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A Walk from London to John O'Groat's by Elihu Burritt

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and houses in the still depths of the country, away from the noise
and bluster of railway life and motion, that best represent and
perpetuate the primeval characteristics of a nation. These the
American traveller will find invested with all the old charm with
which his fancy clothed them. It will well repay him for a month's
walk to see and enjoy them thoroughly.

In these days of sun-literature, whose letters are human faces, and
whose new volumes are numbered by the million yearly, without a
duplicate to one of them, I am confident that a volume of these
English village inns of the olden school, in photographs, would
command a large sale and admiration in America, merely as specimens
of unique and interesting architecture. A thousand might be taken,
every one as unlike the other in distinctive form and feature, as
every one of the same number of men would be to the other.

The diversification of names, being more difficult, is still more
remarkable. Although the spread eagle figures largely as the patron
genius of American hotels, still nine-tenths of them bear the names
of states, counties, towns, or national or local celebrities. But
here natural history comes out strong and wide. The heraldry of
sovereigns, aristocracy, gentry, commercial and industrial
interests, puts up its various _arms_ upon hundreds of inns in town
and country. All occupations and recreations are well represented.
Thus no country in the world approaches England in the wide scope
and play of hotel nomenclature. Some of the combinations are
exceedingly unique and most interesting in their incongruity.
Dickens has not exaggerated this characteristic; not even done it
justice in his hotel scenes. Things are put together on a hundred
tavern signs that were never joined before in the natural or moral
world, and put together frequently in most grotesque association.
For instance, there is a large, first-class inn right in the very
heart of London, which has for a sign, not painted on a board, but
let into the wall of the upper story, in solid statuary, a huge
human mouth opened to its utmost capacity, and a bull, round and
plump, standing stoutly on its four legs between the two distended
jaws. Now, the leading idea of this device is involved in a
tempting obscurity, which leads one, at first sight, into different
lines of conjecture. What did the designer of this group of
statuary really intend to represent? Was it to let the outside
world know that, in that inn, the "Roast Beef of Old England" was
always to be found par excellence? If so, would a man's mouth
swallowing a bull whole, and apparently alive, with hide and horns,
tend to stimulate the appetite of a passing traveller, and to draw
him into the establishment? But leaving these ambiguous symbols to
be interpreted by the passing public according to different
perceptions of their meaning, how many in a thousand would guess
aright the name given to the tavern by these tokens? Would not
ninety-nine in a hundred say, "The Mouth and Bull," to be sure, not
only on the principle that the major includes the minor, but also
because the human element is entitled to precedence in the picture?
But the ninety-nine would be completely mistaken, if they adopted
this natural conclusion. They would find they had counted without
their host, who knows better than they the relative position and
value of things. What has the law of logic to do with fat beef?
The name of his famous hotel is "THE BULL AND MOUTH;" and few in
London have attained to its celebrity as a historical building. One
is apt to wonder if this precedence given to the beast is really
incidental, or adopted to give euphony to the name of an inn, or
whether there is a latent and spontaneous leaning to such a method
of association, from some cause or other connected with perceptions
of personal comfort afforded at such establishments. Accidental or
intentional, this form of association is very common. There is no
tavern in London better known than The Elephant and Castle, a
designation that would sound equally well if the two substantives
were transposed. Even the loftiest symbols of sovereignty often
occupy the secondary place in these compound titles. There are,
doubtless, a hundred inns in Great Britain bearing the name of The
Rose and Crown, but not one, to my knowledge, called "The Crown and
Rose." The same order obtains in sporting sections and terminology.
It is always "The _Hare_ and Hounds;" never "_Hounds_ and Hare."

This characteristic in itself is very interesting, and no American,
with an eye to the unique, would like to see it changed. But if the
more syntax of hotel names in England is so pleasant for him to
study, how much more admirable is their variety! He has read at
home of many of them in lively romance and grave history but he
finds here that not half has been told him. He is familiar with the
Lions, Red, White, and Black; the Bulls and Boars of the same
colors; the Black and White Swans and Harts; the Crown and Anchor,
the Royal George, Queen's Head, and a few others of similar
designation. These names have figured in volumes of English
literature which he has perused. But let him travel on the turnpike
road through country towns and villages, and he will meet with names
he never thought of before, mounted over the doors of some of the
most comfortable and delightful houses of entertainment for man and
beast that can be found in the world. Here are a few that I have
noticed: "The Three Jolly Butchers," "The Old Mash Tub," "The Old
Mermaid," "The Old Malt Shovel," "The Chequers," "The Dog-in-
Doublet," "Bishop Boniface," "The Spotted Cow," "The Green Dragon,"
"The Three Horseshoes," "The Bird-in-Hand," "The Spare Rib," "The
Old Cock," "Pop goes the Weasel." There are wide spaces between
these names which may be filled up from actual life with numbers of
equal uniqueness. But it is not in architecture nor in name that
the country inn presents its most attractive characteristic. These
features merely specialise its outward corporeity. The living,
brightening, all-pervading soul of the establishment is the
LANDLADY. Let her name be written in capitals evermore. There is
nothing so naturally, speakingly, and gloriously English in the wide
world as she. It is doubtful if the nation is aware of this, but it
is the fact. Her English individuality stands out embonpoint, rosy,
genial, self-complacent, calm, serene, happyfying, and happy. She
is the man and master of the house. She permeates it with her
rayful presence, and fills it with a pleasant morning in foggy and
blue-spirited days. She it is who greets the coming and speeds the
parting guest with a grace which suns, with equal light and warmth,
both remembrance and anticipation. It is not put on like a Sunday
dress; it is not a thin gloss of French politeness that a feather,
blown the wrong way, will brush off. It is not a color; it is a
quality. You see it breathe and move in her like a nature, not as
an art. Let no American traveller fancy he has seen England if he
has not seen the Landlady of the village inn. If he has to miss
one, he had better give up his visit to the Crystal Palace,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Abbottsford, or even the House of Lords, or
Windsor itself. Neither is so perfectly and exclusively English as
the mistress of "The Brindled Cow," in one of the rural counties of
the kingdom.

It would be necessary to coin a new word if one were sought to
contain and convey the distinctive characteristic of inn-life in
England. Perhaps _homefulness_ would do this best, as it would more
fully than any other term describe the coziness, quiet, and comfort
to be enjoyed at these places of entertainment. Not one in a
hundred of them ever heard the sound of the hotel-going bell, as we
hear it in America. You are not thundered up or down by a
vociferous gong. Then there is no marching nor counter-marching of
a long line of waiters in white jackets around the dinner table,
laying down plate, knife, fork, and spoon with uniform step and
motion, as if going through a dress-parade or a military drill.
There is no bustle, no noise, no eager nor anxious look of served or
servants. Every one is calm, collected, and comfortable. "The
cares that infest the day" do not ride into the presence of that
roast beef and plum pudding on the wrinkles of any man's forehead,
however business affairs may go with him outside. No one is in a
hurry to sit down or to arise from the table. The whole economy of
the establishment is to make you as much at home as possible; to
individualise you, as far as it can be done, in every department of
personal comfort. You follow your own time and inclination, and eat
and drink when and how you please, with others or alone. The
congregate system is the exception, not the rule. It seldom ever
obtains at breakfast or tea. In many cases you have a little round
table all to yourself at these meals. But if there is a common
table for half a dozen persons, the tea and toast and other eatables
are never aggregated into a common stock. Each person if he is a
single guest, has his own allotment, even to a separate tea-pot.
The table d'hote, if there be one at all, is made up like a select
dinner party, rather early in the morning. If the guests of the
house are not directly invited, they are asked, in a tone of
hospitality, if they will join in the social meal, the only one got
up by the establishment at which the table is not mapped out in
separate holdings, or little independencies of dishes, each bounded
by the wants and capacities of the individual occupant.

The presiding and working faculty of a common English inn
distinguishes it by another salient characteristic from the hotels
of other countries. The landlady is, of course, the president of
the establishment, whether or not she calls any man lord in the
retired and family department of the house. But the actual
gerantes, or working corps, with which you have to do immediately,
are three independent and distinct personages, called the waiter,
chambermaid, and _boots_. If it were respectful to gender, these
might be called the great triumvirate of the English inn. No
traveller after a night's lodging and breakfast, will mistake or
confound the prerogatives or perquisites of these officials. If he
is an American, and it be his first experience of the regime, he
will be surprised and puzzled at the imperium in imperio which his
bill, presented to him on a tea-tray, seems to represent. In no
other business transaction of his life did he ever see the like. It
goes far beyond anything in the line of limited partnership he ever
saw. There is only one partial parallel that approaches it; and
this comes to his mind as he reads the several items on his bill.
When made out and interpreted, it comes to this: the proprietor,
the waiter, chambermaid, and boots are independent parties, who get
up a night's lodging and two or three meals for you on the same
footing as four independent underwriters would take proportionate
risks at Lloyd's in some ship at sea. Or, what would put it in
simpler form to an uninitiated guest, he is apparently first charged
for the raw provisions he consumes, and for the rent of his bed-
room. This is the proprietor's share. Then, there is a separate
charge for each of the remaining items of the entertainment,--for
cooking and serving up each meal, for making up your bed, and for
blacking your boots; just as distinctly as if you had gone out into
the town the previous evening and hired three separate individuals
to perform these services for you; and as if you had no right nor
reason to expect from the landlord a dinner all cooked and served,
but that you only bought it in the larder.

Now, this is a peculiarity of the English hotel system that is apt
to embarrass travellers from other countries, especially from
America, where no such custom could be introduced. I do not know
how old the custom is in Great Britain. Doubtless it originated in
the almost universal disposition and habit of Englishmen of dropping
gratuities or charity-gifts here and there with liberal hand, either
to obtain or reward extra service in matters of personal comfort, or
to alleviate some case of actual or stimulated suffering that meets
them. It was natural and inevitable that gratuities thus given to
hotel servants frequently to stimulate and reward special attention
should soon become a rule, acting upon guests like a law of honor.
When so many gave, and when the servants of every hotel expected a
gift, a man must feel shabby to go away without dropping a few
pennies into the hands of eager expectants who almost claimed the
gratuity as a right. The worst stage of the system was when the
expected gift was measured by your supposed position and ability, or
when the waiter or the chambermaid, flattering you with what
Falstaff would call an instinctive perception of your dignity, would
say with an asking and hopeful smile, "What you please, sir." Now,
that was not the question with you at all. You wanted to know how
much each expected, or how much you must give to acquit yourself of
the charge of being "a screw," when they put their heads and gains
together in conference and comparison after you were gone. So, on
the whole, it was a great relief when all these awkward
uncertainties of expectation were cleared up and rectified in the
system now usually adopted.

Whether you be rich or poor, or whatever position or pretension be
attributed to you, the fees of the universal triumvirate are put
down specifically in black and white among the other charges on your
bill. As I hope these notes may convey some useful information to
Americans who may be about to visit England for the first time, it
may be of some use to them to state what is the usual rule in this
matter at the middle-class hotels in this country; for with those of
the first rank I never have made nor ever expect to make any
personal acquaintance. A moderate bill for a day's entertainment
will read thus:--

s.d.
Tea (bread and butter or toast) 1 0
Bed 1 6
Breakfast (rasher of bacon, eggs, or cold meats) 1 6
Dinner 2 6
Waiter 0 9
Chambermaid 0 6
Boots 0 3
----
Total 8 0

These are about the average charges at the middle-class hotels in
Great Britain. Generally the servants' fees amount to 25 per cent.
of the whole bill. These, too, are graduated to parts of days. The
waiter expects 3d. for every meal he serves; the chambermaid 6d. for
every bed she makes, and the boots 3d. for doing every pair of
boots, brogans, or shoes. You will pay these charges with all the
better grace and good-will to these servants when you come to learn
that these fees frequently, if not always, constitute all the salary
they receive for hotel service. Even in a great number of eating-
shops the same rule obtains. The penny you give the waiter, male or
female, is all he or she gets for serving you. Besides this
consideration, you get back much additional personal comfort from
these extras. The waiter serves you with extra satisfaction and
assiduity under their stimulus. He acts the host very blandly. He
answers a hundred questions, extraneous to the meal, with good-
natured readiness. He is a good judge of the weather and its signs.
He is well "posted-up" in the local histories and sceneries of the
place. He can give political information on both sides, incidents
and anecdotes to match, whether you are Tory, Whig, or Radical. If
you have a bias in that direction, he has or has heard some thoughts
on Bishop Colenso and the Tractarians. In short, he caters to the
humour and disposition of every guest with a happy facility of
adaptation; and the shilling you give him at the end of a day's
entertainment has been pretty well earned, if you have availed
yourself of all these extra attentions which he is prepared and
expecting to give for it.

The same may be said of the chambermaid. She is not the taciturn
invisible that steals in and out of your bed-room, and does it up
when you are at breakfast or at your out-door business--whom you
never see, except by sheer accident, as in the American hotel. She
is an important and prominent personage in the English inn. She is
a kind of mistress of the robes, and exercises her prerogative with
much conscious dignity and self-satisfaction; and, what is better,
with great satisfaction to yourself. No other subordinate official
or servant trenches or poaches upon her preserves. She it is who
precedes you up stairs with a candle, on a broad-bottomed brass
candlestick, polished to its highest lustre. She conducts you to
your room as if you were her personal guest, invited and expected a
month ago. She opens the door with amiable complacency, as if
welcoming you to a hospitality which she had prepared for you with
especial care, before she knew you had arrived in town. She invites
you, by a movement of her eyes, to glance at the room and see how
comfortable it is; how round and soft is the bed, how white and
well-aired are the sheets and pillows, how nice the curtains, how
clean and tidy the carpet, in short, how everything is fitted to
incline you to "rest and be thankful." And then the cheery "_good
night_!" she bids you is said with a tone that is worth the sixpence
she expects in the morning; and you pay it, too, with a much better
grace than could be expected from an American recently arrived in
the country.

And the "boots" is a character, too, unmixedly and interestingly
English, in name, person, appearance, and position. In the first of
these qualities he is unique, being called after the subject of his
occupation. He is an important personage, and generally has his own
bell in the dining-room, surmounted by his name, to be called for
any service coming within his department. And this is quite a wide
one, including a great variety of errandry and porterage, as well as
polishing boots and shoes. He is very helpful in a great many
different ways, and often very intelligent, and knows all about the
streets, the railway trains, the omnibuses, cabs, etc., and will
assist you in such matters with good grace and activity. He may
have got in the way of putting the H before the eggs instead of the
ham; but he is just as good for all that, and more interesting
besides. So you do not grudge the 3d. you give him daily for his
strictly professional services, or the extra 6d. he expects for
carrying your carpet-bag or portmanteau to the railway-station.

Thus, although this feeing of servants may seem at first strange to
an American traveller in England, and may occasion him some
perplexity and even annoyance, he will soon become accustomed to it;
and in making up the balance-sheet of the additional cost on one
side and the additional comfort on the other which the system
produces, he will come even to the mathematical conclusion, "if to
equals you add equals, the sums will be equals."

CHAPTER VII.

LIGHT OF HUMAN LIVES--PHOTOGRAPHS AND BIOGRAPHS--THE LATE JONAS
WEBB, HIS LIFE, LABORS, AND MEMORY.

The next morning I resumed my walk and visited a locality bearing a
name and association of world-wide celebrity and interest. It is
the name of a small rural hamlet, hardly large enough to be called a
village, and marked by no trait of nature or art to give it
distinction.

There are conditions and characteristics both in the natural and
moral world which can hardly be described fully in Saxon, Latin, or
Greek terminology, even with the largest license of construction.
There are attributes or qualities attaching to certain locations, of
the simplest natural features, which cannot even be hinted at or
suggested by the terms, _geography, topography, or biography_. Put
the three together and condense or collocate their several meanings
in one compound qualification which you can write and another spell,
and you do not compass the signification you want to convey. The
soul of man has its immortality, and the feeblest-minded peasant
believes he shall wear it through the ages of the great hereafter.
The literature of human thoughts claims a life that shall endure as
long as the future existence of humanity. The memory of many human
actions and lives puts in a plea and promise of a duration that
shall distance the sun's, and overlap upon the bright centuries of
eternity. The human body, even, is promised its resurrection by the
divinest authority and illustration, and waits hopefully, under all
its pains and weaknesses, for the glory to be revealed in it when
the earth on which it dwells shall have become "a forgotten
circumstance." Human loves, remembrances, faiths, and fellowships
lift up all their meek hands to the Father of Spirits, praying to be
lifted up into His great immortality, and to be permitted to take
with them unbroken the associations that sweetened this earthly
life. Many humble souls that have passed through the furnace of
affliction, poverty, and trial seven times heated, and heated daily
here, have believed that He who went up through the same suffering
to His great White Throne, would let them sing beside the crystal
waters the same good old psalm tunes and songs of Sion which they
sang under the willows of this lower world of tears and tribulation.
How all the sparks of the undying life in man fly upward to the
zenith of this immortality! You may call the steep flights of this
faith pleasant and poetical diversions of a fervid imagination, but
they are winged with the pinions that angels lift when they soar;
pinions less ethereal than theirs, but formed and plumed to beat
upward on the Milky Way to their Source, instead of swimming in the
thinly-starred cerulean, in which spirits, never touched with the
down or dust of human attributes, descend and ascend on their
missions to the earth. Who can have the heart to handle harshly
these beautiful faiths? To say, this hope may go up, but this must
go down to the darkness of annihilation! Was it irreverent in the
pious singing-master of a New England village, when he said, that
often, while returning home late on bright winter nights, he had
dropped the reins upon his horse's neck, and sung Old Hundred from
the stars, set as notes to that holy tune, when they first sang
together in the morning of the creation? What spiritual good or
Christian end would be gained, to break up the charm and cheer of
this his belief? Or to dispel that other confidence, which so
helped him to bear earth's trials, that one day he should join all
the spirits of the just made perfect, and all the high angels in
heaven, and, on the plane of that golden gamut, they should sing
together their hymns of joy and praise, in that same, good, old
tune, from those same star-notes, which a thousand centuries should
not deflect nor transpose from their first order within those
everlasting staves and bars!

If the spirit's faith be allowed such wide confidences as these; if
it may carry up into the invisible and infinite so many precious
relics from the wreck of time, so many human circumstances and
associations, why may it not take with it, to hang up in its heaven,
photographs of those earthly localities rendered immortal here by
the lives of good and great men? Such a life is a sun, and it casts
a disk of light upon the very earth on which it shines; not that
flashy circle which the lens of the microscope casts upon the
opposite wall, to show how scarcely visible mites may be magnified;
but a soft and steady illumination that does not dim under the
beating storms and bleaching dews of centuries, but grows brighter
and brighter, as if the seed-rays that made it first multiplied
themselves from year to year. The earth becomes more and more
thickly dotted with these permanent disks of light, and each is
visited by pilgrims, who go and stand with reverence and admiration
within the cheering circle. Shakespeare's thought-life threw out a
brilliant illumination, of wide circumference, at Stratford-upon-
Avon, and no locality in England bears a biograph more venerated
than the birth-place of the great poet. His thought-life was a sun
that will never set as long as this above us shines. It is rising
every year to new generations that never saw its rays before. When
he laid down his pen, at the end of his last drama, the whole
English-speaking race in both hemispheres did not number twice the
present population of London. Now, seventy-five millions, peopling
mighty continents, speak the tongue he raised to the grandest of all
earth's speeches; and those who people the antipodes claim to offer
the best homage to his genius. Thus it will go on to the end of
time. As the language he clothed with such power and might shall
spread itself over the earth, and be spoken, too, by races born to
another tongue, his life-rays will permeate the minds of countless
myriads, and the more widely they diverge and the farther they
reach, the brighter and warmer will be the glow and the flow of that
disk of light that embosoms and illumines his birth-place in
England.

What is true of Stratford-upon-Avon is equally true of Abbotsford,
of the birth-place of Milton, Burns, Bunyan, Baxter, and other great
minds, which have shone each like a sun or star in its sphere. Now,
what one word, recognised as legitimate in scientific terminology,
would describe fully one of these disks of light cast by a human
life upon a certain space of earth, not as a fugitive flash, but as
a permanent illumination? _Photograph_ would not do it, because its
meaning is fixed and rigidly technical, as simple light-writing, or
sun-writing. The term is completely pre-occupied by this
signification, and you cannot inject the human life element into it.
_Biography_ is universally limited to an operation in which the life
is the subject, not the agent. It is simply the writing out of a
life's history by some one with a common goose-quill or steel pen.
Still, the word _biograph_ would be the best, of the same length,
that we could form to describe one of these disks of light, if it
were made the same verb active as _photograph_; or to mean that the
life is the agent, as well as the subject,--that it writes itself in
light upon a certain locality, just as the sun graves a human face
upon glass. Let us then call the bright and quenchless
planispheres, which such lives describe and fill around them,
_biographs_, assuming that the script is in rays of light. As
differ the stars above in glory, so these differ in the qualities of
their illumination. The brightest of them, to mere human seeming,
are those which shine with the sheer brilliancy of intellect and
genius. These chiefly halo the homes of "the grand old masters" of
poetry, painting, eloquence, and martial glory. These attract to
their disks pilgrims the most numerous and enthusiastic. But, as
the nearest stars are brightest, not largest, so these biographs are
brightest on their earth-side. There are thousands of less sharp
and spangling lustre to the eyes of the multitude, which shine with
tenfold more brilliancy from their eternity-face. These are they
that halo the homes of good men, whose great hearts drank in the
life of God's love in perpetual streams, and distilled it like a
luminous dew around them; men whose thoughts were not mere
scintillations of genius, but living labors of beneficence, bearing
the proof as well as promise of that immortality guaranteed to the
deeds of earth's saints. If the soul, after such long isolation, is
to take again to its embrace so much of the old human corporeity it
wore here below, does it transcend the prerogative of hope in the
great resurrection to believe that these biographs of God's loving
children on earth shall be taken up whole into the same immortality
as the bodies in which they worked His will among men? Is the faith
too fanciful or irreverent that believes, that the corridors and
inner temples of Heaven's Glory will be hung with these biographs of
His servants surrounding, like stars, the light-flood of His love
that radiated from His cross on earth? Is it too presumptuous to
think and say, that such pictures will be as precious in His sight
as any graven by the lives of angels on their outward or homeward
flights of duty and delight? These are they, therefore, that shall
give to the earth all the immortality to which it shall attain.
These are they that shall take up into the brilliant existence of
the hereafter, ten thousand sections of its corporeity; portions of
its surface, perhaps, as substantial as the human form that the
souls of men shall wear in another world. These are they that shall
shine as the stars, when those beaming so brilliantly in our eyes
around the shrines of mere intellect and genius, shall have "paled
their ineffectual fires" before the efflux of diviner light. Let
him, then, of thoughtful and attentive faculties think on these
great and holy possibilities, when he treads within the pale of a
good man's life, whose labors for human happiness "follow him"
according to divine promise; not out of the world, not down into the
grave with his resting body, but out among living generations,
breathing upon them and through them a blessed and everlasting
influence. Let him tread that disk of light reverentially, for it
is the holiest place on the earth's surface outside the immediate
circumference of Cavalry.

This is Babraham; and here lived Jonas Webb; a good man and true,
whose influence and usefulness had a broader circumference than the
widest empire in the world. A Frenchman has written the fullest
history of both, and an American here offers reverentially a tribute
to his worth. The light of his life was a soft and gentle
illumination on its earth-side; the lustre of the other was revealed
only by partial glimpses to those who leaned closest to him in the
testing-moments of his higher nature. He was one of the great
benefactors, whose lives and labors become the common inheritance of
mankind, and whose names go down through long generations with a
pleasant memory. To a certain extent, he was to the great primeval
industry of the world, what Arkwright, Watts, Stephenson, Fulton and
Morse were each to the mechanical and scientific activities of the
age. He did as much, perhaps, as any man that ever preceded him, to
honor that industry, and lift it up to the level of the first
occupations of modern times, which had claimed higher qualities of
intelligence, genius and enterprize. He was a farmer, and his
ancestors had been farmers from time immemorial. He did not bound
into the occupation as an enthusiastic amateur, who had acquired a
large fortune by manufacturing or commercial enterprize, which he
was eager to lavish upon bold and uncertain experiments. He
attained his highest eminence by the careful gradations of a
continuous experience, reaching back far into the labors of his
ancestors. The science, skill and judgment he brought to bear upon
his operations, came from his reading, thinking, observations and
experiments as a practical and hereditary farmer. The capital he
employed in expanding these operations to their culminating
magnitude, he acquired by farming. The mental culture, the generous
dispositions, the refined manners, the graceful and manly bearing
which made him one of the first gentlemen of the age, he acquired as
a farmer. The mansion which welcomed to its easy and large-hearted
hospitalities guests of such distinction from his own and other
countries, was a farmer's home, and few ever opened their doors to
more urbanity and cordial cheer. This is an aspect of his character
which all those who follow the profession he honored should admire
with a laudable esprit de corps.

As a back-ground is an important element in the portraiture of human
forms or natural scenery, so the ground on which the life and labors
of Jonas Webb should be sketched, merits a few preliminary lines.
Of all the occupations that employ and sustain the toiling myriads
of our race, agriculture leans closest to the bosom of Divine
Providence. It is an industry bound to the great and beautiful
economics of the creation by more visible and sensible ties than any
other worked by human hands. We will not here diverge to dwell upon
these high and interesting affiliations. In their place we will
give them a little extended thought. There is one feature of
agricultural enterprize, however, that should not be overlooked in
this connection. All its operations are above-board and open to the
wide world, just like the fields to which they are applied. Nothing
here is under lock and key. Nothing bears the grim warning over the
bolted door, "No admittance here except on business!"--meaning by
business, exclusively and sharply, the buying of certain wares of
the establishment at a good round profit to the manufacturer,
without carrying away a single scintillation or suggestion of his
skill. If he has invented or adopted machinery or a process of
labor which enables him to turn out cheap muslin at three farthings'
less cost per yard than his neighbors can make it, he seals up the
secret from them with the keenest vigilance. Not so in the great
and heaven-honored industry of agriculture. Its experiments and
improvements upon the earth's face are all put into the common stock
of human knowledge and happiness. They can no more be placed under
lock and key, as selfish secrets, than the stars themselves that
look down upon them with all their golden eyes. No new implement of
husbandry, no new mechanical force or chemical principle, no new
process of labor or line of economy is withheld from the great
commonwealth of mankind. As the broad skies above, as the sun and
moon, and stars, as the winds, the rains, the dews, the birds and
bees of heaven over-ride and ignore, in their missions, the
boundaries of jealous nations, so all the great activities of
agriculture prove their lineage by following the same generous rule.
They are bounded by no nationalities. They are shut up in no narrow
enclosure of self, but are put out as new vesicles of light to
brighten the general illumination of the world.

The department in which Jonas Webb attained to his position and
capacity of usefulness was peculiarly marked by this characteristic.
In a certain sense, it occupied a higher range of interest than that
section of agriculture which is connected solely with the growing of
grain, grass, and other crops. His great and distinguishing
husbandry was the cultivation of animal life. To make two spires of
grass grow where only one grew before has been pronounced as a great
benefaction; and greater still are the merit and the gain of making
one grow where nothing grew before. To go into the midst of
Dartmoor, and turn an acre of its cold, stony, water-soaked waste
into a fruitful field of golden grain, is going into co-partnership
with Providence in the work of creation to a very large and honored
degree. But to put the skilful hand of science upon creatures of
flesh and blood, to re-form their physical structures and shapes, to
add new inches to their stature, straighten their backs, expand
their reins, amplify their chests, reduce all the lines and curves
of their forms to an unborn symmetry, and then to give silky
softness and texture to their aboriginal clothing--this seems to be
mounting one step higher in the attainment and dignity of creative
faculties. And this pre-eminently was the department in which Jonas
Webb acquired a distinction perhaps unparalleled to the present
time. This has made his name familiar all over Christendom, and
honored among the world's benefactors. Never, before him, did a
farm-stead become such a centre and have such a wide-sweeping radius
as his. None ever possessed such centripetal attractions, or
exerted such centrifugal influences for the material well-being of
different and distant countries. Indeed, those most remote are most
specially indebted to his large and generous operations. America
and Australia will ever owe his memory an everlasting homage.

His operations filled and crowned two great departments of
improvement seldom, if ever, carried on simultaneously and evenly to
a great success by one man. His first distinguishing speciality was
sheep-culture. When he had brought this to the highest standard of
perfection ever attained, he devoted the surplus capital of skill,
experience and pecuniary means he had acquired from the process to
the breeding of cattle; and he became nearly as eminent in this
field of improvement as in the other. A few facts may serve as an
outline of his progress in both to the American reader who is
familiar with the general result of his efforts.

Jonas Webb was born at Great Thurlow, Suffolk, on the 10th of
November, 1796. His father, who died at the age of ninety-three,
was a veteran in agriculture, and had attained to honorable
distinction by his efforts to improve the old Norfolk breed of
sheep, and by his experiments with other races. The results
obtained from these operations convinced his son that more mutton
and better wool could be made per acre from the Southdown than from
any other breed, upon nine-tenths of the arable land of England,
where the sheep are regularly folded, especially where the land is
poor. In 1822, he commenced that agricultural career which won for
him such a world-wide celebrity, by taking the Babraham Farm,
occupying about 1,000 acres, some twelve miles south of Cambridge.
In a very interesting letter, addressed to the Farmers' Magazine,
about twenty years since, he gives a valuable resume of his
experience up to that time. In this he states several facts that
may be especially useful to American agriculturists. Having decided
in his own mind that the Southdowns were preferable to every other
breed, for the two properties mentioned, he went into Sussex, their
native county, and purchased the best rams and ewes that could be
obtained of the principal breeders, regardless of expense, and never
made a cross from any other breed afterwards. Nor was this all; he
never introduced new blood into his stock from flocks of the same
breed, but, by a virtually in-and-in process, he was able to produce
qualities till then unknown to the race, and to make them permanent
and distinctive properties. Now this achievement in itself has an
interest beyond its utilitarian value to the agricultural world. To

"Rejoice in the joy of well-created things"

is one of the best privileges and pleasures of a well-constituted
mind. But what higher honor can attach to human science or industry
than that of taking such a visible and effective part in that
creation?--in sending out into the world successive generations of
animal life, bearing each, through future ages and distant
countries, the shaping impress of human fingers, long since gone
back to their dust; features, forms, lines, curves, qualities and
characteristics which those fingers, working, as it were, on the
right wrist of Divine Providence, gave to the sheep and cattle upon
a thousand hills in both hemispheres? There are flocks and herds
now grazing upon the boundless prairies of America, the vast plains
of Australia, the steppes of Russia, as well as on the smaller and
greener pastures of England, France, and Germany, that bear these
finger-marks of Jonas Webb, as mindless but everlasting memories to
his worth. If the owners of these "well-created things" value the
joy and profit which they thus derive from his long and laborious
years of devotion to their interests, let them see that these
finger-prints of his be not obliterated by their neglect, but be
perpetuated for ever, both for their own good and for an ever-living
memorial to his name.

It is a fact of instructive suggestion, that although Mr. Webb
commenced his operations in 1822, he won his first prize for stock
ewes at the meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society at Cambridge
in 1840. Here he realised one of the serious disadvantages to which
stock-breeders in England are exposed, in "showing" sheep, cattle or
swine at these annual exhibitions. The great outside world, with
tastes that lean more to fat sirloins or shoulders than to the
better symmetries of animated nature, almost demands that every one
of these unfortunate beasts should be offered up as a bloated,
blowing sacrifice to those great twin idols of fleshy lust, Tallow
and Lard. If, therefore, a stock-raiser has not decided to drive
his Shorthorn cow or Southdown ewe immediately from the Fair-grounds
to the butcher's shambles, he runs an imminent risk of losing
entirely the use and value of the animal. So great is this risk,
that much of the stock that would be most useful for exhibition is
withheld, and can only be seen by visiting private establishments
scattered over the kingdom. They are too valuable to run the
terrible gauntlet of oil-cake, bean and barley-meal, through which
they must flounder on in cruel obesity to the prize. Especially is
this the case with breeding animals. Mr. Webb's experience at his
first trial of the process, will illustrate its tendencies and
results. Of the nine shearling ewes he "fed" for the Cambridge
Show, he lost _four_, and only raised two or three lambs from the
rest. At the Exhibition of 1841, at Liverpool, he won three out of
four of the prizes offered by the Royal Agricultural Society for
Southdowns, or any other short-woolled sheep; two out of four
offered at Bristol, in 1842, and three out of four offered at Derby,
in 1843. But here again he over-fed two of his best sheep, under
the inexorable rule of fat, which exercises such despotic sway over
these annual competitions, and was obliged to kill them before the
show. It will suffice to show the loss he incurred by this costly
homage to Tallow, to give his own words on the subject:--"I had
refused 180 guineas for the hire of the two sheep for the season. I
also quite destroyed the usefulness of two other aged sheep by over-
feeding them last year. Neither of them propogated [sic] through
the season, and I have had each of them killed in consequence, which
has so completely tired me of overfeeding that I never intend
exhibiting another aged ram, unless I greatly alter my mind, or can
find out some method of feeding them which will not destroy the
animals, and which I have hitherto failed to accomplish." The
conclusion which he adopted, in view of these liabilities, may be
useful to agriculturists in America as well as in England. He says,
"What I intend exhibiting in future will be shearlings only, as I
believe they are not so easily injured by extra feeding as aged
sheep, partly by being more active, and partly by having more time
to put on their extra condition, by which their constitutions are
not likely to be so much impaired."

At nearly every subsequent national exhibition, Mr. Webb carried off
the best prizes for Southdowns. At Dundee, in 1843, the Highland
Society paid him the compliment of having the likenesses of his
sheep taken for its museum in Edinburgh. He only received two
checks in these competitions after 1840, and these he rectified and
overcame in an interesting way. The first took place at the great
meeting at Exeter, in 1850, and the second at Chelmsford, in 1856.
On both of these occasions he was convinced that the judges had not
done justice to the qualities of his animals, and he resolved to
submit their judgment to a court of errors, or to the decision of a
subsequent meeting of the society. So, in 1851, he presented the
unsuccessful candidate at Exeter to the meeting at Windsor, and took
the first prize for it. This fully reversed the Exeter verdict. He
resorted to the same tribunal to set him right in regard to his
apparent defeat at Chelmsford, in 1856. Next year he presented the
ram beaten there to the Salisbury meeting, and another jury gave the
animal the highest meed of merit.

It was at the zenith of his fame as a sheep-breeder that Mr. Webb
"assisted," as the French say, at the Universal Exposition at Paris,
in 1855. Here his beautiful animals excited the liveliest
admiration. The Emperor came himself to examine them, and expressed
himself highly pleased at their splendid qualities. It was on this
occasion that Mr. Webb presented to the Emperor his prize ram, for
which, probably, he had refused the largest sum ever offered for a
single animal of the same race, or 500 guineas ($2,500). The
Emperor accepted the noble present, fully appreciating the spirit in
which it was offered, and some time afterwards sent the generous
breeder a magnificent candelabra, of solid silver, representing a
grand, old English oak, with a group of horses shading themselves
under its branches. This splendid token of the Emperor's regard is
only one of the numerous trophies and souvenirs that embellish the
farmer's home at Babraham, and which his children and remoter
posterity will treasure as precious heirlooms.

If Mr. Webb did not originate, he developed a system of usefulness
into a permanent and most valuable institution, which, perhaps, will
be the most novel to American stock-raisers. Having, by a long
course of scientific observations and experiments, _fixed_ the
qualities he desired to give his Southdowns; having brought them to
the highest perfection, he now adopted a system which would most
widely and cheaply diffuse the race thus cultivated all over the
civilized world. He instituted an annual ram-letting, which took
place in the month of July. This occasion constituted an important
event to the great agricultural world. A few Americans have been
present and witnessed the proceedings of these memorable days, and
they know the interest attaching to them better than can be inferred
from any description. M. De La Trehonnais, in the "Revue Agricole
de l'Angleterre," thus sketches some of the incidents and aspects of
the occasion:--

"It is a proceeding regarded in England as a public event, and all
the journals give an account of it with exact care, assembling from
every county and even from foreign countries. The sale begins about
two o'clock. A circle in formed with ropes in a small field near
the mansion, where the rams are introduced, and an auctioneer
announces the biddings, which are frequently very spirited. The
rams to be let are exposed around the field from the first of the
morning, and a ticket at the head of each pen indicates the weight
of the fleece of the animal it contains. Every one takes his notes,
chooses the animal he approves of, and can demand the last bidding
when he pleases. The evening after the letting, the numerous
company assembles under a rustic shed, ornamented with leaves and
agricultural devices. There tables are laid, around which are
placed two or three hundred guests, and then commences one of those
antique repasts described by Homer or Rabelais. The tables groan
under the enormous pieces of beef, gigantic hams, etc., which have
almost disappeared before the commencement of the sale. From eight
in the morning until two in the afternoon, tables laid out in the
dining-room and hall are furnished, only to be refurnished
immediately, the end being equal to the beginning."

This description refers to the thirty-second letting. Mr. Webb's
flock then consisted of seven hundred breeding ewes, a proportionate
number of lambs, and about four hundred rams of different ages. It
was from these rams that the animals were selected which were sent
into every country in the civilized world. The average price of
their lettings was nearly 24 pounds each, although some of the rams
brought the sum of 180 pounds, or nearly _nine hundred dollars_!
What would some of the old-fashioned farmers of New England, of
forty years ago, think of paying nearly a thousand dollars for the
rent of a ram for a single year, or even one-tenth of that sum? But
this rentage was not a fancy price. The farmer who paid it got back
his money many times over in the course of a few years. From this
infusion of the Babraham blood into his flock, he realised an
augmented production of mutton and wool annually per acre which he
could count definitely by pounds. The verdict of his balance-sheet
proved the profit of the investment. It would be impossible to
measure the benefit which the whole world reaped from Mr. Webb's
labors in this department of usefulness. An eminent authority has
stated that "it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a
Southdown flock of any reputation, in any country in the world, not
closely allied with the Babraham flock." It is a fact that
illustrates the skill and care, as well as demonstrates the value of
his system of improvement, that, after thirty-seven years as a
breeder, the tribes he founded maintained to the last those
distinguishing qualities which gave them such pre-eminence over all
other sheep bearing the general name of the Sussex race. So
valuable and distinctive were these qualities regarded by the best
judges in the country, that the twelfth ram-letting, which took
place at the time of the Cambridge Show, brought together 2,000
visitors, constituting, perhaps, the most distinguished assembly of
agriculturists ever convened. On this occasion the Duke of
Richmond, an hereditary and eminent breeder of Southdowns in their
native county, bid a hundred guineas for a ram lamb, which Mr. Webb
himself bought in.

Having attained to such eminence as a sheep-breeder, Mr. Webb
entered upon another sphere of improvement, in which he won almost
equal distinction. In 1837, he laid the foundation of the Babraham
Herd of Shorthorn cattle, made up of six different tribes, purchased
from the most valuable and celebrated branches of the race bearing
that name. An incident attaching to one of these purchases may
illustrate the nice care and cultivated skill which Mr. Webb
exercised in the treatment of choice animals. He bought out of Lord
Spencer's herd the celebrated cow, "Dodona." That eminent breeder,
it appears, had given her up as irretrievably sterile, and he parted
with her solely on that account. Mr. Webb, however, took her to
Babraham, and, as a result of the more intelligent treatment he
bestowed upon her, she produced successively four calves, which thus
formed one of the most valuable families of the Babraham herd. When
I visited the scene of his life and labors, all his sheep and cattle
had been sold. But two or three animals bought by an Australian
gentleman were still in the keeping of Mr. Webb's son, awaiting
arrangements for their transportation. One of these, a beautiful
heifer of fourteen months, was purchased at the winding-up sale, for
225 guineas. It was called the "Drawing-room Rose," from this
circumstance, as I afterwards learned. When it was first dropped by
the dam, Mr. Webb was confined to the house by indisposition. But
he had such a desire to see this new accession to his bovine family,
that he directed it to be brought into the drawing-room for that
purpose. Hence it received a more elegant and domestic appellation
than the variegated nomenclature of high-blooded animals often
allows.

When the last volume of the "English Herd-Book" was about to be
published, Mr. Webb sent for insertion a list of sixty-one cows,
with their products. He generally kept from twenty to thirty bulls
in his stalls.

Nor were his labors confined even to the two great spheres of
enterprise with which his name has been intimately and honorably
associated. If it was the great aim of his intelligent activities
to produce stock which should yield the most meat to the acre, he
also gave great attention to the augmented production of the land
itself. He was the principal originator and promoter of the great
Agricultural Hall, in London, for the exhibition of the fat stock
for the Smithfield Show. This may be called the Crystal Palace of
the animal world. It is the grandest structure ever erected for the
exhibition of cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, etc. I will essay no
description of it here, but it will carry through long generations
the name and memory of Jonas Webb of Babraham. He was chairman of
the company that built the superb edifice; also president of the
Nitro-phosphate or Blood-manure Company, a fertilizer in which he
had the greatest confidence, and which he used in great quantities
upon the large farm he cultivated, containing over 2,000 acres.

At the age of nearly sixty-six, Mr. Webb found that his health would
no longer stand the strain of the toil, care, and anxiety requisite
to keep up the Babraham flock to the high standard of perfection
which it had attained. So, after nearly forty years of devotion to
this great occupation of his life, he concluded to retire from it
altogether, dispersing his sheep and cattle as widely as purchasers
might be found. This breaking-up took place at Babraham on the 10th
of July, 1862. Then and there the long series of annual re-unions
terminated for ever. The occasion had a mournful interest to many
who had attended those meetings from year to year. It seemed like
the voluntary and unexpected abdication of an Alexander, still able
to add to his conquests and trophies. All present felt this; and
several tried to express it at the old table now spread for the last
time for such guests. But his inherent and invincible modesty
waived aside or intercepted the compliments that came from so many
lips. With a kind of ingenious delicacy, which one of the finest of
human sentiments could only inspire, he contrived to divert
attention or reference to himself and his life's labors. But he
could not make the company forget them, even if he gently checked
allusion to them.

The company on this interesting occasion was very large, about 1,000
persons having sat down to the collation. Not only were the
principal nobility and gentry of Great Britain interested in
agricultural pursuits present in large number, but the
representatives of nearly every other country in Christendom.
Several gentlemen from the United States were among the purchasers.
The total number of sheep sold was 969, which fetched under the
hammer the great aggregate of 10,926 pounds, or more than $54,000.
The most splendid ram in the flock went to the United States, being
knocked down to Mr. J. C. Taylor, of Holmdale, New Jersey; who is
doing so much to Americanise the Southdowns. Others went to the
Canadas, Australia, South America, and to nearly every country in
continental Europe.

Thus was formed, and thus was dispersed the famous Babraham flock.
And such were the labors of Jonas Webb for the material well-being
of mankind. These alone, detached from those qualities and
characteristics which make up and reflect a higher nature, entitle
his name to a wide and lasting memory among men. And these labors
and successes are they that those who have read of them in different
countries know him by. These comprise and present the character
they honor with respect. What he was in the temper and disposition
of his inner life, in daily walk and conversation, in the even and
gentle amenities of Christian humility, in sudden trials of his
faith and patience; what he was as a husband, father, friend and
neighbor, to the poor, to the afflicted in mind, body or estate,--
all this will remain unwritten, but not unremembered by those who
breathed and moved within that disk of light which his life shed
around him.

Few men have lived in whom so many personal and moral qualities
combined to command respect, esteem, and even admiration. In
stature, countenance, expression, and deportment, he was a noble
specimen of fully developed English manhood. To this first,
external aspect, his kindly and generous dispositions, his genial
manners, his delicate but dignified modesty, his large intelligence
and large-heartedness, gave the additional and crowning
characteristic of a Christian gentleman. Many Americans have
visited Babraham, and enjoyed the hospitalities which such a host
could only give and grace. They will remember the paintings hung
around the walls of that drawing-room, in which his commanding form,
in the strength and beauty of meridian life, towers up in the rural
landscape, surrounded by cattle and sheep bearing the impress of his
skill and care. A little incident occurred a few years ago, which
may illustrate this personal aspect better than any simile of
description. On the occasion of one of the great Agricultural
Expositions in Paris, a deputation or a company of gentlemen went
over to represent the Agricultural Society of England. Mr. Webb was
one of the number; and some French nobleman who had known him
personally, as well as by reputation, was very desirous of making
him a guest while in Paris. To be sure of this pleasure, he sent a
special courier all the way to Folkestone, charged with a letter
which he was himself to put into the hands of Mr. Webb, before the
steamer left the dock. "But how am I to know the gentleman?" asked
the courier; "I never saw him in my life." "N'importe," was the
reply. "Put the letter in the hand of the noblest-looking man on
board, and you will be sure to be right." The courier followed the
direction; and, stationing himself near the gangway, he took his
master's measure of every passenger as he entered. He could not be
mistaken. As soon as the plank was withdrawn, he approached Mr.
Webb, hat in hand, and, with a deferential word of recognition, done
in the best grace of French politeness, handed him the letter. One
of the deputation, noticing the incident, and wondering how the man
knew whom he was addressing without previous inquiry, questioned him
afterwards on the subject, and learned from him the ground on which
he proceeded. The photographic likeness presented in connection
with this notice was taken shortly before his decease, at the age of
nearly sixty-six, and when his health was greatly impaired.

Few men ever carried out so fully the injunction, not to let the
left hand know what the right hand did, in the quiet and steady
outflow of good will and good works, as Mr. Webb. Even those
nearest and dearest to him never knew what that right hand did as a
help in time of need, what that large heart felt in time of others'
affliction, what those lips said to the sorrowing, in tearful
moments of grief, until they had been stilled for ever on earth.
Then it came out, act by act, word by word, thought by thought, from
those who held the remembrances in their souls as precious souvenirs
of a good man's life. So earnest was his desire to do these things
in secret, that his own family heard of them only by accident, and
from those whom he so greatly helped with his kindness and
generosity. And when known by his wife and children, in this way,
they were put under the bann of secrecy. This it is that makes it
so difficult to delineate the home and heaven side of his character.
Those nearest to him, who breathed in the blessing of its daily
odor, so revere his repeated and earnest wish not to have his good
works talked of in public, that, even now he is dead and gone, they
hold it as a sacred obligation to his memory not to give up these
treasured secrets of his life. Thus, in giving a partial coup
d'oeil of that aspect of his character which fronted homeward and
heavenward, one can only glean, here and there, glimpses of
different traits, in acts, incidents, and anecdotes remembered by
neighbors and friends near and remote. Were it not that his
children are withheld, by this delicate veneration, from giving to
the public facts known to them alone, the moral beauty and
brightness of his life would shine out upon the outside world with
warmer rays and larger rayons. I hope that a single passage from a
letter written by one of them to a friend, even under the injunction
of confidence, may be given here, without rending the veil which
they hold so sacred. In referring to this disposition and habit of
her venerated father, she says--

"Often have I been so blessed as to be caused to shed tears of joy
and pride at hearing proofs of his tenderness, kindness, and
generosity related by the recipients of some token of his nobleness,
but of which we never should have heard from himself."

A little incident may illustrate this trait of his disposition. In
1862, a "Loan Court" was held in London, at which there was a most
magnificent display of jewels and plate of all kinds, contributed by
their owners to be exhibited for the gratification of the public. A
friend, who held him in the highest veneration, returning from this
brilliant show, expressed regret that Mr. Webb had not furnished one
of the stands, by sending the splendid silver candelabra presented
to him by the French Emperor, with the many silver cups and medals
he had won. Mr. Webb replied, that the mercies God had blessed him
with, and the successes He had awarded to him, might have been sent
to teach him humility, and not given to parade before the world.

It is one of the most striking proofs of his great and pure-
heartedness, that, notwithstanding nearly forty consecutive years of
vigorous and successful competition with the leading agriculturists
of Great Britain and other countries, none of the victories he won
over them, or the eminence he attained, ever made him an enemy.
When we consider the eager ambitions and excited sensibilities that
enter into these competitions, this fact in itself shows what manner
of man he was in his disposition and deportment. Referring to this
aspect of his character, the French writer already cited, M. De La
Trehonnais, says of him, while still living--

"There exists no person who has gained the esteem and goodwill of
his contemporaries to a higher degree than Mr. Webb. His probity,
his scrupulous good faith, his generosity, and the affable equality
of his character, have gained for him the respect and affection of
every one. Since I have had the honor of knowing him, which is
already many years, I have never known of his having a single enemy;
and in my constant intercourse with the agricultural classes of
England, I have never heard of a single malevolent insinuation
respecting him. When we consider how much those who raise
themselves in the world above others, are made the butt for the
attacks of envy in proportion with their elevation, we may conclude
that there are in the character of this wealthy man very solid
virtues, well fixed principles, transcendant [sic] merit, to have
passed through his long career of success and triumphs without
having drawn upon himself the ill-will of a single enemy, or the
calumnious shaft of envy."

Nor were these negative virtues, ending where they begun, or
enabling him to go through a long life of energetic activities
without an enemy. He not only lived at peace with all men, but did
his utmost to make them live at peace with each other. Says one who
knew him intimately--"I never heard him express a sentiment savoring
of enmity to any person, nor could he bear to see it entertained by
any one towards another. Even if he heard of an ill-feeling
existing between persons, he would, if possible, effect a
reconciliation; and his own bright example, and hearty, kind, genial
manners always warmed all hearts towards himself. Notwithstanding
the numerous calls upon his time, made by public and private
business, he did not lose his sweet cheerfulness of temper, and was
ever ready in his most busy moments to aid others, if he saw a
possibility of so doing." Energy, gentleness, conscientiousness and
courtesy were seldom, if ever, blended in such suave accord as in
him. These virtues came out, each in its distinctive lustre, under
the trials and vexations which try human nature most severely. All
who knew him marvelled that he was able to maintain such sweetness
and evenness of temper under provocations and difficulties which
would have greatly annoyed most men. What he was in these outer
circles of his influence, he was, to all the centralization of his
virtues, in the heart of his family. Here, indeed, the best graces
of his character had their full play and beauty. He was the centre
and soul of one of the happiest of earthly homes, attracting to him
the affections of every member of the hearth circle that moved in
the sleepless light of his life. Here he did not rule, but led by
love. It alone dictated, and it alone obeyed. It inspired its like
in domestic discipline. Spontaneous reverence for such a father's
wish and will superseded the unpleasant necessity of more active
parental constraint. To bring a shade of sadness to that venerated
face, or a speechless reproach to that benignant eye, was a greater
punishment to a temporarily wayward child than any corporal
correction could have inflicted.

No one of the hundreds that were present at the sale and dispersion
of the Babraham flock could have thought that the remaining days of
the great and good man were to be so few on earth. He was then
about sixty-five years of age, of stately, unbending form and face
radiant and genial with the florid flush of that Indian Summer which
so many Englishmen wear late in those autumnal years that bend and
pale American forms and faces to "the sere and yellow leaf" of life.
But the sequel proved that he did not abdicate his position too
early. In a little more than a year from this event, his spirit was
raised to higher fellowships and folded with those of the pure and
blest of bygone ages. The incidents and coincidents of the last,
great moments of his being here, were remarkable and affecting.
Neither he nor his wife died at the home they had made so happy with
the beauty and savor of their virtues. Under another and distant
roof they both laid themselves down to die. The husband's hand was
linked in his wife's, up to within a few short steps of the river's
brink, when, touched with the cold spray of the dark waters, it fell
from its hold and was superseded by the strong arm of the angel of
the covenant, sent to bear her fast across the flood. In life they
were united to a oneness seldom witnessed on earth; in death they
were not separated except by the thinnest partition. Though her
spirit was taken up first to the great and holy communion above, the
"ministering angel of God's love let her body remain with him as a
pledge until his own spirit was called to join hers in the joint
mansion of their eternal rest. On the very day that her body was
carried to its long home, his own unloosed, to its upward flight,
the soul that had made it shine for half a century like a temple
erected to the Divine Glory. The years allotted to him on earth
were even to a day. Just sixty-six were measured off to him, and
then "the wheel ceased to turn at the cistern," and he died on his
birthday. An affecting coincidence also marked the departure of his
beloved wife. She left on the birthday of her eldest son, who had
intended to make the anniversary the dating-day of domestic
happiness, by choosing it for his marriage.

A few facts will suffice for the history of the closing scene.
About the middle of October, 1862, Mrs. Webb, whose health seemed
failing, went to visit her brother, Henry Marshall, Esq., residing
in Cambridge. Here she suddenly became much worse, and the prospect
of her recovery more and more doubtful. Mr. Webb was with her
immediately on the first unfavorable turn of her illness, together
with other members of the family. When he realised her danger, and
the hope of her surviving broke down within him, his physical
constitution succumbed under the impending blow, and two days before
her death, he was prostrated by a nervous fever, from which he never
rallied, but died on the 10th of November. Although the great
visitation was too heavy for his flesh and blood to bear, his spirit
was strengthened to drink this last cup of earthly trial with
beautiful serenity and submission. It was strong enough to make his
quivering lips to say, in distinct and audible utterance, and his
closing eyes to pledge the truth and depth of the sentiment, "Thy
will be done!" One who stood over him in these last moments says,
that, when assured of his own danger, his countenance only seemed to
take on a light of greater happiness. He was conscious up to within
a few minutes of his death, and, though unable to speak
articulately, responded by expressions of his countenance to the
words and looks of affection addressed to him by the dear ones
surrounding his bed. One of them read to him a favorite hymn,
beginning with "Cling to the Comforter!" When she ceased, he signed
to her to repeat it; and, while the words were still on her lips,
the Comforter came at his call, and bore his waiting spirit away to
the heavenly companionship for which it longed. As it left the
stilled temple of its earthly habitation, it shed upon the
delicately-carved lines of its marble door and closed windows a
sweet gleam of the morning twilight of its own happy immortality.

A long funeral cortege attended the remains of the deceased from
Cambridge to their last resting place in the little village
churchyard of Babraham. Beside friends from neighboring villages,
the First Cambridgeshire Mounted Rifle Corps joined the procession,
together with a large number of the county police force. His body
was laid down to its last, long rest beside that of his wife, who
preceded him to the tomb only by a few days. Though Stratford-upon-
Avon, and Dryburgh Abbey may attract more American travellers to
their shrines, I am sure many of them, with due perception of moral
worth, will visit Babraham, and hold it in reverent estimation as
the home of one of the world's best worthies, who left on it a
biograph which shall have a place among the human-life-scapes which
the Saviour of mankind shall hang up in the inner temple of His
Father's glory, as the most precious tokens and trophies of the
earth, on which He shared the tearful experiences of humanity, and
bore back to His throne all the touching memories of its weaknesses,
griefs, and sorrows.

A movement is now on foot to erect a suitable monument to his
memory. It may indicate the public estimation in which his life and
labors are held that, already, about 10,000 pounds have been
subscribed towards this testimonial to his worth. The monument,
doubtless, will be placed in the great Agricultural Hall, which he
did so much to found. His name will wear down to coming generations
the crystal roofage of that magnificent edifice as a fitting crown
of honor.

CHAPTER VIII.

THRESHING MACHINE--FLOWER SHOW--THE HOLLYHOCK AND ITS SUGGESTIONS--
THE LAW OF CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES IN VEGETABLE, ANIMAL, MENTAL, AND
MORAL LIFE.

"In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things."--LONGFELLOW.

My stay at Babraham was short. It was like a visit to the grave of
one of those English worthies whose lives and labors are so well
known and appreciated in America. All the external features of the
establishment were there unchanged. The large and substantial
mansion, with its hall and parlor walls hung with the mementoes of
the genius and success that had made it so celebrated; the barns and
housings for the great herds and flocks which had been dispersed
over the world; the very pens still standing in which they had been
folded in for the auctioneer's hammer; all these arrangements and
aspects remained as they were when Jonas Webb left his home to
return no more. But all those beautiful and happy families of
animal life, which he reared to such perfection, were scattered on
the wings of wind and steam to the uttermost and most opposite parts
of the earth.

The eldest son, Mr. Samuel Webb, who supervises part of the farm
occupied by his father, and also carries on one of his own in a
neighboring parish, was very cordial and courteous, and drove me to
his establishment near Chesterford. Here a steam threshing machine
was at work, doing prodigious execution on different kinds of grain.
The engine had climbed, a proprii motu, a long ascent; had made its
way partly through ploughed land to the rear of the barn, and was
rattlingly busy in a fog of dust, doing the labor of a hundred
flails. Ricks of wheat and beans, each as large as a comfortable
cottage, disappeared in quick succession through the fingers of the
chattering, iron-ribbed giant, and came out in thick and rapid
streams of yellow grain. Swine seemed to be the speciality to which
this son of Mr. Webb is giving some of that attention which his
father gave to sheep. There were between 200 and 300 in the barn-
yards and pens, of different ages and breeds, all looking in
excellent condition.

From Chesterford I went on to Cambridge, where I remained for the
most part of two days, on account of a heavy fall of rain, which
kept me within doors nearly all the time. I went out, however, for
an hour or so to see a Flower Show in the Town Hall. The varieties
and specimens made a beautiful, but not very extensive array. There
was one flower that not only attracted especial admiration, but
invited a pleasant train of thoughts to my own mind. It was one of
those old favorites to which the common people of all countries, who
speak our mother tongue, love to give an inalienable English name--
The Hollyhock. It is one of the flowers of the people, which the
pedantic Latinists have left untouched in homely Saxon, because the
people would have none of their long-winded and heartless
appellations. Having dwelt briefly upon the honor that Divine
Providence confers upon human genius and labor, in letting them
impress their finger-marks so distinctly upon the features and
functions of the earth, and upon the forms of animal life, it may be
a profitable recurrence to the same line of thought to notice what
that same genius and labor have wrought upon the structure and face
of this familiar flower. What was it at first? What is it now in
the rural gardens of New England? A shallow, bell-mouthed cup, in
most cases purely white, and hung to a tall, coarse stalk, like the
yellow jets of a mullein. That is its natural and distinctive
characteristic in all countries; at least where it is best known and
most common. What is it here, bearing the fingerprints of man's
mind and taste upon it? Its white and thin-sided cup is brim full
and running over with flowery exuberance of leaf and tint infinitely
variegated. Here it is as solid, as globe-faced, and nearly as
large as the dahlia. Place it side by side with the old, single-
leafed hollyhock, in a New England farmer's garden, and his wife
would not be able to trace any family relationship between them,
even through the spectacles with which she reads the Bible. But the
dahlia itself--what was that in its first estate, in the country in
which it was first found in its aboriginal structure and complexion?
As plain and unpretending as the hollyhock; as thinly dressed as the
short-kirtled daisy in a Connecticut meadow. It is wonderful, and
passing wonder, how teachable and quick of perception and prehension
is Nature in the studio of Art. She, the oldest of painters, that
hung the earth, sea, and sky of the antediluvian world with
landscapes, waterscapes, and cloudscapes manifold and beautiful,
when as yet the human hand had never lifted a pencil to imitate her
skill; she, with the colors wherewith she dyed the fleecy clouds
that spread their purple drapery over the first sunset, and in which
she dipped the first rainbow hung in heaven, and the first rose that
breathed and blushed on earth; she that has embellished every day,
since the Sun first opened its eye upon the world, with a new
gallery of paintings for every square mile of land and sea, and new
dissolving views for every hour--she, with all these artistic
antecedents, tastes, and faculties, comes modestly into the
conservatory of the floriculturist, and takes lessons of him in
shaping and tinting plants and flowers which the Great Master said
were "all very good" on the sixth-day morning of the creation! This
is marvellous, showing a prerogative in human genius almost divine,
and worthy of reverent and grateful admiration. How wide-reaching
and multigerent is this prerogative! In how many spheres of action
it works simultaneously in these latter days! See how it
manipulates the brute forces of Nature! See how it saddles the
winds, and bridles and spurs the lightning! See how it harnesses
steam to the plough, the flood to the spindle, the quick cross
currents of electricity to the newsman's phaeton! Then ascend to
higher reaches of its faculty. In the hands of a Bakewell or Webb,
it gives a new and creative shaping to multitudinous generations of
animal life. Nature yields to its suggestion and leading, and co-
works, with all her best and busiest activities, to realise the
human ideal; to put muscle there, to straighten that vertebra, to
parallel more perfectly those dorsal and ventral lines, to lengthen
or shorten those bones; to flesh the leg only to such a joint, and
wool or unwool it below; to horn or unhorn the head, to blacken or
blanch the face, to put on the whole body a new dress and make it
and its remote posterity wear this new form and costume for
evermore. All this shows how kindly and how proudly Nature takes
Art into partnership with her, in these new structures of beauty and
perfection; both teaching and taught, and wooing man to work with
her, and walk with her, and talk with her within the domain of
creative energies; to make the cattle and sheep of ten thousand
hills and valleys thank the Lord, out of the grateful speech of
their large, lustrous eyes, for better forms and features, and
faculties of comfort than their early predecessors were born to.

Equally wonderful, perhaps more beautiful, is the joint work of
Nature and Art on the sweet life and glory of flowers. However many
they were, and what they were, that breathed upon the first Spring
or Summer day of time, each was a half-sealed gift of God to man, to
be opened by his hand when his mind should open to a new sense of
beauty and perfection. Flowers, each with a genealogy reaching
unbroken through the Flood back to the overhanging blossoms of Eden,
have come down to us, as it were, only in their travelling costume,
with their best dresses packed away in stamen, or petal, or private
seedcase, to be brought out at the end of fifty centuries at the
touch of human genius. Those of which Solomon sang in his time, and
which exceeded his glory in their every-day array, even "the hyssop
by the wall," never showed, on the gala-days of his Egyptian bride,
the hidden charms which he, in his wisdom, knew not how to unlock.
Flowers innumerable are now, like illuminated capitals of Nature's
alphabet, flecking, with their sheen-dots, prairie, steppe, mountain
and meadow, the earth around, which, perhaps, will only give their
best beauties to the world in a distant age. As the light of the
latest-created and remotest stars has not yet completed its downward
journey to the eye of man, so to his sight have not these sweet-
breathing constellations of the field yet made the full revelation
of their treasured hues and forms. Not one in a hundred of them all
has done this up to the present moment. When one in ten of those
that bless us with their life and being shall put on all its
reserved beauty, then, indeed, the stars above and the stars below
will stud the firmaments in which they shine with equal glory, and
blend both in one great heaven-scape for the eye and heart of man.
One by one, in its turn, the key of human genius shall unlock the
hidden wardrobe of the commonest flowers, and deck them out in the
court dress reserved, for five thousand years, to be worn in the
brighter, afternoon centuries of the world. The Mistress of the
Robes is a high dignitary in the Household of Royalty, and has her
place near to the person of the Queen. But the Floriculturist, of
educated perception and taste, is the master of a higher state robe,
and holds the key of embroidered vestments, cosmetics, tintings,
artistries, hair-jewels, head-dresses, brooches, and bracelets,
which no empress ever wore since human crowns were made; which
Nature herself could not show on all the bygone birthdays of her
being.

This is marvellous. It is an honor to man, put upon him from above,
as one of the gratuitous dignities of his being. "An undevout
astronomer is mad," said one who had opened his mind to a broad
grasp of the wonders which this upper heaven holds in its bosom.
The floriculturist is an astronomer, with Newton's telescope
reversed; and if its revelations do not stir up holy thoughts in his
soul, he is blind as well as mad. No glass, no geometry that Newton
ever lifted at the still star-worlds above, could do more than
_reveal_. At the farthest stretch of their faculty, they could only
bring to light the life and immortality of those orbs which the
human eye had never seen before. They could not tint nor add a ray
to one of them all. They never could bring down to the reach of
man's unaided vision a single star that Noah could not see through
the deck-lights of the ark. It was a gift and a glory that well
rewarded the science and genius of Newton and Herschel, of Adams and
Le Verrier, that they could ladder these mighty perpendicular
distances and climb the rounds to such heights and sweeps of
observation, and count, measure, and name orbs and orbits before
unknown, and chart the paths of their rotations and weigh them, as
in scales, while in motion. But this ge-astronomer, whose
observatory is his conservatory, whose telescope and fluxions are
his trowel and watering-pot, not only brings to light the hidden
life of a thousand earth-stars, but changes their forms, colors
their rays, half creates and transforms, until each differs as much
from its original structure and tinting as the planet Jupiter would
differ from its familiar countenance if Adams or Le Verrier could
make it wear the florid face of Mars. This man,--and it is to be
hoped he carries some devout and grateful thoughts to his work--sets
Nature new lessons daily in artistry, and she works out the new
ideals of his taste to their joint and equal admiration. He has got
up a new pattern for the fern. She lets him guide her hand in the
delicate operation, and she crimps, fringes, shades or shapes its
leaflets to his will, even to a thousand varieties. He moistens her
fingers with the fluids she uses on her easel, and puts them to the
rootlets of the rose, and they transpose its hues, or fringe it or
tinge it with a new glory. He goes into the fen or forest, or
climbs the jutting crags of lava-mailed mountains, and brings back
to his fold one of Nature's foundlings,--a little, pale-faced
orphan, crouching, pinched and starved, in a ragged hood of dirty
muslin; and he puts it under the fostering of those maternal
fingers, guided by his own. Soon it feels the inspiration of a new
life warming and swelling its shrivelled veins. Its paralysed
petals unfold, one by one. The rim of its cup fills, leaf by leaf,
to the brim. It becomes a thing most lovely and fair, and he
introduces it, with pride, to the court beauties of his crystal
palace.

The agriculturist is taken into this co-partnership of Nature in a
higher domain of her activities, measured by the great utilities of
human life. We have glanced at the joint-work in her animal
kingdom. In the vegetable, it is equally wonderful. Nature
contributes the raw material of these great and vital industries,
then incites and works out human suggestions. Thus she trains and
obeys the mind and hand of man, in this grand sphere of development.
Their co-working and its result are just as perceptible in a common
Irish potato as in the most gorgeous dahlia ever exhibited. Not one
farmer in a thousand has ever read the history of that root of
roots, in value to mankind; has ever conceived what a tasteless,
contracted, water-soaked thing it was in its wild and original
condition. Let them read a few chapters of the early history of New
England, and they will see what it was two hundred and fifty years
ago, when the strong-hearted men and women, whom Hooker led to the
banks of the Connecticut, sought for it in the white woods of
winter, scraping away the snow with their frosted fingers. The
largest they found just equalled the Malaga grape in size and
resembled it in complexion. They called it the _ground-nut_, for it
seemed akin to the nuts dropped by the oaks of different names. No
flower that breathes on earth has been made to produce so many
varieties of form, complexion, and name as this homely root. It
would be an interesting and instructive enterprise, to array all the
varieties of this queen of esculent vegetables which Europe and
America could exhibit, face to face with all the varieties which the
dahlia, geranium, pansy, or even the fern has produced, and then see
which has been numerically the most prolific in diversification of
forms and features. It should gratify a better motive than
curiosity to trace back the history of other roots to their
aboriginal condition. Types of the original stock may now be found,
in waste places, in the wild turnip, wild carrot, parsnip, etc.
"Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a
little," it may be truly and gratefully said, these roots,
internetted with the very life-fibres of human sustenance, have been
brought to their present perfection and value. The great
governments and peoples of the world should give admiring and
grateful thought to this fact. Here nature co-works with the most
common and inartistic of human industries, as they are generally
held, with faculties as subtle and beautiful as those which she
brings to bear upon the choicest flowers. The same is true of
grains and grasses for man and beast. They come down to us from a
kind of heathen parentage, receiving new forms and qualities from
age to age. The wheats, which make the bread of all the continents,
now exhibit varieties which no one has undertaken to enumerate.
Fruits follow the same rule, and show the same joint-working of
Nature and Art as in the realm of flowers.

The wheel within wheel, the circle within circle expand and ascend
until the last circumferential line sweeps around all the world of
created being, even taking in, upon the common radius, the highest
and oldest of the angels. From the primrose peering from the hedge
to the premier seraph wearing the coronet of his sublime
companionship; from the lowest forms of vegetable existence to the
loftiest reaches of moral nature this side of the Infinite, this
everlasting law of co-working rules the ratio of progress and
development. In all the concentric spheres strung on the radius
measured by these extremes, there is the same co-acting of internal
and external forces. And mind, of man or angel, guides and governs
both. Not a flower that ever breathed on earth, not one that ever
blushed in Eden, could open all its hidden treasures of beauty
without the co-working of man's mind and taste. No animal that ever
bowed its neck to his yoke, or gave him labor, milk or wool, could
come to the full development of its latent vitalities and symmetries
without the help of his thought and skill. The same law obtains in
his own physical nature. Mind has made it what it is to-day, as
compared with the wild features and habits of its aboriginal
condition. Mind has worked for five thousand years upon its fellow-
traveller through time, to fit it more and more fully for the
companionship. It was delivered over to her charge naked, with its
attributes and faculties as latent and dormant as those of the wild
rose or dahlia. Through all the ages long, she has worked upon its
development; educating its tastes; taming its appetites; refining
its sensibilities; multiplying and softening its enjoyments; giving
to every sense a new capacity and relish of delight; cultivating the
ear for music, and ravishing it with the concord of sweet sounds;
cultivating the eye to drink in the glorious beauty of the external
world, then adding to natural sceneries ten thousand pictures of
mountain, valley, river, man, angel, and scenes in human and
heaven's history, painted by the thought-instructed hand;
cultivating the palate to the most exquisite sensibilities, and
exploring all the zones for luxuries to gratify them; cultivating
the fine finger-nerves to such perception that they can feel the
pulse of sleeping notes of music; cultivating the still finer
organism that catches the subtle odors on the wing, and sends their
separate or mingled breathings through every vein and muscle from
head to foot.

The same law holds good in the development of mind. It has now
reached such an altitude, and it shines with such lustre, that our
imagination can hardly find the way down to the morning horizon of
its life, and measure its scope and power in the dim twilight of its
first hours in time. The simple fact of its first condition would
now seem to most men as exaggerated fancies, if given in the
simplest forms of truthful statement. With all the mighty faculties
to which it has come; with its capacity to count, name, measure and
weigh stars that Adam, nor Moses, nor Solomon ever saw; with all the
forces of nature it has subdued to the service of man, it cannot
tell what simplest facts of the creation had to be ascertained by
its first, feeble and confused reasonings. No one of to-day can say
how low down in the scale of intelligence the human mind began to
exercise its untried faculties; what apposition and deduction of
thoughts it required to individualise the commonest objects that met
the eye; even to determine that the body it animated was not an
immovable part of the earth itself; to obtain fixed notions of
distance, of color, light, and heat; to learn the properties and
uses of plants, herbs, and fruits; even to see the sun sink out of
sight with the sure faith that it would rise again. It was gifted
with no instinct, to decide these questions instantly and
mechanically. They had all to pass through the varied processes of
reason. The first bird that sang in Eden, built its first nest as
perfectly as its last. But, thought by thought, the first human
mind worked out conclusions which the dullest beast or bird reached
instantly without reason. What wonderful co-working of internal and
external influences was provided to keep thought in sleepless
action; to open, one by one, the myriad petals of the mind! Nature,
with all its shifting sceneries, filled every new scope of vision
with objects that hourly set thought at play in a new line of
reflection. Then, out of man's physical being came a thousand still
small voices daily, whispering, Think! think! The first-born
necessities, few and simple, cried, "_Think_! for we want bread, we
want drink, we want shelter and raiment against the cold." The
finer senses cried continually, "Give! give thought to this, to
that." The Eye, the Ear, the Palate and every other organ that
could receive and diffuse delight, worked the mental faculties by
day and night, up to the last sunset of the antediluvian world; and
all the intellectual result of this working Noah took with him into
the ark, and gave to his sons to hand over to succeeding ages.
Flowers that Eve stuck in the hair of the infant Abel are just now
opening the last casket of their beauty to the favored children of
our time. This, in itself, is a marvellous instance of the law we
are noticing. But what is this to the processes of thought and
observation through which the mind of man has reached its present
expansion; through which it has developed all these sciences, arts,
industries and tastes, the literature and the intellectual life of
these bright days of humanity! The figure is weak, and every figure
would be weak when applied to the ratio or the result of this
progression; but, at what future age of time, or of the existence
beyond time, will the mind, that has thus wrought on earth, open its
last petal, put forth no new breathing, unfold no new beauty under
the eye of the Infinite, who breathed it, as an immortal atom of His
own essence, into the being of man?

Follow the radius up into the next concentric circle, and we see
this law working to finer and sublimer issues in man's moral nature.
We have glanced at what the mind has done for and through his
physical faculties and being; how that being has re-acted upon the
mind, and kept all its capacities at work in procuring new delight
to the eye, ear, palate, and all the senses that yearned for
enjoyment. We have noticed how the inside and outside world acted
upon his reasoning powers in the dawn of creation; how slowly they
mastered the simplest facts and phenomena of life in and around
them, how slowly they expanded, through the intervening centuries,
to their present development. The mind is the central personage in
the trinity of man's being; linking the mortal and immortal to its
life and action; vitalising the body with intelligence, until every
vein, muscle, and nerve, and function thrills and moves to the
impulse of thought; vitalising the soul with the vigorous activities
of reason, giving hands as well as wings to its hopes, faiths,
loves, and aspirations; giving a faculty of speech, action, and
influence to each, and play to all the tempers and tendencies of its
moral nature. Thus all the influences that the mind could inhale
from the material world through man's physical being, and all it
could draw out of the depths of Divine revelation, were the dew and
the light which it was its mission to bring to the fostering,
growth, and glory of the human soul. These were man's means
wherewith to shape it for its great destiny; these he was to bring
to its training and expansion; with these he was to co-work with the
Infinite Father of Spirits to fit it for His presence and
fellowship, just as he co-works with Nature in developing the latent
life and faculties of the rose. What distillations of spiritual
influence have dropped down out of heaven, through the ages, to help
onward this joint work! What histories of human experience have
come in the other direction to the same end!--fraught with the
emotions of the human heart, from the first sin and sorrow of Adam
to our own griefs, hopes, and joys; and all so many lessons for the
discipline of this high-born nature with us!

And yet how slow and almost imperceptible has been the development
of this nature! How gently and gradually the expanding influences,
human and divine, have been let in upon its latent faculties! See
with what delicate fostering the petals of love, faith, and hope
were taught to open, little by little, their hidden life and
beauty,--taking Moses' history of the process. First, one human
being on the earth, surrounded with beasts and birds that could give
him no intelligent companionship and no fellow-feeling. Then the
beautiful being created to meet these awakening yearnings of his
nature; then the first outflow and interchange of human love. The
narrative brings us to the next stage of the sentiment. Sin and
sorrow afflict, but unite, both hearts in the saddest experience of
humanity. They are driven out of the Eden of their first condition,
but their very sufferings and fears re-Eden their mutual attachments
in the very thorns of their troubles and sorrows. Then another
being, of their own flesh, heir to their changed lot, and to these
attachments, is added to their companionship. The first child's
face that heaven or earth ever saw, opened its baby eyes on them and
smiled in the light of their parental love. The history goes on.
In process of time, there is a family of families, called a
community, embracing hundreds of individuals connected by ties of
blood so attenuated that they possess no binding influence. Common
interests, affinities, and sentiments supply the place of family
relationship, and make laws of amity and equity for them as a
population. Next we have a community of communities, or a
commonwealth of these individual populations, generally called a
nation. Here is a lesson for the moral nature. Here are thousands
and tens of thousands of men who never saw each others' faces. Will
this expanded orb of humanity revolve around the same centre as the
first family circle, or the first independent community? How can
you give it cohesion and harmony? Extend the radii of family
relationship and influence to its circumference in every direction.
Throne the sovereign in a parent's chair, to execute a father's
laws. He shall treat them as children, and they each other as
brethren. Here is a grand programme for human society. Here is a
vigorous discipline for the wayward will and temper of the human
heart. How is a man to feel and act in these new conditions? How
is he to regulate his hates and loves, his passions and appetites,
to comply properly with these extended and complicated
relationships?

About half way from Adam's day to ours, there came an utterance from
Mount Sinai that anticipated and answered these questions once for
all, and for one and all. In that august revelation of the Divine
Mind, every command of the Decalogue swung open upon the pivot of a
_not_, except one; and that one referred to man's duty to man, and
the promise attached to its fulfilment was only an earthly
enjoyment. All the rest were restrictive; to curb this appetite, to
bar that passion, to hedge this impulse, to check that disposition;
in a word, to hold back the hand from open and positive
transgression. Even the first, relating to His own Godhead and
requirements, was but the first of the series of negatives, a pure
and simple prohibition of idolatry. No reward of keeping this first
great law, reaching beyond the boundary of a temporal condition, was
promised at its giving out. With the headstrong passions, lusts,
appetites, and tempers of flesh and blood bridled and bitted by
these restrictions, and with no motives to obedience beyond the
awards of a short life on earth, the human soul groped its way
through twenty centuries after the Revelation of Sinai, feeling for
the immortality which was not yet revealed to it, even "as through a
glass darkly." Here and there, but thinly scattered through the
ages, divinely illumined men caught, through the parting seams of
the veil, a transient glimpse and ray of the life to come. Here and
there, obscurely and hesitatingly, they refer to this vision of
their faith. Here and there we seem to see a hope climbing up out
of a good man's heart into the pathless mystery of a future
existence, and bringing back the fragment of a leaf which it
believes must have grown on one of the trees of life immortal.
Moses, Job, David, and Isaiah give us utterances that savor of this
belief; but they leave us in the dark in reference to its influence
upon their lives. We cannot glean from these incidental
expressions, whether it brought them any steady comfort, or sensibly
affected their happiness.

Thus, for four thousand years, the soul of man dashed its wings
against the prison-bars of time, peering into the night through the
cold, relentless gratings for some fugitive ray of the existence of
which it had such strong and sleepless presentiment. It is a
mystery. It may seem irreverent to approach it even with a
conjecture. Human reason should be humble and silent before it, and
close its questioning lips. It may not, however, transcend its
prerogative to say meekly, _perhaps_. Perhaps, then, for two-thirds
of the duration that the sun has measured off to humanity, that life
and immortality which the soul groped after were veiled from its
vision, until all its mental and spiritual faculties had been
trained and strengthened to the ability to grasp and appropriate the
great fact when it should be revealed. Perhaps it required all the
space of forty centuries to put forth feelers and fibres capable of
clinging to the revelation with the steady hold of faith. Perhaps
it was to prove, by long, decisive probation, what the unaided human
mind could do in constructing its idealisms of immortality. Perhaps
it was permitted to erect a scaffolding of conceptions on which to
receive the great revelation at the highest possible level of
thought and instinctive sentiment to which man could attain without
supernatural light and help. If this last _perhaps_ is preferable
to the others, where was this scaffolding the highest? Over
Confucius, or Socrates, or the Scandinavian seer, or Druid or Aztec
priest? Was it highest at Athens, because there the great apostle
to the Gentiles planted his feet upon it, and said, in the ears of
the Grecian sophists, "Him whom ye ignorantly worship declare I unto
you?" At that brilliant centre of pagan civilization it might have
reached its loftiest altitude, measured by a purely intellectual
standard; but morally, this scaffolding was on the same low level of
human life and character all the world around. The immortalities
erected by Egyptian or Grecian philosophy were no purer, in moral
conception and attributes, than the mythological fantasies of the
North American Indians. In them all, human nature was to have the
old play of its passions and appetites; in some of them, a wider
sweep and sway. There was not one in the whole set of Grecian
deities half so moral and pure, in sentiment and conduct, as
Socrates; nor were Jupiter and his subordinate celestials better
than the average kings and courts of Greece. Out of the hay, wood,
and stubble of sheer fancy the human mind was left to raise these
fantastic structures. They exercised and entertained the
imagination, but brought no light nor strength to the soul; no
superior nor additional motives to shape the conduct of life. But
they did this, undoubtedly, with all their delusions; they developed
the _thought_ of immortality among the most benighted races of men.
Their most perplexing unrealities kept the mind restless and almost
eager for some supplementary manifestation; so that, when the Star
of Bethlehem shone out in the sky of Palestine, there were men
looking heavenward with expectant eyes at midnight. From that hour
to this, and among pagan tribes of the lowest moral perception, the
heralds of the Great Revelation have found the _thought_ of another
existence active though confused. They have found everywhere a
platform already erected, like that on which Paul stood in the midst
of Mars Hill, and on which they could stand and say to heathen
communities, "Him whom ye ignorantly worship declare I unto you!
That future life and immortality which your darkened eyes and hungry
souls have been groping and hungering for, bring we to you, bright
as the sun, in this great gospel of Divine Love." Had the Star of
Bethlehem appeared a century earlier, it might not have met an
upturned eye. If the Saviour of Mankind had come into the world in
Solomon's day, not even a manger might have been found to cradle His
first moments of human life; no Simeon waiting in the temple to
greet the great salvation He brought to our race in His baby hands.

Here, then, commences, as it were, the central era of the soul's
training in time. Here heaven opened upon it the full sunlight and
sunwarmth of its glorious life and immortality. Here fell upon its
opening faculties the dews and rays and spiritual influences which
were to shape its being and destiny. Here commenced such co-working
to this end as can find no measure nor simile in any other sphere of
co-operative activities in the world below or above. Here the
trinity of man and the Trinity of the Godhead came into a co-action
and fellowship overpassing the highest outside wonder of the
universe. And all this co-working, fellowship, and partnership has
been repeated in the experience of every individual soul that has
been fitted for this great immortality. Here, too, this co-working
is a law, not an incident; most marvellously, mightily, and minutely
a law, as legislatively and executively as that which we have seen
acting upon the development of the flower. Had not the great
apostle, who was caught up into the third heavens and heard things
unutterable, spoken of this law in such bold words, it would seem
rash and irreverent in us to approach so near to its sublime
revelation. Not ours but his they are; and it is bold enough in us
to repeat them. He said it: that He, to whose name every knee
should bow, and every tongue confess; to whom belonged and who
should possess and rule all the kingdoms of the earth, "was made
under the law," not of Moses, not of human nature only, but under
this very law of CO-WORKING. Through this the world was to be
regenerated and filled with His life and light. Through this a new
creation was to be enfolded in the bosom of His glory, of grander
dimensions and of diviner attributes than that over which the
morning stars sang at the birth of time. Said this law to the
individual soul, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His own good
pleasure." To will and to do. It is His own good will and pleasure
that the soul shall be fitted and lifted up to its high destiny
through this co-working. It was His power to raise it to that
condition without man's participation or conscious acquiescence; but
it was His will and pleasure to enact this law of salvation.
Looking across the circumference of the individual soul, what says
this law? "Go ye out into all the world and preach the gospel to
every creature, and, lo, I am with you unto the end,"--not as an
invisible companion, not merely with the still, small voice of the
Comforter to cheer you in trial, weakness and privation; but with
you as a _co-worker_, with the irresistible energies of the Spirit
of Power. He might have done the whole work alone. He might have
sent forth twelve, and twelve times twelve legions of angels, and
given each a voice as loud as his who is to wake the dead, and bid
them preach His gospel in the ears of every human being. He might
have given a tongue to every breathing of the breeze, an articulate
speech to every ray of light, and sent them out with their ceaseless
voices on the great errand of His love. It was his power to do
this. He did not do it, because it was His will and pleasure to put
Himself under this law we have followed so far; to make men His co-
workers in this new creation, and co-heirs with Him in all its joy
and glory. So completely has He made this law His rule of action,
that, for eighteen hundred years, we have not a single instance in
which the life and immortality which He brought to light have been
revealed to a human soul without the direct and active participation
of a human instrumentality. So completely have His meekest servants
on earth put themselves under this law, that not one of them dares
to expect, hope, or pray that He will reveal Himself to a single
benighted heathen mind without this human co-working.

Thus, begin where you will, in the flower of the field or the hyssop
by the wall, and ascend from sphere to sphere, until there is no
more space in things and beings created to draw another
circumferential line, and you will see the action and the result of
this great law of _Co-operative Activities_. When I first looked
within the lids of that hollyhock, and was incited to read the
rudimental lessons of the new leaves that man's art had added to its
scant, original volume, I had no thought of finding so much matter
printed on its pages. I have transcribed it here in the order of
its paragraphs, hoping that some who read them may see in this life
of flowers an interest they may have partially overlooked.

CHAPTER IX.

VISIT TO A THREE-THOUSAND-ACRE FARM--SAMUEL JONAS--HIS AGRICULTURAL
OPERATIONS, THEIR EXTENT, SUCCESS, AND GENERAL ECONOMY.

The rain having ceased, I resumed my walk, in a southerly direction,
to Chrishall Grange, the residence of Samuel Jonas, who may be
called the largest farmer in England; not, perhaps, in extent of
territory occupied, but in the productive capacity of the land
cultivated, and in the values realised from it. It is about four
miles east of Royston, bordering on the three counties of
Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and Essex, though lying mainly in the
latter. It contains upwards of 3,000 acres, and nearly every one of
them is arable, and under active cultivation. It consists of five
farms, belonging to four different landlords; still they are so
contiguous and coherent that they form substantially one great
block. No one could be more deeply impressed with the magnitude of
such an establishment, and of the operations it involves, than a New
England farmer. Taking the average of our agriculturists, their
holdings or occupations, to use an English term, will not exceed 100
acres each; and, including woodland, swamp, and mountain, not over
half of this space can be cultivated. To the owner and tiller of
such a farm, a visit to Mr. Jonas' occupation must be interesting
and instructive. Here is a man who cultivates a space which thirty
Connecticut farmers would feel themselves rich to own and occupy,
with families making a population of full two hundred souls,
supporting and filling a church and school-house. In the great West
of America, where cattle are bred and fed somewhat after the manner
of Russian steppes or Mexican ranches, such an occupation would not
be unusual nor unexpected; but in the very heart of England,
containing a space less than the state of Virginia, a tract of such
extent and value in the hands of a single farmer is a fact which a
New Englander must regard at first with no little surprise. He will
not wonder how one man can _rent_ such a space, but how he can
_till_ it to advantage; how, even with the help of several
intelligent and active sons, he can direct and supervise operations
which fill the hands of thirty solid farmers of Massachusetts. Two
specific circumstances enable him to perform this undertaking.

In the first place, agriculture in England is reduced to an exact
and rigid science. To use a nautical phrase, it is all plain
sailing. The course is charted even in the written contract with
the landlord. The very term, "_course_," is adopted to designate
the direction which the English farmer is to observe. Skilled hands
are plenty and pressing to man the enterprise. With such a chart,
and such a force, and such an open sea, it is as easy for him to
sail the "Great Eastern" as a Thames schooner. The helm of the
great ship plays as freely and faithfully to the motion of his will
as the rudder of the small craft. Then the English farmer has a
great advantage over the American in this circumstance: he can hire
cheaply a grade of labor which is never brought to our market. Men
of great skill and experience, who in America would conduct farms of
their own, and could not be hired at any price, may be had here in
abundance for foremen, at from twelve to sixteen shillings, or from
three to four dollars a week, they boarding and lodging themselves.
And the number of such men is constantly increasing, from two
distinct causes. In the first place there is a large generation of
agricultural laborers in England, now in the prime of manhood, who
have just graduated, as it were, through all the scientific
processes of agriculture developed in the last fifteen years. The
ploughmen, cowmen, cartmen, and shepherds, even, have become
familiar with the established routine; and every set of these hands
can produce one or two active and intelligent laborers who will
gladly and ably fill the post of under-foreman for a shilling or two
a week of advanced wages. Then, by the constant absorption of small
holdings into large farms, which is going on more rapidly from this
increased facility of managing great occupations, a very
considerable number of small farmers every year are falling into the
labor market, being reduced to the necessity of either emigrating to
cheaper lands beyond the sea, or of hiring themselves out at home as
managers, foremen or common laborers on the estates thus enlarged by
their little holdings. From these two sources of supply, the
English tenant-farmer, beyond all question, is able to cultivate a
larger space, and conduct more extensive operations than any other
agriculturist in the world, at least by free labor.

The first peculiarity of this large occupation I noticed, was the
extent of the fields into which it was divided. I had never seen
any so large before in England. There were only three of the whole
estate under 60, and some contained more than 400 acres each, giving
the whole an aspect of amplitude like that of a rolling prairie farm
in Illinois. Not one of the little, irregular morsels of land half
swallowed by its broad-bottomed hedging, which one sees so
frequently in an English landscape, could be found on this great
holding. The white thorn fences were new, trim, and straight,
occupying as little space as possible. The five amalgamated farms
are light turnip soil, with the exception of about 200 acres, which
are well drained. The whole surface resembles that of a heavy
ground swell of the sea; nearly all the fields declining gently in
different directions. The view from the rounded crest of the
highest wave was exceedingly picturesque and beautiful, presenting a
vista of plenty which Ceres of classic mythology never saw; for
never, in ancient Greece, Italy, or Egypt, were the crops of
vegetation so diversified and contrasting with each other as are
interspersed over an English farm of the present day.

It is doubtful if 3,000 acres of land, lying in one solid block,
could be found in England better adapted for testing and rewarding
the most scientific and expensive processes of agriculture, than
this great occupation of Mr. Jonas. Certainly, no equal space could
present a less quantity of waste land, or occupy less in hedges or
fences. And it is equally certain that no estate of equal size is
more highly cultivated, or yields a greater amount of production per
acre. Its occupant, also, is what may be called an hereditary
farmer. His father and his remote ancestors were farmers, and he,
as in the case of the late Mr. Webb, has attained to his present
position as an agriculturist by practical farming.

Mr. Jonas cultivates his land on the "Four-course system." This
very term indicates the degree to which English agriculture has been
reduced to a precise and rigid science. It means here, that the
whole arable extent of his estate is divided equally between four
great crops; or, wheat, 750 acres; barley and oats, 750; seeds and
pulse, 750; and roots, 750. Now, an American farmer, in order to
form an approximate idea of the amount of labor given to the growth
of these crops, must remember that all these great fields of wheat,
oats, barley, turnips, beans, and peas, containing in all over 2,000
acres, are hoed by hand once or twice. His cereals are all drilled
in at seven inches apart, turnips at seventeen. The latter are
horse-hoed three or four times; and as they are drilled on the flat,
or without ridging the surface of the ground, they are crossed with
a horse-hoe with eight V shaped blades. This operation leaves the
plants in bunches, which are singled out by a troop of children.
One hand-hoeing and two or three more horse-hoeings finish the labor
given to their cultivation. It is remarkable what mechanical skill
is brought to bear upon these operations. In the first place, the
plough cuts a furrow as straight and even as if it were turned by
machinery. A kind of esprit de corps animates the ploughmen to a
vigorous ambition in the work. They are trained to it with as much
singleness of purpose as the smiths of Sheffield are to the forging
of penknife blades. On a large estate like that occupied by Mr.
Jonas, they constitute an order, not of Odd Fellows, but of Straight
Furrow-men, and are jealous of the distinction. When the ground is
well prepared, and made as soft, smooth, and even as a garden, the
drilling process is performed with a judgement of the eye and skill
of hand more marvellous still. The straightness of the lines of
verdure which, in a few weeks, mark the tracks of the seed-tubes, is
surprising. They are drawn and graded with such precision that,
when the plants are at a certain height, a horse-hoe, with eight
blades, each wide enough to cut the whole intervening space between
two rows, is passed, hoeing four or five drills at once. Of course,
if the lines of the drill and hoe did not exactly correspond with
each other, whole rows of turnips would be cut up and destroyed. I
saw this process going on in a turnip field, and thought it the most
skilful operation connected with agriculture that I had ever
witnessed.

One of the principal advantages Mr. Jonas realises in cultivating
such an extent of territory, is the ability to economise his working
forces, of man, beast, and agricultural machinery. He saves what
may be called the superfluous fractions, which small farmers
frequently lose. For instance, a man with only fifty acres would
need a pair of stout horses, a plough, cart, and all the other
implements necessary for the growth and gathering of the usual
crops. Now, Mr. Jonas has proved by experience, that, in
cultivating his great occupation, the average force of two and a
quarter horses is sufficient for a hundred acres. Here is a saving
of almost one half the expense of horse-force per acre which the
small farmer incurs, and full one half of the use of carts, ploughs,
and other implements. The whole number of horses employed is about
seventy-six; and the number of men and boys about a hundred. The
whole of this great force is directed by Mr. Jonas and his sons with
as much apparent ease and equanimity as the captain of a Cunarder
would manifest in guiding a steamship across the Atlantic. The helm
and ropes of the establishment obey the motion of one mind with the
same readiness and harmony.

A fact or two may serve an American farmer as a tangible measure
whereby to estimate the extent of the operations thus conducted by
one man. To come up to the standard of scientific and successful
agriculture in England, it is deemed requisite that a tenant farmer,
on renting an occupation, should have capital sufficient to invest
10 pounds, or $50, per acre in stocking it with cattle, sheep,
horses, farming implements, fertilisers, etc. Mr. Jonas, beyond a
doubt, invests capital after this ratio upon the estate he tills.
If so, then the total amount appropriated to the land which he
_rents_ cannot be less than 30,000 pounds, or nearly $150,000. The
inventory of his live stock, taken at last Michaelmas, resulted in
these figures:--Sheep, 6,581 pounds; horses, 2,487 pounds; bullocks,
2,218 pounds; pigs, 452 pounds; making a grand total of 11,638
pounds. Every animal bred on the estate is fatted, but by no means
with the grain and roots grown upon it. The outlay for oil-cake and
corn purchased for feeding, amounts to about 4,000 pounds per annum.
Another heavy expenditure is about 1,700 pounds yearly for
artificial fertilisers, consisting of guano and blood-manure. Mr.
Jonas is one of the directors of the company formed for the
manufacture of the latter.

The whole income of this establishment is realised from two sources-
-meat and grain. And this is the distinguishing characteristic of
English farming generally. Not a pound of hay, straw, or roots is
sold off the estate. Indeed, this is usually prohibited by the
conditions of the contract with the landlord. So completely has Mr.
Jonas adhered to this rule, that he could not give me the market
price of hay, straw, or turnips per ton, as he had never sold any,
and was not in the habit of noticing the market quotations of those
products. I was surprised at one fact which I learned in connection
with his economy. He keeps about 170 bullocks; buying in October
and selling in May. Now, it would occasion an American farmer some
wonderment to be told that this great herd of cattle is fed and
fatted almost entirely for the manure they make. It is doubtful if
the difference between the cost and selling prices averages 2
pounds, or $10, per head. For instance, the bullocks bought in will
average 13 or 14 pounds. A ton of linseed-cake and some meal are
given to each beast before it is sent to market, costing from 10 to
12 pounds. When sold, the bullocks average 24 or 25 pounds. Thus
the cake and the meal equal the whole difference between the buying
and selling price, so that all the roots, chaff, and attendance go
entirely to the account of manure. These three items, together with
the value of pasturage for the months the cattle may lie in the
fields, from October to May inclusive, could hardly amount to less
than 5 pounds per beast, which, for 170, would be 850 pounds. Then
1,700 pounds are paid annually for guano and artificial manures.
Now add the value of the wheat, oat and barley straw grown on 1,500
acres, and mostly thrown into the barn-yards, or used as bedding for
the stables, and you have one great division of the fertilising
department of Chrishall Grange. The amount of these three items
cannot be less than 3,000 pounds. Then there is another source of
fertilisation nearly as productive and valuable. Upwards of 3,000
sheep are kept on the estate, of which 1,200 are breeding ewes.
These are folded, acre by acre, on turnips, cole, or trefoil, and
those fattened for the market are fed with oil-cake in the field.
The locusts of Egypt could not have left the earth barer of verdure
than these sheep do the successive patches of roots in which they
are penned for twenty-four or forty-eight hours, nor could any other
process fertilise the land more thoroughly and cheaply. Then 76
horses and 200 fattening hogs add their contingent to the manurial
expenditure and production of the establishment. Thus the
fertilising material applied to the estate cannot amount to less
than 5,000 pounds, or $24,000, per annum.

Sheep are the most facile and fertile source of nett income on the
estate. Indeed, nearly all the profit on the production of meat is
realised from them. Most of those I saw were Southdowns and
Hampshires, pure or crossed, with here and there a Leicester. After
being well fattened, they fetch in the market about double the price
paid for them as stock sheep. About 2,000, thus fattened, including
lambs, are sold yearly. They probably average about 2 pounds, or
$10, per head; thus amounting to the nice little sum of 4,000 pounds
a year, as one of the sources of income.

Perhaps it would be easier to estimate the total expenditure than
the gross income of such an establishment as that of Mr. Jonas. We
have aggregated the former in a lump; assuming that the whole
capital invested in rent, live stock, agricultural machinery,
manures, labor of man and horse, fattening material, etc., amounts
to 30,000 pounds. We may extract from this aggregate several

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