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The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 58, August, 1862 by Various

Part 2 out of 5

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"It may give me assistance."

"It will not. What does Miss Nightingale know of Lettie?"

Well, what does she? I don't know, and so I had to answer,--


"That doctor is here," said Kate, at the door.

"Are you coming up, too?" he asked, as he turned suddenly upon me,
half-way out of the room.

"Certainly!"--and I went out with him.

Up the wide staircase walked the little maid, lighting the way,
followed by the doctor, Mr. Axtell, and Anna Percival.

Kate opened the door of a room just over the library, where we had

The doctor went in, quietly moving on toward the fireplace, in which
burned a cheery wood-fire. In front of it, in one of those large
comfort-giving, chintz-covered, cushioned chairs, sat Miss Axtell; but
the comfort of the chair was nothing to her, for she sat leaning
forward, with her chin resting upon the palm of her right hand, and
her eyes were gone away, were burning into the heart of the amber
flame that fled into darkness up the chimney. Hers was the style of
face which one might expect to find under Dead-Sea waves, if diver
_could_ go down,--a face anxious to escape from Sodom, and held
fast there, under heavy, heavy waters, yet still with its eyes turned
toward Zoar.

Now a feverous heat flushed her face, white a moment before, when we
came in; but she did not turn away her eyes,--they seemed fixed, out
of her control. The doctor laid his hand upon her forehead. It broke
the spell that bound her gaze. She spoke quite calmly. I almost smiled
to think any one could imagine danger of brain-fever from that calm
creature who said,--

"Please don't give me anything, Doctor Eaton; believe me, I shall do
better without."

"And then we shall have you sick on our hands, Abraham and I. What
should we do with you?"

"I'll try not to trouble you," she said,--"but I would rather you left
me to myself to-night"; but even as she spoke, a quick convulsion of
muscles about her face told of pain.

Doctor Eaton had not seen me, for I stood in the shadow of the bed
behind him.

"Who will stay with your sister tonight?" he asked Mr. Axtell.

Mr. Axtell looked around at me, as if expecting that I would answer;
and I presented myself for the office.

"You look scarcely fit," was the village-physician's somewhat
ungracious comment; and his eyes said, what his lips dared not,--"Who
are you?"

"I think you'll find me so, if you try me."

Miss Axtell had gone away again, and neither saw nor heeded me.

"Will you come below?"--and the doctor looked at me as he went out.

I followed him. In the library he shut the door, sat down near the
table, took from his pocket a small phial containing a light brown
powder, and, dividing a piece of paper into the minute scraps needful,
made a deposit in each from the phial, and then, folding over the bits
of paper, handed them to me.

"Are you accustomed to take care of sick persons?" he asked.

"Not much; but I am a physician's daughter. I have a little

"Are you a visitor here?"

"No,--at the parsonage."

A pair of quick gray eyes danced out at me from under browy cliffs
clothed with a ledge of lashes, in an actually startling manner. I
didn't think the man had so much of life in him.

"You're Mrs. Wilton's sister, perhaps."

"I am."

"Give her one of these every half-hour, till she falls asleep."

"Yes, Sir."

"Don't let her talk; but she won't, though. If she gets
incoherent,--says wild things,--talks of what you can't
understand,--send for me; I live next door."

"Is this all for her?"

"Enough. Do you know her?"

"I never saw her until to-night."

"The brother? Monstrous fellow."

"Until to-day."

"Look up there."


"On the wall."

"At what?"

There were several paintings hanging there.

"The face, of course."

"I can't see it very well."

Shadows were upon it, and the lampshade was on.

"Then I'll take this off"; and Doctor Eaton removed the shade, letting
the light up to the wall.

"A young girl's face," I said.

The doctor was looking at me, and not at the painting there. A little
bit of confusion came,--I don't know why.

"Do you like it?" I ventured.

"I like it? I'm not the one to like it."

"Somebody does, then?"

"Of course. What did he paint it for, if he didn't like it?"

"I do not know of whom you are talking, at all," I said, a little
vexed at this information-no-information style.

"You don't?" in a voice of the utmost astonishment.

"No. Is this all, for the sick lady? I think I ought to go to her."

"Of course you ought. It's a sad thing, this death in the house"; and
Doctor Eaton picked up his hat, and opened the door.

Kate was waiting in the hall.

"Mr. Abraham thinks you'd better look in and see if it's well to have
any watchers in there, before you go," she said.

"Well, light me in, then, Katie. You wait in there, if you please,
Miss," to me; and I saw the two go to the front-room on the right.

A waft of something, it may have been the air that came out of that
room, sent me back from the hall, and I shut the door behind me. It
was several minutes before they came back. In the interim I had taken
a long look at the face on the wall. It seemed too young to be very
beautiful, and I couldn't help wishing that the artist had waited a
year or two, until a little more of the outline of life had come to
it; yet it was a sweet, loving face, with a brow as low and cool as
Sophie's own, only it hadn't any shadow of an Aaron on it. I didn't
hear the door open, I hadn't heard the sound of living thing, when
some one said, close to me, as I was standing looking up at the face
I've spoken of,--

"What are you doing?"

It was Mr. Axtell, and the voice was a prickly one.

"Is there any harm?" I said. "I'm only looking here,"--pointing to
where my eyes had been before. "Who painted it?"

"An unknown, poor painter."

"Was he poor in spirit?"

"He is now, I trust."

A man that has variant voices is a cruel thing in this world, because
one cannot help their coming in at some one of the gates of the heart,
which cannot all be guarded at the same moment. "Poor in spirit?" "He
is now, I trust." I felt decidedly vexed at this man before me for
having such tones in his voice.

"Can I go up to Miss Axtell now?" I asked.

"In a moment, when Kate has shown Doctor Eaton out."

I picked up my powders and my illustrious book, and waited.

Kate came.

"The doctor says there's no need," she said, in her laconic way.

Kate, I afterwards learned, was the daughter of the farmer that Sophie
heard Miss Axtell consoling for the loss of his wife, one day.


My budding Daphne wanted scope
To bourgeon all her flowers of hope.

She felt a cramp around her root
That crippled every outmost shoot.

I set me to the kindly task;
I found a trim and tidy cask,

Shapely and painted; straightway seized
The timely waif; and, quick released

From earthen bound and sordid thrall,
My Daphne sat there, proud and tall.

Stately and tall, like any queen,
She spread her farthingale of green;

Nor stinted aught with larger fate,
For that she was innately great.

I learned, in accidental way,
A secret, on an after-day,--

A chance that marked the simple change
As something ominous and strange.

And so, therefrom, with anxious care,
Almost with underthought of prayer,

As, day by day, my listening soul
Waited to catch the coming roll

Of pealing victory, that should bear
My country's triumph on the air,--

I tended gently all the more
The plant whose life a portent bore.

The weary winter wore away,
And still we waited, day by day;

And still, in full and leafy pride,
My Daphne strengthened at my side,

Till her fair buds outburst their bars,
And whitened gloriously to stars!

Above each stalwart, loyal stem
Rested their heavenly diadem,

And flooded forth their incense rare,
A breathing Joy, upon the air!

Well might my backward thought recall
The cramp, the hindrance, and the thrall,

The strange release to larger space,
The issue into growth and grace,

And joyous hail the homely sign
That so had spelled a hope divine!

For all this life, and light, and bloom,
This breath of Peace that blessed the room,

Was born from out the banded rim,
Once crowded close, and black, and grim,

With grains that feed the Cannon's breath,
And boom his sentences of death!


"On the whole, it was very disagreeable," wrote a certain great
traveller and hunter, summing up an account of his position, as he
composed himself to rest upon a certain evening after a hard day's
work. And no doubt it must have been very disagreeable. The night was
cold and dark; and the intrepid traveller had to lie down to sleep in
the open air, without even a tree to shelter him. A heavy shower of
hail was falling,--each hailstone about the size of an egg. The dark
air was occasionally illuminated by forked lightning, of the most
appalling aspect; and the thunder was deafening. By various sounds,
heard in the intervals of the peals, it seemed evident that the
vicinity was pervaded by wolves, tigers, elephants, wild-boars, and
serpents. A peculiar motion, perceptible under horse-cloth which was
wrapped up to serve as a pillow, appeared to indicate that a snake was
wriggling about underneath it. The hunter had some ground for thinking
that it was a very venomous one, as indeed in the morning it proved to
be; but he was too tired to look. And speaking of the general
condition of matters upon that evening, the hunter stated, with great
mildness of language, that "it was very disagreeable."

Most readers would be disposed to say that _disagreeable_ was
hardly the right word. No doubt, all things that are perilous,
horrible, awful, ghastly, deadly, and the like, are disagreeable
too. But when we use the word disagreeable by itself, our meaning is
understood to be, that in calling the thing disagreeable we have said
the worst of it. A long and tiresome sermon is disagreeable; but a
venomous snake under your pillow passes beyond being disagreeable. To
have a tooth stopped is disagreeable; to be broken on the wheel
(though nobody could like it) transcends _that_. If a thing be
horrible and awful, you would not say it was disagreeable. The
greater includes the less: as when a human being becomes entitled to
write D.D. after his name, he drops all mention of the M.A. borne in
preceding years.

Let this truth be remembered, by such as shall read the following
pages. We are to think about disagreeable people. Let it be
understood that (speaking generally) we are to think of people who are
no worse than disagreeable. It cannot be denied, even by the most
prejudiced, that murderers, pirates, slave-drivers, and burglars, are
disagreeable. The cut-throat, the poisoner, the sneaking black-guard
who shoots his landlord from behind a hedge, are no doubt disagreeable
people,--so very disagreeable that in this country the common consent
of mankind removes them from human society by the instrumentality of a
halter. But disagreeable is too mild a word. Such people are all that,
and a great deal more. And accordingly they stand beyond the range of
this dissertation. We are to treat of folk who are disagreeable, and
not worse than disagreeable. We may sometimes, indeed, overstep the
boundary-line. But it is to be remembered that there are people who
in the main are good people, who yet are extremely disagreeable. And
a further complication is introduced into the subject by the fact,
that some people who are far from good are yet unquestionably
agreeable. You disapprove them; but you cannot help liking
them. Others, again, are substantially good; yet you are angry with
yourself to find that you cannot like them.

I take for granted that all observant human beings will admit that in
this world there are disagreeable people. Probably the distinction
which presses itself most strongly upon our attention, as we mingle in
the society of our fellow-men, is the distinction between agreeable
people and disagreeable. There are various tests, more or less
important, which put all mankind to right and left. A familiar
division is into rich and poor. Thomas Paine, with great vehemence,
denied the propriety of that classification, and declared that the
only true and essential classification of mankind is into male and
female. I have read a story whose author maintained, that, to his
mind, by far the most interesting and thorough division of our race is
into such as have been hanged and such as have not been hanged: he
himself belonging to the former class. But we all, more or less,
recognize and act upon the great classification of all human beings
into the agreeable and the disagreeable. And we begin very early to
recognize and act upon it. Very early in life, the little child
understands and feels the vast difference between people who are nice
and people who are not nice. In school-boy days, the first thing
settled as to any new acquaintance, man or boy, is on which side he
stands of the great boundary-line. It is not genius, not scholarship,
not wisdom, not strength nor speed, that fixes the man's place. None
of these things is chiefly looked to: the question is, Is he agreeable
or disagreeable? And according as that question is decided, the man is
described, in the forcible language of youth, as "a brick," or as "a

Yet it is to be remembered that the division between the agreeable and
disagreeable of mankind is one which may be transcended. It is a
scratch on the earth,--not a ten-foot wall. And you will find men who
pass from one side of it to the other, and back again,--probably
several times in a week, or even in a day. There are people whom you
never know where to have. They are constantly skipping from side to
side of that line of demarcation; or they even walk along with a foot
on each side of it. There are people who are always disagreeable, and
disagreeable to all men. There are people who are agreeable at some
times, and disagreeable at others. There are people who are agreeable
to some men, and disagreeable to other men. I do not intend by the
last-named class people who intentionally make themselves agreeable to
a certain portion of the race, to which they think it worth while to
make themselves agreeable, and who do not take that trouble in the
case of the remainder of humankind. What I mean is this: that there
are people who have such an affinity and sympathy with certain other
people, who so _suit_ certain other people, that they are
agreeable to these other people, though perhaps not particularly so to
the race at large. And exceptional tastes and likings are often the
strongest. The thing you like enthusiastically another man absolutely
loathes. The thing which all men like is for the most part liked with
a mild and subdued liking. Everybody likes good and well-made bread;
but nobody goes into raptures over it. Few persons like caviare; but
those who do like it are very fond of it. I never knew but one being
who liked mustard with apple-pie; but that solitary man ate it with
avidity, and praised the flavor with enthusiasm.

But it is impossible to legislate for every individual case. Every
rule must have exceptions from it; but it would be foolish to resolve
to lay down no more rules. There may be, somewhere, the man who likes
Mr. Snarling; and to that man Mr. Snarling would doubtless be
agreeable. But for practical purposes Mr. Snarling may justly be
described as a disagreeable man, if he be disagreeable to nine hundred
and ninety-nine mortals out of every thousand. And with precision
sufficient for the ordinary business of life we may say that there are
people who are essentially disagreeable.

There are people who go through life, leaving an unpleasant influence
on all whom they come near. You are not at your ease in their
society. You feel awkward and constrained while with them. _That_
is probably the mildest degree in the scale of unpleasantness. There
are people who disseminate a much worse influence. As the upas-tree
was said to blight all the country round it, so do these disagreeable
folk prejudicially affect the whole surrounding moral atmosphere.
They chill all warmth of heart in those near them; they put down
anything generous or magnanimous; they suggest unpleasant thoughts and
associations; they excite a diverse and numerous array of bad
tempers. The great evil of disagreeable people lies in this: that they
tend powerfully to make other people disagreeable too. And these
people are not necessarily bad people, though they produce a bad
effect. It is not certain that they design to be disagreeable. There
are those who do entertain that design; and they always succeed in
carrying it out. Nobody ever tried diligently to be disagreeable, and
failed. Such persons may, indeed, inflict much less annoyance than
they wished; they may even fail of inflicting any pain whatever on
others; but they make themselves as disgusting as they could desire.
And in many cases they succeed in inflicting a good deal of pain. A
very low, vulgar, petty, and uncultivated nature may cause much
suffering to a lofty, noble, and refined one,--particularly if the
latter be in a position of dependence or subjection. A wretched hornet
may madden a noble horse; a contemptible mosquito may destroy the
night's rest which would have recruited a noble brain. But without any
evil intention, sometimes with the very kindest intention, there are
those who worry and torment you. It is through want of perception,
--want of tact,--coarseness of nature,--utter lack of power
to understand you. Were you ever sitting in a considerable company, a
good deal saddened by something you did not choose to tell to any one,
and probably looking dull and dispirited enough,--and did a fussy host
or hostess draw the attention of the entire party upon you, by
earnestly and repeatedly asking if you were ill, if you had a
headache, because you seemed so dull and so unlike yourself? And did
that person time after time return to the charge, till you would have
liked to poison him? There is nothing more disagreeable, and few
things more mischievous, than a well-meaning, meddling fool. And
where there was no special intention, good or bad, towards yourself,
you have known people make you uncomfortable through the simple
exhibition to you, and pressure upon you, of their own inherent
disagreeableness. You have known people after talking to whom for a
while you felt disgusted with everything, and above all, with those
people themselves. Talking to them, you felt your moral nature being
rubbed against the grain, being stung all over with nettles. You
showed your new house and furniture to such a man, and with eagle eye
he traced out and pointed out every scratch on your fine fresh paint,
and every flaw in your oak and walnut; he showed you that there were
corners of your big mirrors that distorted your face,--that there were
bits of your grand marble mantel-pieces that might be expected soon to
scale away. Or you have known a man who, with no evil intention, made
it his practice to talk of you before your face as your other friends
are accustomed to talk of you behind your back. It need not be said
that the result is anything but pleasant. "What a fool you were,
Smith, in saying _that_ at Snooks's last night!" your friend
exclaims, when you meet him next morning. You were quite aware, by
this time, that what you said was foolish; but there is something
grating in hearing your name connected with the unpleasant epithet. I
would strongly advise any man, who does not wish to be set down as
disagreeable, entirely to break off the habit (if he has such a habit)
of addressing to even his best friends any sentence beginning with
"What a fool you were." Let me offer the like advice as to sentences
which set out as follows:--"I say, Smith, I think your brother is the
greatest fool on the face of the earth." Stop that kind of thing, my
friend; or you may come to be classed with Mr. Snarling. You are
probably a manly fellow, and a sincere friend; and for the sake of
your substantial good qualities, one would stand a great deal. But
over-frankness is disagreeable; and if you make over-frankness your
leading characteristic, of course your entire character will come to
be disagreeable, and you will be a disagreeable person.

Besides the people who are disagreeable through malignant intention,
and through deficiency of sensitiveness, there are other people who
are disagreeable through pure ill-luck. It is quite certain that there
are people whom evil fortune dogs through all their life, who are
thoroughly and hopelessly unlucky. And in no respect have we beheld a
man's ill-luck so persecute him as in the matter of making him
(without the slightest evil purpose, and even when he is most anxious
to render himself agreeable) render himself extremely disagreeable. Of
course there must be some measure of thoughtlessness and
forgetfulness,--some lack of that social caution, so indispensable in
the complication of modern society, which teaches a man (so to speak)
to try if the ice will bear him before venturing his entire weight
upon it,--about people who are unlucky in the way of which I am
speaking. But doubtless you have known persons who were always saying
disagreeable things, or putting disagreeable questions,--either
through forgetfulness of things which they ought to have remembered,
or through unhappily chancing on forbidden ground. You will find a
man, a thoughtless, but quite good-natured man, begin at a
dinner-table to relate a succession of stories very much to the
prejudice of somebody, while somebody's daughter is sitting opposite
him. And you will find the man quite obtuse to all the hints by which
the host or hostess tries to stop him, and going on to particulars
worse and worse, till, in terror of what all this might grow to, the
hostess has to exclaim, "Mr. Smith, you won't take a hint: _that_
is Mr. Somebody's daughter sitting opposite you." It is quite
essential that any man, whose conversation consists mainly of
observations not at all to the advantage of some absent acquaintance,
should carefully feel his way before giving full scope to his malice
and his invention, in the presence of any general company. And before
making any playful reference to halters, you should be clear that you
are not talking to a man whose grandfather was hanged. Nor should you
venture any depreciatory remarks upon men who have risen from the
ranks, unless you are tolerably versed in the family-history of those
to whom you are talking. You may have heard a man very jocular upon
lunatic-asylums, to another who had several brothers and sisters in
one. And though in some cases human beings may render themselves
disagreeable through a combination of circumstances which really
absolves them from all blame, yet, as a general rule, the man who is
disagreeable through ill-luck is at least guilty of culpable

* * * * *

You have probably, my reader, known people who had the faculty of
making themselves extremely agreeable. You have known one or two men
who, whenever you met them, conveyed to you, by a remarkably frank and
genial manner, an impression that they esteemed you as one of their
best and dearest friends. A vague idea took possession of your mind
that they had been longing to see you ever since they saw you
last,--which in all probability was six or twelve months
previously. And during all that period it may be regarded as quite
certain that the thought of you had never once entered their
mind. Such a manner has a vast effect upon young and inexperienced
folk. The inexperienced man fancies that this manner, so wonderfully
frank and friendly, is reserved specially for himself, and is a
recognition of his own special excellences. But the man of greater
experience has come to suspect this manner, and to see through it. He
has discovered that it is the same to everybody,--at least, to
everybody to whom it is thought worth while to put it on. And he no
more thinks of arguing the existence of any particular liking for
himself, or of any particular merit in himself, from that friendly
manner, than he thinks of believing, on a warm summer day, that the
sun has a special liking for himself, and is looking so beautiful and
bright all for himself. It is perhaps unjust to accuse the man, always
overflowing in geniality upon everybody he meets, of being an impostor
or humbug. Perhaps he does feel an irrepressible gush of love to all
his race: but why convey to each individual of the race that he loves
_him_ more than all the others?

Yet it is to be admitted that it is always well that a man should be
agreeable. Pleasantness is always a pleasing thing. And a sensible
man, seeking by honest means to make himself agreeable, will generally
succeed in making himself agreeable to sensible men. But although
there is an implied compliment, to your power, if not to your
personality, in the fact of a man's taking pains to make himself
agreeable to you, it is certain that he may try to make himself so by
means of which the upshot will be to make him intensely
disagreeable. You know the fawning, sneaking manner which an
occasional shopkeeper adopts. It is most disagreeable to
right-thinking people. Let him remember that he is also a man; and
let his manner be manly as well as civil. It is an awful and
humiliating sight, a man who is always squeezing himself together like
a whipped dog, whenever you speak to him,--grinning and bowing, and
(in a moral sense) wriggling about before you on the earth, and
begging you to wipe your feet on his head. You cannot help thinking
that the sneak would be a tyrant, if he had the opportunity. It is
pleasant to find people, in the humblest position, blending a manly
independence of demeanor with the regard justly due to those placed by
Providence farther up the social scale. Yet doubtless there are
persons to whom the sneakiest manner is agreeable,--who enjoy the
flattery and the humiliation of the wretched toady who is always ready
to tell them that they are the most beautiful, graceful, witty,
well-informed, aristocratic-looking, and generally-beloved of the
human race. You must remember that it depends very much upon the
nature of a man himself whether any particular demeanor shall be
agreeable to him or not. And you know well that a cringing, toadying
manner, which would be thoroughly disgusting to a person of sense, may
be extremely agreeable and delightful to a self-conceited idiot. Was
there not an idiotic monarch who was greatly pleased, when his
courtiers, in speaking to him, affected to veil their eyes with their
hands, as unable to bear the insufferable effulgence of his
countenance? And would not a monarch of sense have been ready to kick
the people who thus treated him like a fool? And every one has
observed that there are silly women who are much gratified by coarse
and fulsome compliments upon their personal appearance, which would be
regarded as grossly insulting by a woman of sense. You may have heard
of country-gentlemen, of Radical politics, who had seldom wandered
beyond their paternal acres, (by their paternal acres I mean the acres
they had recently bought,) and who had there grown into a fixed belief
that they were among the noblest and mightiest of the earth, who
thought their parish-clergyman an agreeable man, if he voted at the
county-election for the candidate they supported, though that
candidate's politics were directly opposed to those of the
parson. These individuals, of course, would hold their clergyman as a
disagreeable man, if he held by his own principles, and quite declined
to take their wishes into account in exercising the trust of the
franchise. Now, of course, a nobleman or gentleman of right feeling
would regard the parson as a turncoat and sneak, who should thus deny
his convictions. Yes, there is no doubt that you may make yourself
agreeable to unworthy folk by unworthy means. A late marquis declared
on his dying bed, that a two-legged animal, of human pretensions, who
had acted as his valet, and had aided that hoary reprobate in the
gratification of his peculiar tastes, was "an excellent man." And you
may remember how Burke said, that, as we learn that a certain
Mr. Russell made himself very agreeable to Henry VIII., we may
reasonably suppose that Mr. Russell was himself (in a humble degree)
something like his master. Probably, to most right-minded men, the
fact that a man was agreeable to Henry VIII., or to the marquis in
question, or to Belial, Beelzebub, or Apollyon, would tend to make
that man remarkably disagreeable. And let the reader remember the
guarded way in which the writer laid down his general principle as to
pleasantness of character and demeanor. I said that a sensible man,
seeking by honest means to make himself agreeable, will generally
succeed in making himself agreeable to sensible men. I exclude from
the class of men to be esteemed agreeable those who would disgust all
but fools or blackguards. I exclude parsons who express heretical
views in theology in the presence of a patron known to be a
freethinker. I exclude men who do great folk's dirty work. I exclude
all toad-eaters, sneaks, flatterers, and fawning impostors,--from the
school-boy who thinks to gain his master's favor by voluntarily
bearing tales of his companions, up to the bishop who declared that he
regarded it not merely as a constitutional principle, but as an
ethical fact, that the king could do no wrong, and the other bishop
who declared that the reason why George II. died was that this world
was not good enough for him, and it was necessary to transfer him to
heaven that he might be the right man in the right place. Such persons
may succeed in making themselves agreeable to the man with whom they
desire to ingratiate themselves, provided that man be a fool or a
knave; but they assuredly render themselves disagreeable, not to say
revolting, to all human beings whose good opinion is worth the
possessing. And though any one who is not a fool will generally make
himself agreeable to people of ordinary temper and nervous system, if
he wishes to do so, it is to be remembered that too intrusive attempts
to be agreeable often make a man very disagreeable; and likewise, that
a man is the reverse of agreeable, if you see that he is trying, by
managing and humoring you, to make himself agreeable to you,--I mean,
if you can see that he is smoothing you down, and agreeing with you,
and trying to get you on your blind side, as if he thought you a baby
or a lunatic. And there is all the difference in the world between the
frank, hearty wish in man or woman to be agreeable, and this
diplomatic and indirect way. No man likes to think that he is being
managed as Mr. Rarey might manage an unbroken colt. And though many
human beings must in fact be thus managed,--though a person of wrong
head, or of outrageous vanity, or of invincible prejudices, must be
managed very much as you would manage a lunatic, (being, in fact,
removed from perfect sanity upon these points,) still, they must never
be allowed to discern that they are being managed, or the charm will
fail at once. I confess, for myself, that I am no believer in the
efficacy of diplomacy and indirect ways in dealing with one's
fellow-creatures. I believe that a manly, candid, straight-forward
course is always the best. Treat people in a perfectly frank
manner,--you will be agreeable to most of those to whom you will
desire to be so.

My reader, I am now about to tell you of certain sorts of human beings
who appear to me as worthy of being ranked among disagreeable
people. I do not pretend to give you an exhaustive catalogue of
such. Doubtless you have your own black beasts, your own special
aversions, which have for you a disagreeableness beyond the
understanding or sympathy of others. Nor do I make quite sure that you
will agree with me in all the views which I am going to set forth. It
is not impossible that you may regard as very nice people or even as
quite fascinating and inthralling people, certain people whom I regard
as intensely disagreeable. Let me begin with an order of human beings,
as to which I do not expect every one who reads this page to go along
with me, though I do not know any opinion which I hold more resolutely
than that which I am about to express.

We all understand the kind of thing which is meant by people who talk
of _Muscular Christianity_. It is certainly a noble and excellent
thing to make people discern that a good Christian need not be a muff
(pardon the slang term: there is no other that would bring out my
meaning). It is a fine thing to make it plain that manliness and dash
may co-exist with pure morality and sincere piety. It is a fine thing
to make young fellows comprehend that there is nothing fine and manly
in being bad and nothing unmanly in being good. And in this view it is
impossible to value too highly such characters and such biographies as
those of Hodson of Hodson's Horse and Captain Hedley Vicars. It is a
splendid combination, pluck and daring in their highest degree, with
an unaffected and earnest regard to religion and religious duties,--in
short, muscularity with Christianity. A man consists of body and soul;
and both would be in their ideal perfection, if the soul were
decidedly Christian, and the body decidedly muscular.

But there are folk whose admiration of the muscularity is very great,
but whose regard for the Christianity is very small. They are
captivated by the dash and glitter of physical pluck; they are quite
content to accept it without any Christianity, and even without the
most ordinary morality and decency. They appear, indeed, to think that
the grandeur of the character is increased by the combination of
thorough blackguardism with high physical qualifications: their
gospel, in short, may be said to be that of _Unchristian
Muscularity_. And you will find various books in which the hero is
such a man: and while the writer of the book frankly admits that he is
in strict morality an extremely bad man, the writer still recalls his
doings with such manifest gusto and sympathy, and takes such pains to
make him agreeable on the whole, and relates with such approval the
admiration which empty-headed idiots express for him when he has
jumped his horse over some very perilous fence or thrashed some
insolent farmer, that it is painfully apparent what is the writer's
ideal of a grand and imposing character. You know the kind of man who
is the hero of some novels,--the muscular blackguard,--and you
remember what are his unfailing characteristics. He has a deep
chest. He has huge arms and limbs,--the muscles being knotted. He has
an immense moustache. He has (God knows why) a serene contempt for
ordinary mortals. He is always growing black with fury, and bullying
weak men. On such occasions, his lips may be observed to be twisted
into an evil sneer. He is a seducer and liar: he has ruined various
women, and had special facilities for becoming acquainted with the
rottenness of society: and occasionally he expresses, in language of
the most profane, not to say blasphemous character, a momentary regret
for having done so much harm,--such as the Devil might sentimentally
have expressed, when he had succeeded in misleading our first
parents. Of course, he never pays tradesmen for the things with which
they supply him. He can drink an enormous quantity of wine without his
head becoming affected. He looks down with entire disregard on the
laws of God and man, as made for inferior beings. As for any worthy
moral quality,--as for anything beyond a certain picturesque brutality
and bull-dog disregard of danger, not a trace of such a thing can be
found about him.

We all know, of course, that such a person, though not uncommon in
novels, very rarely occurs in real life; and if he occur at all, it is
with his ideal perfections very much toned down. In actual life, such
a hero would become known in the Insolvent Court, and would frequently
appear before the police magistrates. He would eventually become a
billiard-marker; and might ultimately be hanged, with general
approval. If the man, in his unclipped proportions, did actually
exist, it would be right that a combination should be formed to wipe
him out of creation. He should be put down,--as you would put down a
tiger or a rattlesnake, if found at liberty somewhere in the Midland
Counties. A more hateful character, to all who possess a grain of
moral discernment, could not even be imagined. And it need not be
shown that the conception of such a character is worthy only of a
baby. However many years the man who deliberately and admiringly
delineates such a person may have lived in this world, intellectually
he cannot be more than about seven years old. And none but calves the
most immature can possibly sympathize with him. Yet, if there were
not many silly persons to whom such a character is agreeable, such a
character would not be portrayed. And it seems certain that a single
exhibition of strength or daring will to some minds be the compendium
of all good qualities, or (more accurately speaking) the equivalent
for them. A muscular blackguard clears a high fence: he does precisely
that,--neither more nor less. And upon the strength of that single
achievement, the servants at the house where he is visiting declare
that they would follow him over the world. And you may find various
young women, and various women who wish to pass for young, who would
profess, and perhaps actually feel, a like enthusiasm for the muscular
blackguard. I confess that I cannot find words strong enough to
express my contempt and abhorrence for the theory of life and
character which is assumed by the writers who describe such
blackguards, and by the fools who admire them. And though very far
from saying or thinking that the kind of human being who has been
described is no worse than disagreeable, I assert with entire
confidence that to all right-thinking men he is more disagreeable than
almost any other kind of human being. And I do not know any single
lesson you could instil into a youthful mind which would be so
mischievous as the lesson that the muscular blackguard should be
regarded with any other feeling than that of pure loathing and
disgust. But let us have done with him. I cannot think of the books
which delineate him and ask you to admire him without indignation more
bitter than I wish to feel in writing such a page.

And passing to the consideration of human beings who, though
disagreeable, are good in the main, it may be laid down as a general
principle, that any person, however good, is disagreeable from whom
you feel it a relief to get away. We have all known people, thoroughly
estimable, and whom you could not but respect, in whose presence it
was impossible to feel at ease, and whose absence was felt as the
withdrawal of a sense of constraint of the most oppressive kind. And
this vague, uncomfortable influence, which breathes from some men, is
produced in various ways. Sometimes it is the result of mere stiffness
and awkwardness of manner: and there are men whose stiffness and
awkwardness of manner are such as would freeze the most genial and
silence the frankest. Sometimes it arises from ignorance of social
rules and proprieties; sometimes from incapacity to take, or even to
comprehend, a joke. Sometimes it proceeds from a pettedness of nature,
which keeps you ever in fear that offence may be taken at the most
innocent word or act. Sometimes it comes of a preposterous sense of
his own standing and importance, existing in a man whose standing and
importance are very small. It is quite wonderful what very great folk
very little folk will sometimes fancy themselves to be. The present
writer has had little opportunity of conversing with men of great rank
and power; yet he has conversed with certain men of the very greatest:
and he can say sincerely that he has found head-stewards to be much
more dignified men than dukes; and parsons of no earthly reputation,
and of very limited means, to be infinitely more stuck-up than
archbishops. And though at first the airs of stuck-up small men are
amazingly ridiculous, and so rather amusing, they speedily become so
irritating that the men who exhibit them cannot be classed otherwise
than with the disagreeable of the earth.

Few people are more disagreeable than the man who, while you are
conversing with him, is (you know) taking a mental estimate of you,
more particularly of the soundness of your doctrinal views,--with the
intention of showing you up, if you be wrong, and of inventing or
misrepresenting something to your prejudice, if you be right. Whenever
you find any man trying (in a moral sense) to trot you out, and
examine your paces, and pronounce upon your general soundness, there
are two courses you may follow. The one is, severely to shut him up,
and sternly make him understand that you don't choose to be inspected
by him. Show him that you will not exhibit for his approval your
particular views about the Papacy, or about Moral Inability, or about
Pelagianism or the Patripassian heresy. Indicate that you will not be
pumped: and you may convey, in a kindly and polite way, that you
really don't care a rush what he thinks of you. The other course is,
with deep solemnity and an unchanged countenance, to horrify your
inspector by avowing the most fearful views. Tell him, that, on long
reflection, you are prepared to advocate the revival of Cannibalism.
Say that probably something may be said for Polygamy. Defend the
Thugs, and say something for Mumbo Jumbo. End by saying that no doubt
black is white, and twice ten are fifty. Or a third way of meeting
such a man is suddenly to turn upon him, and ask him to give you a
brief and lucid account of the views he is condemning. Ask him to tell
you what are the theological peculiarities of Bunsen; and what is the
exact teaching of Mr. Maurice. He does not know, you may be tolerably
sure. In the case of the latter eminent man, I never met anybody who
did know: and I have the firmest belief that he does not know himself.
I was told, lately, of an eminent foreigner who came to Britain to
promote a certain public end. For its promotion, the eminent man
wished to conciliate the sympathies of a certain small class of
religionists. He procured an introduction to a leading man among
them,--a good, but very stupid and self-conceited man. This man
entered into talk with the eminent foreigner, and ranged over a
multitude of topics, political and religious. And at an hour's end
the foreigner was astonished by the good, but stupid man suddenly
exclaiming,--"Now, Sir, I have been reckoning you up: you won't do:
you are a"--no matter what. It was something that had nothing earthly
to do with the end to be promoted. The religious demagogue had been
trotting out the foreigner; and he had found him unsound. The
religious demagogue belonged to a petty dissenting sect, no doubt; and
he was trying for his wretched little Shibboleth. But you may have
seen the like, even with leading men in National Churches. And I have
seen a pert little whipper-snapper ask a venerable clergyman what he
thought of a certain outrageous lay-preacher, and receive the
clergyman's reply, that he thought most unfavorably of many of the
lay-preacher's doings, with a self-conceited smirk that seemed to say
to the venerable clergyman, "I have been reckoning _you_ up: you
won't do."

People whom you cannot get to attend to you when you talk to them are
disagreeable. There are men whom you feel it is vain to speak
to,--whether you are mentioning facts or stating arguments. All the
while you are speaking, they are thinking of what they are themselves
to say next. There is a strong current, as it were, setting outward
from their minds; and it prevents what you say from getting in. You
know, if a pipe be full of water, running strongly one way, it is vain
to think to push in a stream running the other way. You cannot get at
their attention. You cannot get at the quick of their mental
sensorium. It is not the dull of hearing whom it is hardest to get to
hear; it is rather the man who is roaring out himself, and so who
cannot attend to anything else. Now this is provoking. It is a
mortifying indication of the little importance that is attached to
what we are saying; and there is something of the irritation that is
produced in the living being by contending with the passive resistance
of inert matter. And there is something provoking even in the outward
signs that the mind is in a non-receptive state. You remember the eye
that is looking beyond you,--the grin that is not at anything funny in
what you say,--the occasional inarticulate sounds that are put in at
the close of your sentences, as if to delude you with a show of
attention. The non-receptive mind is occasionally found in clever
men; but the men who exhibit it are invariably very conceited: they
can think of nothing but themselves. And you may find the last-named
characteristic strongly developed even in men with gray hair, who
ought to have learned better through the experience of a pretty long
life. There are other minds which are very receptive. They seem to
have a strong power of suction. They take in, very decidedly, all
that is said to them. The best mind, of course, is that which combines
both characteristics,--which is strongly receptive when it ought to be
receiving, and which gives out strongly when it ought to be giving
out. The power of receptivity is greatly increased by habit. I
remember feeling awe-stricken by the intense attention with which a
very great judge was wont, in ordinary conversation, to listen to all
that was said to him. It was the habit of the judgment-seat, acquired
through many years of listening, with every faculty awake, to the
arguments addressed to him. But when you began to make some statement
to him, it was positively alarming to see him look you full in the
face, and listen with inconceivable fixedness of attention to all you
said. You could not help feeling that really the small remark you had
to make was not worth that great mind's grasping it so intently, as he
might have grasped an argument by Follett. The mind was intensely
receptive, when it was receiving at all. But I remember, too, that,
when the great judge began to speak, then his mind was (so to speak)
streaming out; and he was particularly impatient of inattention or
interruption, and particularly non-receptive of anything that might be
suggested to him.

It is extremely disagreeable, when a vulgar fellow, whom you hardly
know, addresses you by your surname with great familiarity of
manner. And such a person will take no hint that he is disagreeable,
--however stiff, and however formally polite, you may take
pains to be to him. It is disagreeable, when persons, with whom
you have no desire to be on terms of intimacy, persist in putting many
questions to you as to your private concerns,--such as your annual
income and expenditure, and the like. No doubt, it is both pleasant
and profitable for people who are not rich to compare notes on these
matters with some frank and hearty friend whose means and outgoings
are much the same as their own. I do not think of such a case,--but of
the prying curiosity of persons who have no right to pry, and who,
very generally, while diligently prying into your affairs, take
special care not to take you into their confidence. Such people, too,
while making a pretence of revealing to you all their secrets, will
often tell a very small portion of them, and make various statements
which you at the time are quite aware are not true. There are not many
things more disagreeable than a very stupid and ill-set old woman,
who, quite unaware what her opinion is worth, expresses it with entire
confidence upon many subjects of which she knows nothing whatever, and
as to which she is wholly incapable of judging. And the self-satisfied
and confident air with which she settles the most difficult questions,
and pronounces unfavorable judgment upon people ten thousand times
wiser and better than herself, is an insufferably irritating
phenomenon. It is a singular fact, that the people I have in view
invariably combine extreme ugliness with spitefulness and
self-conceit. Such a person will make particular inquiries of you as
to some near relative of your own,--and will add, with a malicious and
horribly ugly expression of face, that she is glad to hear how _very
much improved_ your relative now is. She will repeat the sentence
several times, laying great emphasis and significance upon the _very
much improved_. Of course, the notion conveyed to any stranger who
may be present is that your relative must in former days have been an
extremely bad fellow. The fact probably is, that he has always, man
and boy, been particularly well-behaved, and that really you were not
aware that he needed any special improvement,--save, indeed, in the
sense that every human being might be and ought to be a great deal
better than he is.

People who are always vaporing about their own importance, and the
value of their own possessions, are disagreeable. We all know such
people: and they are made more irritating by the fact, that their
boasting is almost invariably absurd and false. I do not mean
ethically false, but logically false. For doubtless, in many cases,
human beings honestly think themselves and their possessions as much
better than other men and their possessions as they say they do. If
thirty families compose the best society of a little country-town, you
may be sure that each of the thirty families in its secret soul looks
down upon the other twenty-nine, and fancies that it stands on a
totally different level. And it is a kind arrangement of Providence,
that a man's own children, horses, house, and other possessions, are
so much more interesting to himself than are the children, horses, and
houses of other men, that he can readily persuade himself that they
are as much better in fact as they are more interesting to his
personal feeling. But it is provoking, when a man is always obtruding
on you how highly he estimates his own belongings, and how much better
than yours he thinks them, even when this is done in all honesty and
simplicity; and it is infuriating, when a man keeps constantly telling
you things which he knows are not true, as to the preciousness and
excellence of the gifts with which fortune has endowed him. You feel
angry, when a man who has lately bought a house, one in a square
containing fifty, all as nearly as possible alike, tells you with an
air of confidence that he has got the finest house in Scotland, or in
England, as the case may be. You are irritated by the man who on all
occasions tells you that he drives in his mail-phaeton "five hundred
pounds' worth of horse-flesh." You are well aware that he did not pay
a quarter of that sum for the animals in question: and you assume as
certain that the dealer did not give him that pair of horses for less
than they were worth. It is somewhat irritating, when a man, not
remarkable in any way, begins to tell you that he can hardly go to any
part of the world without being recognized by some one who remembers
his striking aspect or is familiar with his famous name. "It costs me
three hundred a year, having that picture to look at," said
Mr. Windbag, pointing to a picture hanging on a wall in his
library. He goes on to explain that he refused six thousand pounds for
that picture; which at five per cent. would yield the annual income
named. You repeat Windbag's statement to an eminent artist. The
artist knows the picture. He looks at you fixedly, and for all
comment on Windbag's story says, (he is a Scotchman,) "HOOT TOOT!" But
the disposition to vapor is deep-set in human nature. There are not
very many men or women whom I would trust to give an accurate account
of their family, dwelling, influence, and general position, to people
a thousand miles from home, who were not likely ever to be able to
verify the picture drawn.

It is hardly necessary to mention among disagreeable people those
individuals who take pleasure in telling you that you are looking
ill,--that you are falling off physically or mentally. "Surely you
have lost some of your teeth since I saw you last," said a good man to
a man of seventy-five years: "I cannot make out a word you say, you
speak so indistinctly." And so obtuse, and so thoroughly devoid of
gentlemanly feeling, was that good man, that, when admonished that he
ought not to speak in that fashion to a man in advanced years, he
could not for his life see that he had done anything unkind or
unmannerly. "I dare say you are wearied wi' preachin' to-day: you see
you're gettin' frail noo," said a Scotch elder, in my hearing, to a
worthy clergyman. Seldom has it cost me a greater effort than it did
to refrain from turning to the elder, and saying with candor, "What a
boor and what a fool you _must_ be, to say _that!_" It was
as well I did not: the boor would not have known what I meant. He
would not have known the provocation which led me to give him my true
opinion of him. "How very bald you are getting!" said a really
good-natured man to a friend he was meeting for the first time in
several years. Such remarks are for the most part made by men who, in
good faith, have not the least idea that they are making themselves
disagreeable. There is no malicious intention. It is a matter of pure
obtuseness, stupidity, selfishness, and vulgarity. But an obtuse,
stupid, selfish, and vulgar person is disagreeable. And your right
course will be to carefully avoid all intercourse with such a person.

But besides people who blunder into saying unpleasant things, there
are a few who do so of set intention. And such people ought to be
cracked. They can do a great deal of harm,--inflict a great deal of
suffering. I believe that human beings in general are more miserable
than you think. They are very anxious,--very careworn,--stung by a
host of worries,--a good deal disappointed, in many ways. And in the
case of many people, worthy and able, there is a very low estimate of
themselves and their abilities, and a sad tendency to depressed
spirits and gloomy views. And while a kind word said to such is a real
benefit, and a great lightener of the heart, an ingenious malignant
may suggest to such things which are as a stunning blow, and as an
added load on the weary frame and mind. I have seen, with burning
indignation, a malignant beast (I mean man) playing upon that tendency
to a terrible apprehensiveness which is born with many men. I have
seen the beast vaguely suggest evil to the nervous and apprehensive
man. "This cannot end here": "I shall take my own measures now": "A
higher authority shall decide between us": I have heard the beast say,
and then go away. Of course I knew well that the beast could and
would do nothing, and I hastened to say so to the apprehensive
man. But I knew that the poor fellow would go away home, and brood
over the beast's ominous threats, and imagine a hundred terrible
contingencies, and work himself into a fever of anxiety and alarm. And
it is because I know that the vague threatener counted on all that,
and wished it, and enjoyed the thought of the slow torment he was
causing, that I choose to call him a beast rather than a man. Indeed,
there is an order of beings, worse than beasts, to which that being
should rather be referred. You have said or done something which has
given offence to certain of your neighbors. Mr. Snarling comes and
gives you a full and particular account of the indignation they feel,
and of their plans for vengeance. Mr. Snarling is happy to see you
look somewhat annoyed, and he kindly says, "Oh, never mind: this will
blow over, as _other things you have said and done have blown
over."_ Thus he vaguely suggests that you have given great offence
on many occasions, and made many bitter enemies. He adds, in a musing
voice, "Yes, as MANY other things have blown over." Turn the
individual out, and cut his acquaintance. It would be better to have
a upas-tree in your neighborhood. Of all disagreeable men, a man with
his tendencies is the most disagreeable. The bitterest and
longest-lasting east-wind acts less perniciously on body and soul than
does the society of Mr. Snarling.

Suspicious people are disagreeable; also people who are always taking
the pet. Indeed, suspiciousness and pettedness generally go
together. There are many men and women who are always imagining that
some insult is designed by the most innocent words and doings of those
around them, and always suspecting that some evil intention against
their peace is cherished by some one or other. It is most irritating
to have anything to do with such impracticable and silly mortals. But
it is a delightful thing to work along with a man who never takes
offence,--a frank, manly man, who gives credit to others for the same
generosity of nature which he feels within himself, and who, if he
thinks he has reason to complain, speaks out his mind and has things
cleared up at once. A disagreeable person is he who frequently sends
letters to you without paying the postage,--leaving you to pay
twopence for each penny which he has thus saved. The loss of twopence
is no great matter; but there is something irritating in the feeling
that your correspondent has deliberately resolved that he would save
his penny at the cost of your twopence. There is a man, describing
himself as a clergyman of the Church of England, (I cannot think he is
one,) who occasionally sends me an abusive anonymous letter, and who
invariably sends his letters unpaid. I do not mind about the man's
abuse; but I confess I grudge my twopence. I have observed, too, that
the people who send letters unpaid do so habitually. I have known the
same individual send six successive letters unpaid. And it is
probably within the experience of most of my readers, that, out of
(say) a hundred correspondents, ninety-nine invariably pay their
letters properly, while time after time the hundredth sends his with
the abominable big 2 stamped upon it, and your servant walks in and
worries you by the old statement that the postman is waiting. Let me
advise every reader to do what I intend doing for the future: to wit,
to refuse to receive any unpaid letter. You may be quite sure that by
so doing you will not lose any letter that is worth having. A class of
people, very closely analogous to that of the people who do not pay
their letters, is that of such as are constantly borrowing small sums
from their friends, which they never restore. If you should ever be
thrown into the society of such, your right course will be to take
care to have no money in your pocket. People are disagreeable who are
given to talking of the badness of their servants, the undutifulness
of their children, the smokiness of their chimneys, and the deficiency
of their digestive organs. And though, with a true and close friend,
it is a great relief, and a special tie, to have spoken out your heart
about your burdens and sorrows, it is expedient, in conversation with
ordinary acquaintances, to keep these to yourself.

It must be admitted, with great regret, that people who make a
considerable profession of religion have succeeded in making
themselves more thoroughly disagreeable than almost any other human
beings have ever made themselves. You will find people, who claim not
merely to be pious and Christian people, but to be very much more
pious and Christian than others, who are extremely uncharitable,
unamiable, repulsive, stupid, and narrow-minded, and intensely
opinionated and self-satisfied. We know, from a very high authority,
that a Christian ought to be an epistle in commendation of the blessed
faith he holds. But it is beyond question that many people who profess
to be Christians are like grim Gorgons' heads, warning people off from
having anything to do with Christianity. Why should a middle-aged
clergyman walk about the streets with a sullen and malignant scowl
always on his face, which at the best would be a very ugly one? Why
should another walk with his nose in the air, and his eyes rolled up
till they seem likely to roll out? And why should a third be always
dabbled over with a clammy perspiration, and prolong all his vowels to
twice the usual length? It is, indeed, a most woful thing, that people
who evince a spirit in every respect the direct contrary of that of
our Blessed Redeemer should fancy that they are Christians of singular
attainments; and it is more woful still, that many young people should
be scared away into irreligion or unbelief by the wretched delusion,
that these creatures, wickedly caricaturing Christianity, are fairly
representing it. I have beheld more deliberate malice, more lying and
cheating, more backbiting and slandering, denser stupidity, and
greater self-sufficiency, among bad-hearted and wrong-headed
religionists, than among any other order of human beings. I have known
more malignity and slander conveyed in the form of a prayer than
should have consigned any ordinary libeller to the pillory. I have
known a person who made evening prayer a means of infuriating and
stabbing the servants, under the pretext of confessing their
sins. "Thou knowest, Lord, how my servants have been occupied this
day": with these words did the blasphemous mockery of prayer begin one
Sunday evening in a house I could easily indicate: and then the man,
under the pretext of addressing the Almighty, raked up all the
misdoings of the servants (they being present, of course) in a
fashion, which, if he had ventured on it at any other time, would
probably have led some of them to assault him. "I went to Edinburgh,"
said a Highland elder, "and was there a Sabbath. It was an awfu'
sight! There, on the Sabbath-day, you would see people walking along
the street, smiling AS IF THEY WERE PERFECTLY HAPPY!" There was the
_gravamen_ of the poor Highlander's charge. To think of people
being or looking happy on the Lord's day! And, indeed, to think of a
Christian man ever venturing to be happy at all! "Yes, this parish was
highly favored in the days of Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown," said a
spiteful and venomous old woman,--with a glance of deadly malice at a
young lad who was present. That young lad was the son of the clergyman
of the parish,--one of the most diligent and exemplary clergymen in
Britain. Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown were the clergymen who preceded
him. And the spiteful old woman adopted this means of sticking a pin
into the young lad,--conveying the idea that there was a sad falling
off now. I saw and heard her, my reader. Now, when an ordinary
spiteful person says a malicious thing, being quite aware that she is
saying a malicious thing, and that her motive is pure malice, you are
disgusted. But when a spiteful person says a malicious thing, all the
while fancying herself a very pious person, and fancying that in
gratifying her spite she is acting from Christian principle,--I say
the sight is to me one of the most disgusting, perplexing, and
miserable, that ever human eye beheld. I have no fear of the attacks
of enemies on the blessed faith in which I live, and hope to die; but
it is dismal to see how our holy religion is misrepresented before the
world by the vile impostors who pretend to be its friends.

Among the disagreeable people who make a profession of religion,
probably many are purely hypocrites. But we willingly believe that
there are people, in whom Christianity appears in a wretchedly stunted
and distorted form, who yet are right at the root. It does not follow
that a man is a Christian, because he turns up his eyes and drawls out
his words, and, when asked to say grace, offers a prayer of twenty
minutes' duration. But, again, it does not follow that he is
_not_ a Christian, though he may do all these things. The bitter
sectary, who distinctly says that a humble, pious man, just dead, has
"gone to hell," because he died in the bosom of the National Church,
however abhorrent that sectary may be in some respects, may be, in the
main, within the Good Shepherd's fold, wherein he fancies there are
very few but himself. The dissenting teacher, who declared from his
pulpit that the parish clergyman (newly come, and an entire stranger
to him) was "a servant of Satan," may possibly have been a good man,
after all. Grievous defects and errors may exist in a Christian
character, which is a Christian character still. And the Christian,
horribly disagreeable and repulsive now, will some day, we trust, have
all _that_ purged away. But I do not hesitate to say, that any
Christian, by so far as he is disagreeable and repulsive, deviates
from the right thing. Oh, my reader, when my heart is sometimes sore
through what I see of disagreeable traits in Christian character, what
a blessed relief there is in turning to the simple pages, and seeing
for the thousandth time The True Christian Character,--so different!
Yes, thank God, we know where to look, to find what every pious man
should be humbly aiming to be: and when we see That Face, and hear
That Voice, there is something that soothes and cheers among the
wretched imperfections (in one's self as in others) of the
present,--something that warms the heart, and that brings a man to his

The present writer has a relative who is Professor of Theology in a
certain famous University. With that theologian I recently had a
conversation on the matter of which we have just been thinking. The
Professor lamented bitterly the unchristian features of character
which may be found in many people making a great parade of their
Christianity. He mentioned various facts, which had recently come to
his own knowledge, which would sustain stronger expressions of opinion
than any which I have given. But he went on to say, that it would be a
sad thing, if no fools could get to heaven,--nor any unamiable,
narrow-minded, sour, and stupid people. Now, said he, with great
force of reason, religion does not alter idiosyncrasy. When a fool
becomes a Christian, he will be a foolish Christian; a narrow-minded
man will be a narrow-minded Christian; a stupid man, a stupid
Christian. And though a malignant man will have his malignity much
diminished, it by no means follows that it will be completely rooted
out. "When I would do good, evil is present with me." "I find a law in
my members, warring against the law of my mind, and enslaving me to
the law of sin." But you are not to blame Christianity for the
stupidity and unamiability of Christians. If they be disagreeable, it
is not the measure of true religion they have got that makes them
so. In so far as they are disagreeable, they depart from the
standard. You know, you may make water sweet or sour,--you may make it
red, blue, black; and it will be water still, though its purity and
pleasantness are much interfered with. In like manner, Christianity
may coexist with a good deal of acid,--with a great many features of
character very inconsistent with itself. The cup of fair water may
have a bottle of ink emptied into it, or a little verjuice, or even a
little strychnine. And yet, though sadly deteriorated, though
hopelessly disguised, the fair water is there, and not entirely

And it is worth remarking, that you will find many persons who are
very charitable to blackguards, but who have no charity for the
weaknesses of really good people. They will hunt out the act of
thoughtless liberality done by the scapegrace who broke his mother's
heart and squandered his poor sisters' little portions; they will make
much of that liberal act,--such an act as tossing to some poor
Magdalen a purse filled with money which was probably not his own; and
they will insist that there is hope for the blackguard yet. But these
persons will tightly shut their eyes against a great many
substantially good deeds done by a man who thinks Prelacy the
abomination of desolation, or who thinks that stained glass and an
organ are sinful. I grant you that there is a certain fairness in
trying the blackguard and the religionist by different standards.
Where the pretension is higher, the test may justly be more
severe. But I say it is unfair to puzzle out with diligence the one or
two good things in the character of a reckless scamp, and to refuse
moderate attention to the many good points about a weak,
narrow-minded, and uncharitable good person. I ask for charity in the
estimating of all human characters,--even in estimating the character
of the man who would show no charity to another. I confess freely
that in the last-named case the exercise of charity is extremely



"God be praised! the troops are landed, and critically too," Commodore
Hood said, after he had received from Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple an
account of his entrance into Boston. The Commodore reflected, with
infinite satisfaction, he wrote, that, in anticipation of a great
emergency, he collected the squadron; that he was enabled to act the
moment he received the first application for aid; and that he was
prepared to throw forward additional force until informed that no more
was wanted: and now, with an officer's pride, he advised George
Grenville, that on the twenty-seventh day from the date at New York of
the order of General Gage for troops, the detachment was landed at
Boston. The two commanders were well satisfied with each other. Hood
characterized Dalrymple as a very excellent officer, quite the
gentleman, knowing the world, having a good address, and with all the
fire, judgment, coolness, integrity, and firmness that a man could
possess. Dalrymple wrote to Hood,--"My good Sir, you may rest
satisfied that the arrival of the squadron was the most seasonable
thing ever known, and that I am in possession of the town; and
therefore nothing can be apprehended. Had we not arrived so
critically, the worst that could be apprehended must have happened."
Both were good officers and honorable men, who believed and acted on
the fabulous relations of the Boston crown officials.

"Our town is now a perfect garrison," the Patriots said, after the
troops were posted, and the rough experiment on their well-ordered
municipal life had fairly begun. It galled them to see a powerful
fleet and a standing army watching all the inlets to the town,--to see
a guard at the only land-avenue leading into the country, companies
patrolling at the ferry-ways, the Common alive with troops and dotted
with tents, marchings and countermarchings through the streets to
relieve the guards, and armed men occupying the halls of justice and
freedom, with sentinels at their doors. Quiet observers of this
strange spectacle, like Andrew Eliot, wondered at the infatuation of
the Ministry, and what the troops were sent to do; while the popular
leaders and the body of the Patriots regarded their presence as
insulting. The crown officials and Loyalist leaders, however, exulted
in this show of force, and ascribed to it a conservative influence and
a benumbing effect. "Our harbor is full of ships, and our town full of
troops," Hutchinson said. "The red-coats make a formidable
appearance, and there is a profound silence among the Sons of
Liberty." The Sons chose to labor and to wait; and the troops could
not attack the liberty of silence.

The House of Representatives, on reviewing the period of the stay of
the troops in Boston, declared that there resulted from their
introduction "a scene of confusion and distress, for the space of
seventeen months, which ended in the blood and slaughter of His
Majesty's good subjects." The popular leaders, who repelled, as
calumny, the Loyalist charge that they were engaged in a scheme of
rebellion, said that to quarter among them in time of peace a standing
army, without the consent of the General Court, was as harrowing to
the feelings of the people, and as contrary to the constitution of
Massachusetts, as it would be harrowing to the people of England, and
contrary to the Bill of Eights and of every principle of civil
government, if soldiers were posted in London without the consent of
Parliament; in a word, that it was as violative of their local
self-government as the Stamp Act or the Revenue Act, and was also an
impeachment of their loyalty. They, therefore, as a matter of right,
were opposed to a continuance of the troops in the town.

The question of removal now became an issue of the gravest political
character, and of the deepest personal interest; and a steady pursuit
of this object, from October, 1768, to March, 1770, gave unity,
directness, and an ever-painful foreboding to the local politics,
until the flow of blood created a delicate and dangerous crisis.

The crown officials and over-zealous Loyalists, during this period,
resisted this demand for a removal of the troops. The officers urged
that a military force was needed to support the King's authority; the
Loyalists said that it was necessary to protect their lives and
property; and the Ministry viewed it as vital to the success of their
measures. Lord Hillsborough,--who was an exponent of the school that
placed little account on public opinion as the basis of law, but
relied on physical force,--in an elaborate confidential letter
addressed to Governor Bernard, urged as a justification of this
policy, that the authority of the civil power was too weak to enforce
obedience to the laws, and preserve that peace and good order which
are essential to the happiness of every State; and he directed the
Governor punctually to observe former instructions, especially those
of the preceding July, and gave now the additional instruction, to
institute inquiries into such unconstitutional acts as had been
committed since, in order that the perpetrators of them might, if
possible, be brought to justice. It is worthy of remark, that there is
nothing more definite in this letter as to what the Ministry
considered to be unconstitutional acts.

As American affairs were pondered, at this period, (October, 1768,) by
Under-Secretary Pownall, a brother of Ex-Governor Pownall, Lord
Barrington, and Lord Hillsborough, in the deep shading of the
misrepresentations of the local officials of Boston, they appeared to
be in a very critical condition. These officials had, however, the
utmost confidence in the exhibition of British power, and in the
wisdom of Francis Bernard. The letters which the Governor now
received, both private and official, from these friends, were, as to
his personal affairs, of the most gratifying character; and their
congratulations on the landing of the troops were as though a crisis
had been fortunately passed. Lord Hillsborough congratulated him,
officially, "on the happy and quiet landing of the troops, and the
unusual approbation which his steady and able conduct had obtained."
Lord Barrington, in a private letter, said,--"There is only one
comfortable circumstance, which is, that the troops are quietly lodged
in Boston. This will for a time preserve the public peace, and secure
the persons of the few who are well affected to the mother-country."
Both these leading politicians--there were none at this time more
powerful in England--expressed similar sentiments in Parliament from
the Ministerial benches: Lord Hillsborough sounding fully the praise
of the Governor, and Lord Barrington, in an imperial strain, terming
the Americans "worse than traitors against the Crown, traitors against
the legislature of Great Britain," and saying that "the use of troops
was to bring rioters to justice."

The sentiment expressed as to the future was equally gratifying to the
Governor. Lord Hillsborough, (November 15, 1768,) in an official
letter, said,--"It will, I apprehend, be a great support and
consolation for you to know that the King places much confidence in
your prudence and caution on the one hand, and entertains no
diffidence in your spirit and resolution on the other, and that His
Majesty will not suffer these sentiments to receive any alterations
from private misrepresentations, if any should come"; and in a private
letter, by the same mail, the Secretary said,--"If I am listened to,
the measure you think the most necessary will be adopted." It is not
easy to see how a Government could express greater confidence in an
agent than the Secretary expressed in Francis Bernard; and the talk in
Ministerial circles now was, as it was confidentially reported to the
Governor, that, as he had nothing to arrange with the faction, and
nothing to fear from the people, he could fully restore the King's

The tone of the Governor's letters and the object of his official
action, by a thorough repudiation of the democratic principle, and a
jealous regard for British dominion, were well calculated to inspire
this confidence; for they came up to the ideal, not merely of the
leaders of the Tory party, or of the Whig party, but of the England of
that day. There was then great confusion in the British factions.
Ex-Governor Pownall, after comparing this confusion to Des Cartes's
chaos of vortices, remarked, (1768,) in a letter addressed to
Dr. Cooper,--"We have but one word,--I will not call it an
idea,--that is, our sovereignty; and it is like some word to a madman,
which, whenever mentioned, throws him into his ravings, and brings on
a paroxysm." The Massachusetts crown officials were continually
pronouncing this word to the Ministry. They constantly set forth the
principle of local self-government, which was tenaciously and
religiously clung to by the Patriots as being the foundation of all
true liberty, as a principle of independence; and they represented the
jealous adherence to the local usages and laws, which faithfully
embodied the popular instincts and doctrine, to be proofs of a decay
of the national authority, and the cloak of long-cherished schemes of
rebellion. And this view was accepted by the leading political men of
England. They held, all of them but a little band of republican-
grounded sympathizers with the Patriots, that the principles
announced by the Patriots went too far, and that, in clinging
to them the Americans were endangering the British empire; and
the only question among the public men of England was, whether the
Crown or the Parliament was the proper instrumentality, as the phrase
was, for reducing the Colonies to obedience. Lord Barrington, in his
speech above cited, laid most stress on the denial of the authority of
Parliament: all who questioned any part of this authority were
regarded as disloyal; and hence Lord Hillsborough's instructions to
Governor Bernard ran,--"If any man or set of men have been daring
enough to declare openly that they will not submit to the authority of
Parliament, it is of great consequence that His Majesty's servants
should know who and what they are."

Another class of British observers, already referred to, of the school
of Sidney and Milton, lovers of civil and religious liberty, saw in
Boston and Massachusetts a state of things far removed from rebellion
and anarchy. They looked upon the spectacle of a people in general
raised by mental and moral culture into fitness for self-government
and an appreciation of the higher aims of life, as a result at which
good men the world over ought to rejoice, a result honorable to the
common humanity. They pronounced the late Parliamentary acts affecting
such a people to be grievances, the course of the Ministry towards
them to be oppressive, and the claims set forth in their proceedings
to be reasonable; they even went so far as to say that the equity was
wholly on the side of the North-Americans. Thus this class, as they
rose above a selfish jealousy of political power, fairly anticipated
the verdict of posterity. Thomas Hollis, the worthy benefactor of
Harvard College, was a type of this republican school. "The people of
Boston and of Massachusetts Bay," he wrote in 1768, "are, I suppose,
take them as a body, the soberest, most knowing, virtuous people, at
this time, upon earth. All of them hold Revolution principles, and
were to a man, till disgusted by the Stamp Act, the stanchest friends
to the House of Hanover and subjects of King George III."

The representations made to the Ministry, at this time, (October,
1768,) by Bernard, Hutchinson, and Gage, were similar in tone. There
was very little government in Boston, according to Gage; there was
nothing able to resist a mob, according to Hutchinson; so much
wickedness and folly were never before combined as in the men who
lately ruled here, according to Bernard. The Commander-in-Chief and
the Governor sent despatches to Lord Hillsborough on the same day
(October 31, 1768). Gage informed the Secretary that the constitution
of the Province leaned so much to the side of democracy that the
Governor had not the power to remedy the disorders that happened in
it; Bernard informed him that indulgence towards the Province, whence
all the mischief had arisen, would ever have the same effect that it
had had hitherto, led on from claim to claim till the King had left
only the name of the government and the Parliament but the shadow of
authority. There was nothing whatever to justify this strain of
remark, but the idea which the people had grasped, that they had a
right to an equal measure of freedom with Englishmen; but such a claim
was counted rebellious. "I told Cushing, the Speaker, some months
ago," the Governor says in this letter, "that they were got to the
edge of rebellion, and advised them not to step over the line." The
reply of the Speaker is not given, but he was constantly disclaiming,
in his letters, any purpose of rebellion. Now that Bernard saw, what
he had desired to see for years, troops in Boston, he was as ill at
ease as before; and at the close of the letter just cited he says,--"I
am now at sea again in the old weather-beaten boat, with the wind
blowing as hard as ever."

The political winds, however, do not seem to have been damaging any
body or thing but the Governor and his cause. During the month of
October the crown officials urged the local authorities to billet the
troops in the town; but this demand was quietly and admirably met by
setting against it the law of the land as interpreted by just men. The
press was now of signal service; and all through this period of
seventeen months, though it severely arraigned the advocates of
arbitrary power, yet it ever urged submission to the law. "It is
always safe to adhere to the law," are the grand words of the "Boston
Gazette," October 17, 1768, "and to keep every man of every
denomination and character within its bounds. Not to do this would be
in the highest degree imprudent. What will it be but to depart from
the straight line, to give up the law and the Constitution, which is
fixed and stable, and is the collected and long-digested sentiment of
the whole, and to substitute in its place the opinion of individuals,
than which nothing can be more uncertain?" These words were penned by
Samuel Adams, and freedom never had a more unselfish advocate; they
fell upon a community that was discussing in every home the gravest of
political questions; and they were responded to with a prudence and
order that were warmly eulogized both in America and England. This
respect for Law, when Liberty was as a live coal from a divine altar,
adhered to so faithfully for years, in spite, too, of goadings by
those who wielded British power, but forgot American right, must be
regarded as remarkable. Until the close of Bernard's administration,
the town, to use contemporary words, was surprisingly quiet; but
during the remainder of the period of the seventeen months, when
selfish importers broke their agreement and set themselves against
what was considered to be the public safety, they provoked
disturbances and even mobs. Still, in an age when, to use Hutchinson's
words, "mobs of a certain sort were constitutional," the wonder is,
not that there were any, but that there were not more of them in
Boston. Besides, the concern of the popular leaders to preserve order
was so deep and their action so prompt, that disturbances were checked
and suppressed without the use of the military on a single occasion;
and hence the injury done both to persons and property was so small,
when compared with the bloodshed and destruction by contemporary
British mobs, that what Colonel Barre said of the June riots in Boston
was true of the outbreaks at the close of this period, namely, that
they but mimicked the mobs of the mother-country.

The patience of the people was severely tried on the evening of the
landing of the troops, as they filed into Faneuil Hall; and it was
still more severely tried, as, on the next day, Sunday, they filed
into the Town-House. The latter building was thus occupied under an
order from Governor Bernard, who, it was said in the journals, had no
authority to give such an order. The legislature and the courts of law
held their sessions here, and, what was not known then elsewhere in
the world, the General Court was public,--that is, the people were
admitted to hear the debates, while in England the public was
excluded; it was an offence to report the debates in Parliament, and a
breach of privilege for a member to print even his own speech. In
consequence of the political advance that had been made here, the
galleries of the Hall of the House of Representatives, in December,
1767, for eighteen days in succession, were thronged with people, who
listened to the discussion when the most remarkable state-paper of the
time was under consideration, namely, the letter which the House
addressed to their agent, Mr. De Berdt. It now provoked the people to
see these halls, all except the chamber in which the Council held its
sessions, occupied by armed men, and the field-pieces of the train
placed in the street, pointing towards the building. The lower floor
was used as an Exchange by the merchants, who were annoyed by being
obliged daily to brush by the red-coats. All this was excessively
irritating, and needed no exaggeration from abroad. Still it is but
just to the men of that day to present all the circumstances under
which they maintained their dignity. "Asiatic despotism," so says a
contemporary London eulogy on their conduct, which was printed in the
Boston journals, "does not present a picture more odious to the eye of
humanity than the sanctuary of justice and law turned into a main
guard." And on comparing the moderation in this town under such an
infliction with a late effusion of blood in St. George's Fields, the
writer says,--"By this wise and excellent conduct you have
disappointed your enemies, and convinced your friends that an entire
reliance is to be placed on the supporters of freedom at Boston, in
every occurrence, however delicate or dangerous."

While the indignation of the Sons of Liberty, under such provocations,
was as deep as Hutchinson says their silence was profound, there was,
in the local press, the severest denunciation of this use of their
forum. The building is called in print this year, (1768,) the
Town-House, the State-House, the Court-House, and the Parliament-
House. It may be properly termed the political focus of the Province,
and it then bore to Massachusetts a similar relation to that
which Faneuil Hall now bears to Boston. The goodly and venerable
structure that still looks down on State Street and the Merchants'
Exchange has little in it to attract the common eye, much less a
classic taste; but there is not on the face of the earth, it has been
said, a temple, however magnificent, about which circles a more
glorious halo. There is much to relieve the remark of Mayor Otis from
exaggeration. Its humble halls, for over a generation, had echoed to
the appeals for the Good Old Cause made by men of whom it was said
Milton was their great forerunner. Here popular leaders with such root
in them had struggled long and well against the encroachments of
Prerogative. Here the state-papers were matured that first
intelligently reconciled the claims of local self-government with what
is due to a protective nationality. Here intrepid representatives of
the people, on the gravest occasion that had arisen in an American
assembly, justly refused to comply with an arbitrary royal
command. Here first in modern times was recognized the vital principle
of publicity in legislation. Here James Otis, as a pioneer patriot,
poured forth his soul when his tongue was as a flame of fire,--John
Adams, on the side of freedom, first showed himself to be a Colossus
in debate,--Joseph Hawley first publicly denied that Parliament had
the right to rule in all cases whatsoever,--and the unequalled
leadership of Samuel Adams culminated, when he felt obliged to strive
for the independence of his country; and, in the fulness of time, the
imperishable scroll of the Declaration, from this balcony, and in a
scene of unsurpassed moral sublimity, was first officially unrolled
before the people of the State of Massachusetts. Thus this relic of a
hero age is fragrant with the renown of

"The men that glorious law who taught,
Unshrinking liberty of thought,
And roused the nations with the truth sublime."

On the 15th of October, General Gage, with a distinguished staff, came
to Boston to provide quarters for the troops, and was received at a
review on the Common with a salute of seventeen guns by the train of
artillery, when, preceded by a brilliant corps of officers, he passed
in a chariot before the column. The same journals (October 20) which
contained a notice of this review had extracts from London papers, by
a fresh arrival, in which it was said,--"The town of Boston meant to
render themselves as independent of the English nation as the crown of
England is of that of Spain"; and that "the nation was treated by them
in terms of stronger menace and insult than sovereign princes ever use
to each other."

The journals now announced that two regiments, augmented to seven
hundred and fifty men each, were to embark at Cork for Boston; and
General Gage informed the local authorities that he expected their
arrival, and asked quarters for them, when the subject was considered
in the Council. This body now complied so far as, in the words printed
at the time, to "advise the Governor to give immediate orders to have
the Manufactory House in Boston, which is the property of the
Province, cleared of those persons who are in the present possession
of it, so that it might be ready to receive those of said regiments
who could not be conveniently accommodated at Castle William." This
building, as already remarked, stood in what is now Hamilton Place,
near the Common, and for twelve years had been hired by Mr. John
Brown, a weaver, who not only carried on his business here, but lived
here with his family; and hence it was his legal habitation, his
castle, "which the wind and the rain might enter, but which the King
could not enter."

Mr. Brown, having before declined to let the troops already in town
occupy the building, now, acting under legal advice, declined to
comply with the present request to leave it; whereupon it was
determined to take forcible possession. Accordingly, on the 17th of
October, at two o'clock in the afternoon, Sheriff Greenleaf,
accompanied by Chief-Justice Hutchinson, went to the Manufactory House
for this purpose, but was denied entrance by Mr. Brown, who had
fastened all the doors. He appeared, however, at a window, when the
Sheriff presented the Governor's order; but Mr. Brown replied, that he
never had had any lawful warning to leave the house, and did not look
upon the power of the Governor and Council as sufficient to dispossess
him; and finally told the Sheriff that he would not surrender his
possession to any till required by the General Court, under whom he
held, or till he was obliged to do it by the law of the Province, or
compelled by force: whereupon the Sheriff and the Chief-Justice

On the nest morning, at ten o'clock, Sheriff Greenleaf, attended by
his deputies, again appeared before the house, and again found the
doors shut. They, however, entered the cellar by a window, that was
partly opened, it is said to let out an inmate,--when, after a
scuffle, Mr. Brown declared that the Sheriff was his prisoner; upon
which the Sheriff informed the commanding officer of the regiment on
the Common of his situation, who sent a guard for his protection.
Sentinels were now placed at the doors, two at the gate of
the yard, and a guard of ten in the cellar; and as the people gathered
fast about the gate, an additional company was ordered from the
Common. Any one was allowed to come out of the house, but no one was
allowed to go in. The press now harped upon the cries of Mr. Brown's
children for bread.

This strange proceeding caused great excitement, and at this stage
there was (October 22) a meeting of the Council to consider the
subject, when seven of the members waited on the Governor to assure
him that nothing could be farther from their intention, when they gave
their advice, than to sanction this use of force; and about seven
o'clock that evening most of the troops were taken away, leaving only
one or two soldiers at a window and a small guard in the cellar. In a
few days afterwards all the guards were removed, and finally Mr. Brown
was left in quiet possession. The whole affair lasted seventeen
days. Shortly after, Mr. Brown prosecuted the Sheriff for trespass,
when the Council declined to be accountable for these official
doings. He soon announced to the public in a card a resumption of his
business. His tombstone bears a eulogy on the bravery which thus long
and successfully resisted an attempt to force a citizen from his legal
habitation. "Happy citizen," the stone reads, "when called singly to
be a barrier to the liberties of a continent!"

Soon after this affair, fifteen members of the Council, and among them
several decided Loyalists, signed an address which was adopted at a
meeting held without a summons from the Governor, and which was
presented (October 27, 1768) directly to General Gage, as "from
members of His Majesty's Council." This address is a candid, truthful,
and strong exposition of the whole series of proceedings connected
with the introduction of the troops. "Your own observation," it says,
"will give you the fullest evidence that the town and the Province are
in a peaceful state; your own inquiry will satisfy you, that, though
there have been disorders in the town of Boston, some of them did not
merit notice, and that such as did have been magnified beyond the
truth." The events of the eighteenth of March and of the tenth of
June were reviewed: the former were pronounced trivial, and such as
could not have been noticed to the disadvantage of the town but by
persons inimical to it; the latter were conceded to be criminal, and
the actors in them guilty of a riot; but, in justice to the town, it
was urged that this riot had its origin in the threats and the armed
force used in the seizure of the sloop Liberty. The General was
informed that the people thought themselves injured, and by men to
whom they had done no injury, and thus was "most unjustly brought into
question the loyalty of as loyal a people as any in His Majesty's
dominions"; and he was assured that it would be a great ease and
satisfaction to the inhabitants, if be would please to order the
troops to Castle William.

In a brief reply to this elaborate address, the next day, General Gage
said that the riots and the resolves of the town had induced His
Majesty to order four regiments to protect his loyal subjects in their
persons and properties, and to assist the civil magistrates in the
execution of the laws; that he trusted the discipline and order of the
troops would render their stay in no shape distressful to His
Majesty's dutiful subjects; and that he hoped the future behavior of
the people would justify the best construction of past actions, and
afford him a sufficient foundation to represent to His Majesty the
propriety of withdrawing the most part of the troops. This was very
paternal, haughty, and very English. However, the activity of the
commander, in bargaining for stores, houses, and other places to be
used as barracks for the soldiers, indicated better behavior in the
future on the part of crown officials than the browbeating of the
local authorities, from the Council down to the Justices, in the vain
attempt to make them do what the law did not require them to do, and
what their feelings, as well as their sense of right, forbade their
doing. In a short time the good people had the satisfaction of seeing
the redcoats move out of Fanueil Hall and the Town-House into quarters
provided by those who sent them into the town, and of reflecting on
the moral victory which their idolized leaders had won in standing
firmly by the law.

It was now in the mouths, not only of the Patriots, but of Loyalists
of the candid type of those who signed the recent address to General
Gage, that, as it was evident things had been grossly misrepresented
to the Ministers, when truth and time should set matters fairly right
before the Government there would be a change of policy; and so Hope,
in her usual bright way, lifted a little the burden from heavy hearts
in the cheering words through the press (October, 1768),--"The pacific
and prudent measures of the town of Boston must evince to the world
that Americans, though represented by their enemies to be in a state
of insurrection, mean nothing more than to support those
constitutional rights to which the laws of God and Nature entitle
them; and when the measure of oppression and mi..st...al iniquity is
full, and the dutiful supplications of an injured people shall have
reached the gracious ear of their sovereign, may at length terminate
in a glorious display of liberty."

The journals, a few days after these events, announced that "the
worshipful the Commissioners of the Customs, having of their own free
will retreated in June to the Castle, designed to make their
re-entrance to the metropolis, so that the town would be again blessed
with the fruits of the benevolence of the Board, as well as an example
of true politeness and breeding"; and soon afterwards this Board again
held its sessions in Boston. It was further announced, that the troops
that had been quartered in the Town-House had moved into a house
lately possessed by James Murray, which was near the church in Brattle
Street, (hence the origin of "Murray's Barracks," which became
historic from their connection with the Boston Massacre,)--that James
Otis, at the session of the Superior Court, in the Town-House, moved
that the Court adjourn to Faneuil Hall, because of the cannon that
remained pointed at the building, as it was derogatory to the honor of
the Court to administer justice at the mouth of the cannon and the
point of the bayonet,--that the Sixty-Fourth and Sixty-Fifth Regiments
had arrived from Cork, and were quartered in the large and commodious
stores on Wheelwright's Wharf,--and that Commodore Hood, the commander
of His Majesty's ships in America, had arrived (November 13) in
town. It is stated that there were now about four thousand troops
here, under the command of General Pomeroy, who was an excellent
officer and became very popular with the citizens.

The town, meanwhile, continued remarkably quiet. There was no call for
popular demonstrations during the winter; and the Patriots confined
their labors to severe animadversions on public measures, and efforts
to tone the people up to a rigid observance of the non-importation
scheme. The crown officials endeavored to enliven the season with
balls and concerts, and at first were mortified that few of the ladles
would attend them; but they persevered, and were more successful.
"Now," Richard Carey writes, (February 7, 1769,) "it is mortifying
to many of the inhabitants that they have obtained their wishes,
and that such numbers of ladies attend. It is a bad thing for
Boston to have so many gay, idle people in it." There is much comment,
in the letters and journals, upon these balls and concerts, and some
of it not very flattering to the ladies who countenanced them.

Meantime there appeared (January 10, 1769) an extra "Boston Post-Boy
and Advertiser," a broadside or half-sheet, printed in pica type, but
only on one side, which, under the heading of "Important Advices,"
spread before the community the King's speech to Parliament. This
state-paper, which was read the world over, represented the people of
Boston as being "in a state of disobedience to all law and government,
and to have proceeded to measures subversive of the Constitution, and
attended with circumstances that might manifest a disposition to throw
off their dependence upon Great Britain"; and it contained a pledge
"to defeat the mischievous designs of those turbulent and seditious
persons who, under false pretences, had but too successfully deluded
numbers," and whose designs, if not defeated, could not fail to
produce the most serious consequences, not only to the Colonies
immediately, but, in the end, to all the dominions of the Crown.

The Patriots remarked, (January 14, 1769,) that the countenances of a
few, who seemed to enjoy a triumph, were now very jocund; but that His
Majesty's loyal subjects were distressed that he had conceived such an
unfavorable sentiment of the temper of the people, who, far from the
remotest disposition to faction or rebellion, were struggling, as they
apprehended, for a constitution which supported the Crown, and for the
rights devised to them by their Charter and confirmed to them by the
declaration of His Majesty's glorious ancestors, William and Mary, at
that important era, the Revolution. These words are from an article
entitled "Journal of the Times," of which notice will be taken
presently; and they came out of what Bernard used to term the cabinet
of the faction. Other words, from Thomas Cushing, who was not an ultra
Whig, run, as to His Majesty,--"He must have been egregiously
misinformed. Nothing could have been farther from the truth than such
advices. I hope time, which scatters and dispels the mists of error
and falsehood, will place us in our true light, and convince the
Administration how much they have been abused by false and malicious
misrepresentations." Official falsehood and malice did their
appointed work, doubtless, in inflaming the British mind; but the root
of the difficulty was the feeling, so general at that time in England,
that every man there had a right to govern every man in America. The
King represented this imperialism.

The King's speech, threatening resolves adopted in Parliament,
startling avowals in the direction of arbitrary power uttered in the
debates, gave fresh significance to the quartering of troops in
Boston, and forced upon the Patriots the conviction that these troops
were not here merely to aid in maintaining a public peace that was not
disturbed, or in collecting revenue that was regularly paid, but were
indicative of a purpose in the Ministry to change their local
government, and subjugate them, as to their domestic affairs, to
foreign-imposed law. "My daily reflections for two years," says John
Adams, who lived near Murray's Barracks, "at the sight of those
soldiers before my door, were serious enough. Their very appearance in
Boston was a strong proof to me that the determination in Great
Britain to subjugate us was too deep and inveterate ever to be altered
by us; for everything we could do was misrepresented, and nothing we
could say was credited." This statement is abundantly confirmed by
contemporary facts. Nothing that the Patriots could say availed to
diminish the alarm which was felt by the British aristocracy at the
obvious tendency of the democratic principle. The progress of events
but revealed new grandeur in the ideas of freedom and equality that
had been here so intelligently grasped, and new capacities in the
republican forms in which they had found expression. This was
growth. The mode prescribed to check this growth was a change in the
local Constitution, and this would be "the introduction of absolute
rule" in Massachusetts.

The voluminous correspondence, at this period, between the members of
the British Cabinet and Governor Bernard shows that this purpose of
changing the Constitution was entertained by the Ministers and was
warmly urged by the local crown officials. Thus, John Pownall, the
Under-Secretary, avowed in a letter addressed to the Governor, that
such a measure was necessary, and that such "had been long his firm
and unalterable opinion upon the fullest consideration of what had
passed in America"; and in the same letter be says that the Government
had under consideration "the forfeiture of the Charter and measures of
local regulation and reform."

The Governor, for years, had urged this in general, and of late had
named the specific measure of so altering the constitution of the
Council, that, instead of being chosen by the Representatives, it
should be appointed by the Crown; and he was vexed because his
superiors did not consider the Charter as at their mercy. "I have
just now heard," he wrote, October 22, 1768, to Lord Barrington, "that
the Charter of this government is still considered as sacred. For,
most assuredly, if the Charter is not so far altered as to put the
appointment of the Council in the King, this government will never
recover itself. When order is restored, it will be at best but a
republic, of which the Governor will be no more than President." A
month later (November 22, 1768) he wrote to John Pownall,--"If the
Convention and the proceedings of the Council about the same time
shall give the Crown a legal right or induce the Parliament to
exercise a legislative power over the Charter, it will be most
indulgently exercised, if it is extended no farther than to make an
alteration in the form of the government, which has always been found
wanting, is now become quite necessary, and will really, by making it
more constitutional, render it more permanent. With this alteration,
I do believe that all the disorders of this government will be
remedied, and the authority of it fully restored. Without it, there
will be a perpetual occasion to resort to expedients, the continual
inefficiency of which will speak in the words of Scripture,--'You are
careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful.'"

As week after week passed and no orders came from the Secretary of
State to make arrests of certain individuals who had been conspicuous
in the late town-meetings, and no legislation was entered upon as to
the Charter, the crown officials were greatly agitated; and Bernard
says (December, 1768) that they were "under the apprehension that the
Government of Great Britain might not take the full advantage of what
the late mad and wicked proceedings of The Sons of Liberty [faction]
had put in their hands. They say that the late wild attempt to create
a revolt and take the government of the Province out of the King's
into their own hands affords so fair an opportunity for the supreme
power to reform the constitution of this subordinate government, to
dispel the faction which has harassed this Province for three years
past, and to inflict a proper and not a severe censure upon some of
the heads of it, that, if it is now neglected, they say, it is not
like soon, perhaps ever, to happen again." And the Governor said that
he heard much of this from all the sensible men with whom he
conversed. What a testimonial is this record in favor of republican
Boston and Massachusetts! So complete was the quiet of the town, so
forbearing were the people under the severest provocations, that this
set of politicians were out of all patience, and feared they never
would see another riot out of which to make a case for abolishing the
cherished local government. The Patriots, Bernard says in this letter,
did not experience this agitation. "Those persons," he writes, "who
have reason to expect a severe censure from Great Britain do not
appear to be so anxious for the event as the friends and well-wishers
to the authority of the Government." The Patriots intended no
rebellion, and they experienced no apprehension. They put forth no
absurd claims to meddle with things that were common and national, and
they asked simply to be let alone as to things peculiar and local.

Meantime Governor Bernard was fairly importuned by Government
officials for advice; and again and again he was assured that his
judgment was regarded as valuable. "Mr. Pownall and I," Lord
Hillsborough says, in a private letter, (November 15, 1768,) "have
spent some days in considering with the utmost attention your
correspondence." John Pownall, the Under-Secretary here referred to,
wrote (December 24, 1768,) to Bernard,--"I want to know very much your
real sentiments on the present very critical situation of American
affairs, and the more fully the greater will be the obligations
conferred." There are curious coincidences in history, and one
occurred on the day on which this letter was dated; for Governor
Bernard, with a letter of this same date addressed to Pownall, sent
him a remarkable communication developing the measures which the
Boston crown officials considered to be necessary to maintain the
King's authority.

At this time (December, 1768) there appears to have been but little
difference of opinion among the prominent Loyalists as to the
necessity of an extraordinary exercise of authority in some way, both
as a point of honor and as a measure of precaution for the future. On
this point Hutchinson was as decided as Bernard, though he was
reticent as to the precise shape it ought to take. It would not do, he
said, to leave the Colonies to the loose principle, espoused by so
many, that they were subject to laws that appeared to them equitable,
and no other; nor would it do to drive the Colonies to despair; but if
nothing were done but to pass declaratory acts and resolves, it would
soon be all over with the friends of Government; and so he wrote,
"This is most certainly a crisis."

The remarkable paper just referred to is recorded in Governor
Bernard's Letter-Books, without either address or signature, but in
the form of a letter, dated December 23, 1768, and marked,
"Confidential." It is elaborate and able, but too long for citation
here in full. In it the Governor professes to speak for others as well
as for himself, and to present the reasonings used in Boston on an
important and critical occasion.

The second paragraph embodies the propositions which were recommended
by the Loyalists, and is as follows:--"It is said that the
Town-Meeting, the Convention, and the refusal of the Justices to
billet the soldiers, severally, point out and justify the means
whereby, First, the disturbers of the peace of the government may be
properly censured, Second, the magistracy of the town reformed, and,
Third, the constitution of the government amended: all of them most
desirable ends, and some of them quite necessary to the restoration of
the King's authority. I will consider these separately."

The Governor represented the town-meeting which called the September
Convention as undoubtedly intending to bring about a rebellion,--and
the precise way designed is said to have been, to seize the two
highest officials and the treasury, and then to set up a standard; and
after remarking on the circumstances that defeated this scheme, he
inquires why so notorious an attempt should go unpunished because it
was unsuccessful. He recommends the passage of an Act of Parliament
disqualifying the principal persons engaged in this from holding any
office or sitting in the Assembly; and this was urged as being much
talked of, and as likely in its tendency to have a good influence in
other governments. He presented, as proper to be censured, the
Moderator of the town-meeting, Otis,--the Selectmen, Jackson, Ruddock,
Hancock, Rowe, and Pemberton,--the Town-Clerk, Cooper,--the Speaker of
the Convention, Gushing,--and its Clerk, Adams. "The giving these men
a check," he said, "would make them less capable of doing more
mischief,--would really be salutary to themselves, as well as
advantageous to the Government."

The Governor represented that to reform the magistracy of the town
would be of great service, for there were among the Justices several
of the supporters of the Sons of Liberty; and their refusal, under
their own hands, to quarter the soldiers in town would justify a
removal. He recommended that this reform should be by Act of
Parliament, and that by beginning in the County of Suffolk a precedent
might be established for a like exercise of authority as to other
places. Such an act, with a royal instruction to the Governor as to
appointments, was looked upon as of such value for the restoration of
authority, that "some were for carrying this remedial measure to all
the commissions of all kinds in the Government"

The Governor represented the fundamental change proposed as to the
Council to be a most desirable object,--"If one was to say," his words
were, "quite necessary to the restoration and firm establishment of
the authority of the Crown, it would not be saying too much." The
justification for this was alleged to be, the sitting of the
Convention and certain proceedings of the Council, which, it was
argued at some length, broke the condition on which the Charter was
granted, and thereby made it liable to forfeiture. It was alleged
that the Council had met separately as a Council without being
assembled by the Governor, that the people had chosen Representatives
also without being summoned by the Governor, and that these
Representatives had met and transacted business, as in an Assembly,
even after they had been required in the King's name to break up their
meeting. Thus both the Council and the people had committed
usurpations on the King's rights; and it would surely be great grace
and favor in the King, if he took no other advantage than to correct
the errors in the original formation of the government and make it
more congenial to the Constitution of the mother-country.

The concluding portion of the paper urges general considerations why
the local government ought to be changed. "It requires no arguments to
show," are its words, "that the inferior governments of a free State
should be as similar to that of the supreme State as can well be. And
it is self-evident that the excellency of the British Constitution
consists in the equal balance of the regal and popular powers. If so,
where the royal scale kicks the beam and the people know their own
superior strength, the authority of Government can never be steady and
durable: it must either be perpetually distracted by disputes with the
Crown, or be quieted by giving up all real power to the demagogues of
the people." And, after other considerations, the paper closes as
follows:--"It is therefore not to be wondered at that the most
sensible men of this Province see how necessary it is for the peace
and good order of this government that the royal scale should have its
own constitutional weights restored to it, and thereby be made much
more equilibrial with the popular one. How this is to be done, whether
by the Parliament or the King's Bench, or by both, is a question for
the Administration to determine; the expedience of the measure is out
of doubt; and if the late proceedings of the Convention, etc., amount
to a forfeiture, a reformation of the constitution of the government,
if it is insisted upon, must and will be assented to."

The Governor, in a letter addressed to John Pownall, which is marked
"Private and Confidential," explains the origin and intention of this
paper,--a paper which has not been referred to by historians:--


"_Boston, Dec. 24, 1768._

"Dear Sir,--The enclosed letter is the result of divers conferences I
have had with some of the chief members of the Government and the
principal gentlemen of the town, in the course of which I have scarce
ever met with a difference to the opinions there laid down. I have
been frequently importuned to write to the Minister upon these
subjects, that the fair opportunity which offers to crush the faction,
reform the government, and restore peace and order may not be lost, I
have, however, declined it, not thinking it decent in me to appear to
dictate to the Minister so far as to prescribe a set of
measures. Besides, I have thought the subject and manner of dictating

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