Colonel Summers,' said he, with the old mischief beaming in his eye; 'isn't that tempting?'
I immediately punished him by reading an article that happened to be on hand, which proved conclusively that army and navy officers were a worthless, dissipated set. Nevertheless, it was a satisfaction to think that my wish of entering the army was about to be gratified—although in such an unexpected way.
I could never definitely ascertain whether Helen Legram loved Mr. Summers or not; but I am under the impression that she did, and that she will never marry. She makes a splendid principal for the Peppersville Academy; and, when we have a house of our own, she will be the first invited guest.
I am afraid that I have no 'mission.' I spoiled my school teaching by falling in love with the principal, and my hospital nursing by becoming infatuated with my most troublesome patient. I do not feel disposed, therefore, to try another field.[Pg 648]
To Atossa, a Persian queen, the daughter of Cyrus and the mother of Xerxes, has been ascribed the invention of letter writing. She, although a royal barbarian, was, like her prototype of Sheba, not only an admirer of wisdom in others, but wise herself. She first composed epistles. So testifies Hellanicus, a general historian of the ancient states, and so insists Tatian in his celebrated oration against the Greeks. In that oration he contends that none of the institutions of which the Greeks were so boastful had their origin with them, but were all invented by the barbarians.
It may be doubted, however, whether to any known person in the domains of olden time can be truly attributed the high honor of such an invention. Indeed, the views that may justly be entertained as to what constitutes an invention may be various and diverse. Perhaps, in a qualified sense, any signal addition or improvement deserves to be so distinguished. What was precisely the subject matter of Atossa's invention is not told, nor is anything recorded to lead to the conclusion that she invented any new material; but, if she discovered any way of committing the communications between persons, separated or at a distance from each other, to paper—whether composed of the interior bark of trees, or of the Egyptian papyrus, or other flexible substance—and making it into a roll or volume, to be sent by some carrier, that Persian queen may be accredited as the inventress of epistolary composition.
It has been conjectured that letter writing was an art existing in the days of Homer; because one of that great poet's characters, named Pretus, gives a folded tablet to another personage, Bellerophontes, to deliver to a third individual, Jobates. But the learned commentators, both German and English, agree in the fact that the Iliad and the Odyssey were never written, but recited to various audiences by
'The grand old bard of Scio's rocky isle.'
Writing, however, was in use throughout Greece before the time of Homer, if not in ordinary intercourse, certainly for memorials and inscriptions. The age of Homer may be regarded as preceding the Christian era by about one thousand years. It synchronizes with the time of Solomon. Thus the greatest of poets and the wisest of kings coexisted—truly a noticeable fact, a theme for the imagination.
But the Holy Scriptures afford instances of letter writing, in some form or other, at a period considerably anterior to the age of Solomon. David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah: 'And he wrote in the letter, saying.' (2 Samuel xi, 14, 15.) And, about one hundred and forty years afterward, Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab's name (1 Kings xxi, 8, 9), and 'sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in the city, dwelling with Naboth, and she wrote in the letters, saying, (2 Kings v, 5, 6, 7; 2 Kings x, 1, 2, 6, 7.) The king of Syria wrote a letter to the king of Israel, and therewith sent Naaman, his servant, to be cured of his leprosy: 'And it came to pass when the king of Israel read the letter, that he rent his clothes.'
Now this occurred about nine hundred years before the Christian era; and, about twenty years later, we are told that Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria. A second time he transmitted other letters of a similar import, which were cruelly obeyed.
Then there is the threatening letter of the king of Assyria to Hezekiah, set forth in the second book of Kings, and[Pg 649] also the complimentary letter from Berodach-Baladan to the same king of Judah after his sickness; a king who subsequently appears himself to have written letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, to summon them to Jerusalem. (2 Kings xix, 14; xx, 12; 2 Chron. xxx, 1-6.)
Cyrus, after publishing his decree giving liberty to the Jews to return to their own country and rebuild the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, wrote letters recommendatory to the governors of several provinces to assist the Jews in their undertaking; one of which letters Josephus has recorded as being addressed to the governors of Syria, and commencing with the regular epistolary salutation, 'Cyrus, the king, to Sysina and Sarabasan sendeth a greeting.' And while the children of the captivity were rebuilding their temple (and this was five hundred and twenty-two years before Christ), there was a frequent correspondence by letters between, their adversaries and Artaxerxes, king of Persia. Now, supposing the invention, in any modified sense, of letter writing on paper, or what may answer to the idea conveyed by that term, is in any measure attributable to the daughter of Cyrus, this was quite a matter of course and in accordance with the general practice.
Still, let us not be disposed to take away from the royal lady the honor of having invented an art which her sex have, in modern years, carried to a perfection scarcely attainable by the male sex; for it may be set down as an axiom that one woman's letter is worth a dozen letters by men.
After all, the instances of communication by means of letter writing to which allusions have thus been made are plainly no specimens of that use of the invention which constitutes it the medium of free thought and intelligence, or even the simple vehicle of domestic intercourse. Those letters or missives were either formal announcements of authoritative mandates and despatches, or, at best, only the conveyancers of certain information, to be the motive to some act or understanding, or to determine or direct some course of proceeding. There are no examples of what can properly be called familiar letters before the time of Cicero, whose correspondence may justly be regarded as among the most precious remains of ancient literature which have survived to our own day. In connection with this remark, we may be permitted to observe that, as with the greatest of ancient, so with the greatest of modern orators, he was distinguished for the beauty, power, and brilliancy of his letters. There are few instances of English style more charming in themselves than the epistles, whether published or still in manuscript, written by that versatile and wonderful person, Daniel Webster. (Nunquam tetigit quod non ornavit.) How copious is their expression! How facile and felicitous their illustrations! What grace! What beauty of diction! What simplicity, elevated by a matchless elegance! Nothing more clearly proves the various talents of both the Roman and the American statesman than that they should no more have excelled in their forensic achievements on grand occasions than in those common and trivial affairs of every-day life, so unaffected and so effortless as the writing of letters to their friends.
All the letters of Greek and Roman origin which have come down to us seem to be doubtful, except those of Plato and Isocrates, until the days of Cicero. Under his genius the mind of the Roman nation took a sudden spring, and the polite literature of the world was embellished by epistolary composition. As the rules and illustrations of poetic writing were borrowed by Aristotle from the example of Homer, so the practice and authority of Cicero appear to have furnished precepts best entitled to determine the character and merits of the epistolary style. He esteemed it as a species of[Pg 650] composition enjoying the privilege of great ease and familiarity, as well in its diction as in its treatment of its subject, and also in its employment of the weapons of wit and humor. The general style most suitable to its spirit and character he considered to be that most in use in the ordinary and daily intercourse of society. He admired a simple and playful use of language, and he affected, as he asserts, a common and almost plebeian manner of writing, using words of every-day stamp in his correspondence. In his view of letter writing, its style and manner ought to vary with the complexion of its subject matter, and be subjected to no abstract system of rules. Ho propounds three principal kinds of epistles: first, that which merely conveys interesting intelligence, being, as he says, the very object for which the thing itself came into existence; second, the jocose letter; third, the serious and solemn letter. And it was besides the opinion of the great orator—an opinion sanctioned and ratified by all honorable persons then and in our own day—that there is something sacred in the contents of a letter which gives it the strongest claims to be withheld from third persons. 'For who,' he exclaims, in his second Philippic, 'who that is at all influenced by good habits and feelings, has ever allowed himself to resent an affront or injury by exposing to others any letters received from the offending persons during their intercourse of friendship?' 'What else,' he eloquently exclaims, 'would be the tendency of such conduct but to rob the very life of life of its social charms! How many pleasantries find their way into letters, as amusing to the correspondents as they are insipid to others; and how many subjects of serious interest, which are entirely unfit to be brought before the public!'
Truly is it gratifying, in our treatment of this topic, to be able to adduce such high, classical authority concerning the sacred and inviolable character of all private correspondence. In our humble view, not only is the seal of a letter a lock more impregnable to the hand of honor than the strongest bank safe which the expert Mr. Hobbs might vainly have tried to open; but even when that seal has already been rightfully broken and the contents of the letter exposed, those contents are to the eye of delicacy as unreadable as if written in that Bass language which Adam and Eve are said to have spoken while in the garden of Eden, and which, since the fall, none but angels have ever been able to comprehend. Now, if Cicero thought it base for a third party to read a private letter, what eloquent thunder would he not have hurled at the head of that wretch who not only read, but printed and published it! There is an epithet, which, in certain parts of New England, the folks apply to the poorest of poor scamps—'mean.' Now who, in this round world, of all that dwell therein, can be found one half so 'mean' as the betrayer and revealer of another's secrets? A whip should be placed in every honest hand to lash the rascal naked through the world. He should be fastened in an air-tight mail bag, and sent jolting and bouncing, amid innumerable letters and packages and ponderous franked documents of members of Congress, over all the roughest roads of our Northwestern country!
To return to what a letter should be. It seems, upon the whole, to have been Cicero's opinion—and in this we shall fain agree as well as in his view of the secrecy of letters—that, whether the subject be solemn or familiar, learned or colloquial, general or particular, political or domestic, an easy, vivacious, unaffected diction gives to epistolary writing its proper grace and perfection.
In very truth, good letter writing is little else than conversation upon paper, carried on between parties personally separate, with this especial advantage, that it brings the minds of the interlocutors into reciprocal action, with more[Pg 651] room for reflection, and with, fewer disturbances than can usually consist with personal conversation.
We have thus made mention of Cicero as the greatest of authorities with regard to this subject, because he was himself the greatest of letter writers. The epistle was the shape in which his versatile and beautiful mind most gracefully ran and moulded itself. His fluctuating and unstable character no less than his vanity and love of distinction, seemed to minister occasion to those varied forms of diction and expression in which the genius of animated letter writing may be said to delight. Read his 'Familiar Letters,' if not in Latin, yet in translation, if you wish to study the most perfect specimens of this style—a style which has not been equalled or approached since his day.
Next to the letters of the great Roman orator, merit points to those of the philosopher Seneca. He, too, cultivates and enjoins an easy and unstudied diction. So great is the excellence of his letters; so nearly is their beauty allied to the beauty of our Holy Scriptures; so does he seem to anticipate the morals and teachings of our Christian dispensation, that it is almost reprehensible to speak of them at all, without setting forth their extraordinary charms of style and thought, even in a larger space than the present article can be allowed to occupy.
After Seneca, the next most noted of the ancient letter writers was Pliny the younger. And now we are brought down to the days of the Apostles and their Epistles. With a simple reverential allusion to the letters of St. Paul and the other immediate followers of our Lord, letters that teach men the way of salvation—we pass to a more modern consideration of our topic.
Letters can hardly be classified. They are of various sorts. Most of them, as schoolboys say, end in t-i-o-n, tion. There are Letters of Introduction; Letters of Congratulation; Letters of Consolation; Letters of Invitation; Letters of Recommendation; Letters of Administration. There are, moreover, letters of friendship, business letters, letters of diplomacy, letters of credit, letters patent, letters of marque (apt also to be letters of mark), and love letters—the last being by no means least.
Let not the gentle reader imagine from this enumeration than we are going to be so tedious as to divide the remainder of this article into heads, and to treat of each one of these kinds of letters in its turn. No; our object is, by indicating thus the number of sorts, to elucidate the importance of letters, and to prove that, if their writing be not, like that of poetry, ranked among the fine arts, it well deserves to be. For what more admirable accomplishment can there be—what is of more importance often than the proper composing of letters? Many a reputation is made or marred by a single epistle. Great consequences follow in the train of a single epistle. The pen is mightier than the sword. How well may our readers remember one brief letter of Henry Clay (clarum et venerabile nomen!), who, when a candidate for the Presidency, wrote many excellent letters, and too many—so many, indeed, that his adversaries indulged in pointless ridicule, and called him 'The Complete Letter Writer.' We allude, of course, to that brief letter to certain importunate individuals in Alabama, which lost for him the decisive and final vote of New York, and made Mr. Polk President—its consequences being the war with Mexico, the acquisition and annexation of California, the discovery of the gold mines—working an utter change in the political and commercial fortunes of the world, which would probably never have taken place, or, at least, not in our century, but for that one brief Alabama letter! It is, we believe, fully conceded that the safest rule for becoming Chief Magis[Pg 652]trate of our country is never to write a letter.
Many a man and woman, who has written a letter and posted it, wishes ardently that it could be recalled; and many a one who has something disagreeable to say, and is obliged to say it in a letter because he has promised to write, wishes that he could send the letter in blank—like Larry O'Branigan to his wife Judy, when he was constrained to inform her that he had been dismissed from his place, thus done into verse by the bard of Erin:
'As it was but last week that I sent you a letter,
You'll wonder, dear Judy, what this is about,
And, troth, it's a letter myself would like better,
Could I manage to leave the contents of it out.'
Excellent, by the way, as this Hibernicism is, it is not so perfect as the following, which it would be difficult for the most accomplished of Paddies to surpass. A man, dying, wrote an epistle, in which, stating that he was near death, he took an affectionate farewell of his friends. He left the letter open on a table near him, and expired before he had time to complete it. His attendant, just after his demise, taking up the defunct's pen, in which the ink was scarcely yet dry, added, by way of postcript, or rather post-mortem-script: 'Since writing the foregoing, I have died.'
There is more philosophy than one would at first imagine in the apology of him who said that his pen was so bad it could not spell correctly. To write a letter as it should be in all respects, to be what it ought to be, orthographically, grammatically, rhetorically right, there should be a good pen, good paper, good ink. Many a pleasant correspondence has been marred by want of these adjuncts; many an agreeable thought arrested; many a composition, happily begun, hurried to an abrupt conclusion. And how many delightful letters have been omitted or neglected to be written by their want! We are not jesting. These concomitants, together with nice envelopes, are as requisite to a respectable epistle as becoming costume is to a lady. When we see a scrawling hand on coarse paper, ill folded, worse directed, and ending, 'Yours in haste,' we think but little of the writer. Such a one may complain of being in a hurry, but ladies and gentlemen should always take time to do well whatsoever they do at all. No letters should be written 'in haste' except angry ones, and the faster they are 'committed to paper' the better. We have found it a capital plan, when in hot wrath, to sit directly down and scratch off a furious letter, and then, having thus committed our ire to the paper, to commit that to the flames. The process is highly refrigerant, in any state of the weather.
Nothing can be more false than the phraseology of most letters. Many a letter is commenced with 'dear,' when the writer, if he dared express his real sentiment, would use a very opposite word. But, be the sentiments of a letter what they may, true or false, real or affected, it is the desire of the present writer to insist upon the indispensable neatness of letters—that they should be externally faultless, however defective inside. We regret to record the unpleasant fact that our American ladies seldom write good hands, whereas a fair chirography is properly considered as among the very first accomplishments for a well-educated girl in England. Who ever saw a letter from a true English lady that was not faultless in its details? What nice, legible penmanship! How happily expressed! How trim and pretty a cover! How beautiful and classic a seal! Very different these from the concomitants of half a sheet of ruled paper, scrawled over as if chickens had been walking upon it, and folded slopingly, and held loosely together by a wafer!
It is an affectation of many lawyers[Pg 653] and most literary people to write ill, probably to create an impression that such is the vast importance of their occupations and lucubrations that they have not time to attend to so minor a matter as penmanship. A certain highly distinguished counsellor of Massachusetts was said to have written so badly that he could not comprehend his own legal opinions after he had put them on paper. Now such affectation is in very poor taste. Those who cannot write fairly and legibly had better go to school and practise until they can. Incomprehensible writing is as bad as incomprehensible speaking. A clear enunciation is scarcely more important than a plain hand. A lawyer, in speaking, may as well jumble his words so together that not one in fifty can be understood, as in writing to scrawl and run them about so that not one in fifty can be read.
What a world of content or of unhappiness lies within the little fold of a letter! Hark! There is the postman's ring at the door, sharp, quick, imperative; as much as to say, 'Don't, keep me standing here; I'm in a hurry.' How your heart beats! It has come at length—the long-expected letter; an answer to a proposal of marriage, perhaps; a reply to an urgent inquiry concerning a matter of business; information with regard to some near and dear relative; a bulletin from the field of battle; what the heart sighs for, hopes for—fears, yet welcomes—desires, yet dreads. You seize the letter. Has it a black seal? Yes? The blood leaves your cheeks and rushes to its citadel, frozen with fear, and in your ear sounds the knell of a departed joy. No? Then you heave a long sigh of relief, and gaze for a moment at the missive, wondering from whom it can be. Your doubts are soon resolved, and you rest satisfied or you are disappointed. Recall the emotions which you have experienced in opening and reading many a letter, and you will acknowledge that fate and fortune often announce their happiest or sternest decrees through a little sheet of folded paper. Have you not thought so, wife, when came the long looked-for, long hoped-for, long prayed-for—with so many sighs and tears, such throbbing, and such sinking of the heart—letter from your husband, telling the fruition of his schemes, and the prospect of his speedy return? Have you not thought so, mother, when your son's letter came, assuring you that your early teachings had been blessed to him; and, though perchance surrounded by the temptations of a great city or a great camp, he had found that 'peace which passeth understanding?' Have you not thought so, O happy damsel—yes! that blush tells how deeply—when his letter came at last, that letter which told you you were beloved, and that all his future felicity depended upon your reply? And that soft reply—how covered with kisses, how worn in that pocket of the coat in which it can feel the beatings of the precordial region! And not of you alone, ye refined and accomplished lovers—but of swains and sweethearts are the letters dear. Nothing more prized than such epistles, commencing with: 'This comes to inform you that I am well, saving a bad cold, and hope you enjoy the same blessing,' and ending:
'My pen is poor, my ink is pale,
My love for you shall never fail.'
Assuredly, if there can be unalloyed happiness in this world, it appertains to those dear and distant friends, parted from one another by intervening ocean or continent, at those moments of mental communion which are vouchsafed by long and loving letters. Ah, how would the bands of friendship weaken and drop apart if it were not for them! They brighten the links of our social affections; they freshen the verdure of kind thoughts; they are like the morning dew and the evening rain to filial, conjugal, fraternal, paternal and parental love![Pg 654]
Let us now pass on to say something concerning those different kinds of letters that we named. Letters of diplomacy are affairs in which words are used for the purpose of concealing or obscuring the author's meaning, and which always conclude: 'Yours, with distinguished consideration.' To this species of epistle, the 'non-committal style,' of which the late Martin Van Buren was reputed to be a perfect master, is best adapted. Diplomatists seldom desire to be comprehended; but occasionally, when they do, how luminously plain they can be! Witness that celebrated letter which Mr. Webster dictated to Edward Everett, and the latter put on paper to be sent to Austria's minister, the Chevalier Hulsemann. The 'distinguished consideration' of that discomfited official was exercised to an unpleasant extent; and the result is that Austria has ceased to instruct this republic.
Nothing is more difficult to compose than a letter of consolation or condolence. The more earnestly you desire to express sympathy and impart solace, the more impossible it seems to find gentle and appropriate terms. You would shun commonplaces and avoid sermonizing. You wish to say something simple, kind, soothing. And yet the reflection of how far short of the exigencies of the grief you would mitigate, fails your best and most effectual efforts, oppresses and restrains your pen.
Of letters of business, it is quite well to say as little as they say themselves: 'Yours received; contents noted. Yours, &c.' As brevity is the soul of wit, so is it the soul of a business letter—the argument of which should be ad rem, to the matter; cum punctu, with point.
Letters of invitation and congratulation are often mere formalities, although there is a way of infusing kindness, courtesy, and sincerity into them, especially into the latter, which ought at least to seem to be in cordial earnest.
Letters of introduction and recommendation are very difficult to write, because most people endeavor to give an original turn to their expressions. After all, it is judicious, in the composition of such affairs, to follow the briefest and most usual formulas, unless, indeed, you desire to introduce and recommend some particular person in downright reality, and then the farther you deviate from mere customary expressions the better. And if you are truly in earnest, you need be at no loss what to say: the words will suggest themselves.
Letters of friendship may be divided into two sorts—real and pretended. A real letter of friendship commends itself directly to the heart. There is a warm, genial glow about it, as welcome as the blaze of a hickory or sea-coal fire to one coming in from the cold, bitter breeze of a December night. It makes one philanthropic and a believer in human goodness. What cheer—what ardent cheer is there in a letter unexpectedly received from an old friend between whom and one's self roll years of absence, or stretch lands and seas of distance! It is like a boon from the very heaven of memory. But a pretended letter of friendship—how easily detected! how transparent its falsity! The loadstone of love touches it, and finds it mere brass. Its influence is icy and bleak, like the rays of the moon, from which all the lenses on earth cannot extract one particle of heat.
And what can be said of love letters—those flowers of feeling, those redundant roses of recapitulation? There is one strain running through their first parts, and then—da capo. They are the same thing, over and over and over again, and then—repeat. Yet are they never wearisome to those who write or to those who acceptably receive. They are like the interviews of their writers, excessively stupid to everybody else, but exquisitely charming to themselves; that is, real love letters; not those absurd things—amusing from their very[Pg 655] absurdity—which novelists palm off upon innocent readers as the correspondence of heroes and heroines. Verily is there a distinction between letters written by lovers and love letters. The former may be deeply interesting to uninterested readers, while the latter are the very quintessence of egotistical selfishness; for, indeed, lovers may sometimes write about other matters besides love, as, for example, in the famous epistles of Abelard and Héloïse.
'Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banish'd lover or some captive maid;
They live, they breathe, they speak what love inspires,
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires;
The virgin's wish without her fears impart,
Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart;
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole.'
About the other kinds of letters which have been enumerated, we shall have nothing to say; because they are letters rather in name than in reality.
The fashion prevalent in modern days, to publish on the demise of an author pretty much all his private correspondence, proves the general interest which is felt in mere letters. Many of these are utterly worthless, vastly inferior to those which constantly pass between friends on the topics of the hour or their own affairs. It is charitable to conjecture that their writers never imagined that they could be exposed in print, or would not be burned as soon as read. And yet, with what avidity are they conned and discussed! Look at the letters of Lord Byron, Moore, and Campbell. How much brainless twattle do they contain, amid a few grains of wit and humor. What mere commonplace! Editors may as well publish every word a man says, as what he writes familiarly in his dressing gown and slippers. We have not a doubt that by far the best letters ever written still remain unpublished. There are many printed volumes of travels very inferior to those which could be made up from the letters of private persons abroad, composed purely for the delectation of friends. There is hardly anything so difficult in writing as to write with ease. They who write letters on purpose to be published, feel and show a constraint which a mere private correspondent never entertains nor exhibits.
The war in which we are engaged has brought forth whole hosts of correspondents. They come not single spies, but in battalions. None of these letters, so far as we have read, can boast of any striking or peculiar excellence. Their great fault is their immense prolixity. Their words far outnumber their facts. An editor having once complained to a writer of the inordinate length of his composition, the writer replied that he had not had time to make it shorter. This is doubtless the trouble with our army letter writers. They are forced to write currente calamo—sometimes on the heads of drums, and not unfrequently are such epistles as full of sound and fury and as empty as the things on which they are written. The best of these correspondents so far is the somewhat ignominious Mr. Russell, of the London Times; the only one, indeed, who has achieved a reputation. Mr. Charles Mackay, his successor (heu! quantum mutatus ab illo), writes letters that are poorer, if possible, than his poems; he has just sufficient imagination to be indebted to it for his facts. As for his opinions, he seems to gather them, like a ragpicker, from political stews, reeking with the filth of treason and foul with the garbage of secession.
So far as literary merit goes, we regret to give our verdict in favor of correspondents for the Southern journals. They write with greater facility, greater elegance, and greater force than our own too voluminous reporters. But, as much as they have figured, it is not probable that they will live in print. They are like exha[Pg 656]lations over a battle field—touched briefly by the hues of sunlight, then fading, rolling off, and vanishing in the distance.
Of all the methods of acquiring a good English style, there is no practice so beneficial as that of frequent and familiar letter writing. Because your object in writing to a friend is to make yourself perfectly clear to him, therefore you make use of the simplest, plainest, readiest words—and such are ever the best for an essay, sermon, lecture, or even oration. This practice imparts ease and perspicuity, and it teaches that writing ought to be and may be as little difficult as conversation. It teaches every one not to say anything till he shall have something to say. A want of something to say is generally not felt in writing letters, especially by ladies; but it would seem to be a great pity that there are so many words in our language; for, whenever one desires to say anything, three or four ways of saying it run in one's head together, and it is hard to choose the best! It is quite as puzzling to a lady as the choice of a ribbon or a—husband. But let us earnestly advise all fair letter writers to lessen their perplexity by restricting themselves to words of home manufacture. They may perhaps think it looks prettily to garnish their correspondence with such phrases as de tout mon cœur. Now, with all my heart is really better English; the only advantage on the side of the former expression is that it is far less sincere. French silks and French laces may be superior, but it is much better to make use of the English language. Whenever there is any doubt between two words or expressions, choose the plainest, the commonest, the most idiomatic. Let ladies eschew fine phrases as they would rouge; let them love simple words as they do native roses on their cheeks. A true lady should be emulous to deserve that praise which the old poet Chaucer bestows on his Virginia:
'Though she were wise as Pallas, dare I sain
Her faconde eke full womanly and plain,
No contrefeted terms hadde she
To semen wise; but after her degree
She spake; and all her wordes more or less
Sounding in virtue and in gentilesse.'
Exquisite examples of this pure, mother English are to be found in the speeches put by Shakspeare into the mouths of his female characters.
'No fountain from its rocky cave
E'er tripped with foot more free;'
never were its waters clearer, more translucent, or more musical. This is indeed the peculiar beauty of a feminine style—choice and elegant words, but such as are familiar in well-bred conversation; words, not used scientifically, but according to their customary signification. It is from being guided wholly by usage, undisturbed by extraneous considerations, and from their characteristic fineness of discernment with regard to what is fit and appropriate, as well as from their being much less influenced by the vanity of fine writing, that sensible, educated women have a grace of style so rarely attainable by men. What are called the graces of composition are often its blemishes. There is no better test of beauties or defects of style than to judge them by the standard of letter writing. An expression, a phrase, a figure of speech, thought to be very splendid in itself, would often appear perfectly ridiculous if introduced in a letter. The rule of the cynic is a pretty good one, after all: In writing, when you think you have done something particularly brilliant, strike it out.
We are pretty well persuaded that authors are but poor judges of their own productions. They pride themselves on what they did with most labor. It is not good praise of any work to say that it is 'elaborate.' An author's letters are not apt to be labored, 'to smell of the lamp;' and they are, therefore, in general, his best specimens. In letter writing there will be found a facility, a freedom from constraint, a[Pg 657] simplicity, and a directness, which are the capital traits of a good style. Of Shakspeare it is said, in the preface to the first edition of his works: 'His mind and hand went together, and what he thought he uttered with that easiness, that we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers.' Shakspeare did not, therefore,
'Write with fury, and correct with phlegm;'
but he wrote straightforwardly and naturally, as they do who assiduously practise letter writing.
Come, gentle Snowdrop, come; we welcome thee:
Shine, fiery Crocus, through that dewy tear!
That thou, arrayed in burnished gold, may'st be
A morning star to hail the dawning year.
Now Winter hath ta'en Summer by the hand,
And kissed her on her cheek so fair and clear;
While Spring strews bridal blossoms o'er the land
To grace the marriage of the youthful year.
The blackbird sings upon the budding spray,
I hear the clarion tones of chanticleer,
And robins chirp about from break of day,—
All pipe their carols to the opening year.
The butterfly mounts up on jewelled wing,
Risen to new life from out her prison drear:
All Nature smileth;—every living thing
Breaks forth in praises of the gladsome year.
Down in the sheltered valley, Mayflowers blow,—
Their small, sweet, odorous cups in beauty peer
Forth from their mother's breast in softened glow,
To deck the vestments of the princely year.
And splendid flowers in richly-colored dress
Will bloom when warm winds from the south shall veer:
And clustering roses in their gorgeousness
Shall form a coronet for the regal year.
Rejoice, O beauteous Earth—O shining Sea!
Rejoice, calm Summer sky, and all things dear:
Give thanks, and let your joyful singing be
An anthem for the glories of the year.
The American crisis, actual and impending; the causes which have led to it through the years that have passed; the consequences which must flow from it; the new responsibilities which it devolves on us as a people in the practical sphere; the new theoretical problems which it forces upon our consideration—everything, in fine, which concerns it, constitutes it a subject of the most momentous importance. The greatest experiment ever yet instituted to bring the progress of humanity to a higher plane of development is being worked out on this continent and in this age; and the war now progressing between the Northern and the Southern States is, in a marked sense, the acme and critical ordeal to which that experiment is brought.
First in order, in any methodical consideration of the subject, is the question of the causes which have led to this open outburst of collision and antagonism between the two great sections of a common country, whose institutions have hitherto been—with one remarkable exception—so similar as to be almost identical. Look at the subject as we will, the fact reveals itself more and more that the one exception alluded to is the 'head and front of this offending,' the heart and core of this gigantic difficulty, the one and sole cause of the desperate attempt now being waged to disturb and break up the process of experiment, otherwise so peacefully and harmoniously progressing, in favor of the freedom of man. There is no possibility of grappling rightly with the difficulty itself, unless we understand to the bottom the nature of the disease.
When the question is considered of the causes of the present war, the superficial and incidental features of the subject—the mere symptoms of the development of the deep-seated affection in the central constitution of our national life—are firstly observed. Some men perceive that the South were disaffected by the election of Abraham Lincoln and the success of the Republican party, and see no farther than this. Some see that the Northern philanthropists had persisted in the agitation of the subject of slavery, and that this persistency had so provoked and agitated the minds of Southern man that their feelings had become heated and irritated, and that they were ready for any rash and unadvised step. Others see the causes of the war in the prevalence of ignorance among the masses of the Southern people, the exclusion of the ordinary sources of information from their minds, the facility with which they have been imposed on by false and malignant reports of the intentions of the Northern people, or a portion of the Northern people. Others find the same causes in the unfortunate prevalence at the South of certain political heresies, as Nullification, Secession, and the exaggerated theory of State Rights.
A member of President Lincoln's cabinet, speaking of its causes, near the commencement of the war, says:
'For the last ten years an angry controversy has existed upon this question of Slavery. The minds of the people of the South have been deceived by the artful representations of demagogues, who have assured them that the people of the North were determined to bring the power of this Government to bear upon them for the purpose of crushing out this institution of slavery. I ask you, is there any truth in this charge? Has the Government of the United States, in any single instance, by any one solitary[Pg 659] act, interfered with the institutions of the South? No, not in one.'
But let us go behind the symptoms—let us dive deeper than the superficial manifestations—let us ask why is it that the South were so specially disaffected by the election of a given individual, or the success of a given political party, to an extent and with an expression given to that disaffection wholly disproportionate to any such cause, and wholly unknown to the political usages of the land? Why is the South susceptible to this intense degree of offence at the ordinary contingency of defeat in a political encounter? Why, again, does the persistent discussion or agitation of any subject tend so specially to inflame the Southern mind beyond all the ordinary limits of moderation—to the denial of the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and finally of the right of national existence itself to the North—except in conformity with preconceived opinions and theories of its own? Why were they of the South standing ready, as to their mental posture, for any or every rash and unadvised step? Why, again, are the Southern people uneducated and ignorant, as the predominant fact respecting a majority of their population? Why is the state of popular information in that whole region of a nominally free country, such as to make it an easy thing to impose upon their credulity and instruct them into a full belief in the most absurd and monstrous fabrications, or falsifications of the truth? Why were the ordinary sources of information excluded from their minds, more than from ours, or from the population of any other country? Why this fatal facility on the part of the Southern public for being misled by the designing purposes of ambitious demagogues; imbued with unjust prejudices; deluded into a murderous assault upon their best friends, and into the infliction of the most serious political injury upon themselves? Why, as a people, are they prompt to rush from the pursuits of peace into all the horrors and contingencies of war?—from the enjoyment of political freedom, at least nominal and apparent, into the arms of a military despotism, the natural and necessary ultimatum of the course which they have chosen to adopt?
The one and sole answer to all these questions is, Slavery. Some one has said, in speaking of the present crisis, that the sentiment of loyalty has never been prevalent at the South. This is a grand mistake. No people on the surface of the planet have more sincerely felt or more invariably and unflinchingly demonstrated loyalty than they. But it is not loyalty to the American Government, nor indeed to any political institutions whatsoever. It is loyalty to slavery and to cotton. No other ideas exist, with any marked prominence, at the South. The Northern people have never understood the South, and their greatest danger in the present collision results from that ignorance. The difference between the two peoples is indeed so wide that it is not equalled by that which exists between any two nations of Europe—if we except, perhaps, the Western nations and the Turks. The single institution of slavery has, for the last sixty or seventy years, taken absolute possession of the Southern mind, and moulded it in all ways to its own will. Everything is tolerated which does not interfere with it; nothing whatsoever is tolerated which does. No system of despotism was ever established on earth so thorough, so efficient, so all-seeing, so watchful, so permeating, so unscrupulous, and so determined.
The inherent, vital principle of slavery is irresponsible, despotic rule. The child is born into the exercise of that right; his whole mental constitution is imbued with its exercise. Hence for twenty or thirty years—not by virtue of law, but against law—the mails have been searched throughout the South for incendiary matter, with a[Pg 660] strictness of censorship unknown to any Government of Europe. Northern men and Europeans immigrating to the South have uniformly been quietly dragooned and terrorized into the acceptance of theories and usages wholly unknown to any free country;—quietly, only because the occasion for doing the same thing violently and barbarously had not yet arrived.
The two civilizations, North and South, are wholly unlike. Without the slavery of four millions of men, to be kept in subjection by a conspiracy to that effect, on the part of the whole free population—the lack of fidelity to which conspiracy is the only treason known in those regions—the existence of a people like the inhabitants of the Southern States would be a riddle incapable of solution. Slavery itself, is a remnant of barbarism overlapping the period of civilization; but, unlike the slaveries of the barbaric ages, American slavery has been stimulated into all the enterprising and audacious energy of this advanced and progressive age. It is an engine of ancient barbarism worked by the steam of modern intelligence. The character of the people which has been created under this rare and anomalous state of things is alike rare and anomalous. No other people ever so commingled in themselves the elements of barbarous and even savage life with traits of the highest civilization. No other community were ever so instinct with the life of the worst ages of the past, and so endowed with the physical and intellectual potencies of the present. The national character of the South is that of the gentlemanly blackleg, bully, and desperado. Courteous when polished, but always overbearing; pretentious of a conventional sense of honor—which consists solely in a readiness to fight in the duel, the brawl, or the regular campaign, and to take offence on every occasion; with no trace of that modesty or delicacy of sentiment which constitutes the soul of true honor; ambitious, unscrupulous, bold; dashing and expert; with absolutely no restrictions from conscience, routine, or the ordinary suggestions of prudence; false and, like all braggarts, cowardly when beaten; confident of their own strength until brought to the severest tests; capable of endurance and shifts of all kinds; awaiting none of the usual conditions of success—the Southern man and the Southern people are neither comfortable neighbors in a state of peace, nor enemies to be slightly considered or despised in war.
The anomalous character of Southern society, it cannot be too often repeated, is not understood and cannot be understood by the people of the North, or of Europe, otherwise than through the sharp experience of hostile and actual contact; nor otherwise than in the light of the inherent tendency and necessary educational influences of the one institution of slavery. Of the whole South, in degree, and of the Southwestern States preëminently, it may be said as a whole description in a single form of expression: They know no other virtue than brute physical courage, and no other crime than abolitionism or negro-stealing.
All this is said, not for the purpose of blackening the South, not from partisan rancor or local prejudice, or exaggerated patriotic zeal, but because it is true. It is not true, however, of the whole population of the South, nor true, perhaps, in the absolute sense of any portion. It is impossible to characterize any people without a portion of individual injustice, or to state the drift of an individual character even, without a like injustice to better traits, adverse to the general drift, and which, to constitute a complete inventory of national or personal attributes, should be enumerated. There is at the South a large counterpoise, therefore, of adverse statement, which might be, and should be made if the object of the present writing were a complete analysis of the subject. It is, however, not so, but a statement of the preponder[Pg 661]ance of public character and opinion in those States. As a people they have their countervailing side of advantage—a great deal of amiability and refinement in certain neighborhoods, so long as their inherent right of domination is not disputed. Men and women are found, all over the South, who as individuals are better than the institution by which their characters are affected, and whose native goodness could not be wholly spoiled by its adverse operation. Slavery, too, offers certain advantages for some special kinds of culture. We of the North, on the other hand, have our own vices of a kind not to be disguised nor denied; so that the present statement should not be mistaken for an attempt to characterize in full either population. It is simply perceived that the grand distinctive drift of Southern society is directly away from the democratic moorings of our favorite republican institutions; is rapid in its current and irresistible in its momentum; and that already the divergency attained between the political and popular character of the people at the North and the South is immense; that these constantly widening tendencies—one in behalf of more and more practical enlargement of the liberty of the individual; the other backward and downward toward the despotic political dogmas and practices of the ignorant and benighted past—have proceeded altogether beyond anything which has been seen and recognized by the people of the North; and that, consequently, the whole North has been acting under a misapprehension.
The spirit of the South is and has been belligerent, rancorous, and unscrupulous. The idea of settling any question by the discussion of principles, by mutual concessions, by the understanding, admission, and defence of the rights of each, is not in all their thoughts. They are inherently and essentially invaders and conquerors, in disposition, and so far as it might chance to prove for them feasible, would ever be so in fact. War with them is therefore no matter of child's play, no matter of courtesy or chivalry toward enemies, except from a pompous and theatrical show of a knightly character, which they do not possess;—it is simply a question of pillaging and enslaving, without let or hindrance from moral or humanitary considerations, to any extent to which they may find, by the experiment now inaugurated, their physical power to extend. The North, let it be repeated, entered into this war under a misapprehension of the whole state of the case. It is at the present hour, to a fearful extent, under the same misapprehension. There is still a belief prevailing that the South only needs to be coaxed or treated kindly or magnanimously to be convinced that she has mistaken the North; that she has not the grievances to complain of which she supposes she has, and that she can yet obtain just and equitable treatment from us. There is a tacit assumption in the minds of men that she must be content to receive the usage at our hands which we are conscious that we are ready to bestow, and which has in it no touch of aggressive and unjust intention. It is not realized that the spirit of the South, in respect to the North, in respect to Mexico, in respect to the islands of the sea, and—should their power prove proportionate to their unscrupulous piratical aspirations—in respect to all the nations of the earth, is that of the burglar and the highwayman. It is not realized that the institution of slavery—itself essential robbery of the rights of man; covering the area of half a continent, and the number of four millions of subjects; planted in the midst of an intellectually enlightened people, whose moral sense it has utterly sapped—is essentially a great educational system, as all-pervading and influential over the minds of the whole population as the common schools of New England; and that this grand educational force tends toward and culminates in this[Pg 662] same tendency toward robbery and the suppression of human rights or the individual and national rights of all other people—expressed in a collective and belligerent way. It is not, as said before, that all men at the South are of this filibustering cast; but the bold, enterprising, and leading class of the population are so, and the remainder are passive in their hands. Virtually and practically, therefore, the South are a nation of people having far more relationship in thought and purpose with the old Romans during the period of the republic and the empire, or with the more modern Goths and Vandals and Huns, than they have with the England or New England of to-day.
It is such a people, planted on our borders and aroused for the first time to an exhibition on a large scale of those abiding and augmenting national attributes and propensities which have thus been indicated, with whom we are now brought into hostile array. They are at present trying their hand at the collective and organic activities of a national cutthroatism which, in an individual and sporadic way, has for many years past constituted the national life of that people. Who at the North, at the commencement of the war, impressively understood these facts? Who even now sees and knows, as the fact is, that the military success of Jefferson Davis; that his triumphant march on Philadelphia, New York, and Boston—as they of the South threaten, and intend if they have the power, and have already twice unsuccessfully attempted—would terminate not, in a separation of these States by a permanent disruption of the old Union; nor in new compromises of any kind whatsoever; but in the absolute conquest of the whole North—not conquest even in any sense now understood among civilized people; but conquest with more than all the horrors which fourteen centuries ago were visited on Southern Europe by the overwhelming avalanche of Northern barbarian invasion?—that in that event, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of locomotion without question, freedom in any sense which makes life valuable to the man once educated into the conception of freedom, is lost?—that the whole progress of modern civilization and development, as it has been working itself out in the Northern American States, would not only be diverted from its course, but positively reversed and made to contribute all its accumulations of power to the building up, not of the temple of Freedom for the blessing of the nations, but of an infernal pantheon of Despotism and human oppression?
The North was forced, reluctantly and unwillingly, into this war: with her as yet it has hardly become a matter of earnest. She has endeavored to carry it on considerately and tenderly, for the well-being of the South as well as of the North, much in the spirit of a quiet Quaker gentleman unexpectedly set upon by a drunken rowdy, 'spoiling for a fight,' and whom in his benevolence and surprise, he is anxious indeed to restrain, but without inflicting on him serious injury. In an especial degree was this tenderness felt on the part of the Government and people of the North toward that peculiar institution of the South which is distinctively known to be, in some way, fundamentally related to this unprovoked and unreasonable attack. While the South was attributing to the whole North a rabid abolitionism; while the North itself was half suspecting that it had committed some wrong in the excess of its devotion to human rights; the simple fact on the contrary was, that the whole North had been and was still 'psychologized' into a positive respect for slavery, and for slaves as property, which we feel for no other species of property whatsoever. The existence of this sentiment of veneration for what our Abolition apostles have for some years been denominating the 'sum of all villanies,' is a curious[Pg 663] fact in the spiritual history of our people, which had very generally escaped critical observation.
At the South, the individual planter, owning and possessing ten slaves, of an aggregate value, it may be, of ten thousand dollars, ranks higher, socially, is regarded indeed, in some subtile way, as a richer man, than the merchant or banker who may be worth his hundred thousand or half million of dollars, provided he has no slaves. To come to be the owner of negroes, and of more and more negroes, is the social ambition, the aristocratic purpose and pretension of the whole Southern people. It is by virtue of this mystical prestige of the institution itself; which couples the charms of wealth with the exercise of authority, or a certain show of official supremacy on the part of the master; which begins by subjugating the imagination of the poorer classes, the whites throughout the South, whose direct interests are wholly opposed to those of the slaveholding class, and ends by subjecting them, morally and spiritually, and binding them in the bonds of the most abject allegiance to the oligarchy of slaveholders. It is in this way that the South is made a unit out of elements seemingly the most incongruous and radically opposed. For a series of years past, the South has sent forth its annual caravan of wealthy planters to visit the watering places, and inhabit the great hotels of the North. Coming in intimate contact with the superior classes of our own population; floating up in the atmosphere of serene self-complacency; radiating, shedding down upon those with whom they chanced to associate, the ineffable consciousness of their own unquestionable superiority; they have communicated without effort on their part, and without suspicion on the part of those who were inoculated by their presence, the exact mould and pressure of their own slaveholding opinion. To this extent, and in this subtile and ethereal way, the North had imposed upon it, unconsciously, a certain respect, amounting to veneration, for what may be called the sanctity of slavery, as it rests in and constitutes the aromal emanation from every Southern mind. Hence not only did we begin this war with the feeling of tenderness toward the Southern man and the Southern woman as brother and sister in the common heritage of patriotism, but, superadded to this, with a special sentiment of tenderness toward that special institution for which it is known that they, our brethren, entertain such special regard.
Now all this is rapidly changing; the outrages inflicted on citizens of the North residing at the South at the opening of the war—hardly paralleled in the most barbarous ages in any other land;—their reckless and bloodthirsty methods of war; their bullying arrogance and presumption; the true exposition, in fine, of the Southern character as it is, in the place of a high-toned chivalry which they have claimed for themselves, and which the people of the North have been tacitly inclined to accord—are all awakening the Government and the people to some growing sense of the real state of the case. Still, however, we are so far dominated by these influences of the past, that we are not fighting the South upon anything like a fair approximation to equal terms. They have no other thought than to inflict on us of the North the greatest amount of evil; the animus of deadly war. We, on the other hand, fight an unwilling fight, with a constant arrière pensée to the best interests of the people whom we oppose—not even as we might construe those interests, but, by a curious tenderness and refinement of delicacy, for those interests as they, from their point of view, conceive them to be. We forbear from striking the South in their most vital and defenceless point, while they forbear in nothing, and have no purpose of forbearance.
Who doubts for a moment that a[Pg 664] thousand mounted men, acting with the freedom which characterized the movements of the detachment of Garibaldi in the Italian war, acting with the authorization of the Government, actuated by the spirit of a John Brown or a Nat Turner, sent, or rather let go, into the mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, or Georgia, with the authority to assemble and arm the slaves, retreating whenever assailed to the fastnesses of the mountains, would cause more terror in those States; would do more, in a word, toward the actual conquest in three months' time of those rebel commonwealths, than fifty or a hundred times their number organized in the regular forms of modern warfare, operating against the whites only, and half-committed to the coöperative protection of the institution of slavery, would accomplish in a year? Who doubts for a moment that, if the South could find a like vulnerable point in the openings of our armor, she would make, with no hesitation, the most fearful and tremendous use of her advantage? The whole North is aware of its possession, in its own hands, of this immense engine of destructive power over its enemy. The whole civilized world stands by, beholding us possessed of it, and expecting, as a simple matter of course, that we shall not fail to employ it—standing by indeed, perplexed and confused at the seeming lack of any significance in the war itself, unless we make use of the power at our command in this fortuitous struggle, not only to inflict the greatest injury upon our enemy, but to extinguish forever the cause of the whole strife. Still we forbear to make the most efficient use of our advantage. We for a long time embarrassed and partially crippled ourselves in all our movements by an almost unconscious sense of responsibility for the protection of this very institution of slavery from the disastrous consequences which were liable to fall upon it as the results of the war.
True, we are slowly and gradually recovering from this perversion of opinion. The Emancipation Proclamation was probably issued as soon, or nearly as soon, as the Northern sentiment was prepared to give it even a moral support. Another term had to expire to accustom the same public mind to appropriate the spirit of that document as matter of earnest; to come to regard it as anything more than a mere brutum fulmen, a Pope's bull, as President Lincoln once called it himself, against the comet. Up to this hour, its effect on the war has been far more as a moral influence preparing for a great change of opinion and of conduct, than as a charter of efficient operations. General Thomas's action at the South, just previous to the capture of Vicksburg, began experimentally to inaugurate, on something like an adequate scale, the new programme of practical work in the conduct of the war. Even a month earlier his movement would hardly have been tolerated by the same army, which, just then beginning to appreciate the tremendous difficulty of the enterprise of conquering the South, were ready to accept anything new which promised to augment their own strength and to weaken that of the enemy. Still another term of waiting and suffering is requisite to change the habit of mind which has so long despised and maltreated the negro, before he will be put, in all respects, upon the footing of his own merit as a patriot and a soldier; and before all of his uses as the severest goad in the sides of the hostile South will be fairly appreciated.
Thus in all ways we are only now in the midst of a revolution of opinion, which, when it is accomplished, will be seen to be the greatest triumph of the war. Though we have spoken of this change as slowly and gradually occurring, yet, viewed with reference to the long periods of a nation's life, it is an immense revolution almost instantly effected. We are perhaps already one half prepared adequately to use our tremendous advantage. New disasters[Pg 665] may be providentially requisite to quicken our education in the right direction; more punishment for our complicity in the crimes of the South; new incentives to a more perfect love of justice as a people; but every indication points to the early achievement of these substantial victories over ourselves, while, at the same time, we conquer the powerful array of Southern intrepidity and desperation, in behalf of their bad cause, upon the external battle field.
To resume the question of causes. Why is there, and why has there always been at the South this unfortunate prevalence of certain political heresies, as Nullification, Secession, and the exaggerated theory of State Rights?
The answer is still, slavery. The cause of causes, lying back of the whole wide gulf of difference in Northern and Southern politics is still, slavery. From the date of our Constitution, opinion has divided into two great currents, North and South, in behalf of paramount allegiance to the General Government at the North, and paramount allegiance to the several State Governments at the South. The resolutions of '98 and '99 began the public expression of a political heresy, which has gone on augmenting at the South from that day to this. At the North, the Government of the United States was never feared as likely to become injurious in any sense to the inhabitants of the States. Each State fell quietly and harmoniously into its true subordinate orbit, acknowledging gladly and without question the supremacy of the new Government, representative of the whole of the people, in simple accord with the spirit and intention of the Constitution and the Government which the people had formed. At the South, on the contrary, the United States Government was, from the first, looked upon with a suspicion plainly expressed in the speech, for example, of Patrick Henry, in the Virginia convention, which consented reluctantly that the State should come into the Union, lest the National Government might, in some unforeseen contingency, interfere with the interests of the institution of slavery. That fear, the determination to have it otherwise, to make the General Government, on the contrary, the engine and supporter of slavery, the propagandist of slavery, in fine; has been always, since, the animating spirit of Southern political doctrine. A doctrine so inaugurated and developed has endeavored to engraft itself by partisan alliance upon the Democratic party of the North, but always hitherto with an imperfect success. State Rights, as affirmed at the North, has never been a dogma of any considerable power, because it has rested on no substratum of suspicion against the General Government, nor of conspiracy to employ its enginery for special or local designs. At the South it has been vital and significant from the first, and it has grown more mischievous to the last. President Lincoln, in his first message, discussed, ably enough, the right of secession as a mere constitutional or legal right. Others have done the same before and since. The opinion of the lawyer is all very well, but it has no special potency to restrain the nocturnal activities of the burglar. All such discussions are, for the present behalf, utterly puerile. Secession, revolution, the bloody destruction and extinction of the whole nation, were for years before the war foregone determinations in the Southern mind, to be resorted to at any instant at which such extreme measures might become necessary; not merely to prevent any interference with the holy institution; but equally to secure that absolute predominance of the slaveholding interest over the whole political concerns of the country which should protect it from interference, and give to it all the expansion and potency which it might see fit to claim. So long as that absolute domination could be maintained within the administration of the Government, slavery and[Pg 666] slaveholders were content to remain nominally republican and democratic—actually despots and unlimited rulers. But a contingency threatened them in the future. The numerical growth of population at the North, the moral convictions of the North—both of these united, or some other unforeseen circumstance, might withdraw the operations of the General Government from their exclusive control. To provide for that possible contingency, the doctrine of paramount allegiance to the individual States, and secondary allegiance merely to the General Government—a perpetual indoctrination of incipient treason—was invented, and has been sedulously taught at the South from the very inception of the Government. Hardly a child in attendance upon his lessons in an 'old-field' schoolhouse throughout that region but has been imbued with this primary devotion to the interests of his State; certainly, not a young lawyer commencing to acquire his profession, and riding the circuit from county court-house to court-house, but has had the doctrine drummed into his ears, of allegiance to his State; and when the meaning and importance of that teaching was inquired for, he was impressively and confidentially informed that the occasion might arise of collision between the South and the General Government on the subject of slavery; and that then it would be of the last importance that every Southern man should be true to his section. Thus the way has been prepared through three generations of instruction, for the precise event which is now upon us, flaunting its pretensions as a new and accidental occurrence.
Meantime, the North has suspected nothing of all this. Her own devotion and loyalty to the General Government have been constantly on the increase, and she has taken it for granted that the same sentiments prevailed throughout the South. Hence the utter surprise felt at the enormous dimensions which the revolt so suddenly took on, and at the unaccountable defection of such numbers of Southern men from the army and the navy at the first call upon sectional loyalty. The question is not one of legal or constitutional rights in accordance with the literal understanding of any parchment or document whatsoever. The most triumphant arguments of President Lincoln or of anybody else have had in the past, and have now, no actual relevancy to the question at the South, and might as well be totally spared. It is purely and simply that the South are in dead earnest to have their own way, unchecked by any considerations of justice or right, or any other considerations of any kind whatsoever—less than the positive demonstration of their physical inability to accomplish their most cherished designs. Even in a technical way, the question is not most intelligibly stated as one of the right of secession; it is the bald question of Paramount Allegiance; it is so understood at the South. The whole action of the South is based upon a thorough indoctrination into a political dogma never so much as fairly conceived of at the North as existing anywhere, until events now developing themselves have revealed it, and which is not now even well understood among us. Back of this indoctrination again, and the sole cause of it, is the existence of the institution of slavery; its own instinct from the first that it had no other ground of defence or hope of perpetuation but physical force; its fears of invasion and its obstinate determination to invade.
The supposition has, until quite recently, extensively prevailed in the Northern mind that slavery is or was regarded at the South as a necessary evil, borne because it was inherited from the past and because its removal had become now next to impossible. A certain school of Northern philanthropists, headed, we believe, by Elihu Burritt, had gone so far, previous to the war, as to form a society and appeal to the Northern people for aid to[Pg 667] enable their Southern brethren, through such aid, and finally, perhaps, through the interposition of the General Government, to rid themselves of this monster evil. This handful of kindly individuals must soon have discovered, had they come into actual contact with the prevailing sentiment of the South, that their whole movement was based upon a misapprehension of that sentiment. Thirty-five years ago, and before the Northern abolition movement had taken root in the land, it was a pleasant fiction for the Southern mind to speak deprecatingly of the blame which they otherwise might seem to incur in the mind of mankind for adhering to their barbarous institution; to plead their own conviction of its entire wrongfulness, and to commiserate themselves for their utter inability to free themselves from its weight. A certain considerable freedom of discussion in relation to its abstract merits was allowed, with the tacit condition imposed, however, just as really though not as consciously as now, that slavery itself must not be disturbed. Talk which had in it any touch of genuine feeling in favor of active exertion to rid the country of the institution as an evil, was then as effectually tabooed as it is to-day, with some minor exceptions on the borders of the slaveholding region, in Baltimore, North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, etc., and with the further exception when Virginia was terrified for a few weeks or months by the results of a desperate insurrection. On the strength of these few exceptions, it has been claimed at the South, and still more persistently by Southern sympathizers at the North, that the whole drift and tendency of things at the South prior to the commencement of the abolition agitation at the North were toward gradual emancipation, and that they would have ultimated at an early day in that result. This, too, is a pleasant fiction with the least possible percentage of truth at the bottom of it.
The institution of slavery, under the stimulus given to it by the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, and the consequent development of the cotton-growing industry—aided, curiously enough, in a certain sense, by the prohibition of the African slave trade, giving rise to the slave-rearing business in Virginia and Maryland—has all along been exhibiting a steady, sturdy, and rapid growth. By the alliance, accidentally as it were, resulting from the prohibition of the slave trade, between the Southern and the Northern slaveholding States, a robustness and consistency were given to the whole slaveholding interest which possibly it might never have had under a different policy. If the foreign importation of slaves had continued, that species of population would gradually have overrun the cotton-raising border of States—would have overrun them to an extent threatening the safety of the institution there by its own plethora—while from the southern line of North Carolina and Tennessee northward, where this extra-profitable industry could not readily be extended, the temptation to the importation of slaves would have been slight, no market existing for the home increase. The hold of the institution would have been constantly weakened there in the affections of the white population; and, in those States, there is a seeming probability that white labor and free labor would have taken the place of the present system, as it did in the States farther north. This would have deprived the Southern belt of cotton-raising and negro-holding States of that sympathy which, under existing circumstances, they have steadily had from their more northern sisters, and favored an early extinction of the system. However this might have been, as things are and have been actually, it is certain that at no period has the growth of the slaveholding institution exhibited any weakness or defect of vitality. Like an infant giant, it has steadily waxed stronger and[Pg 668] stronger, and more and more arrogant and aggressive.
When the anti-slavery agitation commenced at the North, the parties who engaged in it had no consciousness of the immense magnitude and potent vitality of the institution against which they proposed to carry on a moral warfare. They supposed that, as a matter of course, they would find a universal sympathy throughout the North with doctrines in behalf of freedom, where freedom was the basis of all our institutions, and where, apparently, there was no alliance of interest, no possible reason for a sympathy with slavery or the denial of freedom to man. They were met unexpectedly by a powerful current of semi-slaveholding opinion pervading the whole area of the Free States, and ready to deny to them free speech or the rightfulness of any effort to arouse the people to a consideration of the subject. When, after some years of contest, this current of prejudgment was partially reversed, and their new thought began to find audience by the Northern ear; when, strengthened by numbers and the better comprehension of the subject by themselves; the increased determination and enthusiasm which arose from the esprit du corps; and the assurance—satisfactory to themselves at least—that they were engaged in a good cause; they began to grapple more directly with intensified and genuine pro-slavery sentiment at the South itself, they were astonished to find that, instead of battling with a weak thing, they had engaged in moral strife with one of the most mighty institutions of the earth.
Pro-slavery sentiment at the South, inherently arrogant and aggressive, as already said, was, at the same time and from the same causes, aroused to the consciousness of its own strength. Called on to answer for the unseemly fact of its existence in the midst of these modern centuries, when the world boasts of human freedom and progression, it began by blushing for its hideous aspect and uttering feeble and deprecative apologies. Not that it was at bottom ashamed of its existence, for slavery, like despotism of all sorts, is characteristically self-confident and proud; but because it had been allowed to grow up under protest in the midst of free institutions, and among a people conscious of the incongruity of the relationship existing between them and it; and had so contracted the habit of apology, and the hypocritical profession of regret for its own inherent wrongfulness. Provoked, however, to try its strength against the feeble assaults of the new friends of freedom, finding all its demands readily yielded to, and itself victorious in every conflict, it soon threw off its false professions of modesty, pronounced itself free from every taint of wrong-doing, claimed to be the very corner stone and basis of free institutions themselves, the condition sine qua non of all successful experiment in republican and democratic organizations, and became boldly and openly the assailant and propagandist, instead of occupying any longer the position of defence. Then followed the various attempts to overthrow and extinguish free speech in the capital of the nation by the use of the bludgeon, to extend slavery by illegal and bloodthirsty means over the soil of Kansas, to strengthen the enactments of the fugitive slave law by new and more offensive provisions, and to cause the authority of the Slave Power to be openly and confessedly recognized throughout the whole land, as it had been for years secretly and warily predominant. The opposition to these measures of aggression ceased to be wholly confined to the mere handful of technical abolitionists, and to spread and to take possession of the minds of the whole people, exciting surprise and alarm, and arousing them to some slight efforts at resistance. With this rising tendency to resist arose in like measure the tendency of the slaveholding power to invade. The alternative was quietly[Pg 669] but resolutely chosen in the minds of the leading politicians of the South to 'rule or ruin.' Preparation was made for retaining the absolute control of the General Government at Washington, and for extending the influence of the peculiar institution over the whole North and all adjacent countries, so long as that policy should prove practicable; and, if by any contingency defeated in it, to break up the Union as it existed, and reconstruct it upon terms which should place the slaveholding aristocracy in that front rank of authority without question, to which, as a settled conviction, ever present and dominant in their minds, they alone, of all men, are preëminently entitled.
Accordingly they imposed their weight more and more heavily upon the successive administrations from Van Buren down to Buchanan, and were encouraged to find that, in proportion as they pressed harder in their demands, proportionate concessions seldom failed to be made. The reaction at the North was nevertheless steadily progressing. Wisely perceiving that the first part of their programme of action had nearly served its day; that preparation must be made for entering on the second and more desperate part of their conspiracy against free government; they forced on the crisis at the Democratic Convention in Charleston, by demanding terms which, with the fire in the rear now regularly organized and steadily operative at the North, that party could not accede to, without consenting to its own death. A disruption ensued of the unnatural alliance between the Southern oligarchy and the Northern Democracy, and the Southern leaders from that hour availed themselves of their sole remaining lease of power under the administration of Mr. Buchanan to strengthen their position by all means, honorable and dishonorable, for the coming conflict, which by them had been long planned or at least looked forward to, as the probable contingency. Having virtually the entire control of the General Government, they used their power for sending South the arms of the common country, for disposing the army and navy in such ways as to leave them in the least degree effective for opposing their designs; and with all the quietness and deliberation of a dying millionaire making his will, they prepared to begin the conflict which the lazy and confiding North had not even begun to suspect as among the possibilities of the future; and to begin it absolutely upon their own terms.
Enough has now been said, perhaps, in relation to the causes of the present war. The present stage of its development is such as might have been fairly anticipated from such a commencement. The South has had the advantage of earnestness and concentration of purpose; of a warlike and aggressive spirit; of prior preparation, and of a full knowledge from the first of the desperate nature of the enterprise upon which they were about to enter, with a readiness to meet all its contingencies, and, since the great uprising, with no anticipation of easy work. The North was hurried into a war for which it had no preparation, to which it had never looked as a serious probability, and for which it had been stripped in a great measure, through the pilfering policy of the South, of the ordinary means at its command. A peaceable and highly civilized people, among whom actual war upon its own soil had been unknown for nearly fifty years, and among whom the spirit of war, always so rife at the South, was opposed and neutralized by a thousand industrial and peaceful propensities, was suddenly called into the field. Uninstructed at first in the real nature of the conflict, regarding it as an unreasonable disaffection, and therefore necessarily limited in extent, not aroused even yet to a full consciousness of the momentous consequences involved in the struggle and its gigantic proportions, they have come to the work, in[Pg 670] a great measure, unprepared. Their condition at its commencement was even less favorable than that of the British nation at the commencement of the Russian war. Both of these great industrial peoples, with whom war had fallen among the traditions of the past, had to begin new struggles by learning anew the theory and practice of war. The Northern people rose, after the assault on Fort Sumter demonstrated to them that the South was in earnest, with the unanimity and power as of a single man, but bewildered and uncertain which way to turn, or how to grapple with the strange and unaccountable monster of rebellion which had suddenly precipitated himself among them. The whole habits of the nation had to undergo a violent and rapid change. A new educational experience had to be hurried through its successive courses of instruction. The gristle on the bone of the new military organization had to have time to harden. Sharp experiences had to be undergone, and will still have to be endured, as part of the price of tuition in the novel career to which we have been so unexpectedly called. Still, we have great power in reserve; no feeling of discouragement, no thought of abandoning the purpose of maintaining our integrity as a people, no sense of weakness possesses our minds. Great and triumphant successes are attending our arms. State after State, swept at first wholly or in part into the vortex of revolt, is again included within our military lines and brought back to a partial allegiance. New questions are rising into importance. We pass from the consideration of causes to that of results. It is a different and a difficult work to forecast the future. It is a perilous experiment to enact the prophet or seer, but in another paper we shall venture at least upon some suggestions which may have their uses in modulating that national destiny which none of us have the power actually to create or even to foretell.
'Do but grasp into the thick of human life! Every one lives it—to not many is it known; and seize it where you will, it is interesting.'—Goethe.
'Successful.—Terminating in accomplishing what is wished or intended.'—Webster's Dictionary.
Miss Arabella Thorne was the daughter of an old citizen of New York, a worthy man, a plumber by trade, who, by means of plenty of work, small competition, and high prices, managed to scrape together fifty or sixty thousand dollars, which from time to time he judiciously invested in real estate. Late in life he married a tall, lean, sour-visaged spinster, considerably past thirty, with nothing whatever to recommend her except that she belonged to one of the first families. The fact is, she was a poor relation, and had all her life been passed around from cousin to cousin, each endeavoring to shift the burden as quick as possible. As she grew older she became more fretful and ill tempered, until it was a serious question with all interested how to dispose of her. Of late years she had taken to novel reading, and when engaged with a favorite romance, she was so peevish and irritable, that, to use a common expression, there was no living with her.
Things were at this pass when Thorn[Pg 671] (he spelled his name without an e) was called to do some work at the house of Mr. de Silver, an uncle of the 'poor relation,' with whom she was then staying. This gentleman, who for years had been at his wits' end to know what to do with his niece, conceived the design of marrying her to Thorn, who was in good circumstances, and could give her a comfortable home. It so happened that she was at that time absorbed with a novel (she always fancied herself the heroine) where the principal character was called on to make a sacrifice, and by so doing married a nobleman in disguise. She therefore was ready; but it was not without some difficulty that Thorn was brought into the arrangement. However, the distinction of marrying so much above him, and the advantage which might avail to his children, overcame his natural good sense, and the 'poor relation' became Mrs. Thorn.
It is very certain that Mrs. Thorn would have been the death of her husband in a reasonably short period, had she not herself been suddenly cut off the second year of her married life, leaving an infant a few hours old, whom she named Arabella, after her last heroine, just as the breath was leaving her body.
Mr. Thorn buried his wife, and was comforted. He never married again. His eighteen months' experience was sufficient. He even consented to give up the direction of the infant, who would not be a poor relation like her mother, to Mrs. de Silver, who proceeded to look after it quite as she would one of her own children.
[And this was all because old Thorn was getting rich, and would probably not marry again, and Arabella would have his money.]
When Arabella was ten years old, her father died. By his will he made Mr. de Silver his executor, but prudently forbade any sale of his real estate till his daughter should be twenty-one, when she was to enter into possession. The personal property was ample for her meantime. Arabella grew up quite as the adopted child of the De Silvers. They had no daughter, but were blessed with three sons. The youngest was but ten years older than Arabella, for whom Mrs. de Silver had destined him. Miss Thorne (to whose name an e had been mysteriously added) bore a strong resemblance to her deceased mother, but there was one striking, I may say overwhelming difference between them. Mrs. Thorn had all her life been poor and dependent, and treated as such while thrown about from house to house for a precarious home. She was crossed and snubbed, and a naturally unamiable temper made a thousand times worse by the treatment she received. Arabella was rich and independent, and spoiled by over indulgence to her idle whims and caprices. For Mrs. de Silver, intent on making the match, did not dare cross her dear Arabella in the least thing. She was shrewd, and soon perceived that she controlled the situation, and did not hesitate to take advantage of it. In fact, she kept everybody dancing attendance on her. Fond of admiration to an absurd degree, she still had a constant suspicion that she was courted for her money. As I have said, in person she resembled her mother, but here wealth came in to do away with the resemblance. True, she was tall and angular, but she made up superbly, so that on looking at her one would exclaim: 'What a stylish woman!' True, her features were homely, and her complexion without freshness, but over these were spread the magic atmosphere of fashion and assured position. She had a consciousness which repelled any idea that she could be otherwise than handsome, fascinating, intelligent, and everything else desirable, and this consciousness actually produced, in a large majority, the pleasing illusion that she was really all these. But she was not. On the contrary, stripped of the gloss, she was censorious, supercilious, and selfish. Deprived[Pg 672] of her dressmaker, she was gaunt and unsightly. Separated from her position, she would have been unbearable. Arabella had many offers, of course, but she was too fond of her power and too suspicious of an attempt on her purse to yield easily. She was enough of a coquette not absolutely to destroy the hopes of an admirer, but managed to keep him dangling in her train. She had never absolutely discouraged young De Silver, but she would not commit herself even to Mrs. de S., who still fondly hoped that the money of the industrious plumber would come into her family. So matters ran on till Miss Thorne was of age. Mr. de Silver evidently did not suppose there was to be any change in the management of his ward's affairs. He was soon undeceived. The young lady, about two weeks after the event, asked for a private interview with her guardian, and very quietly, after a series of polite phrases, announced that from that time she should herself take charge of her own property. There was nothing in this to which Mr. de Silver could object. Beyond some advantages which he derived from its management, without injury to his ward, it was of no importance; but he was not a little mortified nevertheless. It looked as if there was a lack of confidence in his management, but he could only assent, and say his accounts were ready for her inspection. The truth is that Arabella had made some acquaintances who ranked a grade higher in the fashionable world even than the De Silvers. They had impressed her with an idea that it would add to her importance to have her own 'solicitor' and take on herself the management of her affairs. To this end she had consulted Mr. Farrar, a well-known and experienced lawyer, who had been recommended to her by one of her friends. Just then speculation in real estate was rife, and prices had reached an extravagant point. The first thing which Miss Thorne did under the advice of Mr. Farrar, was to sell from time to time, as opportunity offered, all the real estate which her father had left her, and invest it in personal securities. In this way a very large sum was realized, and Miss Thorne's labors soon reduced to the simple task of receiving her semi-annual dividends. Mr. Bennett had not overrated the value of her property when he pronounced her worth two hundred thousand dollars. On the contrary, it is probable one might add fifty thousand to the computation and be nearer the mark.
When Mrs. de Silver saw the independent course Miss Thorne was pursuing, she became still more assiduous in her efforts to please her dear Arabella. The latter, since it was still convenient to live with the De Silvers, was sufficiently amiable, but she never omitted an opportunity to show that she was her own mistress and intended to continue so. The De Silvers were Episcopalians, but they did not attend the most fashionable church. Miss Thorne very soon purchased an expensive pew in St. Jude's, and although Mrs. de Silver kept a carriage which was always at Miss Thorne's disposal, the latter set up a handsome brougham of her own. The young lady, after joining her new church, had determined to distinguish herself. She was not content with moderate performances. She aspired to lead. She kept at the very height of fashion. Yet St. Jude's had no more zealous member. She was an inveterate party goer, and nothing pleased her better than to have double engagements through the whole season; but the period of Lent found her utterly dévote—a most zealous attendant on all the ordinances of the Church. She was very intimate with Mr. Myrtle, and it is probable no one had half so much influence with her as the Rev. Charles Myrtle himself. She had her protégés also—generally some handsome young fellow about taking orders, whose devotion to Miss Thorne was perfectly excruciating. Time went on[Pg 673] and Miss Arabella Thorne was carried along in the train of the tyrant. With the passing years she became more intensely fashionable, more bigoted, more fond of admiration, more difficult to please. She had refused so many offers, while she had coquetted so much, that young men began to avoid her. This greatly increased her natural irritability; made her jealous of the success of every rising belle, censorious, ill natured in remark, and generally disagreeable. When Hiram Meeker first saw Miss Arabella Thorne in her pew at St. Jude's, the interesting young woman was (dare I mention it?) already twenty-eight. In respect to appearance, she had altered very little since she was eighteen. So much depended on her milliner, her dressmaker, her costumer, and her maid, and to their credit be it spoken, they performed their duty so well, that the 'ravages' of the fashionable seasons she had passed through were not at all visible. There were times when Miss Arabella Thorne would confess to herself that she ought to marry. But with every succeeding birthday came increased suspicion that she was sought only for her fortune.
Such was the position of affairs when the shrewd wholesale drygoods merchant, satisfied that all his cousin cared for in matrimony was money, conceived the idea of making a match between Hiram and the fashionable Arabella. It did not take the former long, after Mr. Bennett once explained just how things stood, to comprehend exactly the situation, and to form and mature his plans accordingly. He had committed a blunder, as Mr. Bennett termed it, in giving up Miss Tenant, but that was a conventional mistake, if, which it is very doubtful, Hiram ever admitted that it was a mistake. Here, however, he could bring his keen knowledge of human nature to play, and once understanding the character of Miss Thorne, he felt fully equal to the enterprise. In fact, Hiram was once more on his old ground, and he enjoyed the idea of the contest he was about to engage in.
Mr. Myrtle was fully enlisted on Hiram's side. He was much pleased with the addition of a wealthy, rising young man—and a proselyte besides—to his church. He feared that Miss Thorne might in time be lost to it by her marrying outside of his congregation. Here was a capital chance to secure her and add to his own influence and popularity.
He was too astute to approach the subject directly. Miss Thorne might be suspicious even of him. He would give her no opportunity. Mr. Myrtle was too polished and too refined a man, too dignified indeed, to even appear in the light of a match maker. But assurance was conveyed by Mrs. Myrtle to Mrs. Bennett, and thence via Mr. Bennett confidentially to Hiram, that Mr. Myrtle might be relied on to do everything in his power in the delicate business.
Thus fortified, and conscious of the aid of the Bennett family, which was a very strong point, our hero entered on the fall and winter campaign, resolved before it was over to secure the two hundred thousand dollars of the fashionable Arabella, and, as it must needs be, that inestimable person along with it.
I have mentioned their first sight of each other in church, and the curiosity of Miss Thorne to know who the young man in the next pew could be. And here Hiram's generalship must be specially noticed. Mrs. Bennett proposed to bring about an immediate introduction by arranging an accidental meeting at her house. This Hiram peremptorily objected to; and in speaking on the subject with Mr. Bennett, with whom all his conversations were held, he displayed such a subtle insight into the character, habits, and peculiarities of Miss Thorne, that Mr. Bennett was amazed. He afterward told his wife she must let Hiram have his own way, as the fellow knew more than all of them.
Two parties came off the following[Pg 674] week, to both of which Hiram was invited through the influence of the Bennetts. Miss Thorne was of course present. Hiram, now perfectly at his ease, and fashionably attired, made no insignificant display. He was introduced to a great many young ladies, and saluting two or three of the most attractive, he paid at different stages of the evening assiduous court to them. His waltzing was really superb [O Hiram, what a change!], and not a few inquired, 'Who is he?' Mrs. Bennett was really proud to answer, 'A cousin of ours. A very fine young man, indeed—very rich.'
Miss Thorne did not ask any questions—not she; but she quickly recognized in the waltzer the occupant of the pew who had already attracted her notice. She waited complacently for the moment when Hiram should be led up to her for presentation, and she had already decided just how she should receive him. She was resolved to ruffle his complacency, and thus punish him for not paying his first tribute to her charms; then, so she settled it, she would relax, and permit him to waltz with her.
When the evening passed, and the fashionable young man had made no demonstration, she was amazed. Such a thing had never happened before. To think he should not ask her, while he devoted half the evening to Miss Innis, who waltzed shockingly (every one knew that), and who had no money either!
She went home in a very uncomfortable state of mind.
The following Wednesday there was a repetition of this very scene. The party was even more brilliant than the last, Miss Thorne more exquisitely dressed, but Hiram kept aloof. Miss Thorne had never been slighted before—never. This evening she was tempted to waive her pride, and inquire of her dear friend Mrs. Bennett, with whom she saw Hiram conversing—but the thought was too humiliating, and she forbore.
How she hated the wretch!—that is, as women hate, and as men like to be hated. What should she do? Could she endure to attend another party, and be so treated? Why, the creature never even looked toward her! What right had he to dress so fashionably and to waltz with such ease, and in fact appear so well every way? To occupy quite by himself the very best pew in St. Jude's, directly in front of her! What audacity! Then his provoking nonchalance. Oh, what was she to do? She should go crazy. Not quite that. She would first inquire of Mr. Myrtle, in a very careless manner. So she ran in that same morning on the accomplished clergyman, and was speedily in a full gallop of conversation.
'By the way,' she exclaimed, at length, as if a new thought had suddenly struck her, 'pray, tell me, who is my new neighbor? I intended asking the last time I saw you, but forgot it.'
The Rev. Charles Myrtle looked completely mystified, and asked with his eyes, plainly as eyes could ask, 'Pray, what do you mean?'
'I see you don't take. I mean the new occupant of the Winslows' pew; some relation, I suppose.'
'Oh, no. He is a cousin of the Bennetts, a young merchant, who has purchased the pew.'
'Indeed? A good churchman, I hope, if he is to sit so near me.'
'I should judge so. I am but slightly acquainted with him. Mrs. Bennett, however, speaks of him in the most enthusiastic terms. She says he has but one fault (I mention it to save you young people from disappointment), which is, that he is not fond of ladies' society.'
'I know better,' interrupted Miss Thorne, betraying herself; for she was thinking of what she had witnessed at the two parties. Too much a woman of the world to blush or betray any embarrassment, she as quickly recovered, and added, laughingly, 'No one[Pg 675] can make me believe he takes all that pains with his dress for nothing.'
'Now I think of it, he does dress in very good taste,' said Mr. Myrtle carelessly. 'I think, however, what Mrs. Bennett meant to convey is that Mr. Meeker is not a marrying man. She says he is very rich, and has a horror of being caught, as it is called.'
'So then his name is Meeker,' replied Miss Thorne, with an absent air, as if she had paid no attention to Mr. Myrtle's concluding observation, though she had drunk in every word with eager interest.
'Yes. You will probably meet him at the Bennetts', though I do not think he would please you, Miss Arabella. [Mr. Myrtle knew the weakness of spinsters after reaching a certain age for being called by their first name.] You are too exegeante, my dear young lady, and Mr. Meeker is devoted to affairs.'
'I wonder Mrs. Myrtle does not return; she told me she would not be gone two minutes,' said Miss Thorne, with the air of complete indifference to what Mr. Myrtle was saying, which a fashionable thorough-bred knows so well how to assume.
'Here she is,' said Mr. Myrtle. 'I will leave you together, and go back to my labors. Good morning.'
Miss Thorne by this time was really very much excited; so much so that she could not resist speaking of Hiram to Mrs. Myrtle, though of course in the same accidental way in which she had inquired of her husband.
Mrs. Myrtle of course had much more to say in reply. All about Hiram's joining their church—what a good young man he was, how conscientious, how devoted to business, and how rich, and getting richer every day.
Miss Thorne drew herself up slightly, as if that could be of no consequence to her. Still she unbent directly, and said with an amiable smile, as if simply to continue the conversation, 'But Mr. Myrtle says he is a woman hater.'
'Oh, I think not so bad as that; but Mrs. Bennett says the ladies are all crazy about him, and he has a ridiculous suspicion that they are after his money.'
'The wretch!' exclaimed Miss Arabella, laughing.
'So I say,' rejoined Mrs. Myrtle. 'But the fact is, Mrs. Bennett says that Mr. Meeker thinks too much about business, and if he goes on in this way he will never get married, and she tells him she is determined he shall marry.'
'A very proper resolve!' exclaimed Miss Thorne in the same vein.
The conversation now turned on other topics, and after a few minutes Miss Thorne took leave in no very enviable state of mind. Here was a young man about to become one of the stars of fashion, rich, accomplished, quite in her own set, too; yet not a step had he taken toward securing her favor. Why, he might even outstrip her at St. Jude's! Then what would become of her? 'I wonder if he keeps Lent?' she muttered between her clenched teeth, as she walked along.
At that very moment, who should she encounter but Miss Innis, a charming, bewitching, and very fashionable young creature (so all the gentlemen said), to whom at the late parties, as I have already mentioned, Hiram had been devoted the larger part of the evening.
The ladies rushed toward each other and embraced in the most affectionate manner. The usual rapid chitchat ensued.
'What do you think of our new beau?' asked Miss Innis.
Now Miss Thorne was burning with envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness toward the young and rising belle, which was greatly increased by witnessing Hiram's extraordinary devotion to her. After the conversation with Mrs. Myrtle, she could no longer doubt the fact that he was soon to become of decided importance in the fashionable world. The moment[Pg 676] she saw Miss Innis approaching, she anticipated some such question as was now put to her, and knowing that through her dear friend Mrs. Bennett she could make Hiram's acquaintance at any time, she had decided how to treat it.
She replied therefore with considerable animation, and as if she knew at once to whom Miss Innis alluded: 'Oh, I think we shall make something of him before the season is over. I tell Mrs. Bennett she must cure him of some little provincialisms, however.'
'Provincialisms!' exclaimed Miss Innis, who prided herself on her family and aristocratic breeding, though she had not wealth to boast of; 'provincialisms! I confess I discovered none, and I certainly had a pretty good opportunity for judging. He waltzes divinely, doesn't he?'
The tantalizing minx knew very well that Miss Thorne could only judge by observation.
'He waltzes with much perfection, certainly,' replied Miss Thorne, with the air of a connoisseur, 'but I think a little stiffly.'
'Quite the reverse, I assure you. I never had a partner with whom it was so easy to waltz. He supports one so perfectly. I declare I am in love with him already. Arabella dear, I give you warning I shall try my best to engross his attention the entire season.'
She laughed as she said this, and Miss Thorne laughed; then these young women of fashion again embraced, and with smiles and amiable expressions went their way.
How suddenly the countenance of each then changed! That of Miss Innis gave unmistakable tokens of contempt and disgust, while Miss Thorne's face expressed a concentrated venom, which, if I had not myself often witnessed, I would not believe is in the power of woman to display.
The rencontre with Miss Innis was so unendurable that Miss Thorne resolved to proceed at once to Mrs. Bennett's, where she could get definite information. Her pride was beginning to give way before her jealousy of a rival.
Mrs. Bennett was at home, and welcomed her dear 'Arabella' with more than usual cordiality. A long conversation ensued before Miss Thorne could bring herself to broach the delicate subject. At last, and it had to be apropos of nothing, she said:
'Oh, I declare, I forgot. Do you know I am angry with you? Yes, very, very angry.'
Mrs. Bennett immediately put on the proper expression.
'Tell me, quick, all about it,' she said. 'I will do penance if I have given you cause.'
'Indeed, you have given great cause. You have undertaken to bring out a gentleman, and your own cousin, too, without presenting him to me, and I made up my mind never to speak to you again; but you see how I keep my resolution.'
'Poor Mr. Meeker!' exclaimed Mrs. Bennett. 'He little thinks in what trouble he has involved me.'
'But what have you to say for yourself?' persisted Miss Thorne.
'I declare, Arabella, I don't know what to say. Cousin Hiram is so odd and so obstinate on some points, although in most respects the best creature in the world.'
'Why, what can you mean?'
'I can hardly explain what I do mean. In short, while Cousin Hiram asks my advice in many matters, and, indeed, follows it; yet, where ladies are concerned, he is as obstinate as a mule.'
'But what has that to do with your not presenting him?'
'Well, since you must know,' hesitated Mrs. Bennett, 'he declined being introduced to you.'
'It is all through that hateful Mary Innis!' exclaimed Miss Thorne, reddening with rage. 'I know it. I am sure of it. Yes, I see through it all—all.'[Pg 677]
'I dare say,' returned Mrs. Bennett. 'I can't believe it either,' she continued. 'He is not so easily influenced. But, Arabella, my dear, think no more of the matter. You will like Mr. Meeker, I know, when you do meet, and all the more for any little obstacle at the beginning. I was just thinking how I could bring you together. What do you say to dropping in at—no, that won't do. I have it; come round this very evening and take tea with us. Mr. Meeker is almost sure to come in. He has not been here this week.'
'Arabella' had her little objections.
'Nonsense, my darling. I am determined you two shall become acquainted before Mrs. Jones's party, and that is next Thursday. Don't forget how fond you are of waltzing, and there Cousin Hiram is superb.'
'I know it,' said Miss Thorne, with a sigh. 'But won't it look strange?'
'Look strange to do what you have done so often, my darling! Now, Arabella, I won't take 'no' from you.'
'I consent,' said Miss Thorne, languidly. 'He won't be rude to me, will he?'
'Rude! why, Arabella, what do you take him for?'
The ladies separated in great good humor.
Miss Thorne, with a view to be revenged on Miss Innis, was determined to secure our hero on any terms. She was at Mrs. Bennett's at the appointed hour. On this occasion her toilette was elaborately simple. She always exhibited, not only great taste, but great propriety, in dress. On this occasion one might readily suppose that, running in for a brief call, she had been induced to prolong her stay.
About eight o'clock, who should arrive but Hiram! What a singular coincidence!
An introduction followed.
Miss Thorne was very natural. She appeared entirely at ease, receiving Hiram with quiet cordiality, as if he were a member of the family.
Hiram, on his part, did not exhibit any of those disagreeable qualities for which he received credit, but was apparently quite disarmed by the domesticity of the scene.
The conversation became general, and all joined in it. After a while Mr. Bennett withdrew to 'spend a half hour at the club,' assuring Miss Thorne he would return in ample time to hand her to her carriage. Presently the servant called Mrs. Bennett, and hero and heroine were left alone together.
There was an awkward pause, which was first broken by Arabella, when the conversation ran on much in this way:
'We are to have a very gay season, I believe.'
'I suppose you take a great interest in it?'
'Quite the contrary. I take very little.'
'Still, you seem to enjoy parties.'
'Why, yes. When I go, the best thing I can do is to enjoy them.'
'But you like to go, don't you?'
'I can scarcely say I do—sometimes, perhaps.'
'A person who waltzes as well as you do ought to like parties, I am sure.'
'I feel very much flattered to have you praise my waltzing.'
There was another pause. It was again broken by Miss Thorne.
'Do you know I think you so droll?'
'Me! pray, what is there droll about me?'
'Oh, I don't know. I can't tell. But you are droll—very droll.'
'Really, I was not conscious of it.'
'Were you aware that you occupy a seat directly in front of me in church?'
'Certainly; that's not droll, is it?'
'Well, yes; I think it is, rather. But that is not what I was going to say. Will you answer me one question truly? It will seem strange for me to ask it,' simpered Arabella; 'but you must know your cousin Mrs. Bennett and I are the dearest friends—the very[Pg 678] dearest friends; and meeting you here, it seems different, and I am not so much afraid of you.'
Hiram sat with eyes wide open, in affected ignorance of what could possibly come next.
'Now you put me out, indeed you do; I can never say what I was going to, in the world.'
'Do,' said Hiram, gently.
'Well, will you tell me why you refused to be introduced to me, and who it is that has so prejudiced you against me?'
'No one, I assure you,' replied Hiram.
'Then why did you decline the introduction? It is of no use to deny it; I know you did decline it.'
'I heard you were an heiress,' replied Hiram naively, 'and I don't like heiresses.'
'Why not, pray?'
'Oh, for various reasons. They are always such vain, stuck-up creatures. Then they are excessively requiring, and generally disagreeable.'
'You saucy thing, you,' exclaimed Miss Thorne, but by no means in a displeased tone.
'Then why did you ask me? I must tell the truth. I confess I did not want to make your acquaintance. Everybody was talking about Miss Thorne—Miss Thorne—Miss Thorne. For my part, it made me detest you.'
'Oh, you horrible creature,' said Arabella, now quite appeased.
'I don't deny it,' continued Hiram, pleasantly. 'I repeat, I can't bear an heiress. I wouldn't marry one for the whole world.'
'Because she would want her separate purse and separate property, and it would be her house, and her horses and carriage, her coachman, and so on. Oh no—nothing of that for me. I will be master of my own establishment.'
'What a savage you are! I declare it is as refreshing to hear you talk as it would be to visit a tribe of Indians.'
'You are complimentary.'
'You see I do you justice, though we are enemies. But tell me now that you have been introduced to me, do I seem at all dangerous?'
Hiram Meeker's countenance changed from an expression of pleasant badinage to one of sentimental interest, while he gazed abstractedly in the young lady's face, without making any reply.
Arabella's heart beat violently, she scarce knew why.
'You do not answer,' she said.
'I cannot tell,' said Hiram, dreamily; then, starting, as if from a revery, he said, in his former tone, 'Oh, your sex are all dangerous; only there are degrees.'
'I see you are not disposed to commit yourself. I will not urge you. But do you think you will be afraid to waltz with me at the next party?'
'It was the introduction I objected to, not the waltz.'
'Then you consent?'
'With your permission, gladly.'
'The first waltz at the next party?'
'The first waltz at the next party.'
It is not necessary to detail the conversation which ensued, and which was of a more general nature, referring to New York society, life à la mode, the reigning belles, then by an easy transition to Mr. Myrtle, and topics connected with St. Jude's. Soon they fell into quite a confidential tone, as church subjects of mutual interest were discussed, so that, when Mrs. Bennett returned to the room, it seemed almost like an interruption.
'I knew you two would like each other if you ever became acquainted,' said Mrs. Bennett, with animation.
'Pray, how do you arrive at any such conclusion?' replied Miss Thorne, in a reserved tone, while she gave Hiram a glance which was intended to assure him she was merely assuming it.
'Oh, never mind, my dear; it is not of so much consequence about your lik[Pg 679]ing Hiram. You may detest him, if you please, but I am resolved he shall like you, for you are my pet, you know.'
Arabella looked affectionate, and Hiram laughed.
'Oh, you may laugh as much as you please; men cannot understand our attachments for each other, can they, Arabella?'
'That is true enough,' quoth Hiram.
After Mr. Bennett came in, a handsome little supper was served. That concluded, Hiram waited on Miss Thorne to her carriage.
'I shall expect you to take back all the naughty things you have said about me to your cousin,' she said, very sweetly, after she was seated.
'About you, yes; but not about the heiress. But—but if you were not one, I do think I should like you pretty well. As it is, the objection is insuperable; good night.'
Away went carriage and horses and Arabella Thorne. Hiram stepped back into the house.
'My wife says you have made a splendid hit to-night, Hiram,' remarked Mr. Bennett.
'Does she?' replied the other, in an absent tone.
Hiram went late to Mrs. Jones's party.
So did Miss Thorne.
In a pleasant mood, Mrs. Bennett walked with her cousin to where the heiress was standing, and said, 'Miss Thorne, this is Mr. Meeker. I believe, however, you have met before.'
The waltzing had already commenced, and Hiram led his not unwilling partner to the floor, where they were soon giddily whirling, to the intense admiration of the lookers on.
It was now Hiram felt grateful to the unknown young lady who taught him how to waltz close. He practised it on this occasion to perfection. Arabella, by degrees, leaned more and more heavily. One arm resting fondly on his shoulder, she was drawn into immediate contact with Hiram's calculating heart. Round and round she sped—round and round sped Hiram, until the two were so blended that it was difficult to decide who or what were revolving.
At last Arabella was forced to yield. Faintly she sighed, 'I must stop,' and Hiram, coming to a graceful termination, seated her in triumph—the master of the situation!
Miss Innis looked on and smiled. Others expressed their admiration of the performance. None could deny it was very perfect.
Soon they were on the floor again, and again Arabella struggled hard for the mastery. It was in vain. After repeated attempts to hold the field, she was obliged to yield.
Hiram was too familiar with the sex to attempt to pursue his advantage. Indeed, Miss Arabella, having accomplished her object in showing Miss Innis that she could monopolize Hiram if she chose, would have been quite ready to play the coquette and assume the dignified.
Hiram was prepared for this, and further was resolved not to expose himself to any manifestation of her caprice. He perceived Miss Thorne was disinclined to converse, and fancied she was preparing to be reserved. So he passed quietly into the next room, where he found Miss Innis quite ready to welcome him, though surrounded by a number of gentlemen. He claimed her for the next waltz by virtue of an engagement entered into at Mrs. Jones's. Soon the music commenced, and away they went, responsive to its fascinating strains. Both waltzed admirably. They entered with zest into the spirit of the scene and with that sympathy of motion which makes every step so easy and so enjoyable. There was no rivalry, no holding out against the other. The pauses were natural, not by either, but, as it were, by mutual understand[Pg 680]ing. Miss Thorne was also on the floor with a very showy partner, doing her best to attract attention. She managed, as she swept by her rival, accidentally to step on her dress in a very damaging manner. But Miss Innis was one of those natural creatures who are never discomfited by such an occurrence. She very quietly withdrew, and in about two minutes was on the floor again.
'It is well,' said Hiram to her in a low tone, 'that this happened to you instead of Miss Thorne.'
'Because she never could have appeared again the same evening.'
Miss Innis smiled, and spoke of something else. The little hit did not seem in the least to gratify her.
Hiram noted this. 'Youth and beauty can well afford to be amiable, but it does not always happen that they are so,' he whispered.
Miss Innis looked at him seriously, but made no reply; and the two took seats within the recess of a window.
At this moment Miss Thorne, having stopped waltzing, passed across the room to the same vicinity, and stood talking with a gentleman, in a position to command a view of the couple just seated. As Hiram raised his eyes he encountered hers, for she was looking intently toward him. He saw enough to be satisfied that his plans were working to perfection.
Without appearing to notice her presence, he continued the conversation with his partner, and so engrossing did it become on both sides that neither seemed aware of the rapid flight of the hours. And it was only when Miss Innis perceived that the rooms were becoming thinned that she started up with an exclamation of surprise that it was so late.
Hiram Meeker walked slowly homeward. He could not resist a certain influence from stealing over him.
'Why is it,' he muttered to himself, 'that all the handsome girls are without money, and all the rich ones are ugly?'
He drew a long sigh, as if it were hard for him to give up such a lovely creature. He soon reached his lodgings, and going to his room, he seated himself before the fire, which burned cheerfully in the grate, and remained for a time completely lost in thought.
O Hiram Meeker, is it even now too late to obey some natural instincts? You are well embarked in affairs, have already made money enough to support a wife pleasantly. Your business is daily increasing, your mercantile position for a young man remarkably well assured. Here is a really lovely young girl—a little spoiled, it may be, by fashionable associations, but amiable, intelligent, and true hearted. Probably you might win her, for she seems to like you. The connection would give you position, for you would marry into an old and most respectable family. True, you have conducted yourself shamefully toward Emma Tenant—to say nothing of Miss Burns. Let that pass. There is still opportunity to retrace. Attempt to win Miss Innis. If you do win her, what a happy home will be yours! As for Miss Thorne—Hiram, you know what she is. You despise her in your heart. Besides, she is almost twenty-nine—you but twenty-seven. Will her money compensate? O Hiram, stop—stop now, and think!
This may have been the revery of Hiram Meeker.
At last he rose and prepared to retire. Doubtless he had made a final and irrevocable decision.
What was it?
There is good news for the Tenant family! The large commercial house in London whose failure dragged down Tenant & Co., had a branch at Rio. This branch had been heavily drawn[Pg 681] on, and suspended because the firm in London stopped. When affairs were investigated, it turned out that the Rio branch was well aboveboard. The result was that the London house was enabled to pay a composition of fifteen and sixpence in the pound. This not only enabled Tenant & Co. to settle with their creditors, but placed that old and respectable firm in a position to go on with their business, though in a manner somewhat limited when compared with their former operations. The whole commercial community rejoiced at this. Tho house had been so long established, and was conducted with so much integrity, that to have it go down seemed a blow struck at the fair name and prosperity of the city. A committee appointed by the creditors had investigated everything connected with the failure, prior to hearing of the news from Rio. This committee utterly refused to permit Mr. Tenant to put his house into the list of assets from which to pay the company's debts. He insisted, but they were inexorable. This was highly gratifying to him, but he was not content. Now he could meet all on equal terms.
We must forgive Mrs. Tenant if she felt a very great degree of exultation at this result. The affair between Hiram Meeker and her daughter had touched her so deeply (until Emma was away she did not feel how deeply), that she could not but indulge her triumph that now, when she encountered him, she was able to pass him with complete indifference. While her husband was crippled, she continued to feel scorn and contempt. Having regained her old position, she enjoyed a repose of spirits and was no longer tantalized by recollection of the scenes of the last few months.
Emma Tenant had a most charming European tour. She was absent a year. Two or three months before her return, and while spending a few weeks among the Bernese Alps (I think Emma once told me it was at the Hotel Reichenbach, near Meyringen), she encountered an old acquaintance, that is, an acquaintance of her childhood, in the person of young Lawrence—Henry Lawrence—who was taking advantage of a business trip abroad to view the glory and the majesty of nature in the Oberland Bernois.
However much it may seem contrary to the theory of romantic young men and women, I am forced to state that notwithstanding her former love for Hiram Meeker, Emma Tenant had not been six months in Europe before the wound might be considered healed. As her mind became enlarged by taking in the variety of scenes which were presented, scenes ever fresh and changing, she was better enabled to judge how far such a person as Hiram Meeker could ultimately make her happy. Day by day she saw his character more clearly and in a truer light, and could thus fully appreciate the narrow escape she had from a life of wretchedness.
Before she encountered young Lawrence, she had become entirely disenchanted. The former illusion was fully dispelled, and her heart left quite free to be engrossed by a new interest.
Young ladies and gentlemen! Am I giving currency to theories which you are accustomed to consider heretical? I am but recording the simple truth.
By the time Emma Tenant had reached New York the affianced of Henry Lawrence (subject, of course, to her parents' approbation), Hiram Meeker was engaged to—Miss Thorne.
Once decided on his course, Hiram pursued his object with the tenacity of a slow hound.
He took advantage of every weakness. He operated on her jealous nature so as to subject her to all the tortures which that spirit begets. By turns he flattered and browbeat her. He was sunny and amiable, or crabbed and austere, as suited his purpose. In[Pg 682] fact, he so played on the poor girl, whose vanity and suspicion and jealous fear of a rival were intense, that he made her life miserable. She was even thwarted in the quarter where her strength principally lay. For Hiram treated her fortune as a mere nothing at all. If she, as had been her custom, headed a subscription for some charity at St. Jude's, Hiram was sure to put down his name for double the amount in close proximity to hers.
At last her spirit was completely broken by the persevering, unsparing, flattering, cajoling, remorseless Hiram. So she stopped quarrelling, and yielded. Then, how charming was our hero! Amiable, kind, desirous to please, yet despotic to an extent: never yielding the power and ascendency he had gained over her.
The great point now was to prevent any marriage settlement. Being married, since Miss Thorne's property was all 'personal,' he could at once possess himself of it. Prior to the engagement, Hiram had often repeated that he would many no woman who maintained a separate estate. And so much did he dwell on this that Miss Thorne was actually afraid to speak to her solicitor on the subject.
In the summer succeeding the gay season we have spoken of, Hiram Meeker and Arabella Thorne were united at St. Jude's by the Rev. Charles Myrtle, in presence of 'the most aristocratic and fashionable concourse ever assembled on such an occasion.' The Bennetts were present in great profusion. Mrs. Myrtle, all smiles and tears, stood approvingly by. Mr. Myrtle, so all declared, never performed the ceremony so well before. Miss Innis had a conspicuous place in the proceedings, she being the first of the four bridesmaids who attended Arabella to the altar.
I have never been able to explain her selection of one she had so feared and hated as a rival, nor Miss Innis's acceptance. But there she stood, very beautiful, and apparently much interested in what was going on.
After they had returned from their wedding tour, Hiram took possession of his wife's securities. His heart throbbed with excitement and his eyes glistened as he looked them over.
Mr. Bennett had fallen considerably short of the mark. Here were more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars!
Just then real estate had fallen to the extreme lowest point after the collapse of the former high speculative prices. Hiram took immediate advantage of this state of things. During the next three months he had sold out his wife's securities, and invested two hundred thousand dollars in vacant lots admirably situated in the upper part of the city. The balance he put into his business.
From that period it did not require a heavy discounting of the future to write Hiram Meeker a MILLIONAIRE.
Dead—dead—no matter, the skies are blue,
In their fathomless depths above,
And the glad Earth's robes are as bright in hue,
And worn with as regal a grace, and true,
As they were on the day they were woven new
By the hand of Infinite Love.
Hush! hush!—there is music out in the street,
A popular martial strain;
While the constant patter of countless feet
Keeps time to the strokes of the drum's quick beat,
And the echoing voices that mix and meet
Swell out in a glad refrain.
Lost—lost! Oh, why, when the earth is bright,
And soft is the zephyr's breath,
Oh! why, when the world is so full of light,
Should the wild heart, robed in a cloak of night,
Send up from frozen lips and white
A desolate cry of death?
Dead—dead! How wearily drag the days;
And wearily life runs on!
The skies look cold, through a misty haze,
That curdles the gold of the bright sun's rays,
And the dead leaves cover the banks and braes,
A shroud of the summer gone.
Last year—nay! nay! I do not complain;
There are graves in the heart of all;
So I do not murmur; 'twere weak and vain;
I accept in silence my share of pain,
And the clouds, with their fringes of crimson stain,
That over my young life fall.
There were beautiful days last year, I mind,
When the maple trees turned red,
They flew away like the sportive wind,
But I gathered the joys they left behind,
As I gather the leaves, but to-day I find
[Pg 684]That the joys, like the leaves, are dead.
One year! It is past, and I stand alone,
Where I stood with another then;
'Tis well—I had scorned to have held my own
From the bloody strife, though my soul had known
That his life would ebb ere the day was gone,
Amid thousands of nameless men.
Nameless, yet never a one less dear
Than the dearest of all the dead;
I weep—but, Father, my bitter tear
Falleth not down o'er a single bier—
I mourn not the joys of the lost last year,
But the rivers of bright blood shed.
Reconstruction sounds the key note of American politics to-day. It is as true now as when Webster first said it, that 'the people of this country, by a vast and countless majority, are attached to the Union.' Reconstruction is the hope of the Union; and the hope of the Union is the controlling energy of the war. Hence, naturally, the theories that prevail in regard to reconstruction begin to define the political parties of the immediate future. United on the war, which they hold to be not simply inevitable, but also a war in the combined interests of liberty and order, and, therefore, just, the people seem likely about to be divided on questions suggested by the probably speedy termination of the war. The Union one and indivisible is the fundamental maxim on which all such questions must be based. So long as the name of Washington is reverenced among them, the American people will accept no other basis of settlement. The Union is to them the security and hope of all political blessings—liberty, justice, political order—which blessings it insures. Disunion is revolution, and puts them in peril. Therefore, no theory of reconstruction is practicable which countenances disunion, or in anywise assails the principle of the eternal oneness and indivisibility of the Union.
There are three prominent theories of reconstruction now before the people. The first, as being in the natural and constitutional order of things, has shaped the policy of the Administration in its whole conduct of affairs. It supposes the rebellion to be an armed insurrection against the authority of the United States, usurping the functions and powers of various State Governments, and seeking to overthrow the Nation. So considering it, the whole power of the Nation has been brought to bear to subdue it, in accordance with the just authority conferred by the Constitution, which is the organic law of the Nation. The steadfast prosecution of this policy, upheld and supported by the people with a unanimity and patient faith that have strengthened the cause of democratic government all[Pg 685] over the earth, has rescued from the rebellion and restored to their undisputed position in the Union, the States of Kentucky, Missouri, and now, at last, Tennessee, with a portion of Virginia. Such are the results to the Union of the natural and constitutional policy that aims at reconstruction through restoration.
The two other theories spoken of may be best considered together, as they originated in a common purpose, namely, the abolition of slavery, which it is supposed cannot be attained by the ordinary processes of war under the Constitution. Their advocates, however, contend that they are strictly constitutional.
The first of these theories supposes that the States included in the rebellion have, by the fact of rebellion, forfeited all rights as States. It is argued that States, like individuals, forfeit their rights by rebellion.
The other theory supposes that the States having rebelled, may be dealt with as foreign States; so that, according to the laws of war, the nation may treat them altogether as alien enemies, and in the event of the Nation's triumph, the States will be in all respects like conquered provinces.
It will be observed that each of these theories ignores the principle of the indivisibility of the Union, and presupposes a dismemberment of it on the part of every rebellious State.
Probably no one will deny that rebellion works a forfeiture of all political rights to those engaged in it. The subject who renounces his allegiance can claim no protection: just as the Government that should fail to protect its subjects, could not claim their allegiance. Allegiance and protection are reciprocal and interdependent duties, and the failure of one involves and works the failure of the other. So that it might be quite correct to declare, in reference to the Southern rebellion, that a rebel has no rights which the United States is bound to respect. It will be perceived that the question of right is here spoken of, and not the question of policy. No feeling of sympathy with a defeated people, not the thousand-fold natural ties that bind the North and the South, should blind our eyes to the main question of right. Any policy toward repentant rebels that is not magnanimous and honorably befitting our complete triumph, can never find favor with the American people, nor ought to; but the incalculably precious interests of the Nation will not admit of any uncertain precedents in regard to secession. The precedent must be perfectly clear. It must be established unqualifiedly and unalterably that secession is treason, and that whoever is concerned in it is a traitor and must expect a traitor's punishment. It has been common to call secession a political heresy. The rebellion, the fruit of secession, stamps it as more and worse than simply a heresy. It is inchoate treason, and only awaits the favorable conditions to become open and flagrant. The patriotism, therefore, of any man may fairly be suspected, who, refusing to be taught by the experience of this war, revealing these things as in the clear light of midday, can speak softly and with 'bated breath' of secession. His country's baptism of fire has not regenerated such a man.
The attempt, as the legitimate and inevitable result of secession, to overthrow a Government whose burdens rested so lightly on its citizens as to have given rise to a current phrase that they were unfelt; and yet whose magnificent power gave it rank among the first of nations, securing full protection to the humblest of its citizens, and causing the name of American to be as proud a boast as Roman in the day of Rome's power; and withal being the recognized refuge and hope of liberty and humanity all over the globe, as vindicating the right royalty of man;—the[Pg 686] attempt to overthrow such a Government must stand forever as the blackest of crimes. For the Confederate treason is more than treason against the United States: it is a crime against humanity, and a conspiracy in the interest of despotism, denying the royalty of man.
But, to return to our argument, a distinction is carefully to be noted between the consequences of rebellion to the individuals who engage in it and to the State which it assumes to control. It needs no argument to show that rebellion against the supreme power of a State does not necessarily affect the permanence of that power. If the rebellion fails, the rightful authority resumes its functions. If the rebellion succeeds, the movers of it assume the powers of the State, and succeed to all its functions. The civil wars of England furnish abundant illustration of this principle. However the course of Government may for the time have been checked, and its whole machinery disarranged, the subsidence of the tumult left the state, in every case, as an organic whole, the same. The consequences of unsuccessful rebellion fell only upon the persons engaged in it. So, in the successive changes that befell France after the Revolution, the state, as the body politic, remained unchanged. In dealing with the question of rebellion in our country the same principle applies, only another element enters into the calculation. That element results from the peculiar character of our Government in its twofold relation to the people of State and Nation. The Government springs directly from the people, who have ordained separate functions for the two separate organisms, or bodies politic, the State and the Nation. Strictly considered, there are not two Governments, there is only one Government. Certain functions of it are ordained to be executed by the State, and certain other functions by the Nation, How, then, can the State, as such, assume to set aside the ordained functions of the Nation? How, on the other hand, might the Nation assume to control the ordained functions of the State? Each to its own master standeth or falleth, and that master is the people. Hence, the absurdity of the doctrine which claims the right of a State to resume powers once delegated to the Nation. For the State, as such, never delegated those powers. Hence, the absurdity of secession as a dogma in American politics. And hence, also, it equally appears how absurd is any claim on the part of the Nation to visit upon the State organism the penalties of the treason of individuals against itself.
Let it be remembered that the State derives none of its rights from the Nation. How, then, can it be said to forfeit its rights to the Nation? The State is a separate and distinct organism, deriving its rights directly from the people within its territorial limit. They established it, and to them alone it is responsible. In the same manner, the people of the whole country, without regard to the territorial limits of States, established the Nation. The people of the whole country, therefore, have a permanent interest in the Nation, and no one portion of them may rightfully assume to set aside its supreme obligations, in disregard and violation of the organic law. If certain of the people of any State have rebelled against the National Government, attempting thus to set aside its paramount obligations, undoubtedly their lives and property are forfeit to the Nation. But how can their individual treason work a forfeiture of the State powers and functions? These have been usurped, indeed, by the armed combinations of the rebellion, but they are still complete, only awaiting the overthrow of the armed combinations to be resumed and controlled by those persons within the same territorial limit who have not rebelled.
It is objected to this view that it assumes a substratum of loyal people still existing in the rebel States. The[Pg 687] assumption is certainly warrantable when we read of the scenes—witnesses against the Southern Confederacy whose eloquence surpasses speech—that have attended the overthrow of the rebellion in Tennessee; and when we remember that even in South Carolina there are such names as Judge Pettigrew and Governor Aiken; and when in New York city alone there is to-day a large body of Georgians, whose loyalty has made them exiles, and who only await the day of their State's deliverance to return and restore their State's loyalty; and when the signs in North Carolina are so positive that a Union element yet survives there; and when even far-off Texas has her loyal exiles in our midst. Considering those 'signs of the times,' the assumption that there are loyal men in the rebellious States seems certainly a valid and proper one, and one on which fairly to rest an argument. But it is believed that the argument is good without this assumption. Suppose that, the rebellion being overthrown, not even one man remains loyal to the Nation within the territorial limits of any single State, has the State ceased to exist? A State is called, in the language of publicists, a body politic. It is, in effect, a sort of corporation, administered for the benefit of its inhabitants by trustees whom they appoint. One of the maxims of law is that a trust shall not fail for lack of a person to execute it. It might, therefore, in such a case as the one supposed, be competent for the United States to designate persons who should take charge of the State Government, and administer it in trust for the children of its former recreant inhabitants, and as their legal and political successors. Reverting to the settled principles of the law, we find that the essential idea of a corporation is its immortality, or individuality, or the perpetual succession of persons under it, notwithstanding the changes of the individual persons who compose it. The State, like a corporation, has an individuality of its own, which is not affected by the changes of the individual persons composing it. It has an immortality, not affected by their entire extinction. Its own organic existence is not thereby extinguished. In other words, the State cannot be merged, or swallowed up, in the Nation.
It seems, then, that the doctrine of State suicide, as propounded in so many words, by its author, in the original resolutions offered in Congress, is equally repugnant to the Constitution and good sense. It is, in effect, revolutionary; for it would dismember the Union, by striking out of existence States as purely and completely sovereign within the sphere of their functions as the Nation itself. It is idle to deny that it thus recognizes and gives support to the doctrine of secession; for it accepts the results of secession, and supposes that accomplished by the rebellion which the war is meant to thwart and prevent, to wit, the disruption of the ties that bind the States and the Nation together in one harmonious whole.
What are we fighting for? To restore constitutional order; to vindicate 'the sacredness of nationality.' In other words, to combat the principle of secession, by force and arms, in its last appeal, just as we have always combated and opposed it hitherto on the platform and in the senate. But what right have we to oppose secession by coercion? The right of self-preservation. For secession loosens the very corner-stone of our Government, so that the whole arch falls, breaking the Union into an infinity of wretched States. Admitting secession, our Constitution is, indeed, no stronger than 'a rope of sand.' We fight to maintain the Constitution as an Ordinance of Sovereignty (as it has been forcibly styled) over the whole Nation. We must so maintain it, or surrender our national existence. This being so, we cannot admit any such right as secession; for that would be to sanction the revolutionary[Pg 688] doctrine that a body of men, usurping a State Government, and calling themselves the State, can absolve their fellow citizens from their allegiance to the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. The rebel States are, then, still members of the Union. Otherwise, we are waging an unjust war. Otherwise we falsify and contradict the record of our Revolution, and are striving to reduce to dependence a people who are equally striving to maintain their independence. There is no justification for this war save in the plea for the National Union; no warrant for it save in the preservation of the Constitution, which is the palladium and safeguard of the Nation. The Southern rebellion has usurped the functions and powers of various State Governments: when it is overthrown, the victims of its usurpation will be restored to their former rights. Their allegiance is still perfect. Nothing but their own act can absolve them from it.
The advocates of the theory that the rebel States are foreign enemies, and may be treated according to all the laws of war with foreign nations, seek support for their views in the decision of the Supreme Court rendered last March in the Hiawatha and other prize cases. The question was raised in those cases whether we had the right to confiscate the property of persons resident in the rebel States who might be non-combatants or loyal men. The Court decided that 'all persons residing within this territory (the rebellious region) whose property may be used to increase the revenues of the hostile power, are in this contest liable to be treated as enemies, though not foreigners.' This decision defines the status of persons in the rebellion region bello flagranti, or while the war lasts. It calls all persons within that region enemies, because their 'property may be used to increase the revenues of the hostile power.' Could their property be so used after the defeat of the rebellious power? The decision does not assume to determine that question. Nor could it come within the province of the Court to decide what might at some future time be the condition and status of loyal men at the South.
It is said that in accordance with this decision all persons in the rebellious States are to be treated as alien enemies, and the deduction is hastily made that as to them all the Constitution, like any treaty, or compact, with foreign States, is, by the fact of rebellion, annulled. Aside from the fact that the Constitution is not a compact, and when rightly understood cannot be confounded with a compact, such a conclusion is at war with that essential principle of our Government, which denies to any body of men the right to absolve their unwilling fellow citizens from their allegiance, that is, denies the right of secession. Such citizens, whose will is overpowered by force, have never proved false to their fealty. The Constitution is still theirs; they are still parties to it; and their rights are still sacred under it.
That no such conclusion is warranted by the decision above referred to, will still further appear from the following considerations:—Our dealings with foreign nations are regulated by the principles of international law, and, according to that law, war abrogates all treaties between belligerents, as of course. But international law supposes the belligerents to be of equal and independent sovereignty. This is the very point in dispute in our contest with the rebellion. We deny to the rebellion the attribute of independent sovereignty, as we deny it to every one of the States included in the rebellion. Our Constitution is, in no sense, a treaty between sovereign States. It is an organic law, establishing a nation, ordained by the people of the whole country. Therefore, only such persons under it as voluntarily wage war upon it, can be[Pg 689] strictly called enemies: only such persons, on the defeat of the rebellion, will be liable to be treated as enemies. As to all men who have not participated in the rebellion, it is not easy to see how war, rebellion, usurpation, or any power on earth can destroy their rights under the Constitution.
Reconstruction, then, must come, as the Union came, by the action of the people within the territorial limits of each recreant State. That it will so come is, in a manner, assured and made certain by the action of Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia, and Tennessee. Surely, we cannot expect the political action of an oppressed minority, in any one of the rebel States, to anticipate the National forces sent for their deliverance. The armed combinations in those States have overborne all opposition, and, during the past two years, have wielded the complete powers of a military despotism. The Southern confederacy is a monstrous usurpation in each and every rebel State. The United States is intent on dethroning that usurpation, for the purpose of restoring, to every man who asks it, the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution of his fathers; and for the equal purpose of asserting its rightful powers as the National Government under the Constitution. The present Administration, then, has taken the only course possible to be taken without open and flagrant violation of the Constitution, which is the sole and sufficient warrant for the war. For this course Abraham Lincoln is entitled to the gratitude of the people. His conscientious policy has been the salvation of the Republic, maintaining its integrity against armed rebellion, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, saving it from destructives whose zeal in a noble cause has often blinded their minds to the higher claims of the Nation: in whose existence, nevertheless, that cause alone has promise of success.
But, it is asked, does not rebellion affect the institution of slavery? Not as a State institution, so far as the municipal law of any State is concerned. That the slaves of rebels may properly be confiscated, as other property, seems not only reasonable and right, but also in accordance with well-settled decisions of the Supreme Court. Moreover, the Constitution gives to Congress the power to prescribe the punishment of treason, and undoubtedly the Supreme Court will hold the Confiscation Act under that power to be constitutional and valid.
But does not the Emancipation Proclamation operate to confer freedom on all slaves within the rebel States? This question must likewise be brought to the Supreme Court for adjudication. If the Proclamation can be shown to have the qualities of a legislative act, doubtless it will operate as a statute of freedom to all slaves within the districts named in it. But it must be remembered that the Executive cannot make law. The Proclamation, as an edict of the military commander, can only operate upon the condition of such slaves as are in a position to take advantage of its terms. As such military edict, therefore, it might be of no force outside of the actual military lines of the United States armies.
But the fact of freedom to many thousands of slaves by reason of this war, and the inevitable speedy breaking down of the institution of slavery as one of the consequences to slaveholders of their mad folly, are beyond dispute, and assure us of the wise Providence of Him who maketh even the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He will restrain.[Pg 690]
One of the most curious and interesting results of that eclectic spirit which has brought into suggestive relations the different spheres of human knowledge and inquiry, is the application of geographical facts to historical interpretation. The comprehensive researches of Ritter and the scientific expositions of Humboldt enable us to recognize the vast influence of local conditions upon social development, and to account for the peculiar traits of special civilization by the distribution of land and water, and the agency of climate and position. In the calm retrospect of the present crisis of our national history, when the philosopher takes the place of the partisan and the exciting incidents of the present are viewed in the chastened light of the past, it will be seen and felt that a kind of poetical justice and moral necessity made Virginia the scene of civil and physical strife. Of all the States, she represents, both in her annals and her resources, her scenery, and her social character, the average national characteristics: natives of each section of the land find within her limits congenial facts of life and nature, of manners and industry: like her Southern sisters, she has known all the consequences of slavery—but at certain times and places, free labor has thriven; commerce and agriculture, the miner, the mariner, the tradesman, not less than the planter, found therein scope for their respective vocations; the life of the sea coast, of the mountains, and of the interior valleys—the life of the East, West, and Middle States was there reproduced in juxtaposition with that of the South. Nowhere in the land could the economist more distinctly trace the influence of free and slave labor upon local prosperity: nowhere has the aristocratic element been more intimately in contact with the democratic. Her colonial record indicates a greater variety in the original population than any other province: she has given birth to more eminent statesmen, has been the arena of more fierce conflicts of opinion, and is associated most directly with problems of government, of society, and of industrial experiment. On her soil were first landed African captives; and when the curse thus entailed was dying out, it was renewed and aggravated by the inducement to breed slaves for the cotton and sugar plantations. From Virginia flowed the earliest stream of immigration to the West, whereby a new and mighty political element was added to the Republic: there are some of the oldest local memorials of American civilization: for a long period she chiefly represented Southern life and manners to the North: placed between the extremes of climate—producing the staples of all the States, except those bordering on the Gulf—earlier colonized, prominent in legislation, fruitful in eminent men, she was more visited by travellers, more written about, better known, and therefore gathered to and grafted upon herself more of the rich and the reckless tendencies and traits of the country; and became thus a central point and a representative State—which destiny seems foreshadowed by her physical resources and her local situation. Except New England, no portion of our country has been more fully and faithfully illustrated as to its scenery, domestic life, and social traits, by popular literature, than Virginia. The original affinity of her colonial life with the ancestral traditions of England, found apt expression in Spenser's dedication of his peerless allegory to Elizabeth, wherein the baptism of her remote territory, in honor of her virginal fame, was recognized. The first purely literary work achieved[Pg 691] within her borders was that of a classical scholar, foreshadowing the long dependence of her educated men upon the university culture of Great Britain; and those once admired sketches of scenery and character which gave to William Wirt, in his youth, the prestige of an elegant writer, found there both subjects and inspiration; while the American school of eloquence traces its early germs to the bar and legislature of the Old Dominion, where the Revolutionary appeals of Patrick Henry gave it a classic fame. The most prolific and kindhearted of English novelists, when he had made himself a home among us and looked round for a desirable theme on which to exercise his facile art, chose the Southampton Massacre as the nucleus for a graphic story of family life and negro character. The 'Swallow Barn' of Kennedy is a genuine and genial picture of that life in its peaceful and prosperous phase, which will conserve the salient traits thereof for posterity, and already has acquired a fresh significance from the contrast its pleasing and naive details afford to the tragic and troublous times which have since almost obliterated the traces of all that is characteristic, secure, and serene. The physical resources and amenities of the State were recorded with zest and intelligence by Jefferson before Clinton had performed a like service for New York, or Flint for the West, or any of the numerous scholars and writers of the Eastern States for New England. The very fallacy whereon treason based her machinations and the process whereby the poison of Secession was introduced into the nation's life-blood, found exposition in the insidious fiction of a Virginian—Mr. George Tucker—secretly printed years ago, and lately brought into renewed prominence by the rebellion. 'Our Cousin Veronica,' a graceful and authentic family history, from the pen of an accomplished lady akin to the people and familiar with their life, adds another vivid and suggestive delineation thereof to the memorable illustrations by Wirt, Kennedy, and James; while a score of young writers have, in verse and prose, made the early colonial and the modern plantation and waterplace life of the Old Dominion, its historical romance and social and scenic features, familiar and endeared; so that the annals and the aspects of no State in the Union are better known—even to the local peculiarities of life and language—to the general reader, than those of Virginia, from negro melody to picturesque landscape, from old manorial estates to field sports, and from improvident households to heroic beauties; and among the freshest touches to the historical and social picture are those bestowed by Irving in some of the most charming episodes of his 'Life of Washington.'
When the river on whose banks was destined to rise the capital of the State received the name of the English monarch in whose reign and under whose auspices the first settlers emigrated, and the Capes of the Chesapeake were baptized by Newport for his sons Charles and Henry, the storm that washed him beyond his proposed goal revealed a land of promise, which thenceforth beguiled adventure and misfortune to its shores. Captain John Smith magnified the scene of his romantic escape from the savages: 'Heaven and earth,' he wrote, 'seemed never to have agreed better to frame a place for man's commodious and delightful habitation.' To the wonderful reports of majestic forests, rare wild flowers, and strange creatures, such as the opossum, the hummingbird, the flying squirrel, and the rattlesnake—to the pleasures of the chase, and the curious traits of aboriginal life—were soon added the attractions of civic immunities and possibilities—free trade, popular legislative rule, and opportunities of profitable labor and social advancement. Ere long, George Sandys, a highly educated employée of the Gov[Pg 692]ernment, was translating Ovid on the banks of the James river; industry changed the face of the land; a choice breed of horses, the tobacco culture, hunting, local politics, hospitality—churches after the old English model, manor houses with lawns, bricks, and portraits significant of ancestral models, justified the pioneer's declaration that Virginia 'was the poor man's best country in the world.' Beautiful, indeed, were the natural features of the country as described by the early travellers; auspicious of the future of the people as it expanded to the eye of hope, when the colony became part of a great and free nation. Connected at the north and east, by thoroughfare and watercourse, with the industrial and educated States of New England, the fertile and commercial resources of New York, and the rich coal lands and agricultural wealth of Pennsylvania; Maryland and the Atlantic providing every facility to foreign trade, and the vast and then partially explored domains of Kentucky and Ohio inviting the already swelling tide of immigration, and their prolific valleys destined to be the granary of the two hemispheres—all that surrounded Virginia seemed prophetic of growth and security within, the economist and the lover of nature found the most varied materials; with three hundred and fifty-five miles of extent, a breadth of one hundred and eighty-five, and a horizontal area of sixty-five thousand six hundred and twenty-four square miles—one district embracing the sea coast to the head of tidewater, another thence to the Blue Ridge, a third the valley region between the latter range and that of the Alleghanies, and a fourth the counties beyond them—every kind of soil and site, from ocean margin to river slope, from mountain to plain, are included within her limits: here, the roads stained with oxides, indicative of mineral wealth; there, the valleys plumed with grain and maize; the bays white with sails; the forest alive with game; lofty ridges, serene nooks, winding rivers, pine barrens, alluvial levels, sterile tracts, primeval woods—every phase and form of natural resource and beauty to invite productive labor, win domestic prosperity, and gratify the senses and the soul. Rivers, whose names were already historical—the James, the York, the Rappahannock, the Potomac, and the peaceful Shenandoah, flowing through its beautiful valley and connecting the base of the Blue Ridge with the Potomac; Chesapeake bay, a hundred and ninety miles from its entrance through Maryland and Virginia, on the one side, and the Roanoke, finding an outlet in Albemarle sound, while the Kanawha and Monongahela, as tributaries of the Ohio, on the other, keep up that communication and natural highway which links, in a vast silver chain, the separate political unities of the land. The hills ribbed with fine marble and pierced by salubrious springs; picturesque natural bridges, cliffs, and caves, described with graphic zeal by Jefferson, and the wild and mysterious Dismal Swamp, sung by Moore; the tobacco of the eastern counties, the hemp of lands above tidewater, the Indian corn, wheat, rye, red clover, barley, and oats, of the interior, and the fine breeds of cattle and horses raised beyond the Alleghany—are noted by foreign and native writers, before and immediately after the Revolution, as characteristic local attractions and permanent economical resources; and with them glimpses of manorial elegance, hospitality, and culture—which long made the life and manners of the State one of the most congenial social traditions of the New World.
Yet, as if prophetic of the long political issues of which she was destined to be the scene of conflict, the colonial star of Virginia was early obscured by misfortune. When John Smith left her shores for the last time in 1609, discontent and disaster had already marred the prospects of the new settlement;[Pg 693] and, in half a year, Gates, Somers, Newport arrived to find but sixty colonists remaining, and they resolved to abandon the enterprise; but on encountering Delaware, they were induced to return, and Jamestown was again the scene of life and labor. Ten years of comparative success ensued; and then one hundred and sixty poor women were imported for wives, at a cost of about the same number of pounds of tobacco; but simultaneously with this requisite provision for domestic growth and comfort, the germ of Virginia's ruin came: a Dutch vessel entered the James river, bringing twenty African captives, which were purchased by the colonists. Two years later the Indians made a destructive foray upon the thriving village; the king became alarmed at the freedom of political discussion, dissolved the Virginia company, and appointed a governor and twelve councillors to rule the province;—the father's policy was followed by Charles the First, many of whose zealous partisans found a refuge from Cromwell in the province. At last came the Revolution and the Union. Meantime slavery was dying out; its abolition was desired; and had free labor then and there superseded it, far different would have been the destiny of the fair State; whose western portion affords such a contrast to that wherein this blight induced improvidence and deterioration, the tokens whereof were noted by every visitor in the spare and desultory culture of the soil, the neglected resources, the dilapidated fences and dwellings, and the absence of that order and comfort which inevitably attaches to legitimate industry and self-reliance. This melancholy perversion of great natural advantages was the result of slave breeding for the Southern market. Otherwise Virginia would have continued the prosperous development initiated in her colonial days. The exigencies of the cotton culture, rendered immensely profitable by a mechanical invention which infinitely lessened the cost of preparing the staple for the market, had thus renewed and prolonged the original and fast-decaying social and political bane of a region associated with the noblest names and most benign prospects. Chief-Justice Marshall aptly described to an English traveller this sad and fatal transition:
'He said he had seen Virginia the leading State for half his life; he had seen her become the second, and sink to be the fifth. Worse than this, there was no arresting her decline if her citizens did not put an end to slavery; and he saw no signs of any intention to do so, east of the mountains at least. He had seen whole groups of estates, populous in his time, lapse into waste. He had seen agriculture exchanged for human stock breeding; and he keenly felt the degradation. The forest was returning over the fine old estates, and the wild creatures which had not been seen for generations were reappearing; numbers and wealth were declining, and education and manners were degenerating. It would not have surprised him to be told that on that soil would the main battles be fought when the critical day should come which he foresaw.'
That day it is our lot to behold. Forced at the point of the bayonet to arrogate to herself the illegal claims she had vainly sought to establish by popular suffrage, as reserved rights, in 1787, and the resolutions of 1798, the Secession Ordinance was nominally passed and summarily enforced, despite the protests of the citizens and the withdrawal of the western counties; and thus the traitors of the Cotton States made Virginia the battle field between slaveocracy and constitutional government. As early as 1632 a fierce controversy for territorial rights occurred on the Chesapeake, when that portion of Virginia, now Maryland, was brought into dispute by Claiborne, who began to trade, notwithstanding the grant which Lord Baltimore had secured: this, the first conflict between the whites, and two Indian massacres, made desolate the region so lately devastated by the civil[Pg 694] war. Nor was the original enjoyment of remarkable political rights coincident with American independence; for, while Charles the Second was an exile, and Parliament demoralized, the fugitive king still held nominal sway in Virginia; and when the flight of Richard Cromwell left the kingdom without a head, that distant colony was ruled by its own assembly, and enjoyed free suffrage and free trade: then came what is called Bacon's rebellion—an effective protest against oppressive prohibitions. Nor did these civil discords end with the Restoration; many old soldiers of Cromwell emigrated to Virginia, and, under their auspices, an insurrection 'against the tobacco plot' was organized; and this was followed by numerous difficulties in home legislation, by violent controversies with royal governors; deputies continually were sent to England to remonstrate with the king against 'intolerable grants' and the exportation of jailbirds. Their despotic master over the sea appropriated the lands of the colonists, while their own representatives monopolized the profits; cruel or obstinate was the sway of Berkeley, Spottwood, Dinwiddie, and Dunmore; and after the people had succumbed as regards military opposition, they continued to maintain their rights by legislative action. Under James the Second, Lord Howard repealed many of these conservative acts and prorogued the House of Burgesses. A respite, attested by glad acclaim, marked the accession of William and Mary, and the recall of Howard. Andros was sent over in 1692. The skirmish with Junonville initiated the French war and introduced upon the scene its most hallowed name and character, when Colonel Washington appeared first as a soldier, strove in vain against the ignorance and self-will of Dinwiddie, and shared Braddock's defeat, to be signally preserved for the grandest career in history.
And when the war of the Revolution gave birth to the nation, not only was Virginia the native State of its peerless chief, but some of its memorable scenes and heroes there found scope; Steuben and Lafayette there carried on military operations, there the traitor Arnold was wounded, Hamilton and Rochambeau gained historic celebrity, and there the great drama was closed by the surrender of Cornwallis. In the debates incident to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, there was manifested in Virginia that jealousy of a strong central government, which thwarted the wise advocacy and ignored the prophetic warnings of the best statesmen, thereby confirming the fundamental error destined, years after, to give facility to treasonable usurpation: the Constitution was only ratified, at last, by a majority of ten. In the war of 1812, Hampton, Craney Island, White House, and various places on and near the Potomac, since identified with fierce encounters and forays in the war of the rebellion, witnessed gallant deeds in behalf of the Republic. In 1829 a convention assembled in Virginia to modify the Constitution. Long having the most extensive territory and largest slaveholders, the aristocratic element disturbed and overmastered democratic principles. During Cromwell's rule, when virtually independent, Virginia proffered a fleet to the fugitive monarch; who, when restored, in gratitude ordered her arms to be quartered with those of England, Scotland, and Ireland; in exile even accepted her invitation to migrate thither and assume the privileges of royalty: coins of the Old Dominion yet testify this projected despotism. Instead of Dissenters as in New England, Quakers as in Pennsylvania, or Romanists as in Maryland, Virginia, from her earliest colonization, was identified with the Church of England. It was regarded, says one of her historians, as an 'unrighteous compulsion to maintain teachers; and what they called religious errors were deeply felt during[Pg 695] the regal government:' the children of the more prosperous colonists were sent to England to be educated; their pursuits and habits, on returning, were unfavorable to study; and, therefore, the advantage thus gained was, for the most part, confined to 'superficial good manners,' and the ideal standard attained that of 'true Britons and true churchmen;' the former was a more cherished distinction there than elsewhere in America. In 1837 was copied from a tombstone in an old-settled part of the State, this inscription: 'Here lyes the body of Lieut. William Harris, who died May ye 16, 1608—a good soldier, husband, and neighbor: by birth a Briton.' In these facts of the past and normal tendencies we find ample means and motives to account for the anomalous political elements involved in the history—social and civic—of Virginia. While boasting the oldest university where four Presidents of the United States were educated, she sustained a slave code which was a bitter satire on civilized society: the law of entail long prevailed in a community ostensibly democratic, and only by the strenuous labors of Jefferson was church monopoly abolished. It is not surprising, in the retrospect, that her roll of famous citizens includes the noblest and the basest names which illustrate the political transitions of the land; the architects and subverters of free polity, the magnanimous and the perfidious. When the ameliorating influence of time and truth had, in a degree, harmonized the incongruous elements of opinion and developed the economical resources, while they liberalized the sentiments and habitudes of the people; when, says Caines, 'slavery, by exhausting the soil, had eaten away its own profits, and the recolonization by free settlers had actually begun, came suddenly the prohibition of the African slave trade, and nearly at the same time, the vast enlargement of the field for slavery, by the purchase of Louisiana; and these two events made Virginia again profitable as a means of breeding for exportation and sale at the South.
The future geographer who elaborately applies the philosophy of that science, as interpreted by its modern professors, to our own history, will find in the events of the last few years in Virginia the richest and most impressive illustrations of local and physical causes in determining political and social destinies. Between the eastern and western portion of that State it will be demonstrated that nature placed irreconcilable barriers to the supremacy of slave labor and slave property; and the economical value of each will be shown thus and there tested with emphatic truth; so that by the laws of physical geography the first effect of an appeal to arms to maintain the one, was to alienate, as a civic element, the other, and give birth to a new State, by virtue of the self assertion incident to the violation of a normal instinct and necessity of civilization.
What a change came over the scene when the grave civic interests so long and recklessly involved in the conflict of opinion were submitted to the arbitrament of battle! Along the river on whose shores the ashes of Washington had slept for more than half a century in honored security, batteries thundered upon each passing craft that bore the flag of the nation: every wood became a slaughter pen, every bluff a shrine of patriotic martyrdom; bridges were destroyed and rebuilt with alacrity; the sentinel's challenge broke the stillness of midnight; the earth was honeycombed with riflepits; campfires glowed on the hills; thousands perished in the marshes; creeks were stained with human blood; here sank the trench; there rose a grave mound or a fortress; pickets challenged the wanderer; every ford and mountain pass witnessed the clash of arms and echoed with the roar of artillery; the raid, the skirmish, the bivouac, the march, and the battery successively spread des[Pg 696]olation and death; Arlington House, full of peaceful trophies, once dear to national pride, was the headquarters of an army; balloons hung in the sky, whence the movements of the foe were watched. Gaps and junctions were contested unto death; obscure towns gained historic names and bloody memories; and each familiar court-house and village came to be identified with valorous achievements or sanguinary disaster.
And this land of promise, this region which so long witnessed the extremes of political magnanimity and turpitude, this arena where the vital question of labor, as modified by involuntary servitude, and free activity, found its most practical solution—was, and is, legitimately, appropriately, and naturally, the scene of the fiercest strife for national existence—where the claims and the climax of freedom and faith culminated in all the desolation of civil war. A more difficult country for military operations can scarcely be imagined. Early in the struggle it was truly said:
'Virginia is the Switzerland of the continent—a battle field every three miles—a range of hills streaming where Hill may retire five miles by five miles till he reaches Richmond—a conquest, undoubtedly, if the North perseveres, but won at such a cost and with such time as to prolong unnecessarily the struggle. The Richmond of the South lies in the two millions of blacks that are within the reach of cannon of our gunboats in the rivers that empty into the Gulf.'
How wearisome the delays and how constant the privations of the army of occupation in such a region, wrote an experienced observer:
'Dwelling in huts, surrounded by a sea of mud, may appear to be very romantic—on paper—to some folks, but the romance of this kind of existence with the soldiers soon wears away, and to them any change must necessarily be for the better; they therefore hail with delight, as a positive relief, the opportunity once more to practise their drill which the recent change of weather has afforded them. For the last three months, the time of the soldier has passed heavily enough, with the long winter nights, and little else to relieve the monotony of his life but stereotyped guard duty.'
It would require volumes to describe the ravages of war in Virginia: let a few pictures, selected from sketches made on the spot, indicate the melancholy aspect of a domain, a few weeks or months before smiling in peace and productiveness. The following facetious but faithful statement, though confined to a special, applies to many districts:
'The once neat court-house stands by the roadside a monument to treason and rebellion, deprived of its white picket fence, stripped of window blinds, cases, and dome, walls defaced by various hieroglyphics, the judge's bench a target for the 'expectorating' Yankee;' the circular enclosure occupied by the jury was besmeared with mud, and valuable documents, of every description, scattered about the floor and yard—it is, indeed, a sad picture of what an infatuated people will bring upon themselves. In one corner of the yard stands a house of records, in which were deposited all the important deeds and papers pertaining to this section for a generation past. When our advance entered the building, they were found lying about the floor to the depth of fifteen inches or more around the doorsteps and in the dooryard. It is impossible to estimate the inconvenience and losses which will be incurred by this wholesale destruction of deeds, claims, mortgages, etc. I learned that a squadron of exasperated cavalry, who passed this way not long since, committed the mischief. The jail across the way, where many a poor fugitive has doubtless been imprisoned for striking out for freedom, is now used as a guardhouse. As I write, the bilious countenance of a culprit is peeping through the iron grates of a window, who, may be, is atoning for having invaded a henroost or bagged an unsuspecting pig. Our soldiers have rendered animal life almost extinct in this part of the Old Dominion. Indeed, wherever the army goes, there can be heard on every side the piercing wail of expiring pork, the plaintive[Pg 697] lowing of a stricken bovine, or suppressed cry of an unfortunate gallinacious.'
Here is a scene familiar to many a Union soldier who gazed at sunset upon the vast encampment:
'Along the horizon a broad belt of richest amber spread far away toward north and south; and above, the spent, ragged rain clouds of deep purple, suffused with crimson, were woven and braided with pure gold. Slowly from the face of the heavens they melted and passed away as darkness came on, leaving the clear sky studded with stars, and the crescent moon shedding a soft radiance below. I climbed to the top of a hill not far off, and looked across the country. On every eminence, in every little hollow almost, were innumerable lights shining, some thick and countless as stars, indicating an encampment; others isolated upon the outskirts; here and there the glowing furnace of a bakery; the whole land as far as the eye could see looking like another heaven wherein some ambitious archangel, covetous of creative power, had attempted to rival the celestial splendors of the one above us. There was no sound of drum or fife or bugle; the sweet notes of the 'good-night' call had floated into space and silence a half hour before; only on the still air were heard the voices of a hand of negroes chanting solemnly and slowly, to a familiar sacred tune, the words of some pious psalm.'
We may realize the effect of the armed occupation upon economical and social life by a few facts noted after a successful raid:
'In the counties visited there were but few rebels found at home, except the very old and the very young. In nine days' travel I did not see fifty able-bodied men who were not in some way connected with the army. Nearly every branch of business is at a standstill. The shelves in stores are almost everywhere empty; the shop of the artisan is abandoned and in ruins. The people who are to be seen passively submit to all that emanates from Richmond without a murmur; they are for the most part simple minded, and ignorant of all that is transpiring in the great theatre about them. An intelligent-looking man in Columbia laughed heartily when told that Union troops occupied New Orleans—Jefferson Davis would let them know it were such the fact; and I could not find a man who would admit that the Confederates had ever been beaten in a single engagement. These people do not even read the Richmond papers, and about all the information they do obtain is what is passed about in the primitive style, from mouth to mouth. Before this raid they believed that the Union soldiers were anything but civilized beings, and were stricken with terror when their approach was heralded. Of six churches seen in one day, in only one had there been religious services held within six months. One half at least of the dwelling houses are unoccupied, and fast going to decay.'
Not all the land is ill adapted to cool actions and strategy; there are sections naturally fortified, and these have been the scenes of military vicissitudes memorable, extreme, picturesque, and fatal. Here is an instance:
'There is no town in the United States which exhibits more deplorably the ravages of war than Harper's Ferry. More than half the buildings are in ruins, and those now inhabited are occupied by small dealers and peddlers, who follow troops, and sell at exorbitant prices, tarts and tinware, cakes and crockery, pipes and poultry, shoes and shirts, soap and sardines. The location is one of peculiar beauty. The Potomac receives the Shenandoah at this point; each stream flowing through its own deep, wild, winding valley, until it washes the base of the promontory, on the sides and summit of which are scattered the houses and ruins of the town. The rapids of the rivers prevent navigation, and make the fords hazardous. The piers of an iron bridge and a single section still remaining, indicate a once beautiful structure; and a pontoon substitute shows the presence of troops. An occasional canal boat suggests a still continued effort at traffic, and transport railcars prove action in the quartermaster's department. The mountains are 'high and hard to climb.' The jagged sides of slate rock rise vertically, in many places to lofty heights, inducing the sensation of fear lest they should fall, while riding along the road which winds under the threatening cliffs. The mountains are crown[Pg 698]ed with batteries, 'like diadems across the brow,' and the Hottentoty-Sibley tents dot the ridges like miniature anthills.'
But within and around the capital of Virginia cluster the extreme associations of her history: these memories and memorials of patriotism hallow the soil whereon the chief traitors inaugurated their infamous rule; the trial of Burr and the burning of the theatre are social traditions which make Richmond a name fraught with tragic and political interest; her social and forensic annals are illustrious; and, hereafter, among the many anomalies of the nation's history, few will more impress the thoughtful reminiscent than that a city eminent for social refinement and long the honored resort of the most eminent American statesmen and jurists, the seat of elegant hospitality and the shrine of national fame, was, for years, desecrated by the foulest prisons, filled with brave American citizens, who were subjected to insults and privations such as only barbarians could inflict, for no cause but the gallant defence of the national honor and authority against a slaveholders' rebellion.
But perhaps no coincidence is more impressive in the late experience of a Union soldier in Virginia than the associations then and there awakened by the recurrence of the anniversary of the birth of her noblest son and our matchless patriot:
'The 22d of February, 1863—the anniversary of Washington's birthday—will long be remembered,' writes one, 'by the Army of the Potomac. Encamped, as it is, on the very spot where he—'whom God made childless that a nation might call him father'—passed most of his youthful days, the thoughts of all naturally revert to the history of that great man, and particularly to that part of his early life, when, within the sacred precincts of home, a mother's care laid the foundation of that high moral character which in after life gave tone to both his civil and military career. Within one mile of the spot where I am now writing these lines, George Washington lived from the fourth to the sixteenth year of his age. The river, the hills, and dales, now so familiar to the soldiers composing this army, were the same then as to-day, and were the scene of his early gambols, his youthful joys and sorrows. Over these hills he wandered in the manly pursuits for which he was at that early period distinguished above his fellows, and which prepared him for enduring the hardships of the position he was destined to fill; here, too, is where tradition says he accomplished the feat of throwing a stone across the Rappahannock, and here, too, stood the traditional cherry tree, about the destruction of which with his little hatchet he would not utter a falsehood. Yonder, just across the Rappahannock, in a small, unostentatious burying ground, the immortal remains of 'Mary, mother of Washington,' were buried—sacred spot, now desecrated by the presence of the enemies of those principles which her honored son spent the energies of his life to establish for the benefit of all mankind. When we think for what Washington took up arms against the mother country, and what, by his example and teachings, he sought to perpetuate forever, and see the fratricidal hand raised to destroy the fair fabric he helped to rear, we feel something as though an omnipotent power would here intervene, and here on this sacred spot overthrow the enemies of this land without the further sacrifice of blood.'
Quite a different and more recent local association is thus recorded:
'The second time that I stood here was nigh three years ago, when I spoke to you in relation to John Brown, then in a Virginia jail. How great the result of that idea which he pressed upon the country! Do you know with what poetic justice Providence treats that very town where he lay in jail when I spoke to you before? The very man who went down from Philadelphia to bring his body back to his sad relatives—insulted every mile of the road, his life threatened, the bullets whistling around his head—that very man, for eight or ten months, is brigadier-general in command of the town of Charlestown and Harper's Ferry. By order of his superior officers, he had[Pg 699] the satisfaction of finding it his duty, with his own right hand, to put the torch to that very hotel into which he had been followed with insult and contumely, as the friend of John Brown; and when his brigade was under orders to destroy all the buildings of that neighborhood, with reverential care he bade the soldiers stop to spare that engine house that once sheltered the old hero. I do not know any history more perfectly poetic than of that single local instance given us in three short years. Hector Tindale, the friend of John Brown, who went there almost with his life in his right hand, commands, and his will is law, his sword is the guarantee of peace, and by his order the town is destroyed, with the single exception of that hall which John Brown's presence has rendered immortal.'
The graphic details furnished by the army correspondents to the daily press of the North, reveal to us in vivid and authentic terms the change which war has wrought in Virginia. The condition of one 'fine old mansion' is that of hundreds. On the banks of the Rappahannock and in the vicinity of Fredericksburg is, for instance, an estate, now called the Lacy House, the royal grant whereof is dated 1690. The bricks and the mason work of the main edifice are English; the situation is beautiful; the furniture, conservatories, musical instruments, every trait and resource suggest luxury. After the battle of Fredericksburg, the Lacy House became a hospital: and a spectator of the scene thus describes it:
'The parlors, where so often had the fairest and brightest of Virginia's daughters, and her bravest and most chivalric sons, met to enjoy the hospitalities of the liberal host, and to join in the mazy dance 'from eve till rosy morn'—the dining room, where so many lordly feasts had been served—the drawing room, wherein the smiling host and hostess had received so many a welcome guest—the bed rooms, from the bridal chamber where the eldest scion of the house had first clasped in his arms the wife of his bosom, to the low attic where the black cook retired after her greasy labors of the day, all were closely crowded with the low iron hospital beds. These halls, which had so often reëchoed the sound of music, and of gayest voices, and also of those lower but more sacred tones that belong to lovers, now resounded with shrieks of pain, and with the lower, weaker groans of dying men.
'The splendid furniture was put to strange uses—the sideboard of solid rosewood, made in those honest days before cabinet makers had learned the rogue's trick of veneering, instead of being crowded with generous wines, or with good spirits that had mellowed for years in the cellars, was now crowded in every shelf with forbidding-looking bottles of black draughts, with packages of salt and senna, and with ill-omened piles of raking pills, perhaps not less destructive in their way than shot and shell of a more explosive sort. The butler's pantry and store rooms had their shelves and drawers and boxes filled, not with jellies and marmalades and preserves, and boxes of lemons and preserved ginger and drums of figs, and all sorts of original packages of all sorts of things toothsome and satisfying to the palate—but even her scammony and gamboge, and aloes and Epsom salts, and other dire weapons, only wielded by the medical profession, had obtained exclusive sway.
'On many a retired shelf, and in many an odd corner, too, I saw neglected cartridge boxes, cast-off belts, discarded caps, etc., which told, not of the careless and heedless soldier, who had lost his accoutrements, but of the dead soldier, who had gone to a land where it is to be hoped he will have no further use for Minié rifle balls or pipe-clayed crossbelts. I saw, too, with these other laid-aside trappings, dozens and hundreds of Minié and other cartridges, never now to be fired at an enemy by the hand that had placed them in the now discarded cartridge box.
'The walls of the various rooms of the Lacy House, like those of most of the old houses in Virginia, are ceiled up to the top with wood, which is painted white. There is a heavy cornice in each room; there are the huge old-fashioned fireplaces, the marble mantelpieces over the same, and in the main dining room, where it was the custom for the men to remain after dinner, and after the ladies had retired,[Pg 700] was a curious feature to be observed, that I have never seen but once or twice. Over the marble mantel, but quite within reach, runs a mahogany framework intended for the reception of the toddy glasses, after the various guests shall have finished the generous liquor therein contained.
'There are still some vestiges of the family furniture remaining—some rosewood and mahogany sideboards, tables, bedsteads, etc., which the family have not been able to remove, and which the occupying soldiers have found no use for. The most notable of these articles is a musical instrument, which may be described as a compound harp-organ. It is, in fact, an upright harp, played by keys which strike the wires by a pianoforte action, which has an ordinary piano keyboard. This is, in fact, the earliest form of the modern pianoforte. Then, in the same instrument is an organ bellows and pipes, the music from which is evoked by means of a separate keyboard, the bellows is worked by a foot treadle, like that most detestable abomination known to moderns as a melodeon. Thus, in the same instrument, the performer is supposed to get the powers and effect both of an upright piano and a small organ. It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that this instrument (which, doubtless, originally cost at least $3,000) is now utterly useless, the wires, many of them, being broken, and the whole machine being every way out of order. The maker's name is set down as 'Longman & Broderup, 26 Cheapside, No. 13 Haymarket, London.' The poor old thing has doubtless been in the Lacy House for more than a hundred years. It has been rudely dragged from its former place of honor, and now stands in the middle of the floor. The spot it formerly occupied has been lately filled by a hospital bed, on which a capital operation was performed. The spouting blood from the bleeding arteries of some poor patient has covered the wall with crimson marks. In fact, everywhere all over the house, every wall and floor is saturated with blood, and the whole house, from an elegant gentleman's residence, seems to have been suddenly transformed into a butcher's shamble. The old clock has stopped; the child's rocking horse is rotting away in a disused balcony; the costly exotics in the garden are destroyed, or perhaps the hardiest are now used for horse posts. All that was elegant is wretched; all that was noble is shabby; all that once told of civilized elegance now speaks of ruthless barbarism.'
Take another illustration—that of the incongruous juxtaposition of old family sepulchres and fresh soldiers' graves—the associations of the past and the sad memorials of recent strife even among the dead:
'Yesterday,' writes a thoughtful observer, from near Stafford Court House, in December, 1862, 'for the first time since leaving Harper's Ferry, I met with an evidence of the old-time aristocracy, of which the present race of Virginians boast so much and possess so little. About four miles from here, standing remote and alone in the centre of a dense wood, I found an antiquated house of worship, reminding one of the old heathen temples hidden in the recesses of some deep forest, whither the followers after unknown gods were wont to repair for worship or to consult the oracles. On every side are seen venerable trees overtowering its not unpretentious steeple. The structure is built of brick (probably brought from England), in the form of a cross, semi-gothic, with entrances on three sides, and was erected in the year 1794. On entering, the first object which attracted my attention was the variously carved pulpit, about twenty-five feet from the floor, with a winding staircase leading to it. Beneath were the seats for the attendants, who, in accordance with the customs of the old English Episcopacy, waited upon the dominie. The floor is of stone, a large cross of granite lying in the centre, where the broad aisles intersect. To to the left of this is a square enclosure for the vestrymen, whose names are written on the north side of the building. The reader, if acquainted with Virginia pedigrees, will recognize in them some of the oldest and most honorable names of the State—Thomas Fitzhugh, John Lee, Peter Hedgman, Moot Doniphan, John Mercer, Henry Tyler, William Mountjoy, John Fitzhugh, John Peyton. On the north hall are four large tablets containing Scriptural quotations. Directly beneath is a broad flagstone, on which is engraved with letters of gold, 'In memory of the House of Moncure.' This[Pg 701] smacks of royalty. Parallel to it lies a tombstone with the following inscription:
Sacred to the memory of William Robison, the fourth son of H. and E. Moncure, of Windsor Forest, born the 27th of January, 1806, and died 13th of April, 1828, of a pulmonary disease, brought on by exposure to the cold climate of Philadelphia, where he had gone to prepare himself for the practice of medicine. Possessed of a mind strong and vigorous, and of a firmness of spirit a stranger to fear, he died manifesting that nobleness of soul which characterized him while living, the brightest promise of his parents, and the fondest hopes of their afflicted family.
'Led, doubtless, by the expectation of discovering buried valuables, some one has removed the stone from its original position, and excavated the earth beneath. Close by the entrance on the north side are three enclosed graves, where sleep those of another generation. The brown, moss-covered tombstones appear in strong contrast to a plain pine board at the head of a fresh-made grave alongside, and bearing the following inscription: 'Henry Basler, Company H, One Hundred and Eighteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers.'
Loyal during the civil war of England, virtually an independent State under Cromwell, it is the remarkable destiny of Virginia, so called in honor of Queen Elizabeth's unmarried state, to have given birth to the spotless chief who conducted to a triumphant issue the American Revolution—to the orator who, more than any individual, by speech alone kindled the patriotic flame thereof—to the jurist whose clear and candid mind and sagacious integrity gave dignity and permanence to constitutional law—and to the statesman who advocated and established the democratic principle and sentiment which essentially modified and moulded the political character and career of the Republic, and he was the author of that memorable Declaration of Independence which became the charter of free nationality. From 1606, when three small vessels, with a hundred or more men, sailed for the shores of Virginia under the command of Christopher Newport, and Smith planned Jamestown, to the last pronunciamento of the rebel congress of Richmond, the documentary history of Virginia includes in charter, code, report, chronicle, plea, and protest, almost every possible element and form of political speculation, civic justice, and seditious arrogance: and therein the philosopher may find all that endears and hallows and all that disintegrates and degrades the State as a social experiment and a moral fact: so that of all the States of the Union her antecedents, both noble and infamous, indicate Virginia as the most appropriate arena for the last bitter conflict between the great antagonistic forces of civil order with those of social peace and progress. There where Washington, a young surveyor, became familiar with toil, exposure, and responsibility, he passed the crowning years of his spotless career; where he was born, he died and is buried; where Patrick Henry roamed and mused until the hour struck for him to rouse, with invincible eloquence, the instinct of free citizenship; where Marshall drilled his yeoman for battle, and disciplined his judicial mind by study; where Jefferson wrote his political philosophy and notes of a naturalist; where Burr was tried, Clay was born, Wirt pleaded, Nat Turner instigated the Southampton massacre, Lord Fairfax hunted, and John Brown was hung, Randolph bitterly jested, and Pocahontas won a holy fame—there treason reared its hydra head and profaned the consecrated soil with vulgar insults and savage cruelty; there was the last battle scene of the Revolution and the first of the Civil War; there is Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Yorktown, and there also are Manassas, Bull Run, and Fredericksburg; there is the old graveyard of Jamestown and the modern Golgotha of Fair Oaks; there is the noblest tribute art has reared to Washington, and the most loathsome prisons wherein despotism wreaked vengeance on patriotism; and on that soil countless martyrs have offered up their lives for the national exist[Pg 702]ence, whose birth-pangs Virginia's peerless son shared, and over whose nascent being he kept such holy and intrepid vigil, bequeathing it as the most solemn of human trusts to those nearest to his local fame, by whom, with factious and fierce scorn, it has been infamously betrayed on its own hallowed ground; whose best renown shall yet be that it is the scene, not only of Freedom's sacrifice, but of her most pure and permanent triumph.
Lingering late in garden talk,
My friend and I, in the prime of June.
The long tree-shadows across the walk
Hinted the waning afternoon;
The bird-songs died in twitterings brief;
The clover was folding, leaf on leaf.
Fairest season of all the year,
And fairest of years in all my time;
Earth is so sweet, and heaven so near,
Sure life itself must be just at prime.
Soft flower-faces that crowd our way,
Have you no word for us to-day?
Each in its nature stands arrayed:
Heliotropes to drink the sun;
Violet-shadows to haunt the shade;
Poppies, by every wind undone;
Lilies, just over-proud for grace;
Pansies, that laugh in every face.
Great bloused Peonies, half adoze;
Mimulus, wild in change and freak;
Dainty flesh of the China Rose,
Tender and fine as a fairy's cheek;
(I watched him finger the folds apart
To get at the blush in its inmost heart.)
Lo, at our feet what small blue eyes!
And still, as we looked, their numbers came
Like shy stars out of the evening skies,
When the east is gray, and the west is flame.
—'Gather yourself, and give to me,
Those Forget-me-nots,' said he.
Word of command I take not ill;
When love commands, love likes to obey.
But, while my words my thoughts fulfil,
'Forget me not,' I will not say.
Vows for the false; an honest mind
[Pg 703]Will not be bound, and will not bind.
In your need of me I put my trust,
And your lack of need shall be my ban;
'Tis time to remember, when you must;
Time to forget me, when you can.
Yet cannot the wildest thought of mine
Fancy a life distuned from thine.
—Small reserve is between us two;
'Tis heart to heart, and brain to brain:
Bare as an arrow, straight and true,
Struck his thought to my thought again.
'Not distuned; one song of praise,
First and third, our lives shall raise.'
Close we stood in the rosy glow,
Watching the cloudland tower and town;
Watching the double Castor grow
Out of the east as the sun rolled down.
'Yonder, how star drinks star!' said he;
'Yield thou so; live thou in me.'
Nay, we are close—we are not one,
More than those stars that seem to shine
In the self-same place, yet each a sun,
Each distinct in its sphere divine.
Like to Himself art thou, we know;
Like to Himself am I also.
What did He mean, when He sent us forth,
Soul and soul, to this lower life?
Each with a purpose, each a worth,
Each an arm for the human strife.
Armor of thine is not for me;
Neither is mine adjudged by thee.
Now in the lower life we stand,
Weapons donned, and the strife begun;
Higher nor lower; hand to hand;
Each helps each with the glad 'Well done!'
Each girds each to nobler ends;
None less lovers because such friends.
So in the peace of the closing day,
Resting, as striving side by side,
What does He mean? again we say;
For what new lot are our souls allied?
Comes to my ken, in Death's advance,
Life in its next significance.
See yon tortoise; he crossed the path
At noon, to hide where the grass is tall;
In a slow half sense of the sun-king's wrath,
Burrowing close to the garden wall.
—Think, could we pour into that dull brain
[Pg 704]A man's whole life, joy, thought, and pain!
So, methinks, is the life we lead,
To the larger life that next shall be:
Narrow in thought, uncouth in deed;
Crawling, who yet shall walk so free;
Walking, who yet on wings shall soar;
Flying, who shall need wings no more.
Lo, in the larger life we stand;
We drop the weapons, we take the tools:
We serve with mind who served with hand:
We live by laws who lived by rules.
And our old earth-love, with its mortal bliss,
Was the fancy of babe for babe, to this.
—Visions begone! Above us rise
The worlds, on His work majestic sent.
Floating below, the small fireflies
Make up a tremulous firmament.
Stars in the grass, and roses dear,
Earth is full sweet, though heaven is near.
I have that same old meerschaum yet—the same that I clasped to my lips in the days that are gone, and through whose fragrant, wavy clouds, as they floated round my head, I saw—sometimes clear and bright, sometimes dimmed by a mist of rising tears—visions of childhood's joyous hours, of schoolboy's days, of youth, with its vague dreams and longings, of early manhood, and its high hopes and proud anticipations.
I smoke it still, though the tobacco be not always the choicest—for one cannot be fastidious in the army, and sutlers do not keep much of an assortment—and still it brings me sweet dreams, though of a different color.
Yes, old and tried friend, times have greatly changed in the few years that we have been together. Sons have been torn from fond parents; brothers have snatched hasty kisses from tearful sisters, and marched off to the tap of the drum with firm step and flashing eyes, while, beneath, the heart beat low and mournfully; young men and maidens, in the rosy flush of dawning love, have parted in sadness, but proudly facing the duty and bravely trusting the future and the eternal Right. Over many a noble fellow, on the bloody fields of Shiloh and Antietam and Stone River, the wings of the death-angel have fallen; at many a hearthstone there is mourning for the brave that are dead on the field of honor—though it is a royal sorrow, and a proud light gleams through the fast-falling tears.
But you and I, my faithful comrade, are together still. Next to my heart I have carried you many a weary league; many a dreary and, but for you, comfortless night we have bivouacked together. Time and roughing it have made their marks on both of us. Scars mar your polished face, now changed from spotless white to rich autumnal[Pg 705] russet; and mine, too, the sun, and wind, and other smoke than that of Orinoko have darkened. You have lost your ornamental silver cap, and amber-mouthed stem, and I my polished two-storied 'tile' and the tail of my coat. But never mind; if we are battered and bruised, and scratched and scarred, and knocked around till the end of time, we will never lose our identity; and if we live till I am as bald as you are, we will always be good friends. Won't we, old boy, eh?
And the old boy murmurs an unqualified assent.
Puff! puff! Your face lights up as brightly, and your fragrant breath comes as freely here by the campfire, as when we were at home, and had our slippered feet upon the mantelpiece before the old-fashioned 'Franklin,' and were surrounded by our books and our pictures, and the numerous little things, souvenirs, perhaps valueless in themselves, but highly prized, and reluctantly left to the tender mercies of the thoughtless and unappreciating.
And it is these little things that the soldier misses most and most frequently longs for. It is not the feather bed or the warm biscuits that he thinks of, but that dainty little penwiper, with his initials worked in it, and those embroidered slippers, that she gave him. He would not give a contractor's conscience for sweet milk; but he would like to have his smoking cap.
I once seriously thought of sending home for a certain terra cotta vase for holding cigars—a mantelpiece ornament; but I happened to remember that I had cigars very seldom, and a mantelpiece not at all, and concluded not to send.
Many of these little things the young soldier will bring from home with him, in spite of the pooh-poohs of practical parents, and carry with him, in spite of the sneers of thoughtless comrades. I know a fellow who carries in his breast pocket the withered, odorless skeleton of a bouquet, that was given him on the day he left home, and who will carry it till he returns, or till it is reddened with his blood. And when I see a man, in the face of ridicule and brutal scoffing, through long marches and weary days of dispiriting labor, clinging with fond tenacity to some little memento of the past, I set him down as a man with his heart in the right place, who will do his country and God good service when there is need. And—it is well to practise what one admires in others—I confess that I have a smoking cap that I have often packed into my knapsack, at the expense of a pair of socks; and I would rather have left out my only shirt that was off duty than that it should have failed to go with me. Yes, dear girls, your little presents, perhaps forgotten by you, by us are fondly cherished; and around them all hover, like the perfume of fresh flowers, fragrant memories of the merry days gone by, and dreams of starry eyes and laughing lips, of floating drapery and flashing jewels, and moonlit summer nights in the dear Northland.
May your eyes ne'er grow dim, nor your smiles fade away![Pg 706]
Levana; or, The Doctrine of Education. Translated from the German of Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Author of 'Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces, 'Titan,' 'Walt and Vult,' etc., etc. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. For sale by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
The mere annunciation of a book, as yet unknown to the American public, from the pen of Jean Paul Richter, will be sufficient to awaken the attention of all cultivated readers. He who has read and loved one book of this marvellous writer, will not easily rest until he has read them all. He is known in Germany as Jean Paul der Einzige,—Jean Paul, the Only—and it is true that he is the unimitated and the inimitable. He is utterly unlike Shakspeare, and yet more like him in his grand charities and breadth of range than like any other author. He is the 'Only,' the genial, the humorous, the pathetic, the tender, the satiric, the original, the erudite, the creative—the poet, sage, and scholar. But we might exhaust ourselves in expletives, and yet fail to give any idea of his rich imagery, his wonderful power, his natural and tender pathos. Besides, who does not already know him as a really great writer, through the appreciative criticisms of Thomas Carlyle?
'Levana' is a work on Education, written as Jean Paul alone could write it. In order to give our readers some idea of the nature of the subjects treated therein, we place before them a part of the table of contents: Importance of Education; Proof that Education Effects Little; Spirit and Principle of Education; To Discover and Appreciate the Individuality of the Ideal Man; On the Spirit of the Age; Religious Education; The Beginning of Education; The Joyousness of Children; Games of Children; Children's Dances; Music; Commands, Prohibitions, Punishments, and Crying; Screaming and Crying of Children; On the Trustfulness of Children; On Physical Education; On the Destination of Women; Nature of Women; Education of Girls; Education of the Affections; On the Development of the Desire for Intellectual Progress; Speech and Writing; Attention and the Power of Adaptive Combination; Development of Wit; Development of Reflection, Abstraction, and Self-Knowledge; On the Education of the Recollection—not of the Memory; Development of the Sense of Beauty; Classical Education, etc., etc.
We have often wondered why this book was not given to American readers; it was published in England, in its English dress, at least ten years ago. It addresses itself to parents, treating neither of national nor congregational education; it elevates neither state nor priest into educator; but it devolves that duty where the interest ought ever to be, on the parents, and particularly on the mother. In closing the preface to this book, Baireuth, May 2, 1806, Jean Paul says: 'It would be my greatest reward if, at the end of twenty years, some reader, as many years old, should return thanks to me, that the book which he is then reading was read by his parents.'
May this work find many readers, and true, appreciative admiration.
Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces; or, The Married Life, Death, and Wedding of the Advocate of the Poor, Firmian Stanislaus Siebenkäs. By Jean Paul Friedrich Richter. Translated from the German by Edward Henry Noel. With a Memoir of the Author by Thomas Carlyle. Ticknor & Fields: Boston. For sale by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
Scarcely had we finished our few remarks on the 'Levana' of Jean Paul, when we were called upon to welcome another work from the same loved hand. We have long known and prized 'Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces.' The writings of Richter have humanity for[Pg 707] their text, and it has always been a matter of astonishment to us that they were not more widely known in this country. His style is peculiar, it is true, but it is the peculiarity of originality, never of affectation. His illustrations are drawn from every source, from science, art, history, biography, national manners, customs, civilized and savage; his imagery is varied, exquisite, and natural, and his religion embraces all creeds and sects. He is the preacher of immortal hopes, of love to God, and all-embracing human charities. His plots are merely threads to string his pearls, opals, and diamonds upon. We prefer him greatly to the cold, worldly, and classic Goethe. His works always have a meaning, for he was a lofty and original thinker. He was colossal and magnanimous both as man and writer. Carlyle says of him: 'His intellect is keen, impetuous, far-grasping, fit to rend in pieces the stubbornest materials, and extort from them their most hidden and refractory truth. In his Humor he sports with the highest and lowest; he can play at bowls with the Sun and Moon. His Imagination opens for us the Land of Dreams; we sail with him through the boundless Abyss; and the secrets of Space, and Time, and Life, and Annihilation hover round us in dim, cloudy forms; and darkness, and immensity, and dread encompass and overshadow us. Nay, in handling the smallest matter, he works it with the tools of a giant. A common truth is wrenched from its old combinations, and presented to us in new, impassable, abysmal contrast with its opposite error. A trifle, some slender character, some jest, quip, or spiritual toy, is shaped into the most quaint, yet often truly living form; but shaped somehow as with the hammer of Vulcan, with three strokes that might have helped to forge an Ægis. The treasures of his mind are of a similar description with the mind itself; his knowledge is gathered from all the kingdoms of Art, and Science, and Nature, and lies round him in huge unwieldy heaps. His very language is Titanian; deep, strong, tumultuous; shining with a thousand hues, fused from a thousand elements, and winding in labyrinthic masses.' We recommend Jean Paul to universal study; he will, in spite of all his grotesque and broken arabesques, amply repay it.
Broken Columns. Sheldon & Co., 335 Broadway, New York.
An anonymous novel, by one who says: 'I shall not say I have not aforetime walked openly in the highway of literature, but on this occasion the public must indulge me with the use of a thick veil; a veil, albeit, which will allow me to observe whether smiles or frowns mark the public countenance.'
The author will without doubt find both smiles and frowns on the faces he would regard. His characters are novel, the situations eccentric, the denouements unexpected. Love is made the solvent and reformer of vice. The sinner seems not actually depraved, but ever ready to return to the path of virtue. Forgiveness is the elixir of reformation and regeneration. Charity controls the inner life. The work contains passages of great beauty, though the style is often broken and rugged. It is philanthropic, and full of pity for the erring. We fail to understand the characters, because we have never seen coarse vice associated with tenderness and refinement. It is true, as our author says, that 'in seeking the reclamation of our fellow creatures, we are nothing less than co-workers with God.' But it is a solemn task, and charity itself is subject to the laws of eternal justice.
The Old Merchants of New York City. By Walter Barrett, Clerk. Second Series. Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway, New York.
The first series of this book had a circulation so extensive that its author gives to the world another volume. The motto of the work seems to be, 'The crowning city—whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth.' It is not a series of biographies, but light, gossiping sketches of persons, things, manners, the eccentricities of noted men, the transfers of well-known pieces of property, the changes in firms, the improvements in streets and buildings, the gradual extension of old and the introduction of new branches of trade and business, the intermarriages of families, etc., etc. To those familiar with the business habits of New York, acquainted with its localities, interested in the origin and early history of its mercantile families, of whom[Pg 708] the book contains many personal anecdotes, we presume it will prove amusing and entertaining.
Vincenzo; or, Sunken Rocks. A Novel, by John Ruffini, Author of 'Doctor Antonio,' 'Lavinia,' etc. Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway, New York.
'Dr. Antonio' had many admirers both here and in England, and is already in the second edition. The scene of Vincenzo is laid in Italy, during the progress of the Italian Revolution. The 'Sunken Rocks' are the widely differing religious and political views of husband and wife; and our author closes his tale in saying: 'Would to God, at least, that the case of the Candias was an isolated one! But no; there is scarcely any corner in Europe that does not exhibit plenty of such, and worse. God alone knows the number of families whose domestic peace has been, of late years, seriously damaged, or has gone to wreck altogether on those very rocks so fatal to Vincenzo.' Alas! that the present civil war should have given birth to much of the same domestic alienation and bitterness in our own midst as we find portrayed in the novel before us. Suffering of this kind, real and severe, exists among ourselves, saddening the heart of many a woman, and paralyzing the exertions of many a man who would else be patriotic and loyal.
Pique. A Novel. Loring, publisher, 319 Washington street, Boston. For sale by Oliver S. Fell, 36 Walker street, New York.
We have no doubt that this book will excite considerable attention in the novel-reading world. It is in all probability destined to become as popular as the one of which, without being any imitation, it frequently reminds us—we mean 'The Initials.' The characters portrayed in 'Pique' develop themselves through the means of spirited conversations, arising from the surrounding circumstances—conversations always natural and without exaggeration. The pages are never dull, the story being varied and full of interest. It is a tale of the affections, of the home circle, of jealousies, misconceptions, perversions, feelings, the incidents growing naturally out of the defects and excellences of the individuals depicted. The scene is laid in England; the local coloring and characters being thoroughly English. Modern life and modern traits are portrayed with considerable skill and cleverness. The moral tone is throughout is unexceptionable. We commend 'Pique' to all lovers of refined, spirited, and detailed home novels.
Meditations on Life and its Religious Duties. Translated from the German of Zschokke. By Frederica Rowan. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863. For sale by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
The tendency of these 'Meditations' is eminently practical, and the subjects treated are of universal application and interest. The translation is dedicated to Princess Alice, of England, now of Hesse, and is well executed, preserving the beauty and simplicity of the original, and supplying a need frequently felt in current religious literature, where vague reveries too often usurp the place of sensible counsel and life-improving suggestions.
Peter Carradine; or, The Martindale Pastoral By Caroline Chesebro'. Sheldon &, Company, 335 Broadway. Gould & Lincoln, Boston.
We have not yet had time to read this 'Pastoral' for ourselves, but it is highly commended by Marion Harland, author of 'Alone.' 'The story is confined within the limits of a country neighborhood, but there is variety of character, motive, and action. You are reminded that the authoress writes with a purpose, as well as a power, that the earnest, God-fearing soul of the philanthropist has travailed here for the good of her kind, not the mere 'sensation' romancist writer for the entertainment of an idle hour.' We quote from Marion Harland.
Excursions. By Henry D. Thoreau, Author of 'Walden,' and 'A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.' Boston: Ticknor & Fields. For sale by D. Appleton & Co., New York.
Henry David Thoreau was a man of decided genius, and an ardent lover of nature. His eye was open to beauty, and his ear to music. He found these, not in rare conditions, but wheresoever he went. He was sincerity itself, and no cant or affectation is to be found in his writings. He was religious in his own way; incapable of any profanation, by act or thought, although his original living and thinking detached him from the social religious forms. He thought[Pg 709] that without religion no great deed had ever been accomplished. He was disgusted with crime, and no worldly success could cover it. He loved nature so well, and was so happy in her solitude, that he became very jealous of cities and the sad work which their refinements and artifices made with man and his dwelling. The axe was always destroying his forest. 'Thank God,' he said, 'they cannot cut down the clouds.'
We have taken the above traits from the exceedingly interesting biographical sketch introducing this book, from the masterly hand of R. W. Emerson. The writings of Thoreau are the result of his character, modelled from and colored by the tastes and habits of his daily life. Nature lives in his pages. We know of no more delightful reading. He says: 'A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in the jungles of the East. Where is the literature which gives expression to nature? He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them—transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true, and fresh, and natural that they would appear to expand like buds at the approach of spring, though they lay half-smothered between two musty leaves in a library—aye to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually, for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding nature.'
Such a poet is Thoreau, and fair and perfect as the wild flowers of the prairies are his 'good books.' In the above extract he has himself described them. Who knows not his 'Autumnal Tints,' and 'Wild Apples,' and who has ever read them without loving them? Theodore Winthrop's 'Life in the Open Air,' 'Out-door Papers,' by T. W. Higginson, and 'Excursions,' by H. D. Thoreau, are books which could only have been written in America, and of which an American may justly feel proud. They are in themselves a library for the country, and we heartily commend them to all who love nature and the fresh breath of the forest.
The Great Stone Book of Nature. By David Thomas Ansted, M. A., F. R. S., F. G. S., etc. Late Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge; Honorary Fellow of King's College, London. Published by George W. Childs, 628 and 630 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 1863. Received per favor of C. T. Evans, 448 Broadway, New York.
To popularize scientific knowledge is one of the most difficult of tasks. Men of real science are rarely willing to spare the necessary time, and the work is ordinarily undertaken by a class of pseudo savants, who have just acquired that little learning which is so dangerous a thing. Deductions and results are all that can be set before the people, who are unable to follow scientific processes, and who are hence liable to receive impressions, the truth or error of which must depend upon the fairness and logical acumen of the individual mind addressing them. The work before us is evidently written by one thoroughly conversant with the subject under consideration, and the author seems careful to assert no fact or affirm no conclusion not strictly warranted by actual research. Solid works of this kind ought to be warmly welcomed, and as such we recommend the above to our reading community.
Remains in Verse and Prose, of Arthur Henry Hallam. With a Preface and Memoir. Ticknor & Fields, Boston.
Arthur Henry Hallam possessed the friendship of one who ranks high among the living poets of England—Tennyson. How bitterly the poet felt his death, he has himself testified in his 'In Memoriam,' a book which has many admirers both in England and America. The image of young Hallam hovers like a lovely shadow over these yearning poems devoted to the memory of the regretted friend; his 'Remains,' will enable us to understand why he excited a love so tender and respectful, and left so deep a grief for his loss when he passed away. 'From the earliest years of this extraordinary young man, his premature abilities were not more conspicuous than an almost faultless disposition, sustained by a more calm self-command than has often been witnessed in that season of life. The sweetness of temper that distinguished his childhood, became, with the advance of manhood, an habitual benevolence, and ultimately ripened[Pg 710] into that exalted principle of love toward God and man, which animated and almost absorbed his soul during the latter period of his life, and to which his compositions bear such emphatic testimony.'
The 'Remains' of such a spirit cannot fail to be interesting. We were especially pleased with the 'Oration on the Influence of Italian Works of Imagination on the same class of compositions in England.' The great Italians seldom receive their full meed of praise, either from the English or ourselves. Some very mature remarks are also made upon the influence of German mind upon English literature.
The Rejected Wife. By Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, Author of 'Fashion and Famine,' 'The Old Homestead,' 'Mary Derwent,' &c. T. B. Peterson & Brothers, Chestnut street, Philadelphia.
A novel in which are depicted the early days of Benedict Arnold. The characters are well drawn and sustained, and the tale one of considerable interest. The fright and agony of the fair, young, deserted wife are delicately and skilfully drawn; most of the scenes in which she is introduced are full of nature and simple pathos. The pictures of Puritan manners, lives, and thoughts, are graphic and truthful. We commend the book to all lovers of a good, pure, domestic novel.
Pinneo's Analytical Grammar of the English Language: Designed for Schools. By T. S. Pinneo, M. A., M. D., Author of 'Primary Grammar,' 'Hemans Reader,' &c. Revised and enlarged. New York: Clark, Austin & Smith; Cincinnati: W. B. Smith & Co.
This work is intended to succeed the author's 'Primary Grammar,' being, however, complete in itself. It presents a full view of the well-established principles of the English language, in their practical bearing on analysis and construction. No space is wasted on the discussion of curious or unimportant points, which, however interesting to the critical student, always encumbers an elementary work. Simplicity in definitions, examples, exercises, and arrangement, has been carefully studied. The exercises are full and numerous; a large portion of them designed to teach, at the same time, the nature, properties, and relations of words, and the analysis and construction of sentences.
'Model Class-Books on the English Language have been produced by Professor Pinneo, and they should be adopted as standard text-books in the schools of the United States.'-Educational Reports.
The British American. No. 6. October, 1863. A Monthly Magazine devoted to Literature, Science, and Art. Toronto: Rollo & Adams, publishers.
Contents: A Further Plea for British American Nationality, by Thomas D'Arcy McGee; The Maple; A Tale of the Bay of Quinte; Longfellow and his Poetry; The Cited Curate; The Labradorians; Margaret; The Settler's Daughter; Song; Historical Notes on the Extinct Tribes of North America—The Mascoutens—The Neuters—The Eastern Range of the Buffalo; Sonnet to the Humming Bird; Reviews; The British Quarterlies; The British Monthlies; American Periodicals, &c., &c.
The Massachusetts Teacher: A Journal of School and Home Education. Resident Editors: Charles Ansorge, Dorchester; Wm. T. Adams, Boston; W. E. Sheldon, West Newton, New Series, October, 1863. Boston: Published by the Massachusetts Teachers' Association, No. 119 Washington street, Boston.
In the articles contributed to our pages, we do not always exact a precise conformity to our own views. If we are satisfied with the general scope and tendency of thought presented by respectable writers who appear in their own names, we do not care to make known any minor differences of opinion, or to criticise what we consider the errors of their productions. Nevertheless, we suppose that a calm and friendly expression of our own thoughts, on any subject discussed in our pages, will not be out of place or unkindly received in any quarter.
In the very able and interesting article in our last number, by Mr. Freeland, that writer announced the doctrine that 'the social, political, religious, and scientific development of the world proceeds under the operation of two grand antagonistic principles,' which he calls respectively, 'Unity,' and 'Individuality.' 'The first of these,' he says, 'tends to bring about coöperation, consolidation, convergence, dependence; the second to produce separation, isolation, divergence, and independence. Unity is the principle which tends to order; Individuality to freedom.'
We are prepared to admit the existence and operation of these principles as stated. They constitute the active tendencies of society, and they perform in the social world precisely what the antagonistic forces of attraction and repulsion do in the physical. They are the principles of aggregation and organization, as well as of agitation, conflict, and all revolutionary or progressive activity. In a more perfect state of development, they will exhibit themselves as the centripetal and centrifugal forces of a beautiful system arrived at that stage of regulated motion which constitutes a stable equilibrium.
But while we admit the universal operation of these two principles, we think Mr. Freeland has made a serious mistake in the application of them,—a mistake which seems to run through his entire essay, and to pervade the whole system of his philosophy. We shall venture upon a brief criticism, solely with the view of eliminating truth. The question, though somewhat abstract in its nature, is to us of the highest interest; and we shall ever be ready to yield our position, when convinced that it is erroneous and untenable.
We find what we consider the exceptionable doctrine in the following passage: 'Unity is allied to the affections, which are synthetic in their character; Individuality, to the intellect, which is mainly analytical and disruptive in its tendency. Unity is predominant in religion, which is static in its nature; Individuality to science, which is primarily disturbing. In the distribution of the mental faculties, Unity relates to the moral powers, and Individuality to the intellectual; the former being, as both Mr. Buckle and Professor Draper have shown, more stationary in their character than the latter. As in this paragraph the 'affections' are placed in contrast with the 'intellect,' we suppose that by the former the writer intends to designate the emotions or passions, thus making that most obvious analysis of the mind into halves—the active impulses and moral principles on the one hand, and the perceptive and reflective faculties on the other. There is some little confusion of statement, in afterward contrasting the 'moral powers' with the 'intellectual;' but we imagine that the same general classification is intended, although not quite defined with philosophical accuracy.
If we are correct in this interpretation of the language quoted, we do not see how the emotional part of human nature can, in any[Pg 712] general sense, be said to be allied to unity. The passions are the basis of all human agitation and conflict, and have been the cause of all the wars which have engaged mankind during the past ages of the world. In the early periods of history the selfish emotions have preponderated over the benevolent. Hatred, ambition, avarice, have been superior to love, humility, and charity. It is more than doubtful whether, even now, the selfish passions of the human race are not still in the ascendant.
It may be said that, in the long run, the emotions tend to harmony, and that the coöperative and benevolent feelings are continually approaching their final and complete triumph. This is undoubtedly true; but it is wholly attributable to the progress of the human intellect, which, day by day, is demonstrating that man's emotional and moral nature can find its highest enjoyment and its most perfect development only in the complete subordination of the selfish and unsocial passions, to those which promote universal toleration and brotherhood.
But if Mr. Freeland is wrong in the position that the primary tendency of the passions is to unity, he seems to us equally far from scientific truth when he asserts that intellect is 'disrupting' in its tendency, and that science is primarily 'disturbing.' It is true the intellect has the analytical faculty; but it is equally true that the opposite faculty of generalization is that which most strongly characterizes it and distinguishes reason from instinct. So far from analysis being the earliest predominant tendency of the intellect, almost all its most familiar and ordinary acts are those of synthesis. In all the phenomena of perception, the separate sensations are combined by an act of the judgment into the concrete ideas of form and substance, while the highest and most permanent characteristic of science is in the comprehensive attainment of general laws.
The simple truth of the whole case is, that the affections or passions of men are the motive powers which impel them to action in every field of human affairs. The intellect, on the contrary, dominates these motive powers by its faculty of unfolding truth, foreseeing consequences, exploring the path of practicable progress, and illuminating the objects of rational desire to humanity. In the passions of men we have the two antagonistic forces—the attraction and repulsion—the centripetal and centrifugal tendencies—which ever antagonize each other, and through all the conflicts and agitations of mankind, are tending to eventual harmony. The moral faculty is a mere standard of right and wrong, which, of course, remains comparatively fixed and permanent through all the ages. The changes of opinion and action, in the sense of morality, are due wholly to the difference of knowledge at successive periods. Just as the intellect is capable of determining the bearing and consequences of human action, and of fixing the intention with reference to such consequences, will the moral character of such action be pronounced, more or less correctly, according to the degree of enlightenment of the parties concerned.
From this analysis it will be plainly seen, that all the force is in the passions or desires of men. These are enlightened, and therefore regulated by the intellect, and judged by the moral faculty according to the consequences foreseen and intended. Ideas alone have the power of organization. The passions attend upon ideas as their ministers and servants. Beliefs, which represent the ideas or knowledge prevalent at successive periods in history, have controlled the destiny of men and nations, and all human passions have been marshalled and arrayed in conformity with them.
The error of Mr. Freeland, we respectfully submit, is in placing the intellect and the passions in antagonism with each other, while, in truth, it is one passion, or one class of passions, which antagonizes another. The direction given to society by the predominating force of all the individual propensities is retrogressive, stationary, or progressive, revolutionary and destructive, or moderate and safe, according to the knowledge of facts and the prevision of consequences which may inform the judgments and enlighten the consciences of the masses.
At periods of general ignorance and superstition, the announcement of a great scientific or philosophic truth may produce commotion, persecution, and discord. But it is evident that these are the results of ignorance and not of knowledge—of unenlightened passion, and not of the awakened intellect. Truth is attractive to all minds, and its tendency is to invite universal assent. In so far, there[Pg 713]fore, as the intellect is capable of discovering truth, its tendency is to unify and harmonize, and by no means to separate into disorder. In an age of inquiry, the emancipation of thought may be attended with much disturbance. The right of individual judgment will necessarily produce conflict in the very act of emerging from the preceding state of ignorance and restraint. The state of transition cannot be one of tranquillity, although it is the inevitable path to a higher and more complete harmony. But it is inaccurate and philosophically untrue, as we think, to characterize the intellect as 'disturbing,' or 'disrupting.' It is disturbing only to ignorance, and disrupting only to the systems and organizations based upon falsehood.
We think these positions and brief discriminations are accurate, and not to be overthrown by argument; and as they are fundamental, we have thought it not improper to state them here, as the basis upon which we accept the general reasoning of Mr. Freeland as to the law of human development. Buckle and Draper are right as to the fixed character of moral standards; but the progressive development of knowledge gives new applications to moral principles, and requires their perpetual operation and control. In this sense, morality keeps pace with knowledge, and though dependent upon new truths for its own advancement, is indispensable to the progress of mankind in the social benefits to be derived from every intellectual acquisition.
A musical example of a rhythm rare and difficult of treatment in English—the dactylic.—Ed.
Gone from the earth, in her innocence, purity,
Gone, 'mong her bright sister angels to dwell;
Gone, to explore the dark shades of Futurity,
Gone to her final home! Sweet one, farewell!
On this cold, freezing earth, sensitive, shivering,
Standing but feebly before its chill blast;—
Into the Future, her face with joy quivering,
Into its warmth, its morn genial, at last!
Gone from her earth-home, where all were but blessing her
In the cold, heart-chilling language of earth;
Now, in her heaven-home, all are caressing her,
Not as the Clay, but the soul of New Birth!
Slowly, the days which once fleeted so cheerily,
Floated as though we could never know pain,
Drag their dull length along, sadly and drearily,
Wearily praying for Lethe in vain!
Yet, though 'tis hard that the young and the beautiful,
From loving hearts should be torn thus away,
Still will we try to be patient and dutiful,
Knowing that after the night comes the day.
Recent British papers and correspondents bring very pleasing accounts of a balloon ascension, which took place in London on the 9th of October. This adventure is the more interesting to us, from the fact that the well-known and experienced aëronauts, Messrs. Coxwell and Glaisher, were accompanied in their celestial excursion by several private individuals of distinction, and among the rest by the Hon. Robert J. Walker, of this country, whose able contributions have done so much to enhance the value of The Continental. Some years ago, this gentleman had the scientific curiosity to descend to the bottom of the sea, in a new diving apparatus, just then invented; and recently he has been driven through a tunnel on a railway, by the pneumatic process, which in certain locations and conditions, will probably hereafter be substituted for the ordinary power of the locomotive engine. He seems to be not only ready to welcome all valuable improvements in science and mechanics, but is ready himself to take the risks of dangerous exploration in the pursuit of knowledge and for the promotion of progress.
But of all such adventures, that into the regions of the atmosphere is by far the most interesting. Living immersed in this great ocean of air and moisture which surrounds the earth, and is the theatre of all the grand, beautiful, benignant, and often terrific phenomena of meteorology, it is no more than a very natural curiosity which induces us to seek by aërial exploration to understand its physical peculiarities, and to make use of the vast resources which it will doubtless soon[Pg 714] afford to the genius and enterprise of the human race.
Until recently, we believe, it has been considered a settled fact, that the atmosphere was limited to the height of about forty-five miles, that being estimated as the limit at which the earth's attraction would be balanced by the expansive force of the particles of air. But in this problem there is an element of complication in the rotation of the atmosphere with the earth on its axis. Near the surface, and for a great distance upward, the air is but a part of the solid globe, or rather an appendage to it, moving with it in all respects like the denser fluid which constitutes the mighty ocean. But there must be a point in the ascent upward, where the centrifugal force of the particles of air, in the diurnal rotation, must over-balance the power of gravitation; and from that limit, the motions of the atmosphere must be subject to a law of a wholly different character—partaking of the nature of planetary revolution, rather than of axial rotation. The latest speculations as to the height of the atmosphere, seem to have reached only this degree of certainty, viz., that it does not extend so far as the orbit of the moon. Otherwise, it is argued, the superior attraction of that body, in its immediate vicinity, would aggregate a considerable quantity of the air about it, which would tend to retard the motions of the satellite in its orbit, and of the earth on its axis; whereas, the revolutions and rotations of both are known to have been uniform for a period as far back as authentic observation extends.
But these speculations, however curious and interesting, are of no practical importance. We shall never be able to traverse the air to any great distance above the earth's surface. Independent of mechanical difficulties, two great impediments will forever prevent the realization of any such ambitions aspirations. These are the increase of cold and decrease of pressure in the upper regions of the air, and the deficiency of oxygen in the rarefied element for the support of animal life. It is well known that at the earth's surface, the pressure on all parts of the body, internal and external, by the weight of the superincumbent atmosphere, is no less than 14½ pounds to every square inch. The structure of the human body is physiologically conformed by nature to this pressure, and it cannot survive with any very great change of this amount, either by increase or diminution. When one descends into the water, the pressure is doubled at about 32 feet of depth. In ascending in the atmosphere, the pressure is diminished much less rapidly, of course, but quite sensibly when the altitude becomes very great.
Messrs. Coxwell and Glaisher are said to have ascended in 1862 to a height of seven and a half miles. One of these gentlemen became entirely insensible from cold and want of oxygen, and the other very nearly so, being obliged to open the valve of the balloon with his teeth for want of the use of his hands.
Nature provides a partial remedy for the difficulty of breathing in the upper regions of the atmosphere. In the effort to breathe, the lungs are found to expand and to develop air cells not ordinarily used, so as to bring a larger quantity of the rarefied air into contact with the blood. It has been proposed to assist this effort of nature, and, in order to enable the aëronaut to reach a greater altitude with safety, to carry up in bags a supply of oxygen for breathing. As air is carried or forced down into the water to enable the diver to breathe, so it may be conveyed upward for the benefit of the aërial adventurer.
But with all possible expedients, it is not probable that man will ever be able to get far away from the surface of the earth which is his natural place of abode. If he can explore the lower strata immediately adjoining his own theatre of action—the strata in which all the great and important phenomena of meteorology take place—and if he can succeed in traversing it at his pleasure with safety and some degree of celerity, as we doubt not he will eventually, this great achievement will subserve all the useful purposes possible to be derived from such skill and knowledge.
The atmosphere will still be the vast reservoir of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon, from winch all living things in the air, on the earth, or in the depths of the boundless ocean, whether animal or vegetable, draw far the greater part of their nutriment. We can never reach the surface of this atmospheric ocean, for that would be for us a region of inanity and death; but there is scarcely a doubt that we shall freely use it[Pg 715] in the future for purposes of locomotion, at the same time that we breathe and assimilate it as the very pabulum and substance of our mortal bodies.
Far in the wood he lieth,
Where the wind of autumn sigheth,
Making its moan,
Where the golden beams are leaping
And the autumn leaves lie sleeping
Over the dead,
By the stream that runs forever,
'Neath the trees that bend and quiver
Wild in the blast;—
Deep in the wood he lieth,
Under the sod,
Where the wind of autumn sigheth,
Alone—with his God.
E. W. C.
The great question of the hour is, that of rebuilding the edifice of the Republic, which has been rudely shaken and partly thrown down by the rebellion. All patriotic hearts, in anticipation of the speedy close of the war, are turned with intense interest to this important work. Opinions divide upon this as upon all other great subjects, and we have two antagonistic ideas, organizing their respective parties with reference to it. One party maintains that the rebellious States have forfeited all their rights, and can under no circumstances claim to be recognized in their former relations, except on a re-admission into the Union upon the terms prescribed by the Constitution for the admission of new States. The other party denies that any of the States, as such, have forfeited, or can forfeit any of their rights, and maintains the duty of the Federal Government to protect all the States in their constitutional integrity, to put down the rebellion within them, and to restore to them the republican forms which have been violently overthrown.
In each of these positions, there seems to be a combination of truth and error. So long as any State is in a belligerent and treasonable attitude, disclaiming and repudiating her obligations under the Constitution, she is obviously not entitled to the benefits of the system which she thus assails and defies. The State being sustained in rebellion by its whole people, it is vain to say the Government can only regard the people as individuals, for these are the State, and must be treated accordingly. But if, laying down her arms, or even after being conquered, a State returns to her allegiance, to reject her demands would be to admit that secession had been effectual. It would be a recognition of the validity, if not of the rightfulness of the movement which assumed to carry the State out of the Union.
On the other hand, to maintain that the State is still legally in the Union, even at the moment of violent treason, and is still entitled to claim her position and rights as such, would be equally, if not more absurd and injurious to the nation. It is argued, that if there be any true and loyal citizens in the State, however few, they are entitled to the protection of the Federal Government, and the recognition of their State as a member of the Union. This doctrine is unreasonable and impracticable. Any theory which would carry us to the absurd extreme of constituting a State of an inconsiderable number of men,—the paltry minority of a large population—would not be more objectionable to the good sense of the people, than irreconcilable with the fundamental principles of our complex government. Such a minority, however small, would be entitled to the protection and to the highest favor of the Government; and if they could be built up into a power sufficiently strong to maintain themselves in the State, then they would fairly be entitled to claim full recognition. If, by the legitimate exercise of its war powers, by the just restraint and punishment of treason, the Federal Government can establish the real political ascendency of the loyal part of the population, and thus actually restore the State Government on a fair and substantial basis, even though it be placed in the hands of a present minority, it would be fully justified in recognizing this organization as a member of the old Union. But to set up a mere sham, and pretend to rebuild a State on the basis of inconsiderable numbers, against even the disloyal sentiments of the great body of the people, would be unwise and unavailing. Such a reconstruction would be hollow and deceptive, a danger and a snare, forever threatening the tranquillity of the country.
The question is one of practical statesman[Pg 716]ship; and the Government must deal with it upon the principles of common sense, without embarrassing itself by any mere theories which would be troublesome and inapplicable in any emergency. How long after subjugation the Government will wait for the return of any State to its allegiance, and what indications of sincere loyalty will be accepted, as well as what fair and honorable inducements will be held out to lure the erring population back into the fold of the Union, are matters for the gravest consideration, and can only be determined when the occasion for decision shall arise. To thrust a State back into the Union, and clothe it with all its former constitutional privileges, while the masses of its people are still hostile to the Federal authority, would evince a degree of recklessness, and even insanity, which, it is to be hoped, the Government will never exhibit. But when a State is fit to return, and may properly and safely be received, let her be welcomed cordially and heartily, without the least reminiscence of her sad and disastrous error.
The true difficulty is not in the principle which is to control our action in any given circumstances. That is sufficiently plain in itself; it is only the application which is difficult. We cannot acknowledge the equality and sisterhood of a State, which, though subdued, is still hostile and not to be trusted in the Union: but we can and will receive all those which truly accept the result of the war and honestly return to their allegiance. We cannot create a State in the midst of a hostile population, and maintain the sovereign right of an inconsiderable few against the voice of the vast majority; but we can favor, encourage, and build up the loyal minority when that is sufficiently important, so as to make it the majority, and clothe it with the power of the resuscitated State.
So long as there is no loyal State authority fairly representing the people, the State must be considered as disabled, and its rights in abeyance. There is no necessity of considering the State as extinguished, while there is hope of a favorable change. To reduce the States to the condition of territories would be an act of extreme hostility, and could only be the ultimate result of incorrigible treason, holding out against subjugation and against all the reasonable inducements which can be offered to a rebellious people by a magnanimous Government. We can never receive into the bosom of the Union a hostile people, full of treason, and always ready for renewed mischief. Though they be conquered in arms, we cannot compel their thoughts and affections. Unless they yield these, force cannot win them; and we must therefore hold the rein of control for our own security. The act of recognition will be always determined by the will of the Federal authorities. This right of decision necessarily places in their hands the supreme control of those conditions which are necessary to our future security.
The peculiar taint or infection which we call Scrofula lurks in the constitutions of multitudes of men. It either produces or is produced by an enfeebled, vitiated state of the blood, wherein that fluid becomes incompetent to sustain the vital forces in their vigorous action, and leaves the system to fall into disorder and decay. The scrofulous contamination is variously caused by mercurial disease, low living, disordered digestion from unhealthy food, impure air, filth and filthy habits, the depressing vices, and, above all, by the venereal infection. Whatever be its origin, it is hereditary in the constitution, descending "from parents to children unto the third and fourth generation;" indeed, it seems to be the rod of Him who says, "I will visit the iniquities of the fathers upon their children." The diseases which it originates take various names, according to the organs it attacks. In the lungs, Scrofula produces tubercles, and finally Consumption; in the glands, swellings which suppurate and become ulcerous sores; in the stomach and bowels, derangements which produce indigestion, dyspepsia, and liver complaints; on the skin, eruptive and cutaneous affections. These all having the same origin, require the same remedy, viz.: purification and invigoration of the blood. Purify the blood, and these dangerous distempers leave you. With feeble, foul, or corrupted blood, you cannot have health; with that "life of the flesh" healthy, you cannot have scrofulous disease.
Is compounded from the most effectual antidotes that medical science has discovered for this afflicting distemper, and for the cure of the disorders it entails. That it is far superior to any other remedy yet devised, is known by all who have given it a trial. That it does combine virtues truly extraordinary in their effect upon this class of complaints, is indisputably proven by the great multitude of publicly known and remarkable cures it has made of the following diseases: King's Evil or Glandular Swellings, Tumors, Eruptions, Pimples, Blotches and Sores, Erysipelas, Rose or St. Anthony's Fire, Salt Rheum, Scald Head, Coughs from tuberculous deposits on the lungs, White Swellings, Debility, Dropsy, Neuralgia, Dyspepsia or Indigestion, Syphilis and Syphilitic Infections, Mercurial Diseases, Female Weaknesses, and, indeed, the whole series of complaints that arise from impurities of the blood. Minute reports of individual cases may be found in Ayer's American Almanac, which is furnished to the druggists for gratuitous distribution, wherein may be learned the directions for its use, and some of the remarkable cures which it has made when all other remedies had failed to afford relief. Those cases are purposely taken from all sections of the country, in order that every reader may have access to some one who can speak to him of its benefits from personal experience. Scrofula depresses the vital energies, and thus leaves its victims far more subject to disease and its fatal results than are healthy constitutions. Hence, it tends to shorten, and does greatly shorten the average duration of human life. The vast importance of these considerations has led us to spend years in perfecting a remedy which is adequate to its cure. This we now offer to the public under the name of Ayer's Sarsaparilla, although it is composed of ingredients, some of which exceed the best of Sarsaparilla in alterative power. By its aid you may protect yourself from the suffering and danger of these disorders. Purge out the foul corruptions that rot and fester in the blood; purge out the causes of disease, and vigorous health will follow. By its peculiar virtues this remedy stimulates the vital functions, and thus expels the distempers which lurk within the system or burst out on any part of it.
We know the public have been deceived by many compounds of Sarsaparilla that promised much and did nothing; but they will neither be deceived nor disappointed in this. Its virtues have been proven by abundant trial, and there remains no question of its surpassing excellence for the cure of the afflicting diseases it is intended to reach. Although under the same name, it is a very different medicine from any other which has been before the people, and is far more effectual than any other which has ever been available to them.
The World's Great Remedy for Coughs, Colds, Incipient Consumption, and for the relief of Consumptive patients in advanced stages of the disease.
This has been so long used and so universally known, that we need do no more than assure the public that its quality is kept up to the best it ever has been, and that it may be relied on to do all it has ever done.
Prepared by Dr. J. C. AYER & CO.,
PRACTICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTS
Sold by all Druggists, everywhere.
ASSISTED BY A NUMEROUS BUT SELECT CORPS OF WRITERS.
The design of The New American Cyclopædia is to furnish the great body of intelligent readers in this country with a popular Dictionary of General Knowledge.
The New American Cyclopædia is not founded on any European model; in its plan and elaboration it is strictly original, and strictly American. Many of the writers employed on the work have enriched it with their personal researches, observations, and discoveries; and every article has been written, or re-written, expressly for its pages.
It is intended that the work shall bear such a character of practical utility as to make it indispensable to every American library.
Throughout its successive volumes, The New American Cyclopædia will present a fund of accurate and copious information on Science, Art, Agriculture, Commerce, Manufactures, Law, Medicine, Literature, Philosophy, Mathematics, Astronomy, History, Biography, Geography, Religion, Politics, Travels, Chemistry, Mechanics, Inventions, and Trades.
Abstaining from all doctrinal discussions, from all sectional and sectarian arguments, it will maintain the position of absolute impartiality on the great controverted questions which have divided opinions in every age.
This work is published exclusively by subscription, in sixteen large octavo volumes, each containing 750 two-column pages.
Price per volume, cloth, $3.50; library style, leather, $4; half morocco, 4.50; half russia, extra, $5.
From the London Daily News.
It is beyond all comparison the best,—indeed, we should feel quite justified in saying it is the only book of reference upon the Western Continent that has ever appeared. No statesman or politician can afford to do without it, and it will be a treasure to every student of the moral and physical condition of America. Its information is minute, full, and accurate upon every subject connected with the country. Beside the constant attention of the Editors, it employs the pens of a a host of most distinguished transatlantic writers—statesmen, lawyers, divines, soldiers, a vast array of scholarship from the professional chairs of the Universities, with numbers of private literati, and men devoted to special pursuits.
|Assets, 1st Jan., 1860,||$1,458,396 28.|
|Liabilities, 1st Jan., 1860,||42,580 43.|
|Charles J. Martin,||A. F. Willmarth,||William G. Lambert,|
|George C. Collins,||Danford N. Barney,||Lucius Hopkins,|
|Thomas Messenger,||William H. Mellen,||Charles B. Hatch,|
|B. Watson Bull,||Homer Morgan,||L. Roberts,|
|Levi P. Stone,||James Humphrey,||George Pearce,|
|Ward A. Work,||James Lowe,||I. H. Frothingham,|
|Charles A. Bulkley,||Albert Jewitt,||George D. Morgan,|
|Theodore McNamee,||Richard Bigelow,||Oliver E. Wood,|
|Alfred S. Barnes,||George Bliss,||Roe Lockwood,|
|Levi P. Morton,||Curtis Noble,||John B. Hutchinson,|
|Charles P. Baldwin,||Amos T. Dwight,||Henry A. Hurlbut,|
|Jesse Hoyt,||William Sturgis, Jr.,||John R. Ford,|
|Sidney Mason,||G. T. Stedman, Cinn.||Cyrus Yale, Jr.,|
|William R. Fosdick,||F. H. Cossitt,||David J. Boyd, Albany,|
|S. B. Caldwell,||A. J. Wills,||W. H. Townsend.|
Have proved, from the most ample experience, an entire success. Simple, Prompt, Efficient, and Reliable, they are the only medicines perfectly adapted to FAMILY USE, and the satisfaction they have afforded in all cases has elicited the highest commendations from the Profession, the People, and the Press.
|No.||1.||Cures||Fever, Congestion & Inflammation||25|
|"||2.||"||Worms and Worm Diseases||25|
|"||3.||"||Colic, Teething, etc., of Infants||25|
|"||4.||"||Diarrhœa of Children & Adults||25|
|"||5.||"||Dysentery and Colic||25|
|"||6.||"||Cholera and Cholera Morbus||25|
|"||7.||"||Coughs, Colds, Hoarseness and Sore Throat||25|
|"||8.||"||Neuralgia, Toothache & Faceache||25|
|"||9.||"||Headache, Sick Headache & Vertigo||25|
|"||10.||"||Dyspepsia & Bilious Condition||25|
|"||11.||"||Wanting Scanty or Painful Periods||25|
|"||12.||"||Whites, Bearing Down or Profuse Periods||25|
|"||13.||"||Croup and Hoarse Cough||25|
|"||14.||"||Salt Rheum and Eruptions||25|
|"||15.||"||Rheumatism, Acute or Chronic||25|
|"||16.||"||Fever & Ague and Old Agues||50|
|"||17.||"||Piles or Hemorrhoids of all kinds||50|
|"||18.||"||Ophthalmy and Weak Eyes||50|
|"||19.||"||Catarrh and Influenza||50|
|"||21.||"||Asthma & Oppressed Respiration||50|
|"||22.||"||Ear Discharges & Difficult Hearing||50|
|"||23.||"||Scrofula, Enlarged Glands & Tonsils||50|
|"||24.||"||General Debility & Weakness|
|"||26.||"||Sea-Sickness & Nausea||50|
|"||27.||"||Urinary & Kidney Complaints||50|
|"||28.||"||Seminal Weakness, Involuntary|
|Dishcarges and consequent prostration||$1.00|
|"||29.||"||Sore Mouth and Canker||50|
|"||30.||"||Urinary Incontinence & Enurisis||50|
|"||32.||"||Diseases at Change of Life||$1.00|
|"||33.||"||Epilepsy & Spars & Chorea St. Viti||1.00|
|Case of Thirty-five Vials, in morocco case, and Book, complete||$8.00|
|Case of Twenty-eight large Vials, in morocco, and Book||7.00|
|Case of Twenty large Vials, in morocco, and Book||5.00|
|Case of Twenty large Vials, plain case, and Book||4.00|
|Case of fifteen Boxes (Nos. 1 to 15), and Book||2.00|
|Case of any Six Boxes (Nos. 1 to 15), and Book||1.00|
|Single Boxes, with directions as above, 25 cents, 50 cents, or $1.|
THESE REMEDIES, BY THE CASE OR SINGLE BOX,
are sent to any part of the country by Mail, or Express, Free of Charge, on receipt of the Price.
Every well-managed Banking Institution has a Library, small or large, of standard works on Banking, Bills, Notes, and upon collateral topics, for the use of the president, cashier, officers, and directors. Such works should be accessible to every Bank officer, and are especially useful to the Bank Clerk who aims at advancement in his profession, and whose services thereby are more valuable to the institution in which he is employed.
For the convenience of subscribers to the Bankers' Magazine, the following works are kept on hand at No. 63 WILLIAM STREET, and copies will be furnished, either by mail or express, to order:
I. Historical and Statistical Account of the Foreign Commerce of the United States, and of each State, for each year, 1820-1856; the Exports to and Imports from every Foreign Country, each year, 1820-1856; Commerce of the Early Colonies; Origin and Early History of each State 8vo., pp. 200. $1.50.
II. The Banking System of the State of New York, with notes and references to adjudged cases; including an account of the New York Clearing House. 2. A Historical Sketch of the former and present Banking Systems of the State. 3. All the existing Statutes relating to Banking. 4. A List of all Banks chartered or established between the years 1791 and 1856. One vol. 8vo., pp. 440. $4.00.
III. A Cyclopædia of Commerce and Commercial Navigation. Edited by J. Smith Homans, and by J. Smith Homans, Jr., B. S., Author of "An Historical and Statistical Account of the Foreign Commerce of the U. S." Terms—Muslin, $6; Sheep extra, $6.75; Half Calf extra, $8; Sheep extra, 2 vols., $8; Law Sheep, 2 vols, $8; Half Calf extra, 2 vols, $8.75. In one volume octavo, 2000 pages, double columns, containing more than three volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
IV. A Manual for Notaries Public and Bankers—Containing a History of Bills of Exchange; Forms of Protest and Notices of Protest; the Laws of each State in reference to Interest, Damages on Bills, &c.; the latest decisions upon Bills, Notes, Protests, &c. 1 vol., octavo, pp. 220. $2 (or by mail, postage prepaid, $2.25).
V. The Loan, Revenue, and Currency Acts of 1863. I. An Act to Provide Ways and Means for the Support of the Government, to June, 1864.—Approved March 3, 1863. II. An Act Amendatory of the Internal Revenue Laws, and for other purposes.—Approved March 3, 1863. III. An Act to Provide a National Currency, secured by a Pledge of United States Stocks, and to provide for the Circulation and Redemption thereof.—Approved February 25, 1863. With Marginal Notes and an Index.
VI. Fourteen Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, in reference to Taxation of Government Securities by States and Cities—including the celebrated cases of—1. "McCulloh vs. State of Maryland." 2. "Weston vs. City of Charleston," 3. "Bank of Commerce, N. Y. vs. Commissioners of Taxes." 4. "Bank of Commonwealth vs. Commissioners of Taxes." 5. "Hague vs. Powers" (Constitutionality of Legal Tenders, Supreme Court of New York), &c. Octavo. Price, 50 cents.
(In preparation for Publication shortly.)
VII. The Merchants and Bankers' Almanac, for 1864, containing—I. A List of the Banks, arranged alphabetically, in every State and City of the Union,—Names of President and Cashier, and Capital of each, including the National Banks formed under the Act of 1863. II. A List of Private Bankers in the United States. III. A List of the Banks in Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia—their Cashiers, Managers and Foreign Agents. IV. Governor, Directors and Officers of the Bank of England, 1862. V. List of Banks and Bankers in London, December, 1862. VI. List of Bankers in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, West Indies, &c. VII. Alphabetical List of Sixteen Hundred Cashiers in the United States. VIII. Bank Capital of Towns and Cities. IX. Bank Statistics—New York City Banks, Boston Banks, Philadelphia Banks, New England Banks. X. Statement of the Banks in the United States. XI. Lowest and Highest Quotations of Stocks at New York, each month, 1862. XII. European Finances and Commerce. XIII. Currency Laws of the United States. XIV. Revenue Stamps, Taxes, etc.—Revenue Decisions, etc. XV. The Mint of the United States.—Foreign Coins.
Bankers' Cards will be inserted in this volume at Fifteen Dollars each. All orders must be addressed to J. SMITH HOMANS, Jr., NEW YORK
The Agricultural Societies of the State of New York, New Jersey, and Queens County, L. I., at their latest Exhibitions awarded the highest premiums (gold medal, silver medal, and diplomas), for these articles, and the public generally approve them.
1st.—PYLE'S O. K. SOAP,
The most complete labor-saving and economical soap that has been brought before the public. Good for washing all kinds of clothing, fine flannels, silks, laces, and for toilet and bathing purposes. The best class of families adopt it in preference to all others—Editors of the Tribune, Evening Post, Independent, Evangelist, Examiner, Chronicle, Methodist, Advocate and Journal, Church Journal, American Agriculturist, and of many other weekly journals, are using it in their offices and families. We want those who are disposed to encourage progress and good articles to give this and the following articles a trial.
2d.—PYLE'S DIETETIC SALERATUS,
a strictly pure and wholesome article; in the market for several years, and has gained a wide reputation among families and bakers throughout the New England and Middle States; is always of a uniform quality, and free from all the objections of impure saleratus.
3d.—PYLE'S GENUINE CREAM TARTAR,
always the same, and never fails to make light biscuit. Those who want the best will ask their grocer for this.
4th.—PYLE'S PURIFIED BAKING SODA,
suitable for medicinal and culinary use.
5th.—PYLE'S BLUEING POWDERS,
a splendid article for the laundress, to produce that alabaster whiteness so desirable in fine linens.
6th.—PYLE'S ENAMEL BLACKING,
the best boot polish and leather preservative in the world (Day and Martin's not excepted).
7th.—PYLE'S BRILLIANT BLACK INK,
a beautiful softly flowing ink, shows black at once, and is anti-corrosive to steel pens.
8th.—PYLE'S STAR STOVE POLISH,
warranted to produce a steel shine on iron ware. Prevents rust effectually, without causing any disagreeable smell, even on a hot stove.
9th.—PYLE'S CREAM LATHER SHAVING SOAP,
a "luxurious" article for gentlemen who shave themselves. It makes a rich lather that will keep thick and moist upon the face.
These Articles are all put up full weight, and expressly for the best class trade, and first-class grocers generally have them for sale. Every article is labelled with the name of
New York State Fair, for the best Family and Manufacturing
Machine, and best work.
Indiana State Fair, for the best Machine for all purposes, and the
Vermont State Fair, for the best Family and Manufacturing Machine,
and best work.
Illinois State Fair, For the best Machine for all purposes, and the
Iowa State Fair, for the best Family and Manufacturing Machine,
and best work.
Kentucky State Fair, for the best Machine for all purposes, and
the best work.
Michigan State Fair, for the best Family and Manufacturing
Machine, and best work.
Pennsylvania State Fair, for the best Manufacturing Machine,
and beautiful work.
Ohio State Fair, for the best Sewing Machine work.
Oregon State Fair, for the best Family Sewing Machine.
Chittenden Co. (Vt.) Agricultural Society, for the best
Family and Manufacturing Machine, and best work.
Franklin Co. (N. Y.) Fair, for the best Machine for all purposes,
Champlain Valley (Vt.) Agricultural Society, for the
best Family and Manufacturing Machine, and work.
Hampden Co. (Mass.) Agricultural Society, for the best
Family Machine, and work.
Queens Co. (N. Y.) Agricultural Society, for the best
Washington Co. (N. Y.) Fair, for the best Family Machine.
Saratoga Co. (N. Y.) Fair, for the best Family Machine.
Mechanics' Institute (Pa.) Fair, for the best Machine for all
purposes, and work.
Greenfield (Ohio) Fair, for the best Family Machine.
Stevenson Co. (Ill.) Fair, for the best Family Machine.
—The above comprise all the Fairs at which the GROVER & BAKER MACHINES were exhibited this year.
Between Grand and Broome,
A New Book of thrilling interest. By REV. CAPTAIN J. J. GEER,
Formerly Pastor of George Street M. P. Church, Cincinnati, and late Assistant Adjutant-General on the Staff of Gen. Buckland. With an INTRODUCTION by Rev. ALEXANDER CLARK, Editor of the School Visitor.
This is one of the most thrilling accounts of adventure and suffering that the war has produced. Capt. Geer was wounded and captured at the great battle of Shiloh, tried before several prominent Rebel Generals for his life, among whom were Hardee, Bragg, and Beauregard,—incarcerated in four jails, four penitentiaries, and twelve military prisons; escaped from Macon, Georgia, and travelled barefoot through swamps and woods by night, for 250 miles, was fed by negroes in part, and subsisted for days at a time on frogs, roots, and berries, and was at last recaptured when within thirty-five miles of our gunboats on the Southern coast.
The particulars of his subsequent sufferings as a chained culprit are told with a graphic truthfulness that surpasses any fiction.
The work contains a fine steel portrait of the author, besides numerous wood engravings illustrative of striking incidents of his experience among the rebels. Every Unionist—every lover of his country—every man, woman, and child should read this BOOK OF FACTS AS THEY ACTUALLY OCCURRED.
The author has not only succeeded in making a narrative of exciting interest, but has ingeniously interwoven in the book many original and eloquent arguments in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war against Rebellion and Oppression.
Just published on fine white paper, and handsomely bound in cloth. 285 pages.
Agents wanted in every county and township in the Union, to whom extraordinary inducements will be offered.
Specimen copies will be sent to any person for $1, postpaid, with particulars to Agents.
"No narrative of personal adventure that has been published since the war began, equals this in interest. It presents in a still more vivid light the barbarism and cruelty of Southern rebels; for the account he gives of the treatment of himself and his fellow prisoners exceeds anything we have heretofore read."—Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.
"The Captain's graphic account of affairs in the South during his long captivity there will be read with great interest. The Introduction is by Rev. Alexander Clark, which is sufficient in itself to warrant a large sale."—Philadelphia Daily Inquirer. Address all orders to
J. W. DAUGHADAY, Publisher,
1308 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.
Exchanges copying the above or the substance of it, and sending us a marked copy, will receive a copy of the work.
in the SUPREME and CIRCUIT Courts at Washington, COURTS MARTIAL, the COURT OF CLAIMS, before the DEPARTMENTS and BUREAUS, especially in
Aided by two other associates, no part of an extensive business will be neglected. Address,
Office, 218 F STREET, WASHINGTON CITY, D. C.
DUNCAN S. WALKER & ADRIEN DESLONDE will attend to Pensions, Bounties, Prize, Pay, and Similar Claims. WALKER & STANTON will aid them, when needful, as consulting counsel. Address WALKER & DESLONDE, same office, care of Walker & Stanton.
WARD'S TOOL STORE,
47 CHATHAM, cor. North William St., & 513 EIGHTH AV.
A GENERAL ASSORTMENT OF
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This widely-known Establishment still maintains its reputation for the unrivalled excellence of its OWN MANUFACTURED, as well as its FOREIGN ARTICLES, which comprise Tools for Every Branch of Mechanics and Artizans.
MECHANICS' AND ARTIZANS', AMATEURES' AND BOYS' TOOL CHESTS IN GREAT VARIETY, ON HAND, AND FITTED TO ORDER WITH TOOLS READY FOR USE.
The undersigned, himself a practical mechanic, having wrought at the business for upwards of thirty years, feels confident that he can meet the wants of those who may favor him with their patronage.
I have some of the finest Skates in the city, of my own as well as other manufactures. Every style and price.
Skates made to Fit the Foot without Straps.
Adapted to every species of mutilated limb, unequaled in mechanism and utility. Hands and Arms of superior excellence for mutilations and congenital defects. Feet and appurtenances, for limbs shortened by hip disease. Dr. HUDSON, by appointment of the Surgeon General of the U. S. Army, furnishes limbs to mutilated Soldiers and Marines. References.—Valentine Mett, M. D., Willard Parker, M. D., J. M. Carnochan, M. D. Gurden Buck, M. D., Wm. H. Van Buren, M. D.
Descriptive pamphlets sent gratis. E. D. HUDSON, M. D., ASTOR PLACE (8th St.), CLINTON HALL, Up Stairs.
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.
|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|
Postage, Thirty-six cents a year, to be paid by the Subscriber.
Three dollars a year, in advance. Postage paid by the Publisher.
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.
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 60 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 35,000,000 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.
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|
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|