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The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 12 by Editor-In-Chief Rossiter Johnson

Part 6 out of 8

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up the river by the batteries the enemy had raised on both sides, and a
boom with which they had blocked up the channel.

At length a reŽnforcement arrived in the Lough, under the command of
General Kirke, who had deserted his master, and been employed in the
service of King William. He found means to convey intelligence to Walker
that he had troops and provisions on board for their relief, but found it
impracticable to sail up the river. He promised, however, that he would
land a body of forces at the Inch, and endeavor to make a diversion in
their favor, when joined by the troops at Inniskillen, which amounted to
five thousand men, including two thousand cavalry. He said he expected six
thousand men from England, where they were embarked before he set sail; he
exhorted them to persevere in their courage and loyalty, and assured them
that he would come to their relief at all hazards. The assurances enabled
them to bear their miseries a little longer, though their numbers daily
diminished. Major Baker dying, his place was filled by Colonel Michelburn,
who now acted as colleague to Mr. Walker.

King James having returned to Dublin to be present at the Parliament, the
command of his army devolved to the French general, Rosene,[1] who was
exasperated by such an obstinate opposition by a handful of half-starved
militia. He threatened to raze the town to its foundations and destroy the
inhabitants without distinction of age or sex unless they would immediately
submit themselves to their lawful sovereign. The governors treated his
menaces with contempt, and published an order that no person, on pain of
death, should talk of surrendering. They had now consumed the last remains
of their provisions, and supported life by eating the flesh of horses,
dogs, cats, rats, mice, and tallow, starch, and salted hides; and even
this loathsome food began to fail. Rosene, finding them deaf to all his
proposals, threatened to wreak his vengeance on all the Protestants of that
county and drive them under the walls of Londonderry, where they should be
suffered to perish by famine. The Bishop of Meath being informed of this
design, complained to King James of the barbarous intention, entreating his
majesty to prevent its being put into execution; that Prince assured
him that he had already ordered Rosene to desist from such proceedings;
nevertheless, the Frenchman executed his threats with the utmost rigor.

[Footnote 1: James was assisted in his attempt by a small body of French
troops, England having entered the Grand Alliance against Louis XIV.--ED.]

Parties of dragoons were detached on this cruel service. After having
stripped all the Protestants for thirty miles round, they drove these
unhappy people before them like cattle, without even sparing the enfeebled
old men, nurses with infants at their breasts, and tender children. About
four thousand of these miserable objects were driven under the walls of
Londonderry. This expedient, far from answering the purpose of Rosene,
produced a quite contrary effect. The besieged were so exasperated at this
act of inhumanity that they resolved to perish rather than submit to such a
barbarian. They erected a gibbet in sight of the enemy, and sent a message
to the French general importing that they would hang all the prisoners they
had taken during the siege unless the Protestants whom they had driven
under the walls should be immediately dismissed. This threat produced a
negotiation, in consequence of which the Protestants were released after
they had been detained three days without tasting food. Some hundreds
died of famine or fatigue; and those who lived to return to their own
habitations found them plundered and sacked by the papists, so that the
greater number perished for want, or were murdered by straggling parties of
the enemy. Yet these very people had for the most part obtained protection
from King James, to which no respect was paid by his general.

The garrison of Londonderry was now reduced from seven thousand to five
thousand seven hundred men, and these were driven to such extremity of
distress that they began to talk of killing the popish inhabitants and
feeding on their bodies. Kirke, who had hitherto lain inactive, ordered
two ships laden with provisions to sail up the river, under convoy of the
Dartmouth (frigate); one of these, called the Mountjoy, broke the enemy's
boom, and all the three--after having sustained a very hot fire from both
sides of the river--arrived in safety at the town, to the inexpressible joy
of the inhabitants.

The army of James was so dispirited by the success of this enterprise that
they abandoned the siege in the night, and retired with precipitation,
after having lost about nine thousand men before the place. Kirke no sooner
took possession of the town than Walker was prevailed upon to embark for
England, with an address of thanks from the inhabitants to their majesties
for the seasonable relief they had received.

King James trusted so much to the disputes in the English Parliament that
he did not believe his son-in-law would be able to quit that kingdom, and
William had been six days in Ireland before he received intimation of his
arrival. This was no sooner known than he left Dublin under the guard
of the militia, commanded by Luttrel, and, with a reŽnforcement of six
thousand infantry which he had lately received from France, joined the
rest of his forces, which now almost equalled William's army in number,
exclusive of about fifteen thousand men who remained in different
garrisons. He occupied a very advantageous post on the bank of the Boyne,
and, contrary to the advice of his general officers, resolved to stand
battle. They proposed to strengthen their garrisons, and retire to the
Shannon, to wait the effect of the operations at sea.

Louis had promised to equip a powerful armament against the English fleet,
and send over a great number of small frigates to destroy William's
transports, as soon as their convoy should be returned to England; the
execution of this scheme was not at all difficult, and must have proved
fatal to the English army, for their stores and ammunition were still on
board; the ships sailed along the coast as the troops advanced in their
march; and there was not one secure harbor into which they could retire on
any emergency. James, however, was bent on hazarding an engagement, and
expressed uncommon confidence and alacrity. Besides the river, which was
deep, his front was secured by a morass and a rising ground; so that the
English army could not attack him without manifest disadvantage.

King William marched up to the opposite bank of the river, and as he
reconnoitred their situation was exposed to the fire of some field-pieces,
which the enemy purposely planted against his person. They killed a man and
two horses close by him, and the second bullet rebounding from the earth,
grazed on his right shoulder, so as to carry off part of his clothes and
skin and produce a considerable contusion. This accident, which he bore
without the least emotion, created some confusion among his attendants,
which, the enemy perceiving, concluded he was killed, and shouted aloud in
token of their joy; the whole camp resounded with acclamation, and several
squadrons of their horse were drawn down toward the river as if they
intended to pass it immediately and attack the English army. The report was
instantly communicated from place to place until it reached Dublin; from
thence it was conveyed to Paris, where, contrary to the custom of the
French court, the people were encouraged to celebrate the event with
bonfires and illuminations.

William rode along the line to show himself to the army after this narrow
escape. At night he called a council of war, and declared his resolution to
attack the enemy in the morning. Schomberg[1] at first opposed his design,
but, finding the King determined, he advised that a strong detachment of
horse and foot should that night pass the Boyne at Slane bridge and take
post between the enemy and the pass at Duleck, that the action might be the
more decisive; this counsel being rejected, the King determined that early
in the morning Lieutenant-general Douglas with the right wing of the
infantry, and young Schomberg with the horse, should pass at Slane bridge,
while the main body of the foot should force their passage at Old bridge,
and the left at certain fords between the enemy's camp and Drogheda. The
Duke, perceiving that his advice was not relished by the Dutch generals,
retired to his tent, where, the order of battle being brought to him, he
received it with an air of discontent, saying it was the first that had
ever been sent to him in that manner. The proper dispositions being made,
William rode quite through the army by torchlight, and then retired to his
tent after having given orders to his soldiers to distinguish themselves
from the enemy by wearing green boughs in their hats during the action.

[Footnote 1: The Duke of Schomberg, who commanded for William, had
accompanied him to England in 1688. The Duke is further spoken of below.
"Young Schomberg" was his son.--ED.]

At six o'clock in the morning, General Douglas, with young Schomberg, the
Earl of Portland, and Auverquerque, marched to Slane bridge, and passed the
river with very little opposition. When they reached the farther bank they
perceived the enemy drawn up in two lines, to a considerable number of
horse and foot, with a morass in their front, so that Douglas was obliged
to wait for reinforcements. This being arrived, the infantry was led on to
the charge through the morass, while Count Schomberg rode round it with his
cavalry, to attack the enemy in flank. The Irish, instead of waiting the
assault, faced about, and retreated toward Duleck with some precipitation;
yet not so fast but that Schomberg fell in among their rear, and did
considerable execution. King James, however, soon reŽnforced his left
wing from the centre; and the Count was in his turn obliged to send for

At this juncture King William's main body, consisting of the Dutch guards,
the French regiments,[1] and some battalions of English, passed the river,
which was waist-high, under a general discharge of artillery. King James
had imprudently removed his cannon from the other side; but he had posted a
strong body of musketeers along the bank, behind hedges, houses, and some
works raised for the occasion; these poured in a close fire on the English
troops before they reached the shore; but it produced very little effect.
Then the Irish gave way, and some battalions landed without further
opposition; yet before they could form, they were charged with great
impetuosity by a squadron of the enemy's horse, and a considerable body of
their cavalry and foot, commanded by General Hamilton, advanced from behind
some little hillocks to attack those that were landed as well as to prevent
the rest from reaching the shore; his infantry turned their backs and fled
immediately; but the horse charged with incredible fury, both on the bank
and in the river, so as to put the unformed regiments in confusion.

[Footnote 1: French Protestants or Huguenots.--ED.]

Then the Duke of Schomberg passed the river in person, put himself at the
head of the French Protestants, and pointing to the enemy, "Gentlemen,"
said he, "those are your persecutors." With these words he advanced to the
attack, where he himself sustained a violent onset from a party of the
Irish horse, which had broken through one of the regiments and were now on
their return. They were mistaken for English, and allowed to gallop up
to the Duke, who received two severe wounds in the head; but the French
troops, now sensible of their mistake, rashly threw in their fire on the
Irish while they were engaged with the Duke, and, instead of saving, shot
him dead on the spot.

The death of this general had wellnigh proved fatal to the English army,
which was immediately involved in tumult and disorder; while the infantry
of King James rallied and returned to their posts with a face of
resolution. They were just ready to fall on the centre when King William,
having passed with the left wing, composed of the Danish, Dutch, and
Inniskillen horse, advanced to attack them on the right: they were struck
with such a panic at his appearance that they made a sudden halt, and then
facing about retreated to the village of Dunmore. There they made such a
vigorous stand that the Dutch and Danish horse, though headed by the King
in person, recoiled; even the Inniskillens gave way, and the whole wing
would have been routed had not a detachment of dragoons, belonging to the
regiment of Cunningham and Levison, dismounted and lined the hedges on each
side of the ditch through which the fugitives were driven; there they did
such execution on the pursuers as soon checked their ardor. The horse,
which were broken, had now time to rally, and, returning to the charge,
drove the enemy before them in their turn.

In this action General Hamilton, who had been the life and soul of the
Irish during the whole engagement, was wounded and taken, an incident which
discouraged them to such a degree that they made no further efforts to
retrieve the advantage they had lost. He was immediately brought to
the King, who asked him if he thought the Irish would make any further
resistance, and he replied, "On my honor I believe they will, for they
have still a good body of horse entire." William, eying him with a look of
disdain, repeated, "Your honor, your honor!" but took no other notice of
his having acted contrary to his engagement, when he was permitted to go to
Ireland on promise of persuading Tyrconnel to submit to the new government.
The Irish now abandoned the field with precipitation; but the French and
Swiss troops, that acted as their auxiliaries under De Lauzun, retreated
in good order, after having maintained the battle for some time with
intrepidity and perseverance.

As King William did not think proper to pursue the enemy, the carnage was
not great; the Irish lost a thousand five hundred men and the English
about one-third of that number; though the victory was dearly purchased,
considering the death of the gallant Duke of Schomberg, who fell, in the
eighty-second year of his age, after having rivalled the best generals of
that time in military reputation. He was the descendant of a noble family,
in the Palatinate, and his mother was an Englishwoman, daughter of Lord
Dudley. Being obliged to leave his country on account of the troubles
by which it was agitated, he commenced a soldier of fortune, and served
successively in the armies of Holland, England, France, Portugal, and
Brandenburg; he attained to the dignity of mareschal in France, grandee in
Portugal, generalissimo in Prussia, and duke in England. He professed the
Protestant religion; was courteous and humble in his deportment; cool,
penetrating, resolute, and sagacious, nor was his probity inferior to his

This battle also proved fatal to the barve Caillemote, who had followed
the Duke's fortunes, and commanded one of the Protestant regiments. After
having received a mortal wound, he was carried back through the river by
four soldiers, and, though almost in the agonies of death, he, with a
cheerful countenance, encouraged those who were crossing to do their duty,
exclaiming, "_A la gloire, mes enfants, ŗ la gloire!_" ("To glory, my lads,
to glory!")

The third remarkable person who lost his life on this occasion was Walker,
the clergyman, who had so valiantly defended Londonderry against the whole
army of King James; he had been very graciously received by King William,
who gratified him with a reward of five thousand pounds and a promise of
further favor; but, his military genius still predominating, he attended
his royal patron in this battle, and, being shot, died in a few minutes.

The persons of distinction who fell on the other side were the Lords Dongan
and Carlingford; Sir Neile O'Neile and the Marquis of Hocquincourt. James,
himself, stood aloof during the action on the hill of Dunmore, surrounded
with some squadrons of horse, and seeing victory declare against him
retired to Dublin without having made the least effort to reassemble his
broken forces. Had he possessed either spirit or conduct his army might
have been rallied and reŽnforced from his garrisons, so as to be in a
condition to keep the field and even to act on the offensive; for his loss
was inconsiderable, and the victor did not attempt to molest his troops
in their retreat, an omission which has been charged to him as a flagrant
instance of misconduct. Indeed, through the whole of this engagement
William's personal courage was much more conspicuous than his military


A.D. 1692


Among the people of Massachusetts during the century which saw the Pilgrims
seek religious liberty there, a delusion broke out which not only spread
horror through the community and caused suffering and disgrace even in
the most respectable families, but has baffled all later attempts at
explanation. The witchcraft madness, as manifested there and elsewhere
in the world, has remained alike the puzzle of history and the riddle of

Historically, witchcraft is classed with other occult phenomena or
practices connected with supposed supernatural influences. The famous
trials and executions for witchcraft which took place in and near Salem,
Massachusetts, toward the end of the seventeenth century, owed their
special prominence to their peculiar localization and environment.
Otherwise they might have been regarded as nothing more than incidents of a
once general course in criminal procedure. Thousands in Europe had already
suffered similar condemnation, and the last recorded execution for
witchcraft in Great Britain did not occur till 1722. Even so late as 1805 a
woman was imprisoned for this "crime" in Scotland.

Hildreth's account skilfully condenses the essential matters relating to
this strange episode in Massachusetts history.

* * * * *

The practice of magic, sorcery, and spells, in the reality of which all
ignorant communities have believed, had long been a criminal offence in
England. A statute of the thirty-third year of Henry VIII made them capital
felonies. Another statute of the first year of James I, more specific in
its terms, subjected to the same penalty all persons "invoking any evil
spirit, or consulting, covenanting with, entertaining, employing, feeding,
or rewarding any evil spirit, or taking up dead bodies from their graves to
be used in any witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment, or killing or
otherwise hurting any person by such infernal arts."

That second Solomon, before whom the illustrious Bacon bowed with so much
reverence, was himself a firm believer in witchcraft. He professed, indeed,
to be an adept in the art of detecting witches, an art which became the
subject of several learned treatises, one of them from James' own royal
pen. During the Commonwealth England had abounded with professional
witch-detectors, who travelled from county to county, and occasioned the
death of many unfortunate persons. The "Fundamentals" of Massachusetts
contained a capital law against witchcraft, fortified by that express
declaration of Scripture, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

Yet, among other evidences of departure from ancient landmarks, and of
the propagation even to New England of a spirit of doubt, were growing
suspicions as to the reality of that everyday supernaturalism which formed
so prominent a feature of the Puritan theology. The zeal of Increase Mather
against this rising incredulity had engaged him, while the old charter was
still in existence, to publish a book of _Remarkable Providences_, in which
were enumerated, among other things, all the supposed cases of witchcraft
which had hitherto occurred in New England, with arguments to prove their

What at that time had given the matter additional interest was the case of
a bewitched or haunted house at Newbury. An intelligent neighbor, who had
suggested that a mischievous grandson of the occupant might perhaps be at
the bottom of the mystery, was himself accused of witchcraft and narrowly
escaped. A witch, however, the credulous townspeople were resolved to find,
and they presently fixed upon the wife of the occupant as the culprit.
Seventeen persons testified to mishaps experienced in the course of
their lives, which they charitably chose to ascribe to the ill-will and
diabolical practices of this unfortunate old woman. On this evidence she
was found guilty by the jury; but the magistrates, more enlightened,
declined to order her execution. The deputies thereupon raised a loud
complaint at this delay of justice. But the firmness of Governor
Bradstreet, supported as he was by the moderate party, and the abrogation
of the charter which speedily followed, saved the woman's life.

This same struggle of opinion existed also in the mother-country, where
the rising sect of "freethinkers" began to deny and deride all diabolical
agencies. Nor was this view confined to professed freethinkers. The
latitudinarian party in the Church, a rapidly growing body, leaned
perceptibly the same way. The "serious ministers," on the other hand, led
by Richard Baxter, their acknowledged head, defended with zeal the reality
of witchcraft and the personality and agency of the devil, to deny which
they denounced as little short of atheism. They supported their opinions
by the authority of Sir Matthew Hale, lord chief justice of England,
as distinguished for piety as for knowledge of the law, under whose
instructions two alleged witches, at whose trials he had presided shortly
after the Restoration, had been found guilty and executed. The accounts
of those trials, published in England on occasion of this controversy and
republished at Boston, had tended to confirm the popular belief. The doubts
by which Mather had been alarmed were yet confined to a few thinking men.
Read with a forward and zealous faith, these stories did not fail to make a
deep impression on the popular imagination.

While Andros was still governor, shortly after Increase Mather's departure
for England, four young children, members of a pious family in Boston, the
eldest a girl of thirteen, the youngest a boy not five, had begun to behave
in a singular manner, barking like dogs, purring like cats, seeming to
become deaf, blind, or dumb, having their limbs strangely distorted,
complaining that they were pinched, pricked, pulled, or cut--acting out, in
fact, the effects of witchcraft, according to the current notions of it
and the descriptions in the books above referred to. The terrified
father called in Dr. Oakes, a zealous leader of the ultra-theocratic
party--presently sent to England as joint agent with Mather--who gave
his opinion that the children were bewitched. The oldest girl had lately
received a bitter scolding from an old Irish indented servant, whose
daughter she had accused of theft.

This same old woman, from indications no doubt given by the children,
was soon fixed upon as being the witch. The four ministers of Boston and
another from Charlestown having kept a day of fasting and prayer at the
troubled house, the youngest child was relieved. But the others, more
persevering and more artful, continuing as before, the old woman was
presently arrested and charged with bewitching them. She had for a long
time been reputed a witch, and she even seems to have flattered herself
that she was one. Indeed, her answers were so "senseless" that the
magistrates referred it to the doctors to say if she were not "crazed in
her intellects." On their report of her sanity, the old woman was tried,
found guilty, and executed.

Though Increase Mather was absent on this interesting occasion, he had a
zealous representative in his son, Cotton Mather, by the mother's side
grandson of the "Great Cotton," a young minister of twenty-five, a prodigy
of learning, eloquence, and piety, recently settled as colleague with his
father over Boston North Church. Cotton Mather had an extraordinary memory,
stuffed with all sorts of learning. His application was equal to that of a
German professor. His lively imagination, trained in the school of Puritan
theology, and nourished on the traditionary legends of New England, of
which he was a voracious and indiscriminate collector, was still further
stimulated by fasts, vigils, prayers, and meditations almost equal to
those of any Catholic saint. Of a temperament ambitious and active, he was
inflamed with a great desire of "doing good." Fully conscious of all his
gifts, and not a little vain of them, like the Jesuit missionaries in
Canada, his contemporaries, he believed himself to be often, during his
devotional exercises, in direct and personal communication with the Deity.

In every piece of good-fortune he saw a special answer to his prayers; in
every mortification or calamity, the special personal malice of the devil
and his agents. Yet both himself and his father were occasionally troubled
with "temptations to atheism," doubts which they did not hesitate to
ascribe to diabolical influence. The secret consciousness of these doubts
of their own was perhaps one source of their great impatience at the doubts
of others.

Cotton Mather had taken a very active part in the late case of witchcraft;
and, that he might study the operations of diabolical agency at his
leisure, and thus be furnished with evidence and arguments to establish
its reality, he took the eldest of the bewitched children home to his own
house. His eagerness to believe invited imposture. His excessive vanity and
strong prejudices made him easy game. Adroit and artful beyond her years,
the girl fooled him to the top of his bent. His ready pen was soon
furnished with materials for "a story all made up of wonders," which, with
some other matters of the same sort, and a sermon preached on the occasion,
he presently published, under the title of _Memorable Providences relating
to Witchcrafts and Possessions_, with a preface in which he warned all
"Sadducees" that he should regard their doubts for the future as a personal

Cotton Mather was not the only dupe. "The old heresy of the sensual
Sadducees, denying the being of angels either good or evil," says the
recommendatory preface to this book, signed by the other four ministers of
Boston, "died not with them, nor will it, whilst men, abandoning both faith
and reason, count it their wisdom to credit nothing but what they see or
feel. How much this fond opinion hath gotten ground in this debauched age
is awfully observable; and what a dangerous stroke it gives to settle men
in atheism is not hard to discern. God is therefore pleased, besides the
witness borne to this truth in Sacred Writ, to suffer devils sometimes to
do such things in the world as shall stop the mouths of gainsayers, and
extort a confession from them."

They add their testimony to the truth of Mather's statements, which they
commend as furnishing "clear information" that there is "both a God and a
devil, and witchcraft." The book was presently republished in London, with
a preface by Baxter, who pronounced the girl's case so "convincing" that
"he must be a very obdurate Sadducee who would not believe it."

Mather's sermon, prefixed to this narrative, is a curious specimen of
fanatical declamation. "Witchcraft," he exclaims, "is a renouncing of God,
and the advancement of a filthy devil into the throne of the Most High.
Witchcraft is a renouncing of Christ, and preferring the communion of a
loathsome, lying devil before all the salvation of the Lord Redeemer.
Witchcraft is a siding with hell against heaven and earth, and therefore a
witch is not to be endured in either of them. 'Tis a capital crime, and is
to be prosecuted as a species of devilism that would not only deprive God
and Christ of all his honor, but also plunder man of all his comfort.
Nothing too vile can be said of, nothing too hard can be done to, such a
horrible iniquity as witchcraft is!"

Such declamations from such a source, giving voice and authority to the
popular superstition, prepared the way for the tragedy that followed.
The suggestion, however, that Cotton Mather, for purposes of his own,
deliberately got up this witchcraft delusion, and forced it upon a doubtful
and hesitating people, is utterly absurd. And so is another suggestion, a
striking exhibition of partisan extravagance, that because the case of the
four Boston children happened during the government of Andros, therefore
the responsibility of that affair rests on him, and not on the people of
Massachusetts. The Irish woman was tried under a Massachusetts law, and
convicted by a Massachusetts jury; and, had Andros interfered to save her
life, to the other charges against him would doubtless have been added that
of friendship for witches.

Cotton Mather seems to have acted, in a degree, the part of a demagogue.
Yet he is not to be classed with those tricky and dishonest men, so common
in our times, who play upon popular prejudices which they do not share, in
the expectation of being elevated to honors and office. Mather's position,
convictions, and temperament alike called him to serve on this occasion as
the organ, exponent, and stimulator of the popular faith.

The bewitched girl, as she ceased to be an object of popular attention,
seems to have returned to her former behavior. But the seed had been sown
on fruitful ground. After an interval of nearly four years, three young
girls in the family of Parris, minister of Salem village, now Danvers,
began to exhibit similar pranks. As in the Boston case, a physician
pronounced them bewitched, and Tituba, an old Indian woman, the servant of
Parris, who undertook, by some vulgar rites, to discover the witch, was
rewarded by the girls with the accusation of being herself the cause of
their sufferings. The neighboring ministers assembled at the house of
Parris for fasting and prayer. The village fasted; and presently a general
fast was ordered throughout the colony. The "bewitched children," thus
rendered objects of universal sympathy and attention, did not long want
imitators. Several other girls and two or three women of the neighborhood
began to be afflicted in the same way, as did also John, the Indian husband
of Tituba, warned, it would seem, by the fate of his wife.

Parris took a very active part in discovering the witches; so did Noyes,
minister of Salem, described as "a learned, a charitable, and a good man."
A town committee was soon formed for the detection of the witches. Two
of the magistrates, resident at Salem, entered with great zeal into
the matter. The accusations, confined at first to Tituba and two other
friendless women, one crazed, the other bedrid, presently included two
female members of Parris' church, in which, as in so many other churches,
there had been some sharp dissensions. The next Sunday after this
accusation Parris preached from the verse, "Have I not chosen you twelve,
and one is a devil?" At the announcement of this text the sister of one of
the accused women rose and left the meeting-house. She, too, was accused
immediately after, and the same fate soon overtook all who showed the least
disposition to resist the prevailing delusion.

The matter had now assumed so much importance that the Deputy-governor--for
the provisional government was still in operation--proceeded to
Salem village, with five other magistrates, and held a court in the
meeting-house. A great crowd was present. Parris acted at once as clerk
and accuser, producing the witnesses, and taking down the testimony. The
accused were held with their arms extended and hands open, lest by the
least motion of their fingers they might inflict torments on their victims,
who sometimes affected to be struck dumb, and at others to be knocked down
by the mere glance of an eye. They were haunted, they said, by the spectres
of the accused, who tendered them a book, and solicited them to subscribe a
league with the devil; and when they refused, would bite, pinch, scratch,
choke, burn, twist, prick, pull, and otherwise torment them. At the mere
sight of the accused brought into court, "the afflicted" would seem to be
seized with a fit of these torments, from which, however, they experienced
instant relief when the accused were compelled to touch them--infallible
proof to the minds of the gaping assembly that these apparent sufferings
were real and the accusations true. The theory was that the touch conveyed
back into the witch the malignant humors shot forth from her eyes; and
learned references were even made to Descartes, of whose new philosophy
some rumors had reached New England, in support of this theory.

In the examinations at Salem village meeting-house some very extraordinary
scenes occurred. "Look there!" cried one of the afflicted; "there is Goody
Procter on the beam!" This Goody Procter's husband, notwithstanding the
accusation against her, still took her side, and had attended her to the
court; in consequence of which act of fidelity some of "the afflicted"
began now to cry out that he too was a wizard. At the exclamation above
cited, "many, if not all, the bewitched had grievous fits."

Question by the Court: "Ann Putnam, who hurts you?"

Answer: "Goodman Procter, and his wife, too."

Then some of the afflicted cry out, "There is Procter going to take up Mrs.
Pope's feet!" and "immediately her feet are taken up."

Question by the Court: "What do you say, Goodman Procter, to these things?"

Answer: "I know not: I am innocent."

Abigail Williams, another of the afflicted, cries out, "There is Goodman
Procter going to Mrs. Pope!" and "immediately said Pope falls into a fit."

A magistrate to Procter: "You see the devil will deceive you; the
children," so all the afflicted were called, "could see what you were going
to do before the woman was hurt. I would advise you to repentance, for you
see the devil is bringing you out."

Abigail Williams cries out again, "There is Goodman Procter going to hurt
Goody Bibber!" and "immediately Goody Bibber falls into a fit." Abigail
Williams and Ann Putnam both "made offer to strike at Elizabeth Procter;
but when Abigail's hand came near, it opened, whereas it was made up into
a fist before, and came down exceedingly lightly as it drew near to said
Procter, and at length, with open and extended fingers, touched Procter's
hood very lightly; and immediately Abigail cries out, 'My fingers, my
fingers, my fingers burn!' and Ann Putnam takes on most grievously of her
head, and sinks down."

Such was the evidence upon which people were believed to be witches, and
committed to prison to be tried for their lives! Yet, let us not hurry too
much to triumph over the past. In these days of animal magnetism, have we
not ourselves seen imposture as gross, and even in respectable quarters
a headlong credulity just as precipitate? We must consider also that the
judgments of our ancestors were disturbed, not only by wonder, but by fear.

Encouraged by the ready belief of the magistrates and the public, "the
afflicted" went on enlarging the circle of their accusations, which
presently seemed to derive fresh corroboration from the confessions of some
of the accused. Tituba had been flogged into a confession; others yielded
to a pressure more stringent than blows. Weak women, astonished at the
charges and contortions of their accusers, assured that they were witches
beyond all doubt, and urged to confess as the only possible chance for
their lives, were easily prevailed upon to repeat any tales put into their
mouths: their journeys through the air on broomsticks to attend witch
sacraments--a sort of travesty on the Christian ordinance--at which the
devil appeared in the shape of a "small black man"; their signing the
devil's book, renouncing their former baptism, and being baptized anew
by the devil, who "dipped" them in "Wenham Pond," after the Anabaptist

Called upon to tell who were present at these sacraments, the confessing
witches wound up with new accusations; and by the time Phipps arrived in
the colony, near a hundred persons were already in prison. The mischief was
not limited to Salem. An idea had been taken up that the bewitched could
explain the causes of sickness; and one of them, carried to Andover for
that purpose, had accused many persons of witchcraft, and thrown the whole
village into the greatest commotion. Some persons also had been accused in
Boston and other towns.

It was one of Governor Phipps' first official acts to order all the
prisoners into irons. This restraint upon their motions might impede them,
it was hoped, in tormenting the afflicted. Without waiting for the meeting
of the General Court, to whom that authority properly belonged, Phipps
hastened, by advice of his counsel, to organize a special court for the
trial of the witches. Stoughton, the Lieutenant-governor, was appointed
president; but his cold and hard temper, his theological education,
and unyielding bigotry were ill qualifications for such an office. His
associates, six in number, were chiefly Boston men, possessing a high
reputation for wisdom and piety, among them Richards, the late agent,
Wait Winthrop, brother of Fitz-John Winthrop, and grandson of the former
Governor, and Samuel Sewell, the two latter subsequently, in turn,
chief-justices of the province.

The new court, thus organized, proceeded to Salem, and commenced operations
by the trial of an old woman who had long enjoyed the reputation of being a
witch. Besides "spectral evidence," that is, the tales of the afflicted, a
jury of women, appointed to make an examination, found upon her a wart or
excrescence, adjudged to be "a devil's teat." A number of old stories were
also raked up of dead hens and foundered cattle and carts upset, ascribed
by the neighbors to her incantations. On this evidence she was brought in
guilty, and hanged a few days after, when the court took an adjournment to
the end of the month.

The first General Court under the new charter met meanwhile, and Increase
Mather, who had returned in company with Phipps, gave an account of his
agency. From a House not well pleased with the loss of the old charter he
obtained a reluctant vote of thanks, but he received no compensation for
four years' expenses, which had pressed very heavily upon his narrow
income. After passing a temporary act for continuing in force all the old
laws, among others the capital law against witchcraft, an adjournment was
had, without any objection or even reference, so far as appears, to the
special court for the trial of the witches, which surely would have raised
a great outcry had it been established for any unpopular purpose.

According to a favorite practice of the old Government, now put in use
for the last time, Phipps requested the advice of the elders as to the
proceedings against the witches. The reply, drawn up by the hand of Cotton
Mather, acknowledges with thankfulness "the success which the merciful God
has given to the sedulous and assiduous endeavors of our honorable rulers
to defeat the abominable witchcrafts which have been committed in the
country, humbly praying that the discovery of those mysterious and
mischievous wickednesses may be perfected." It advises, however, "critical
and exquisite caution" in relying too much on "the devil's authority," that
is, on spectral evidence, or "apparent changes wrought in the afflicted
by the presence of the accused"; neither of which, in the opinion of the
ministers, could be trusted as infallible proof. Yet it was almost entirely
on this sort of evidence that all the subsequent convictions were had.
Stoughton, unfortunately, had espoused the opinion--certainly a plausible
one--that it was impossible for the devil to assume the appearance of an
innocent man, or for persons not witches to be spectrally seen at witches'
meetings; and some of the confessing witches were prompt to flatter the
chief justice's vanity by confirming a doctrine so apt for their purposes.

At the second session of the special court five women were tried and
convicted. The others were easily disposed of; but in the case of Rebecca
Nurse, one of Parris' church-members, a woman hitherto of unimpeachable
character, the jury at first gave a verdict of acquittal. At the
announcement of this verdict "the afflicted" raised a great clamor. The
"honored Court" called the jury's attention to an exclamation of the
prisoner during the trial, expressive of surprise at seeing among the
witnesses two of her late fellow-prisoners: "Why do these testify against
me? They used to come among us!" These two witnesses had turned confessors,
and these words were construed by the court as confirming their testimony
of having met the prisoner at witches' meetings. The unhappy woman,
partially deaf, listened to this colloquy in silence. Thus pressed by the
Court, and hearing no reply from the prisoner, the jury changed their
verdict and pronounced her guilty. The explanations subsequently offered in
her behalf were disregarded. The Governor, indeed, granted a reprieve, but
the Salem committee procured its recall, and the unhappy woman, taken in
chains to the meeting-house, was solemnly excommunicated, and presently
hanged with the others.

At the third session of the court six prisoners were tried and convicted,
all of whom were presently hanged except Elizabeth Procter, whose pregnancy
was pleaded in delay. Her true and faithful husband, in spite of a letter
to the Boston ministers, denouncing the falsehood of the witnesses,
complaining that confessions had been extorted by torture, and begging for
a trial at Boston or before other judges, was found guilty, and suffered
with the rest. Another of this unfortunate company was John Willard,
employed as an officer to arrest the accused, but whose imprudent
expression of some doubts on the subject had caused him to be accused also.
He had fled, but was pursued and taken, and was now tried and executed. His
behavior, and that of Procter, at the place of execution, made, however, a
deep impression on many minds.

A still more remarkable case was that of George Burroughs, a minister whom
the incursions of the Eastern Indians had lately driven from Saco back to
Salem village, where he had formerly preached, and where he now found among
his former parishioners enemies more implacable even than the Indians. It
was the misfortune of Burroughs to have many enemies, in part, perhaps,
by his own fault. Encouragement was thus found to accuse him. Some of
the witnesses had seen him at witches' meetings; others had seen the
apparitions of his dead wives, which accused him of cruelty. These
witnesses, with great symptoms of horror and alarm, even pretended to see
these dead wives again appearing to them in open court. Though small of
size, Burroughs was remarkably strong, instances of which were given
in proof that the devil helped him. Stoughton treated him with cruel
insolence, and did his best to confuse and confound him.

What insured his condemnation was a paper he handed to the jury, an extract
from some author, denying the possibility of witchcraft. Burroughs' speech
from the gallows affected many, especially the fluent fervency of his
prayers, concluding with the Lord's Prayer, which no witch, it was thought,
could repeat correctly. Several, indeed, had been already detected by some
slight error or mispronunciation in attempting it. The impression, however,
which Burroughs might have produced was neutralized by Cotton Mather, who
appeared on horseback among the crowd, and took occasion to remind the
people that Burroughs, though a preacher, was no "ordained" minister, and
that the devil would sometimes assume even the garb of an angel of light.

At a fourth session of the court six women were tried and found guilty. At
another session shortly after, eight women and one man were convicted, all
of whom received sentence of death. An old man of eighty, who refused to
plead, was pressed to death--a barbarous infliction prescribed by the
common law for such cases.

Ever since the trials began, it had been evident that confession was the
only avenue to safety. Several of those now found guilty confessed and were
reprieved; but Samuel Woodwell, having retracted his confession, along with
seven others who persisted in their innocence, was sent to execution. "The
afflicted" numbered by this time about fifty; fifty-five had confessed
themselves witches and turned accusers; twenty persons had already suffered
death; eight more were under sentence; the jails were full of prisoners,
and new accusations were added every day. Such was the state of things when
the court adjourned to the first Monday in November.

Cotton Mather employed this interval in preparing his _Wonders of the
Invisible World_, containing an exulting account of the late trials, giving
full credit to the statements of the afflicted and the confessors,
and vaunting the good effects of the late executions in "the strange
deliverance of some that had lain for many years in a most sad condition,
under they knew not what evil hand."

While the witch trials were going on, the Governor had hastened to
Pemaquid, and in accordance with instructions brought with him from
England, though at an expense to the province which caused loud complaints,
had built there a strong stone fort. Colonel Church had been employed,
in the mean time, with four hundred men, in scouring the shores of the
Penobscot and the banks of the Kennebec.

Notwithstanding some slight cautions about trusting too much to spectral
evidence, Mather's book, which professed to be published at the special
request of the Governor, was evidently intended to stimulate to further
proceedings. But, before its publication, the reign of terror had already
reached such a height as to commence working its own cure. The accusers,
grown bold with success, had begun to implicate persons whose character and
condition had seemed to place them beyond the possibility of assault. Even
"the generation of the children of God" were in danger. One of the Andover
ministers had been implicated; but two of the confessing witches came to
his rescue by declaring that they had surreptitiously carried his shape to
a witches' meeting, in order to create a belief that he was there. Hale,
minister of Beverly, had been very active against the witches; but when his
own wife was charged, he began to hesitate. A son of Governor Bradstreet,
a magistrate of Andover, having refused to issue any more warrants, was
himself accused, and his brother soon after, on the charge of bewitching a
dog. Both were obliged to fly for their lives. Several prisoners, by the
favor of friends, escaped to Rhode Island, but, finding themselves
in danger there, fled to New York, where Governor Fletcher gave them
protection. Their property was seized as forfeited by their flight. Lady
Phipps, applied to in her husband's absence on behalf of an unfortunate
prisoner, issued a warrant to the jailer in her own name, and had thus,
rather irregularly, procured his discharge. Some of the accusers, it is
said, began to throw out insinuations even against her.

The extraordinary proceedings on the commitments and trials; the
determination of the magistrates to overlook the most obvious falsehoods
and contradictions on the part of the afflicted and the confessors, under
pretence that the devil took away their memories and imposed upon their
brain, while yet reliance was placed on their testimony to convict the
accused; the partiality exhibited in omitting to take any notice of certain
accusations; the violent means employed to obtain confessions, amounting
sometimes to positive torture; the total disregard of retractions made
voluntarily, and even at the hazard of life--all these circumstances had
impressed the attention of the more rational part of the community; and, in
this crisis of danger and alarm, the meeting of the General Court was most
anxiously awaited.

When that body assembled, a remonstrance came in from Andover against the
condemnation of persons of good fame on the testimony of children and
others "under diabolical influences." What action was taken on this
remonstrance does not appear. The court was chiefly occupied in the passage
of a number of acts, embodying some of the chief points of the old civil
and criminal laws of the colony. The capital punishment of witchcraft was
specially provided for in the very terms of the English act of Parliament.
Heresy and blasphemy were also continued as capital offences. By the
organization of the Superior Court under the charter, the special
commission for the trial of witches was superseded. But of this Superior
Court Stoughton was appointed chief justice, and three of his four
colleagues had sat with him in the special court.

There is no evidence that these judges had undergone any change of opinion;
but when the new court proceeded to hold a special term at Salem for the
continuation of the witch trials a decided alteration in public feeling
became apparent. Six women of Andover renounced their confessions, and sent
in a memorial to that effect. Of fifty-six indictments laid before the
grand jury, only twenty-six were returned true bills. Of the persons tried,
three only were found guilty. Several others were acquitted, the first
instances of the sort since the trials began.

The court then proceeded to Charlestown, where many were in prison on the
same charge. The case of a woman who for twenty or thirty years had been
reputed a witch, was selected for trial. Many witnesses testified against
her; but the spectral evidence had fallen into total discredit, and was not
used. Though as strong a case was made out as any at Salem, the woman was
acquitted, with her daughter, granddaughter, and several others. News
presently came of a reprieve for those under sentence of death at Salem, at
which Stoughton was so enraged that he left the bench, exclaiming, "Who it
is that obstructs the course of justice I know not; the Lord be merciful to
the country!" nor did he again take his seat during that term.

At the first session of the Superior Court at Boston the grand jury, though
sent out to reconsider the matter, refused to find a bill even against a
confessing witch.

The idea was already prevalent that some great mistakes had been committed
at Salem. The reality of witchcraft was still insisted upon as zealously as
ever, but the impression was strong that the devil had used "the afflicted"
as his instruments to occasion the shedding of innocent blood. On behalf
of the ministers, Increase Mather came out with his _Cases of Conscience
concerning Witchcraft_, in which, while he argued with great learning that
spectral evidence was not infallible, and that the devil might assume the
shape of an innocent man, he yet strenuously maintained as sufficient proof
confession, or "the speaking such words or the doing such things as none
but such as have familiarity with the devil ever did or can do." As to such
as falsely confessed themselves witches, and were hanged in consequence,
Mather thought that was no more than they deserved.

King William's veto on the witchcraft act prevented any further trials;
and presently, by Phipps' order, all the prisoners were discharged. To a
similar veto Massachusetts owes it that heresy and blasphemy ceased to
appear as capital crimes on her statute-book.

The Mathers gave still further proof of faith unshaken by discovering an
afflicted damsel in Boston, whom they visited and prayed with, and of whose
case Cotton Mather wrote an account circulated in manuscript. This damsel,
however, had the discretion to accuse nobody, the spectres that beset her
being all veiled. Reason and common-sense at last found an advocate in
Robert Calef, a citizen of Boston, sneered at by Cotton Mather as "a weaver
who pretended to be a merchant." And afterward, when he grew more angry, as
"a coal sent from hell" to blacken his character--a man, however, of sound
intelligence and courageous spirit. Calef wrote an account, also handed
about in manuscript, of what had been said and done during a visitation
of the Mathers to this afflicted damsel, an exposure of her imposture
and their credulity, which so nettled Cotton Mather that he commenced a
prosecution for slander against Calef, which, however, he soon saw reason
to drop.

Calef then addressed a series of letters to Mather and the other Boston
ministers, in which he denied and ridiculed the reality of any such
compacts with the devil as were commonly believed in under the name of
witchcraft. The witchcraft spoken of in the Bible meant no more, he
maintained, than "hatred or opposition to the word and worship of God, and
seeking to seduce therefrom by some sign"--a definition which he had found
in some English writer on the subject, and which he fortified by divers

It was, perhaps, to furnish materials for a reply to Calef that a circular
from Harvard College, signed by Increase Mather as president, and by all
the neighboring ministers as fellows, invited reports of "apparitions,
possessions, enchantments, and all extraordinary things, wherein the
existence and agency of the invisible world is more sensibly demonstrated,"
to be used "as some fit assembly of ministers might direct." But the
"invisible world" was fast ceasing to be visible, and Cotton Mather laments
that in ten years scarce five returns were received to this circular.

Yet the idea of some supernatural visitation at Salem was but very slowly
relinquished, being still persisted in even by those penitent actors in the
scene who confessed and lamented their own delusion and blood-guiltiness.
Such were Sewell, one of the judges; Noyes, one of the most active
prosecutors; and several of the jurymen who had sat on the trials. The
witnesses upon whose testimony so many innocent persons had suffered were
never called to any account. When Calef's letters were presently published
in London, together with his account of the supposed witchcraft, the book
was burned in the college yard at Cambridge by order of Increase Mather.
The members of the Boston North Church came out also with a pamphlet in
defence of their pastors. Hale, minister of Beverly, in his _Modest Inquiry
into the Nature of Witchcraft_, and Cotton Mather, in his _Magnalia_,
though they admit there had been "a going too far" in the affair at Salem,
are yet still as strenuous as ever for the reality of witchcraft.

Nor were they without support from abroad. Dr. Watts, then one of the chief
leaders of the English Dissenters, wrote to Cotton Mather, "I am persuaded
there was much agency of the devil in those affairs, and perhaps there
were some real witches, too." Twenty years elapsed before the heirs of the
victims, and those who had been obliged to fly for their lives, obtained
some partial indemnity for their pecuniary losses. Stoughton and Cotton
Mather, though they never expressed the least regret or contrition for
their part in the affair, still maintained their places in the public
estimation. Just as the trials were concluded, Stoughton, though he held
the King's commission as lieutenant-governor, was chosen a counsellor--a
mark of confidence which the theocratic majority did not choose to extend
to several of the moderate party named in the original appointment--and
to this post he was annually reŽlected as long as he lived; while Moody,
because he had favored the escape of some of the accused, found it
necessary to resign his pastorship of the First Church of Boston, and to
return again to Portsmouth.

Yet we need less wonder at the pertinacity with which this delusion was
adhered to, when we find Addison arguing for the reality of witchcraft at
the same time that he refuses to believe in any modern instance of it; and
even Blackstone, half a century after, gravely declaring that "to deny the
possibility, nay, actual existence of witchcraft and sorcery, is at once
flatly to contradict the revealed word of God in various passages both of
the Old and New Testament."


A.D. 1694


Not only did the establishment of the Bank of England meet the demands of
public exigency at the time; it also created an institution which was
to become vitally important in the expanding life of the nation. This
custodian of the public money and manager of the public debt of Great
Britain is now the largest bank in the world. The only other financial
institution that could show an equal record of long stability was the Bank
of Amsterdam, which existed from 1609 to 1814.

The national debt of England began in 1693, when William III, in order to
carry on the war against France, resorted to a system of loans. This debt,
however, was not intended to be permanent; but when the Bank of England was
established, the contracting of a permanent debt began. Its advantages
and disadvantages to England have been discussed by many theorists and
financial authorities. But of the extraordinary service rendered to Great
Britain by the far-seeing Scotchman, William Paterson, originator of the
plan of the Bank of England, there is no question, although, as Francis
shows, the project at first met with opposition from many quarters.

The important position assumed by England, toward the middle of the
seventeenth century, renders the absence of a national bank somewhat
surprising. Under the sagacious government of Cromwell the nation had
increased in commercial and political greatness; and although several
projects were issued for banks, one of which was to have branches in every
important town throughout the country, yet, a necessity for their formation
not being absolutely felt, the proposals were dismissed. During the
Protectorate, however, Parliament, taking into consideration the rate of
interest, which was higher in England than abroad, and that the trade was
thereby rendered comparatively disadvantageous to the English merchant,
reduced the legal rate from 8 to 6 per cent., and this measure, although it
had been carried by the Parliament of Cromwell, almost every act of which
proved odious in the eyes of the Stuarts, was nevertheless confirmed by
the legislature of Charles II. In 1546 the payment of interest had been
rendered legal, and fixed at 10 per cent. In 1624 the rate had been reduced
to 8 per cent.; and with the advance of commercial prosperity it had been
found advisable to lower it still further.

There were many reasons for the establishment of a national bank. It was
necessary for the sake of a secure paper currency. It was required for the
support of the national credit. It was desirable as a method of reducing
the rate of interest paid by the state; a rate so high that, according to
Anderson, men were induced to take their money out of trade, for the sake
of securing it; an operation "big with mischief." The truth is that the
times required it. The theorist may prove to demonstration the perfection
of his theory; the speculator may show the certainty of its success: but
unless it be a necessity called for by the onward progress of society, it
must eventually fall to the ground.

That the want of such an establishment was felt is certain. But while such
firms as Childs--the books of whom go back to the year 1620, and refer to
prior documents; Hoares, dating from 1680; and Snows, from 1685--were able
to assist the public demand, although at the exorbitant interest of the
period, it does not occasion so much surprise that the attempt made to meet
the increasing requirements of trade proved insufficient. In 1678, sixteen
years previous to the foundation of the Bank of England, "proposals for a
large model of a bank" were published; and, in 1683 a "national bank of
credit" was brought forward. In a rare pamphlet entitled _Bank Credit; or
the usefullness and security of The Bank of Credit, examined in a dialogue
between a Country Gentleman and a London Merchant_, this idea is warmly
defended. It was, however, simply to have one of credit, nor was it
proposed to form a bank of deposit; although, by the following remark of
the "Country Gentleman," it is evident that such an establishment on a
secure scale was desirable. He says:

"Could they not without damage to themselves have secured the running
cash of the nobility, gentry, merchants, and the traders of the city and
kingdom, from all hazard, which would have been a great benefit to all
concerned, who know not where to deposit their cash securely?"

After much trouble this bank of credit was established at Devonshire House,
in Bishopsgate Street; its object, as we have related, being principally
to advance money to tradesmen and manufacturers on the security of goods.
Three-fourths of the value was lent on these, and bills for their amount
given to the depositor. In order to render them current, an appointed
number of persons in each trade was formed into a society to regulate
commercial concerns. Any individual possessed of such bills might therefore
obtain from this company goods or merchandise with as much ease as if he
offered current coin.

The bank of credit does not appear to have flourished. The machinery was
too complicated, and the risk of depreciation and the value of manufactures
too great. It was next to impossible for such a company to exist after the
Bank of England came with its low discount and free accommodations.

The wild spirit of speculation--that spirit which at various periods has
created fearful crises in the commercial world--commenced in 1694. The
fever which from time to time has flushed the mind of the moneyed man, and
given a fierce excitement to the almost penniless adventurer, was then and
in the following year in full operation. The great South Sea scheme in 1720
is ordinarily considered the earliest display of this reckless spirit.
But a quarter of a century before, equal ingenuity and equal villany were
exercised. Obscure men, whose sole capital was their enormous impudence,
invented similar schemes, promised similar advantages, and used similar
arts to entice the capitalists, which were employed with so much success at
a later period.

The want of a great banking association was sure to be made a pretext. Two
"land banks," and a "London bank" to be managed by the magistrates, with
several other proposals, were therefore put promisingly forward. One of
these was for another "bank of credit"; and a pamphlet published in 1694,
under the title of _England's Glory_, will give some idea of its nature:

"If a person desires money to be returned at Coventry or York he pays it
at the office in London, and receives a bill of credit after their form
written upon marble paper, indenturewise, or on other as may be contrived
to prevent counterfeiting." It was also proposed that the Government should
share the profits; but neither of the projects was carried out.

The people neglected their calling. The legitimate desire of money grew
into a fierce and fatal spirit of avarice. The arts so common at a later
day were had recourse to. Project begat project, copper was to be turned
into brass. Fortunes were to be realized by lotteries. The sea was to yield
the treasures it had engulfed. Pearl-fisheries were to pay impossible
percentages. "Lottery on lottery," says a writer of the day, "engine on
engine, multiplied wonderfully. If any person got considerably by a happy
and useful invention, others followed in spite of the patent, and published
printed proposals, filling the daily newspapers therewith, thus going on to
jostle one another, and abuse the credulity of the people."

Amid the many delusive and impracticable schemes were two important
projects which have conferred great benefits on the English people. The
first of these was the New River Company, the conception of Sir Hugh
Middleton; the second was the corporation of the Bank of England. Nature
and the great nations of antiquity suggested the former; the force and
pressure of the times demanded the latter. It is from such demands that our
chief institutions arise. By precept we may be taught their propriety; by
example we may see their advantages. But until the necessity is personally
felt they are sure to be neglected; and men wonder at their want of
prescience and upbraid their shortsightedness when, with a sudden and
sometimes startling success, the proposal they have slighted arises through
the energy of another.

William Paterson, one of those men whose capacity is measured by failure or
success, was the originator of the new bank; and it is perhaps unfortunate
for his fame that no biography exists of this remarkable person. As
the projector of the present Bank of Scotland, as the very soul of the
celebrated Darien Company, and as the founder of the Bank of England, he
deserves notice. A speculator as well as an adventurous man, he proved his
belief in the practicability of the Darien scheme by accompanying that
unfortunate expedition; and the formation of the Bank of England was the
object of his desires and the subject of his thoughts for a long time
previous to its establishment.

From that political change which had been so justly termed the "great
revolution," to the establishment of the Bank of England, the new
Government had been in constant difficulties; and the ministerial mode of
procuring money was degrading to a great people. The duties in support of
the war waged for liberty and Protestantism were required before they
were levied. The city corporation was usually applied to for an advance;
interest which varied probably according to the necessity of the borrower
rather than to the real value of cash, was paid for the accommodation. The
officers of the city went round in their turn to the separate wards, and
borrowed in smaller amounts the money they had advanced to the state.
Interest and premiums were thus often paid to the extent of 25 and even 30
per cent., in proportion to the exigency of the case, and the trader found
his pocket filled at the expense of the public. Mr. Paterson gives a
graphic description:

"The erection of this famous bank not only relieved the ministerial
managers from their frequent processions into the city, for borrowing of
money on the best and nearest public securities, at 10 or 12 per cent. per
annum, but likewise gave life and currency to double or treble the value
of its capital in other branches of the public credit, and so, under God,
became the principal means of the success of the campaign in 1695; as,
particularly, in reducing the important fortress of Namur, the first
material step toward the peace concluded in 1679."

To remedy this evil the Bank of England was projected; and after much
labor, William Paterson, aided by Mr. Michael Godfrey, procured from
Government a consideration of the proposal. The King was abroad when the
scheme was laid before the council, but the Queen occupied his place. Here
considerable opposition occurred. Paterson found it more difficult to
procure consent than he anticipated, and all those who feared an invasion
of their interests united to stop its progress. The goldsmith foresaw the
destruction of his monopoly, and he opposed it from self-interest. The Tory
foresaw an easier mode of gaining money for the government he abhorred,
with a firmer hold on the people for the monarch he despised, and his
antagonism bore all the energy of political partisanship.

The usurer foresaw the destruction of his oppressive extortion, and he
resisted it with the vigor of his craft. The rich man foresaw his profits
diminished on government contracts, and he vehemently and virtuously
opposed it on all public principles. Loud therefore were the outcries and
great the exertions of all parties when the bill was first introduced
to the House of Commons. But outcries are vain and exertions futile in
opposition to a dominant and powerful party. A majority had been secured
for the measure; and they who opposed its progress covered their defeat
with vehement denunciations and vague prophecies. The prophets are in
their graves, and their predictions only survive in the history of that
establishment the downfall of which they proclaimed.

"The scheme of a national bank," says Smollett, "had been recommended to
the ministry for the credit and security of the Government and the increase
of trade and circulation. William Paterson was author of that which was
carried into execution. When it was properly digested in the cabinet, and
a majority in Parliament secured, it was introduced into the House of
Commons. The supporters said it would rescue the nation out of the hands
of extortioners; lower interest; raise the value of land; revive public
credit; extend circulation; improve commerce; facilitate the annual
supplies; and connect the people more closely with Government. The project
was violently opposed by a strong party, who affirmed that it would become
a monopoly, and engross the whole of the kingdom; that it might be employed
to the worst purposes of arbitrary power; that it would weaken commerce
by tempting people to withdraw their money from trade; that brokers and
jobbers would prey on their fellow-creatures; encourage fraud and gambling;
and corrupt the morals of the nation."

Previous governments had raised money with comparative ease because they
were legitimate. That of William was felt to be precarious. It was feared
by the money-lender that a similar convulsion to the one which had borne
him so easily to the throne of a great nation might waft him back to the
shores of that Holland he so dearly loved. Thus the very circumstances
which made supplies necessary also made them scarce.

In addition to these things his person was unpopular. His phlegmatic Dutch
habits contrasted unfavorably with those of the graceful Stuarts,
whose evil qualities were forgotten in the remembrance of their showy
characteristics. Neither his Dutch followers nor his Dutch manners were
regarded with favor; and had it not been for his eminently kingly capacity,
these things would have proved as dangerous to the throne as they tended to
make the sovereign unpopular. In a pamphlet published a few years after the
establishment of the new corporation is the following vivid picture of this
monarch's government:

"In spite of the most glorious Prince and most vigilant General the world
has ever seen, yet the enemy gained upon us every year; the funds were
run down, the credit jobbed away in Change Alley, the King and his troops
devoured by mechanics, and sold to usury, tallies lay bundled up like Bath
fagots in the hands of brokers and stock-jobbers; the Parliament gave
taxes, levied funds, but the loans were at the mercy of those men (the
jobbers); and they showed their mercy, indeed, by devouring the King and
the army, the Parliament, and indeed the whole nation; bringing their great
Prince sometimes to that exigence through inexpressible extortions that
were put upon him, that he has even gone into the fields without his
equipage, nay even without his army; the regiments have been unclothed when
the King had been in the field, and the willing, brave English spirits,
eager to honor their country, and follow such a King, have marched even
to battle without either stockings or shoes, while his servants have
been every day working in Exchange Alley to get his men money of the
stock-jobbers, even after all the horrible demands of discount have
been allowed; and at last, scarce 50 per cent. of the money granted by
Parliament has come into the hands of the Exchequer, and that late, too
late for service, and by driblets, till the King has been tired with the

This is a strange picture; beating even Mr. Paterson's account of the
"processions in the city," and adds another convincing proof of the
necessity which then existed for some establishment, capable of advancing
money at a reasonable rate, on the security of Parliamentary grants.

The scheme proposed by William Paterson was too important not to meet with
many enemies, and it appears from a pamphlet by Mr. Godfrey, the first
deputy-governor, that "some pretended to dislike the bank only for fear it
should disappoint their majesties of the supplies proposed to be raised."
That "all the several companies of oppressors are strangely alarmed, and
exclaim at the bank, and seemed to have joined in a confederacy against
it." That "extortion, usury, and oppression were never so attacked as they
are likely to be by the bank." That "others pretend the bank will join with
the prince to make him absolute. That the concern have too good a bargain
and that it would be prejudicial to trade." In Bishop Burners _History of
His Own Times_ we read an additional evidence of its necessity:

"It was visible that all the enemies of the Government set themselves
against it with such a vehemence of zeal that this alone convinced all
people that they saw the strength that our affairs would receive from it.
I heard the Dutch often reckon the great advantage they had had from their
banks, and they concluded that as long as England remained jealous of her
Government, a bank could never be settled among us, nor gain credit among
us to support itself, and upon that they judged that the superiority in
trade must still be on their side."

All these varied interests were vainly exerted to prevent the bill from
receiving the royal sanction; and the Bank of England, founded on the same
principles which guarded the banks of Venice and Genoa, was incorporated
by royal charter, dated July 27, 1694. From Mr. Gilbart's _History and
Principles of Banking_ we present the following brief analysis of this
important act:

"The Act of Parliament by which the Bank was established is entitled 'An
Act for granting to their majesties several duties upon tonnage of ships
and vessels, and upon beer, ale, and other liquors, for securing certain
recompenses and advantages in the said Act mentioned to such persons as
shall voluntarily advance the sum of fifteen hundred thousand pounds toward
carrying on the war with France.' After a variety of enactments relative to
the duties upon tonnage of ships and vessels, and upon beer, ale, and other
liquors, the Act authorizes the raising of 1,200,000 pounds by voluntary
subscription, the subscribers to be formed into a corporation and be styled
'The Governor and Company of the Bank of England.'

"The sum of 300,000 pounds was also to be raised by subscription, and the
contributors to receive instead annuities for one, two, or three lives.
Toward the 1,200,000 pounds no one person was to subscribe more than 10,000
pounds before the first day of July, next ensuing, nor at any time more
than 20,000 pounds. The Corporation were to lend their whole capital to the
Government, for which they were to receive interest at the rate of 8 per
cent. per annum, and 4000 pounds per annum for management; being 100,000
pounds per annum on the whole. The Corporation were not allowed to borrow
or owe more than the amount of their capital, and if they did so the
individual members became liable to the creditors in proportion to the
amount of their stock. The Corporation were not to trade in any 'goods,
wares, or merchandise whatever, but they were allowed to deal in bills
of Exchange, gold or silver bullion, and to sell any goods, wares, or
merchandise upon which they had advanced money, and which had not been
redeemed within three months after the time agreed upon.' The whole of the
subscription was filled in a few days; 25 per cent. paid down; and, as we
have seen, a charter was issued on July 27, 1694, of which the following
are the most important points:

"That the management and government of the corporation be admitted to the
governor, deputy-governor, and twenty-four directors, who shall be elected
between March 25th and April 25th of each year, from among the members of
the company, duly qualified.

"That no dividend shall at any time be made by the said governor and
company save only out of the interest, profit, or produce arising out of
the said capital, stock, or fund, or by such dealing as is allowed by act
of Parliament.

"They must be natural-born subjects of England, or naturalized subjects;
they shall have in their own name and for their own use, severally, viz.,
the governor at least 4000 pounds, the deputy-governor 3000 pounds, and
each director 2000 pounds of the capital stock of the said corporation.

"That thirteen or more of the said governors or directors (of which the
governor or deputy-governor shall be always one) shall constitute a court
of directors for the management of the affairs of the company, and for the
appointment of all agents and servants which may be necessary, paying them
such salaries as they may consider reasonable.

"Every elector must have, in his own name and for his own use, 500 pounds
or more capital stock, and can only give one vote; he must, if required by
any member present, take the oath of stock, or the declaration of stock if
it be one of those people called Quakers.

"Four general courts to be held in every year in the months of September,
December, April, and July. A general court may be summoned at any time,
upon the requisition of nine proprietors duly qualified as electors.

"The majority of electors in general courts have the power to make and
constitute by-laws and ordinances for the government of the corporation,
provided that such by-laws and ordinances be not repugnant to the laws of
the kingdom, and be confirmed and approved according to the statutes in
such case made and provided."

When the payment was completed it was handed into the exchequer, and the
bank procured from other quarters the funds which it required. It employed
the same means which the bankers had done at the Exchange, with this
difference, that the latter traded with personal property, while the bank
traded with the deposits of their customers. It was from the circulation
of a capital so formed that the bank derived its profits. It is evident,
however, from the pamphlet of the first deputy-governor, that at this
period they allowed interest to their depositors; and another writer,
D'Avenant, makes it a subject of complaint: "It would be for the general
good of trade if the bank were restrained from allowing interest for
running cash; for the ease of having 3 and 4 per cent. without trouble must
be a continual bar to industry."

First in Mercers' Hall, where they remained but a few months, and afterward
in Grocers' Hall, since razed for the erection of a more stately structure,
the Bank of England conducted its operations. Here, in one room, with
almost primitive simplicity were gathered all who performed the duties of
the establishment. "I looked into the great hall where the bank is kept,"
says the graceful essayist of the day, "and was not a little pleased to see
the directors, secretaries, and clerks, with all the other members of that
wealthy Corporation, ranged in their several stations according to the
parts they hold in that just and regular economy." The secretaries and
clerks altogether numbered but fifty-four, while their united salaries did
not exceed four thousand three hundred fifty pounds. But the picture is
a pleasant one, and though so much unlike present usages it is doubtful
whether our forefathers did not derive more benefit from intimate
association with and kindly feelings toward their inferiors than their
descendants receive from the broad line of demarcation adopted at the
present day.

The effect of the new corporation was almost immediately experienced. On
August 8th, in the year of its establishment, the rate of discount on
foreign bills was 6 per cent.; although this was the highest legal
interest, yet much higher rates had been previously demanded. The name of
William Paterson was not long upon the list of directors. The bank was
established in 1694, and for that year only was its founder among those
who managed its proceedings. The facts which led to his departure from the
honorable post of director are difficult to collect; but it is not at all
improbable that the character of Paterson was too speculative for those
with whom he was joined in companionship. Sir John Dalrymple remarks,
"The persons to whom he applied made use of his ideas, took the honor to
themselves, were civil to him awhile, and neglected him afterward." Another
writer says, "The friendless Scot was intrigued out of his post and out of
the honors he had earned." These assertions must be received with caution;
accusations against a great body are easily made; and it is rarely
consistent with the dignity of the latter to reply; they are received as
truths either because people are too idle to examine or because there is no
opportunity of investigating them.


A.D. 1699


It was not only as the beginning of what was to become an important State
of the American Union, but also as a nucleus of occupation which led to
an immense acquisition of territory by the United States, that the first
settlement in Louisiana proved an event of great significance. Nothing in
American history is of greater moment than the adding of the Louisiana
Purchase (1803) to the United States domain. And the acquisition of that
vast region, extending from New Orlťans to British America, and westward
from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, had historic connection with
the French settlement of 1699.

As early as 1630 the territory afterward known as Louisiana was mostly
embraced in the Carolina grant by Charles I to Sir Robert Heath. It was
taken into possession for the French King by La Salle in 1682, and named
Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV. In 1698 Louis undertook to colonize the
region of the lower Mississippi, and sent out an expedition under Pierre le
Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, a naval commander, who had served in the French
wars of Canada, and aided in establishing French colonies in North America.

With two hundred colonists Iberville sailed (September 24, 1698) for the
mouth of the Mississippi. Among his companions were his brothers, Sauvolle
and Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. The latter was long
governor of Louisiana, and founded New Orleans. Of their arrival and
subsequent operations in the lower Mississippi region, Gayarrť, the
Louisiana historian, gives a glowing and picturesque account.

On February 27, 1699, Iberville and Bienville reached the Mississippi. When
they approached its mouth they were struck with the gloomy magnificence of
the sight. As far as the eye could reach, nothing was to be seen but reeds
which rose five or six feet above the waters in which they bathed their
roots. They waved mournfully under the blast of the sharp wind of the
north, shivering in its icy grasp, as it tumbled, rolled, and gambolled on
the pliant surface. Multitudes of birds of strange appearance, with their
elongated shapes so lean that they looked like metamorphosed ghosts,
clothed in plumage, screamed in the air, as if they were scared of one
another. There was something agonizing in their shrieks that was in harmony
with the desolation of the place. On every side of the vessel, monsters of
the deep and huge alligators heaved themselves up heavily from their native
or favorite element, and, floating lazily on the turbid waters, seemed to
gaze at the intruders.

Down the river, and rumbling over its bed, there came a sort of low,
distant thunder. Was it the voice of the hoary Sire of Rivers, raised in
anger at the prospect of his gigantic volume of waters being suddenly
absorbed by one mightier than he? In their progress it was with great
difficulty that the travellers could keep their bark free from those
enormous rafts of trees which the Mississippi seemed to toss about in mad
frolic. A poet would have thought that the great river, when departing from
the altitude of its birthplace, and as it rushed down to the sea through
three thousand miles, had, in anticipation of a contest which threatened
the continuation of its existence, flung its broad arms right and left
across the continent, and, uprooting all its forests, had hoarded them
in its bed as missiles to hurl at the head of its mighty rival when they
should meet and struggle for supremacy.

When night began to cast a darker hue on a landscape on which the
imagination of Dante would have gloated there issued from that chaos of
reeds such uncouth and unnatural sounds as would have saddened the gayest
and appalled the most intrepid. Could this be the far-famed Mississippi,
or was it not rather old Avernus? It was hideous indeed--but hideousness
refined into sublimity, filling the soul with a sentiment of grandeur.
Nothing daunted, the adventurers kept steadily on their course. They
knew that through those dismal portals they were to arrive at the most
magnificent country in the world; they knew that awful screen concealed
loveliness itself. It was a coquettish freak of nature, when dealing with
European curiosity, as it came eagerly bounding to the Atlantic wave, to
herald it through an avenue so sombre as to cause the wonders of the
great valley of the Mississippi to burst with tenfold more force upon
the bewildered gaze of those who, by the endurance of so many perils and
fatigues, were to merit admittance into its Eden.

It was a relief for the adventurers when, after having toiled up the river
for ten days, they at last arrived at the village of the Bayagoulas. There
they found a letter of Tonty[1] to La Salle, dated in 1685. The letter, or
rather that "speaking bark" as the Indians called it, had been preserved
with great reverence. Tonty, having been informed that La Salle was
coming with a fleet from France to settle a colony on the banks of the
Mississippi, had not hesitated to set off from the northern lakes, with
twenty Canadians and thirty Indians, and to come down to the Balize to meet
his friend, who had failed to make out the mouth of the Mississippi, and
had been landed by Beaujeu on the shores of Texas. After having waited
for some time, and ignorant of what had happened, Tonty, with the same
indifference to fatigues and dangers of an appalling nature, retraced his
way back, leaving a letter to La Salle to inform him of his disappointment.
Is there not something extremely romantic in the characters of the men of
that epoch? Here is Tonty undertaking, with the most heroic unconcern, a
journey of nearly three thousand miles, through such difficulties as it is
easy for us to imagine, and leaving a letter to La Salle, as a proof of
his visit, in the same way that one would, in these degenerate days of
effeminacy, leave a card at a neighbor's house.

[Footnote 1: Henry de Tonty was an Italian explorer who accompanied La
Salle in his descent of the Mississippi (1681-1682).--ED.]

The French extended their explorations up to the mouth of the Red River. As
they proceeded through that virgin country, with what interest they must
have examined every object that met their eyes, and listened to the
traditions concerning De Soto,[2] and the more recent stories of the
Indians on La Salle and the iron-handed Tonty! A coat of mail which was
presented as having belonged to the Spaniards, and vestiges of their
encampment on the Red River, confirmed the French in the belief that there
was much of truth in the recitals of the Indians.

[Footnote 2: De Soto explored this region in 1541.--ED.]

On their return from the mouth of the Red River the two brothers separated
when they arrived at Bayou Manchac. Bienville was ordered to go down the
river to the French fleet, to give information of what they had seen and
heard. Iberville went through Bayou Manchac to those lakes which are known
under the names of Pontchartrain and Maurepas. Louisiana had been named
from a king: was it not in keeping that those lakes should be called after

From the Bay of St. Louis, Iberville returned to his fleet, where, after
consultation, he determined to make a settlement at the Bay of Biloxi.
On the east side, at the mouth of the bay, as it were, there is a slight
swelling of the shore, about four acres square, sloping gently to the woods
in the background, and on the bay. Thus this position was fortified by
nature, and the French skilfully availed themselves of these advantages.
The weakest point, which was on the side of the forest, they strengthened
with more care than the rest, by connecting with a strong intrenchment the
two ravines, which ran to the bay in a parallel line to each other. The
fort was constructed with four bastions, and was armed with twelve pieces
of artillery. When standing on one of the bastions which faced the bay, the
spectator enjoyed a beautiful prospect. On the right, the bay could be
seen running into the land for miles, and on the left stood Deer Island,
concealing almost entirely the broad expanses of water which lay beyond. It
was visible only at the two extreme points of the island, which both, at
that distance, appeared to be within a close proximity of the mainland.
No better description can be given than to say that the bay looked like a
funnel to which the island was the lid, not fitting closely, however, but
leaving apertures for egress and ingress. The snugness of the locality had
tempted the French, and had induced them to choose it as the most favorable
spot, at the time, for colonization. Sauvolle was put in command of the
fort, and Bienville, the youngest of the three brothers, was appointed his

A few huts having been erected round the fort, the settlers began to clear
the land, in order to bring it into cultivation. Iberville having furnished
them with all the necessary provisions, utensils, and other supplies,
prepared to sail for France. How deeply affecting must have been the
parting scene! How many casualties might prevent those who remained in this
unknown region from ever seeing again those who, through the perils of such
a long voyage, had to return to their home! What crowding emotions must
have filled up the breast of Sauvolle, Bienville, and their handful of
companions, when they beheld the sails of Iberville's fleet fading in the
distance, like transient clouds! Well may it be supposed that it seemed to
them as if their very souls had been carried away, and that they felt a
momentary sinking of the heart when they found themselves abandoned, and
necessarily left to their own resources, scanty as they were, on a patch
of land between the ocean on one side and on the other a wilderness, which
fancy peopled with every sort of terrors. The sense of their loneliness
fell upon them like the gloom of night, darkening their hopes and filling
their hearts with dismal apprehensions.

But as the country had been ordered to be explored, Sauvolle availed
himself of that circumstance to refresh the minds of his men by the
excitement of an expedition into the interior of the continent. He
therefore hastened to despatch most of them with Bienville, who, with a
chief of the Bayagoulas for his guide, went to visit the Colapissas. They
inhabited the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and their domains
embraced the sites now occupied by Lewisburg, Mandeville, and
Fontainebleau. That tribe numbered three hundred warriors, who, in their
distant hunting-excursions, had been engaged in frequent skirmishes with
some of the British colonists in South Carolina. When the French landed,
they were informed that, two days previous, the village of the Colapissas
had been attacked by a party of two hundred Chickasaws, headed by two
Englishmen. These were the first tidings which the French had of their old
rivals, and which proved to be the harbinger of the incessant struggle
which was to continue for more than a century between the two races, and to
terminate by the permanent occupation of Louisiana by the Anglo-Saxon.

Bienville returned to the fort to convey this important information to
Sauvolle. After having rested there for several days, he went to the Bay of
Pascagoulas, and ascended the river which bears that name, and the banks
of which were tenanted by a branch of the Biloxis, and by the Moelobites.
Encouraged by the friendly reception which he met everywhere, he ventured
farther, and paid a visit to the Mobilians, who entertained him with great
hospitality. Bienville found them much reduced from what they had been, and
listened with eagerness to the many tales of their former power, which had
been rapidly declining since the crushing blow they had received from De

When Iberville ascended the Mississippi the first time, he had remarked
Bayou Plaquemines and Bayou Chetimachas. The one he called after the fruit
of certain trees which appeared to have exclusive possession of its banks,
and the other after the name of the Indians who dwelt in the vicinity. He
had ordered them to be explored, and the indefatigable Bienville, on his
return from Mobile, obeyed the instructions left to his brother, and made
an accurate survey of these two bayous. When he was coming down the river,
at the distance of about eighteen miles below the site where New Orleans
now stands, he met an English vessel of sixteen guns, under the command of
Captain Bar. The English captain informed the French that he was examining
the banks of the river, with the intention of selecting a spot for the
foundation of a colony. Bienville told him that Louisiana was a dependency
of Canada; that the French had already made several establishments on the
Mississippi; and he appealed, in confirmation of his assertions, to their
own presence in the river, in such small boats, which evidently proved
the existence of some settlement close at hand. The Englishman believed
Bienville, and sailed back. Where this occurrence took place the river
makes a considerable bend, and it was from the circumstance which I have
related that the spot received the appellation of the "English Turn"--a
name which it has retained to the present day. It was not far from that
place, the atmosphere of which appears to be fraught with some malignant
spell hostile to the sons of Albion, that the English, who were outwitted
by Bienville in 1699, met with a signal defeat in battle from the Americans
in 1815. The diplomacy of Bienville and the military genius of Jackson
proved to them equally fatal when they aimed at the possession of

Since the exploring expedition of La Salle down the Mississippi, Canadian
hunters, whose habits and intrepidity Fenimore Cooper has so graphically
described in the character of Leather-Stocking, used to extend their roving
excursions to the banks of that river; and those holy missionaries of the
Church, who, as the pioneers of religion, have filled the New World with
their sufferings, and whose incredible deeds in the service of God afford
so many materials for the most interesting of books, had come in advance
of the pickaxe of the settler, and had domiciliated themselves among the
tribes who lived near the waters of the Mississippi. One of them, Father
Montigny, was residing with the Tensas, within the territory of the present
parish of Tensas, in the State of Louisiana, and another, Father Davion,
was the pastor of the Yazoos, in the present State of Mississippi.

Such were the two visitors who in 1699 appeared before Sauvolle, at the
fort of Biloxi, to relieve the monotony of his cheerless existence, and to
encourage him in his colonizing enterprise. Their visit, however, was not
of long duration, and they soon returned to discharge the duties of their
sacred mission.

Iberville had been gone for several months, and the year was drawing to
a close without any tidings of him. A deeper gloom had settled over the
little colony at Biloxi, when, on December 7th, some signal-guns were heard
at sea, and the grateful sound came booming over the waters, spreading joy
in every breast. There was not one who was not almost oppressed with the
intensity of his feelings. At last, friends were coming, bringing relief to
the body and to the soul! Every colonist hastily abandoned his occupation
of the moment and ran to the shore. The soldier himself, in the eagerness
of expectation, left his post of duty, and rushed to the parapet which
overlooked the bay. Presently several vessels hove in sight, bearing the
white flag of France, and, approaching as near as the shallowness of the
beach permitted, folded their pinions, like water-fowl seeking repose on
the crest of the billows.

It was Iberville returning with the news that, on his representations,
Sauvolle had been appointed by the King governor of Louisiana; Bienville,
lieutenant-governor; and Boisbriant, commander of the fort at Biloxi, with
the grade of major. Iberville, having been informed by Bienville of
the attempt of the English to make a settlement on the banks of the
Mississippi, and of the manner in which it had been foiled, resolved to
take precautionary measures against the repetition of any similar attempt.
Without loss of time he departed with Bienville, on January 16, 1700, and
running up the river, he constructed a small fort, on the first solid
ground which he met, and which is said to have been at a distance of
fifty-four miles from its mouth.

When so engaged, the two brothers one day saw a canoe rapidly sweeping down
the river and approaching the spot where they stood. It was occupied by
eight men, six of whom were rowers, the seventh was the steersman, and the
eighth, from his appearance, was evidently of a superior order to that of
his companions, and the commander of the party. Well may it be imagined
what greeting the stranger received, when leaping on shore he made himself
known as the Chevalier de Tonty, who had again heard of the establishment
of a colony in Louisiana, and who, for the second time, had come to see
if there was any truth in the report. With what emotion did Iberville and
Bienville fold in their arms the faithful companion and friend of La Salle,
of whom they had heard so many wonderful tales from the Indians, to whom he
was so well known under the name of "Iron Hand"! With what admiration they
looked at his person, and with what increasing interest they listened to
his long recitals of what he had done and had seen on that broad continent,
the threshold of which they had hardly passed!

After having rested three days at the fort, the indefatigable Tonty
reascended the Mississippi, with Iberville and Bienville, and finally
parted with them at Natchez. Iberville was so much pleased with that part
of the bank of the river where now exists the city of Natchez that he
marked it down as a most eligible spot for a town, of which he drew the
plan, and which he called Rosalie, after the maiden name of the Countess
Pontchartrain, the wife of the chancellor. He then returned to the new
fort he was erecting on the Mississippi, and Bienville went to explore the
country of the Yatasses, of the Natchitoches, and of the Ouachitas.
What romance can be more agreeable to the imagination than to accompany
Iberville and Bienville in their wild explorations, and to compare the
state of the country in their time with what it is in our days?

When the French were at Natchez they were struck with horror at an
occurrence, too clearly demonstrating the fierceness of disposition of that
tribe which was destined in after years to become celebrated in the history
of Louisiana. One of their temples having been set on fire by lightning, a
hideous spectacle presented itself to the Europeans. The tumultuous rush of
the Indians; the infernal howlings and lamentations of the men, women,
and children; the unearthly vociferations of the priests, their fantastic
dances and ceremonies around the burning edifice; the demoniac fury with
which mothers rushed to the fatal spot, and, with the piercing cries and
gesticulations of maniacs, flung their new-born babes into the flames
to pacify their irritated deity--the increasing anger of the
heavens--blackening with the impending storm, the lurid flashes of
lightning darting as it were in mutual enmity from the clashing clouds--the
low, distant growling of the coming tempest--the long column of smoke and
fire shooting upward from the funeral pyre, and looking like one of the
gigantic torches of Pandemonium--the war of the elements combined with
the worst effects of frenzied superstition of man--the suddenness and
strangeness of the awful scene--all the circumstances produced such an
impression upon the French as to deprive them for a moment of the powers
of volition and action. Rooted to the ground, they stood aghast with
astonishment and indignation at the appalling scene. Was it a dream--a wild
delirium of the mind? But no--the monstrous reality of the vision was but
too apparent; and they threw themselves among the Indians, supplicating
them to cease their horrible sacrifice to their gods, and joining threats
to their supplications. Owing to this intervention, and perhaps because a
sufficient number of victims had been offered, the priests gave the signal
of retreat, and the Indians slowly withdrew from the accursed spot. Such
was the aspect under which the Natchez showed themselves, for the first
time, to their visitors: it was ominous presage for the future.

After these explorations Iberville departed again for France, to solicit
additional assistance from the government, and left Bienville in command
of the new fort on the Mississippi. It was very hard for the two brothers,
Sauvolle and Bienville, to be thus separated, when they stood so much in
need of each other's countenance, to breast the difficulties that sprung
up around them with a luxuriance which they seemed to borrow from the
vegetation of the country. The distance between the Mississippi and Biloxi
was not so easily overcome in those days as in ours, and the means which
the two brothers had of communing together were very scanty and uncertain.

Sauvolle died August 22,1701, and Louisiana remained under the sole
charge of Bienville, who, though very young, was fully equal to meet that
emergency, by the maturity of his mind and by his other qualifications. He
had hardly consigned his brother to the tomb when Iberville returned with
two ships of the line and a brig laden with troops and provisions.

According to Iberville's orders, and in conformity with the King's
instructions, Bienville left Boisbriant, his cousin, with twenty men, at
the old fort of Biloxi, and transported the principal seat of the colony
to the western side of the river Mobile, not far from the spot where now
stands the city of Mobile. Near the mouth of that river there is an island,
which the French had called Massacre Island from the great quantity of
human bones which they found bleaching on its shores. It was evident that
there some awful tragedy had been acted; but Tradition, when interrogated,
laid her choppy finger upon her skinny lips, and answered not.

This uncertainty, giving a free scope to the imagination, shrouded the
place with a higher degree of horror and with a deeper hue of fantastical
gloom. It looked like the favorite ballroom of the witches of hell. The
wind sighed so mournfully through the shrivelled-up pines, those vampire
heads seemed incessantly to bow to some invisible and grisly visitors: the
footsteps of the stranger emitted such an awful and supernatural sound,
when trampling on the skulls which strewed his path, that it was impossible
for the coldest imagination not to labor under some crude and ill-defined
apprehension. Verily, the weird sisters could not have chosen a fitter
abode. Nevertheless, the French, supported by their mercurial temperament,
were not deterred from forming an establishment on that sepulchral island,
which, they thought, afforded some facilities for their transatlantic

In 1703 war had broken out between Great Britain, France, and Spain; and
Iberville, a distinguished officer of the French navy, was engaged in
expeditions that kept him away from the colony. It did not cease, however,
to occupy his thoughts, and had become clothed, in his eye, with a sort
of family interest. Louisiana was thus left, for some time, to her scanty
resources; but, weak as she was, she gave early proofs of that generous
spirit which has ever since animated her; and on the towns of Pensacola and
St. Augustine, then in possession of the Spaniards, being threatened with
an invasion by the English of South Carolina, she sent to her neighbors
what help she could in men, ammunition, and supplies of all sorts. It was
the more meritorious as it was the _obolus_ of the poor!

The year 1703 slowly rolled by and gave way to 1704. Still, nothing was
heard from the parent country. There seemed to be an impassable barrier
between the old and the new continent. The milk which flowed from the
motherly breast of France could no longer reach the parched lips of her
new-born infant; and famine began to pinch the colonists, who scattered
themselves all along the coast, to live by fishing. They were reduced to
the veriest extremity of misery, and despair had settled in every bosom,
in spite of the encouragements of Bienville, who displayed the most manly
fortitude amid all the trials to which he was subjected, when suddenly a
vessel made its appearance. The colonists rushed to the shore with wild
anxiety, but their exultation was greatly diminished when, on the nearer
approach of the moving speck, they recognized the Spanish instead of the
French flag. It was relief, however, coming to them, and proffered by a
friendly hand. It was a return made by the governor of Pensacola for the
kindness he had experienced the year previous. Thus the debt of gratitude
was paid: it was a practical lesson. Where the seeds of charity are cast,
there springs the harvest in time of need.

Good things, like evils, do not come singly, and this succor was but the
herald of another one, still more effectual, in the shape of a ship from
France. Iberville had not been able to redeem his pledge to the poor
colonists, but he had sent his brother Chateauguť in his place, at the
imminent risk of being captured by the English, who occupied, at that time,
most of the avenues of the Gulf of Mexico. He was not the man to spare
either himself or his family in cases of emergency, and his heroic soul
was inured to such sacrifices. Grateful the colonists were for this act of
devotedness, and they resumed the occupation of their tenements which they
had abandoned in search of food. The aspect of things was suddenly changed;
abundance and hope reappeared in the land, whose population was increased
by the arrival of seventeen persons, who came, under the guidance of
Chateauguť, with the intention of making a permanent settlement, and who,
in evidence of their determination, had provided themselves with all the
implements of husbandry. We, who daily see hundreds flocking to our shores,
and who look at the occurrence with as much unconcern as at the passing
cloud, can hardly conceive the excitement produced by the arrival of these
seventeen emigrants among men who, for nearly two years, had been cut off
from communication with the rest of the civilized world. A denizen of the
moon, dropping on this planet, would not be stared at and interrogated with
more eager curiosity.

This excitement had hardly subsided when it was revived by the appearance
of another ship, and it became intense when the inhabitants saw a
procession of twenty females, with veiled faces, proceeding arm in arm, and
two by two, to the house of the Governor, who received them in state and
provided them with suitable lodgings. What did it mean? Innumerable were
the gossipings of the day, and part of the coming night itself was spent
in endless commentaries and conjectures. But the next morning, which was
Sunday, the mystery was cleared by the officiating priest reading from
the pulpit, after mass, and for the general information, the following
communication from the minister to Bienville: "His majesty sends twenty
girls to be married to the Canadians and to the other inhabitants of
Mobile, in order to consolidate the colony. All these girls are industrious
and have received a pious and virtuous education. Beneficial results to the
colony are expected from their teaching their useful attainments to the
Indian females. In order that none should be sent except those of known
virtue and of unspotted reputation, his majesty did intrust the Bishop of
Quťbec with the mission of taking these girls from such establishments as,
from their very nature and character, would put them at once above all
suspicions of corruption. You will take care to settle them in life as well
as may be in your power, and to marry them to such men as are capable of
providing them with a commodious home."

This was a very considerate recommendation, and very kind it was, indeed,
from the great Louis XIV, one of the proudest monarchs that ever lived, to
descend from his Olympian seat of majesty to the level of such details and
to such minute instructions for ministering to the personal comforts of his
remote Louisianan subjects. Many were the gibes and high was the glee on
that occasion; pointed were the jokes aimed at young Bienville on his
being thus transformed into a matrimonial agent and _pater familiae_. The
intentions of the King, however, were faithfully executed, and more than
one rough but honest Canadian boatman of the St. Lawrence and of the
Mississippi closed his adventurous and erratic career and became a domestic
and useful member of that little commonwealth, under the watchful influence
of the dark-eyed maid of the Loire or of the Seine. Infinite are the chords
of the lyre which delights the romantic muse; and these incidents, small
and humble as they are, appear to me to be imbued with an indescribable
charm, which appeals to her imagination.


A.D. 1701


Few historical developments are more distinctly traceable or of greater
importance than that of the margravate of Brandenburg into the kingdom of
Prussia, the principal state of the present German empire. As far back as
the tenth century the name Preussen (Prussia) was applied to a region lying
east of Brandenburg, which in that century became a German margravate. At
that time the inhabitants of Prussia were still heathens. In the thirteenth
century they were converted to Christianity, having first been conquered by
the Teutonic Knights in "a series of remorseless wars" continued for almost
fifty years. German colonization followed the conquest.

In 1466 nearly the whole of Prussia was wrested from the Teutonic
Knights and annexed to the Polish crown. Soon after the beginning of the
Reformation the Teutonic Knights embraced Protestantism and the order
became secularized. In 1525 the Knights formally surrendered to King
Sigismund of Poland, their late grand master was created duke of Prussia,
and this, with other former possessions of the order, was held by him as a
vassal of the Polish crown. This relation continued until 1618, when the
duchy of Prussia was united with Brandenburg, which had become a German

During the Thirty Years' War the enlarged electorate took little part in
affairs, but suffered much from the ravages of the conflict. Under the
electorate of George William, who died in 1640, Brandenburg became almost a
desert, and in this impoverished condition was left to his son, Frederick
William, the "Great Elector," who restored it to prosperity and
strengthened its somewhat insecure sovereignty over the duchy of Prussia.
The Great Elector died in 1688, and was succeeded by his son, Frederick
III of Brandenburg. This Elector, through the series of events narrated by
Ranke, became the founder of the Prussian monarchy, and is known in history
as Frederick I. He founded the Academy of Sciences in Berlin and the
University of Halle.

* * * * *

Frederick I, the next heir and successor to the "Great Elector," though far
inferior to his father in native energy of character, cannot be accused of
having flinched from the task imposed on him. Above all, the warlike fame
of the Brandenburg troops suffered no diminution under his reign. His army
took a very prominent and active part in the most important events of that

Prince William of Orange might, perhaps, have hesitated whether to try the
adventure which made him king of England, had not the Dutch troops, which
he was forced to withdraw from the Netherlands for his expedition, been
replaced by some from Brandenburg. The fact has indeed been disputed, but
on closer investigation its truth has been established, beyond doubt, that
many other Brandenburg soldiers in his service and that of his republic
followed him to England, where they contributed essentially to his success.

In the war which now broke out upon the Rhine the young Elector, Frederick,
took the field himself, inflamed by religious enthusiasm, patriotism, and
personal ambition. On one occasion, at the siege of Bonn, when he was
anxious about the result, he stepped aside to the window and prayed to
God that he might suffer no disgrace in this his first enterprise. He was
successful in his attack upon Bonn, and cleared the whole lower Rhine
of the hostile troops; he at the same time gained a high reputation for
personal courage.

Long after, at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the
presence of the Elector contributed in a great measure to the speedy
termination of the first important siege--that of Kaiserswerth, a point
from which the French threatened at once both Holland and Westphalia.

But it was not only when led by the Elector that his troops distinguished
themselves by their courage; they fought most bravely at the battle of
Hochstadt. Prince Eugene, under whose command they stood, could scarce find
words strong enough to praise the "undaunted steadfastness" with which they
first withstood the shock of the enemy's attack, and then helped to break
through his tremendous fire. Two years later, at Turin, they helped to
settle the affairs of Italy in the same manner as they had already done in
those of Germany; headed by Prince Leopold of Anhalt, they climbed over the
enemy's intrenchments, under the full fire of his artillery, shouting the
old Brandenburg war-cry of "_Gah to_" ("Go on"). The warlike enterprise of
Brandenburg never spread over a wider field than under Frederick I. Then
it was that they first met the Turks in terrible battles; they showed
themselves in the South of France at the siege of Toulon; in their camp the
Protestant service was performed for the first time in the territories of
the pope, and the inhabitants of the surrounding country came to look on
and displayed a certain satisfaction at the sight. But the Netherlands
were always the scene of their greatest achievements and at that time an
excellent school for their further progress in the art of war; there they
might at once study sieges under the Dutch commanders, Vauban and Cochorn,
and campaigns under Marlborough, one of the greatest generals of all times.

Throughout all the years of his reign Frederick steadily adhered to the
Great Alliance which his father had helped to form so long as that alliance
continued to subsist; and, indeed, the interest which he took in the
affairs of Europe at large was in the end of great advantage to himself and
to his house. That very alliance was the original cause of his gaining a
crown--the foundation of the Prussian monarchy. It will not be denied, even
by those who think most meanly of the externals of rank and title, that the
attainment of a higher step in the European hierarchy, as it then stood,
was an object worth striving for.

The Western principalities and republics still formed a great corporation,
at the head of which was the German Emperor. Even the crown of France had
to submit to manifold and wearisome negotiations in order to obtain the
predicate of "majesty," which until then had belonged exclusively to the
Emperor. The other sovereigns then laid claim to the same dignity as that
enjoyed by the King of France, and the Venetian republic to an equal rank
with those, on the score of the kingdoms which she once possessed; and,
accordingly, the electoral ambassadors to Vienna had to stand bareheaded
while the Venetian covered his head. The electors and reigning dukes were
but ill-pleased with such precedence, and in their turn laid claim to the
designation of "serenissimus," and the title of "brother," for themselves,
and the style of "excellency" for their ambassadors. But even the most
powerful among the electors found it difficult to advance a single step
in this matter, because whatever privileges were conceded to them were
immediately claimed by all the rest, many of whom were mere barons of the
empire. It is evident that Brandenburg was interested in being freed at
once from these negotiations, which only served to impede and embarrass all
really important business. There exists the distinct assertion of a highly
placed official man that the royal title had been promised to the
Elector, Frederick William: his son now centred his whole ambition in its

Frederick, while elector, was one of the most popular princes that ever
reigned in Brandenburg. His contemporaries praise him for his avoidance of
all dissipation, and his life entirely devoted to duty; while his subjects
were still asleep, say they, the Prince was already busied with their
affairs, for he rose very early. A poet of the time makes Phosphorus
complain that he is ever anticipated by the King of Prussia. His manners
were gracious, familiar, sincere, and deliberate. His conversation
indicated "righteous and princely thoughts." Those essays, written by
him, which we have read, exhibit a sagacious and careful treatment of the
subjects under consideration. He shared in a very great degree the taste
of his times for outward show and splendor; but in him it took a direction
which led to something far higher than mere ostentation. The works of
sculpture and architecture produced under his reign are monuments of a pure
and severe taste; the capital of Prussia has seen none more beautiful. He
complacently indulged in the contemplation of the greatness founded by his
father, the possession of a territory four times as large as that of any
other elector, and the power of bringing into the field an army which
placed him on a level with kings. Now, however, he desired that this
equality should be publicly recognized, especially as he had no lack of
treasure and revenue wherewith to maintain the splendor and dignity of a
royal crown. In the mind of the father, this ambition was combined with
schemes of conquest; in the son it was merely a desire for personal and
dynastic aggrandizement. It is certain that the origin of such a state
as the kingdom of Prussia can be attributed to no other cause than to so
remarkable a succession of so many glorious princes. Frederick was resolved
to appear among them distinguished by some important service rendered to
his house. "Frederick I," said he, "gained the electoral dignity for our
house, and I, as Frederick III, would fain give it royal rank, according to
the old saying that 'the third time makes perfect."

It was in the year 1693 that he first began seriously to act upon the
project of obtaining a royal crown. He had just led some troops to Crossen
which were to serve the Emperor against the Turks; but the imperial
ministers neither arrived in due time to receive them, nor, when at length
they made their appearance, did they bring with them the grants of certain
privileges and expectancies which Frederick had looked for. In disgust at
being treated with neglect at the very moment in which he was rendering the
Emperor a very essential service, he went to Carlsbad, where he was joined
by his ambassador to Vienna, who had been commissioned by the imperial
ministers to apologize for the omissions of which they had been guilty.
In concert with his ambassador, and his prime minister, Dankelmann, the
brother of the former, Frederick resolved to make public the wish which
he had hitherto entertained in secret, or only now and then let drop into
conversation; the ambassador accordingly received instruction to present a
formal memorial.

At that time, however, nothing could be done. The Count of Ottingen, who
was hostile to the Protestant princes, was once more in favor at the court
of Vienna; the peril from without had ceased to be pressing, and coalition
had begun gradually to dissolve; the only result of the negotiation was a
vague and general promise.

The Elector did not, however, give up his idea. The elevation of the Saxon
house to the throne of Poland, the prospect enjoyed by his near kindred of
Hanover of succeeding to that of England, and perhaps the very difficulties
and opposition which he encountered, tended to sharpen his appetite for a
royal crown. The misunderstandings which arose among the great European
powers out of the approaching vacancy of the throne of Spain soon afforded
him an excellent opportunity of renewing his demands. The court of Vienna
was not to be moved by past, but by future, services.

It would be unnecessary to enter into the details of the negotiation on
this subject; it suffices to say that the Prince devoted his whole energy
to it, and never lost sight of any advantage afforded by his position.
Suggestions of the most exaggerated kind were made to him; for instance,
that he should lay his claims before the Pope, who possessed the power of
granting the royal dignity in a far higher degree than the Emperor; while,
on the other hand, some of the more zealous Protestants among his ministers
were anxious to avoid even that degree of approach toward the Catholic
element implied in a closer alliance with the Emperor, and desired that
the Elector's elevation in rank should be made to depend upon some new and
important acquisition of territory, such, for example, as that of Polish
Prussia, which then seemed neither difficult nor improbable. Frederick,
however, persisted in the opinion that he was entitled to the royal dignity
merely on acccount of his sovereign dukedom of Prussia, and that the
recognition of the Emperor was the most important step in the affair. He
was convinced that, when the Emperor had once got possession of the Spanish
inheritance, or concluded a treaty upon the subject, nothing more was to be
hoped from him; but that now, while the Elector of Brandenburg was able to
render him as effectual assistance as any power in Europe, some advantage
might be wrung from him in return.

Influenced by these considerations, he resolved to lay proposals before the
Emperor, which acquired uncommon significance from the circumstances under
which they were made. At that very time, in March, 1700, England, Holland,
and France had just concluded a treaty for the division of the Spanish
monarchy, in which the right of inheritance of Austria was utterly
disregarded, in order to preserve the European balance of power. Spain
and the Indies were, indeed, to fall to the share of the young Archduke
Charles, but he was to be deprived of Naples, Sicily, and Milan; and should
the Archduke ever become Emperor of Germany, Spain and the Indies were to
be given up to another prince, whose claims were far inferior to his. This
treaty was received with disgust and indignation at Vienna, where the
assistance of Heaven was solemnly implored, and its interference in the
affair fully expected.

At this juncture Brandenburg offered to make common cause with the Emperor,
not alone against France, but even against England and Holland, with
whom it was otherwise closely allied. The only recompense was to be the
concession of royal rank to the Elector.

The principal opposition to this offer arose out of the difference of
confessions. It is also quite true that the Emperor's confessor, Pater
Wolf, to whom the Elector wrote with his own hand, helped to overrule it,
and took part in the negotiations. But the determining cause was, without
doubt, the political state of affairs. A concession which involved no loss
could not surely be thought too high a price to pay for the help of the
most warlike of the German powers on so important an occasion. In the month
of July, 1700, at the great conference, the imperial ministers came to the
resolution that the wishes of the Elector should be complied with; and as
soon as the conditions could be determined, involving the closest alliance
both for the war and for the affairs of the empire, the treaty was signed
on November 16, 1700. On the side of Brandenburg the utmost care was taken
not to admit a word which might imply anything further than the assent and
concurrence of the Emperor. The Elector affected to derive from his own
power alone the right of assuming the royal crown. He would, nevertheless,
have encountered much ulnpleasant oppositions in other quarters but for the
concurrences which, very opportunely for him, now took place in France and

The last Spanish sovereign of the line of Hapsburg had died in the mean
time; and on opening his will it was found to be entirely in favor of the
King of France, whose grandson was appointed heir to the whole Spanish
monarchy. Hereupon Louis XIV broke the treaty of partition which had
recently been made under his own influence, and determined to seize the

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