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Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 48, October, 1861 by Various

Part 2 out of 5

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_Monday, 10th._ Fine breeze of wind at N.W., with a large sea. At 5 A.M.
saw Hog Island & the island of Providence. Fired a gun & lay to for a
pilot to take us in. At 8 a pilot boat came off, & Jeremiah Harman,
Master of our prize, in her, having arrived the day before. Passed by
the Rose man of war, stationed here. We saluted her with 7 guns, &
she returned us 5. Ran aground for'ard & lay some time off of Major
Stewart's house, but the man of war sent his boat to carry out an anchor
for us, and we got off. The Cap't went ashore to wait on his Excellency,
& sent the pinnace off for the prisoners, who were immediately put in
jail.

_Thursday, 13th._ Landed all our corn, and made a clear hole of the
prize. At 9 P.M. it began to thunder & lighten very hard. Our sloop
received great damage from a thunderbolt that struck our mast & shivered
it very much, besides tearing a large piece off the hounds. As it fell,
it tore up the bitts, broke in the hatch way, and burst through both our
sides, starting the planks under her wale, melting several cutlasses &
pistols, and firing off several small arms, the bullets of which stuck
in her beam. It was some time before we perceived that she leaked, being
all thunder struck; but when the Master stepped over the side to examine
her, he put his foot on a plank that was started, and all this time the
water had been pouring in. We immediately brought all our guns on the
other side to give her a heel, & sent the boat ashore for the Doctor,
a man having been hurt by the lightning. When we got her on a heel,
we tried the pumps, not being able to do it before, for our careful
carpenter had ne'er a pump box rigged or fit to work; so, had it not
been for the kind assistance of the man of war's people, who came off as
soon as they heard of our misfortune, & put our guns on board the prize,
we must certainly have sunk, most of our own hands being ashore. This
day, James Avery, our boatswain, was turned out for neglect of duty.

_Friday, 14th._ This morning came on board Cap't Frankland to see the
misfortune we had suffered the night before, & offered to assist us
in all he could. He sent his carpenter, who viewed the mast & said he
thought he could make it do again. The Cap't, hearing of a piece of
timber for his purpose, waited on his Excellency to desire him to lay
his commands on Mr Thompson to spare it him. He sent Mr Scott, Judge of
the Admiralty, to get it in his name, promising to make it good to him
in case of any trouble arising from the timber not belonging to him.
Unloaded all our provisions & put them on board the prize, in order to
get ready for the carpenters to repair the sloop.

_Saturday, 15th._ A court was called at 4 o'clock P.M., Cap't Norton's
petition read, and an agent appointed for the owners. The Company's
Quartermaster & myself were examined, with John Evergin & Samuel
Eldridge, the two English prisoners, concerning the prize, and so the
court was adjourned till Monday, at 10 of the clock, A.M.

_Monday, 17th._ The court met according to adjournment. Jean Baptiste
Domas was examined concerning the freedom of the prisoners, and his
deposition taken in writing. All the evidence and depositions were then
read in court, sworn to, and signed, after which the court adjourned to
Wednesday at 10 of the clock. There are no lawyers in this place, the
only blessing that God could bestow on such a litigious people.

_Wednesday, 19th._ At 10 A.M., the court being opened, & the libel read,
I begged leave of his Honour to be heard, which being granted, I spoke
as follows:[A]--

[Footnote A: The speech of Peter Vezian is characteristic of the times
and of the privateering spirit. It gives expression to the popular
hatred of the Spaniards and the Romanists, to the common false charges
against the brave Oglethorpe, to the general inhuman feeling toward
negroes, and to the distrust of the pretenders to religious experience
during the "Great Revival" under the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield.
Its faults of diction add to its genuine flavor.]

May it please your Honour,--As there is no advocate appointed by this
Hon'ble Court to appear in behalf of the Capturers of a sloop taken
by Don Pedro Estrado July the 5th, belonging to some of His Majesty's
subjects of Great Britain or Ireland, and retaken by Cap't Benj. Norton
& Comp'y in a private sloop of war called the Revenge, July the 20th, &
brought into this court for condemnation, I, as Captain's Quartermaster,
appear in behalf of the owners, Cap't, & Comp'y, to prove that the said
sloop & cargo, together with the three mulattoes & one negro, which are
all slaves, belonging to some of the vassals or subjects of the King of
Spain, ought to be condemned for the benefit & use of the capturers as
aforesaid.

I'm certain I'm undertaking a task for which I am no ways qualified. But
as I have leave to speak in a court instituted by the laws of England,
and before a judge who I am certain is endued with the strictest honour
and justice, I don't doubt, that, if, through ignorance, I should omit
any proof that would be of advantage to us, your Honour will be so good
as to aid & assist me in it.

It will be needless, I believe, Sir, to bring any further proof than
what has been already brought & sworn to in Court to prove the right &
power we had to seize this sloop & cargo on the high seas, & bring her
here for condemnation. There is a late act of parliament, made in the
12th year of his present Majesty's reign, wherein it says, that all
vessels belonging to His Majesty's subjects of Great Britain or Ireland,
which shall have been taken by the enemy, and have been in their
possession the space of 96 hours, if retaken by any private man of
war, shall belong one half to the capturers, as salvage, free from all
charges. As this has been fully proved in court, that the time the enemy
has had her in possession is above 96 hours, I don't doubt but the one
half, free of all charges, will be allotted us for salvage. The thing
about which there is any dispute is the three mulattoes & one negro, all
slaves, taken by the prize, & said to belong to some vassals or subjects
of the King of Spain; and it is put upon us by this court to prove
that they are so, which I hope to do by several circumstances, and the
insufficiency of the evidence in their favour, which amounts to nothing
more than hearsay.

The first evidence in their favour is that of John Evergin, a native
of N'o Carolina, who professes himself to be a child of the Spirit. In
April last, having been taken prisoner by the said Don Pedro Estrado, &
brought to S't Augustine, he consented, for the value of a share in the
profits, to pilot them in the bowels of his native country, and betrayed
his countrymen to that cruel and barbarous nation. Can your Honour
confide in a man who has betrayed his countrymen, robbed them of their
lives, and what was dearer to them, their liberty? One who has exposed
his brethren to imminent danger & reduced them and their families to
extreme want by fire & sword, can the evidence, I say, of such a vile
wretch, who has forfeited his liege to his King by entering the enemy's
service, and unnaturally sold his countrymen, be of any weight in a
court of justice? No, I am certain, and I hope it will meet with none to
prove that these slaves are freemen; for all that he has said, by his
own confession, was only but hearsay. The other evidence is of a villain
of another stamp, a French runnagado, Jean Baptiste Domas. His evidence
is so contradictory that I hope it will meet the same fate as I think
will befall the first. I will own that he has sworn to it. But how? On a
piece of stick made in the shape of a thing they name a cross, said to
be blest and sanctified by the polluted words & hands of a wretched
priest, a spawn of the whore of Babylon, who is a monster of nature &
a servant to the Devil, who for a _real_ will pretend to absolve his
followers from perjury, incest, or parricide, and canonize them for
cruelties committed upon we heretics, as they style us, and even rank
them in the number of those cursed saints who by their barbarity have
rendered their names immortal & odious to all true believers. By devils
such as these they swear, and to them they pray. Can your Honour, then,
give credit to such evidence, when there is no doubt that it was agreed
between the witnesses to swear that the negroes were free? This they
might easily do, for there is no question but they told him so; and to
swear it was but a trifle, when absolution can be got so cheap. It does
not stand to reason, that slaves, who are in hopes of getting their
freedom, would acknowledge themselves to be slaves. Do not their
complexion and features tell all the world that they are the blood of
negroes, and have sucked slavery & cruelty from their infancy? Can any
one think, when we call to mind that barbarous action[B] committed
on his Majesty's brave subjects at the retaking of the fort at S't
Augustine, which was occasioned by the treachery of their vile General,
when he sacrificed them to that barbarous colour, that it was done by
any who had the least drop of blood either of liberty or Christianity
in them? No, I am confident your Honour can't think so; no, not even of
their Gov'r, under whose vile commission this was suffered to be done,
and went unpunished. It was headed by this Francisco, that cursed seed
of Cain, cursed from the foundation of the world, who has the impudence
to come into Court and plead that he is free. Slavery is too good for
such a savage; nay, all the cruelty invented by man will never make
amends for so vile a proceeding; and if I may be allowed to speak
freely, with submission, the torments of the world to come will not
suffice. God forgive me, if I judge unjustly! What a miserable state
must that man be in, who is under the jurisdiction of that vile & cruel
colour! I pity my poor fellow creatures who may have been made prisoners
in this war, and especially some that were lately sent to the Havanah,
and all by the treachery of that vile fellow, John Evergin, who says he
is possessed with the spirit of the inward man, but was possessed with
the spirit of Beelzebub, when he piloted the cursed Spaniards over the
bar of Obricock, as it has been proved in Court.

[Footnote B: It was reported that the English and American prisoners of
war had been barbarously mutilated and tortured.]

I don't doubt but this tragical act, acted at St Augustine, has reached
home before now. This case, perhaps, may travel as far; and when they
remember the sufferings of their countrymen under the command of this
Francisco, whom we have got in possession, together with some of his
comp'y who were concerned with him & under his command in that inhuman
act, they will agree, no doubt, as I hope your Honour will, that they
must be slaves who were concerned in it. I hope, therefore, that by the
contradictions which have been shown in Court between this Jean Baptiste
Domas, who affirms he never saw them till on board the privateer, and
the evidence of Francisco & Augustine, which proves that they knew him
some months before, and conversed with him, is proof enough they are
slaves; and I hope that by the old law of nations, where it says that
all prisoners of war, nay, even their posterity, are slaves, that by
that law Pedro Sanche & Andrew Estavie will be deemed such for the use
of the capturers. So I rest it with your Honour.

Then the Judge gave his decree, that the sloop & cargo should be sold at
vendue, & the one half thereof should be paid the Capturers for salvage,
free from all charges; that Jean Baptiste Domas, Pedro Sanche, & Andrew
Estavie, according to the laws of England, should remain as prisoners of
war till ransomed; and that Augustine & Francisco, according to the
laws of the plantations, should be the slaves, & for the use of the
Capturers. So the Court broke up.

_Friday, 21st._ This day made an end of selling the cargo of the prize.
Sold 55 bush. corn, 41 bb's pork, 6 bb's of beef, 4 bb's of oil, and
then set up Signor Cap't Francisco under the name of Don Blass. He was
sold to Mr. Stone for 34L 8s. 8d. Pork & beef very much damnified.

_Thursday, 27th._ Got all our sails & powder from on shore, and took an
inventory of the prize's rigging and furniture, as she was to be sold on
Saturday next. Capt Frankland came on board to view her, intending to
buy her, I believe.

_Saturday, 29th._ To-day the sloop & furniture was sold, & bought by
Cap't Frankland.

_Monday, 31st._ The captain settled with everybody, intending to sail
to-morrow. He took bills of Exchange of Capt Frankland on his brother,
Messrs. Frankland & Lightfoot, merchants in Boston, and endorsed by the
Company's Quartermaster, for 540L, New England currency. The first bill
he sent to Cap't Freebody by Capt Green, bound to Boston in the prize,
with a letter.

_Wednesday, Sept. 2nd._ This morning at 8 A.M. weighed anchor, having a
pilot on board. The man of war's barge with their Lieut came on board to
search our hold & see that we did not carry any of his hands with us.

_Thursday, 3d._ At 10 A.M. had a vendue at the mast of the plunder taken
in the prize, which was sold to the amount of 50L.

_Friday, 4th._ Moderate weather till 4 A.M., when we hauled down our
mainsail to get clear of the keys & brought to under our ballast
mainsail, the wind blowing a mere hurricane.

_Sunday, 6th._ Out both reefs our mainsail. Hope to God to have fine
weather. Got clear of the reefs, and stood out the hurricane, which
was terrible. Very few godly enough to return God thanks for their
deliverance.

_Sunday, 13th._ The Captain gave the people a case bottle of rum, as a
tropick bottle for his pinnace. The people christened her and gave
her the name of _The Spaniard's Dread_. At 11 A.M. made the land of
Hispaniola & the island of Tortugas. We are now on cruising ground. The
Lord send us success against our enemies!

_Monday, 14th._ Hard gales of wind. Brought to off Tortugas under our
foresail, and about 5 A.M. saw a sloop bearing down upon us. Got all
things ready to receive her, fired our bow chaser, hoisted our jib &
mainsail & gave chase, and, as we outsailed her, she was soon brought
to. She proved to be a sloop from Philadelphia, bound to Jamaica; and
as it blew a mere fret of wind from N.E., we brought to again under our
ballast mainsail.

_Thursday, 17th._ Still cruising as above. At 7 P.M. saw 2 sloops, one
on our Starboard and the other on our Larboard bow, steering N.W. We
fired several shot to bring them to, but one of them was obstinate.
Capt. Hubbard, the Com'r of the other, came to at the first shot. He was
from Jamaica & bound to York, & informed us that there was a large fleet
just arrived from England to join the Admiral; that Admiral Vernon was
gone to St. Jago de Cuba; that there was a hot press both by sea & by
land; & that the Spanish Admiral was blown up in a large man of war at
the Havanah, which we hope may prove true. The other sloop, he said, was
one under Cap't Styles, bound also to York, and had sailed in comp'y
with him. Styles received some damage for his obstinacy in not bringing
to, for our shot hulled him and tore his sails. At 5 A.M. saw a top
sail schooner; but the master, while going to the mast head to see what
course she steered, had the misfortune to fall & break his arm just
above the wrist. Gave the vessel chase as far as Inagua Island, when she
came to. We made the Captain come on board with his papers, from which
we found that he came from Leogane, and was bound to Nantz in France,
loaded with sugars, indigo, and hides, and also 300 pieces of 8/8 sent
by the Intendant to the receiver of the customs of Nantz. We went aboard
in the Captain's yawl, and found the cargo agreeable to his bills of
lading, manifest, and clearance, and so let him pass. He informed us
that there was a brig belonging to the Spaniards at Leogane, that came
in there in distress, having lost his mast, which gentleman we hope to
have the honour of dining or supping with before long.

_Saturday, 19th._ Moderate weather. Saw a sail and gave chase.

_Sunday, 20th._ At 5 P.M. came up with the chase, which proved to be a
French ship that had been blown out of Leogane in the hurricane 6 days
ago. Her mizzen mast had been cut to get clear of the land; her quarters
stove in; her head carried away; and there was neither anchor nor cable
aboard. Of 16 hands, which were aboard, there was but one sailor, and he
was the master, and they were perishing for want of water. There was
on board 30 hhd sugar, 1 hhd & 1 bbl indigo, 13 hhd Bourdeaux wine, &
provisions in plenty. We ordered the master on board, and, as soon as he
came over the side, he fell on his knees and begged for help. When we
heard his deplorable case, we spared him some water, &, as he was an
entire stranger on the coast, put one of our hands aboard to navigate
his vessel. They kept company with us all night, and in the morning sent
us a hhd of wine. At 5 A.M., they being about a league to windward of
us, we made in for the Molo by Cape Nicholas, and she steering after us,
we brought her in. But the wind coming up ahead, & their ship out of
trim, they could not work up so far as we, so they came to an anchor a
league below us. The Cap't of the ship is named Doulteau, the ship La
Genereuse, Dutch built, and is from Rochelle in France.

_Monday, 21st._ Our Lieu't with two hands went ashore to see if he could
kill any cattle. Some others of the people went for water and found 7
wells. The people on board were busy in fishing, of which they caught
an abundance; but some of the hands who eat of the fish complained that
they were poisoned by them.

_Wednesday, 23d._ At 6 P.M. the master of the ship came on board to
return thanks to our Cap't for his kind assistance, & offered him
anything he might have occasion for. He gave the people another hhd of
claret & some sugar, & to the Cap't a quarter cask of wine for his own
drinking, also 6 lengths of old junk. At 6 A.M. left the poor Frenchman
in hopes of letting his Cap't know where he was, weighed anchor from the
Molo, and, the weather being moderate, got on our cruising ground, the
North side of Cuba.

_Saturday, 26th._ About 5 P.M. thought we saw a vessel at anchor under
the land. Lay off & on till 5 A.M., when we saw 2 sails, a brigantine &
a sloop. Gave them chase, the sloop laying to for us, & the brigantine
making the best of her way to the leeward. We presently came up with
the sloop, & when in gun shot, hoisted our pennant. The compliment was
returned with a Spanish ensign at mast head, and a gun to confirm it. We
then went alongside of him & received his broadside, which we cheerfully
returned. He then dropped astern, & bore away before the wind, crowding
all the sail he could, and we, having tacked and done the like, came
again within gun shot. While chasing, we shifted our bow guns to our
fore ports, and they had done the like with their after guns, moving
them to their cabin windows, from which they polled us with their stern
chasers, while we peppered them with our fore guns. At last, after some
brisk firing, they struck. We ordered their canoe on board, which was
directly manned, and brought their Capt, who delivered his commission &
sword to our Cap't, and surrendered himself a prisoner of war. He was
desperately wounded in the arm, & had received several small shot in his
head & body. Three of his hands were wounded, & one negro boy killed.
This vessel had been new fitted out in November last from the Havanah,
was on our coast early in the spring, & had taken several vessels and
brought them in to the Havanah, where in August she was again fitted
out, and had met with good success on the coast of Virginia. She
mounted 6 guns & 12 swivels, & had a crew of 30 hands, two of whom were
Englishmen, who had been taken prisoners, and had entered their service.
We now made all the sail we could crowd after the brigantine, which by
this time was almost out of sight. Our damage in the engagement was
not much; one man slightly wounded by a splinter, two more by a piece
accidentally going off after the fight, upwards of 20 shot in our sails,
2 through our mast, & 1 through our gunwale. This day the Revenge has
established her honour, which had almost been lost by letting the other
privateer go off with 4 ships, as before mentioned. Still in chase of
the brigantine, which is making for the land.

_Sunday, 27th._ At 4 A.M. came up with the chase, fired two guns, &
brought her to. She had been taken by the privateer 23 days before, in
Lat. 26. deg. N., while coming from Barbadoes; was loaded with rum, sugar, &
some bags of cotton, & was bound to Boston. Her owners are Messrs. Lee &
Tyler, Merchants there, Thomas Smith was her commander, & there were 5
Spaniards aboard, whom we took.

_Monday, 28th._ Put the Lieut on board the privateer prize with 7 hands;
also put on board the brigantine Capt Tho. Smith, with verbal orders to
follow us until we could get letters written to send her to Rhode Island
to Cap't Freebody.

_Tuesday, 29th._ Lost sight of both prizes, & lay to the best part of
the forenoon to let them come up with us.

_Wednesday, 30th._ Saw our prize, [the sloop,] bore down on her, &
ordered her canoe on board. The Quartermaster went on board & brought
off her powder & other stores, leaving 7 hands to navigate her, with
verbal orders to keep us company. No news of the brigantine; we suppose
she is gone to the northward. She has one of our hands on board.

_Thursday, Oct. 1st._ Calm weather, with thunder & rain. Brave living
with our people. Punch every day, which makes them dream strange things,
which foretells good success in our cruise. They dream of nothing but
mad bulls, Spaniards, & bags of gold. Examined the papers of the sloop,
& found several in Spanish & French, among which was the condemnation of
Cap't Stocking's sloop.

_Friday, 2nd._ At 6 A.M. saw a ship under the land. Stretched in for
her, when she hoisted a French pennant & an English ensign. Hoisted our
Spanish Jack at mast head, and sent our pinnace aboard to discover what
it was. She proved to be a ship that had been taken by Don Francisco
Loranzo, our prisoner, off the Capes of Virginia. He had put a Lieu't,
10 hands, & 5 Englishmen to carry her to the Havanah. But the Spaniards
ran her ashore on purpose. We brought off the 5 Englishmen, the
Spaniards having run for it. We caught one & brought him on board, and
sent our prize alongside to save what goods we could, for the ship was
bilged.

_Saturday, 3d._ The people busy in getting goods out of the ship, we
laying off & on.

_Sunday, 4th._ Sent John Webb as master with 7 mariners on board the
prize, & with them a Bermudian negro, who had been taken prisoner in a
fishing boat by the Spanish Cap't off the Bermudas, & a mulatto prisoner
belonging to the Spaniards, with the instructions which are underneath.

Latitude 22. deg. 50' N., Oct. 4th, 1741.

MR. JOHN WEBB,

You being appointed master of the sloop Invincible, late a Spanish
privateer, commanded by Cap't Don Francisco Loranzo, and taken by me &
company, we order you to keep company with us till farther orders. But
if, by some unforeseen accident, bad weather, or giving chase, we should
chance to part, then we order that you proceed directly with said sloop
& cargo to Rhode Island in New England. And if, by the Providence
of God, you safe arrive there, you must apply to Mr. John Freebody,
Merchant there, & deliver your sloop & cargo to him or his assigns.

You are also ordered to take care that you speak to no vessel, nor
suffer any to speak with you, during your passage, nor permit any
disorder on board; but you must take a special care of the cargo that
none be embezzled, and, if weather permits, you must be diligent in
drying the goods, to hinder them from spoiling. Wishing you a good
voyage, we remain your friends.

B.N.

D.M.

Copy of a letter sent to Capt Freebody per John Webb in the sloop.

SIR,--I hope my sundry letters sent you by different hands are come
safe.

This waits upon you with the agreeable news of our taking a Spanish
privateer on the 26th Sep't last, off Cape Roman, on the north side of
Cuba. She was conveying to the Havanah a brigantine which she had taken,
coming from Barbadoes & bound to Boston, & laden with rum, sugar, and
some bags of cotton. We had the pleasure of meeting him early in the
morning, & gave chase. When within about a mile of him we hoisted our
pennant, which compliment he immediately returned with his ensign at
mast head and a gun to confirm it. We received several shot from him, &
cheerfully returned them. He then made the best of his way off, crowding
all the sail he could; and we, doing the like, came again within gun
shot, and plied her with our bow chasers, which were shifted to the fore
ports for that purpose. They in return kept pelting us with their stern
chasers out of their cabin windows, but after some brisk firing they
struck. Our rigging, mast, & gunwale received some damage. Upwards of 25
shot went through our sails, 2 through our mast in its weakest part just
below where it was fished, 1 cut our fore shroud on the Larboard side, &
another went through our Starboard gunwale, port & all. Only one of our
men was wounded by the enemy, and he slightly by a splinter. Two
others were hurt in the arm by one of the people's pieces going off
accidentally after the engagement. The poor Cap't of the privateer was
wounded in the arm and the bone fractured, one negro boy killed,
& others wounded. He was fitted out last November at the Havanah,
proceeded to S't. Augustine, & while on our coast early in the spring
took several vessels. In August last he was again fitted out, & had
taken several more vessels on our coast. But we had the good fortune to
stop his course. His name is Don Francisco Loranzo, & by all report,
though an enemy, a brave man, endued with a great deal of clemency, &
using his prisoners with a great deal of humanity. The like usage he
receives with us, for he justly deserves it.

We have sent you the sloop commanded by John Webb, loaded with sundry
goods somewhat damaged, which I must desire you to unload directly & to
take care to get them dried. There is also a negro boy that is sickly,
a negro man said to have been taken off Bermudas by the privateer as he
was a fishing, & a mulatto belonging to some of the subjects or vassals
of the King of Spain, all of which we recommend to your care that they
may not elope.

The number of Spanish prisoners taken on board, the Captain included,
is 48, out of which 11 are of the blood of negroes, for which we don't
doubt that we shall have his Majesty's bounty money, which is 5L
sterling per head. We also desire that the vessel may not be condemned
till our arrival, but only unloaded & a just account taken of what was
on board. As to the brigantine, the Captain of her, whom we put in again
out of civility, has used us in a very rascally manner; for he ran away
from us in the night with the vessel, & no doubt designed to cheat us
out of our salvage, which is the half of brig & cargo, the enemy having
had possession of her for 22 days. As she is a vessel of value, I hope
you'l do your endeavors to recover our just dues, and apply to the
owners, who are, as we are credibly informed, Messrs Lee & Tyler of
Boston, both of whom are under the state of conviction since the gospel
of Whitfield & Tennant has been propagated in New England. So that we
are in hopes they will readily give a just account of her cargo & her
true value, & render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, which is
the moral preached by Whitefield.

As this will require a lawsuit, I hope you will get the best advice you
possibly can, &, if she is at Boston or elsewhere, get her seized &
condemned. She was designed to be consigned to you, & the master was
sent on board to take possession, & get things in order to sail, while
we were writing letters & bills of lading, but he gave us the slip. So,
relying on your care, we don't doubt but you will recover her and
add her to the privateer prize. The brigantine was called the Sarah,
commanded by Tho's Smith, & had on board 11 hhd of rum, 23 hhd of sugar,
& 12 bags of cotton. She was well fitted with 4 swivels, one gun, &
other stores. She was a new, pink stern vessel, & carried off one of our
hands, who, no doubt, will acquaint you of the whole affair. We hope
you will show no favour to the Cap't for his ill usage, but get a just
account of his venture, one half of which is our due. This affair is
recommended to you by all the company, and we hope that you will serve
us to the utmost of your power, not doubting in the least of your
justice & equity.

Inclosed you will receive Cap't Frankland's 2 Bills of Exchange on
his brother for 540L, also a list of the vessels which were taken by
Francisco Loranzo since he first went out on his cruise, which you may
use at pleasure either to publish or conceal. We are still cruising on
the Northern side of Cuba, & are in hopes of getting something worth
while in a short time.

We are all in good health; so, having no more to add but my kind
remembrances to all friends,

I remain

sincerely yours,

B.N.

_Monday, 5th._ The company gave the Cap't a night gown, a spencer wig, &
4 pair of thread stockings, & to the Lieut a pair of buck skin breeches.
The Doctor bought a suit of broad cloth, which cost him 28 pieces of
eight and is carried to his account in the sloop's ledger.

* * * * *

Here Peter Vezian's journal abruptly comes to an end. But we know from
other papers, that the "Revenge," after a successful cruise, returned
safely to Newport; and thence in the next succeeding years often sailed
out against the Spaniards. Queer legends of those privateering days
still linger in Newport, and traces of ill-gotten wealth may still
be discovered there. The sailors of the old seaport are as bold and
adventurous as ever, but they are grown honester, and never again shall
a crew be found there to man either slave-trader or privateer. Northern
seamen have no liking for such occupation.

CONCERNING PEOPLE OF WHOM MORE MIGHT HAVE BEEN MADE.

It is recorded in history, that at a certain public dinner in America
a Methodist preacher was called on to give a toast. It may be supposed
that the evening was so far advanced that every person present had been
toasted already, and also all the friends of every one present. It thus
happened that the Methodist preacher was in considerable perplexity as
to the question, What being, or class of beings, should form the subject
of his toast. But the good man was a person of large sympathies; and
some happy link of association recalled to his mind certain words with
which he had a professional familiarity, and which set forth a subject
of a most comprehensive character. Arising from his seat, the Methodist
preacher said, that, without troubling the assembled company with any
preliminary observations, he begged to propose the health of ALL PEOPLE
THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL.

Not unnaturally, I have thought of that Methodist preacher and his
toast, as I begin to write this essay. For, though its subject was
suggested to me by various little things of very small concern to
mankind in general, though of great interest to one or two individual
beings, I now discern that the subject of this essay is in truth as
comprehensive as the subject of that toast. I have something to say
_Concerning People of whom More might have been Made_: I see now that
the class which I have named includes every human being. More might have
been made, in some respects, possibly in many respects, of _All
People that on Earth do Dwell_. Physically, intellectually, morally,
spiritually, more might have been made of all. Wise and diligent
training on the part of others, self-denial, industry, tact, decision,
promptitude, on the part of the man himself, might have made something
far better than he now is of every man that breathes. No one is made the
most of. There have been human beings who have been made the most of as
regards some one thing, who have had some single power developed to the
utmost; but no one is made the most of, all round; no one is even made
the most of as regards the two or three most important things of all.
And, indeed, it is curious to observe that the things in which human
beings seem to have attained to absolute perfection have for the most
part been things comparatively frivolous,--accomplishments which
certainly were not worth the labor and the time which it must have cost
to master them. Thus, M. Blondin has probably made as much of himself as
can be made of mortal, in the respect of walking on a rope stretched at
a great height from the ground. Hazlitt makes mention of a man who had
cultivated to the very highest degree the art of playing at rackets, and
who accordingly played at rackets incomparably better than any one else
ever did. A wealthy gentleman, lately deceased, by putting his whole
mind to the pursuit, esteemed himself to have reached entire perfection
in the matter of killing otters. Various individuals have probably
developed the power of turning somersets, of picking pockets, of
playing on the piano, jew's-harp, banjo, and penny trumpet, of mental
calculation in arithmetic, of insinuating evil about their neighbors
without directly asserting anything, to a measure as great as is
possible to man. Long practice and great concentration of mind upon
these things have sufficed to produce what might seem to tremble on the
verge of perfection,--what unquestionably leaves the attainments of
ordinary people at an inconceivable distance behind. But I do not call
it making the most of a man, to develop, even to perfection, the power
of turning somersets and playing at rackets. I call it making the most
of a man, when you make the best of his best powers and qualities,--when
you take those things about him which are the worthiest and most
admirable, and cultivate these up to their highest attainable degree.
And it is in this sense that the statement is to be understood, that
no one is made the most of. Even in the best, we see no more than the
rudiments of good qualities which might have been developed into a great
deal more; and in very many human beings, proper management might have
brought out qualities essentially different from those which these
beings now possess. It is not merely that they are rough diamonds, which
might have been polished into blazing ones,--not merely that they are
thoroughbred colts drawing coal-carts, which with fair training would
have been new Eclipses: it is that they are vinegar which might have
been wine, poison which might have been food, wild-cats which might have
been harmless lambs, soured miserable wretches who might have been happy
and useful, almost devils who might have been but a little lower than
the angels. Oh, the unutterable sadness that is in the thought of what
might have been!

Not always, indeed. Sometimes, as we look back, it is with deep
thankfulness that we see the point at which we were (we cannot say how)
inclined to take the right turning, when we were all but resolved to
take that which we can now see would have landed us in wreck and ruin.
And it is fit that we should correct any morbid tendency to brood upon
the fancy of how much better we might have been, by remembering also how
much worse we might have been. Sometimes the present state of matters,
good or bad, is the result of long training, of influences that were at
work through many years, and that produced their effect so gradually
that we never remarked the steps of the process, till some day we waken
up to a sense of the fact, and find ourselves perhaps a great deal
better, probably a great deal worse, than we had been vaguely imagining.
But the case is not unfrequently otherwise. Sometimes one testing-time
decided whether we should go to the left or to the right. There are in
the moral world things analogous to the sudden accident which makes a
man blind or lame for life: in an instant there is wrought a permanent
deterioration. Perhaps a few minutes before man or woman took the step
which can never be retraced, which must banish forever from all they
hold dear, and compel to seek in some new country far away a place where
to hide their shame and misery, they had just as little thought of
taking that miserable step as you, my reader, have of taking one like
it. And perhaps there are human beings in this world, held in the
highest esteem, and with not a speck on their snow-white reputation, who
know within themselves that they have barely escaped the gulf, that
the moment has been in which all their future lot was trembling in the
balance, and that a grain's weight more in the scale of evil and by this
time they might have been reckoned among the most degraded and abandoned
of the race. But probably the first deviation, either to right or left,
is in most cases a very small one. You know, my friend, what is meant by
the _points_ upon a railway. By moving a lever, the rails upon which the
train is advancing are, at a certain place, broadened or narrowed by
about the eighth of an inch. That little movement decides whether
the train shall go north or south. Twenty carriages have come so far
together; but here is a junction station, and the train is to be
divided. The first ten carriages deviate from the main line by a
fraction of an inch at first; but in a few minutes the two portions of
the train are flying on, miles apart. You cannot see the one from the
other, save by distant puffs of white steam through the clumps of trees.
Perhaps already a high hill has intervened, and each train is on its
solitary way,--one to end its course, after some hours, amid the roar
and smoke and bare ugliness of some huge manufacturing town; and the
other to come through green fields to the quaint, quiet, dreamy-looking
little city, whose place is marked, across the plain, by the noble spire
of the gray cathedral rising into the summer blue. We come to such
points in our journey through life,--railway-points, as it were, which
decide not merely our lot in life, but even what kind of folk we shall
be, morally and intellectually. A hair's breadth may make the deviation
at first. Two situations are offered you at once: you think there is
hardly anything to choose between them. It does not matter which you
accept; and perhaps some slight and fanciful consideration is allowed to
turn the scale. But now you look back, and you can see that _there_ was
the turning-point in your life; it was because you went there to the
right, and not to the left, that you are now a great English prelate,
and not a humble Scotch professor. Was there not a time in a certain
great man's life, at which the lines of rail diverged, and at which the
question was settled, Should he be a minister of the Scotch Kirk, or
should he be Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain? I can imagine a
stage in the history of a lad in a counting-house, at which the little
angle of rail may be pushed in or pushed back that shall send the train
to one of two places five hundred miles asunder: it may depend upon
whether he shall take or not take that half-crown, whether, thirty years
after, he shall be taking the chair, a rubicund baronet, at a missionary
society meeting, and receive the commendations of philanthropic peers
and earnest bishops, or be laboring in chains at Norfolk Island, a
brutalized, cursing, hardened, scourge-scarred, despairing wretch,
without a hope for this life or the other. Oh, how much may turn upon a
little thing! Because the railway train in which you were coming to a
certain place was stopped by a snowstorm, the whole character of your
life may have been changed. Because some one was in the drawing-room
when you went to see Miss Smith on a certain day, resolved to put to her
a certain question, you missed the tide, you lost your chance, you went
away to Australia and never saw her more. It fell upon a day that
a ship, coming from Melbourne, was weathering a rocky point on an
iron-bound coast, and was driven close upon that perilous shore. They
tried to put her about; it was the last chance. It was a moment of awful
risk and decision. If the wind catches the sails, now shivering as the
ship comes up, on the right side, then all on board are safe. If the
wind catches the sails on the other side, then all on board must perish.
And so it all depends upon which surface of certain square yards of
canvas the uncertain breeze shall strike, whether John Smith, who is
coming home from the diggings with twenty thousand pounds, shall go
down and never be heard of again by his poor mother and sisters away in
Scotland,--or whether he shall get safely back, a rich man, to gladden
their hearts, and buy a pretty little place, and improve the house on it
into the pleasantest picture, and purchase, and ride, and drive various
horses, and be seen on market-days sauntering in the High Street of the
county-town, and get married, and run about the lawn before his door,
chasing his little children, and become a decent elder of the Church,
and live quietly and happily for many years. Yes, from what precise
point of the compass the next flaw of wind should come would decide the
question between the long homely life in Scotland and a nameless burial
deep in a foreign sea.

It seems to me to be one of the main characteristics of human beings,
not that they actually are much, but that they are something of which
much may be made. There are untold potentialities in human nature. The
tree cut down, concerning which its heathen owner debated whether he
should make it into a god or into a three-legged stool, was positively
nothing in its capacity of coming to different ends and developments,
when we compare it with each human being born into this world. Man is
not so much a thing already, as he is the germ of something. He is,
so to speak, material formed to the hand of circumstances. He is
essentially a germ, either of good or evil. And he is not like the seed
of a plant, in whose development the tether allows no wider range than
that between the more or less successful manifestation of its inherent
nature. Give a young tree fair play, good soil and abundant air,--tend
it carefully, in short, and you will have a noble tree. Treat the young
tree unfairly,--give it a bad soil, deprive it of needful air and light,
and it will grow up a stunted and poor tree. But in the case of the
human being, there is more than this difference in degree. There may be
a difference in kind. The human being may grow up to be, as it were,
a fair and healthful fruit-tree, or to be a poisonous one. There is
something positively awful about the potentialities that are in
human nature. The Archbishop of Canterbury might have grown up under
influences which would have made him a bloodthirsty pirate or a sneaking
pickpocket. The pirate or the pickpocket, taken at the right time, and
trained in the right way, might have been made a pious, exemplary man.
You remember that good divine, two hundred years since, who, standing in
the market-place of a certain town, and seeing a poor wretch led by him
to the gallows, said, "There goes myself, but for the grace of God." Of
course, it is needful that human laws should hold all men as equally
responsible. The punishment of such an offence is such an infliction, no
matter who committed the offence. At least the mitigating circumstances
which human laws can take into account must be all of a very plain and
intelligible character. It would not do to recognize anything like a
graduated scale of responsibility. A very bad training in youth would be
in a certain limited sense regarded as lessening the guilt of any wrong
thing done; and you may remember, accordingly, how that magnanimous
monarch, Charles II., urged to the Scotch lords, in extenuation of the
wrong things he had done, that his father had given him a very bad
education. But though human laws and judges may vainly and clumsily
endeavor to fix each wrongdoer's place in the scale of responsibility,
and though they must, in a rough way, do what is rough justice in five
cases out of six, still we may well believe that in the view of the
Supreme Judge the responsibilities of men are most delicately graduated
to their opportunities. There is One who will appreciate with entire
accuracy the amount of guilt that is in each wrong deed of each
wrong-doer, and mercifully allow for such as never had a chance of being
anything but wrong-doers. And it will not matter whether it was from
original constitution or from unhappy training that these poor creatures
never had that chance. I was lately quite astonished to learn that some
sincere, but stupid American divines have fallen foul of the eloquent
author of "Elsie Venner," and accused him of fearful heresy, because he
declared his confident belief that "God would never make a man with a
crooked spine and then punish him for not standing upright." Why, that
statement of the "Autocrat" appears to me at least as certain as that
two and two make four. It may, indeed, contain some recondite and
malignant reference which the stupid American divines know, and which
I do not; it may be a mystic Shibboleth, indicating far more than it
asserts; as at one time in Scotland it was esteemed as proof that a
clergyman preached unsound doctrine, if he made use of the Lord's
Prayer. But, understanding it simply as meaning that the Judge of all
the Earth will do right, it appears to me an axiom beyond all question.
And I take it as putting in a compact form the spirit of what I have
been arguing for,--to wit, that, though human law must of necessity hold
all rational beings as alike responsible, yet in the eye of God the
difference may be immense. The graceful vase, that stands in the
drawing-room under a glass shade, and never goes to the well, has no
great right to despise the rough pitcher that goes often and is broken
at last. It is fearful to think what malleable material we are in the
hands of circumstances.

And a certain Authority, considerably wiser and incomparably more
charitable than the American divines already mentioned, recognized the
fact, when He taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation!" We shall
think, in a little while, of certain influences which may make or mar
the human being; but it may be said here that I firmly believe that
happiness is one of the best of disciplines. As a general rule, if
people were happier, they would be better. When you see a poor cabman
on a winter-day, soaked with rain, and fevered with gin, violently
thrashing the wretched horse he is driving, and perhaps howling at it,
you may be sure that it is just because the poor cabman is so miserable
that he is doing all that. It was a sudden glimpse, perhaps, of his bare
home and hungry children, and of the dreary future which lay before
himself and them, that was the true cause of those two or three furious
lashes you saw him deal upon the unhappy screw's ribs. Whenever I read
any article in a review, which is manifestly malignant, and intended not
to improve an author, but to give him pain, I cannot help immediately
wondering what may have been the matter with the man who wrote the
malignant article. Something must have been making him very unhappy,
I think. I do not allude to playful attacks upon a man, made in pure
thoughtlessness and buoyancy of spirit,--but to attacks which indicate a
settled, deliberate, calculating rancor. Never be angry with the man who
makes such an attack; you ought to be sorry for him. It is out of great
misery that malignity for the most part proceeds. To give the ordinary
mortal a fair chance, let him be reasonably successful and happy. Do not
worry a man into nervous irritability, and he will be amiable. Do not
dip a man in water, and he will not be wet.

Of course, my friend, I know who is to you the most interesting of all
beings, and whose history is the most interesting of all histories.
_You_ are to yourself the centre of this world, and of all the interests
of this world. And this is quite right.

There is no selfishness about all this, except that selfishness which
forms an essential element in personality,--that selfishness which must
go with the fact of one's having a self. You cannot help looking at all
things as they appear from your own point of view; and things press
themselves upon your attention and your feeling as they affect yourself.
And apart from anything like egotism, or like vain self-conceit, it is
probable that you may know that a great deal depends upon your exertion
and your life. There are those at home who would fare but poorly, if you
were just now to die. There are those who must rise with you, if you
rise, and sink with you, if you sink. Does it sometimes suddenly strike
you, what a little object you are, to have so much depending on you?
Vaguely, in your thinking and feeling, you add your circumstances
and your lot to your personality; and these make up an object of
considerable extension. You do so with other people as well as with
yourself. You have all their belongings as a background to the picture
of them which you have in your mind; and they look very little when
you see them in fact, because you see them without these belongings.
I remember, when a boy, how disappointed I was at first seeing the
Archbishop of Canterbury. It was Archbishop Howley. There he was,
a slender, pale old gentleman, sitting in an arm-chair at a public
meeting. I was chiefly disappointed, because there was _so little_ of
him. There was just the human being. There was no background of grand
accessories. The idea of the Primate of England which I had in some
confused manner in my mind included a vision of the venerable towers of
Lambeth,--of a long array of solemn predecessors, from Thomas a Becket
downwards,--of great historical occasions on which the Archbishop of
Canterbury had been a prominent figure; and in some way I fancied,
vaguely, that you would see the primate surrounded by all these things.
You remember the Highlander in "Waverley," who was much mortified when
his chief came to meet an English guest, unattended by any retinue, and
who exclaimed, in consternation and sorrow, "He has come without his
tail!" Even such was my early feeling. You understand later that
associations are not visible, and that they do not add to a man's
extension in space. But (to go back) you do, as regards yourself, what
you do as regards greater men: you add your lot to your personality,
and thus you make up a bigger object. And when you see yourself in your
tailor's shop, in a large mirror (one of a series) wherein you see your
figure all round, reflected several times, your feeling will probably
be, What a little thing you are! If you are a wise man, you will go away
somewhat humbled, and possibly somewhat the better for the sight. You
have, to a certain extent, done what Burns thought it would do all men
much good to do: you have "seen yourself as others see you." And even
to do so physically is a step towards a juster and humbler estimate of
yourself in more important things. It may here be said, as a further
illustration of the principle set forth, that people who stay very much
at home feel their stature, bodily and mental, much lessened when they
go far away from home, and spend a little time among strange scenes and
people. For, going thus away from home, you take only yourself. It is
but a small part of your extension that goes. You go; but you leave
behind your house, your study, your children, your servants, your
horses, your garden. And not only do you leave them behind, but they
grow misty and unsubstantial when you are far away from them. And
somehow you feel, that, when you make the acquaintance of a new friend
some hundreds of miles off, who never saw your home and your family, you
present yourself before him only a twentieth part or so of what you feel
yourself to be when you have all your belongings about you. Do you not
feel all that? And do you not feel, that, if you were to go away to
Australia forever, almost as the English coast turned blue and then
invisible on the horizon, your life in England would first turn
cloud-like, and then melt away?

But without further discussing the philosophy of how it comes to be, I
return to the statement that you yourself, as you live in your home, are
to yourself the centre of this world,--and that you feel the force of
any great principle most deeply, when you feel it in your own case.
And though every worthy mortal must be often taken out of himself,
especially by seeing the deep sorrows and great failures of other men,
still, in thinking of people of whom more might have been made, it
touches you most to discern that you are one of these. It is a very sad
thing to think of yourself, and to see how much more might have been
made of you. Sit down by the fire in winter, or go out now in summer and
sit down under a tree, and look back on the moral discipline you have
gone through,--look back on what you have done and suffered. Oh, how
much better and happier you might have been! And how very near you have
often been to what would have made you so much happier and better! If
you had taken the other turning when you took the wrong one, after much
perplexity,--if you had refrained from saying such a hasty word,--if you
had not thoughtlessly made such a man your enemy! Such a little thing
may have changed the entire complexion of your life. Ah, it was because
the points were turned the wrong way at that junction, that you are now
running along a line of railway through wild moorlands, leaving the warm
champaign below ever more hopelessly behind. Hastily, or pettedly,
or despairingly, you took the wrong turning; or you might have been
dwelling now amid verdant fields and silver waters in the country of
contentment and success. Many men and women, in the temporary bitterness
of some disappointment, have hastily made marriages which will embitter
all their future life,--or which at least make it certain that in this
world they will never know a joyous heart any more. Men have died
as almost briefless barristers, toiling into old age in heartless
wrangling, who had their chance of high places on the bench, but
ambitiously resolved to wait for something higher, and so missed the
tide. Men in the church have taken the wrong path at some critical time,
and doomed themselves to all the pangs of disappointed ambition. But I
think a sincere man in the church has a great advantage over almost all
ordinary disappointed men. He has less temptation, reading affairs by
the light of after-time, to look back with bitterness on any mistake he
may have made. For, if he be the man I mean, he took the decisive step
not without seeking the best of guidance; and the whole training of his
mind has fitted him for seeing a higher Hand in the allotment of human
conditions. And if a man acted for the best, according to the light he
had, and if he truly believes that God puts all in their places in
life, he may look back without bitterness upon what may appear the
most grievous mistakes. I must be suffered to add, that, if he is able
heartily to hold certain great truths and to rest on certain sure
promises, hardly any conceivable earthly lot should stamp him a soured
or disappointed man. If it be a sober truth, that "all things shall work
together for good" to a certain order of mankind, and if the deepest
sorrows in this world may serve to prepare us for a better,--why, then,
I think that one might hold by a certain ancient philosopher (and
something more) who said, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content."

* * * * *

You see, reader, that, in thinking of _People of whom More might have
been Made_, we are limiting the scope of the subject. I am not thinking
how more might have been made of us originally. No doubt, the potter
had power over the clay. Give a larger brain, of finer quality, and
the commonplace man might have been a Milton. A little change in the
chemical composition of the gray matter of that little organ which is
unquestionably connected with the mind's working as no other organ of
the body is, and, oh, what a different order of thought would have
rolled off from your pen, when you sat down and tried to write your
best! If we are to believe Robert Burns, some people have been made more
of than was originally intended. A certain poem records how that which,
in his homely phrase, he calls "stuff to mak' a swine," was ultimately
converted into a very poor specimen of a human being. The poet had no
irreverent intention, I dare say; but I am not about to go into the
field of speculation which is opened up by his words. I know, indeed,
that, in the hands of the Creator, each of us might have been made
a different man. The pounds of material which were fashioned into
Shakspeare might have made a bumpkin with little thought beyond pigs
and turnips, or, by some slight difference beyond man's skill to trace,
might have made an idiot. A little infusion of energy into the mental
constitution might have made the mild, pensive day-dreamer who is
wandering listlessly by the river-side, sometimes chancing upon noble
thoughts, which he does not carry out into action, and does not even
write down on paper, into an active worker, with Arnold's keen look, who
would have carved out a great career for himself, and exercised a real
influence over the views and conduct of numbers of other men. A very
little alteration in feature might have made a plain face into
a beautiful one; and some slight change in the position or the
contractibility of certain of the muscles might have made the most
awkward of manners and gaits into the most dignified and graceful. All
_that_ we all understand. But my present subject is the making which is
in circumstances after our natural disposition is fixed,--the training,
coming from a hundred quarters, which forms the material supplied by
Nature into the character which each of us actually bears. And setting
apart the case of great genius, whose bent towards the thing in which it
will excel is so strong that it will find its own field by inevitable
selection, and whose strength is such that no unfavorable circumstances
can hold it down, almost any ordinary human being may be formed into
almost any development. I know a huge massive beam of rough iron, which
supports a great weight. Whenever I pass it, I cannot help giving it a
pat with my hand, and saying to it, "You might have been hair-springs
for watches." I know an odd-looking little man attached to a certain
railway-station, whose business it is, when a train comes in, to go
round it with a large box of a yellow concoction and supply grease to
the wheels. I have often looked out of the carriage-window at that
odd little man and thought to myself, "Now you might have been a
chief-justice." And, indeed, I can say from personal observation that
the stuff ultimately converted into cabinet-ministers does not at an
early stage at all appreciably differ from that which never becomes more
than country-parsons. There is a great gulf between the human being who
gratefully receives a shilling, and touches his cap as he receives it,
and the human being whose income is paid in yearly or half-yearly sums,
and to whom a pecuniary tip would appear as an insult; yet, of course,
that great gulf is the result of training alone. John Smith the laborer,
with twelve shillings a week, and the bishop with eight thousand a
year, had, by original constitution, precisely the same kind of feeling
towards that much-sought, yet much-abused reality which provides the
means of life. Who shall reckon up by what millions of slight touches
from the hand of circumstance, extending over many years, the one man is
gradually formed into the giving of the shilling, and the other man into
the receiving of it with that touch of his hat? Who shall read back the
forming influences at work since the days in the cradle, that gradually
formed one man into sitting down to dinner, and another man into waiting
behind his chair? I think it would be occasionally a comfort, if one
could believe, as American planters profess to believe about their
slaves, that there is an original and essential difference between men;
for, truly, the difference in their positions is often so tremendous
that it is painful to think that it is the self-same clay and the
self-same common mind that are promoted to dignity and degraded to
servitude. And if _you_ sometimes feel _that_,--_you_, in whose favor
the arrangement tends,--what do you suppose your servants sometimes
think upon the subject? It was no wonder that the millions of Russia
were ready to grovel before their Czar, while they believed that he
was "an emanation from the Deity." But in countries where it is quite
understood that every man is just as much an emanation from the Deity
as any other, you will not long have that sort of thing. You remember
Goldsmith's noble lines, which Dr. Johnson never could read without
tears, concerning the English character. Is it not true that it is just
because the humble, but intelligent Englishman understands distinctly
that we are all of us _people of whom more might have been made_, that
he has "learnt to venerate himself as man"? And thinking of influences
which form the character, there is a sad reflection which has often
occurred to me. It is, that circumstances often develop a character
which it is hard to contemplate without anger and disgust. And yet, in
many such cases, it is rather pity that is due. The more disgusting the
character formed in some men, the more you should pity them. Yet it is
hard to do _that_. You easily pity the man whom circumstances have
made poor and miserable; how much more you should pity the man whom
circumstances have made bad! You pity the man from whom some terrible
accident has taken a limb or a hand; but how much more should you pity
the man from whom the influences of years have taken a conscience and a
heart! And something is to be said for even the most unamiable and worst
of the race. No doubt, it is mainly their own fault that they are so
bad; but still it is hard work to be always rowing against wind and
tide, and some people could be good only by doing _that_ ceaselessly. I
am not thinking now of pirates and pickpockets. But take the case of a
sour, backbiting, malicious, wrong-headed, lying old woman, who gives
her life to saying disagreeable things and making mischief between
friends. There are not many mortals with whom one is less disposed to
have patience. But yet, if you knew all, you would not be so severe in
what you think and say of her. You do not know the physical irritability
of nerve and weakness of constitution which that poor creature may have
inherited; you do not know the singular twist of mind which she may have
got from Nature and from bad and unkind treatment in youth; you do not
know the bitterness of heart she has felt at the polite snubbings and
ladylike tortures which in excellent society are often the share of the
poor and the dependent. If you knew all these things, you would bear
more patiently with my friend Miss Limejuice, though I confess that
sometimes you would find it uncommonly hard to do so.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I began dimly to fancy that somewhere I
had seen the idea which is its subject treated by an abler hand by far
than mine. The idea, you may be sure, was not suggested to me by books,
but by what I have seen of men and women. But it is a pleasant thing to
find that a thought which at the time is strongly impressing one's self
has impressed other men. And a modest person, who knows very nearly what
his humble mark is, will be quite pleased to find that another man has
not only anticipated his thoughts, but has expressed them much better
than he could have done. Yes, let me turn to that incomparable essay of
John Foster, "On a Man's writing Memoirs of Himself." Here it is.

"Make the supposition that any given number of persons,--a hundred,
for instance,--taken promiscuously, should be able to write memoirs of
themselves so clear and perfect as to explain, to your discernment at
least, the entire process by which their minds have attained their
present state, recounting all the most impressive circumstances. If they
should read these memoirs to you in succession, while your benevolence,
and the moral principles according to which you felt and estimated,
were kept at the highest pitch, you would often, during the disclosure,
regret to observe how many things may be the causes of irretrievable
mischief. 'Why is the path of life,' you would say, 'so haunted as if
with evil spirits of every diversity of noxious agency, some of which
may patiently accompany, or others of which may suddenly cross, the
unfortunate wanderer?' And you would regret to observe into how many
forms of intellectual and moral perversion the human mind readily yields
itself to be modified.

* * * * *

"'I compassionate you,' would, in a very benevolent hour, be your
language to the wealthy, unfeeling _tyrant of a family and a
neighborhood_, who seeks, in the overawed timidity and unretaliated
injuries of the unfortunate beings within his power, the gratification
that should have been sought in their affections. Unless you had brought
into the world some extraordinary refractoriness to the influence of
evil, the process that you have undergone could not easily fail of being
efficacious. If your parents idolized their own importance in their
son so much that they never opposed your inclinations themselves nor
permitted it to be done by any subject to their authority,--if the
humble companion, sometimes summoned to the honor of amusing you, bore
your caprices and insolence with the meekness without which he had
lost his enviable privilege,--if you could despoil the garden of some
nameless dependent neighbor of the carefully reared flowers, and torment
his little dog or cat, without his daring to punish you or to appeal
to your infatuated parents,--if aged men addressed you in a submissive
tone, and with the appellation of 'Sir,' and their aged wives uttered
their wonder at your condescension, and pushed their grandchildren away
from around the fire for your sake, if you happened, though with the
strut of pertness, and your hat on your head, to enter one of their
cottages, perhaps to express your contempt of the homely dwelling,
furniture, and fare,--if, in maturer life, you associated with vile
persons, who would forego the contest of equality to be your allies in
trampling on inferiors,--and if, both then and since, you have been
suffered to deem your wealth the compendium or equivalent of every
ability and every good quality,--it would indeed be immensely strange,
if you had not become in due time the miscreant who may thank the power
of the laws in civilized society that he is not assaulted with clubs
and stones, to whom one could cordially wish the opportunity and the
consequences of attempting his tyranny among some such people as those
_submissive_ sons of Nature in the forests of North America, and whose
dependants and domestic relatives may be almost forgiven when they shall
one day rejoice at his funeral."

What do you think of _that_, my reader, as a specimen of embittered
eloquence and nervous pith? It is something to read massive and
energetic sense, in days wherein mystical twaddle, and subtlety which
hopelessly defies all logic, are sometimes thought extremely fine, if
they are set out in a style which is refined into mere effeminacy.

* * * * *

I cherish a very strong conviction, (as has been said,) that, at least
in the case of educated people, happiness is a grand discipline for
bringing out what is amiable and excellent. You understand, of course,
what I mean by happiness. We all know, of course, that light-heartedness
is not very familiar to grown-up people, who are doing the work of life,
who feel its many cares, and who do not forget the many risks which hang
over it. I am not thinking of the kind of thing which is suggested to
the minds of children, when they read, at the end of a tale, concerning
its heroine and hero, that "they lived happily ever after." No, we don't
look for that. By happiness I mean freedom from terrible anxiety and
from pervading depression of spirits, the consciousness that we are
filling our place in life with decent success and approbation, religious
principle and character, fair physical health throughout the family, and
moderate good temper and good sense. And I hold, with Sydney Smith, and
with that keen practical philosopher, Becky Sharpe, that happiness and
success tend very greatly to make people passably good. Well, I see an
answer to the statement, as I do to most statements; but, at least, the
beam is never subjected to the strain which would break it. I have seen
the gradual working of what I call happiness and success in ameliorating
character. I have known a man who, by necessity, by the pressure of
poverty, was driven to write for the magazines,--a kind of work for
which he had no special talent or liking, and which he had never
intended to attempt. There was no more miserable, nervous, anxious,
disappointed being on earth than he was, when he began his writing for
the press. And sure enough, his articles were bitter and ill-set to a
high degree. They were thoroughly ill-natured and bad. They were not
devoid of a certain cleverness; but they were the sour products of
a soured nature. But that man gradually got into comfortable
circumstances: and with equal step with his lot the tone of his writings
mended, till, as a writer, he became conspicuous for the healthful,
cheerful, and kindly nature of all he produced. I remember seeing a
portrait of an eminent author, taken a good many years ago, at a time
when he was struggling into notice, and when he was being very severely
handled by the critics. That portrait was really truculent of aspect.
It was sour, and even ferocious-looking. Years afterwards I saw that
author, at a time when he had attained vast success, and was universally
recognized as a great man. How improved that face! All the savage lines
were gone; the bitter look was gone; the great man looked quite genial
and amiable. And I came to know that he really was all he looked. Bitter
judgments of men, imputations of evil motives, disbelief in anything
noble or generous, a disposition to repeat tales to the prejudice of
others, envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness,--all these
things may possibly come out of a bad heart; but they certainly come out
of a miserable one. The happier any human being is, the better and more
kindly he thinks of all. It is the man who is always worried, whose
means are uncertain, whose home is uncomfortable, whose nerves are
rasped by some kind friend who daily repeats and enlarges upon
everything disagreeable for him to hear,--it is he who thinks hardly
of the character and prospects of humankind, and who believes in the
essential and unimprovable badness of the race.

* * * * *

This is not a treatise on the formation of character: it pretends to
nothing like completeness. If this essay were to extend to a volume of
about three hundred and eighty pages, I might be able to set out and
discuss, in something like a full and orderly fashion, the influences
under which human beings grow up, and the way in which to make the best
of the best of these influences, and to evade or neutralize the worst.
And if, after great thought and labor, I had produced such a volume, I
am well aware that nobody would read it. So I prefer to briefly glance
at a few aspects of a great subject just as they present themselves,
leaving the complete discussion of it to solid individuals with more
leisure at their command.

* * * * *

Physically, no man is made the most of. Look at an acrobat or a boxer:
_there_ is what your limbs might have been made for strength and
agility: _that_ is the potential which is in human nature in these
respects. I never witnessed a prize-fight, and assuredly I never will
witness one: but I am told, that, when the champions appear in the ring,
stripped for the combat, (however bestial and blackguard-looking their
countenances may be,) the clearness and beauty of their skin testify
that by skilful physical discipline a great deal more may be made of
that human hide than is usually made of it. Then, if you wish to see
what may be made of the human muscles as regards rapid dexterity, look
at the Wizard of the North or at an Indian juggler. I am very far,
indeed, from saying or thinking that this peculiar preeminence is worth
the pains it must cost to acquire it. Not that I have a word to say
against the man who maintains his children by bringing some one faculty
of the body to absolute perfection: I am ready even to admit that it is
a very right and fit thing that one man in five or six millions should
devote his life to showing the very utmost that can be made of the human
fingers, or the human muscular system as a whole. It is fit that a rare
man here and there should cultivate some accomplishment to a perfection
that looks magical, just as it is fit that a man here and there should
live in a house that cost a million of pounds to build, and round which
a wide tract of country shows what may be made of trees and fields where
unlimited wealth and exquisite taste have done their best to improve
Nature to the fairest forms of which it is capable. But even if it were
possible, it would not be desirable that all human beings should live in
dwellings like Hamilton Palace or Arundel Castle; and it would serve no
good end at all, certainly no end worth the cost, to have all educated
men muscular as Tom Sayers, or swift of hand as Robert Houdin. Practical
efficiency is what is wanted for the business of this world, not
absolute perfection: life is too short to allow any but exceptional
individuals, few and far between, to acquire the power of playing at
rackets as well as rackets can possibly be played. We are obliged to
have a great number of irons in the fire: it is needful that we should
do decently well a great number of things; and we must not devote
ourselves to one thing, to the exclusion of all the rest. And
accordingly, though we may desire to be reasonably muscular and
reasonably active, it will not disturb us to think that in both these
respects we are people of whom more might have been made. It may here
be said that probably there is hardly an influence which tends so
powerfully to produce extreme self-complacency as the conviction, that,
as regards some one physical accomplishment, one is a person of whom
more could not have been made. It is a proud thing to think that you
stand decidedly ahead of all mankind: that Eclipse is first, and the
rest nowhere; even in the matter of keeping up six balls at once, or of
noting and remembering twenty different objects in a shop-window as you
walk past it at five miles an hour. I do not think I ever beheld a human
being whose aspect was of such unutterable pride as a man I lately saw
playing the drum as one of a certain splendid military band. He was
playing in a piece in which the drum music was very conspicuous; and
even an unskilled observer could remark that his playing was absolute
perfection. He had the thorough mastery of his instrument. He did the
most difficult things not only with admirable precision, but without
the least appearance of effort. He was a great, tall fellow: and it was
really a fine sight to see him standing very upright, and immovable save
as to his arms, looking fixedly into distance, and his bosom swelling
with the lofty belief, that, out of four or five thousand persons who
were present, there was not one who, to save his life, could have done
what he was doing so easily.

So much of physical dexterity. As for physical grace, it will be
admitted that in that respect more might be made of most human beings.
It is not merely that they are ugly and awkward naturally, but that they
are ugly and awkward artificially. Sir Bulwer Lytton, in his earlier
writings, was accustomed to maintain, that, just as it is a man's duty
to cultivate his mental powers, so is it his duty to cultivate his
bodily appearance. And doubtless all the gifts of Nature are talents
committed to us to be improved; they are things intrusted to us to make
the best of. It may be difficult to fix the point at which the care
of personal appearance in man or woman becomes excessive. It does
so unquestionably when it engrosses the mind to the neglect of more
important things. But I suppose that all reasonable people now believe
that scrupulous attention to personal cleanliness, freshness, and
neatness is a Christian duty. The days are past, almost everywhere, in
which piety was held to be associated with dirt. Nobody would mention
now, as a proof how saintly a human being was, that, for the love of
God, he had never washed his face or brushed his hair for thirty
years. And even scrupulous neatness need bring with it no suspicion of
puppyism. The most trim and tidy of old men was good John Wesley; and
he conveyed to the minds of all who saw him the notion of a man whose
treasure was laid up beyond this world, quite as much as if he had
dressed in such a fashion as to make himself an object of ridicule,
or as if he had forsworn the use of soap. Some people fancy that
slovenliness of attire indicates a mind above petty details. I have seen
an eminent preacher ascend the pulpit with his bands hanging over his
right shoulder, his gown apparently put on by being dropped upon him
from the vestry ceiling, and his hair apparently unbrushed for several
weeks. There was no suspicion of affectation about that good man; yet I
regarded his untidiness as a defect, and not as an excellence. He gave
a most eloquent sermon; yet I thought it would have been well, had the
lofty mind that treated so admirably some of the grandest realities of
life and of immortality been able to address itself a little to the care
of lesser things. I confess, that, when I heard the Bishop of Oxford
preach, I thought the effect of his sermon was increased by the decorous
and careful fashion in which he was arrayed in his robes. And it is
to be admitted that the grace of the human aspect may be in no small
measure enhanced by bestowing a little pains upon it. You, youthful
matron, when you take your little children to have their photographs
taken, and when their nurse, in contemplation of that event, attired
them in their most tasteful dresses and arranged their hair in its
prettiest curls, you know that the little things looked a great deal
better than they do on common days. It is pure nonsense to say that
beauty when unadorned is adorned the most. For that is as much as to say
that a pretty young woman, in the matter of physical appearance, is a
person of whom no more can be made. Now taste and skill can make more of
almost anything. And you will set down Thomson's lines as flatly opposed
to fact, when your lively young cousin walks into your room to let you
see her before she goes out to an evening party, and when you compare
that radiant vision, in her robes of misty texture, and with hair
arranged in folds the most complicated, wreathed, and satin-shoed,
with the homely figure that took a walk with you that afternoon,
russet-gowned, tartan-plaided, and shod with serviceable boots for
tramping through country mud. One does not think of loveliness in the
case of men, because they have not got any; but their aspect, such as it
is, is mainly made by their tailors. And it is a lamentable thought,
how very ill the clothes of most men are made. I think that the art of
draping the male human body has been brought to much less excellence
by the mass of those who practise it than any other of the useful and
ornamental arts. Tailors, even in great cities, are generally extremely
bad. Or it may be that the providing the human frame with decent and
well-fitting garments is so very difficult a thing that (save by a great
genius here and there) it can be no more than approximated to. As for
tailors in little country villages, their power of distorting and
disfiguring is wonderful. When I used to be a country clergyman, I
remember how, when I went to the funeral of some simple rustic, I was
filled with surprise to see the tall, strapping, fine young country
lads, arrayed in their black suits. What awkward figures they looked
in those unwonted garments! How different from their easy, natural
appearance in their every-day fustian! Here you would see a young fellow
with a coat whose huge collar covered half his head when you looked at
him from behind; a very common thing was to have sleeves which entirely
concealed the hands; and the wrinkled and baggy aspect of the whole
suits could be imagined only by such as have seen them. It may be
remarked here, that those strong country lads were in another respect
people of whom more might have been physically made. Oh for a
drill-sergeant to teach them to stand upright, and to turn out their
toes, and to get rid of that slouching, hulking gait which gives such
a look of clumsiness and stupidity! If you could but have the
well-developed muscles and the fresh complexion of the country with the
smartness and alertness of the town! You have there the rough material
of which a vast deal may be made; you have the water-worn pebble which
will take on a beautiful polish. Take from the moorland cottage the
shepherd lad of sixteen; send him to a Scotch college for four years;
let him be tutor in a good family for a year or two; and if he be an
observant fellow, you will find in him the quiet, self-possessed air
and the easy address of the gentleman who has seen the world. And it is
curious to see one brother of a family thus educated and polished into
refinement, while the other three or four, remaining in their father's
simple lot, retain its rough manners and its unsophisticated feelings.
Well, look at the man who has been made a gentleman,--probably by the
hard labor and sore self-denial of the others,--and see in him what each
of the others might have been! Look with respect on the diamond which
needed only to be polished! Reverence the undeveloped potential which
circumstances have held down! Look with interest on these people of whom
more might have been made!

Such a sight as this sometimes sets us thinking how many germs of
excellence are in this world turned to no account. You see the polished
diamond and the rough one side by side. It is too late now; but the dull
colorless pebble might have been the bright glancing gem. And you may
polish the material diamond at any time; but if you miss your season in
the case of the human one, the loss can never be repaired. The bumpkin
who is a bumpkin at thirty must remain a bumpkin to threescore and ten.
But another thing that makes us think how many fair possibilities are
lost is to remark the fortuitous way in which great things have often
been done,--and done by people who never dreamt that they had in them
the power to do anything particular. These cases, one cannot but think,
are samples of millions more. There have been very popular writers who
were brought out by mere accident. They did not know what precious vein
of thought they had at command, till they stumbled upon it as if by
chance, like the Indian at the mines of Potosi. It is not much that we
know of Shakspeare, but it seems certain that it was in patching up
old plays for acting that he discovered within himself a capacity for
producing that which men will not easily let die. When a young military
man, disheartened with the service, sought for an appointment as an
Irish Commissioner of Excise, and was sadly disappointed because he did
not get it, it is probable that he had as little idea as any one else
had that he possessed that aptitude for the conduct of war which was
to make him the Duke of Wellington. And when a young mathematician,
entirely devoid of ambition, desired to settle quietly down and devote
all his life to that unexciting study, he was not aware that he was a
person of whom more was to be made,--who was to grow into the great
Emperor Napoleon. I had other instances in my mind, but after these last
it is needless to mention them. But such cases suggest to us that there
may have been many Folletts who never held a brief, many Keans who never
acted but in barns, many Vandyks who never earned more than sixpence a
day, many Goldsmiths who never were better than penny-a-liners, many
Michaels who never built their St. Peters,--and perhaps a Shakspeare who
held horses at the theatre-door for pence, as the Shakspeare we know of
did, and who stopped there.

Let it here be suggested, that it is highly illogical to conclude that
you are yourself a person of whom a great deal more might have been
made, merely because you are a person of whom it is the fact that very
little has actually been made. This suggestion may appear a truism; but
it is one of those simple truths of which we all need to be occasionally
reminded. After all, the great test of what a man can do must be what a
man does. But there are folk who live on the reputation of being pebbles
capable of receiving a very high polish, though from circumstances
they did not choose to be polished. There are people who stand high in
general estimation on the ground of what they might have done, if they
had liked. You will find students who took no honors at the university,
but who endeavor to impress their friends with the notion, that, if
they had chosen, they could have attained to unexampled eminence. And
sometimes, no doubt, there are great powers that run to waste. There
have been men whose doings, splendid as they were, were no more than a
hint of how much more they could have done. In such a case as that of
Coleridge, you see how the lack of steady industry and of all sense of
responsibility abated the tangible result of the noble intellect God
gave him. But as a general rule, and in the case of ordinary people, you
need not give a man credit for the possession of any powers beyond those
which he has actually exhibited. If a boy is at the bottom of his class,
it is probably because he could not attain its top. My friend Mr.
Snarling thinks he can write much better articles than those which
appear in the "Atlantic Monthly"; but as he has not done so, I am not
inclined to give him credit for the achievement. But you can see that
this principle of estimating people's abilities, not by what they have
done, but by what they think they could do, will be much approved by
persons who are stupid and at the same time conceited. It is a pleasing
arrangement, that every man should fix his own mental mark, and hold by
his estimate of himself. And then, never measuring his strength with
others, he can suppose that he could have beat them, if he had tried.

* * * * *

Yes, we are all mainly fashioned by circumstances; and had the
circumstances been more propitious, they might have made a great deal
more of us. You sometimes think, middle-aged man, who never have passed
the limits of Britain, what an effect might have been produced upon your
views and character by foreign travel. You think what an indefinite
expansion of mind it might have caused,--how many narrow prejudices it
might have rubbed away,--how much wiser and better a man it might have
made you. Or more society and wider reading in your early youth might
have improved you,--might have taken away the shyness and the intrusive
individuality which you sometimes feel painfully,--might have called out
one cannot say what of greater confidence and larger sympathy. How very
little, you think to yourself, you have seen and known! While others
skim great libraries, you read the same few books over and over; while
others come to know many lands and cities, and the faces and ways of
many men, you look, year after year, on the same few square miles of
this world, and you have to form your notion of human nature from the
study of but few human beings, and these very commonplace. Perhaps it is
as well. It is not so certain that more would have been made of you, if
you had enjoyed what might seem greater advantages. Perhaps you learned
more, by studying the little field before you earnestly and long, than
you would have learned, if you had bestowed a cursory glance upon fields
more extensive by far. Perhaps there was compensation for the fewness of
the cases you had to observe in the keenness with which you were able
to observe them. Perhaps the Great Disposer saw that in your case the
pebble got nearly all the polishing it would stand,--the man nearly all
the chances he could improve.

If there be soundness and justice in this suggestion, it may afford
consolation to a considerable class of men and women: I mean those
people who, feeling within themselves many defects of character, and
discerning in their outward lot much which they would wish other than
it is, are ready to think that some one thing would have put them
right,--that some one thing would put them right even yet,--but
something which they have hopelessly missed, something which can never
be. There was just one testing event which stood between them and their
being made a vast deal more of. They would have been far better and far
happier, they think, had some single malign influence been kept away
which has darkened all their life, or had some single blessing been
given which would have made it happy. If you had got such a parish,
which you did not get,--if you had married such a woman,--if your little
child had not died,--if you had always the society and sympathy of such
an energetic and hopeful friend,--if the scenery round your dwelling
were of a different character,--if the neighboring town were four miles
off, instead of fifteen,--if any one of these circumstances had been
altered, what a different man you might have been! Probably many people,
even of middle age, conscious that the manifold cares and worries of
life forbid that it should be evenly joyous, do yet cherish at the
bottom of their heart some vague, yet rooted fancy, that, if but one
thing were given on which they have set their hearts, or one care
removed forever, they would be perfectly happy, even here. Perhaps you
overrate the effect which would have been produced on your character by
such a single cause. It might not have made you much better; it might
not even have made you very different. And assuredly you are wrong in
fancying that any such single thing could have made you happy,--that is,
entirely happy. Nothing in this world could ever make you _that_. It is
not God's purpose that we should be entirely happy here, "This is not
our rest." The day will never come which will _not_ bring its worry. And
the possibility of terrible misfortune and sorrow hangs over all. There
is but One Place where we shall be right; and _that_ is far away.

* * * * *

Yes, more might have been made of all of us; probably, in the case of
most, not much more _will_ be made in this world. We are now, if we
have reached middle life, very much what we shall be to the end of the
chapter. We shall not, in this world, be much better; let us humbly
trust that we shall not be worse. Yet, if there be an undefinable
sadness in looking at the marred material of which so much more might
have been made, there is a sublime hopefulness in the contemplation of
material, bodily and mental, of which a great deal more and better will
certainly yet be made. Not much more may be made of any of us in life;
but who shall estimate what may be made of us in immortality? Think of a
"spiritual body"! think of a perfectly pure and happy soul! I thought of
this, on a beautiful evening of this summer, walking with a much valued
friend through a certain grand ducal domain. In front of a noble
sepulchre, where is laid up much aristocratic dust, there are
sculptured, by some great artist, three colossal faces, which are meant
to represent Life, Death, and Immortality. It was easy to represent
Death: the face was one of solemn rest, with closed eyes; and the
sculptor's skill was mainly shown in distinguishing Life from
Immortality. And he had done it well. _There_ was Life: a care-worn,
anxious, weary face, that seemed to look at you earnestly, and with
a vague inquiry for something,--the something that is lacking in all
things here. And _there_ was Immortality: life-like, but, oh, how
different from mortal Life! _There_ was the beautiful face, calm,
satisfied, self-possessed, sublime, and with eyes looking far away. I
see it yet, the crimson sunset warming the gray stone,--and a great
hawthorn-tree, covered with blossoms, standing by. Yes, _there_ was
Immortality; and you felt, as you looked at it,--that it was MORE MADE
OF LIFE!

* * * * *

MY FRIEND'S LIBRARY.

That exquisite writer, Horae Subsecivae Brown, quotes, (without
comment,) as a motto to one of his volumes, an anecdote from Pierce
Egan, which I reproduce here:--

"A lady, resident in Devonshire, going into one of her parlors,
discovered a young ass, who had found its way into the room, and
carefully closed the door upon himself. He had evidently not been long
in this situation before he had nibbled a part of Cicero's Orations,
and eaten nearly all the index of a folio edition of Seneca in Latin, a
large part of a volume of La Bruyere's 'Maxims' in French, and several
pages of 'Cecilia.' He had done no other mischief whatever."

Spare your wit, Sir, or Madam! Why should _you_ laugh, and apply the
sting in Mr. Egan's story to the case of "Yours Truly"?

* * * * *

I scarcely know a greater pleasure than to be allowed for a whole day to
spend the hours unmolested in my friend's library. So much _privilege_
abounds there, I call it _Urbanity Hall_. It is a plain, modestly
appointed apartment, overlooking a broad sheet of water; and I can see,
from where I like to sit and read, the sail-boats go tilting by, and
glancing across the bay. Sometimes, when a rainy day sets in, I run down
to my friend's house, and ask leave to browse about the library,--not
so much for the sake of reading, as for the intense enjoyment I have in
turning over the books that have a personal history as it were. Many of
them once belonged to authors whose libraries have been dispersed. My
friend has enriched her editions with autographic notes of those fine
spirits who wrote the books which illumine her shelves, so that one is
constantly coming upon some fresh treasure in the way of a literary
curiosity. I am apt to discover something new every time I take down a
folio or a miniature volume. As I ramble on from shelf to shelf,

"Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,"

and the hours often slip by into the afternoon, and glide noiselessly
into twilight, before dinner-time is remembered. Drifting about only a
few days ago, I came by accident upon a magic quarto, shabby enough
in its exterior, with one of the covers hanging by the eyelids, and
otherwise sadly battered, to the great disfigurement of its external
aspect. I did not remember even to have seen it in the library before,
(it turned out to be a new comer,) and was about to pass it by with an
unkind thought as to its pauper condition, when it occurred to me, as
the lettering was obliterated from the back, I might as well open to the
title-page and learn the name at least of the tattered stranger. And I
was amply rewarded for the attention. It turned out to be "The Novels
and Tales of the Renowned John Boccacio, The first Refiner of Italian
Prose: containing A Hundred Curious Novels, by Seven Honorable Ladies
and Three Noble Gentlemen, Framed in Ten Days." It was printed in London
in 1684, "for Awnsham Churchill, at the Black Swan at Amen Corner." But
what makes this old yellow-leaved book a treasure-volume for all time is
the inscription on the first fly-leaf, in the handwriting of a man of
genius, who, many years ago, wrote thus on the blank page:

"To MARIANNE HUNT.

"Her Boccacio (_alter et idem_) come back to her after many years'
absence, for her good-nature in giving it away in a foreign country to a
traveller whose want of books was still worse than her own.

"From her affectionate husband,

"LEIGH HUNT.

"August 23,1839--Chelsea, England."

This record tells a most interesting story, and reveals to us an episode
in the life of the poet, well worth the knowing. I hope no accident
will ever cancel this old leather-bound veteran from the world's
bibliographic treasures. Spare it, Fire, Water, and Worms! for it does
the heart good to handle such a quarto.

* * * * *

One does not need to look far among the shelves in my friend's library
to find companion-gems of this antiquated tome. Among so many of

"The assembled souls of all that men held
wise,"

there is no solitude of the mind. I reach out my hand at random, and,
lo! the first edition of Milton's "Paradise Lost"! It is a little brown
volume, "Printed by S. Simmons, and to be sold by S. Thomson at the
Bishop's-Head in Duck Lane, by H. Mortlack at the White Hart in
Westminster Hall, M. Walker under St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street,
and R. Boulten at the Turk's Head in Bishopsgate Street, 1668." Foolish
old Simmons deemed it necessary to insert over his own name the
following notice, which heads the Argument to the Poem:--

"THE PRINTER TO THE READER.

"Courteous Reader, There was no Argument at first intended to the Book,
but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have procured
it, and withall a reason of that which stumbled many others, why the
Poem Rimes not."

The "Argument," which Milton omitted in subsequent editions, is very
curious throughout; and the reason which the author gives, at the
request of Mr. Publisher Simmons, why the poem "Rimes not," is quaint
and well worth transcribing an extract here, as it does not always
appear in more modern editions. Mr. Simmons's Poet is made to say,--

"The Measure is _English_ Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of _Homers_
in _Greek_, and of _Virgil_ in _Latin_; Rime being no necessary Adjunct
or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but
the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame
Meeter; grac't indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets,
carried away by Custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and
constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse
then else they would have exprest them."

We give the orthography precisely as Milton gave it in this his first
edition.

There is a Table of Errata prefixed to this old copy, in which the
reader is told,

"for hun_dreds_ read hun_derds_.
for _we_ read _wee_."

Master Simmons's proof-reader was no adept in his art, if one may judge
from the countless errors which he allowed to creep into this immortal
poem when it first appeared in print. One can imagine the identical copy
now before us being handed over the counter in Duck Lane to some eager
scholar on the look-out for something new, and handed back again to Mr.
Thomson as too dull a looking poem for his perusal. Mr. Edmund Waller
entertained that idea of it, at any rate.

* * * * *

One of the sturdiest little books in my friend's library is a thick-set,
stumpy old copy of Richard Baxter's "Holy Commonwealth," written in
1659, and, as the title-page informs us, "at the invitation of James
Harrington Esquire,"--as one would take a glass of Canary,--by
_invitation!_ There is a preface addressed "To all those in the Army or
elsewhere, that have caused our many and great Eclipses since 1646." The
worms have made dagger-holes through and through the "inspired leaves"
of this fat little volume, till much strong thinking is now very
perforated printing. On the flyleaf is written, in a rough, straggling
hand,

"WILLIAM WORDSWORTH,

"Rydal Mount."

The poet seems to have read the old book pretty closely, for there are
evident marks of his liking throughout its pages.

* * * * *

Connected with the Bard of the Lakes is another work in my friend's
library, which I always handle with a tender interest. It is a copy of
Wordsworth's Poetical Works, printed in 1815, with all the alterations
afterwards made in the pieces copied in by the poet from the edition
published in 1827. Some of the changes are marked improvements, and
nearly all make the meaning clearer. Now and then a prosaic phrase gives
place to a more poetical expression. The well-known lines,

"Of Him who walked in glory and in joy,
Following his plough along the mountain-side,"

read at first,

"_Behind_ his plough _upon_ the mountain-side."

* * * * *

In a well-preserved quarto copy of "Rasselas," with illustrations by
Smirke, which my friend picked up in London a few years ago, I found
the other day an unpublished autograph letter from Dr. Johnson, so
characteristic of the great man that it is worth transcribing. It is
addressed

"_To the Reverend Mr. Compton.

"To be sent to Mrs. Williams_."

And it is thus worded:--

"Sir,

"Your business, I suppose, is in a way of as easy progress as such
business ever has. It is seldom that event keeps pace with expectation.

"The scheme of your book I cannot say that I fully comprehend. I would
not have you ask less than an hundred guineas, for it seems a large
octavo.

"Go to Mr. Davis, in Russell Street, show him this letter, and show him
the book if he desires to see it. He will tell you what hopes you may
form, and to what Bookseller you should apply.

"If you succeed in selling your book, you may do better than by
dedicating it to me. You may perhaps obtain permission to dedicate it to
the Bishop of London, or to Dr. Vyse, and make way by your book to more
advantage than I can procure you.

"Please to tell Mrs. Williams that I grow better, and that I wish to
know how she goes on. You, Sir, may write for her to,

"Sir,

"Your most humble Servant,

"SAM: JOHNSON.

"Octo. 24, 1782."

Dear kind-hearted old bear! On turning to Boswell's Life of his Ursine
Majesty, we learn who Mr. Compton was. When the Doctor visited France
in 1775, the Benedictine Monks in Paris entertained him in the most
friendly way. One of them, the Rev. James Compton, who had left England
at the early age of six to reside on the Continent, questioned him
pretty closely about the Protestant faith, and proposed, if at some
future time he should go to England to consider the subject more deeply,
to call at Bolt Court. In the summer of 1782 he paid the Doctor a
visit, and informed him of his desire to be admitted into the Church of
England. Johnson managed the matter satisfactorily for him, and he was
received into communion in St. James's Parish Church. Till the end of
January, 1783, he lived entirely at the Doctor's expense, his own means
being very scanty. Through Johnson's kindness he was nominated Chaplain
at the French Chapel of St. James's, and in 1802 we hear of him as being
quite in favor with the excellent Bishop Porteus and several other
distinguished Londoners. Thus, by the friendly hand of the hard-working,
earnest old lexicographer, Mr. Compton was led from deep poverty up to
a secure competency, and a place among the influential dignitaries of
London society. Poor enough himself, Johnson never shrank back, when
there was an honest person in distress to be helped on in the battle of
life. God's blessing on his memory for all his sympathy with struggling
humanity!

* * * * *

My friend has an ardent affection for Walter Scott and Charles Lamb. I
find the first edition of "Marmion," printed in 1808, "by J. Ballantyne
& Co. for Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh," most carefully
bound in savory Russia, standing in a pleasant corner of the room. Being
in quarto, the type is regal. Of course the copy is enriched with a
letter in the handwriting of Sir Walter. It is addressed to a personal
friend, and is dated April 17, 1825. The closing passage in it is of
especial interest.

"I have seen Sheridan's last letter imploring Rogers to come to his
assistance. It stated that he was dying, and concluded abruptly
with these words 'they are throwing the things out of window.' The
memorialist certainly took pennyworths out of his friend's character.--I
sate three hours for my picture to Sir Thomas Lawrence during which the
whole conversation was filled up by Rogers with stories of Sheridan, for
the least of which if true he deserved the gallows."

Ever Yours, "WALTER SCOTT."

In the April of 1802 Scott was living in a pretty cottage at Lasswade;
and while there he sent off the following letter, which I find attached
with a wafer to my friend's copy of the Abbotsford edition of his works,
and written in a much plainer hand than he afterwards fell into. The
address is torn off.

"SIR,

"I esteem myself honored by the polite reception which you have given to
the Border Minstrelsy and am particularly flattered that so very good a
judge of poetical Antiquities finds any reason to be pleased with the
work.--There is no portrait of the _Flower of Yarrow_ in existence,
nor do I think it very probable that any was ever taken. Much family
anecdote concerning her has been preserved among her descendants of whom
I have the honor to be one. The epithet of '_Flower of Yarrow_' was in
later times bestowed upon one of her immediate posterity, Miss Mary
Lillias Scott, daughter of John Scott Esq. of Harden, and celebrated for
her beauty in the pastoral song of Tweedside,--I mean that set of modern
words which begins 'What beauty does Flora disclose.' This lady I myself
remember very well, and I mention her to you least you should receive
any inaccurate information owing to her being called like her
predecessor the 'Flower of Yarrow.' There was a portrait of this latter
lady in the collection at Hamilton which the present Duke transferred
through my hands to Lady Diana Scott relict of the late Walter Scott
Esq. of Harden, which picture was vulgarly but inaccurately supposed to
have been a resemblance of the original Mary Scott, daughter of Philip
Scott of Dryhope, and married to _Auld Wat_ of Harden in the middle of
the 16th century.

"I shall be particularly happy if upon any future occasion I can in
the slightest degree contribute to advance your valuable and patriotic
labours, and I remain, Sir,

"Your very faithful

"and obt. Servant

"WALTER SCOTT."

This letter is worthy to be printed, and the readers of the "Atlantic
Monthly" now see it for the first time, I believe, set in type.

* * * * *

Old Bernard Lintott, at the Cross-Keys in Fleet Street, brought out
in 1714 "The Rape of the Lock, an Heroi-Comical Poem, in Five Cantos,
written by Mr. Pope." He printed certain words in the title-page in red,
and other certain words in black ink. His own name and Mr. Pope's he
chose to exhibit in sanguinary tint. A copy of this edition, very much
thumbed and wanting half a dozen leaves, fell into the hands of Charles
Lamb more than a hundred years after it was published. Charles bore it
home, and set to work to supply, in his small neat hand, from another
edition, what was missing from the text in his stall-bought copy. As he
paid only sixpence for his prize, he could well afford the time it took
him to write in on blank leaves, which he inserted, the lines from

"Thus far both armies to Belinda yield,"

onward to the couplet,

"And thrice they twitch'd the Diamond in her Ear,
Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the Foe drew near."

Besides this autographic addition, enhancing forever the value of this
old copy of Pope's immortal poem, I find the following little note, in
Lamb's clerkly chirography, addressed to

"Mr. Wainright, on _Thursday_.

"Dear Sir,

"The _Wits_ (as Clare calls us) assemble at my cell (20 Russell Street,
Cov. Gar.) this evening at 1/4 before 7. Cold meat at 9. Puns at----a
little after. Mr. Cary wants to see you, to scold you. I hope you will
not fail.

"Yours &c. &c. &c.

"C. LAMB."

There are two books in my friend's library which once belonged to the
author of the "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." One of them is "A Voyage
to and from the Island of Borneo, in the East Indies: printed for T.
Warner at the Black Boy, and F. Batley at the Dove, in 1718." It has the
name of T. Gray, written by himself, in the middle of the title-page, as
was his custom always. Before Gray owned this book, it belonged to Mr.
Antrobus, his uncle, who wrote many original notes in it. The volume has
also this manuscript memorandum on one of the fly-leaves, signed by a
well-known naturalist, now living in England:--

"August 28, 1851.

"This book has Gray's autograph on the title page, written in his usual
neat hand. It has twice been my fate to witness the sale of Gray's most
interesting collection of manuscripts and books, and at the last sale
I purchased this volume. I present it to ---- as a little token of
affectionate regard by her old friend, now in his 85th year."

Who will not be willing to admit the great good-luck of my friend in
having such a donor for an acquaintance?

But one of the chief treasures in the library of which I write is Gray's
copy of Milton's "Poems upon several occasions. Both English and Latin.
Printed at the _Blew Anchor_ next Mitre Court over against Fetter
Lane in Fleet Street." When a boy at school, Gray owned and read this
charming old volume, and he has printed his name, school-boy fashion,
all over the title-page. Wherever there is a vacant space big enough to
hold _Thomas Gray_, there it stands in faded ink, still fading as time
rolls on. The Latin poems seem to have been most carefully conned by the
youthful Etonian, and we know how much he esteemed them in after-life.

* * * * *

Scholarly Robert Southey once owned a book that now towers aloft in my
friend's library. It is a princely copy of Ben Jonson, the Illustrious.
Southey lent it, when he possessed the _magnifico_, to Coleridge, who
has begemmed it all over with his fine pencillings. As Ben once handled
the trowel, and did other honorable work as a bricklayer, Coleridge
discourses with much golden gossip about the craft to which the great
dramatist once belonged. The editor of this magazine would hardly
thank me, if I filled ten of his pages with extracts from the rambling
dissertations in S.T.C.'s handwriting which I find in this rare folio,
but I could easily pick out that amount of readable matter from the
margins. One manuscript anecdote, however, I must transcribe from the
last leaf. I think Coleridge got the story from "The Seer."

"An Irish laborer laid a wager with another hod bearer that the latter
could not carry him up the ladder to the top of a house in his hod,
without letting him fall. The bet is accepted, and up they go. There is
peril at every step. At the top of the ladder there is life and the loss
of the wager,--death and success below! The highest point is reached in
safety; the wagerer looks humbled and disappointed. 'Well,' said he,
'you have won; there is no doubt of that; worse luck to you another
time; but at the third story I HAD HOPES.'"

* * * * *

In a quaint old edition of "The Spectator," which seems to have been
through many sieges, and must have come to grief very early in its
existence, if one may judge anything from the various names which are
scrawled upon it in different years, reaching back almost to the date
of its publication, I find this note in the handwriting of Addison,
sticking fast on the reverse side of his portrait. It is addressed to
Ambrose Philips, and there is no doubt that he went where he was
bidden, and found the illustrious Joseph all ready to receive him at a
well-furnished table.

"Tuesday Night.

"Sir,

"If you are at leisure for an hour, your company will be a great
obligation to

"Yr. most humble sev't.

"J. Addison.

"Fountain Tavern."

That night at the "Fountain," perchance, they discussed that war of
words which might then have been raging between the author of the
"Pastorals" and Pope, moistening their clay with a frequency to which
they were both somewhat notoriously inclined.

My friend rides hard her hobby for choice editions, and she hunts with
a will whenever a good old copy of a well-beloved author is up for
pursuit. She is not a fop in binding, but she must have _appropriate_
dresses for her favorites. She knows what

"Adds a precious seeing to the eye"

as well as Hayday himself, and never lets her folios shiver when they
ought to be warm. Moreover, she _reads_ her books, and, like the scholar
in Chaucer, would rather have

"At her beddes head
A twenty bokes, clothed in black and red,
Of Aristotle and his philosophy,
Than robes rich, or fiddle, or psaltrie."

I found her not long ago deep in a volume of "Mr. Welsted's Poems";
and as that author is not particularly lively or inviting to a modern
reader, I begged to know why he was thus honored. "I was trying," said
she, "to learn, if possible, why Dicky Steele should have made his
daughter a birth-day gift of these poems. This copy I found on a stall
in Fleet Street many years ago, and it has in Sir Richard's handwriting
this inscription on one of the fly-leaves:--

"ELIZABETH STEELE
Her Book
Giv'n by Her Father
RICHARD STEELE.
March 20th, 1723.

"Running my eye over the pieces, I find a poem in praise of 'Apple-Pye,'
and one of the passages in it is marked, as if to call the attention
of young Eliza to something worthy her notice. These are the lines the
young lady is charged to remember:--

"'Dear Nelly, learn with Care the Pastry-Art,
And mind the easy Precepts I impart:
Draw out your Dough elaborately thin.
And cease not to fatigue your Rolling-Pin:
Of Eggs and Butter see you mix enough;
For then the Paste will swell into a Puff,
Which will in crumpling Sounds your Praise report,
And eat, as Housewives speak, exceeding short.'"

Who was Abou Ben Adhem? Was his existence merely in the poet's brain,
or did he walk this planet somewhere,--and when? In a copy of the
"Bibliotheque Orientale," which once belonged to the author of that
exquisite little gem of poesy beginning with a wish that Abou's tribe
might increase, I find (the leaf is lovingly turned down and otherwise
noted) the following account of the forever famous dreamer.

"Adhem was the name of a Doctor celebrated for Mussulman traditions. He
was the contemporary of Aamarsch, another relater of traditions of the
first class. Adhem had a son noted for his doctrine and his piety. The
Mussulmans place him among the number of their Saints who have done
miracles. He was named Abou-Ishak-Ben-Adhem. It is said he was
distinguished for his piety from his earliest youth, and that he joined
the Sofis, or the Religious sect in Mecca, under the direction of
Fodhail. He went from there to Damas, where he died in the year 166 of
the Hegira. He undertook, it is said, to make a pilgrimage from Mecca,
and to pass through the desert alone and without provisions, making a
thousand genuflexions for every mile of the way. It is added that he was
twelve years in making this journey, during which he was often tempted
and alarmed by Demons. The Khalife Haroun Raschid, making the same
pilgrimage, met him upon the way and inquired after his welfare; the
Sofi answered him with an Arabian quatrain, of which this is the
meaning:--

"'We mend the rags of this worldly robe with the pieces of the robe of
Religion, which we tear apart for this end;

"'And we do our work so thoroughly that nothing remains of the latter,

"'And the garment we mend escapes out of our hands.

"'Happy is the servant who has chosen God for his master, and who
employs his present good only to acquire those which he awaits.'

"It is related also of Abou, that he saw in a dream an Angel who wrote,
and that having demanded what he was doing, the Angel answered, 'I
write the names of those who love God sincerely, those who perform
Malek-Ben-Dinar, Thaber-al-Benani, Aioud-al-Sakhtiani, etc.' Then said
he to the Angel, 'Am I not placed among these?' 'No,' replied the Angel.
'Ah, well,' said he, 'write me, then, I pray you, for love of these, as
the friend of all who love the Lord.' It is added, that the same Angel
revealed to him soon after that he had received an order from God to
place him at the head of all the rest. This is the same Abou who said
that he preferred Hell with the will of God to Paradise without it; or,
as another writer relates it: 'I love Hell, if I am doing the will of
God, better than the enjoyments of Paradise and disobedience.'"

* * * * *

With books printed by "B. Franklin, Philadelphia," my friend's library
is richly stored. One of them is "The Charter of Privileges, granted by
William Penn Esq: to the Inhabitants of Pennsylvania and Territories."
"PRINTED AND SOLD BY B. FRANKLIN" looks odd enough on the dingy
title-page of this old volume, and the contents are full of interest.
Rough days were those when "Jehu Curtis" was "Speaker of the House," and
put his name to such documents as this:--

"And Be it Further Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any
Person shall wilfully or premeditately be guilty of Blasphemy, and shall
thereof be legally convicted, the Person so offending shall, for every
such Offence, be set in the Pillory for the space of Two Hours, and be
branded on his or her Foreshead with the letter B, and be publickly
whipt, on his or her bare Back, with Thirty nine Lashes _well laid on_."

* * * * *

Book of the day: