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Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 47, September, 1861 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

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He had not been there a week before he rang his bell one day, and was
found bleeding from the lungs. His landlady called in a physician;
and it is probable that this gentleman did not know or suspect the
circumstances of his patient; for he not only ordered ice and various
expensive things, but took fees, while the poor patient was lying
forbidden to speak, and gnawed with anxiety as to where more money was
to come from, and with eagerness to get to work. His friends soon found
him out in his trouble; and I understood from him afterwards, and from
others who knew more about it than he did, that they were extremely
kind. I believe that one left a bank-note of a considerable amount at
the door, in a blank envelope. All charges were defrayed, and he was
bidden not to be anxious. Yet something must be done. What must it be?

As soon as he was allowed to raise his head from his pillow, he wrote me
a note in pencil; and it afforded an opening for discussing his affairs
with him. He had some impression of his life's being in danger; for it
was now that he confided to me the whole story of his attachment, and
the sufferings attending it: but he was still sanguine about doing great
things in literature, and chafing at his unwilling idleness. I was
strongly of opinion that the best way of dealing with him was to be
perfectly open; and, after proposing that we should have no reserves, I
told him what (proceeding on his own report of his health) I should in
his place decide upon doing. His pride would cause him some pain in
either of the two courses which were open to him,--but, I thought, more
in one than the other. If he remained in his lodgings, he would break
his heart about being a burden (as he would say) to his friends; and he
would fret after work so as to give himself no chance of such recovery
as might be hoped for: whereas, if he could once cheerfully agree to
enter a hospital, he would have every chance of rallying, and all the
sooner for being free from any painful sense of obligation. If the
treatment should succeed, this passage in his life would be something to
smile at hereafter, or to look back upon with sound satisfaction; and if
not, he would have friends about him, just as he would in a lodging.

The effect was what I wished. My letter gave no offence, and did him no
harm. He only begged for a few days more, before deciding that he might
satisfy himself whether he was getting well or not: if not, he would
cheerfully go wherever his friends advised, and believe that the plan
was the best for him.

In those few days arrangements were made for his being received at
the Sanatorium,--an institution in which sick persons who had either
previously subscribed, or who were the nominees of subscribers, were
received, and well tended for a guinea a week, under the comfortable
circumstances of a private house. Each patient had a separate chamber;
and the medical attendance, diet, and arrangements were of a far higher
order than poor Patrick could have commanded in lodgings. Above all, the
resident surgeon--now a distinguished physician, superintendent of a
lunatic asylum--was a man to make a friend of,--a man of cultivated
mind, tender heart, and cheerful and gentle manners. Patrick won his
heart at once; and every note of Patrick's glowed with affection for
Doctor H--. After a few weeks of alternating hope and fear, after a
natural series of fluctuations of spirits, Patrick wrote me a remarkably
quiet letter. He told me that both his doctors had given him a plain
answer to his question whether he could recover. They had told him
that it was impossible; but he could not learn from them how long they
thought he would live. He saw now, however, that he must give up his
efforts to work. He believed he could have worked a little: but perhaps
he was no judge; and if he really was dying, he could not be wrong in
obeying the directions of those who had the care of him. Once afterwards
he told me that his physicians did not, he saw, expect him to live many
months,--perhaps not even many weeks.

It was now clear to my mind what would please him best. I told him,
that, if he liked to furnish me with the address of that house in Dublin
in which his thoughts chiefly lived, I would take care that the young
lady there should know that he died in honor, having fairly entered upon
the literary career which had always been his aspiration, and surrounded
by friends whose friendship was a distinction. His words in reply were
few, calm, and fervent, intimating that he now had not a care left in
the world: and Doctor H--wondered what had happened to make him so gay
from the hour he received my letter.

His decline was a rapid one; and I soon learned, by very short notes,
that he hardly left his bed. When it was supposed that he would never
leave his room again, he surprised the whole household by a great feat.
I should have related before what a favorite he was with all the other
patients. He was the sunshine of the house while able to get to the
drawing-room, and the pet of each invalid by the chamber-fire. On
Christmas morning, he slipped out of bed, and managed to get his clothes
on, while alone, and was met outside his own door, bent on giving a
Christmas greeting to everybody in the house. He was indulged in this;
for it was of little consequence now what he did. He appeared at each
bedside, and at every sofa,--and not with any moving sentiment, but with
genuine gayety. It was full in his thoughts that he had not many days to
live, but he hoped the others had; and he entered into their prospect
of renewed health and activity. At night they said that Patrick had
brightened their Christmas Day.

He died very soon after,--sinking at last with perfect
consciousness,--writing messages to me on his slate while his fingers
would hold the pencil,--calm and cheerful without intermission. After
his death, when the last offices were to be begun, my letters were taken
warm from his breast. Every line that I had ever written to him was
there; and the packet was sent to me by Doctor H--bound round with the
green ribbon which he had himself tied before he quite lost the power.
The kind friends who had watched over him during the months of his
London life wrote to me not to trouble myself about his funeral. They
buried him honorably, and two of his distinguished friends followed him
to the grave.

Of course, I immediately performed my promise. I had always intended
that not only the young lady, but her father, should know what we
thought of Patrick, and what he might have been, if he had lived. I
wrote to that potential personage, telling him of all the facts of the
case, except the poverty, which might be omitted as essentially a slight
and temporary circumstance. I reported of his life of industry and
simple self-denial,--of his prospects, his friendships, his sweet and
gay decline and departure, and his honorable funeral. No answer was
needed; and I had supposed there would hardly be one. If there should
be one, it was not likely to be very congenial to the mood of Patrick's
friends: but I could hardly have conceived of anything so bad as it was.
The man wrote that it was not wonderful that any young man should get on
under the advantage of my patronage; and that it was to be hoped that
this young man would have turned out more worthy of such patronage than
he was when he ungratefully returned his obligations to his employer by
engaging the affections of his daughter. The young man had caused great
trouble and anxiety to one who, now he was dead, was willing to forgive
him; but no circumstance could ever change the aspect of his conduct,
in regard to his treacherous behavior to his benefactor; and so forth.
There was no sign of any consciousness of imprudence on the father's
own part; but strong indications of vindictive hatred, softened in
the expression by being mixed up with odious flatteries to Patrick's
literary friends. The only compensation for the disgust of this letter
was the confirmation it afforded of Patrick's narrative, in which, it
was clear, he had done no injustice to his oppressor.

I have not bestowed so much thought as this on the man and his letter,
from the day I received it, till now; but it was necessary to speak of
it at the close of the story. I lose sight of the painful incidents in
thinking of Patrick himself. I only wish I had once seen his face, that
I might know how near the truth is the image that I have formed of him.

There may have been, there no doubt have been, other such young
Irishmen, whose lives have been misdirected for want of the knowledge
which Patrick gained in good time by the accident of his coming to
England. I fear that many such have lived a life of turbulence,
or impotent discontent, under the delusion that their country was
politically oppressed. The mistake may now be considered at an end.
It is sufficiently understood in Ireland that her woes have been from
social and not political causes, from the day of Catholic emancipation.
But it is a painful thought what Patrick's short life might have been,
if he had remained under the O'Connell influence; and what the lives of
hundreds more have been,--rendered wild by delusion, and wretched by
strife and lawlessness, for want of a gleam of that clear daylight which
made a sound citizen of a passionate Young Repealer.


This is the new version of the _Panem et Circenses_ of the Roman
populace. It is our _ultimatum_, as that was theirs. They must have
something to eat, and the circus-shows to look at. We must have
something to eat, and the papers to read.

Everything else we can give up. If we are rich, we can lay down our
carriages, stay away from Newport or Saratoga, and adjourn the trip to
Europe _sine die_. If we live in a small way, there are at least new
dresses and bonnets and every-day luxuries which we can dispense with.
If the young Zouave of the family looks smart in his new uniform,
its respectable head is content, though he himself grow seedy as a
caraway-umbel late in the season. He will cheerfully calm the perturbed
nap of his old beaver by patient brushing in place of buying a new one,
if only the Lieutenant's jaunty cap is what it should be. We all take a
pride in sharing the epidemic economy of the time. Only _bread and the
newspaper_ we must have, whatever else we do without.

How this war is simplifying our mode of being! We live on our emotions,
as the sick man is said in the common speech to be nourished by his
fever. Our common mental food has become distasteful, and what would
have been intellectual luxuries at other times are now absolutely

All this change in our manner of existence implies that we have
experienced some very profound impression, which will sooner or later
betray itself in permanent effects on the minds and bodies of many among
us. We cannot forget Corvisart's observation of the frequency with which
diseases of the heart were noticed as the consequence of the terrible
emotions produced by the scenes of the great French Revolution. Laennec
tells the story of a convent, of which he was the medical director,
where all the nuns were subjected to the severest penances and schooled
in the most painful doctrines. They all became consumptive soon after
their entrance, so that, in the course of his ten years' attendance, all
the inmates died out two or three times, and were replaced by new ones.
He does not hesitate to attribute the disease from which they suffered
to those depressing moral influences to which they were subjected.

So far we have noticed little more than disturbances of the nervous
system as a consequence of the war excitement in non-combatants. Take
the first trifling example which comes to our recollection. A sad
disaster to the Federal army was told the other day in the presence of
two gentlemen and a lady. Both the gentlemen complained of a sudden
feeling at the _epigastrium_, or, less learnedly, the pit of the
stomach, changed color, and confessed to a slight tremor about the
knees. The lady had a _"grande revolution_," as French patients
say,--went home, and kept her bed for the rest of the day. Perhaps the
reader may smile at the mention of such trivial indispositions, but in
more sensitive natures death itself follows in some cases from no more
serious cause. An old gentleman fell senseless in fatal apoplexy, on
hearing of Napoleon's return from Elba. One of our early friends, who
recently died of the same complaint, was thought to have had his attack
mainly in consequence of the excitements of the time.

We all know what the _war fever_ is in our young men,--what a devouring
passion it becomes in those whom it assails. Patriotism is the fire
of it, no doubt, but this is fed with fuel of all sorts. The love of
adventure, the contagion of example, the fear of losing the chance of
participating in the great events of the time, the desire of personal
distinction, all help to produce those singular transformations which
we often witness, turning the most peaceful of our youth into the most
ardent of our soldiers. But something of the same fever in a different
form reaches a good many non-combatants, who have no thought of losing a
drop of precious blood belonging to themselves or their families. Some
of the symptoms we shall mention are almost universal; they are as plain
in the people we meet everywhere as the marks of an influenza, when that
is prevailing.

The first is a nervous restlessness of a very peculiar character. Men
cannot think, or write, or attend to their ordinary business. They
stroll up and down the streets, they saunter out upon the public places.
We confessed to an illustrious author that we laid down the volume
of his work which we were reading when the war broke out. It was as
interesting as a romance, but the romance of the past grew pale before
the red light of the terrible present. Meeting the same author not long
afterwards, he confessed that he had laid down his pen at the same time
that we had closed his book. He could not write about the sixteenth
century any more than we could read about it, while the nineteenth was
in the very agony and bloody sweat of its great sacrifice.

Another most eminent scholar told us in all simplicity that he had
fallen into such a state that he would read the same telegraphic
despatches over and over again in different papers, as if they were
new, until he felt as if he were an idiot. Who did not do just the same
thing, and does not often do it still, now that the first flush of the
fever is over? Another person always goes through the side streets on
his way for the noon _extra_,--he is so afraid somebody will meet him
and _tell_ the news he wishes to _read_, first on the bulletin-board,
and then in the great capitals and leaded type of the newspaper.

When any startling piece of war-news comes, it keeps repeating itself
in our minds in spite of all we can do. The same trains of thought go
tramping round in circle through the brain like the supernumeraries that
make up the grand army of a stage-show. Now, if a thought goes round
through the brain a thousand times in a day, it will have worn as
deep a track as one which has passed through it once a week for
twenty years. This accounts for the ages we seem to have lived
since the twelfth of April last, and, to state it more generally, for
that _ex post facto_ operation of a great calamity, or any very powerful
impression, which we once illustrated by the image of a stain spreading
backwards from the leaf of life open before us through all those which
we have already turned.

Blessed are those who can sleep quietly in times like these! Yet, not
wholly blessed, either; for what is more painful than the awaking from
peaceful unconsciousness to a sense that there is something wrong, we
cannot at first think what,--and then groping our way about through the
twilight of our thoughts until we come full upon the misery, which, like
some evil bird, seemed to have flown away, but which sits waiting for us
on its perch by our pillow in the gray of the morning?

The converse of this is perhaps still more painful. Many have the
feeling in their waking hours that the trouble they are aching with is,
after all, only a dream,--if they will rub their eyes briskly enough and
shake themselves, they will awake out of it, and find all their supposed
grief is unreal. This attempt to cajole ourselves out of an ugly fact
always reminds us of those unhappy flies who have been indulging in the
dangerous sweets of the paper prepared for their especial use.

Watch one of them. He does not feel quite well,--at least, he suspects
himself of indisposition. Nothing serious,--let us just rub our
fore-feet together, as the enormous creature who provides for us rubs
his hands, and all will be right. He rubs them with that peculiar
twisting movement of his, and pauses for the effect. No! all is not
quite right yet.--Ah! it is our head that is not set on just as it ought
to be. Let us settle _that_ where it should be, and _then_ we shall
certainly be in good trim again. So he pulls his head about as an old
lady adjusts her cap, and passes his fore-paw over it like a kitten
washing herself.--Poor fellow! It is not a fancy, but a fact, that he
has to deal with. If he could read the letters at the head of the sheet,
he would see they were _Fly-Paper_.--So with us, when, in our waking
misery, we try to think we dream! Perhaps very young persons may not
understand this; as we grow older, our waking and dreaming life run more
and more into each other.

Another symptom of our excited condition is seen in the breaking up of
old habits. The newspaper is as imperious as a Russian Ukase; it will be
had, and it will be read. To this all else must give place. If we must
go out at unusual hours to get it, we shall go, in spite of after-dinner
nap or evening somnolence. If it finds us in company, it will not stand
on ceremony, but cuts short the compliment and the story by the divine
right of its telegraphic despatches.

War is a very old story, but it is a new one to this generation of
Americans. Our own nearest relation in the ascending line remembers the
Revolution well. How should she forget it? Did she not lose her doll,
which was left behind, when she was carried out of Boston, then growing
uncomfortable by reason of cannon-balls dropping in from the neighboring
heights at all hours,--in token of which see the tower of Brattle-Street
Church at this very day? War in her memory means '76. As for the brush
of 1812, "we did not think much about that"; and everybody knows that
the Mexican business did not concern us much, except in its political
relations. No! War is a new thing to all of us who are not in the last
quarter of their century. We are learning many strange matters from our
fresh experience. And besides, there are new conditions of existence
which make war as it is with us very different from war as it has been.

The first and obvious difference consists in the fact that the whole
nation is now penetrated by the ramifications of a network of iron
nerves which flash sensation and volition backward and forward to and
from towns and provinces as if they were organs and limbs of a single
living body. The second is the vast system of iron muscles which, as it
were, move the limbs of the mighty organism one upon another. What was
the railroad-force which put the Sixth Regiment in Baltimore on the 19th
of April but a contraction and extension of the arm of Massachusetts
with a clenched fist full of bayonets at the end of it?

This perpetual intercommunication, joined to the power of instantaneous
action, keeps us always alive with excitement. It is not a breathless
courier who comes back with the report from an army we have lost sight
of for a month, nor a single bulletin which tells us all we are to know
for a week of some great engagement, but almost hourly paragraphs, laden
with truth or falsehood as the case may be, making us restless always
for the last fact or rumor they are telling. And so of the movements of
our armies. To-night the stout lumbermen of Maine are encamped under
their own fragrant pines. In a score or two of hours they are among the
tobacco-fields and the slave-pens of Virginia. The war passion burned
like scattered coals of fire in the households of Revolutionary times;
now it rushes all through the land like a flame over the prairie. And
this instant diffusion of every fact and feeling produces another
singular effect in the equalizing and steadying of public opinion. We
may not be able to see a month ahead of us; but as to what has passed,
a week afterwards it is as thoroughly talked out and judged as it would
have been in a whole season before our national nervous system was

"As the wild tempest wakes the slumbering sea,
Thou only teachest all that man can be!"

We indulged in the above apostrophe to War in a Phi Beta Kappa poem of
long ago, which we liked better before we read Mr. Cutler's beautiful
prolonged lyric delivered at the recent anniversary of that Society.

Oftentimes, in paroxysms of peace and good-will towards all mankind, we
have felt twinges of conscience about the passage,--especially when one
of our orators showed us that a ship of war costs as much to build and
keep as a college, and that every port-hole we could stop would give us
a new professor. Now we begin to think that there was some meaning in
our poor couplet. War _has_ taught us, as nothing else could, what we
can be and are. It has exalted our manhood and our womanhood, and driven
us all back upon our substantial human qualities, for a long time more
or less kept out of sight by the spirit of commerce, the love of art,
science, or literature, or other qualities not belonging to all of us as
men and women.

It is at this very moment doing more to melt away the petty social
distinctions which keep generous souls apart from each other, than the
preaching of the Beloved Disciple himself would do. We are finding out
that not only "patriotism is eloquence," but that heroism is gentility.
All ranks are wonderfully equalized under the fire of a masked battery.
The plain artisan or the rough fireman, who faces the lead and iron like
a man, is the truest representative we can show of the heroes of
Crecy and Agincourt. And if one of our fine gentlemen puts off his
straw-colored kids and stands by the other, shoulder to shoulder, or
leads him on to the attack, he is as honorable in our eyes and in theirs
as if he were ill-dressed and his hands were soiled with labor.

Even our poor "Brahmins,"--whom a critic in ground-glass spectacles (the
same who grasps his statistics by the blade and strikes at his
supposed antagonist with the handle) oddly confounds with the "bloated
aristocracy," whereas they are very commonly pallid, undervitalized,
shy, sensitive creatures, whose only birthright is an aptitude for
learning,--even these poor New England Brahmins of ours, _subvirates_
of an organizable base as they often are, count as full men, if their
courage is big enough for the uniform which hangs so loosely about their
slender figures.

A young man was drowned not very long ago in the river running under our
windows. A few days afterwards a field-piece was dragged to the water's
edge and fired many times over the river. We asked a bystander, who
looked like a fisherman, what that was for. It was to "break the gall,"
he said, and so bring the drowned person to the surface. A strange
physiological fancy and a very odd _non sequitur_; but that is not our
present point. A good many extraordinary objects do really come to the
surface when the great guns of war shake the waters, as when they roared
over Charleston harbor.

Treason came up, hideous, fit only to be huddled into its dishonorable
grave. But the wrecks of precious virtues, which had been covered with
the waves of prosperity, came up also. And all sorts of unexpected and
unheard-of things, which had lain unseen during our national life of
fourscore years, came up and are coming up daily, shaken from their bed
by the concussions of the artillery bellowing around us.

It is a shame to own it, but there were persons otherwise respectable
not unwilling to say that they believed the old valor of Revolutionary
times had died out from among us. They talked about our own Northern
people as the English in the last centuries used to talk about the
French,--Goldsmith's old soldier, it may be remembered, called one
Englishman good for five of them. As Napoleon spoke of the English,
again, as a nation of shopkeepers, so these persons affected to consider
the multitude of their countrymen as unwarlike artisans,--forgetting
that Paul Revere taught himself the value of liberty in working upon
gold, and Nathaniel Greene fitted himself to shape armies in the labor
of forging iron.

These persons have learned better now. The bravery of our free
working-people was overlaid, but not smothered, sunken, but not drowned.
The hands which had been busy conquering the elements had only to change
their weapons and their adversaries, and they were as ready to conquer
the masses of living force opposed to them as they had been to build
towns, to dam rivers, to hunt whales, to harvest ice, to hammer brute
matter into every shape civilization can ask for.

Another great fact came to the surface, and is coming up every day in
new shapes,--that we are one people. It is easy to say that a man is a
man in Maine or Minnesota, but not so easy to feel it, all through our
bones and marrow. The camp is deprovincializing us very fast. Poor
Winthrop, marching with the city _elegants_, seems almost to have been
astonished to find how wonderfully human were the hard-handed men of the
Eighth Massachusetts. It takes all the nonsense out of everybody, or
ought to do it, to see how fairly the real manhood of a country is
distributed over its surface. And then, just as we are beginning to
think our own soil has a monopoly of heroes as well as of cotton, up
turns a regiment of gallant Irishmen, like the Sixty-Ninth, to show us
that continental provincialism is as bad as that of Coos County, New
Hampshire, or of Broadway, New York.

Here, too, side by side in the same great camp, are half a dozen
chaplains, representing half a dozen modes of religious belief. When the
masked battery opens, does the "Baptist" Lieutenant believe in his
heart that God takes better care of him than of his "Congregationalist"
Colonel? Does any man really suppose, that, of a score of noble young
fellows who have just laid down their lives for their country,
the _Homoousians_ are received to the mansions of bliss, and the
_Homoiousians_ translated from the battle-field to the abodes of
everlasting woe? War not only teaches what man can be, but it teaches
also what he must not be. He must not be a bigot and a fool in the
presence of that day of judgment proclaimed by the trumpet which calls
to battle, and where a man should have but two thoughts: to do his duty,
and trust his Maker. Let our brave dead come back from the fields where
they have fallen for law and liberty, and if you will follow them to
their graves, you will find out what the Broad Church means; the narrow
church is sparing of its exclusive formulae over the coffins wrapped in
the flag which the fallen heroes had defended! Very little comparatively
do we hear at such times of the dogmas on which men differ; very much of
the faith and trust in which all sincere Christians can agree. It is a
noble lesson, and nothing less noisy than the voice of cannon can teach
it so that it shall be heard over all the angry voices of theological

Now, too, we have a chance to test the sagacity of our friends, and to
get at their principles of judgment. Perhaps most of us will agree that
our faith in domestic prophets has been diminished by the experience of
the last six months. We had the notable predictions attributed to the
Secretary of State, which so unpleasantly refused to fulfil themselves.
We were infested at one time with a set of ominous-looking seers, who
shook their heads and muttered obscurely about some mighty preparations
that were making to substitute the rule of the minority for that of the
majority. Organizations were darkly hinted at; some thought our armories
would be seized; and there are not wanting ancient women in the
neighboring University town who consider that the country was saved by
the intrepid band of students who stood guard, night after night, over
the G.R. cannon and the pile of balls in the Cambridge Arsenal.

As a general rule, it is safe to say that the best prophecies are those
which the sages _remember_ after the event prophesied of has come to
pass, and remind us that they have made long ago. Those who are rash
enough to predict publicly beforehand commonly give us what they hope,
or what they fear, or some conclusion from an abstraction of their own,
or some guess founded on private information not half so good as what
everybody gets who reads the papers,--_never_ by any possibility a word
that we can depend on, simply because there are cob-webs of contingency
between every to-day and to-morrow that no field-glass can penetrate
when fifty of them lie woven one over another. Prophesy as much as you
like, but always _hedge_. Say that you think the rebels are weaker than
is commonly supposed, but, on the other hand, that they may prove to be
even stronger than is anticipated. Say what you like,--only don't be too
peremptory and dogmatic; we _know_ that wiser men than you have been
notoriously deceived in their predictions in this very matter.

_Ibis et redibis nunquam in bello peribis._

Let that be your model; and remember, on peril of your reputation as a
prophet, not to put a stop before or after the _nunquam_.

There are two or three facts connected with _time_, besides that already
referred to, which strike us very forcibly in their relation to the
great events passing around us. We spoke of the long period seeming to
have elapsed since this war began. The buds were then swelling which
held the leaves that are still green. It seems as old as Time himself.
We cannot fail to observe how the mind brings together the scenes of
to-day and those of the old Revolution. We shut up eighty years into
each other like the joints of a pocket-telescope. When the young men
from Middlesex dropped in Baltimore the other day, it seemed to bring
Lexington and the other Nineteenth of April close to us. War has always
been the mint in which the world's history has been coined, and now
every day or week or month has a new medal for us. It was Warren that
the first impression bore in the last great coinage; if it is Ellsworth
now, the new face hardly seems fresher than the old. All battle-fields
are alike in their main features. The young fellows who fell in our
earlier struggle seemed like old men to us until within these few
months; now we remember they were like these fiery youth we are cheering
as they go to the fight; it seems as if the grass of our bloody
hill-side was crimsoned but yesterday, and the cannon-ball imbedded in
the church-tower would feel warm, if we laid our hand upon it.

Nay, in this our quickened life we feel that all the battles from
earliest time to our own day, where Right and Wrong have grappled, are
but one great battle, varied with brief pauses or hasty bivouacs upon
the field of conflict. The issues seem to vary, but it is always a
right against a claim, and, however the struggle of the hour may go, a
movement onward of the campaign, which uses defeat as well as victory to
serve its mighty ends. The very weapons of our warfare change less than
we think. Our bullets and cannon-balls have lengthened into bolts like
those which whistled out of old arbalests. Our soldiers fight with
Bowie-knives, such as are pictured on the walls of Theban tombs, wearing
a newly-invented head-gear as old as the days of the Pyramids.

Whatever miseries this war brings upon us, it is making us wiser,
and, we trust, better. Wiser, for we are learning our weakness, our
narrowness, our selfishness, our ignorance, in lessons of sorrow and
shame. Better, because all that is noble in men and women is demanded by
the time, and our people are rising to the standard the time calls for.
For this is the question the hour is putting to each of us: Are you
ready, if need be, to sacrifice all that you have and hope for in this
world, that the generations to follow you may inherit a whole country
whose natural condition shall be peace, and not a broken province which
must live under the perpetual threat, if not in the constant presence,
of war and all that war brings with it? If we are all ready for this
sacrifice, battles may be lost, but the campaign and its grand object
must be won.

Heaven is very kind in its way of putting questions to mortals. We are
not abruptly asked to give up all that we most care for, in view of the
momentous issues before us. Perhaps we shall never be asked to give up
all, but we have already been called upon to part with much that is dear
to us, and should be ready to yield the rest as it is called for. The
time may come when even the cheap public print shall be a burden our
means cannot support, and we can only listen in the square that was once
the market-place to the voices of those who proclaim defeat or victory.
Then there will be only our daily food left. When we have nothing to
read and nothing to eat, it will be a favorable moment to offer a
compromise. At present we have all that Nature absolutely demands,--we
can live on bread and the newspaper.

* * * * *


So moved they, when false Pharaoh's legion pressed,
Chariots and horsemen following furiously,--
Sons of old Israel, at their God's behest,
Under the cloud and through the swelling sea.

So passed they, fearless, where the parted wave,
With cloven crest uprearing from the sand,--
A solemn aisle before,--behind, a grave,--
Rolled to the beckoning of Jehovah's hand.

So led He them, in desert marches grand,
By toils sublime, with test of long delay,
On, to the borders of that Promised Land
Wherein their heritage of glory lay.

And Jordan raged along his rocky bed,
And Amorite spears flashed keen and fearfully:
Still the same pathway must their footsteps tread,--
Under the cloud and through the threatening sea.

God works no otherwise. No mighty birth
But comes by throes of mortal agony;
No man-child among nations of the earth
But findeth baptism in a stormy sea.

Sons of the Saints who faced their Jordan-flood
In fierce Atlantic's unretreating wave,--
Who by the Red Sea of their glorious blood
Reached to the Freedom that your blood shall save!

O Countrymen! God's day is not yet done!
He leaveth not His people utterly!
Count it a covenant, that He leads us on
Beneath the Cloud and through the crimson Sea!


The following journal was written by the Captain's Quartermaster on
board the Sloop Revenge, of Newport, Rhode Island, on a cruise against
the Spaniards in the year 1741. Rhode Island was famous at that time
for the number and the success of her privateers. There was but little
objection felt to the profession of privateering. Franklin had not yet
roused by his effective protest the moral sentiment of the civilized
world against it. The privateers that were fitted out in those days were
intended for service against foreign enemies; they were not manned by
rebels, with design to ruin their loyal fellow-citizens. England and
Spain were at war, and the West Indian seas were white with the sails of
national fleets and private armed vessels. Privateering afforded a vent
for the active and restless spirits of the colonies; it was not without
some creditable associations; and the life of a privateersman was full
of the charms of novelty, adventure, and risk. This journal shows
something of its character.

A journal _of all the transactions on board the sloop_ REVENGE, _Benj'n
Norton Com'r by God's grace and under his protection, bound on a
cruising voyage against the Spaniards. Begun June the 5th, 1741_.

_Friday, 5th._ This day, at 4 A.M., the Cap't went from Taylor's wharf
on board his sloop, which lay off of Connanicut, & at 6 o'clock Cap't
John Freebody [the chief owner] came off in the pinnace with several
hands. We directly weighed anchor with 40 hands, officers included,
bound to New York to get more hands, a Doctor, and some more provisions
and other stores we stood in need of. The wind coming contrary, was
obliged to put back. Came to an anchor again under Connanicut at 8 P.M.

_Saturday, 6th._ Weighed from under Connanicut at 4 A.M. with a small
breeze of wind. Met several vessells bound to Newport and Boston. At 7
P.M. anchored under Block Island, over against the L10,000 Pear [pier?].
Bought 10s. worth of Codfish for the people.

_Sunday, 7th._ About 4 A.M. weighed from Block Island, and Monday, the
8th instant, at 9 A.M., anchored in Huntington Bay.

_Tuesday, 9th._ Weighed from Huntington Bay at 3 P.M. At 11 came to the
white stone. Fired a gun & beat the drum to let them know what we were.
The Ferryboat came off & told us we could not get hands at York, for the
sloops fitted by the country had got them all. At 12 came to anchor at
the 2 Brothers. At 4 took an acc't of all the provisions on board, with
the cost; together with a list of all the people on board. Price, a hand
that came with us from Rhode Island, askt leave to go to York to see
his wife. Set a shilling crazy fellow ashore, not thinking him fit to
proceed the Voyage, his name unknown to me.

_Wednesday, 10th._ This morning, about 5 A.M., Cap't Freebody went up to
York in the pinnace to get provisions and leave to beat about for more
hands. At 1 P.M. the Pinnace returned and brought word to Cap't Norton
from Mr. Freebody that he had waited on his Honour the Gov'r, and that
he would not give him leave to beat up for Volunteers. The chief reason
he gave was that the City was thinned of hands by the 2 country sloops
that were fitted out by the Council to cruise after the Spanish
privateers on the coast, and that his Grace the Duke of Newcastle had
wrote him word, that, if Admiral Vernon or Gen. Wentworth[A] should
write for more recruits, to use his endeavors to get them, so that he
could not give encouragement to any privateers to take their men away.
Three of the hands that went up to York left us. At 4 P.M. Edward
Sampford, our pilot, went ashore in a canoe with four more hands,
without leave from the Cap'n. When he came on board again the Cap'n
talked to him, & found that he was a mutinous, quarrelsome fellow, and
so ordered him to bundle up his clothes & go ashore for good. He carried
with him 5 more hands. After they were gone, I read the articles to
those on board, who readily signed; so hope we shall lead a peaceable
life. Remain, out of the 41 hands that came with us from Rhode Island,
29 hands.

[Footnote A: Admiral Vernon (whose name is familiar to every
American,--Mount Vernon was named in his honor) was in command of
the British fleet in the Spanish Main. General Wentworth, an officer
"without experience, authority, or resolution," had command of the land
forces in the West Indies. All the North American, colonies, except
Georgia, which was too recently settled, and whose own borders were too
much exposed, had been called upon to give aid to the expedition against
the Spaniards, and a regiment thirty-six hundreds strong was actually
supplied by them. The war was one in which the colonists took an active

_Friday, 12th._ Went to York with a letter from the Cap'n to Mr.
Freebody, who ordered the vessel up to York. Three of our hands left me
to see some negroes burnt,[B] took a pilot in to bring the vessel up,
and so returned on board at 3 P.M.

[Footnote B: This little, indifferent phrase refers to one of the most
shocking and cruel incidents of the colonial history of New York, the
result of a delusion "less notorious," says Mr. Hildreth, (_Hist, of
the United States, ii. 391_,) "but not less lamentable, than the Salem
witchcraft. The city of New York now contained some seven or eight
thousand inhabitants, of whom twelve or fifteen hundred were slaves.
Nine fires in rapid succession, most of them, however, merely the
burning of chimneys, produced a perfect insanity of terror. An indented
servant-woman purchased her liberty and secured a reward of one hundred
pounds by pretending to give information of a plot formed by a low
tavern-keeper, her master, and three negroes, to burn the city and
murder the whites. This story was confirmed and amplified by an Irish
prostitute convicted of a robbery, who, to recommend herself to mercy,
reluctantly turned informer. Numerous arrests had been already made
among the slaves and free blacks. Many others followed. The eight
lawyers who then composed the bar of New York all assisted by turns in
behalf of the prosecution. The prisoners, who had no counsel, were tried
and convicted upon most insufficient evidence. Many confessed to save
their lives, and then accused others. Thirteen unhappy convicts were
burned at the stake, eighteen were hanged, and seventy-one transported."
Such are the panics of a slaveholding community!]

_Saturday, 13th._ At 5 A.M. weighed from the 2 Brothers and went to
York. At 7 anchored off the town. Saluted it with 7 guns. Ship't 7 hands
to proceed the voyage.

_Sunday, 14th._ Between 6 & 7 A.M. came in a brig from Aberdeen with 40
servants,[C] but brings no news.

[Footnote C: At this time much of the agricultural and domestic labor in
the colonies, especially south of New England, was performed by indented
servants brought from Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany. They were
generally an ill-used class. Their services were purchased of the
captains who brought them over; the purchaser had a legal property in
them during the time they were bound for, could sell or bequeath them,
and, like other chattels, they were liable to be seized for debts.]

_Thursday, 18th._ At 11 A.M. our pilot came on board with 4 of our men
that had left us when the Cap'n turned Edward Sampford ashore. At 2 P.M.
the Cap'n ordered our gunner to deliver arms to them that had none.
25 hands fitted themselves. Great firing at our buoy, supposing him a
Spaniard. I hope to God their courage may be as good, if ever they meet
with any.

_Saturday, 20th._ At 10 A.M. there came in the Squirrel man of war,
Cap'n Warren[D] Com'r, from Jamaica, who informed us that Admiral Vernon
had taken all the forts at Carthagena except one, and the town.[E] We
saluted him with 3 guns, having no more loaded. He returned us one, and
we gave three cheers, which were returned by the ship. He further told
the Captain, that, if he would come up to York, he would put him on a
route which would be of service to his voyage.

[Footnote D: Captain, afterward Sir Peter Warren, was a distinguished
naval officer in his day. In 1745 he was made Rear-Admiral for his
services at the siege of Louisbourg. He married in New York.]

[Footnote E: The report of the taking of Cartagena was false, and the
colonists were greatly disappointed at the failure of Vernon's great

_Tuesday, 23d._ Wrote a letter, by the Captain's order, to get Davison
to go as mate with us. Our Captain went to York to carry it to Capt.
Potter. At 3 P.M. came in a sloop from Jamaica, in a 20 days passage,
from which we learn that Admiral Vernon's fleet was fitting out for
Cuba.[F] I wish them more success than what they got against Carthagena;
for by all report they got more blows than honour. At 4 P.M. the Captain
returned and brought a hand with him, John Watson, Clerk of a Dutch

[Footnote F: Five hundred additional men were sent from Massachusetts
to take part in this new expedition. It was a total failure, like the
preceding one, and Few of the colonial troops lived to return home.]

_Wednesday, 24th._ About 10 A.M. the pilot came on board with a message
from Capt Freebody, who was returned from Long Island, to agree with a
Doctor who had offered to go with us. At 1 P.M. came in a sloop from
Jamaica, a prize of Capt Warren, which had formerly been taken by the
Spaniards. She belonged to Providence, and had been retaken by the
Squirrel. At 6 P.M. Mr. Stone & the Doctor came on board to see the
Captain, but, he being at York, they went there to see him.

_Thursday, 25th._ Nothing remarkable the fore part of the day, but
quarreling not worth mentioning. At 1 P.M. a sloop came in from Jamaica,
and brought for news that they had spoken an English man of war at Port
Marant, by which they had been informed that a fresh war was daily
expected; also that the Bay was entirely cut off by the Spaniards. No
Doctor as yet, for he that the Captain went to agree with was a drunkard
and an extortioner, so we are better without him than with him.

_Friday, 26th._ The most remarkablest day this great while. All has
been peace & quietness. Three ships came down the Narrows, one bound to
London, another bound to Newfoundland, & the third to Ireland.

_Saturday, 27th._ This morning, about 10, the Cap't went to York to take
his leave of Cap't Freebody, who was going to Rhode Island. At 2 P.M.
he came on board & brought with him 2 bb's of pork. At 3 came in a
privateer from Bermudas, Capt Love Com'r, who came here for provisions
for himself & his consort, who waited for him there. This day we heard
that the two country sloops were expected in by Wednesday next. Lord
send it, for we only wait for them in hopes of getting a Doctor & some
more hands to make up our complement.

_Friday, July 3d._ At 5 A.M. we saw three hands who had left us the day
before on board the Humming Bird privateer, who had been enticed by some
of the owners to leave us by making of them drunk. About 10 we saw their
canoe going ashore with our hands in her, also Joseph Ferrow, whom we
had brought from Rhode Island, and since given him clothes, but who
had entered on board that sloop as boatswain. As soon as they had done
watering, and were returning to the ship, we manned our pinnace, and,
having boarded their canoe, took our three hands out of her, and brought
them and Joseph Ferrow aboard. Some time after, the Humming Bird's canoe
coming alongside, Ferrow jumpt into it, and they put off. Our pinnace
being hauled up in the tackles, we immediately let her down, but
unfortunately the plug was out, and the hands which had jumped into her
being raw, she almost filled with water, which caused such confusion
that the canoe got on board before we got off. Our hands then went to
demand Ferrow, but the privateersmen got out their arms and would not
suffer us to board them. At 4 P.M. the Cap' of the little Privateer came
on board of us to know the reason of the disturbance between his people
and ours. Our Captain told him the reason, and forbid him to carry that
fellow away, for, if he did, he might chance to hear of him in the West
Indies, &, if he did, he would go 100 leagues to meet him, and take ten
for one, and break up his voyage, & send him home to his owners, and
give his people a good dressing. (I don't doubt but he'll be as good as
his word.) Opened a bbl of bread. Thunder and lightning with a great
deal of rain.

_Saturday, 4th._ This morning, about 5 A.M., came in a ship from
Marblehead bound to S'o Carolina. She had lost her main mast, mizzen
mast, & fore topmast. In Latitude 35 she met with a hard gale of wind
which caused the disaster, and obliged her to put in to New York to
refit. About 11 o'clock the Humming Bird weighed anchor for Philadelphia
to get hands. At 4 P.M. the Lieu't and 2 sergeants belonging to Capt
Rigg's Company came on board to look for some soldiers who were supposed
to be on board the Humming Bird, which was lying off Coney Island, but,
the wind and tide proving contrary, they were obliged to return. At 6
came in a ship from Lisbon, having made the passage in 6 weeks; also a
sloop from Turks Island: both loaded with salt. The ship appearing to be
a lofty vessel, our people were panic struck with fear, taking her for a
70 gun ship, and, as we had several deserters from the men at war, they
desired the Cap't to hoist the Jack and lower our pennant as a signal
for our pinnace, which was then ashore, so that, if she proved to be a
man of war, they might get ashore, and clear of the press. But it proved
quite the contrary; for the ship & sloop's crew, taking us, by the
signal we had made for our pinnace, for a tender of a man of war, laying
there to press hands, quitted their vessels and ran ashore, as soon as
they saw our pinnace manned, and made for the bushes. At night the Cap'
gave the people a pail of punch to recover them of their fright. Thunder
& lightning all this day.

_Sunday, 5th._ At 5 A.M. shipped a hand. Our mate went ashore to get
water. About 8 he returned, and informed us that the two country sloops
lay at the Hook, and only waited for a pilot to bring them up, which
I hope will prove true. We are all tired of staying here. At 2 P.M.
weighed anchor and got nearer in shore, out of the current. Rainy,
squally, windy weather. Here lie a brig bound to Newfoundland, a ship to
Jamaica, and a sloop which at 6 P.M. weighed anchor, bound to Barbadoes,
loaded with lumber and horses. This day being a month since we left our
commission port, I have set down what quantity of provisions has been
expended, viz., 9-1/2 bb's of beef, 1 bb of pork, 14 bb of Bread.
Remaining, 49-1/2 bb's of beef, 29 bb's of pork, 40 cwt of bread.

_Monday, 6th._ About 6 A.M. came in the two Country sloops so long
waited for. They were fitted out to take a Spanish privateer that
has been cruising on the coast, and has taken several of our English
vessels. A ship from Newfoundland also came up, and also the Humming
bird privateer, which had been to meet them to get hands. Cap't Langden,
Com'r of one of the above sloops, as he came alongside, gave us three
cheers, which we returned. The Cap't went up to York to get a Doctor and
some hands. One promised to give him an answer the next day. At 10 a
hand came on board to list, but went away without signing.

_Tuesday, 6th._ This morning the Captain went up to York, and at last
agreed with a Doctor who had been in the employ of Capt Cunningham,
Com'r of one of the Privateer Sloops that came in the day before. His
name is William Blake. He is a young gentleman, and well recommended by
the Gen'l of York. At 6 P.M. the Captain returned on board, and brought
with him a chest of medicines, a Doctor's box which cost 90L York
currency; also 10 pistols and cutlasses.

_Tuesday, 14th._ Weighed about 2 P.M., from the Hook with the wind at
W.S.W, with a fresh gale, & by God's leave and under his protection,
bound on our cruise against the proud Dons, the Spaniards. The Captain
ordered the people a pail of punch to drink to a good voyage. Opened a
bb of beef & a tierce of bread. The people were put on allowance for the
time, one pound of beef per man & 7 pounds of bread, per week.

_Wednesday, 15th._ At 3 P.M. set our shrouds up. There was a great,
swelling sea. About 5 A.M. saw a sail under our bow, about a league
distant. All hands were called upon deck, and got ready to receive her,
should she prove an enemy. We fired one of our bow chasers & brought her
to, and found that she was a sloop from Nantucket, Russell Master. He
said he had met nothing since he had been out, which was 4 days. Our
people returned to their _statu quo_, being all peaceable since they
have got a Quartermaster to control them.

_Tuesday, 28th._ About 5 A.M. spied a sail under our lee bow, bore
down on her, and when in gunshot fired one of our bow chasers. She
immediately lowered all her sails, & went astern of us. We then ordered
the master to send his boat aboard, which he did, and came himself with
one hand. Upon examination, we found that she was a sloop belonging to
some of the subjects of his Brittanick majesty, & was taken by a
Spanish privateer. The sloop had been taken off of Obricock,[G] near N.
Carolina, and when taken by us was in Latitude 31 deg. 59' N., Longitude 73 deg.
6' W. The master, when he came aboard, brought three Spanish papers,
which he declared to be, the first, a copy of his commission; the
second, Instructions what signal to make when arrived at S't Augustine,
where she was to be condemned; and the third paper was to let him know
what route he was to steer. We sent our Lieu't aboard, who reported that
she was loaded with Pork, Beans, Live Hogs, &c., and a horse, & had on
board 2 Englishmen; the Master, who is a Frenchman born, but turned
Spaniard; 3 Spaniard slaves, & one negro. Upon examination, John
Evergin, one of the owners, declared that he had been taken some time in
April last by Don Pedro Estrado, Cap't of the privateer that had taken
this sloop, & that he forced him to list with them, and to pilot their
vessel on the coast of N. Carolina, and that then they took this sloop
at Obricock, on July 5'th; also 2 more sloops and a ship loaded with
lumber & bound to S'o Carolina; that the Cap't of the privateer put him
on board with the French master, and another Englishman, Saml Elderidge,
to navigate the vessel to Augustine, and that they were making the best
of their way to that place. We sent our Master on board to fetch all
the papers & bring the prisoners as above mentioned. At 11 A.M. sent
Jeremiah Harman & John Webb with four hands to take care of the prize,
the first to be master & the other mate. The Captain gave the master &
mate the following orders, viz.,--

[Footnote G: Perhaps a misspelling of Occacoke, an island on the coast
of North Carolina.]

On Board the Revenge,

_July 28th, 1741._

You, Jeremiah Harman, being appointed Master, & you, John Webb, mate, of
a sloop taken by a Spanish privateer some time ago, belonging to some of
the subjects of his Brittanick Majesty, and retaken by me by virtue of
a commission granted to me by the Hon'ble Ritchard Ward, Esq., Gov'r in
chief over Rhode Island & Providence plantations, &c., in New England,
I order, that you keep company with my sloop, the Revenge, as long as
weather will permit, & if by the Providence of God, by stormy weather,
or some unforeseen accident, we should part, I then order you to proceed
directly to the island of Providence, one of the Bahamia islands, and
there to wait my arrival, and not to embezzle, diminish, waste, sell, or
unload any part of her cargo till I am there present, under the penalty
of the articles already signed by you. Upon your arrival at Providence,
make a just report to his Hon'r the Gov'r of that place of the sloop &
cargo, & what is on board, & how we came by her. I am y'rs,

B. NORTON. To Jeremiah Harman, Mas'r & John Webb, mate.

For signal, hoist your Dutch jack at mast head; if we hoist first, you
answer us, & do not keep it up long.

_Wednesday, 29th._ About 4 P.M. saw a sloop. Gave chase, but, the
weather being calm, was forced to get out our oars. Fired our bow chase
to bring her to; but as the people were in confusion, the ship tacking
about, and the night coming on very foggy, we were unable to speak to
her. By her course she was bound to the North'd. Lost sight of our
prize. The two Englishmen, who were taken prisoners by the Spanish
privateer, signed our articles to-day.

_Saturday, Aug 1st._ The prize still alongside of us. Ordered the Master
to send us the negro prisoner, having been informed that he was Cap't of
a Comp'y of Indians, mulattoes, and negroes, that was at the retaking of
the Fort at St Augustine, which had formerly been taken while under the
command of that worthiest G--O--pe,[H] who by his treachery suffered
so many brave fellows to be mangled by those barbarians. The negro went
under the name of Signior Capitano Francisco. Sent one of the mulattoes
in his room on board the prize. Gave the people a pail of punch.

[Footnote H: General Oglethorpe, who was at this time the victim of
unfavorable reports and calumnious stories, that had been spread by
disaffected members of the infant settlements in Georgia, and by some
of the officers who had served under him in his unsuccessful attempt
to reduce the town of Saint Augustine in Florida, "The fort at Saint
Augustine," to which the writer of this Journal refers, as having been
taken while under the command of Oglethorpe, was Fort Moosa, three miles
from Saint Augustine, where a detachment of one hundred and thirty-seven
men, under Colonel Palmer of Carolina, had been attacked by a vastly
superior force of Spaniards, negroes, and Indians, and had been cut
off almost to a man. This misfortune seems to have been due to Colonel
Palmer's disregard of Oglethorpe's orders, and Oglethorpe himself was
in no way responsible for it, although the popular blame fell on his

_Sunday, 2nd._ At 1 P.M. we examined the negro, who frankly owned that
he was Cap't of a Comp'y as aforesaid, & that his commission was on
board the privateer; that he was in the privateer in hopes of getting to
the Havanah, & that there he might get a passage to Old Spain to get the
reward of his brave actions. We then askt him if it was his comp'y that
had used the English so barbarously, when taken at the fort. He denied
that it was his compy, but laid that cruel action to the Florida
Indians, and nothing more could we get out of him. We then tied him to a
gun & made the Doctor come with instruments, seemingly to treat him as
they had served the English [prisoners], thinking by that means to get
some confession out of him; but he still denied it. We then tried a
mulatto, one that was taken with him, to find out if he knew anything
about the matter. We gave him a dozen of stripes, but he declared that
he knew nothing more than that he [the negro] had been Cap't of a Comp'y
all that time. The other fellow on board the sloop, he said, knew all
about it. We sent to him, & he declared the whole truth, that it was
the Florida Indians who had committed the acts under his [the negro's]
command, but did not know if he was consenting to it. However, to make
sure, & to make him remember that he bore such a commission, we gave him
200 lashes, & having pickled him, left him to the care of the Doctor.
Opened a tierce of bread and killed the 2 hogs.

_Monday, 3d._ Small breeze of wind. About 10 saw a schooner standing to
N'ward. Gave her chase.

_Tuesday, 4th._ A fine breeze of wind. Still in chase of the schooner.
At 5 P.M. gave her a gun, in hopes to bring her to and find out what she
was; but she did not mind it, neither hoisted any colors. Then she bore
down on us, tacked and bore away. We fired 10 shot, but all did not
signify, for she hugged her wind, & it growing dark, and having a good
pair of heels, she was soon lost sight of. We imagined she was an
eastward schooner both by her build & course; but let her be what she
will, she had a brave fellow for a Comr.

_Wednesday, 5th._ Fine breeze of wind. The man at the mast head about 2
P.M. spied 5 sail of vessels steering to the westward. Gave them chase
till 1 A.M. About 2 we could see them at a great distance to leeward
of us. Lay to till 4, and then began the chase again, they having got
almost out of sight.

_Thursday, 6th._ Still in chase of the 5 vessels. Set our spritsail,
topsail & squaresail, with a fair breeze of wind. One of the ships
brought to and fired a gun to wait for a sloop that was in Comp' with
her, & to wait for us. We took in all our small sails, bore down on her,
& hoisted our pennant. When alongside of her she fired 6 shot at us, but
did us no damage. We still hedged upon her, and, having given her our
broadside, stood off. The sloop tacked immediately and bore down on us,
in hopes to get us between them to pepper us, as we supposed. At sight
of this, we gave them three cheers. Our people were all agreed to fight
them, & told the Captain, if he would venture his sloop, they would
venture their lives; but he seemed unwilling, and gave for reason, that
the prize would be of little profit, if taken, and perhaps would
not make good a limb, if it was lost. He also said we had not hands
sufficient to man them, and to bring them into Providence, & to carry
them to the N'ward would be the breaking up of the voyage without
profit. Nevertheless we let the sloop come alongside us, & received her
shot. In return we gave her a broadside & a volley of small arms with
three huzzas, and then bore down on the ship, which all this time had
been pelting us with her shot, but to no purpose. As we passed, we gave
her a broadside which did some damage, for she bore down to the sloop,
and never fired another shot, but careened her over and let some men
down the side to stop her holes, & sent some to repair the rigging and
sails, which were full of shot holes. All the damage we got was one shot
through our main-sail. The ship mounted 6 guns of a side, and the sloop
eight. She was a Spanish privateer, bound on a cruize to the N'ward, &
had taken 5 ships & the sloop which we had retaken some time before. It
grieved us to think that the fellow should go off with those prizes,
which he would not have done, had the Captain been as willing to fight
as we. This battle took place in the Latitude 29 deg. 26', Long. 74 deg. 30' W.
But no blood was shed on our side.


When the news flashed over the country, on Monday, the 22d of July, that
our army, whose advance into Virginia had been so long expected, and had
been watched with such intense interest and satisfaction,--that our army
had been defeated, and was flying back in disorder to the intrenchments
around Washington, it was but natural that the strong revulsion of
feeling and the bitter disappointment should have been accompanied by a
sense of dismay, and by alarm as to what was to follow. The panic which
had disgraced some of our troops at the close of the fight found its
parallel in the panic in our own hearts. But as the smoke of the battle
and the dust of the retreat, which overshadowed the land in a cloud of
lies and exaggerations, by degrees cleared away, men regained the even
balance of their minds, and felt a not unworthy shame at their transient

It is now plain that our defeat at Bull Run was in no true sense a
disaster; that we not only deserved it, but needed it; that its ultimate
consequences are better than those of a victory would have been. Far
from being disheartened by it, it should give us new confidence in our
cause, in our strength, in our final success. There are lessons which
every great nation must learn which are cheap at any cost, and for some
of those lessons the defeat of the 21st of July was a very small price
to pay. The essential question now is, Whether this schooling has been
sufficient and effectual, or whether we require still further hard
discipline to enforce its instructions upon us.

In this moment of pause and compelled reflection, it is for us to
examine closely the spirit and motives with which we have engaged in
war, and to determine the true end for which the war must be carried on.
It is no time for indulging in fallacies of the fancy or in feebleness
of counsel. The temper of the Northern people, since the war was forced
upon them, has been in large measure noble and magnanimous. The sudden
interruption of peace, the prospect of a decline of long continued
prosperity, were at once and manfully faced. An eager and emulous zeal
in the defence of the imperilled liberties and institutions of the
nation showed itself all over the land, and in every condition of life.
None who lived through the months of April and May can ever forget the
heroic and ideal sublimity of the time. But as the weeks went on, as
the immediate alarm that had roused the invincible might of the people
passed away, something of the spirit of over-confidence, of excited
hope, of satisfied vanity mingled with and corrupted the earlier and
purer emotion. The war was to be a short one. Our enemies would speedily
yield before the overwhelming force arrayed against them; they would run
from Northern troops; we were sure of easy victory. There was little
sober foreboding, as our army set out from Washington on its great
advance. The troops moved forward with exultation, as if going on a
holiday and festive campaign; and the nation that watched them shared
in their careless confidence, and prophesied a speedy triumph. But the
event showed how far such a spirit was from that befitting a civil
war like this. Never were men engaged in a cause which demanded more
seriousness of purpose, more modesty and humility of pretension.

The duty before us is honorable in proportion to its difficulty. God has
given us work to do not only for ourselves, but for coming generations
of men. He has imposed on us a task which, if well performed, will
require our most strenuous endeavors and our most patient and
unremitting exertions. We are fairly engaged in a war which cannot be
a short one, even though our enemies should before long lay down their
arms; for it is a war not merely to support and defend the Constitution
and to retake the property of the United States, not merely to settle
the question of the right of a majority to control an insolent and
rebellious minority in the republic, nor to establish the fact of the
national existence and historic unity of the United States; but it is
also and more essentially a war for the establishment of civilization in
that immense portion of our country in which for many years barbarism
has been gaining power. It is for the establishment of liberty and
justice, of freedom of conscience and liberty of thought, of equal law
and of personal rights, throughout the South. If these are not to be
secured without the abolition of slavery, it is a war for the abolition
of slavery. We are not making war to reestablish an old order of things,
but to set up a new one. We are not giving ourselves and our fortunes
for the purpose of fighting a few battles, and then making peace,
restoring the Southern States to their old place in the Union,--but for
the sake of destroying the root from which this war has sprung, and of
making another such war impossible. It is not worth while to do only
half or a quarter of our work. But if we do it thoroughly, as we ought,
the war must be a long one, and will require from us long sacrifices. It
is well to face up to the fact at once, that this generation is to be
compelled to frugality, and that luxurious expenses upon trifles and
superfluities must be changed for the large and liberal costliness of a
noble cause. We are not to expect or hope for a speedy return of what is
called prosperity; but we are greatly and abundantly prosperous, if we
succeed in extending and establishing the principles which alone can
give dignity and value to national or individual life, and without
which, material abundance, success in trade, and increase of wealth are
evidences rather of the decline than of the progress of a state. We, who
have so long been eager in the pursuit and accumulation of riches, are
now to show more generous energies in the free spending of our means
to gain the invaluable objects for which we have gone to war. There is
nothing disheartening in this prospect. Our people, accustomed as they
have been during late years to the most lavish use of money, and to
general extravagance in expense, have not yet lost the tradition of the
economies and thrift of earlier times, and will not find it difficult
to put them once more into practice. The burden will not fall upon any
class; and when each man, whatever be his station in life, is called
upon to lower his scale of living, no one person will find it too hard
to do what all others are doing.

But if such be the objects and the prospects of the war, it is plain
that they require more sober thought and more careful forecasting and
more thorough preparation than have thus far been given to them. If we
be the generation chosen to accomplish the work that lies ready to
our hands, if we be commissioned to so glorious and so weighty an
enterprise, there is but one spirit befitting our task. The war, if it
is to be successful, must be a religious war: not in the old sense of
that phrase, not a war of violent excitement and passionate enthusiasm,
not a war in which the crimes of cruel bigots are laid to the charge of
divine impulse, bur a war by itself, waged with dignified and solemn
strength, with clean hands and pure hearts,--a war calm and inevitable
in its processes as the judgments of God. When Cromwell's men went out
to win the victory at Winceby Fight, their watchword was "_Religion_."
Can we in our great struggle for liberty and right adopt any other
watchword than this? Do we require another defeat and more suffering to
bring us to a sense of our responsibility to God for the conduct and the
issue of this war?

It is only by taking the highest ground, by raising ourselves to the
full conception of what is involved in this contest, that we shall
secure success, and prevent ourselves from sinking to the level of those
who are fighting against us. The demoralization necessarily attendant
upon all wars is to be met and overcome only by simple and manly
religious conviction and effort. It will be one of the advantages
of defeat to have made it evident that a regiment of bullies and
prize-fighters is not the best stuff to compose an army. "Your men are
not vindictive enough," Mr. Russell is reported to have said, as he
watched the battle. It was the saying of a shrewd observer, but it
expresses only an imperfect apprehension of the truth. Vindictiveness is
not the spirit our men should have, but a resoluteness of determination,
as much more to be relied upon than a vindictive passion as it is
founded upon more stable and more enduring qualities of character.
The worst characters of our great cities may be the fit equals of
Mississippi or Arkansas ruffians, but the mass of our army is not to be
brought down to the standard of rowdies or the level of barbarians. The
men of New England and of the West do not march under banners with
the device of "Booty and Beauty," though General Beauregard has the
effrontery to declare it, and Bishop, now General, Polk the ignorance
to utter similar slanders. The atrocities committed on our wounded and
prisoners by the "chivalry" of the South may excite not only horror, but
a wild fury of revenge. But our cause should not be stained with cruelty
and crime, even in the name of vengeance. If the war is simply one in
which brute force is to prevail, if we are fighting only for lust and
pride and domination, then let us have our "Ellsworth Avengers," and
let us slay the wounded of our enemy without mercy; let us burn their
hospitals, let us justify their, as yet, false charges against us; let
us admit the truth of the words of the Bishop of Louisiana, that the
North is prosecuting this war "with circumstances of barbarity which it
was fondly believed would never more disgrace the annals of a civilized
people." But if we, if our brothers in the army, are to lose the proud
distinctions of the North, and to be brought down to the level of
the tender mercies and the humane counsels of slaveholders and
slave-drivers, there would be little use in fighting. If our
institutions at the North do not produce better, more humane, and more
courageous men than those of the South, when taken in the mass, there is
no reason for the sacrifice of blood and treasure in their support. War
must be always cruel; it is not to be waged on principles of tenderness;
but a just, a religious war can be waged only mercifully, with no
excess, with no circumstance of avoidable suffering. Our enemies are our
outward consciences, and their reproaches may warn us of our dangers.

The soldiers of the Northern army generally are men capable of
understanding the force of moral considerations. They are intelligent,
independent, vigorous,--as good material as an army ever was formed
from. A large proportion of them have gone to the war from the best
motives, and with clear appreciation of the nature and grounds of the
contest. But they require to be confirmed in their principles, and to
be strengthened against the temptations of life in the camp and in the
field, by the voice and support of the communities from which they
have come. If the country is careless or indifferent as to their moral
standard, they will inevitably become so themselves, and lose the
perception of the objects for which they are fighting, forgetting their
responsibilities, not only as soldiers, but as good men. It is one of
the advantages of defeat to force the thoughts which camp-life may have
rendered unfamiliar back into the soldier's mind. The boastfulness of
the advance is gone,--and there is chance for sober reflection.

It is especially necessary for our men, unaccustomed to the profession
of arms, and entering at once untried upon this great war, to take a
just and high view of their new calling: to look at it with the eyes,
not of mercenaries, but of men called into their country's service; to
regard it as a life which is not less, but more difficult than any other
to be discharged with honor. "Our profession," said Washington, "is the
chastest of all; even the shadow of a fault tarnishes the lustre of our
finest achievements." Our soldiers in Virginia, and in the other Slave
States, have not only their own reputation to support, but also that
of the communities from which they come. There must be a rivalry in
generous efforts among the troops of different States. Shall we not now
have our regiments which by their brave and honorable conduct shall win
appellations not less noble than that of the _Auvergne sans tache_,
"Auvergne without a stain"? If the praise that Mr. Lincoln bestowed upon
our men in his late Message to Congress be not undeserved, they are
bound to show qualities such as no other common soldiers have ever
been called to exhibit. There are among them more men of character,
intelligence, and principle than were ever seen before in the ranks.
There should be a higher tone in our service than in that of any other
people; and it would be a reproach to our institutions, if our soldiers
did not show themselves not only steady and brave in action,
undaunted in spirit, unwearied in energy, but patient of discipline,
self-controlled, and forbearing. The disgrace to our arms of the defeat
at Bull Run was not so great as that of the riotous drunkenness and
disorderly conduct of our men during the two or three days that
succeeded at Washington. If our men are to be the worthy soldiers of so
magnificent a cause as that in which they are engaged, they must raise
themselves to its height. Battles may be won by mere human machines, by
men serving for eleven dollars a month; but a victory such as we have to
gain can be won only by men who know for what and why they are
fighting, and who are conscious of the dignity given to them and the
responsibility imposed upon them by the sacredness of their cause. The
old flag, the stars and stripes, must not only be the symbol in their
eyes of past glories and of the country's honor, but its stars must
shine before them with the light of liberty, and its stripes must be the
emblem of the even and enduring lines of equal justice.

The retreat from Bull Run and the panic that accompanied it were not
due to cowardice among our men. During long hours our troops had fought
well, and showed their gallantry under the most trying circumstances.
They were not afraid to die. It was not strange that raw volunteers, as
many of them were, inefficiently supported, and poorly led, should at
length give way before superior force, and yield to the weakness induced
by exhaustion and hunger. But the lesson of defeat would be imperfectly
learned, did not the army and the nation alike gain from it a juster
sense than they before possessed of the value of individual life.
Never has life been so much prized and so precious as it has become in
America. Never before has each individual been of so much worth. It
costs more to bring up a man here, and he is worth more when brought up,
than elsewhere. The long peace and the extraordinary amount of comfort
which the nation has enjoyed have made us (speaking broadly) fond of
life and tender of it. We of the North have looked with astonishment at
the recklessness of the South concerning it. We have thought it braver
to save than to spend it; and a questionable humanity has undoubtedly
led us sometimes into feeble sentimentalities, and false estimates of
its value. We have been in danger of thinking too much of it, and of
being mean-spirited in its use. But the first sacrifice for which war
calls is life; and we must revise our estimates of its value, if we
would conduct our war to a happy end. To gain that end, no sacrifice can
be too precious or too costly. The shudder with which we heard the first
report that three thousand of our men were slain was but the sign of the
blow that our hearts received. But there must be no shrinking from the
prospect of the death of our soldiers. Better than that we should fail
that a million men should die on the battle-field. It is not often that
men can have the privilege to offer their lives for a principle; and
when the opportunity comes, it is only the coward that does not welcome
it with gladness. Life is of no value in comparison with the spiritual
principles from which it gains its worth. No matter how many lives it
costs to defend or secure truth or justice or liberty, truth and justice
and liberty must be defended and secured. Self-preservation must yield
to Truth's preservation. The little human life is for to-day,--the
principle is eternal. To die for truth, to die open-eyed and resolutely
for the "good old cause," is not only honor, but reward. "Suffering is
a gift not given to every one," said one of the Scotch martyrs in 1684,
"and I desire to bless the Lord with my whole heart and soul that He has
counted such a poor thing as I am worthy of the gift of suffering."

The little value of the individual in comparison with the principles
upon which the progress and happiness of the race depend is a lesson
enforced by the analogies of Nature, as well as by the evidence of
history and the assurance of faith. Nature is careless of the single
life. Her processes seem wasteful, but out of seeming waste she produces
her great and durable results. Everywhere in her works are the signs of
life cut short for the sake of some effect more permanent than itself.
And for the establishing of those immortal foundations upon which the
human race is to stand firm in virtue and in hope, for the building of
the walls of truth, there will be no scanty expenditure of individual
life. Men are nothing in the count,--man is everything.

The spirit of the nation will be shown in its readiness to meet without
shrinking such sacrifice of life as may be demanded in gaining our end.
We must all suffer and rejoice together,--but let there be no unmanly or
unwomanly fear of bloodshed. The deaths of our men from sickness, from
camp epidemics, are what we should fear and prevent; death on the
battle-field we have no right to dread. The men who die in this cause
die well; they could wish for no more honorable end of life.

The honor lost in our recent defeat cannot be regained,--but it is
indeed one of the advantages of defeat to teach men the preciousness of
honor, the necessity of winning and keeping it at any cost. Honor and
duty are but two names for the same thing in war. But the novelty of war
is so great to us, we are so unpractised in it, and we have thought so
little of it heretofore as concerning ourselves, that there is danger
lest we fail at first to appreciate its finer elements, and neglect the
opportunities it affords for the practice of virtues rarely called out
in civil life. The common boast of the South, that there alone was to be
found the chivalry of America, and that among the Southern people was
a higher strain of courage and a keener sense of honor than among the
people of the North, is now to be brought to the test. There is not
need to repeat the commonplaces about bravery and honor. But we and our
soldiers should remember that it is not the mere performance of set work
that is required of them, but the valiant and generous alacrity of noble
minds in deeds of daring and of courtesy. Though the science of war
has in modern times changed the relations and the duties of men on the
battle-field from what they were in the old days of knighthood, yet
there is still room for the display of stainless valor and of manful
virtue. Honor and courage are part of our religion; and the coward or
the man careless of honor in our army of liberty should fall under
heavier shame than ever rested on the disgraced soldier in former times.
The sense of honor is finer than the common sense of the world. It
counts no cost and reckons no sacrifice great. "Then the king wept, and
dried his eyes, and said, 'Your courage had neere hand destroyed you,
for I call it folly knights to abide when they be overmatched.'
'Nay,' said Sir Lancelot and the other, 'for once shamed may never be
recovered.'" The examples of Bayard,--_sans peur et sans reproche_,--of
Sidney, of the heroes of old or recent days, are for our imitation. We
are bound to be no less worthy of praise and remembrance than they. They
did nothing too high for us to imitate. And in their glorious company
we may hope that some of our names may yet be enrolled, to stand as
the inspiring exemplars and the models for coming times. If defeat has
brought us shame, it has brought us also firmer resolve. No man can be
said to know himself, or to have assurance of his force of principle and
character, till he has been tested by the fires of trial in the crucible
of defeat. The same is true of a nation. The test of defeat is the test
of its national worth. Defeat shows whether it deserves success. We may
well be grateful and glad for our defeat of the 21st of July, if we
wrest from it the secrets of our weakness, and are thrown back by it to
the true sources of strength. If it has done its work thoroughly, if we
profit sufficiently by the advantages it has afforded us, we may be well
content that so slight a harm has brought us so great a good. But if
not, then let us be ready for another and another defeat, till our souls
shall be tempered and our forces disciplined for the worthy attainment
of victory. For victory we shall in good time have. There is no need to
fear or be doubtful of the issue. As soon as we deserve it, victory will
be ours; and were we to win it before, it would be but an empty
and barren triumph. All history is but the prophecy of our final
success,--and Milton has put the prophecy into words: "Go on, O Nation,
never to be disunited! Be the praise and the heroic song of all
posterity! Merit this, but seek only virtue, not to extend your limits,
(for what needs to win a fading triumphant laurel out of the tears of
wretched men?) but to settle the pure worship of God in his church, and
justice in the state. Then shall the hardest difficulties smooth out
themselves before thee; envy shall sink to hell, craft and malice be
confounded, whether it be home-bred mischief or outlandish cunning; yea,
other nations will then covet to serve thee, for lordship and victory
are but the pages of justice and virtue. Use thine invincible might to
do worthy and godlike deeds, and then he that seeks to break your union
a cleaving curse be his inheritance to all generations!"

* * * * *



Spirit, that rarely comest now,
And only to contrast my gloom,
Like rainbow-feathered birds that bloom
A moment on some autumn bough
Which, with the spurn of their farewell,
Sheds its last leaves,--thou once didst dwell
With me year-long, and make intense
To boyhood's wisely-vacant days
That fleet, but all-sufficing grace
Of trustful inexperience,
While yet the soul transfigured sense,
And thrilled, as with love's first caress,
At life's mere unexpectedness.


Those were thy days, blithe spirit, those
When a June sunshine could fill up
The chalice of a buttercup
With such Falernian juice as flows
No longer,--for the vine is dead
Whence that inspiring drop was shed:
Days when my blood would leap and run,
As full of morning as a breeze,
Or spray tossed up by summer seas
That doubts if it be sea or sun;
Days that flew swiftly, like the band
That in the Grecian games had strife
And passed from eager hand to hand
The onward-dancing torch of life.


Wing-footed! thou abid'st with him
Who asks it not; but he who hath
Watched o'er the waves thy fading path
Shall nevermore on ocean's rim,
At morn or eve, behold returning
Thy high-heaped canvas shoreward yearning!
Thou first reveal'st to us thy face
Turned o'er the shoulder's parting grace,
A moment glimpsed, then seen no more,--
Thou whose swift footsteps we can trace
Away from every mortal door!


Nymph of the unreturning feet,
How may I woo thee back? But no,
I do thee wrong to call thee so;
'Tis we are changed, not thou art fleet:
The man thy presence feels again
Not in the blood, but in the brain,
Spirit, that lov'st the upper air,
Serene and vaporless and rare,
Such as on mountain-heights we find
And wide-viewed uplands of the mind,
Or such as scorns to coil and sing
Round any but the eagle's wing
Of souls that with long upward beat
Have won an undisturbed retreat,
Where, poised like winged victories,
They mirror in unflinching eyes
The life broad-basking 'neath their feet,--
Man always with his Now at strife,
Pained with first gasps of earthly air,
Then begging Death the last to spare,
Still fearful of the ampler life.


Not unto them dost thou consent
Who, passionless, can lead at ease
A life of unalloyed content,
A life like that of landlocked seas,
That feel no elemental gush
Of tidal forces, no fierce rush
Of storm deep-grasping, scarcely spent
'Twixt continent and continent:
Such quiet souls have never known
Thy truer inspiration, thou
Who lov'st to feel upon thy brow
Spray from the plunging vessel thrown,
Grazing the tusked lee shore, the cliff
That o'er the abrupt gorge holds its breath,
Where the frail hair's-breadth of an If
Is all that sunders life and death:
These, too, are cared for, and round these
Bends her mild crook thy sister Peace;
These in unvexed dependence lie
Each 'neath his space of household sky;
O'er them clouds wander, or the blue
Hangs motionless the whole day through;
Stars rise for them, and moons grow large
And lessen in such tranquil wise
As joys and sorrows do that rise
Within their nature's sheltered marge;
Their hours into each other flit,
Like the leaf-shadows of the vine
And fig-tree under which they sit;
And their still lives to heaven incline
With an unconscious habitude,
Unhistoried as smokes that rise
From happy hearths and sight elude
In kindred blue of morning skies.


Wayward! when once we feel thy lack,
'Tis worse than vain to tempt thee back!
Yet there is one who seems to be
Thine elder sister, in whose eyes
A faint, far northern light will rise
Sometimes and bring a dream of thee:
She is not that for which youth hoped;
But she hath blessings all her own,
Thoughts pure as lilies newly oped,
And faith to sorrow given alone:
Almost I deem that it is thou
Come back with graver matron brow,
With deepened eyes and bated breath,
Like one who somewhere had met Death.
"But no," she answers, "I am she
Whom the gods love, Tranquillity;
That other whom you seek forlorn.
Half-earthly was; but I am born
Of the immortals, and our race
Have still some sadness in our face:
He wins me late, but keeps me long,
Who, dowered with every gift of passion,
In that fierce flame can forge and fashion
Of sin and self the anchor strong;
Can thence compel the driving force
Of daily life's mechanic course,
Nor less the nobler energies
Of needful toil and culture wise:
Whose soul is worth the tempter's lure,
Who can renounce and yet endure,
To him I come, not lightly wooed,
And won by silent fortitude."

* * * * *


_Florence_, July 5th, 1861.

"When some beloved voice that was to you
Both sound and sweetness faileth suddenly,
And silence, against which you dare not cry,
Aches round you like a strong disease and new,--
What hope? what help? what music will undo
That silence to your sense? Not friendship's sigh,--
Not reason's subtle count,--not melody
Of viols, nor of pipes that Faunus blew,--
Not songs of poets, nor of nightingales,
Whose hearts leap upward through the cypress-trees
To the clear moon,--nor yet the spheric laws
Self-chanted,--nor the angels' sweet All-hails,
Met in the smile of God. Nay, none of these!
Speak THOU, availing Christ, and fill this pause!"

Thus sang the Muse of a great woman years ago; and now, alas! she, who,
with constant suffering of her own, was called upon to grieve often for
the loss of near and dear ones, has suddenly gone from among us, "and
silence, against which we dare not cry, aches round us like a strong
disease and new." Her own beautiful words are our words, the world's
words,--and though the tears fall faster and thicker, as we search
for all that is left of her in the noble poems which she bequeaths to
humanity, there follows the sad consolation in feeling assured that she
above all others _felt_ the full value of life, the full value of death,
and was prepared to meet her God humbly, yet joyfully, whenever He
should claim her for His own. Her life was one long, large-souled,
large-hearted prayer for the triumph of Right, Justice, Liberty; and she
who lived for others was

"poet true,
Who died for Beauty, as martyrs do
For Truth,--the ends being scarcely two."

Beauty _was_ truth with her, the wife, mother, and poet, three in one,
and such an earthly trinity as God had never before blessed the world

This day week, at half-past four o'clock in the morning, Mrs. Browning
died. A great invalid from girlhood, owing to an unfortunate accident,
Mrs. Browning's life was a prolonged combat with disease thereby
engendered; and had not God given her extraordinary vitality of spirit,
the frail body could never have borne up against the suffering to which
it was doomed. Probably there never was a greater instance of the power
of genius over the weakness of the flesh. Confined to her room in
the country or city home of her father in England, Elizabeth Barrett
developed into the great artist and scholar.

From her couch went forth those poems which have crowned her as "the
world's greatest poetess"; and on that couch, where she lay almost
speechless at times, and seeing none but those friends dearest and
nearest, the soul-woman struck deep into the roots of Latin and Greek,
and drank of their vital juices. We hold in kindly affection her
learned and blind teacher, Hugh Stuart Boyd, who, she tells us, was
"enthusiastic for the good and the beautiful, and one of the most simple
and upright of human beings." The love of his grateful scholar, when
called upon to mourn the good man's death, embalms his memory among her
Sonnets, where she addresses him as her

"Beloved friend, who, living many years
With sightless eyes raised vainly to the sun,
Didst learn to keep thy patient soul in tune
To visible Nature's elemental cheers!"

Nor did this "steadfast friend" forget his poet-pupil ere he went to
"join the dead":--

"Three gifts the Dying left me,--Aeschylus,
And Gregory Nazianzen, and a clock
Chiming the gradual hours out like a flock
Of stars, whose motion is melodious."

We catch a glimpse of those communings over "our Sophocles the royal,"
"our Aeschylus the thunderous," "our Euripides the human," and "my Plato
the divine one," in her pretty poem of "Wine of Cyprus," addressed to
Mr. Boyd. The woman translates the remembrance of those early lessons
into her heart's verse:--

"And I think of those long mornings
Which my thought goes far to seek,
When, betwixt the folio's turnings,
Solemn flowed the rhythmic Greek.
Past the pane, the mountain spreading,
Swept the sheep-bell's tinkling noise,
While a girlish voice was reading,--
Somewhat low for [Greek: ais] and [Greek: ois]."

These "golden hours" were not without that earnest argument so welcome
to candid minds:--

"For we sometimes gently wrangled,
Very gently, be it said,--
Since our thoughts were disentangled
By no breaking of the thread!
And I charged you with extortions
On the nobler fames of old,--
Ay, and sometimes thought your Persons
Stained the purple they would fold."

What high honor the scholar did her friend and teacher, and how nobly
she could interpret the "rhythmic Greek," let those decide who have read
Mrs. Browning's translations of "Prometheus Bound" and Bion's "Lament
for Adonis."

Imprisoned within the four walls of her room, with books for her world
and large humanity for her thought, the lamp of life burning so low at
times that a feather would be placed on her lips to prove that there was
still breath, Elizabeth Barrett read and wrote, and "heard the nations
praising" her "far off." She loved

"Art for art,
And good for God himself, the essential Good,"

until destiny (a destiny with God in it) brought two poets face to face
and heart to heart. Mind had met mind and recognized its peer previously
to that personal interview which made them one in soul; but it was not
until after an acquaintance of two years that Elizabeth Barrett and
Robert Browning were united in marriage for time and for eternity, a
marriage the like of which can seldom be recorded. What wealth of love
she could give is evidenced in those exquisite sonnets purporting to be
from the Portuguese, the author being too modest to christen them by
their right name, Sonnets from the Heart. None have failed to read the
truth through this slight veil, and to see the woman more than the poet
in such lines as these:--

"I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange
My near sweet view of heaven for earth with thee!"

We have only to turn to the concluding poem in "Men and Women,"
inscribed to E.B.B., to see how reciprocal was this great love.

From their wedding-day Mrs. Browning seemed to be endowed with new life.
Her health visibly improved, and she was enabled to make excursions in
England prior to her departure for the land of her adoption, Italy,
where she found a second and a dearer home. For nearly fifteen years
Florence and the Brownings have been one in the thoughts of many English
and Americans; and Casa Guidi, which has been immortalized by Mrs.
Browning's genius, will be as dear to the Anglo-Saxon traveller as
Milton's Florentine residence has been heretofore. Those who now pass by
Casa Guidi fancy an additional gloom has settled upon the dark face of
the old palace, and grieve to think that those windows from which
a spirit-face witnessed two Italian revolutions, and those large
mysterious rooms where a spirit-hand translated the great Italian Cause
into burning verse, and pleaded the rights of humanity in "Aurora
Leigh," are hereafter to be the passing homes of the thoughtless or the

Those who have known Casa Guidi as it was could hardly enter the loved
rooms now and speak above a whisper. They who have been so favored
can never forget the square anteroom, with its great picture and
piano-forte, at which the boy Browning passed many an hour,--the
little dining-room covered with tapestry, and where hung medallions
of Tennyson, Carlyle, and Robert Browning,--the long room filled with
plaster casts and studies, which was Mr. Browning's retreat,--and,
dearest of all, the large drawing-room, where she always sat. It opens
upon a balcony filled with plants, and looks out upon the old iron-gray
church of Santa Felice. There was something about this room that seemed
to make it a proper and especial haunt for poets. The dark shadows
and subdued light gave it a dreamy look, which was enhanced by the
tapestry-covered walls and the old pictures of saints that looked
out sadly from their carved frames of black wood. Large book-cases,
constructed of specimens of Florentine carving selected by Mr. Browning,
were brimming over with wise-looking books. Tables were covered with
more gayly bound volumes, the gifts of brother authors. Dante's
grave profile, a cast of Keats's face and brow taken after death, a
pen-and-ink sketch of Tennyson, the genial face of John Kenyon, Mrs.
Browning's good friend and relative, little paintings of the boy
Browning, all attracted the eye in turn, and gave rise to a thousand
musings. A quaint mirror, easy-chairs and sofas, and a hundred nothings
that always add an indescribable charm, were all massed in this room.
But the glory of all, and that which sanctified all, was seated in a low
arm-chair near the door. A small table, strewn with writing-materials,
books, and newspapers, was always by her side.

To those who loved Mrs. Browning (and to know her was to love her) she
was singularly attractive. Hers was not the beauty of feature; it was
the loftier beauty of expression. Her slight figure seemed hardly large
enough to contain the great heart that beat so fervently within, and the
soul that expanded more and more as one year gave place to another. It
was difficult to believe that such a fairy hand could pen thoughts of
such ponderous weight, or that such a "still small voice" could utter
them with equal force. But it was Mrs. Browning's face upon which one
loved to gaze,--that face and head which almost lost themselves in the
thick curls of her dark brown hair. That jealous hair could not hide the
broad, fair forehead, "royal with the truth," as smooth as any girl's,

"Too large for wreath of modern wont."

Her large brown eyes were beautiful, and were in truth the windows
of her soul. They combined the confidingness of a child with the
poet-passion of heart and of intellect; and in gazing into them it was
easy to read _why_ Mrs. Browning wrote. God's inspiration was her motive
power, and in her eyes was the reflection of this higher light.

"And her smile it seemed half holy,
As if drawn from thoughts more far
Than our common jestings are."

Mrs. Browning's character was wellnigh perfect. Patient in long
suffering, she never spoke of herself, except when the subject was
forced upon her by others, and then with no complaint. She _judged not_,
saving when great principles were imperilled, and then was ready to
sacrifice herself upon the altar of Right. Forgiving as she wished to be
forgiven, none approached her with misgivings, knowing her magnanimity.
She was ever ready to accord sympathy to all, taking an earnest interest
in the most insignificant, and so humble in her greatness that her
friends looked upon her as a divinity among women. Thoughtful in the
smallest things for others, she seemed to give little thought to
herself; and believing in universal goodness, her nature was free from
worldly suspicions. The first to see merit, she was the last to censure
faults, and gave the praise that she _felt_ with a generous hand. No one
so heartily rejoiced at the success of others, no one was so modest in
her own triumphs, which she looked upon more as a favor of which she
was unworthy than as a right due to her. She loved all who offered
her affection, and would solace and advise with any. She watched the
progress of the world with tireless eye and beating heart, and, anxious
for the good of the _whole_ world, scorned to take an insular view
of any political question. With her a political question was a moral
question as well. Mrs. Browning belonged to no particular country; the
world was inscribed upon the banner under which she fought. Wrong was
her enemy; against this she wrestled, in whatever part of the globe it
was to be found.

A noble devotion to and faith in the regeneration of Italy was a
prominent feature in Mrs. Browning's life. To her, Italy was from the
first a living fire, not the bed of dead ashes at which the world was
wont to sneer. Her trust in God and the People was supreme; and when
the Revolution of 1848 kindled the passion of liberty from the Alps to
Sicily, she, in common with many another earnest spirit, believed
that the hour for the fulfilment of her hopes had arrived. Her joyful
enthusiasm at the Tuscan uprising found vent in the "Eureka" which she
sang with so much fervor in Part First of "Casa Guidi Windows."

"But never say 'No more'
To Italy's life! Her memories undismayed
Still argue 'Evermore'; her graves implore
Her future to be strong and not afraid;
Her very statues send their looks before."

And even she was ready to believe that a Pope _might_ be a reformer.

"Feet, knees, and sinews, energies divine,
Were never yet too much for men who ran
In such hard ways as must be this of thine,
Deliverer whom we seek, whoe'er thou art,
Pope, prince, or peasant! If, indeed, the first,
The noblest therefore! since the heroic heart
Within thee must be great enough to burst
Those trammels buckling to the baser part
Thy saintly peers in Rome, who crossed and cursed
With the same finger."

The Second Part of "Casa Guidi Windows" is a sad sequel to the First,
but Mrs. Browning does not deride. She bows before the inevitable, but
is firm in her belief of a future living Italy.

"In the name of Italy
Meantime her patriot dead have benison;
They only have done well;--and what they did
Being perfect, it shall triumph. Let them slumber!"

Her short-lived credence in the good faith of Popes was buried with much
bitterness of heart:--

"And peradventure other eyes may see,
From Casa Guidi windows, what is done
Or undone. Whatsoever deeds they be,
Pope Pius will be glorified in none."

It is a matter of great thankfulness that God permitted Mrs. Browning to
witness the second Italian revolution before claiming her for heaven. No
patriot Italian, of whatever high degree, gave greater sympathy to the
aspirations of 1859 than Mrs. Browning, an echo of which the world has
read in her "Poems before Congress" and still later contributions to the
New York "Independent." Great was the moral courage of this frail woman
to publish the "Poems before Congress" at a time when England was most
suspicious of Napoleon. Greater were her convictions, when she abased
England and exalted France for the cold neutrality of the one and the
generous aid of the other in this war of Italian independence. Bravely
did she bear up against the angry criticism excited by such anti-English
sentiment. Strong in her right, Mrs. Browning was willing to brave the
storm, confident that truth would prevail in the end. Apart from certain
_tours de force_ in rhythm, there is much that is grand and as much that
is beautiful in these Poems, while there is the stamp of _power_ upon
every page. It is felt that a great soul is in earnest about vital
principles, and earnestness of itself is a giant as rare as forcible.
Though there are few now who look upon Napoleon as

"Larger so much by the heart"

than others "who have governed and led," there are many who acknowledge
him to be

"Larger so much by the head,"

and regard him as she did,--Italy's best friend in the hour of need. Her
disciples are increasing, and soon "Napoleon III. in Italy" will be read
with the admiration which it deserves.

Beautiful in its pathos is the poem of "A Court Lady," and there are few
satires more biting than "An August Voice," which, as an interpretation
of the Napoleonic words, is perfect. Nor did she fail to vindicate the
Peace of Villafranca:--

"But He stood sad before the sun
(The peoples felt their fate):
'The world is many,--I am one;
My great Deed was too great.
God's fruit of justice ripens slow:
Men's souls are narrow; let them grow.
My brothers, we must wait.'"

And truly, what Napoleon then failed, from opposition, to accomplish by
the sword, has since been, to a great extent, accomplished by diplomacy.

But though Mrs. Browning wrote her "Tale of Villafranca" in full faith,
after many a mile-stone in time lay between her and the _fact_, her
friends remember how the woman bent and was wellnigh crushed, as by a
thunderbolt, when the intelligence of this Imperial Treaty was first
received. Coming so quickly upon the heels of the victories of Solferino
and San Martino, it is no marvel that what stunned Italy should have
almost killed Mrs. Browning. That it hastened her into the grave is
beyond a doubt, as she never fully shook off the severe attack of
illness occasioned by this check upon her life-hopes. The summer of 1859
was a weary, suffering season for her in consequence; and although the
following winter, passed in Rome, helped to repair the evil that had
been wrought, a heavy cold, caught at the end of the season, (and
for the sake of seeing Rome's gift of swords to Napoleon and Victor
Emmanuel,) told upon her lungs. The autumn of 1860 brought with it
another sorrow in the death of a beloved sister, and this loss seemed
more than Mrs. Browning could bear; but by breathing the soft air of
Rome again she seemed to revive, and indeed wrote that she was "better
in body and soul."

Those who have known Mrs. Browning in later years thought she never
looked better than upon her return to Florence in the first days of last
June, although the overland journey had been unusually fatiguing to her.
But the meeting was a sad one; for Cavour had died, and the national
loss was as severe to her as a personal bereavement. Her deep nature
regarded Italy's benefactor in the light of a friend; for had he not
labored unceasingly for that which was the burden of her song? and could
she allow so great a man to pass away without many a heart-ache? It is
as sublime as it is rare to see such intense appreciation of great deeds
as Mrs. Browning could give. Her fears, too, for Italy, when the patriot
pilot was hurried from the helm, gave rise to much anxiety, until
quieted by the assuring words of the new minister, Ricasoli.

Nor was Mrs. Browning so much engrossed in the Italian regeneration that
she had no thought for other nations and for other wrongs. Her interest
in America was very great,--

"For poets, (bear the word!)
Half-poets even, are still whole democrats:
Oh, not that we're disloyal to the high,
But loyal to the low, and cognizant
Of the less scrutable majesties."

In Mrs. Browning's poem of "A Curse for a Nation," where she foretold
the agony in store for America, and which has fallen upon us with the
swiftness of lightning, she was loath to raise her poet's voice against
us, pleading,--

"For I am hound by gratitude,
By love and blood,
To brothers of mine across the sea,
Who stretch out kindly hands to me."

And in one of her last letters, addressed to an American friend who
had reminded her of her prophecy and of its present fulfilment, she
replied,--"Never say that I have 'cursed' your country. I only _declared
the consequence of the evil_ in her, and which has since developed
itself in thunder and flame. I feel with more pain than many Americans
do the sorrow of this transition-time; but I do know that it _is_
transition, that it _is_ crisis, and that you will come out of the fire
purified, stainless, having had the angel of a great cause walking with
you in the furnace." Are not such burning, hopeful words from such a
source--worthy of the grateful memory of the Americans? Our cause has
lost an ardent supporter in Mrs. Browning; and did we dare rebel against
God's will, we should grieve deeply that she was not permitted to
glorify the Right in America as she has glorified it in Italy. Among
the last things that she read were Motley's letters on the "American
Crisis," and the writer will ever hold in dear memory the all but
final conversation had with Mrs. Browning, in which these letters were
discussed and warmly approved. In referring to the attitude taken by
foreign nations with regard to America, she said,--"Why do you heed what
others say? You are strong, and can do without sympathy; and when you
have triumphed, your glory will be the greater." Mrs. Browning's most
enthusiastic admirers are Americans; and I am sure, that, now she is no
longer of earth, they will love her the more for her sympathy in the
cause which is nearest to all hearts.

Mrs. Browning's conversation was most interesting. It was not
characterized by sallies of wit or brilliant repartee, nor was it
of that nature which is most welcome in society. It was frequently
intermingled with trenchant, quaint remarks, leavened with a quiet,
graceful humor of her own; but it was eminently calculated for a
_tete-a-tete_. Mrs. Browning never made an insignificant remark. All
that she said was _always_ worth hearing;--a greater compliment could
not be paid her. She was a most conscientious listener, giving you her
mind and heart, as well as her magnetic eyes. Though the latter spoke an
eager language of their own, she conversed slowly, with a conciseness
and point that, added to a matchless earnestness, which was the
predominant trait of her conversation as it was of her character, made
her a most delightful companion. _Persons_ were never her theme,
unless public characters were under discussion, or friends were to be
praised,--which kind office she frequently took upon herself. One never
dreamed of frivolities in Mrs. Browning's presence, and gossip felt
itself out of place. _Your_self (not _her_self) was always a pleasant
subject to her, calling out all her best sympathies in joy, and yet more
in sorrow. Books and humanity, great deeds, and, above all, politics,
which include all the grand questions of the day, were foremost in her
thoughts, and therefore oftenest on her lips. I speak not of religion,
for with her everything was religion. Her Christianity was not confined
to church and rubric: it meant _civilization_.

Association with the Brownings, even though of the slightest nature,
made one better in mind and soul. It was impossible to escape the
influence of the magnetic fluid of love and poetry that was constantly
passing between husband and wife. The unaffected devotion of one to the
other wove an additional charm around the two, and the very contrasts
in their natures made the union a more beautiful one. All remember Mrs.
Browning's pretty poem on her "Pet Name":--

"I have a name, a little name,
Uncadenced for the ear,
Unhonored by ancestral claim,
Unsanctified by prayer and psalm
The solemn font anear.

* * * * *

"My brother gave that name to me,
When we were children twain,--
When names acquired baptismally
Were hard to utter, as to see
That life had any pain."

It was this pet name of two small letters lovingly combined that dotted
Mr. Browning's spoken thoughts, as moonbeams fleck the ocean, and seemed
the pearl-bead that linked conversation together in one harmonious
whole. But what was written has now come to pass. The pet name is
engraved only in the hearts of a few.

"Though I write books, it will be read
Upon the leaves of none;
And afterward, when I am dead,
Will ne'er be graved, for sight or tread,
Across my funeral stone."

Mrs. Browning's letters are masterpieces of their kind. Easy and
conversational, they touch upon no subject without leaving an indelible
impression of the writer's originality; and the myriad matters of
universal interest with which many of them are teeming will render them
a precious legacy to the world, when the time shall have arrived for
their publication. Of late, Italy has claimed the lion's share in these
unrhymed sketches of Mrs. Browning in the _negligee_ of home. Prose has
recorded all that poetry threw aside; and thus much political thought,
many an anecdote, many a reflection, and much womanly enthusiasm have

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