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Pages From an Old Volume of Life by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet)

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still, slender person, always with a trance-like remoteness, a mystic
dreaminess of manner, such as I never saw in any other youth.
Whether he heard with difficulty, or whether his mind reacted slowly
on an alien thought, I could not say; but his answer would often be
behind time, and then a vague, sweet smile, or a few words spoken
under his breath, as if he had been trained in sick men's chambers.
For such a young man, seemingly destined for the inner life of
contemplation, to be a soldier seemed almost unnatural. Yet he spoke
to me of his intention to offer himself to his country, and his blood
must now be reckoned among the precious sacrifices which will make
her soil sacred forever. Had he lived, I doubt not that he would
have redeemed the rare promise of his earlier years. He has done
better, for he has died that unborn generations may attain the hopes
held out to our nation and to mankind.

So, then, I had been within ten miles of the place where my wounded
soldier was lying, and then calmly turned my back upon him to come
once more round by a journey of three or four hundred miles to the
same region I had left! No mysterious attraction warned me that the
heart warm with the same blood as mine was throbbing so near my own.
I thought of that lovely, tender passage where Gabriel glides
unconsciously by Evangeline upon the great river. Ah, me! if that
railroad crash had been a few hours earlier, we two should never have
met again, after coming so close to each other!

The source of my repeated disappointments was soon made clear enough.
The Captain had gone to Hagerstown, intending to take the cars at
once for Philadelphia, as his three friends actually did, and as I
took it for granted he certainly would. But as he walked languidly
along, some ladies saw him across the street, and seeing, were moved
with pity, and pitying, spoke such soft words that he was tempted to
accept their invitation and rest awhile beneath their hospitable
roof. The mansion was old, as the dwellings of gentlefolks should
be; the ladies were some of them young, and all were full of
kindness; there were gentle cares, and unasked luxuries, and pleasant
talk, and music-sprinklings from the piano, with a sweet voice to
keep them company,--and all this after the swamps of the
Chickahominy, the mud and flies of Harrison's Landing, the dragging
marches, the desperate battles, the fretting wound, the jolting
ambulance, the log-house, and the rickety milk--cart! Thanks,
uncounted thanks to the angelic ladies whose charming attentions
detained him from Saturday to Thursday, to his great advantage and my
infinite bewilderment! As for his wound, how could it do otherwise
than well under such hands? The bullet had gone smoothly through,
dodging everything but a few nervous branches, which would come right
in time and leave him as well as ever.

At ten that evening we were in Philadelphia, the Captain at the house
of the friends so often referred to, and I the guest of Charley, my
kind companion. The Quaker element gives an irresistible attraction
to these benignant Philadelphia households. Many things reminded me
that I was no longer in the land of the Pilgrims. On the table were
Kool Slaa and Schmeer Kase, but the good grandmother who dispensed
with such quiet, simple grace these and more familiar delicacies was
literally ignorant of Baked Beans, and asked if it was the Lima bean
which was employed in that marvellous dish of animalized leguminous

Charley was pleased with my comparing the face of the small Ethiop
known to his household as "Tines" to a huckleberry with features. He
also approved my parallel between a certain German blonde young
maiden whom we passed in the street and the "Morris White" peach.
But he was so good-humored at times, that, if one scratched a
lucifer, he accepted it as an illumination.

A day in Philadelphia left a very agreeable impression of the outside
of that great city, which has endeared itself so much of late to all
the country by its most noble and generous care of our soldiers.
Measured by its sovereign hotel, the Continental, it would stand at
the head of our economic civilization. It provides for the comforts
and conveniences, and many of the elegances of life, more
satisfactorily than any American city, perhaps than any other city
anywhere. Many of its characteristics are accounted for to some
extent by its geographical position. It is the great neutral centre
of the Continent, where the fiery enthusiasms of the South and the
keen fanaticisms of the North meet at their outer limits, and result
in a compound which neither turns litmus red nor turmeric brown. It
lives largely on its traditions, of which, leaving out Franklin and
Independence Hall, the most imposing must be considered its famous
water-works. In my younger days I visited Fairmount, and it was with
a pious reverence that I renewed my pilgrimage to that perennial
fountain. Its watery ventricles were throbbing with the same systole
and diastole as when, the blood of twenty years bounding in my own
heart, I looked upon their giant mechanism. But in the place of
"Pratt's Garden" was an open park, and the old house where Robert
Morris held his court in a former generation was changing to a public
restaurant. A suspension bridge cobwebbed itself across the
Schuylkill where that audacious arch used to leap the river at a
single bound,--an arch of greater span, as they loved to tell us,
than was ever before constructed. The Upper Ferry Bridge was to the
Schuylkill what the Colossus was to the harbor of Rhodes. It had an
air of dash about it which went far towards redeeming the dead level
of respectable average which flattens the physiognomy of the
rectangular city. Philadelphia will never be herself again until
another Robert Mills and another Lewis Wernwag have shaped her a new
palladium. She must leap the Schuylkill again, or old men will sadly
shake their heads, like the Jews at the sight of the second temple,
remembering the glories of that which it replaced.

There are times when Ethiopian minstrelsy can amuse, if it does not
charm, a weary soul, and such a vacant hour there was on this same
Friday evening. The "opera-house" was spacious and admirably
ventilated. As I was listening to the merriment of the sooty
buffoons, I happened to cast my eyes up to the ceiling, and through
an open semicircular window a bright solitary star looked me calmly
in the eyes. It was a strange intrusion of the vast eternities
beckoning from the infinite spaces. I called the attention of one of
my neighbors to it, but "Bones" was irresistibly droll, and Arcturus,
or Aldebaran, or whatever the blazing luminary may have been, with
all his revolving worlds, sailed uncared-for down the firmament.

On Saturday morning we took up our line of march for New York.
Mr. Felton, President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore
Railroad, had already called upon me, with a benevolent and sagacious
look on his face which implied that he knew how to do me a service
and meant to do it. Sure enough, when we got to the depot, we found
a couch spread for the Captain, and both of us were passed on to New
York with no visits, but those of civility, from the conductor. The
best thing I saw on the route was a rustic fence, near Elizabethtown,
I think, but I am not quite sure. There was more genius in it than
in any structure of the kind I have ever seen,--each length being of
a special pattern, ramified, reticulated, contorted, as the limbs of
the trees had grown. I trust some friend will photograph or
stereograph this fence for me, to go with the view of the spires of
Frederick, already referred to, as mementos of my journey.

I had come to feeling that I knew most of the respectably dressed
people whom I met in the cars, and had been in contact with them at
some time or other. Three or four ladies and gentlemen were near us,
forming a group by themselves. Presently one addressed me by name,
and, on inquiry, I found him to be the gentleman who was with me in
the pulpit as Orator on the occasion of another Phi Beta Kappa poem,
one delivered at New Haven. The party were very courteous and
friendly, and contributed in various ways to our comfort.

It sometimes seems to me as if there were only about a thousand
people in the world, who keep going round and round behind the scenes
and then before them, like the "army" in a beggarly stage-show.
Suppose that I should really wish; some time or other, to get away
from this everlasting circle of revolving supernumeraries, where
should I buy a ticket the like of which was not in some of their
pockets, or find a seat to which some one of them was not a neighbor.

A little less than a year before, after the Ball's Bluff accident,
the Captain, then the Lieutenant, and myself had reposed for a night
on our homeward journey at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where we were
lodged on the ground-floor, and fared sumptuously. We were not so
peculiarly fortunate this time, the house being really very full.
Farther from the flowers and nearer to the stars,--to reach the
neighborhood of which last the per ardua of three or four flights of
stairs was formidable for any mortal, wounded or well.

The "vertical railway" settled that for us, however. It is a giant
corkscrew forever pulling a mammoth cork, which, by some divine
judgment, is no sooner drawn than it is replaced in its position.
This ascending and descending stopper is hollow, carpeted, with
cushioned seats, and is watched over by two condemned souls, called
conductors, one of whom is said to be named Igion, and the other

I love New York, because, as in Paris, everybody that lives in it
feels that it is his property,--at least, as much as it is anybody's.
My Broadway, in particular, I love almost as I used to love my
Boulevards. I went, therefore, with peculiar interest, on the day
that we rested at our grand hotel, to visit some new pleasure-grounds
the citizens had been arranging for us, and which I had not yet seen.
The Central Park is an expanse of wild country, well crumpled so as
to form ridges which will give views and hollows that will hold
water. The hips and elbows and other bones of Nature stick out here
and there in the shape of rocks which give character to the scenery,
and an unchangeable, unpurchasable look to a landscape that without
them would have been in danger of being fattened by art and money out
of all its native features. The roads were fine, the sheets of water
beautiful, the bridges handsome, the swans elegant in their
deportment, the grass green and as short as a fast horse's winter
coat. I could not learn whether it was kept so by clipping or
singeing. I was delighted with my new property,--but it cost me four
dollars to get there, so far was it beyond the Pillars of Hercules of
the fashionable quarter. What it will be by and by depends on
circumstances; but at present it is as much central to New York as
Brookline is central to Boston.

The question is not between Mr. Olmsted's admirably arranged, but
remote pleasure-ground and our Common, with its batrachian pool, but
between his Excentric Park and our finest suburban scenery, between
its artificial reservoirs and the broad natural sheet of Jamaica
Pond. I say this not invidiously, but in justice to the beauties
which surround our own metropolis. To compare the situations of any
dwellings in either of the great cities with those which look upon
the Common, the Public Garden, the waters of the Back Bay, would be
to take an unfair advantage of Fifth Avenue and Walnut Street.
St. Botolph's daughter dresses in plainer clothes than her more
stately sisters, but she wears an emerald on her right hand and a
diamond on her left that Cybele herself need not be ashamed of.

On Monday morning, the twenty-ninth of September, we took the cars
for home. Vacant lots, with Irish and pigs; vegetable-gardens;
straggling houses; the high bridge; villages, not enchanting; then
Stamford: then NORWALK. Here, on the sixth of May, 1853, I passed
close on the heels of the great disaster. But that my lids were
heavy on that morning, my readers would probably have had no further
trouble with me. Two of my friends saw the car in which they rode
break in the middle and leave them hanging over the abyss. From
Norwalk to Boston, that day's journey of two hundred miles was a long
funeral procession.

Bridgeport, waiting for Iranistan to rise from its ashes with all its
phoenix-egg domes,--bubbles of wealth that broke, ready to be blown
again; iridescent as ever, which is pleasant, for the world likes
cheerful Mr. Barnum's success; New Haven, girt with flat marshes that
look like monstrous billiard-tables, with hay-cocks lying about for
balls,--romantic with West Rock and its legends,--cursed with a
detestable depot, whose niggardly arrangements crowd the track so
murderously close to the wall that the peine forte et dare must be
the frequent penalty of an innocent walk on its platform,--with its
neat carriages, metropolitan hotels, precious old college-
dormitories, its vistas of elms and its dishevelled weeping-willows;
Hartford, substantial, well-bridged, many--steepled city,--every
conical spire an extinguisher of some nineteenth-century heresy; so
onward, by and across the broad, shallow Connecticut,--dull red road
and dark river woven in like warp and woof by the shuttle of the
darting engine; then Springfield, the wide-meadowed, well-feeding,
horse-loving, hot-summered, giant-treed town,--city among villages,
village among cities; Worcester, with its Daedalian labyrinth of
crossing railroad-bars, where the snorting Minotaurs, breathing fire
and smoke and hot vapors, are stabled in their dens; Framingham, fair
cup-bearer, leaf-cinctured Hebe of the deep-bosomed Queen sitting by
the seaside on the throne of the Six Nations. And now I begin to
know the road, not by towns, but by single dwellings; not by miles,
but by rods. The poles of the great magnet that draws in all the
iron tracks through the grooves of all the mountains must be near at
hand, for here are crossings, and sudden stops, and screams of
alarmed engines heard all around. The tall granite obelisk comes
into view far away on the left, its bevelled cap-stone sharp against
the sky; the lofty chimneys of Charlestown and East Cambridge flaunt
their smoky banners up in the thin air; and now one fair bosom of the
three-pilled city, with its dome-crowned summit, reveals itself, as
when many-breasted Ephesian Artemis appeared with half-open chlamys
before her worshippers.

Fling open the window-blinds of the chamber that looks out on the
waters and towards the western sun! Let the joyous light shine in
upon the pictures that hang upon its walls and the shelves thick-set
with the names of poets and philosophers and sacred teachers, in
whose pages our boys learn that life is noble only when it is held
cheap by the side of honor and of duty. Lay him in his own bed, and
let him sleep off his aches and weariness. So comes down another
night over this household, unbroken by any messenger of evil
tidings,--a night of peaceful rest and grateful thoughts; for this
our son and brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is


[An Oration delivered before the City Authorities of Boston, on the
4th of July, 1863.]

It is our first impulse, upon this returning day of our nation's
birth, to recall whatever is happiest and noblest in our past
history, and to join our voices in celebrating the statesmen and the
heroes, the men of thought and the men of action, to whom that
history owes its existence. In other years this pleasing office may
have been all that was required of the holiday speaker. But to-day,
when the very life of the nation is threatened, when clouds are thick
about us, and men's hearts are throbbing with passion, or failing
with fear, it is the living question of the hour, and not the dead
story of the past, which forces itself into all minds, and will find
unrebuked debate in all assemblies.

In periods of disturbance like the present, many persons who
sincerely love their country and mean to do their duty to her
disappoint the hopes and expectations of those who are actively
working in her cause. They seem to have lost whatever moral force
they may have once possessed, and to go drifting about from one
profitless discontent to another, at a time when every citizen is
called upon for cheerful, ready service. It is because their minds
are bewildered, and they are no longer truly themselves. Show them
the path of duty, inspire them with hope for the future, lead them
upwards from the turbid stream of events to the bright, translucent
springs of eternal principles, strengthen their trust in humanity and
their faith in God, and you may yet restore them to their manhood and
their country.

At all times, and especially on this anniversary of glorious
recollections and kindly enthusiasms, we should try to judge the weak
and wavering souls of our brothers fairly and generously. The
conditions in which our vast community of peace-loving citizens find
themselves are new and unprovided for. Our quiet burghers and
farmers are in the position of river-boats blown from their moorings
out upon a vast ocean, where such a typhoon is raging as no mariner
who sails its waters ever before looked upon. If their beliefs
change with the veering of the blast, if their trust in their fellow-
men, and in the course of Divine Providence, seems well-nigh
shipwrecked, we must remember that they were taken unawares, and
without the preparation which could fit them to struggle with these
tempestuous elements. In times like these the faith is the man; and
they to whom it is given in larger measure owe a special duty to
those who for want of it are faint at heart, uncertain in speech,
feeble in effort, and purposeless in aim.

Assuming without argument a few simple propositions,--that self-
government is the natural condition of an adult society, as
distinguished from the immature state, in which the temporary
arrangements of monarchy and oligarchy are tolerated as conveniences;
that the end of all social compacts is, or ought to be, to give every
child born into the world the fairest chance to make the most and the
best of itself that laws can give it; that Liberty, the one of the
two claimants who swears that her babe shall not be split in halves
and divided between them, is the true mother of this blessed Union;
that the contest in which we are engaged is one of principles
overlaid by circumstances; that the longer we fight, and the more we
study the movements of events and ideas, the more clearly we find the
moral nature of the cause at issue emerging in the field and in the
study; that all honest persons with average natural sensibility, with
respectable understanding, educated in the school of northern
teaching, will have eventually to range themselves in the armed or
unarmed host which fights or pleads for freedom, as against every
form of tyranny; if not in the front rank now, then in the rear rank
by and by;--assuming these propositions, as many, perhaps most of us,
are ready to do, and believing that the more they are debated before
the public the more they will gain converts, we owe it to the timid
and the doubting to keep the great questions of the time in unceasing
and untiring agitation. They must be discussed, in all ways
consistent with the public welfare, by different classes of thinkers;
by priests and laymen; by statesmen and simple voters; by moralists
and lawyers; by men of science and uneducated hand-laborers; by men
of facts and figures, and by men of theories and aspirations; in the
abstract and in the concrete; discussed and rediscussed every month,
every week, every day, and almost every hour, as the telegraph tells
us of some new upheaval or subsidence of the rocky base of our
political order.

Such discussions may not be necessary to strengthen the convictions
of the great body of loyal citizens. They may do nothing toward
changing the views of those, if such there be, as some profess to
believe, who follow politics as a trade. They may have no hold upon
that class of persons who are defective in moral sensibility, just as
other persons are wanting in an ear for music. But for the honest,
vacillating minds, the tender consciences supported by the tremulous
knees of an infirm intelligence, the timid compromisers who are
always trying to curve the straight lines and round the sharp angles
of eternal law, the continual debate of these living questions is the
one offered means of grace and hope of earthly redemption. And thus
a true, unhesitating patriot may be willing to listen with patience
to arguments which he does not need, to appeals which have no special
significance for him, in the hope that some less clear in mind or
less courageous in temper may profit by them.

As we look at the condition in which we find ourselves on this fourth
day of July, 1863, at the beginning of the Eighty-eighth Year of
American Independence, we may well ask ourselves what right we have
to indulge in public rejoicings. If the war in which we are engaged
is an accidental one, which might have been avoided but for our
fault; if it is for any ambitious or unworthy purpose on our part; if
it is hopeless, and we are madly persisting in it; if it is our duty
and in our power to make a safe and honorable peace, and we refuse to
do it; if our free institutions are in danger of becoming subverted,
and giving place to an irresponsible tyranny; if we are moving in the
narrow circles which are to ingulf us in national ruin,--then we had
better sing a dirge, and leave this idle assemblage, and hush the
noisy cannon which are reverberating through the air, and tear down
the scaffolds which are soon to blaze with fiery symbols; for it is
mourning and not joy that should cover the land; there should be
silence, and not the echo of noisy gladness, in our streets; and the
emblems with which we tell our nation's story and prefigure its
future should be traced, not in fire, but in ashes.

If, on the other hand, this war is no accident, but an inevitable
result of long incubating causes; inevitable as the cataclysms that
swept away the monstrous births of primeval nature; if it is for no
mean, unworthy end, but for national life, for liberty everywhere,
for humanity, for the kingdom of God on earth; if it is not hopeless,
but only growing to such dimensions that the world shall remember the
final triumph of right throughout all time; if there is no safe and
honorable peace for us but a peace proclaimed from the capital of
every revolted province in the name of the sacred, inviolable Union;
if the fear of tyranny is a phantasm, conjured up by the imagination
of the weak, acted on by the craft of the cunning; if so far from
circling inward to the gulf of our perdition, the movement of past
years is reversed, and every revolution carries us farther and
farther from the centre of the vortex, until, by God's blessing, we
shall soon find ourselves freed from the outermost coil of the
accursed spiral; if all these things are true; if we may hope to make
them seem true, or even probable, to the doubting soul, in an hour's
discourse, then we may join without madness in the day's exultant
festivities; the bells may ring, the cannon may roar, the incense of
our harmless saltpetre fill the air, and the children who are to
inherit the fruit of these toiling, agonizing years, go about
unblamed, making day and night vocal with their jubilant patriotism.

The struggle in which we are engaged was inevitable; it might have
come a little sooner, or a little later, but it must have come. The
disease of the nation was organic, and not functional, and the rough
chirurgery of war was its only remedy.

In opposition to this view, there are many languid thinkers who lapse
into a forlorn belief that if this or that man had never lived, or if
this or that other man had not ceased to live, the country might have
gone on in peace and prosperity, until its felicity merged in the
glories of the millennium. If Mr. Calhoun had never proclaimed his
heresies; if Mr. Garrison had never published his paper; if Mr.
Phillips, the Cassandra in masculine shape of our long prosperous
Ilium, had never uttered his melodious prophecies; if the silver
tones of Mr. Clay had still sounded in the senate-chamber to smooth
the billows of contention; if the Olympian brow of Daniel Webster had
been lifted from the dust to fix its awful frown on the darkening
scowl of rebellion,--we might have been spared this dread season of
convulsion. All this is but simple Martha's faith, without the
reason she could have given: "If Thou hadst been here, my brother had
not died."

They little know the tidal movements of national thought and feeling,
who believe that they depend for existence on a few swimmers who ride
their waves. It is not Leviathan that leads the ocean from continent
to continent, but the ocean which bears his mighty bulk as it wafts
its own bubbles. If this is true of all the narrower manifestations
of human progress, how much more must it be true of those broad
movements in the intellectual and spiritual domain which interest all
mankind? But in the more limited ranges referred to, no fact is more
familiar than that there is a simultaneous impulse acting on many
individual minds at once, so that genius comes in clusters, and
shines rarely as a single star. You may trace a common motive and
force in the pyramid-builders of the earliest recorded antiquity, in
the evolution of Greek architecture, and in the sudden springing up
of those wondrous cathedrals of the twelfth and following centuries,
growing out of the soil with stem and bud and blossom, like flowers
of stone whose seeds might well have been the flaming aerolites cast
over the battlements of heaven. You may see the same law showing
itself in the brief periods of glory which make the names of Pericles
and Augustus illustrious with reflected splendors; in the painters,
the sculptors, the scholars of "Leo's golden days"; in the authors of
the Elizabethan time; in the poets of the first part of this century
following that dreary period, suffering alike from the silence of
Cowper and the song of Hayley. You may accept the fact as natural,
that Zwingli and Luther, without knowing each other, preached the
same reformed gospel; that Newton, and Hooke, and Halley, and Wren
arrived independently of each other at the great law of the
diminution of gravity with the square of the distance; that Leverrier
and Adams felt their hands meeting, as it were, as they stretched
them into the outer darkness beyond the orbit of Uranus, in search of
the dim, unseen Planet; that Fulton and Bell, that Wheatstone and
Morse, that Daguerre and Niepce, were moving almost simultaneously in
parallel paths to the same end. You see why Patrick Henry, in
Richmond, and Samuel Adams, in Boston, were startling the crown
officials with the same accents of liberty, and why the Mecklenburg
Resolutions had the very ring of the Protest of the Province of
Massachusetts. This law of simultaneous intellectual movement,
recognized by all thinkers, expatiated upon by Lord Macaulay and by
Mr. Herbert Spencer among recent writers, is eminently applicable to
that change of thought and feeling which necessarily led to the
present conflict.

The antagonism of the two sections of the Union was not the work of
this or that enthusiast or fanatic. It was the consequence of a
movement in mass of two different forms of civilization in different
directions, and the men to whom it was attributed were only those who
represented it most completely, or who talked longest and loudest
about it. Long before the accents of those famous statesmen referred
to ever resounded in the halls of the Capitol, long before the
"Liberator" opened its batteries, the controversy now working itself
out by trial of battle was foreseen and predicted. Washington warned
his countrymen of the danger of sectional divisions, well knowing the
line of cleavage that ran through the seemingly solid fabric.
Jefferson foreshadowed the judgment to fall upon the land for its
sins against a just God. Andrew Jackson announced a quarter of a
century beforehand that the next pretext of revolution would be
slavery. De Tocqueville recognized with that penetrating insight
which analyzed our institutions and conditions so keenly, that the
Union was to be endangered by slavery, not through its interests, but
through the change of character it was bringing about in the people
of the two sections, the same fatal change which George Mason, more
than half a century before, had declared to be the most pernicious
effect of the system, adding the solemn warning, now fearfully
justifying itself in the sight of his descendants, that "by an
inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national
sins by national calamities." The Virginian romancer pictured the
far-off scenes of the conflict which he saw approaching as the
prophets of Israel painted the coming woes of Jerusalem, and the
strong iconoclast of Boston announced the very year when the curtain
should rise on the yet unopened drama.

The wise men of the past, and the shrewd men of our own time, who
warned us of the calamities in store for our nation, never doubted
what was the cause which was to produce first alienation and finally
rupture. The descendants of the men "daily exercised in tyranny,"
the "petty tyrants" as their own leading statesmen called them long
ago, came at length to love the institution which their fathers had
condemned while they tolerated. It is the fearful realization of
that vision of the poet where the lost angels snuff up with eager
nostrils the sulphurous emanations of the bottomless abyss,--so have
their natures become changed by long breathing the atmosphere of the
realm of darkness.

At last, in the fulness of time, the fruits of sin ripened in a
sudden harvest of crime. Violence stalked into the senate-chamber,
theft and perjury wound their way into the cabinet, and, finally,
openly organized conspiracy, with force and arms, made burglarious
entrance into a chief stronghold of the Union. That the principle
which underlay these acts of fraud and violence should be irrevocably
recorded with every needed sanction, it pleased God to select a chief
ruler of the false government to be its Messiah to the listening
world. As with Pharaoh, the Lord hardened his heart, while he opened
his mouth, as of old he opened that of the unwise animal ridden by
cursing Balaam. Then spake Mr. "Vice-President" Stephens those
memorable words which fixed forever the theory of the new social
order. He first lifted a degraded barbarism to the dignity of a
philosophic system. He first proclaimed the gospel of eternal
tyranny as the new revelation which Providence had reserved for the
western Palestine. Hear, O heavens! and give ear, O earth!
The corner-stone of the new-born dispensation is the recognized
inequality of races; not that the strong may protect the weak, as men
protect women and children, but that the strong may claim the
authority of Nature and of God to buy, to sell, to scourge, to hunt,
to cheat out of the reward of his labor, to keep in perpetual
ignorance, to blast with hereditary curses throughout all time, the
bronzed foundling of the New World, upon whose darkness has dawned
the star of the occidental Bethlehem!

After two years of war have consolidated the opinion of the Slave
States, we read in the "Richmond Examiner": "The establishment of
the Confederacy is verily a distinct reaction against the whole
course of the mistaken civilization of the age. For 'Liberty,
Equality, Fraternity,' we have deliberately substituted Slavery,
Subordination, and Government."

A simple diagram, within the reach of all, shows how idle it is to
look for any other cause than slavery as having any material agency
in dividing the country. Match the two broken pieces of the Union,
and you will find the fissure that separates them zigzagging itself
half across the continent like an isothermal line, shooting its
splintery projections, and opening its reentering angles, not merely
according to the limitations of particular States, but as a county or
other limited section of ground belongs to freedom or to slavery.
Add to this the official statement made in 1862, that "there is not
one regiment or battalion, or even company of men, which was
organized in or derived from the Free States or Territories,
anywhere, against the Union"; throw in gratuitously Mr. Stephens's
explicit declaration in the speech referred to, and we will consider
the evidence closed for the present on this count of the indictment.

In the face of these predictions, these declarations, this line of
fracture, this precise statement, testimony from so many sources,
extending through several generations, as to the necessary effect of
slavery, a priori, and its actual influence as shown by the facts,
few will suppose that anything we could have done would have stayed
its course or prevented it from working out its legitimate effects on
the white subjects of its corrupting dominion. Northern acquiescence
or even sympathy may have sometimes helped to make it sit more easily
on the consciences of its supporters. Many profess to think that
Northern fanaticism, as they call it, acted like a mordant in fixing
the black dye of slavery in regions which would but for that have
washed themselves free of its stain in tears of penitence. It is a
delusion and a snare to trust in any such false and flimsy reasons
where there is enough and more than enough in the institution itself
to account for its growth. Slavery gratifies at once the love of
power, the love of money, and the love of ease; it finds a victim for
anger who cannot smite back his oppressor; and it offers to all,
without measure, the seductive privileges which the Mormon gospel
reserves for the true believers on earth, and the Bible of Mahomet
only dares promise to the saints in heaven.

Still it is common, common even to vulgarism, to hear the remark that
the same gallows-tree ought to bear as its fruit the arch-traitor and
the leading champion of aggressive liberty. The mob of Jerusalem was
not satisfied with its two crucified thieves; it must have a cross
also for the reforming Galilean, who interfered so rudely with its
conservative traditions! It is asserted that the fault was quite as
much on our side as on the other; that our agitators and abolishers
kindled the flame for which the combustibles were all ready on the
other side of the border. If these men could have been silenced, our
brothers had not died.

Who are the persons that use this argument? They are the very ones
who are at the present moment most zealous in maintaining the right
of free discussion. At a time when every power the nation can summon
is needed to ward off the blows aimed at its life, and turn their
force upon its foes,--when a false traitor at home may lose us a
battle by a word, and a lying newspaper may demoralize an army by its
daily or weekly stillicidium of poison, they insist with loud acclaim
upon the liberty of speech and of the press; liberty, nay license, to
deal with government, with leaders, with every measure, however
urgent, in any terms they choose, to traduce the officer before his
own soldiers, and assail the only men who have any claim at all to
rule over the country, as the very ones who are least worthy to be
obeyed. If these opposition members of society are to have their way
now, they cannot find fault with those persons who spoke their minds
freely in the past on that great question which, as we have agreed,
underlies all our present dissensions.

It is easy to understand the bitterness which is often shown towards
reformers. They are never general favorites. They are apt to
interfere with vested rights and time-hallowed interests. They often
wear an unlovely, forbidding aspect. Their office corresponds to
that of Nature's sanitary commission for the removal of material
nuisances. It is not the butterfly, but the beetle, which she
employs for this duty. It is not the bird of paradise and the
nightingale, but the fowl of dark plumage and unmelodious voice, to
which is entrusted the sacred duty of eliminating the substances that
infect the air. And the force of obvious analogy teaches us not to
expect all the qualities which please the general taste in those
whose instincts lead them to attack the moral nuisances which poison
the atmosphere of society. But whether they please us in all their
aspects or not, is not the question. Like them or not, they must and
will perform their office, and we cannot stop them. They may be
unwise, violent, abusive, extravagant, impracticable, but they are
alive, at any rate, and it is their business to remove abuses as soon
as they are dead, and often to help them to die. To quarrel with
them because they are beetles, and not butterflies, is natural, but
far from profitable. They grow none the less vigorously for being
trodden upon, like those tough weeds that love to nestle between the
stones of court-yard pavements. If you strike at one of their heads
with the bludgeon of the law, or of violence, it flies open like the
seedcapsule of a snap-weed, and fills the whole region with seminal
thoughts which will spring up in a crop just like the original
martyr. They chased one of these enthusiasts, who attacked slavery,
from St. Louis, and shot him at Alton in 1837; and on the 23d of June
just passed, the Governor of Missouri, chairman of the Committee on
Emancipation, introduced to the Convention an Ordinance for the final
extinction of Slavery! They hunted another through the streets of a
great Northern city in 1835; and within a few weeks a regiment of
colored soldiers, many of them bearing the marks of the slave-
driver's whip on their backs, marched out before a vast multitude
tremulous with newly-stirred sympathies, through the streets of the
same city, to fight our battles in the name of God and Liberty!

The same persons who abuse the reformers, and lay all our troubles at
their door, are apt to be severe also on what they contemptuously
emphasize as "sentiments" considered as motives of action. It is
charitable to believe that they do not seriously contemplate or truly
understand the meaning of the words they use, but rather play with
them, as certain so-called "learned" quadrupeds play with the printed
characters set before them. In all questions involving duty, we act
from sentiments. Religion springs from them, the family order rests
upon them, and in every community each act involving a relation
between any two of its members implies the recognition or the denial
of a sentiment. It is true that men often forget them or act against
their bidding in the keen competition of business and politics. But
God has not left the hard intellect of man to work out its devices
without the constant presence of beings with gentler and purer
instincts. The breast of woman is the ever-rocking cradle of the
pure and holy sentiments which will sooner or later steal their way
into the mind of her sterner companion; which will by and by emerge
in the thoughts of the world's teachers, and at last thunder forth in
the edicts of its law-givers and masters. Woman herself borrows half
her tenderness from the sweet influences of maternity; and childhood,
that weeps at the story of suffering, that shudders at the picture of
wrong, brings down its inspiration "from God, who is our home." To
quarrel, then, with the class of minds that instinctively attack
abuses, is not only profitless but senseless; to sneer at the
sentiments which are the springs of all just and virtuous actions, is
merely a display of unthinking levity, or of want of the natural

With the hereditary character of the Southern people moving in one
direction, and the awakened conscience of the North stirring in the
other, the open conflict of opinion was inevitable, and equally
inevitable its appearance in the field of national politics. For
what is meant by self-government is, that a man shall make his
convictions of what is right and expedient regulate the community so
far as his fractional share of the government extends. If one has
come to the conclusion, be it right or wrong, that any particular
institution or statute is a violation of the sovereign law of God, it
is to be expected that he will choose to be represented by those who
share his belief, and who will in their wider sphere do all they
legitimately can to get rid of the wrong in which they find
themselves and their constituents involved. To prevent opinion from
organizing itself under political forms may be very desirable, but it
is not according to the theory or practice of self-government. And
if at last organized opinions become arrayed in hostile shape against
each other, we shall find that a just war is only the last inevitable
link in a chain of closely connected impulses of which the original
source is in Him who gave to tender and humble and uncorrupted souls
the sense of right and wrong, which, after passing through various
forms, has found its final expression in the use of material force.
Behind the bayonet is the law-giver's statute, behind the statute the
thinker's argument, behind the argument is the tender
conscientiousness of woman, woman, the wife, the mother,--who looks
upon the face of God himself reflected in the unsullied soul of
infancy. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou
ordained strength, because of thine enemies."

The simplest course for the malcontent is to find fault with the
order of Nature and the Being who established it. Unless the law of
moral progress were changed, or the Governor of the Universe were
dethroned, it would be impossible to prevent a great uprising of the
human conscience against a system, the legislation relating to which,
in the words of so calm an observer as De Tocqueville, the
Montesquieu of our laws, presents "such unparalleled atrocities as to
show that the laws of humanity have been totally perverted." Until
the infinite selfishness of the powers that hate and fear the
principles of free government swallowed up their convenient virtues,
that system was hissed at by all the old-world civilization. While
in one section of our land the attempt has been going on to lift it
out of the category of tolerated wrongs into the sphere of the
world's beneficent agencies, it was to be expected that the protest
of Northern manhood and womanhood would grow louder and stronger
until the conflict of principles led to the conflict of forces. The
moral uprising of the North came with the logical precision of
destiny; the rage of the "petty tyrants" was inevitable; the plot to
erect a slave empire followed with fated certainty; and the only
question left for us of the North was, whether we should suffer the
cause of the Nation to go by default, or maintain its existence by
the argument of cannon and musket, of bayonet and sabre.

The war in which we are engaged is for no meanly ambitious or
unworthy purpose. It was primarily, and is to this moment, for the
preservation of our national existence. The first direct movement
towards it was a civil request on the part of certain Southern
persons, that the Nation would commit suicide, without making any
unnecessary trouble about it. It was answered, with sentiments of
the highest consideration, that there were constitutional and other
objections to the Nation's laying violent hands upon itself. It was
then requested, in a somewhat peremptory tone, that the Nation would
be so obliging as to abstain from food until the natural consequences
of that proceeding should manifest themselves. All this was done as
between a single State and an isolated fortress; but it was not South
Carolina and Fort Sumter that were talking; it was a vast conspiracy
uttering its menace to a mighty nation; the whole menagerie of
treason was pacing its cages, ready to spring as soon as the doors
were opened; and all that the tigers of rebellion wanted to kindle
their wild natures to frenzy, was the sight of flowing blood.

As if to show how coldly and calmly all this had been calculated
beforehand by the conspirators, to make sure that no absence of
malice aforethought should degrade the grand malignity of settled
purpose into the trivial effervescence of transient passion, the
torch which was literally to launch the first missile, figuratively,
to "fire the southern heart" and light the flame of civil war, was
given into the trembling hand of an old white-headed man, the
wretched incendiary whom history will handcuff in eternal infamy with
the temple-burner of ancient Ephesus. The first gun that spat its
iron insult at Fort Sumter, smote every loyal American full in the
face. As when the foul witch used to torture her miniature image,
the person it represented suffered all that she inflicted on his
waxen counterpart, so every buffet that fell on the smoking fortress
was felt by the sovereign nation of which that was the
representative. Robbery could go no farther, for every loyal man of
the North was despoiled in that single act as much as if a footpad
had laid hands upon him to take from him his father's staff and his
mother's Bible. Insult could go no farther, for over those battered
walls waved the precious symbol of all we most value in the past and
most hope for in the future,--the banner under which we became a
nation, and which, next to the cross of the Redeemer, is the dearest
object of love and honor to all who toil or march or sail beneath its
waving folds of glory.

Let us pause for a moment to consider what might have been the course
of events if under the influence of fear, or of what some would name
humanity, or of conscientious scruples to enter upon what a few
please themselves and their rebel friends by calling a "wicked war";
if under any or all these influences we had taken the insult and the
violence of South Carolina without accepting it as the first blow of
a mortal combat, in which we must either die or give the last and
finishing stroke.

By the same title which South Carolina asserted to Fort Sumter,
Florida would have challenged as her own the Gibraltar of the Gulf,
and Virginia the Ehrenbreitstein of the Chesapeake. Half our navy
would have anchored under the guns of these suddenly alienated
fortresses, with the flag of the rebellion flying at their peaks.
"Old Ironsides" herself would have perhaps sailed out of Annapolis
harbor to have a wooden Jefferson Davis shaped for her figure-head at
Norfolk,--for Andrew Jackson was a hater of secession, and his was no
fitting effigy for the battle-ship of the red-handed conspiracy.
With all the great fortresses, with half the ships and warlike
material, in addition to all that was already stolen, in the
traitors' hands, what chance would the loyal men in the Border States
have stood against the rush of the desperate fanatics of the now
triumphant faction? Where would Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri,
Tennessee,--saved, or looking to be saved, even as it is, as by
fire,--have been in the day of trial? Into whose hands would the
Capital, the archives, the glory, the name, the very life of the
nation as a nation, have fallen, endangered as all of them were, in
spite of the volcanic outburst of the startled North which answered
the roar of the first gun at Sumter? Worse than all, are we
permitted to doubt that in the very bosom of the North itself there
was a serpent, coiled but not sleeping, which only listened for the
first word that made it safe to strike, to bury its fangs in the
heart of Freedom, and blend its golden scales in close embrace with
the deadly reptile of the cotton-fields. Who would not wish that he
were wrong in such a suspicion? yet who can forget the mysterious
warnings that the allies of the rebels were to be found far north of
the fatal boundary line; and that it was in their own streets,
against their own brothers, that the champions of liberty were to
defend her sacred heritage?

Not to have fought, then, after the supreme indignity and outrage we
had suffered, would have been to provoke every further wrong, and to
furnish the means for its commission. It would have been to placard
ourselves on the walls of the shattered fort, as the spiritless race
the proud labor-thieves called us. It would have been to die as a
nation of freemen, and to have given all we had left of our rights
into the hands of alien tyrants in league with home-bred traitors.

Not to have fought would have been to be false to liberty everywhere,
and to humanity. You have only to see who are our friends and who
are our enemies in this struggle, to decide for what principles we
are combating. We know too well that the British aristocracy is not
with us. We know what the West End of London wishes may be result of
this controversy. The two halves of this Union are the two blades of
the shears, threatening as those of Atropos herself, which will
sooner or later cut into shreds the old charters of tyranny. How
they would exult if they could but break the rivet that makes of the
two blades one resistless weapon! The man who of all living
Americans had the best opportunity of knowing how the fact stood,
wrote these words in March, 1862: "That Great Britain did, in the
most terrible moment of our domestic trial in struggling with a
monstrous social evil she had earnestly professed to abhor, coldly
and at once assume our inability to master it, and then become the
only foreign nation steadily contributing in every indirect way
possible to verify its pre-judgment, will probably be the verdict
made up against her by posterity, on a calm comparison of the

So speaks the wise, tranquil statesman who represents the nation at
the Court of St. James, in the midst of embarrassments perhaps not
less than those which vexed his illustrious grandfather, when he
occupied the same position as the Envoy of the hated, newborn

"It cannot be denied,"--says another observer, placed on one of our
national watch-towers in a foreign capital,--"it cannot be denied
that the tendency of European public opinion, as delivered from high
places, is more and more unfriendly to our cause"; "but the people,"
he adds, "everywhere sympathize with us, for they know that our cause
is that of free institutions,--that our struggle is that of the
people against an oligarchy." These are the words of the Minister to
Austria, whose generous sympathies with popular liberty no homage
paid to his genius by the class whose admiring welcome is most
seductive to scholars has ever spoiled; our fellow-citizen, the
historian of a great Republic which infused a portion of its life
into our own,--John Lothrop Motley.

It is a bitter commentary on the effects of European, and especially
of British institutions, that such men should have to speak in such
terms of the manner in which our struggle has been regarded. We had,
no doubt, very generally reckoned on the sympathy of England, at
least, in a strife which, whatever pretexts were alleged as its
cause, arrayed upon one side the supporters of an institution she was
supposed to hate in earnest, and on the other its assailants. We had
forgotten what her own poet, one of the truest and purest of her
children, had said of his countrymen, in words which might well have
been spoken by the British Premier to the American Ambassador asking
for some evidence of kind feeling on the part of his government:

"Alas I expect it not. We found no bait
To tempt us in thy country. Doing good,
Disinterested good, is not our trade."

We know full well by this time what truth there is in these honest
lines. We have found out, too, who our European enemies are, and why
they are our enemies. Three bending statues bear up that gilded
seat, which, in spite of the time-hallowed usurpations and
consecrated wrongs so long associated with its history, is still
venerated as the throne. One of these supports is the pensioned
church; the second is the purchased army; the third is the long-
suffering people. Whenever the third caryatid comes to life and
walks from beneath its burden, the capitals of Europe will be filled
with the broken furniture of palaces. No wonder that our ministers
find the privileged orders willing to see the ominous republic split
into two antagonistic forces, each paralyzing the other, and standing
in their mighty impotence a spectacle to courts and kings; to be
pointed at as helots who drank themselves blind and giddy out of that
broken chalice which held the poisonous draught of liberty!

We know our enemies, and they are the enemies of popular rights. We
know our friends, and they are the foremost champions of political
and social progress. The eloquent voice and the busy pen of John
Bright have both been ours, heartily, nobly, from the first; the man
of the people has been true to the cause of the people. That deep
and generous thinker, who, more than any of her philosophical
writers, represents the higher thought of England, John Stuart Mill,
has spoken for us in tones to which none but her sordid hucksters and
her selfish land-graspers can refuse to listen. Count Gasparin and
Laboulaye have sent us back the echo from liberal France; France, the
country of ideas, whose earlier inspirations embodied themselves for
us in the person of the youthful Lafayette. Italy,--would you know
on which side the rights of the people and the hopes of the future
are to be found in this momentous conflict, what surer test, what
ampler demonstration can you ask--than the eager sympathy of the
Italian patriot whose name is the hope of the toiling many, and the
dread of their oppressors, wherever it is spoken, the heroic

But even when it is granted that the war was inevitable; when it is
granted that it is for no base end, but first for the life of the
nation, and more and more, as the quarrel deepens, for the welfare of
mankind, for knowledge as against enforced ignorance, for justice as
against oppression, for that kingdom of God on earth which neither
the unrighteous man nor the extortioner can hope to inherit, it may
still be that the strife is hopeless, and must therefore be
abandoned. Is it too much to say that whether the war is hopeless or
not for the North depends chiefly on the answer to the question,
whether the North has virtue and manhood enough to persevere in the
contest so long as its resources hold out? But how much virtue and
manhood it has can never be told until they are tried, and those who
are first to doubt the prevailing existence of these qualities are
not commonly themselves patterns of either. We have a right to trust
that this people is virtuous and brave enough not to give up a just
and necessary contest before its end is attained, or shown to be
unattainable for want of material agencies. What was the end to be
attained by accepting the gage of battle? It was to get the better
of our assailants, and, having done so, to take exactly those steps
which we should then consider necessary to our present and future
safety. The more obstinate the resistance, the more completely must
it be subdued. It may not even have been desirable, as Mr. Mill
suggested long since, that the victory over the rebellion should have
been easily and speedily won, and so have failed to develop the true
meaning of the conflict, to bring out the full strength of the
revolted section, and to exhaust the means which would have served it
for a still more desperate future effort. We cannot complain that
our task has proved too easy. We give our Southern army,--for we
must remember that it is our army, after all, only in a state of
mutiny,--we give our Southern army credit for excellent spirit and
perseverance in the face of many disadvantages. But we have a few
plain facts which show the probable course of events; the gradual but
sure operation of the blockade; the steady pushing back of the
boundary of rebellion, in spite of resistance at many points, or even
of such aggressive inroads as that which our armies are now meeting
with their long lines of bayonets,--may God grant them victory!--the
progress of our arms down the Mississippi; the relative value of gold
and currency at Richmond and Washington. If the index-hands of force
and credit continue to move in the ratio of the past two years, where
will the Confederacy be in twice or thrice that time?

Either all our statements of the relative numbers, power, and wealth
of the two sections of the country signify nothing, or the resources
of our opponents in men and means must be much nearer exhaustion than
our own. The running sand of the hour-glass gives no warning, but
runs as freely as ever when its last grains are about to fall. The
merchant wears as bold a face the day before he is proclaimed a
bankrupt, as he wore at the height of his fortunes. If Colonel
Grierson found the Confederacy "a mere shell," so far as his
equestrian excursion carried him, how can we say how soon the shell
will collapse? It seems impossible that our own dissensions can
produce anything more than local disturbances, like the Morristown
revolt, which Washington put down at once by the aid of his faithful
Massachusetts soldiers. But in a rebellious state dissension is
ruin, and the violence of an explosion in a strict ratio to the
pressure on every inch of the containing surface. Now we know the
tremendous force which has compelled the "unanimity" of the Southern
people. There are men in the ranks of the Southern army, if we can
trust the evidence which reaches us, who have been recruited with
packs of blood-hounds, and drilled, as it were, with halters around
their necks. We know what is the bitterness of those who have
escaped this bloody harvest of the remorseless conspirators; and from
that we can judge of the elements of destruction incorporated with
many of the seemingly solid portions of the fabric of the rebellion.
The facts are necessarily few, but we can reason from the laws of
human nature as to what must be the feelings of the people of the
South to their Northern neighbors. It is impossible that the love of
the life which they have had in common, their glorious recollections,
their blended histories, their sympathies as Americans, their mingled
blood, their birthright as born under the same flag and protected by
it the world over, their worship of the same God, under the same
outward form, at least, and in the folds of the same ecclesiastical
organizations, should all be forgotten, and leave nothing but hatred
and eternal alienation. Men do not change in this way, and we may be
quite sure that the pretended unanimity of the South will some day or
other prove to have been a part of the machinery of deception which
the plotters have managed with such consummate skill. It is hardly
to be doubted that in every part of the South, as in New Orleans, in
Charleston, in Richmond, there are multitudes who wait for the day of
deliverance, and for whom the coming of "our good friends, the
enemies," as Beranger has it, will be like the advent of the angels
to the prison-cells of Paul and Silas. But there is no need of
depending on the aid of our white Southern friends, be they many or
be they few; there is material power enough in the North, if there be
the will to use it, to overrun and by degrees to recolonize the
South, and it is far from impossible that some such process may be a
part of the mechanism of its new birth, spreading from various
centres of organization, on the plan which Nature follows when she
would fill a half-finished tissue with blood-vessels or change a
temporary cartilage into bone.

Suppose, however, that the prospects of the war were, we need not say
absolutely hopeless,--because that is the unfounded hypothesis of
those whose wish is father to their thought,--but full of
discouragement. Can we make a safe and honorable peace as the
quarrel now stands? As honor comes before safety, let us look at
that first. We have undertaken to resent a supreme insult, and have
had to bear new insults and aggressions, even to the direct menace of
our national capital. The blood which our best and bravest have shed
will never sink into the ground until our wrongs are righted, or the
power to right them is shown to be insufficient. If we stop now, all
the loss of life has been butchery; if we carry out the intention
with which we first resented the outrage, the earth drinks up the
blood of our martyrs, and the rose of honor blooms forever where it
was shed. To accept less than indemnity for the past, so far as the
wretched kingdom of the conspirators can afford it, and security for
the future, would discredit us in our own eyes and in the eyes of
those who hate and long to be able to despise us. But to reward the
insults and the robberies we have suffered, by the surrender of our
fortresses along the coast, in the national gulf, and on the banks of
the national river,--and this and much more would surely be demanded
of us,--would place the United Fraction of America on a level with
the Peruvian guano-islands, whose ignoble but coveted soil is open to
be plundered by all comers!

If we could make a peace without dishonor, could we make one that
would be safe and lasting? We could have an armistice, no doubt,
long enough for the flesh of our wounded men to heal and their broken
bones to knit together. But could we expect a solid, substantial,
enduring peace, in which the grass would have time to grow in the
war-paths, and the bruised arms to rust, as the old G. R. cannon
rusted in our State arsenal, sleeping with their tompions in their
mouths, like so many sucking lambs? It is not the question whether
the same set of soldiers would be again summoned to the field. Let
us take it for granted that we have seen enough of the miseries of
warfare to last us for a while, and keep us contented with militia
musters and sham-fights. The question is whether we could leave our
children and our children's children with any secure trust that they
would not have to go through the very trials we are enduring,
probably on a more extended scale and in a more aggravated form.

It may be well to look at the prospects before us, if a peace is
established on the basis of Southern independence, the only peace
possible, unless we choose to add ourselves to the four millions who
already call the Southern whites their masters. We know what the
prevailing--we do not mean universal--spirit and temper of those
people have been for generations, and what they are like to be after
a long and bitter warfare. We know what their tone is to the people
of the North; if we do not, De Bow and Governor Hammond are
schoolmasters who will teach us to our heart's content. We see how
easily their social organization adapts itself to a state of warfare.
They breed a superior order of men for leaders, an ignorant
commonalty ready to follow them as the vassals of feudal times
followed their lords; and a race of bondsmen, who, unless this war
changes them from chattels to human beings, will continue to add
vastly to their military strength in raising their food, in building
their fortifications, in all the mechanical work of war, in fact,
except, it may be, the handling of weapons. The institution
proclaimed as the corner-stone of their government does violence not
merely to the precepts of religion, but to many of the best human
instincts, yet their fanaticism for it is as sincere as any tribe of
the desert ever manifested for the faith of the Prophet of Allah.
They call themselves by the same name as the Christians of the North,
yet there is as much difference between their Christianity and that
of Wesley or of Channing, as between creeds that in past times have
vowed mutual extermination. Still we must not call them barbarians
because they cherish an institution hostile to civilization. Their
highest culture stands out all the more brilliantly from the dark
background of ignorance against which it is seen; but it would be
injustice to deny that they have always shone in political science,
or that their military capacity makes them most formidable
antagonists, and that, however inferior they may be to their Northern
fellow-countrymen in most branches of literature and science, the
social elegances and personal graces lend their outward show to the
best circles among their dominant class.

Whom have we then for our neighbors, in case of separation,--our
neighbors along a splintered line of fracture extending for thousands
of miles,--but the Saracens of the Nineteenth Century; a fierce,
intolerant, fanatical people, the males of which will be a perpetual
standing army; hating us worse than the Southern Hamilcar taught his
swarthy boy to hate the Romans; a people whose existence as a hostile
nation on our frontier is incompatible with our peaceful development?
Their wealth, the proceeds of enforced labor, multiplied by the
breaking up of new cottonfields, and in due time by the reopening of
the slave-trade, will go to purchase arms, to construct fortresses,
to fit out navies. The old Saracens, fanatics for a religion which
professed to grow by conquest, were a nation of predatory and
migrating warriors. The Southern people, fanatics for a system
essentially aggressive, conquering, wasting, which cannot remain
stationary, but must grow by alternate appropriations of labor and of
land, will come to resemble their earlier prototypes. Already, even,
the insolence of their language to the people of the North is a close
imitation of the style which those proud and arrogant Asiatics
affected toward all the nations of Europe. What the "Christian dogs"
were to the followers of Mahomet, the "accursed Yankees," the
"Northern mud-sills" are to the followers of the Southern Moloch.
The accomplishments which we find in their choicer circles were
prefigured in the court of the chivalric Saladin, and the long train
of Painim knights who rode forth to conquest under the Crescent. In
all branches of culture, their heathen predecessors went far beyond
them. The schools of mediaeval learning were filled with Arabian
teachers. The heavens declare the glory of the Oriental astronomers,
as Algorab and Aldebaran repeat their Arabic names to the students of
the starry firmament. The sumptuous edifice erected by the Art of
the nineteenth century, to hold the treasures of its Industry, could
show nothing fairer than the court which copies the Moorish palace
that crowns the summit of Granada. Yet this was the power which
Charles the Hammer, striking for Christianity and civilization, had
to break like a potter's vessel; these were the people whom Spain had
to utterly extirpate from the land where they had ruled for centuries

Prepare, then, if you unseal the vase which holds this dangerous
Afrit of Southern nationality, for a power on your borders that will
be to you what the Saracens were to Europe before the son of Pepin
shattered their armies, and flung the shards and shivers of their
broken strength upon the refuse heap of extinguished barbarisms.
Prepare for the possible fate of Christian Spain; for a slave-market
in Philadelphia; for the Alhambra of a Southern caliph on the grounds
consecrated by the domestic virtues of a long line of Presidents and
their exemplary families. Remember the ages of border warfare
between England and Scotland, closed at last by the union of the two
kingdoms. Recollect the hunting of the deer on the Cheviot hills,
and all that it led to; then think of the game which the dogs will
follow open-mouthed across our Southern border, and all that is like
to follow which the child may rue that is unborn; think of these
possibilities, or probabilities, if you will, and say whether you are
ready to make a peace which will give you such a neighbor; which may
betray your civilization as that of half the Peninsula was given up
to the Moors; which may leave your fair border provinces to be
crushed under the heel of a tyrant, as Holland was left to be trodden
down by the Duke of Alva!

No! no! fellow-citizens! We must fight in this quarrel until one
side or the other is exhausted. Rather than suffer all that we have
poured out of our blood, all that we have lavished of our substance,
to have been expended in vain, and to bequeath an unsettled question,
an unfinished conflict, an unavenged insult, an unrighted wrong, a
stained escutcheon, a tarnished shield, a dishonored flag, an
unheroic memory to the descendants of those who have always claimed
that their fathers were heroes; rather than do all this, it were
hardly an American exaggeration to say, better that the last man and
the last dollar should be followed by the last woman and the last
dime, the last child and the last copper!

There are those who profess to fear that our government is becoming a
mere irresponsible tyranny. If there are any who really believe that
our present Chief Magistrate means to found a dynasty for himself and
family, that a coup d'etat is in preparation by which he is to become
ABRAHAM, DEI GRATIA REX,--they cannot have duly pondered his letter
of June 12th, in which he unbosoms himself with the simplicity of a
rustic lover called upon by an anxious parent to explain his
intentions. The force of his argument is not at all injured by the
homeliness of his illustrations. The American people are not much
afraid that their liberties will be usurped. An army of legislators
is not very likely to throw away its political privileges, and the
idea of a despotism resting on an open ballot-box, is like that of
Bunker Hill Monument built on the waves of Boston Harbor. We know
pretty well how much of sincerity there is in the fears so
clamorously expressed, and how far they are found in company with
uncompromising hostility to the armed enemies of the nation. We have
learned to put a true value on the services of the watch-dog who bays
the moon, but does not bite the thief!

The men who are so busy holy-stoning the quarterdeck, while all hands
are wanted to keep the ship afloat, can no doubt show spots upon it
that would be very unsightly in fair weather. No thoroughly loyal
man, however, need suffer from any arbitrary exercise of power, such
as emergencies always give rise to. If any half-loyal man forgets
his code of half-decencies and half-duties so far as to become
obnoxious to the peremptory justice which takes the place of slower
forms in all centres of conflagration, there is no sympathy for him
among the soldiers who are risking their lives for us; perhaps there
is even more satisfaction than when an avowed traitor is caught and
punished. For of all men who are loathed by generous natures, such
as fill the ranks of the armies of the Union, none are so thoroughly
loathed as the men who contrive to keep just within the limits of the
law, while their whole conduct provokes others to break it; whose
patriotism consists in stopping an inch short of treason, and whose
political morality has for its safeguard a just respect for the
jailer and the hangman! The simple preventive against all possible
injustice a citizen is like to suffer at the hands of a government
which in its need and haste must of course commit many errors, is to
take care to do nothing that will directly or indirectly help the
enemy, or hinder the government in carrying on the war. When the
clamor against usurpation and tyranny comes from citizens who can
claim this negative merit, it may be listened to. When it comes from
those who have done what they could to serve their country, it will
receive the attention it deserves. Doubtless there may prove to be
wrongs which demand righting, but the pretence of any plan for
changing the essential principle of our self-governing system is a
figment which its contrivers laugh over among themselves. Do the
citizens of Harrisburg or of Philadelphia quarrel to-day about the
strict legality of an executive act meant in good faith for their
protection against the invader? We are all citizens of Harrisburg,
all citizens of Philadelphia, in this hour of their peril, and with
the enemy at work in our own harbors, we begin to understand the
difference between a good and bad citizen; the man that helps and the
man that hinders; the man who, while the pirate is in sight,
complains that our anchor is dragging in his mud, and the man who
violates the proprieties, like our brave Portland brothers, when they
jumped on board the first steamer they could reach, cut her cable,
and bore down on the corsair, with a habeas corpus act that lodged
twenty buccaneers in Fort Preble before sunset!

We cannot, then, we cannot be circling inward to be swallowed up in
the whirlpool of national destruction. If our borders are invaded,
it is only as the spur that is driven into the courser's flank to
rouse his slumbering mettle. If our property is taxed, it is only to
teach us that liberty is worth paying for as well as fighting for.
We are pouring out the most generous blood of our youth and manhood;
alas! this is always the price that must be paid for the redemption
of a people. What have we to complain of, whose granaries are
choking with plenty, whose streets are gay with shining robes and
glittering equipages, whose industry is abundant enough to reap all
its overflowing harvest, yet sure of employment and of its just
reward, the soil of whose mighty valleys is an inexhaustible mine of
fertility, whose mountains cover up such stores of heat and power,
imprisoned in their coal measures, as would warm all the inhabitants
and work all the machinery of our planet for unnumbered ages, whose
rocks pour out rivers of oil, whose streams run yellow over beds of
golden sand,--what have we to complain of?

Have we degenerated from our English fathers, so that we cannot do
and bear for our national salvation what they have done and borne
over and over again for their form of government? Could England, in
her wars with Napoleon, bear an income-tax of ten per cent., and must
we faint under the burden of an income-tax of three per cent.? Was
she content to negotiate a loan at fifty-three for the hundred, and
that paid in depreciated paper, and can we talk about financial ruin
with our national stocks ranging from one to eight or nine above par,
and the "five-twenty" war loan eagerly taken by our own people to the
amount of nearly two hundred millions, without any check to the flow
of the current pressing inwards against the doors of the Treasury?
Except in those portions of the country which are the immediate seat
of war, or liable to be made so, and which, having the greatest
interest not to become the border states of hostile nations, can best
afford to suffer now, the state of prosperity and comfort is such as
to astonish those who visit us from other countries. What are war
taxes to a nation which, as we are assured on good authority, has
more men worth a million now than it had worth ten thousand dollars
at the close of the Revolution,--whose whole property is a hundred
times, and whose commerce, inland and foreign, is five hundred times,
what it was then? But we need not study Mr. Still's pamphlet and
"Thompson's Bank-Note Reporter" to show us what we know well enough,
that, so far from having occasion to tremble in fear of our impending
ruin, we must rather blush for our material prosperity. For the
multitudes who are unfortunate enough to be taxed for a million or
more, of course we must feel deeply, at the same time suggesting that
the more largely they report their incomes to the tax-gatherer, the
more consolation they will find in the feeling that they have served
their country. But,--let us say it plainly,--it will not hurt our
people to be taught that there are other things to be cared for
besides money-making and money-spending; that the time has come when
manhood must assert itself by brave deeds and noble thoughts; when
womanhood must assume its most sacred office, "to warn, to comfort,"
and, if need be, "to command," those whose services their country
calls for. This Northern section of the land has become a great
variety shop, of which the Atlantic cities are the long-extended
counter. We have grown rich for what? To put gilt bands on
coachmen's hats? To sweep the foul sidewalks with the heaviest silks
which the toiling artisans of France can send us? To look through
plate-glass windows, and pity the brown soldiers,--or sneer at the
black ones? to reduce the speed of trotting horses a second or two
below its old minimum? to color meerschaums? to flaunt in laces,
and sparkle in diamonds? to dredge our maidens' hair with gold-dust?
to float through life, the passive shuttlecocks of fashion, from the
avenues to the beaches, and back again from the beaches to the
avenues? Was it for this that the broad domain of the Western
hemisphere was kept so long unvisited by civilization?--for this,
that Time, the father of empires, unbound the virgin zone of this
youngest of his daughters, and gave her, beautiful in the long veil
of her forests, to the rude embrace of the adventurous Colonist? All
this is what we see around us, now, now while we are actually
fighting this great battle, and supporting this great load of
indebtedness. Wait till the diamonds go back to the Jews of
Amsterdam; till the plate-glass window bears the fatal announcement,
For Sale or to Let; till the voice of our Miriam is obeyed, as she

"Weave no more silks, ye Lyons looms!"

till the gold-dust is combed from the golden locks, and hoarded to
buy bread; till the fast-driving youth smokes his clay-pipe on the
platform of the horse-cars; till the music-grinders cease because
none will pay them; till there are no peaches in the windows at
twenty-four dollars a dozen, and no heaps of bananas and pine-apples
selling at the street-corners; till the ten-flounced dress has but
three flounces, and it is felony to drink champagne; wait till these
changes show themselves, the signs of deeper wants, the preludes of
exhaustion and bankruptcy; then let us talk of the Maelstrom;--but
till then, let us not be cowards with our purses, while brave men are
emptying their hearts upon the earth for us; let us not whine over
our imaginary ruin, while the reversed current of circling events is
carrying us farther and farther, every hour, out of the influence of
the great failing which was born of our wealth, and of the deadly sin
which was our fatal inheritance!

Let us take a brief general glance at the wide field of discussion we
are just leaving.

On Friday, the twelfth day of the month of April, in the year of our
Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-one, at half-past four of the clock
in the morning, a cannon was aimed and fired by the authority of
South Carolina at the wall of a fortress belonging to the United
States. Its ball carried with it the hatreds, the rages of thirty
years, shaped and cooled in the mould of malignant deliberation. Its
wad was the charter of our national existence. Its muzzle was
pointed at the stone which bore the symbol of our national
sovereignty. As the echoes of its thunder died away, the telegraph
clicked one word through every office of the land. That word was

War is a child that devours its nurses one after another, until it is
claimed by its true parents. This war has eaten its way backward
through all the technicalities of lawyers learned in the
infinitesimals of ordinances and statutes; through all the
casuistries of divines, experts in the differential calculus of
conscience and duty; until it stands revealed to all men as the
natural and inevitable conflict of two incompatible forms of
civilization, one or the other of which must dominate the central
zone of the continent, and eventually claim the hemisphere for its

We have reached the region of those broad principles and large axioms
which the wise Romans, the world's lawgivers, always recognized as
above all special enactments. We have come to that solid substratum
acknowledged by Grotius in his great Treatise: "Necessity itself
which reduces things to the mere right of Nature." The old rules
which were enough for our guidance in quiet times, have become as
meaningless "as moonlight on the dial of the day." We have followed
precedents as long as they could guide us; now we must make
precedents for the ages which are to succeed us.

If we are frightened from our object by the money we have spent, the
current prices of United States stocks show that we value our
nationality at only a small fraction of our wealth. If we feel that
we are paying too dearly for it in the blood of our people, let us
recall those grand words of Samuel Adams:

"I should advise persisting in our struggle for liberty, though it
were revealed from heaven that nine hundred and ninety-nine were to
perish, and only one of a thousand were to survive and retain his

What we want now is a strong purpose; the purpose of Luther, when he
said, in repeating his Pater Noster, fiat voluntas MEA,--let my will
be done; though he considerately added, quia Tua,--because my will is
Thine. We want the virile energy of determination which made the
oath of Andrew Jackson sound so like the devotion of an ardent saint
that the recording angel might have entered it unquestioned among the
prayers of the faithful.

War is a grim business. Two years ago our women's fingers were busy
making "Havelocks." It seemed to us then as if the Havelock made
half the soldier; and now we smile to think of those days of
inexperience and illusion. We know now what War means, and we cannot
look its dull, dead ghastliness in the face unless we feel that there
is some great and noble principle behind it. It makes little
difference what we thought we were fighting for at first; we know
what we are fighting for now, and what we are fighting against.

We are fighting for our existence. We say to those who would take
back their several contributions to that undivided unity which we
call the Nation; the bronze is cast; the statue is on its pedestal;
you cannot reclaim the brass you flung into the crucible! There are
rights, possessions, privileges, policies, relations, duties,
acquired, retained, called into existence in virtue of the principle
of absolute solidarity,--belonging to the United States as an organic
whole, which cannot be divided, which none of its constituent parties
can claim as its own, which perish out of its living frame when the
wild forces of rebellion tear it limb from limb, and which it must
defend, or confess self-government itself a failure.

We are fighting for that Constitution upon which our national
existence reposes, now subjected by those who fired the scroll on
which it was written from the cannon at Fort Sumter, to all those
chances which the necessities of war entail upon every human
arrangement, but still the venerable charter of our wide Republic.

We cannot fight for these objects without attacking the one mother
cause of all the progeny of lesser antagonisms. Whether we know it
or not, whether we mean it or not, we cannot help fighting against
the system that has proved the source of all those miseries which the
author of the Declaration of Independence trembled to anticipate.
And this ought to make us willing to do and to suffer cheerfully.
There were Holy Wars of old, in which it was glory enough to die,
wars in which the one aim was to rescue the sepulchre of Christ from
the hands of infidels. The sepulchre of Christ is not in Palestine!
He rose from that burial-place more than eighteen hundred years ago.
He is crucified wherever his brothers are slain without cause; he
lies buried wherever man, made in his Maker's image, is entombed in
ignorance lest he should learn the rights which his Divine Master
gave him! This is our Holy War, and we must fight it against that
great General who will bring to it all the powers with which he
fought against the Almighty before he was cast down from heaven. He
has retained many a cunning advocate to recruit for him; he has
bribed many a smooth-tongued preacher to be his chaplain; he has
engaged the sordid by their avarice, the timid by their fears, the
profligate by their love of adventure, and thousands of nobler
natures by motives which we can all understand; whose delusion we
pity as we ought always to pity the error of those who know not what
they do. Against him or for him we are all called upon to declare
ourselves. There is no neutrality for any single true-born American.
If any seek such a position, the stony finger of Dante's awful muse
points them to their place in the antechamber of the Halls of

"--With that ill band
Of angels mixed, who nor rebellious proved,
Nor yet were true to God, but for themselves
Were only."

"--Fame of them the world hath none
Nor suffers; mercy and justice scorn them both.
Speak not of them, but look, and pass them by."

We must use all the means which God has put into our hands to serve
him against the enemies of civilization. We must make and keep the
great river free, whatever it costs us; it is strapping up the
forefoot of the wild, untamable rebellion. We must not be too nice
in the choice of our agents. Non eget Mauri jaculis,--no African
bayonets wanted,--was well enough while we did not yet know the might
of that desperate giant we had to deal with; but Tros, Tyriusve,--
white or black,--is the safer motto now; for a good soldier, like a
good horse, cannot be of a bad color. The iron-skins, as well as the
iron-clads, have already done us noble service, and many a mother
will clasp the returning boy, many a wife will welcome back the war-
worn husband, whose smile would never again have gladdened his home,
but that, cold in the shallow trench of the battle-field, lies the
half-buried form of the unchained bondsman whose dusky bosom sheathes
the bullet which would else have claimed that darling as his
country's sacrifice

We shall have success if we truly will success, not otherwise. It
may be long in coming,--Heaven only knows through what trials and
humblings we may have to pass before the full strength of the nation
is duly arrayed and led to victory. We must be patient, as our
fathers were patient; even in our worst calamities, we must remember
that defeat itself may be a gain where it costs our enemy more in
relation to his strength than it costs ourselves. But if, in the
inscrutable providence of the Almighty, this generation is
disappointed in its lofty aspirations for the race, if we have not
virtue enough to ennoble our whole people, and make it a nation of
sovereigns, we shall at least hold in undying honor those who
vindicated the insulted majesty of the Republic, and struck at her
assailants so long as a drum-beat summoned them to the field of duty.

Citizens of Boston, sons and daughters of New England, men and women
of the North, brothers and sisters in the bond of the American Union,
you have among you the scarred and wasted soldiers who have shed
their blood for your temporal salvation. They bore your nation's
emblems bravely through the fire and smoke of the battle-field; nay,
their own bodies are starred with bullet-wounds and striped with
sabre-cuts, as if to mark them as belonging to their country until
their dust becomes a portion of the soil which they defended. In
every Northern graveyard slumber the victims of this destroying
struggle. Many whom you remember playing as children amidst the
clover-blossoms of our Northern fields, sleep under nameless mounds
with strange Southern wild-flowers blooming over them. By those
wounds of living heroes, by those graves of fallen martyrs, by the
hopes of your children, and the claims of your children's children
yet unborn, in the name of outraged honor, in the interest of
violated sovereignty, for the life of an imperilled nation, for the
sake of men everywhere and of our common humanity, for the glory of
God and the advancement of his kingdom on earth, your country calls
upon you to stand by her through good report and through evil
report, in triumph and in defeat, until she emerges from the great
war of Western civilization, Queen of the broad continent, Arbitress
in the councils of earth's emancipated peoples; until the flag that
fell from the wall of Fort Sumter floats again inviolate, supreme,
over all her ancient inheritance, every fortress, every capital,
every ship, and this warring land is once more a, United Nation!


The personal revelations contained in my report of certain breakfast-
table conversations were so charitably listened to and so good-
naturedly interpreted, that I may be in danger of becoming over-
communicative. Still, I should never have ventured to tell the
trivial experiences here thrown together, were it not that my brief
story is illuminated here and there by a glimpse of some shining
figure that trod the same path with me for a time, or crossed it,
leaving a momentary or lasting brightness in its track. I remember
that, in furnishing a chamber some years ago, I was struck with its
dull aspect as I looked round on the black-walnut chairs and bedstead
and bureau. "Make me a large and handsomely wrought gilded handle to
the key of that dark chest of drawers," I said to the furnisher. It
was done, and that one luminous point redeemed the sombre apartment
as the evening star glorifies the dusky firmament. So, my loving
reader,--and to none other can such table-talk as this be addressed,-
-I hope there will be lustre enough in one or other of the names with
which I shall gild my page to redeem the dulness of all that is
merely personal in my recollections.

After leaving the school of Dame Prentiss, best remembered by
infantine loves, those pretty preludes of more serious passions; by
the great forfeit-basket, filled with its miscellaneous waifs and
deodauds, and by the long willow stick by the aid of which the good
old body, now stricken in years and unwieldy in person could
stimulate the sluggish faculties or check the mischievous sallies of
the child most distant from his ample chair,--a school where I think
my most noted schoolmate was the present Bishop of Delaware, became
the pupil of Master William Biglow. This generation is not familiar
with his title to renown, although he fills three columns and a half
in Mr. Duyckinck's "Cyclopaedia of American Literature." He was a
humorist hardly robust enough for more than a brief local
immortality. I am afraid we were an undistinguished set, for I do not
remember anybody near a bishop in dignity graduating from our

At about ten years of age I began going to what we always called the
"Port School," because it was kept at Cambridgeport, a mile from the
College. This suburb was at that time thinly inhabited, and, being
much of it marshy and imperfectly reclaimed, had a dreary look as
compared with the thriving College settlement. The tenants of the
many beautiful mansions that have sprung up along Main Street,
Harvard Street, and Broadway can hardly recall the time when, except
the "Dana House" and the "Opposition House" and the "Clark House,"
these roads were almost all the way bordered by pastures until we
reached the "stores" of Main Street, or were abreast of that forlorn
"First Row" of Harvard Street. We called the boys of that locality
"Port-chucks." They called us "Cambridge-chucks," but we got along
very well together in the main.

Among my schoolmates at the Port School was a young girl of singular
loveliness. I once before referred to her as "the golden blonde," but
did not trust myself to describe her charms. The day of her
appearance in the school was almost as much a revelation to us boys
as the appearance of Miranda was to Caliban. Her abounding natural
curls were so full of sunshine, her skin was so delicately white, her
smile and her voice were so all-subduing, that half our heads were
turned. Her fascinations were everywhere confessed a few years
afterwards; and when I last met her, though she said she was a
grandmother, I questioned her statement, for her winning looks and
ways would still have made her admired in any company.

Not far from the golden blonde were two small boys, one of them very
small, perhaps the youngest boy in school, both ruddy, sturdy, quiet,
reserved, sticking loyally by each other, the oldest, however,
beginning to enter into social relations with us of somewhat maturer
years. One of these two boys was destined to be widely known, first
in literature, as author of one of the most popular books of its time
and which is freighted for a long voyage; then as an eminent lawyer;
a man who, if his countrymen are wise, will yet be prominent in the
national councils. Richard Henry Dana, Junior, is the name he bore
and bears; he found it famous, and will bequeath it a fresh renown.

Sitting on the girls' benches, conspicuous among the school-girls of
unlettered origin by that look which rarely fails to betray
hereditary and congenital culture, was a young person very nearly of
my own age. She came with the reputation of being "smart," as we
should have called it, clever as we say nowadays. This was Margaret
Fuller, the only one among us who, like "Jean Paul," like "The Duke,"
like "Bettina," has slipped the cable of the more distinctive name to
which she was anchored, and floats on the waves of speech as
"Margaret." Her air to her schoolmates was marked by a certain
stateliness and distance, as if she had other thoughts than theirs
and was not of them. She was a great student and a great reader of
what she used to call "naw-vels." I remember her so well as she
appeared at school and later, that I regret that she had not been
faithfully given to canvas or marble in the day of her best looks.
None know her aspect who have not seen her living. Margaret, as I
remember her at school and afterwards, was tall, fair complexioned,
with a watery, aqua-marine lustre in her light eyes, which she used
to make small, as one does who looks at the sunshine. A remarkable
point about her was that long, flexile neck, arching and undulating
in strange sinuous movements, which one who loved her would compare
to those of a swan, and one who loved her not to those of the
ophidian who tempted our common mother. Her talk was affluent,
magisterial, de haut en bas, some would say euphuistic, but
surpassing the talk of women in breadth and audacity. Her face
kindled and reddened and dilated in every feature as she spoke, and,
as I once saw her in a fine storm of indignation at the supposed ill-
treatment of a relative, showed itself capable of something
resembling what Milton calls the viraginian aspect.

Little incidents bear telling when they recall anything of such a
celebrity as Margaret. I remember being greatly awed once, in our
school-days, with the maturity of one of her expressions. Some
themes were brought home from the school for examination by my
father, among them one of hers. I took it up with a certain emulous
interest (for I fancied at that day that I too had drawn a prize, say
a five-dollar one, at least, in the great intellectual life-lottery)
and read the first words.

"It is a trite remark," she began.

I stopped. Alas! I did not know what trite meant. How could I ever
judge Margaret fairly after such a crushing discovery of her
superiority? I doubt if I ever did; yet oh, how pleasant it would
have been, at about the age, say, of threescore and ten, to rake over
these ashes for cinders with her,--she in a snowy cap, and I in a
decent peruke!

After being five years at the Port School, the time drew near when I
was to enter college. It seemed advisable to give me a year of
higher training, and for that end some public school was thought to
offer advantages. Phillips Academy at Andover was well known to us.
We had been up there, my father and myself, at anniversaries. Some
Boston boys of well-known and distinguished parentage had been
scholars there very lately, Master Edmund Quincy, Master Samuel Hurd
Walley, Master Nathaniel Parker Willis,--all promising youth, who
fulfilled their promise.

I do not believe there was any thought of getting a little respite of
quiet by my temporary absence, but I have wondered that there was
not. Exceptional boys of fourteen or fifteen make home a heaven, it
is true; but I have suspected, late in life, that I was not one of
the exceptional kind. I had tendencies in the direction of
flageolets and octave flutes. I had a pistol and a gun, and popped
at everything that stirred, pretty nearly, except the house-cat.
Worse than this, I would buy a cigar and smoke it by instalments,
putting it meantime in the barrel of my pistol, by a stroke of
ingenuity which it gives me a grim pleasure to recall; for no
maternal or other female eyes would explore the cavity of that dread
implement in search of contraband commodities.

It was settled, then, that I should go to Phillips Academy, and
preparations were made that I might join the school at the beginning
of the autumn.

In due time I took my departure in the old carriage, a little
modernized from the pattern of my Lady Bountiful's, and we jogged
soberly along,--kind parents and slightly nostalgic boy,--towards the
seat of learning, some twenty miles away. Up the old West Cambridge
road, now North Avenue; past Davenport's tavern, with its sheltering
tree and swinging sign; past the old powder-house, looking like a
colossal conical ball set on end; past the old Tidd House, one of the
finest of the ante-Revolutionary mansions; past Miss Swan's great
square boarding-school, where the music of girlish laughter was
ringing through the windy corridors; so on to Stoneham, town of the
bright lake, then darkened with the recent memory of the barbarous
murder done by its lonely shore; through pleasant Reading, with its
oddly named village centres, "Trapelo," "Read'nwoodeend," as rustic
speech had it, and the rest; through Wilmington, then renowned for
its hops; so at last into the hallowed borders of the academic town.

It was a shallow, two-story white house before which we stopped, just
at the entrance of the central village, the residence of a very
worthy professor in the theological seminary,--learned, amiable,
exemplary, but thought by certain experts to be a little questionable
in the matter of homoousianism, or some such doctrine. There was a
great rock that showed its round back in the narrow front yard. It
looked cold and hard; but it hinted firmness and indifference to the
sentiments fast struggling to get uppermost in my youthful bosom; for
I was not too old for home-sickness,--who is: The carriage and my
fond companions had to leave me at last. I saw it go down the
declivity that sloped southward, then climb the next ascent, then
sink gradually until the window in the back of it disappeared like an
eye that shuts, and leaves the world dark to some widowed heart.

Sea-sickness and home-sickness are hard to deal with by any remedy
but time. Mine was not a bad case, but it excited sympathy. There
was an ancient, faded old lady in the house, very kindly, but very
deaf, rustling about in dark autumnal foliage of silk or other
murmurous fabric, somewhat given to snuff, but a very worthy
gentlewoman of the poor-relation variety. She comforted me, I well
remember, but not with apples, and stayed me, but not with flagons.
She went in her benevolence, and, taking a blue and white soda-
powder, mingled the same in water, and encouraged me to drink the
result. It might be a specific for seasickness, but it was not for
home-sickness. The fiz was a mockery, and the saline refrigerant
struck a colder chill to my despondent heart. I did not disgrace
myself, however, and a few days cured me, as a week on the water
often cures seasickness.

There was a sober-faced boy of minute dimensions in the house, who
began to make some advances to me, and who, in spite of all the
conditions surrounding him, turned out, on better acquaintance, to be
one of the most amusing, free-spoken, mocking little imps I ever met
in my life. My room-mate came later. He was the son of a clergyman
in a neighboring town,--in fact I may remark that I knew a good many
clergymen's sons at Andover. He and I went in harness together as
well as most boys do, I suspect; and I have no grudge against him,
except that once, when I was slightly indisposed, he administered to
me,--with the best intentions, no doubt,--a dose of Indian pills,
which effectually knocked me out of time, as Mr. Morrissey would
say,--not quite into eternity, but so near it that I perfectly
remember one of the good ladies told me (after I had come to my
senses a little, and was just ready for a sip of cordial and a word
of encouragement), with that delightful plainness of speech which so
brings realities home to the imagination, that "I never should look
any whiter when I was laid out as a corpse." After my room-mate and
I had been separated twenty-five years, fate made us fellow-townsmen
and acquaintances once more in Berkshire, and now again we are close
literary neighbors; for I have just read a very pleasant article,
signed by him, in the last number of the "Galaxy." Does it not
sometimes seem as if we were all marching round and round in a
circle, like the supernumeraries who constitute the "army" of a
theatre, and that each of us meets and is met by the same and only
the same people, or their doubles, twice, thrice, or a little
oftener, before the curtain drops and the "army" puts off its
borrowed clothes?

The old Academy building had a dreary look, with its flat face, bare
and uninteresting as our own "University Building" at Cambridge,
since the piazza which relieved its monotony was taken away, and, to
balance the ugliness thus produced, the hideous projection was added
to "Harvard Hall." Two masters sat at the end of the great room,--
the principal and his assistant. Two others presided in separate
rooms, one of them the late Rev. Samuel Horatio Stearns, an excellent
and lovable man, who looked kindly on me, and for whom I always
cherished a sincere regard, a clergyman's son, too, which privilege I
did not always find the warrant of signal virtues; but no matter
about that here, and I have promised myself to be amiable.

On the side of the long room was a large clock-dial, bearing these


I had indulged in a prejudice, up to that hour, that youth was the
budding time of life, and this clock-dial, perpetually twitting me
with its seedy moral, always had a forbidding look to my vernal

I was put into a seat with an older and much bigger boy, or youth,
with a fuliginous complexion, a dilating and whitening nostril, and a
singularly malignant scowl. Many years afterwards he committed an
act of murderous violence, and ended by going to finish his days in a
madhouse. His delight was to kick my shins with all his might, under
the desk, not at all as an act of hostility, but as a gratifying and
harmless pastime. Finding this, so far as I was concerned, equally
devoid of pleasure and profit, I managed to get a seat by another
boy, the son of a very distinguished divine. He was bright enough,
and more select in his choice of recreations, at least during school
hours, than my late homicidal neighbor. But the principal called me
up presently, and cautioned me against him as a dangerous companion.
Could it be so? If the son of that boy's father could not be
trusted, what boy in Christendom could? It seemed like the story of
the youth doomed to be slain by a lion before reaching a certain age,
and whose fate found him out in the heart of the tower where his
father had shut him up for safety. Here was I, in the very dove's
nest of Puritan faith, and out of one of its eggs a serpent had been
hatched and was trying to nestle in my bosom! I parted from him,
however, none the worse for his companionship so far as I can

Of the boys who were at school with me at Andover one has acquired
great distinction among the scholars of the land. One day I observed
a new boy in a seat not very far from my own. He was a little
fellow, as I recollect him, with black hair and very bright black
eyes, when at length I got a chance to look at them. Of all the new-
comers during my whole year he was the only one whom the first glance
fixed in my memory, but there he is now, at this moment, just as he
caught my eye on the morning of his entrance. His head was between
his hands (I wonder if he does not sometimes study in that same
posture nowadays!) and his eyes were fastened to his book as if he
had been reading a will that made him heir to a million. I feel sure
that Professor Horatio Balch Hackett will not find fault with me for
writing his name under this inoffensive portrait. Thousands of faces
and forms that I have known more or less familiarly have faded from
my remembrance, but this presentment of the youthful student, sitting
there entranced over the page of his text-book,--the child-father of
the distinguished scholar that was to be,--is not a picture framed
and hung up in my mind's gallery, but a fresco on its walls, there to
remain so long as they hold together.

My especial intimate was a fine, rosy-faced boy, not quite so free of
speech as myself, perhaps, but with qualities that promised a noble
manhood, and ripened into it in due season. His name was Phinehas
Barnes, and, if he is inquired after in Portland or anywhere in the
State of Maine, something will be heard to his advantage from any
honest and intelligent citizen of that Commonwealth who answers the
question. This was one of two or three friendships that lasted.
There were other friends and classmates, one of them a natural
humorist of the liveliest sort, who would have been quarantined in
any Puritan port, his laugh was so potently contagious.

Of the noted men of Andover the one whom I remember best was
Professor Moses Stuart. His house was nearly opposite the one in
which I resided and I often met him and listened to him in the chapel
of the Seminary. I have seen few more striking figures in my life
than his, as I remember it. Tall, lean, with strong, bold features,
a keen, scholarly, accipitrine nose, thin, expressive lips, great
solemnity and impressiveness of voice and manner, he was my early
model of a classic orator. His air was Roman, his neck long and bare
like Cicero's, and his toga,--that is his broadcloth cloak,--was
carried on his arm, whatever might have been the weather, with such a
statue-like rigid grace that he might have been turned into marble as
he stood, and looked noble by the side of the antiques of the

Dr. Porter was an invalid, with the prophetic handkerchief bundling
his throat, and his face "festooned"--as I heard Hillard say once,
speaking of one of our College professors--in folds and wrinkles.
Ill health gives a certain common character to all faces, as Nature
has a fixed course which she follows in dismantling a human
countenance: the noblest and the fairest is but a death's-head
decently covered over for the transient ceremony of life, and the
drapery often falls half off before the procession has passed.

Dr. Woods looked his creed more decidedly, perhaps, than any of the
Professors. He had the firm fibre of a theological athlete, and
lived to be old without ever mellowing, I think, into a kind of half-
heterodoxy, as old ministers of stern creed are said to do now and
then,--just as old doctors grow to be sparing of the more
exasperating drugs in their later days. He had manipulated the
mysteries of the Infinite so long and so exhaustively, that he would
have seemed more at home among the mediaeval schoolmen than amidst
the working clergy of our own time.

All schools have their great men, for whose advent into life the
world is waiting in dumb expectancy. In due time the world seizes
upon these wondrous youth, opens the shell of their possibilities
like the valves of an oyster, swallows them at a gulp, and they are
for the most part heard of no more. We had two great men, grown up
both of them. Which was the more awful intellectual power to be
launched upon society, we debated. Time cut the knot in his rude
fashion by taking one away early, and padding the other with
prosperity so that his course was comparatively noiseless and
ineffective. We had our societies, too; one in particular, "The
Social Fraternity," the dread secrets of which I am under a lifelong
obligation never to reveal. The fate of William Morgan, which the
community learned not long after this time, reminds me of the danger
of the ground upon which I am treading.

There were various distractions to make the time not passed in study
a season of relief. One good lady, I was told, was in the habit of
asking students to her house on Saturday afternoons and praying with
and for them. Bodily exercise was not, however, entirely superseded
by spiritual exercises, and a rudimentary form of base-ball and the
heroic sport of football were followed with some spirit.

A slight immature boy finds his materials of though and enjoyment in
very shallow and simple sources. Yet a kind of romance gilds for me
the sober tableland of that cold New England hill where I came in
contact with a world so strange to me, and destined to leave such
mingled and lasting impressions. I looked across the valley to the
hillside where Methuen hung suspended, and dreamed of its wooded
seclusion as a village paradise. I tripped lightly down the long
northern slope with facilis descensus on my lips, and toiled up
again, repeating sed revocare gradum. I wandered' in the autumnal
woods that crown the "Indian Ridge," much wondering at that vast
embankment, which we young philosophers believed with the vulgar to
be of aboriginal workmanship, not less curious, perhaps, since we
call it an escar, and refer it to alluvial agencies. The little
Shawshine was our swimming-school, and the great Merrimack, the right
arm of four toiling cities, was within reach of a morning stroll. At
home we had the small imp to make us laugh at his enormities, for he
spared nothing in his talk, and was the drollest little living
protest against the prevailing solemnities of the locality. It did
not take much to please us, I suspect, and it is a blessing that this
is apt to be so with young people. What else could have made us
think it great sport to leave our warm beds in the middle of winter
and "camp out,"--on the floor of our room,--with blankets disposed
tent-wise, except the fact that to a boy a new discomfort in place of
an old comfort is often a luxury.

More exciting occupation than any of these was to watch one of the
preceptors to see if he would not drop dead while he was praying. He
had a dream one night that he should, and looked upon it as a
warning, and told it round very seriously, and asked the boys to come
and visit him in turn, as one whom they were soon to lose. More than
one boy kept his eye on him during his public devotions, possessed by
the same feeling the man had who followed Van Amburgh about with the
expectation, let us not say the hope, of seeing the lion bite his
head off sooner or later.

Let me not forget to recall the interesting visit to Haverhill with
my room-mate, and how he led me to the mighty bridge over the
Merrimack which defied the ice-rafts of the river; and to the old
meetinghouse, where, in its porch, I saw the door of the ancient
parsonage, with the bullet-hole in it through which Benjamin Rolfe,
the minister, was shot by the Indians on the 29th of August, 1708.
What a vision it was when I awoke in the morning to see the fog on
the river seeming as if it wrapped the towers and spires of a great
city!--for such was my fancy, and whether it was a mirage of youth or
a fantastic natural effect I hate to inquire too nicely.

My literary performances at Andover, if any reader who may have
survived so far cares to know, included a translation from Virgil,
out of which I remember this couplet, which had the inevitable
cockney rhyme of beginners:

"Thus by the power of Jove's imperial arm
The boiling ocean trembled into calm."

Also a discussion with Master Phinehas Barnes on the case of Mary,
Queen of Scots, which he treated argumentatively and I rhetorically
and sentimentally. My sentences were praised and his conclusions
adopted. Also an Essay, spoken at the great final exhibition, held
in the large hall up-stairs, which hangs oddly enough from the roof,
suspended by iron rods. Subject, Fancy. Treatment, brief but
comprehensive, illustrating the magic power of that brilliant faculty
in charming life into forgetfulness of all the ills that flesh is
heir to,--the gift of Heaven to every condition and every clime, from
the captive in his dungeon to the monarch on his throne; from the
burning sands of the desert to the frozen icebergs of the poles,
from--but I forget myself.

This was the last of my coruscations at Andover. I went from the
Academy to Harvard College, and did not visit the sacred hill again
for a long time.

On the last day of August, 1867, not having been at Andover, for
many years, I took the cars at noon, and in an hour or a little more
found myself at the station,--just at the foot of the hill. My first
pilgrimage was to the old elm, which I remembered so well as standing
by the tavern, and of which they used to tell the story that it held,
buried in it by growth, the iron rings put round it in the old time
to keep the Indians from chopping it with their tomahawks. I then
began the once familiar toil of ascending the long declivity.
Academic villages seem to change very slowly. Once in a hundred
years the library burns down with all its books. A new edifice or
two may be put up, and a new library begun in the course of the same
century; but these places are poor, for the most part, and cannot
afford to pull down their old barracks.

These sentimental journeys to old haunts must be made alone. The
story of them must be told succinctly. It is like the opium-smoker's
showing you the pipe from which he has just inhaled elysian bliss,
empty of the precious extract which has given him his dream.

I did not care much for the new Academy building on my right, nor for
the new library building on my left. But for these it was surprising
to see how little the scene I remembered in my boyhood had changed.
The Professors' houses looked just as they used to, and the stage-
coach landed its passengers at the Mansion House as of old. The pale
brick seminary buildings were behind me on the left, looking as if
"Hollis" and "Stoughton" had been transplanted from Cambridge,--
carried there in the night by orthodox angels, perhaps, like the
Santa Casa. Away to my left again, but abreast of me, was the bleak,
bare old Academy building; and in front of me stood unchanged the
shallow oblong white house where I lived a year in the days of James
Monroe and of John Quincy Adams.

The ghost of a boy was at my side as I wandered among the places he
knew so well. I went to the front of the house. There was the great
rock showing its broad back in the front yard. I used to crack nuts
on that, whispered the small ghost. I looked in at the upper window
in the farther part of the house. I looked out of that on four long
changing seasons, said the ghost. I should have liked to explore
farther, but, while I was looking, one came into the small garden, or
what used to be the garden, in front of the house, and I desisted
from my investigation and went on my way. The apparition that put me
and my little ghost to flight had a dressing-gown on its person and a
gun in its hand. I think it was the dressing-gown, and not the gun,
which drove me off.

And now here is the shop, or store, that used to be Shipman's, after
passing what I think used to be Jonathan Leavitt's bookbindery, and
here is the back road that will lead me round by the old Academy

Could I believe my senses when I found that it was turned into a
gymnasium, and heard the low thunder of ninepin balls, and the crash
of tumbling pins from those precincts? The little ghost said, Never!
It cannot be. But it was. "Have they a billiard-room in the upper
story?" I asked myself. "Do the theological professors take a hand
at all-fours or poker on weekdays, now and then, and read the secular
columns of the 'Boston Recorder' on Sundays?" I was demoralized for
the moment, it is plain; but now that I have recovered from the
shock, I must say that the fact mentioned seems to show a great
advance in common sense from the notions prevailing in my time.

I sauntered,--we, rather, my ghost and I,--until we came to a broken
field where there was quarrying and digging going on,--our old base-
ball ground, hard by the burial-place. There I paused; and if any
thoughtful boy who loves to tread in the footsteps that another has
sown with memories of the time when he was young shall follow my
footsteps, I need not ask him to rest here awhile, for he will be
enchained by the noble view before him. Far to the north and west
the mountains of New Hampshire lifted their summits in along
encircling ridge of pale blue waves. The day was clear, and every
mound and peak traced its outline with perfect definition against the
sky. This was a sight which had more virtue and refreshment in it
than any aspect of nature that I had looked upon, I am afraid I must
say for years. I have been by the seaside now and then, but the sea
is constantly busy with its own affairs, running here and there,
listening to what the winds have to say and getting angry with them,
always indifferent, often insolent, and ready to do a mischief to
those who seek its companionship. But these still, serene,
unchanging mountains,--Monadnock, Kearsarge,--what memories that name
recalls!--and the others, the dateless Pyramids of New England, the
eternal monuments of her ancient race, around which cluster the homes
of so many of her bravest and hardiest children,--I can never look at
them without feeling that, vast and remote and awful as they are,
there is a kind of inward heat and muffled throb in their stony
cores, that brings them into a vague sort of sympathy with human
hearts. It is more than a year since I have looked on those blue
mountains, and they "are to me as a feeling" now, and have been ever

I had only to pass a wall and I was in the burial-ground. It was
thinly tenanted as I remember it, but now populous with the silent
immigrants of more than a whole generation. There lay the dead I had
left, the two or three students of the Seminary; the son of the
worthy pair in whose house I lived, for whom in those days hearts
were still aching, and by whose memory the house still seemed
haunted. A few upright stones were all that I recollect. But now,
around them were the monuments of many of the dead whom I remembered
as living. I doubt if there has been a more faithful reader of these
graven stones than myself for many a long day. I listened to more
than one brief sermon from preachers whom I had often heard as they
thundered their doctrines down upon me from the throne-like desk.
Now they spoke humbly out of the dust, from a narrower pulpit, from
an older text than any they ever found in Cruden's Concordance, but
there was an eloquence in their voices the listening chapel had never
known. There were stately monuments and studied inscriptions, but
none so beautiful, none so touching, as that which hallows the
resting-place of one of the children of the very learned Professor
Robinson: "Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well."

While I was musing amidst these scenes in the mood of Hamlet, two old
men, as my little ghost called them, appeared on the scene to answer
to the gravedigger and his companion. They christened a mountain or
two for me, "Kearnsarge" among the rest, and revived some old
recollections, of which the most curious was "Basil's Cave." The
story was recent, when I was there, of one Basil, or Bezill, or
Buzzell, or whatever his name might have been, a member of the
Academy, fabulously rich, Orientally extravagant, and of more or less
lawless habits. He had commanded a cave to be secretly dug, and
furnished it sumptuously, and there with his companions indulged in
revelries such as the daylight of that consecrated locality had never

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