Lippincott’s Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol 17 No 98 by Various

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Sandra Brown and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. Note: The Table of Contents and the list of illustrations were added by the transcriber. LIPPINCOTT’S MAGAZINE OF POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE February, 1876. Vol. XVII, No. 98. TABLE OF CONTENTS THE CENTURY–ITS FRUITS AND ITS FESTIVAL. II.–AMERICAN PROGRESS. UP THE THAMES. CONCLUDING
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Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Sandra Brown and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

Note: The Table of Contents and the list of illustrations were added by the transcriber.


February, 1876.

Vol. XVII, No. 98.
















_Books Received._










From showing the world’s right to the epoch of ’76, and sketching the progress of the century in its wider aspect, a natural transition is to the part played in illustrating the period by the people from whose political birth it dates, and who have made the task of honoring it their own. They have reached their first resting-place, and pardonably enjoy the opportunity of looking back at the road they have traversed. They pause to contemplate its gloomy beginning, the perilous precipices along which it wound, and the sudden quagmires that often interrupted it, all now softened by distance and by the consciousness of success. Opening with a forest-path, it has broadened and brightened into a highway of nations.

So numerous and various were the influences, formative and impellent, which combined to bring the colonies up to the precise ripening-point of their independence, as to make it difficult to assign each its proper force. In the concentric mass, however, they stand out sharp and clear, and the conjoint effect seems preordained. That the event should have come when it did, and not before or after, is as obvious as any of history’s predictions after the fact. Looking through the glasses of to-day, we find it hard to realize that the Continental Congress renewed its expressions of loyalty to the king three weeks after the battle of Bunker Hill, so distinct before us rises the completed and symmetrical edifice of separation ready for its capstone, from its foundations growing steadily through the past.

Thirteen years–one for each State–were occupied in the topping-off. The Seven Years’ War, that created the new central power of modern Europe, had a great deal to do with creating the new American power. It taught the colonies their strength, gave them several thousand native soldiers, and sent them from over the water the material, some of it completely wrought, for more in the German immigration consequent upon it. Out of it grew the obnoxious enactments that brought on the end. So closely simultaneous were these with the king’s proclamation of October 7, 1763, prohibiting all his subjects “from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of any of the lands, beyond the sources of any of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or north-west,” as to support the suspicion that the British ministry had a premonitory sense of the coming struggle, and meant to prepare for it by checking the expansion of the colonies. The pressure applied to front and rear was part of one and the same movement; and is incompatible with the accepted view that neither cabinet nor Parliament anticipated, in the first instance, any American opposition to the Stamp Act and the system of legislation to which it was the opening wedge. The England of that day proposed to rule America after much the same fashion with Ireland, the Alleghanies presenting themselves very conveniently for an Indian Pale. This line of policy was in harmony with the ideas then predominant in England, and was fully understood by the colonists. They could not possibly have been blind to it, in view of the continuous and repeated claims of absolute legislative supremacy formally put forth, from the bill to that effect passed coincidently with the repeal of the Stamp Act down to the alterations made in the Massachusetts charter in 1774; the latter proceeding being in close harmony, both in time and motive, with the extension of the province of Quebec to the Ohio–one of the very rare evidences of sagacity and foresight discernible in the course of the ministry; for, while it did not avail to dam the westward flood, it certainly contributed, with other concessions made at the same time to the Canadians, to save the St. Lawrence to the Crown.

As apropos to this point, we transcribe from the original manuscript, written in the round, clear, unhesitating but steady hand characteristic of all Washington’s letters, the following to James Wood of Winchester, afterward governor of Virginia, but then little more than a stripling:

“MOUNT VERNON, Feb’y 20th, 1774.

“DEAR SIR: I have to thank you, for your obliging acc’t of your trip down the Mississippi, contained in a Letter of the 18th of Octob’r from Winchester–the other Letter, therein refer’d to, I have never yet receiv’d, nor did this come to hand till some time in November, as I was returning from Williamsburg.

“The contradictory acc’ts given of the Lands upon the Mississippi are really astonishing–some speak of the Country as a terrestrial Paradise, whilst others represent it as scarce fit for anything but Slaves and Brutes. I am well satisfied, however, from your description of it, that I have no cause to regret my disappointment:–The acc’t of Lord Hillsborough’s sentiments of the Proclamation of 1763, I can view in no other light than as one, among many other proofs, of his Lordship’s malignant disposition towards us poor Americans, formed equally in malice, absurdity, and error; as it would have puzzled this noble Peer, I am persuaded, to have assigned any plausible reason in support of this opinion.

“As I do not know but I may shortly see you in Frederick, and assuredly shall before the Assembly, I shall add no more than that, it will always give me pleasure to see you at this place whenever it is convenient to you, and that with compliments to your good Mother I remain, D’r Sir, Y’r most Obed’t H’ble Serv’t,



This private note, discussing casually and curtly the great river of the West, and the minister who endeavored to make it a _flumen clausum_ to the colonists, nearly equidistant in date between the Boston Tea-party and the meeting of the Assembly which called the first Continental Congress, has some public interest. The West always possessed a peculiar attraction for Washington. He explored it personally and through others, and lost no occasion of procuring detailed information in regard to its capabilities. He acquired large bodies of land along the Ohio at different points, from its affluents at the foot of the Alleghany to the Great Kanawha and below. Now we see him gazing farther, over the yet unreddened battle-grounds of Boone and Lewis, to the magnificent province France and Spain were carefully holding in joint trusteeship for the infant state he was to nurse. The representative in the provincial legislature of a frontier county stretching from the Potomac to the Ohio, we may fancy him inspired, as he looked around from his post on the vertebral range of the continent, with “something of prophetic strain.” If so, he was not long to have leisure for indulging it. Within eighteen months his life’s work was to summon him eastward to the sea-shore. The Dark and Bloody Ground must wait. For its tillage other guess implements than the plough were preparing–the same that beckoned him to Cambridge and the new century.

The slender driblet of population which at this juncture flowed toward the Lower Mississippi was due to the anxiety of Spain to get a home-supply of wheat, hemp and such-like indispensables of temperate extraction for her broad tropical empire. A newspaper of August 20, 1773 gives news from New York of the arrival at that port of “the sloop Mississippi, Capt. Goodrich, with the Connecticut Military Adventurers from the Mississippi, but last from Pensacola, the 16th inst.” They had “laid out twenty-three townships at the Natchez,” where lands were in process of rapid occupation, the arrivals numbering “above four hundred families within six weeks, down the Ohio from Virginia and the Carolinas.” The Connecticut men doubtless came back prepared, a little later, to vindicate their martial cognomen; and to aid them in that they were met by Transatlantic recruits in unusual force. The same journal mentions the arrival at Philadelphia of 1050 passengers in two ships from Londonderry; this valuable infusion of Scotch-Irish brawn, moral, mental and muscular, being farther supplemented by three hundred passengers and servants in the ship Walworth from the same port for South Carolina. The cash value to the country of immigrants was ascertainable by a much less circuitous computation then than now; many of them being indentured for a term of years at an annual rate that left a very fair sum for interest and sinking fund on the one thousand dollars it is the practice of our political economist of to-day to clap on each head that files into Castle Garden. The German came with the Celt in almost equal force–enough to more than balance their countrymen under Donop, Riedesel and Knyphausen. The attention drawn to the colonies by the ministerial aggressions thus contributed to strengthen them for the contest.

But with all these accessions in the nick of time, two millions and a quarter of whites was a meagre outfit for stocking a virgin farm of fifteen hundred miles square, to say nothing of its future police and external defence against the wolves of the deep. It barely equaled the original population, between the two oceans, of nomadic Indians, who were, by general consent, too few to be counted or treated as owners of the land. It fell far short of the numbers that had constituted, two centuries earlier, the European republic from which our federation borrowed its name. The task, too, of the occidental United States was double. Instead of being condensed into a small, wealthy and defensible territory, they had at once to win their independence from a maritime power stronger than Spain, and to redeem from utter crudeness and turn into food, clothing and the then recognized appliances of civilized life the wilderness thus secured. The result could not vary nor be doubted; but that the struggle, in war and in peace, must be slow and wearing, was quite as certain. It is dreary to look back upon its commencement now, and upon the earlier decades of its progress; and we cannot wonder that those who had it to look forward to half shrank from it. Among them there may have been a handful who could scan the unshaped wilderness as the sculptor does his block, and body forth in imagination the glory hidden within. That which these may have faintly imagined stands before us palpable if not yet perfected, the amorphous veil of the shapely figure hewn away, and the long toil of drill and chisel only in too much danger of being forgotten.

Population, the most convenient gauge of national strength and progress, is far from being a universally reliable one. We shall find sometimes as wide a difference between two given millions as between two given individuals. Either may grow without doing much else. They may direct their energies to different fields. Compared with the United States, France and Germany, for example, have advanced but little in population. They have, however, done wonders for themselves and the world by activities which we have, in comparison, neglected. The old city of London gains in wealth as it loses in inhabitants.


Yet success in the multiplication of souls within their own borders–depopulate as they may elsewhere–is eagerly coveted and regularly measured by all the nations. Since 1790, when we set them the example, they have one by one adopted the rule of numbering heads every five, six or ten years, recognizing latterly as well, more and more, the importance of numbering other things, until men, women and children have come to be embedded in a medley of steam-engines, pigs, newspapers, schools, churches and bolts of calico. For twenty centuries this taking of stock by governments had been an obsolete practice, until revived by the framers of the American Constitution and made a vital part of that instrument. The right of the most–and not of the richest, the best, the bravest, the cleverest, or the oldest in blood–to rule being formally recognized and set down on paper, it became necessary to ascertain at stated intervals who were the most. The lords of the soil, instead of being inducted into power on the death of their parents with great pother of ointment, Te Deum, heraldry, drum and trumpet, were chosen every ten years by a corps of humble knights of the pencil and schedule.

To these disposers of empire, the enhancement and complication of whose toil has been a labor of love with each decennial Congress, we owe the knowledge that eighty years, out of the hundred, brought the people of the Union up from a tally of 3,929,214 in 1790 to 38,558,371 in 1870, and that down to the beginning of the last decade the rate of increment adhered closely to 35 per cent. On that basis of growth the latest return falls nearly four millions short. One of the causes of this is “too obvious” (and too disagreeable) “to mention;” but it is inadequate. The sharp demarcation of the western frontier by the grasshopper and the hygrometer is another, which will continue to operate until, by irrigation, tree-planting or some other device, a new climate can be manufactured for the Plains. The teeming West, that of old needed only to be tickled with a hoe to laugh with a harvest, has disappeared. At least what is left of it has lost the power of suction that was wont to reach across the ocean, pull Ballys and Dorfs up by the roots and transplant them bodily to the Muskingum and the Des Moines. A third cause, operating more especially within the current decade, is attributable to another mode in which that attractive power has been exerted–the absorption from the European purse for the construction of railways of seven or eight times as much as the thirty-five millions in specie it took to fight through the Revolutionary war. For a while, Hans came with his thalers, but they outfooted him–“fast and faster” behind came “unmerciful disaster,” and he was fain to turn his back on the land of promise and promises. Similar set-backs, however, are interspersed through our previous history, and the influence of the last one may be over-rated.

In truth, the Old World’s fund of humanity is not sufficiently ample to keep up the pace; and the rate of natural increase is no longer what it was when the country was all new, and cornfield and nursery vied in fecundity. That the former source of augmentation is gaining in proportion upon the latter is apparent from the last three returns. The ratio of foreign-born inhabitants to the aggregate in 1850 was 9.68 per cent. in 1860, 13.16, and in 1870, 14.44. In the last-named year, moreover, 10,892,015, or 28 per cent. of the entire population, white and black, are credited with foreign parentage on one or both sides. Excluding the colored element, ranked as all native, this proportion rises to 32 per cent.

Judged by the test of language, three-fifths of those who are of foreign birth disappear from the roll of foreigners, 3,119,705 out of 5,567,229 having come from the British Isles and British America. Germany, including Bohemia, Holland and Switzerland, sums up 1,883,285; Scandinavia, 241,685; and France and Belgium, 128,955. The Celtic influx from Ireland, and the Teutonic and Norse together, form two currents of almost identical volume. Compared with either, the contribution of the Latin or the Romance races sinks into insignificance–an insignificance, however, that shows itself chiefly in numbers, the traces of their character and influence being, relatively to their numerical strength, marked. The immigrants from Northern and Southern Europe have a disposition, in choosing their new homes, to follow latitude, or rather the isotherms; the North-men skirting the Canadian frontier and grouping themselves on the coldest side of Lake Michigan, while the Italians, Spaniards and French drift toward the Gulf States. The Irish and Germans are more cosmopolitan, each in a like degree. They disperse with less regard to climate or surroundings, and are more rapidly and imperceptibly absorbed and blended, thus promoting rather than marring the homogeneity of the American people. The Germans are, however, more prone to colonizing than the Irish–a circumstance due in great measure to their differing in language from the mass of their new neighbors. This cause of isolation is gradually losing its weight, the recognition of the German tongue by State legislatures, municipalities, etc. being less common than formerly, notwithstanding the immense immigratior so calculated to extend it.

While assimilation has been growing more complete, and a fixed resultant becoming more discernible, the ingredients of this ethnic medley do not seem to have materially varied in their proportions since the beginning of the century. They present a tolerably close parallel to the like process in Northern France, where Celt and Teuton combined in nearly equal numbers, with, as in our case, a limited local infusion of the Norse. The result cannot, however, be identical, the French lacking our Anglo-Saxon substratum, with its valuable traditions and habitudes of political thought. The balance between impulse and conservatism has never been, in this country, long or seriously disturbed, and is probably as sound now as a hundred years ago. In the discussions of the twenty years which embrace our Revolutionary period we find abundance of theory, but they were never carried by abstractions out of sight of the practical. Our publicists were not misled by convictions of the “infinite perfectibility of the human mind,” the motive proclaimed by Condorcet, writing in sweet obliviousness of the guillotine, as explaining “how much more pure, accurate and profound are the principles upon which the constitution and laws of France have been formed than those which directed the Americans.” The lack of this equilibrium among the pure, and, as we may venture to term them, the untrained races, we have occasional opportunities of noting on our own soil when for a passing cause they resort to isolated action.


A race-question of a character that cannot be supplied by differentiation within Caucasian limits haunts us as it has done from the very birth of the colonies. Like the Wild Huntsman, we have had the sable spectre close beside us through the whole run. But, more fortunate than he, we see it begin to fade. At least its outlines are contracting. The ratio of colored inhabitants to the aggregate, in 1790 19.26 per cent., or one-fifth, fell in 1860 to 14.12, or one-seventh, and in 1870 to 12.65, or an eighth. The next census will beyond doubt point more strongly in the same direction. If, whilst dwindling in magnitude, the dusky shape perplex us by assuming suddenly a novel form, we may yet be assured that it is the same in substance and in manageability. Its hue is whitening with the fleece of five millions of cotton bales. The cloud has a silver lining–a golden one in fact–for ours is pecuniarily a serviceable phantom to the extent of adding to our annual income a sum equal to eight or ten times the entire yearly export of the colonies. Should he lead us, like the Land–und–Wild–Graf, into the pit of ruin, he will have first bottomed it with an ample and soft cushion of lint whereon to fall.

Extremes meet, and modern culture, like ancient anarchy, drives its people into cities. Such is the tendency on both sides of the ocean. Improvement must result from associated effort, and of that cities are the last expression. All the European towns are outgrowing the rural districts. With us the change states itself in an advance, since 1790, of the city population from 3.4 to 20.9 per cent. of the aggregate. Broadcloth has gained on homespun in the proportion of six to one, Giles having thus six mouths to fill where he formerly had but one. We shall show farther on how gallantly he meets this draft. New York, with its suburbs, contains more Germans than any German city save Vienna and Berlin, more Irish than Dublin, and more English-speaking inhabitants than Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Leeds together. All the colonial towns in a lump would scarce add a twentieth to her numbers, and her militia embraces nearly twice as many men as served, first and last, in the Continental army.

[Illustration: THE COTTON GIN.]

But the column that sums the souls does not state the complete life of the cities. Man has in our day a host of allies that work with him and at his command–slaves of iron, steel and brass wholly unknown to our great–grand-fathers–fed also by the farmer, through the miner as an intermediate. Steam-engines, to the number of 40,191, and of 1,215,711 horse-power–all of the stationary variety, and exclusive of nearly half as many that traverse the country and may be classed among the rural population–have succeeded the websters and spinners who were wont to clothe all the world and his wife, and who survive only in the surnames of some of our statesmen and financiers. Not that they confine their labors to textile fabrics. Their iron fingers are in every pie, including that of the printer, who is answered, when he calls the roll of his serfs of steam, by 691 whistles. And he is one of the smallest of the slaveholders–a mere ten-bale man. India-rubber, a product known a century ago only by some little black lumps used by draughtsmen to erase pencil-marks, owns enough of them to equal 4412 horses or 22,000 No. 1 field hands. Boots and shoes not of the India-rubber variety employ 3212 horse-power or 15,000 steam Crispins, over and above their Christian fellows who stick solitary to the last, and who, it must be owned, produce an article more of the Revolutionary type and more solid and durable. As a cord-wainer Steam is a failure; but he works cheaply, and will continue to hammer on, and disseminate his commodity of brown paper throughout the temperate zone. Three-fourths of the population of the globe still runs unshod, however, and it is obvious that this crying want cannot be met by the old system. Steam will perforce keep pegging away till Cathay, Xipangu, India and all the isles awaken to the absurdity of walking on cotton or undressed human skin. Could one of our 299 fire-fed cobblers have been set to work at Valley Forge, backed by one of the 1057 makers of woolen that are similarly nourished!

But we do Mr. Watt’s lusty bantling injustice in assigning him exclusively the tastes of a cit. He is not insensible to pastoral charms, and often selects a home among the hemlocks and under the broad-armed oaks, by bosky glen or open mead, wherever the brooklet brawls or dreams, for he sticks to the waterside like a beaver. Here he sits down, like an artist as he is, until he has got all the choice bits of the grove. The large and bustling family of the sawyers, both top and bottom, he has utterly banished from their ancient haunts. ‘There would be needed a million and a half of them to take the places of 11,199 steam-engines, of 314,774 horse-power, that are devastating our forests. An equal number is replaced by the 16,559 water-wheels, of 326,728 horse-power, engaged in the same field of havoc. Armed with the handsaw, all the Revolutionary patriots and Tories together, withdrawing their attention entirely from military affairs, as well as from all other mundane concerns, would not have turned out one-sixth of the quantity of lumber demanded by their descendants of a period that boasts itself the age of iron, and has as little as possible to do with wood. And if we place in the hands of the patriarchs the ancestral axes, and tell them to get out charcoal for three millions of tons of iron, to be hauled an average of a hundred miles to market by oxen over roads whose highest type was the corduroy, the imagination reels at the helplessness of the heroes.

[Illustration: GRAIN ELEVATOR.]

The paternal thoughtfulness of the home government employed itself in relieving the colonist from such exhausting drafts upon his energies. It sedulously prohibited his throwing himself away on the manufacture of iron or anything else. In 1750 it placed him under a penalty of L200 for erecting a rolling-mill, tilt-hammer or steel-furnace. Lest the governor of the colony should fail to enforce this statute and protect the pioneer from such a waste of time, it held that functionary to a personal forfeit of L500 for failing, within thirty days after presentment by two witnesses on oath, to abate as a nuisance every such mill, engine, etc. As this mulct would have made a serious inroad on the emoluments of the royal governors, even with the addition of the inaugural douceur customarily given by the provincial assemblies to each new incumbent–in Virginia regularly L500, doubled in the instance of Fauquier in 1758, when it was desired to drive the entering wedge of disestablishment and razee the parsons–we are prepared to believe that the iron business was not flourishing. Under a despotism tempered so very moderately by bribes, a similar blight fell upon all other branches of manufacture. Among these, wool, flax, paper, hats and leather are specified in a Parliamentary report as interfering with “the trade, navigation and manufactures” of the mother-country. An act of Parliament accordingly forbade the exportation of hats to foreign countries, and even from one colony to another.

That, after such a course of repression, the country found itself wholly unprepared on the attainment of independence to make any headway in this field, is no matter of surprise. Thirty years elapsed before the manufacturing statistics of the Union became presentable. In 1810 they were reckoned at $198,613,471. This embraces every fruit of handicraft, from a barrel of flour and a bushel of lime to a silk dress. We had 122,647 spindles and 325,392 looms, made 53,908 tons of pig iron, and refined about one pound of sugar for each head of the population. In 1870, after sixty years of tossing between the Scylla and Charybdis of tariffs, “black” and white, the yield of our factories had mounted to the respectable sum of $4,232,325,442. They employed 2,053,996 operatives. Of these, the average wages were $377, against $289 in 1860 and $247 in 1850, yearly. The advance in the product of refined sugar may be cited as illustrative of the progress of the people in comfort and luxury. It reached a value of one hundred and nine millions, representing nearly ten times as many pounds, or twenty-eight pounds a head. This exemplification is but one in an endless list.

Manufactures have come to figure respectably in our exports. They exceed in that list, by three or four to one, the entire exports of all kinds in 1790; and they equal the average aggregate of the years from 1815 to 1824. But the multiplication of the wants of a people rapidly growing in numbers and refinement will, with the comparatively high price of labor, scarcity of capital and distance of most of our ports from the markets supplied by European manufactures, for a long time to come make the home-supply the chief care of our artisans. They have, for such and other reasons, in some points lost ground of late. The revolution in the propulsion and construction of ships, for instance, has not found them prepared to take the advantage they have usually done of improvements. Not only do the British screw-steamers take undisputed possession of our trade with their own country, but they expel our once unrivaled craft from the harbors of other quarters of the globe, and threaten to monopolize the most profitable part of our carrying-trade with all countries. This result is more easily explained than the inroads made on our more ordinary foreign traffic, in sailing vessels, by the mercantile marine of second- and third-rate powers. This is eloquently told by the annual government returns and the daily shipping-list. While our coastwise tonnage increases, that employed in foreign trade remains stationary or declines. The bearing of this upon our naval future becomes an imperative question for our merchants and legislators. The United States is benevolently and gratuitously building up a marine for each of half a dozen European states which possess little or no commerce of their own, and multiplying the ships and sailors of our chief maritime rival. We have long since ceased to import locomotives, and have, within the past two years, almost ceased to import railroad iron. Our iron-workers obtain coal at nearly or quite as low prices as do those of Birkenhead or the Clyde. They have recently sent to sea some large screw-steamers that perform well. No insurmountable difficulty appears to prevent the launching of more until we have enough to serve at least our direct trade with Europe and China. That determined, it may be possible to ascertain whether we cannot assist Norway, Belgium and Sicily in carrying our cotton, wheat and tobacco to the purchasers of it.


This decline in American tonnage is, it must be added, only relative, whether the comparison be made with other countries or with our own past. The returns show a carrying capacity in our ships more than twentyfold that of 1789, and three times that of 1807; when, on the other hand, it exceeded in the ratio of fourteen to twelve that of 1829, twenty-two years later. This interest is peculiarly subject to fluctuations; some of which in the past have been less explicable than the one it is now undergoing. Another decade may turn the tables, and restore the flag of the old Liverpool liners to their fleeter but less shapely supplanters. The steamer and the clipper are both American inventions. Why not their combination ours as well? The centenary of Rumsey’s boat, not due till December 11, 1887, should not find its descendants lording the ocean under another flag.

The monthly Falmouth packet of a century ago, sufficient till within the past two generations for the mail communication of the two continents, has grown into six or eight steamships weekly, each capable of carrying a pair of the old sloops in her hold, and making the passage westwardly in a fifth and eastwardly in a third of the time. Can it be but ninety years ago that the latest dates at New York (February 14, 1786) from London (December 7, 1785) brought as a leading item from Paris (November 20) the news that Philippe Egalite had by his father’s death just come into four millions of livres a year, that six hundred thousand livres paid by the Crown to his father thereupon devolved to Monsieur (afterward Louis XVIII.), and that the latter had kept up the game of shuttlecock with the treasure of the French by “a donation of all his estates to the duke of Normandy, the younger son of their Majesties, preserving for himself the use and profits thereof during his life”? That was a short winter-passage, too–more speedy than the land-trip of a letter in the same journal “from a gentleman in the Western country to his friend in Connecticut, dated River Muskingum, November 5, 1785,” describing a voyage down the Ohio from Fort Pitt and the wonders of the country much as Livingstone and Du Chaillu do those of Africa. The time is less now to Japan, and about the same to New South Wales, with both which countries we have postal conventions-i.e., a practically consolidated service–far cheaper and more convenient than that maintained on the adoption of the present Constitution between our own cities. Our foreign service with leading countries is combined, moreover, with an institution undreamed of in that day–the money-order system. Under this admirable contrivance the post-offices of the world will ere long be so many banks of deposit and exchange for the benefit of the masses, effecting transfers mutually with much greater facility, rapidity and security than the regular banks formerly attained.

Still in its infancy, the international money-order system has already reached importance in the magnitude of its operations. The sums sent by means of it were, in 1874, $1,499,320 to Great Britain, $701,634 to Germany, and to the little inland republic of Switzerland $72.287.

The dimensions to which this new method of financial intercourse between the different peoples of the globe is destined to reach may be inferred from the growth of the domestic money–order service. In 1874 the number of orders issued was 4,620,633, representing $74,424,854. The erroneous payments having been but one in 59,677, it is plain that this mode of remittance must make further inroads on the old routine of cheque and draft, and become, among its other advantages, a currency regulator of no trifling value.

Our post-office may almost be said to head the development of the century. The other lines of progress in some sense converge to it. The advance of intelligence, of settlement, of transit by land and water and of mechanical and philosophical discovery have all fostered the post, while its return to them has been liberal. Thus aided and spurred, its extension has approached the rate of geometrical progression. Its development resembles that from the Annelids to the Vertebrata, the simple canal which constitutes the internal anatomy of the simplest animal forms finding a counterpart in the line of mails vouchsafed by the British postmaster-general to the colonies in 1775 from Falmouth to Savannah, “with as many cross-posts as he shall see fit.” Fifteen years of independence had caused the accretion of wonderfully few ganglia on this primeval structure. In 1790 four millions of inhabitants possessed but seventy-five post-offices and 1875 miles of post-roads. The revenue of the department was $37,935–little over a thousandth of what it is at present under rates of postage but a fraction of the old. New York and Boston heard from each other three times a week in summer and twice in winter. Philadelphia and New York were more social and luxurious, and insisted on a mail every week-day but one, hurrying it through in two days each way, or a twentieth of the present speed. On the interior routes chaos ruled supreme. Newspapers and business-men combined to employ riders who meandered along the mud roads as it pleased Heaven.

When the new government machine had smoothed down its bearings matters rapidly improved. In 1800 we had 903 post-offices and 20,817 miles of road. In 1820 these figures changed to 4500 and 92,492, and in 1870 to 28,492 offices and 231,232 miles. Five years later 70,083 miles of railway, 15,788 by steamboat and 192,002 of other routes represented the web woven since the Falmouth and Savannah shuttle commenced its weary way. Of course, neither the number of offices nor extent of routes fully measures the change from past to present; mails having become more frequent over the same route, and a new style of office, the locomotive variety, having been added to the old. This innovation, of mounting postmaster and post-office with the mailbags on wheels, and hurling the whole through space at thirty or forty miles an hour, already furnishes us with gigantic statistics. In 1875 there were sixty-two lines of railway postal-cars covering 16,932 miles with 40,109 miles of daily service and 901 peripatetic clerks. These gentlemen, under the demands of the fast mail-trains, will ere long swell from a regiment into a brigade, and so into a division, till poets and painters be called on to drop the theme of “waiting for the mail.”

The greater portion of the fifty-odd thousand employes of the department do not give it their whole time, many of the country postmasters being engaged in other business. But the undivided efforts of them all, with an auxiliary corps, would be demanded for the handling of eight hundred and fifty millions of letters and cards, and a greater bulk of other mail-matter, under the old plan of rates varying according to distance and number of sheets, and not weight–stamps unknown. The introduction of stamps, with coincident reduction and unification of rates, has been the chief factor in the extraordinary increase of correspondence within the past thirty years; the number of letters passing through the mails having within that period multiplied twenty-fold. The number transmitted in the British Islands, then three times greater than in the United States, is now but little in excess, having been in 1874 nine hundred and sixty–seven millions. The immense difference between the two countries in extent, and consequently in the average distance of transportation, is enough to account for the contrast between the two balance-sheets, our department showing a heavy annual deficit, while in Great Britain this is replaced by a profit. As regards post-office progress in the United States, the question is rather an abstract one; for there is not the least probability of an advance in rates. The discrepancy between receipts and expenses will be attacked rather by seeking to reduce the latter at the same time that the former are enhanced by natural growth and by improvement in the details of service and administration.


Difficult as it is adequately to state or to measure the extension of the mails within the century, it is far from telling the whole story of the amplitude and celerity with which the people of our day interchange intelligence.

Only to the last third of the period under review has the electric telegraph been known. It is now a necessity of the public and private life of every civilized spot upon the globe. It traverses all lands and all seas. The forty miles of wire with which it started from Washington City have become many millions. Its length of line in the United States is about the same with that of the mail-routes, and a similar equality probably obtains in other parts of the world. We have nearly as much line as all Europe together, though the extent of wire may not be so great. It is little to say that this continent, so dim to the founders of the Union, has been by the invention of Morse compressed within whispering distance, the same advantage having been conferred on other countries. It is the property of mankind, and the comparison must be between present and past, not between any two countries of the present. Strictly, a comparison is not possible, nothing like magnetic communication having been known forty years ago, unless to the half imagination, half realization of one or two scientific experimenters. Steam and stamps wrought a difference in degree–the telegraph one of kind. Against eighteen hundred miles of wagon-road we set seventy-three thousand of railway; but two hundred thousand miles of telegraph are opposed by nothing, unless by Franklin’s kite-string. Looked at along the perspective of poles, the old days disappear entirely–the patriots become pre-historic. Yet modern self-conceit is somewhat checked by the reflection that the career of these two great agents of intercommunication has but just opened; that their management even yet remains a puzzle to us; and that the next generation may wonder how we happened to get hold of implements whose use and capabilities we so poorly comprehended. So far as prediction can now be ventured, a force and pathway more economical than coal and the rail will not soon be forthcoming; nor is Canton apt to “interview” New York at the rate of more words in a minute over a single wire than she can now. Some day dynamite may be harnessed to the balloon, which stands, or drifts, where it did with Montgolfier, and we may all become long-range projectiles; but even this age of hurry will contentedly wait a little for that.

Possibly the Post-office Department would be less of a valetudinarian, financially, had it confined itself to its legitimate occupation, the speeding of intercourse and wafting of sighs, and not yielded to the heavy temptation of disseminating shoes, pistols and *garden-seeds over three millions of square miles. Newspapers are enough to test its powers as a freight-agent. Where these and their literary kindred of books, magazines, etc. used to be estimated by the dozen and the ounce, the ton is becoming too small a unit.

West of the Blue Ridge, or the front line of the Alleghany, so called in most of its length, there was not a newspaper published in 1776. Ten years later, scarcely more than one–the _Pittsburg Gazette_–existed west of the mountains. The few in the seaboard towns kept alive the name, and little more. In 1850, ’60 and ’70 the periodicals of the Union numbered, respectively, 2526, 4051 and 5871, with an average circulation, at the three periods, of twenty-one hundred, thirty-four hundred and thirty-six hundred copies each. The circulation thus outgrew the numbers in the proportion of nearly two to one. And both are largely in excess of the increase of the population, that being in the twenty years but 65 percent. The number of daily papers (254 in 1850 and 574 in 1870) must now be equal to the entire number of periodicals in France outside of Paris (796 in 1875), with an average issue less than half that of ours. The proportion of readers to the population, certainly in this class of literature, thus appears to be rapidly growing: and the change is most striking if we take, for example, that group of periodicals which are most purely literary and most remote from the mere chronicle. The returns for the three periods place the monthlies at, respectively, 100, 280 and 622–an advance of sixfold.

The magazine leads us to the door of the library; and here the exhibit is still more marked, significant and gratifying. The census figures are, for many reasons, extremely confused, but in the general result they cannot be outrageously wrong, and they can mislead us only in degree as to the immense multiplication of books in both public and private libraries. The returns are manifestly far below the truth. To give them here without the explanations accompanying them in the census volumes would mislead; and those explanations, or a fair synopsis of them, would occupy too much space, and would, after all, leave the problem unsolved. That the supply of books has fully kept pace with every other means of culture is patent enough. The Congressional Library has risen in half the century from the shelves of a closet to nearly four hundred thousand volumes–an accumulation not surpassed in ’76 by more than two libraries in Europe. It now demands a separate edifice of its own, fit to stand by the side of the fine structures which have within a generation recreated the architectural aspect of the Federal metropolis with the most stately government-offices in the world. Other public libraries, belonging to colleges, schools, societies and independent endowments, show similar progress. While none of them are equal, for reference, to some of the great European establishments, they are generally better adapted to the purposes of popular instruction. Their literary wealth is fresh and available, little encumbered by lumber kept merely because old or curious. Thus adjuncts, in some sort, of the newspaper and the common school, their catalogues prove, as do the bookcases of private houses, that the newest and deepest results of European thought and inquiry are eagerly sought and used by our people.


Our system of public schools, long classed among the “peculiar institutions” of the country, is notably gaining in scope and efficiency, be the English and Prussians right or not in their claim of greater thoroughness and a higher curriculum. The different States have engaged in a series of competitive experiments for the common good, and cities and counties, in their sphere, labor to the same end. Schools of higher grade are being multiplied, and the examination of teachers, still lax enough, becomes more exact and faithful, as befits the drill of an army of two hundred and forty thousand charged with the intellectual police of eight millions of children–the number said by the new “National Bureau of Education” to have been enrolled in 1875, against 7,209,938, 5,477,037 and 3,642,694 by the censuses of 1870, ’60 and ’50. Little more than half this number is estimated by the Bureau to represent the average daily attendance, which is quite compatible with the attendance, for the greater part of the school-year, of nine-tenths of the whole number on the lists. A comparison of the number enrolled and the entire supposed number of children between six and sixteen leaves an excess of nearly two millions and a half outside the public schools. Of these private schools will account, and account well, for a large proportion. These are fulfilling indispensable offices, one being that of normal schools–a want likely to be inadequately satisfied for a long time to come.

In one respect our public schools are beyond, though not above, comparison with those of the most advanced European states. An annual outlay of a trifle less than seventy-five millions of dollars, with an investment in buildings, ground, etc. of a hundred and sixty-six millions, implies a determination that should be rewarded with the most unexceptionable results. It reaches eighteen dollars yearly, leaving out the interest on the fixed stock, for each child in daily attendance. Such an expenditure, trebling, we believe, that of Prussia, ought to secure better teachers and a higher range of instruction. It must be said, however, that the duties of the school-boards are as honestly and economically discharged as those of any other public bodies; that the cost for each pupil is highest where common schools have been longest established and most thoroughly studied; and that the statistics certainly show a steady advance in their efficiency. That is the truest test. Any pecuniary means are justifiable by the end. If common schools, themselves a means to a higher education, mental and moral, than they can directly afford, take some part of the wealth we accumulate to prevent our men’s decaying, it is well used. It helps to purchase for us progress more genuine than that whereof railways and cotton-factories are the exponents.

It is thus a guarantee of a brighter century even than the one just closed that, in the wildest quarter of the still unkempt continent, the school actually precedes the pioneer. Choose his homestead where he may, the sixteenth section is staked out before it. From it the rills of knowledge soon trickle along the first furrows, as strange to the soil as its new products. It provides the modern settler in advance with an equipment, mental and material, if not moral, altogether superior to that of his colonial prototype, that enables him in a shorter time to impart a higher stamp to his surroundings. He attacks the prairie with a plough unimagined by his predecessor; cuts his wheat with a cradle–or, given a neighbor or two, a reaper–instead of a sickle; sends into the boundless pasture the nucleus of a merino flock, and returns at evening to a home rugged enough, in unison with its surroundings, but brightened by traits of culture and intelligence which must adhere to any menage of to-day and were out of reach of any of the olden time. The civilization that travels West now is a different thing from that which went West a hundred years ago.

Science has done much for the farmer, though not as much as he has done for it and its hotbeds, the towns. In one point his shortcomings are notable. He has not learned how to eat his cake and have it. He works the virgin soil as the miner does the coal-seam. What Nature has placed in it he takes out, and, until forced by the pressure of his friends and enemies, the cities, returns no nest-egg of future fertility. So it is that many portions of the rural East have to be resettled and started afresh in the process of agricultural redemption. A hundred years ago England grew fifteen bushels of wheat to the acre. Her standard is now thirty-two. Within three-quarters of the century New York has fallen from twenty-five to twelve; and half that period, again, has brought Ohio and Indiana from thirty to fifteen. But this process is a natural part of the sum of American progress. Land was the only property of the country originally, and subsequently of different parts of it in succession. It was used like any other commodity, and worn out like leather or cloth. The original cuticle of the continent has disappeared for ever. The task, now is to induce the granulation of a new one. The restorative process may be complete by the time we have four hundred souls to the square mile, like England and Flanders. Meanwhile, the exporting of Iowa and California in the shape of wheat is going on at what must be esteemed a profitable rate; for our farmers, as a class, do not seem to be losing ground. Their glebes have risen in value from thirty-two hundred millions in 1850 to sixty-six hundred ten years later, and ninety-three hundred in 1870. This has been accompanied by a diminution of their average extent, the farm of 1870 covering a hundred and fifty-three acres. This is small enough, considering the capital necessary for stock in these days of improved and costly implements, when a farmer can no longer pack his entire kit in a cart. It matches closely the size of English holdings, where agricultural science is at its height. The French peasant-farmers, with their plats of three and four acres, are chained to the spade and hoe, and their steading becomes a poultry-yard–a consummation we are not yet in sight of, as is proved by the legions of pigs and beeves, barreled or bellowing, that roll in from the ancient realms of Pontiac and the Prophet with a smoothness and velocity unattained by the most luxurious coach that carried a First Congressman.

Everything that makes a nation, we are told, and the nation itself, is the product of the soil. But the less immediate, finer and most delicate fruits cannot usually be garnered until the soil is thoroughly subdued. The mass of matter keeps the intellectual in abeyance. Were Europe enlarged one-half, and her population reduced to one-eighth what it actually is, the spectacle of culture she now presents would be an impossibility. It is our merit that, thus brought to American conditions, she would in no way compare with American achievement. An offset wherewith we must at the same time be debited is the aid we have, in so many forms, derived from her. Making every allowance for this, it is a clear credit in our favor that one-tenth of Christendom should have done so much more than a tenth of its effective thinking simultaneously with taming the most savage half of its domain. We have more than our share of laborers in the mental vineyard, though fewer of them are master-workmen. We utilize for Europe herself, and send back to her in its first available shape, much of what her students produce. As between thought and substance, the two continents interchange offices. We import the crude material her philosophers harvest or mine, work it up and return it, just as she takes the yield of our non-metaphorical fields and strata and restores it manufactured. Much of the social, political and industrial advancement of Europe within the century she may be said to owe to the United States. Her governmental reforms certainly and confessedly found here their germ. These gave birth to others of a social character. In this manner, as well as more directly by our commerce, inventions and example, we have stimulated her industry. We have spread before her the two oceans, and taught her to traverse them with a firm and masterful mien, no longer

As one who in a lonely road doth walk in fear and dread.

We have created cities upon her havens, Parliaments in her capitals, and stronger hearts and quicker hands in her villages. No community on her varied surface but is the better for America. That our people and their labors have done it all it would be absurd to say; but the Old World’s progress in the period under review can be but very partially accounted for by any internal force of its own. None of its rulers or peoples adventure a reform of any kind without a preliminary, if often only a half-conscious, glance of inquiry westward. Collectively as members of a European republic of nations, and internally each within itself, they have in this way learned, after many recalcitrant struggles, to recognize and respect local independence. Municipal law has gained new life. The commune has become an entity everywhere, and the nations which it informs have established the right to readjust or recast their constitutions without being hounded down as disturbers of the peace. The contribution of the American Union to such results would earn it honor at the hands of history were it to sink into nothing to-morrow. Had no such tangible fruits hitherto ripened, some portion of such honor would still accrue to it for having shown that a people may grow from a handful to an empire without hereditary rulers, without a privileged class, without a state Church, without a standing army, without tumult in the largest cities and without stagnant savagery in the remotest wilds.




Let our demonstration to-day be on the monarchical citadel of England, the core and nucleus of her kingly associations, her architectural _eikon basilike_, Windsor. To reach the famous castle it will not do to lounge along the river. We must cut loose from the suburbs of the suburbs, and launch into a more extended flight. Our destination is nearly an hour distant by rail; and though it does not take us altogether out of sight of the city, it leads us among real farms and genuine villages, tilled and inhabited as they have been since the Plantagenets, instead of market-gardens and villas.

We go to Paddington and try the Great Western, the parent of the broad gauges with no very numerous family, Erie being one of its unfortunate children. That six-foot infant is not up to the horizontal stature of its seven-foot progenitor, but has still sixteen inches too many to fare well in the contest with its little, active, and above all numerous, foes of the four-feet-eight-and-a-half-inch “persuasion.” The English and the American giants can sympathize with each other. Both have drained the bitter cup that is tendered by a strong majority to a weak minority. Neither the American nor the British constitution, with their whole admirable array of checks and balances, has shielded them from this evil. In the battle of the gauges both have gone to the wall, and will stay there until they can muster strength enough to reel over into the ranks of their enemies.

This relative debility is, at the same time, more apparent to the stockholders than to their customers. The superstructure and “plant” of the Erie has lately stood interested inspection from abroad with great credit, and that of the Great Western is unexceptionable. The vote of travelers may be safely allotted to the broad gauge. They have more elbow room. The carriages attain the requisite width without unpleasantly, not to say dangerously, overhanging the centre of gravity; and, other things equal, the movement is steadier. Nor is the financial aspect of the question apt to impress gloomily the tourist as he enters the Paddington station and looks around at its blaze of polychrome and richness of decoration generally. As the coach doors are slammed upon you, the guard steps into his “van,” the vast drivers, taller than your head plus the regulation stove-pipe, slowly begin their whirl, and you roll majestically forth through a long file of liveried servants of the company, drawn up or in action on the platform, the sensation of patronizing a poverty-stricken corporation is by no means likely to harass you. You cease to realize that the Napoleon of engineers, Monsieur Brunel, made a disastrous mistake in the design of this splendid highway, and that, as some will have it, it was his Moscow. His error, if one there was, existed only in the selection of the width of track. Whatever the demerits of the design in that one particular, the execution is in all above praise. The road was his pet. Once finished, it was his delight, as with the breeder of a fine horse, to mount it and try its mettle. Over and again would he occupy the footboard between London and Bristol, and rejoice as a strong man in running his race at close to seventy miles an hour. He and Stephenson were capital types of the Gaul and Briton, striving side by side on the same field, as it will be good for the world that they should ever do.

[Illustration: MORTON CHURCH.]

Combats of another character–in fact, of two other characters–recur to our reflections as we find that we have shuffled off the coil of bricks and mortar and are rattling across Wormwood Scrubs. More fortunate than some who have been there before us, we have no call to alight. Calls to this ancient field of glory, whether symbolized by the gentlemanly pistol or the plebeian fist, have ceased to be in vogue. Dueling and boxing are both frowned down effectually, one by public opinion and the other by the police. It is only of late years that they finally succumbed to those twin discouragers; but it seems altogether improbable that the ordeal by combat in either shape will again come to the surface in a land where tilting-spear and quarter-staff were of old so rife. In France chivalry still asserts, in a feeble way, the privilege of winking and holding out its iron, and refuses to be comforted with a suit for damages.

Southall, a station or two beyond, suggests sport of a less lethal character, being an ancient meeting-place for the queen’s stag-hounds. John Leach may have collected here some of his studies of Cockney equestrianism. The sportsmen so dear to his pencil furnished him wealth of opportunities on their annual concourse at the cart’s tail. The unloading of the animal, his gathering himself up for a leisurely canter across country, the various styles and degrees of horsemanship among his lumbering followers, and the business-like replacing of the quarry in his vehicle, to be hauled away for another day’s sport, served as the most complete travesty imaginable of the chase. It has the compensation of placing a number of worthy men in the saddle at least once in the year and compelling them to do some rough riding. The English have always made it their boast that they are more at home on horseback than any other European nation, and they claim to have derived much military advantage from it. Lever’s novels would lose many of their best situations but for this national accomplishment and the astounding development it reaches in his hands.

[Illustration: MILTON’S PEAR TREE.]

To the left lies the fine park of Osterley, once the seat of the greatest of London’s merchant princes, Sir Thomas Gresham. An improvement proposed by Queen Bess, on a visit to Gresham in 1578, does not speak highly for her taste in design. She remarked that in her opinion the court in front of the house would look better split up by a wall. Her host dutifully acceded to the idea, and surprised Her Majesty next morning by pointing out the wall which he had erected during the night, sending to London for masons and material for the purpose. The conceit was a more ponderous one than that of Raleigh’s cloak–bricks and mortar _versus_ velvet.

A greater than Gresham succeeded, after the death of his widow, to the occupancy of Osterley–Chief-justice Coke. His compliment to Elizabeth on the occasion of a similar visit to the same house took the more available and acceptable shape of ten or twelve hundred pounds sterling in jewelry. She had more than a woman’s weakness for finery, and Coke operated upon it very successfully. His gems outlasted Gresham’s wall, which has long since disappeared with the court it disfigured. In place of both stands a goodly Ionic portico, through which one may pass to a staircase that bears a representation by Rubens of the apotheosis of Mr. Motley’s hero, William the Silent. The gallery offers a collection of other old pictures. Should we, however, take time for even a short stop in this vicinity, it would probably be for the credit of saying that we walked over Hounslow Heath intact in purse and person. The gentlemen of the road live only in the classic pages of Ainsworth, Reynolds and, if we may include Sam Weller in such worshipful company, that bard of “the bold Tur_pin_.” Another class of highwaymen had long before them been also attracted by the fine manoeuvring facilities of the heath, beginning with the army of the Caesars and ending with that of James II. Jonathan Wild and his merry men were saints to Kirke and his lambs.

Hurrying on, we skirt one of Pope’s outlying manors, in his time the seat of his friend Bathurst and the haunt of Addison, Prior, Congreve and Gay, and leave southward, toward the Thames, Horton, the cradle of Milton. A marble in its ivy-grown church is inscribed to the memory of his mother, _ob_. 1637. At Horton were composed, or inspired, _Lycidas, L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, Comus_ and others of his nominally minor but really sweetest and most enjoyable poems. In this retirement the Muse paid him her earliest visits, before he had thrown himself away on politics or Canaanitish mythology. Peeping in upon his handsome young face in its golden setting of blonde curls,

Through the sweetbrier or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine,

she wooed him to better work than reporting the debates of the archangels or calling the roll of Tophet. Had he confined himself to this tenderer field, the world would have been the gainer. He might not have “made the word Miltonic mean sublime,” but we can spare a little of the sublime to get some more of the beautiful.

To reach Milton, however, we have run off of the track badly. His Eden is no station on the Great Western. We shall balance this southward divergence with a corresponding one to the north from Slough, the last station ere reaching Windsor. We may give a go-by for the moment to the halls of kings, do homage to him who treated them similarly, and point, in preference, to where,

in many a mouldering heap,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

They show Gray’s tomb in Stoke Pogis church, and his house, West End Cottage, half a mile distant. The ingredients of his _Elegy_–actually the greatest, but in his judgment among the least, of his few works–exist all around. “The rugged elm,” “the ivy-mantled tower,” and “the yew tree’s shade,” the most specific among the simple “properties” of his little spectacle, are common to so many places that there are several competitors for the honor of having furnished them. The cocks, ploughmen, herds and owls cannot, of course, at this late day be identified. Gray could not have done it himself. He drew from general memory, in his closet, and not bit by bit on his thumb-nail from chance-met objects as he went along. Had his conception and rendering of the theme been due to the direct impression upon his mind of its several aspects and constituents, he would have more thoroughly appreciated his work. He could not understand its popularity, any more than Campbell could that of _Ye Mariners of England_, which he pronounced “d—-d drum-and-trumpet verses.” Gray used to say, “with a good deal of acrimony,” that the _Elegy_ “owed its popularity entirely to the subject, and the public would have received it as well had it been written entirely in prose.” Had it been written in prose or in the inventory style of poetry, it would have been forgotten long ago, like so much else of that kind.

[Illustration: GRAY.]

Not far hence is Beaconsfield, which gave a home to Burke and a title to the wife of Disraeli, the nearest approach to a peerage that the haughty Israelite, soured by a life of struggle against peers and their prejudices, would deign to accept. We know it will be objected to this remark that Disraeli is, and has been for most of his career, associated with Toryism. But that was part of his game. A man of culture, thought and fastidious taste, he would, had he been of the _sangre azul_, have been the steadiest and sincerest of Conservatives. Privilege would have been his gospel. As it is, it has only been his weapon, to use in fighting for himself. “The time will come when you shall listen to me,” were his words when he was first coughed down. The time has come. The most cynical of premiers, he governs England, and he scorns to take a place among those who ruled her before him.

Extending our divergence farther west toward “Cliefden’s proud alcove, the bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love,” we find ourselves in a luxuriant rolling country, rural and slumberous. Cookham parish, which we should traverse, claims quite loudly American kinship on the strength of its including an estate once the property of Henry Washington, who is alleged, without sufficient ground, to have been a relative of the general. But we are within the purlieus of Windsor. The round tower has been looking down upon us these many miles, and we cannot but yield to its magnetism.


Eton, on the north bank, opposite Windsor, and really a continuous town with that which nestles close to the castle walls, is on our way from Slough. The red-brick buildings of the school, forming a fine foil to the lighter-colored and more elegantly designed chapel, are on our left, the principal front looking over a garden toward the river and Windsor Home Park beyond. We become aware of a populace of boys, the file-closers of England’s nineteenth century worthies, and her coming veterans of the twentieth. We may contemplatively view them in that light, but it has little place in their reflections. Their ruddy faces and somewhat cumbrous forms belong to the animal period of life that links together boyhood, colthood and calfhood. Education of the physique, consisting chiefly in the indulgence and employment of it in the mere demonstration of its superabundant vitality, is a large part of the curriculum at English schools. The playground and the study-room form no unequal alliance. Rigid as, in some respects, the discipline proper of the school may be, it does not compare with the severity of that maintained by the older boys over the younger ones. The code of the lesser, and almost independent, republic of the dormitory and the green is as clear in its terms as that of the unlimited monarchy of the school-room, and more potent in shaping the character. The lads train themselves for the battle of the world, with some help from the masters. It is a sound system on the whole, if based, to appearance, rather too much on the principle of the weaker to the wall. The tendency of the weaker inevitably is to the wall, and if he is to contend against it effectively, it will be by finding out his weakness and being made to feel it at the earliest possible moment.

[Illustration: TOMB OF BURKE.]

Not on land only, but on the river, whereinto it so gradually blends, does lush young England dissipate. Cricket and football order into violent action both pairs of extremities, while the upper pair and the organs of the thorax labor profitably at the oar. The Thames, in its three bends from Senly Hall, the Benny Havens of Eton, down to Datchet Mead, where Falstaff overflowed the buck-basket, belongs to the boys. In this space it is split into an archipelago of aits. In and out of the gleaming paths and avenues of silvery water that wind between them glide the little boats. The young Britons take to the element like young ducks. Many a “tall admiral” has commenced his “march over the mountain wave” among these water-lilies and hedges of osier.

Shall we leave the boys at play, and, renewing our youth, go ourselves to school? Entering the great gate of the western of the two quadrangles, we are welcomed by a bronze statue of the founder of the institution, Henry VI. He endowed it in 1440. The first organization comprised “a provost, four clerks, ten priests, six choristers, twenty-five poor grammar-scholars, and twenty-five poor infirm men to pray for the king.” The prayers of these invalids were sorely needed by the unhappy scion of Lancaster, but did him little good in a temporal sense. The provost is always rector of the parish. Laymen are non-eligible. Thus it happens that the list does not include two names which would have illuminated it more than those of any of the incumbents–Boyle the philosopher, “father of chemistry and brother of the earl of Cork,” and Waller the poet. The modern establishment consists of a provost, vice-provost, six fellows, a master, under-master, assistants, seventy foundation scholars, seven lay clerks and ten choristers, with a cortege of “inferior officers and servants”–a tolerably full staff. The pay-students, as they would be termed in this country, numbering usually five to six hundred, do not live in the college precincts, but at boarding-houses in the town, whence their designation of oppidans, the seventy gowns-men only having dormitories in the college. The roll of the alumni contains such names as the first earl of Chatham, Harley, earl of Oxford, Bolingbroke, Fox, Gray, Canning, Wellington and Hallam. That is enough to say for Eton. The beauties of the chapel, the treasures of the library and the other shows of the place become trivial by the side of the record.


Over the “fifteen-arch” bridge, which has but three or four arches, we pass to the town of Windsor, which crouches, on the river-side, close up to the embattled walls of the castle–so closely that the very irregular pile of buildings included in the latter cannot at first glance be well distinguished from the town. High over all swells the round tower to a height above the water of two hundred and twenty feet–no excessive altitude, if we deduct the eminence on which it stands, yet enough, in this level country, to give it a prospect of a score or two of miles in all directions. The Conqueror fell in love with the situation at first sight, and gave a stolen monastery in exchange for it. The home so won has provided a shelter–at times very imperfect, indeed–to British sovereigns for eight centuries. From the modest erection of William it has been steadily growing–with the growth of the empire, we were near saying, but its chief enlargements occurred before the empire entered upon the expansion of the past three centuries. It is more closely associated with Edward III. than with any other of the ancient line. He was born at Windsor, and almost entirely rebuilt it, William of Wykeham being superintending architect, with “a fee of one shilling a day whilst at Windsor, and two shillings when he went elsewhere on the duties of his office,” three shillings a week being the pay of his clerk. It becomes at once obvious that the margin for “rings” was but slender in those days. The labor question gave not the least trouble. The law of supply and demand was not consulted. “Three hundred and sixty workmen were impressed, to be employed on the building at the king’s wages; some of whom having clandestinely left Windsor and engaged in other employments to greater advantage, writs were issued prohibiting all persons from employing them on pain of forfeiting all their goods and chattels.” In presence of so simple and effective a definition of the rights of the workingman, strikes sink into nothingness. And Magna Charta had been signed a hundred and fifty years before! That document, however, in honor of which the free and enlightened Briton of to-day is wont to elevate his hat and his voice, was only in the name and on behalf of the barons. The English people derived under it neither name, place nor right. English liberty is only incidental, a foundling of untraced parentage, a _filius nullius_. True, its growth was indirectly fostered by aught that checked the power of the monarch, and the nobles builded more wisely than they knew or intended when they brought Lackland to book, or to parchment, at Runnymede, not far down the river and close to the edge of the royal park. The memorable plain is still a meadow, kept ever green and inviolate of the plough. A pleasant row it is for the Eton youngsters to this spot. On Magna Charta island, opposite, they may take their rest and their lunch, and refresh their minds as well with the memories of the place. The task of reform is by no means complete. There is room and call for further concessions in favor of the masses. These embryo statesmen have work blocked out for them in the future, and this is a good place for them to adjust to it the focus of their bright young optics.


The monarchical idea is certainly predominant in our present surroundings. The Thames flows from the castle and the school under two handsome erections named the Victoria and Albert bridges; and when, turning our back upon Staines, just below Runnymede, with its boundary-stone marking the limit of the jurisdiction of plebeian London’s fierce democracy, and inscribed “God preserve the City of London, 1280,” we strike west into the Great Park, we soon come plump on George III, a great deal larger than life. The “best farmer that ever brushed dew from lawn” is clad in antique costume with toga and buskins. Bestriding a stout horse, without stirrups and with no bridle to speak of, the old gentleman looks calmly into the distance while his steed is in the act of stepping over a perpendicular precipice. This preposterous effort of the glyptic art has the one merit of serving as a finger-board. The old king points us to his palace, three miles off, at the end of the famous Long Walk. He did not himself care to live at the castle, but liked to make his home at an obscure lodge in the park, the same from which, on his first attack of insanity, he set out in charge of two of his household on that melancholy ride to the retreat of Kew, more convenient in those days for medical attendance from London, and to which he returned a few months later restored for the time. Shortly after his recovery he undertook to throw up one of the windows of the lodge, but found it nailed down. He asked the cause, and was told, with inconsiderate bluntness, that it had been done during his illness to prevent his doing himself an injury. The perfect calmness and silence with which he received this explanation was a sufficient evidence of his recovery.


Bidding the old man a final farewell, we accept the direction of his brazen hand and take up the line of march, wherein all traveling America has preceded us, to the point wherefrom we glanced off so suddenly in obedience to the summons of Magna Charta. On either hand, as we thread the Long Walk, open glades that serve as so many emerald-paved courts to the monarchs of the grove, some of them older than the whole Norman dynasty, with Saxon summers recorded in their hearts. One of them, thirty-eight feet round, is called after the Conqueror. Among these we shall not find the most noted of Windsor trees. It was in the Home Park, on the farther or northern side of the castle, that the fairies were used to perform their

–dance of custom round about the oak Of Herne the hunter.

Whether the genuine oak was cut down at the close of the last century, or was preserved, carefully fenced in and labeled, in an utterly leafless and shattered state, to our generation, is a moot point. Certain it is that the most ardent Shakespearean must abandon the hope of securing for a bookmark to his _Merry Wives of Windsor_ one of the leaves that rustled, while “Windsor bell struck twelve,” over the head of fat Jack. He has the satisfaction, however, of looking up at the identical bell-tower of the sixteenth century, and may make tryst with his imagination to await its midnight chime. Then he may cross the graceful iron bridge–modern enough, unhappily–to Datchet, and ascertain by actual experiment whether the temperature of the Thames has changed since the dumping into it of Falstaff, “hissing hot.”

[Illustration: STAINES CHURCH.]

Back at the castle, we must “do” it, after the set fashion. Reminders meet us at the threshold that it is in form a real place of defence, contemplative of wars and rumors of wars, and not a mere dwelling by any means in original design. A roadway, crooked and raked by frowning embrasures, leads up from the peaceful town to the particularly inhospitable-looking twin towers of Henry VIII.’s gateway, in their turn commanded by the round tower on the right, in full panoply of artificial scarp and ditch. Sentinels in the scarlet livery that has flamed on so many battlefields of all the islands and continents assist in proving that things did not always go so easy with majesty as they do now. But two centuries and more have elapsed since there happened any justification for this frown of stone, steel and feathers; Rupert’s futile demonstration on it in 1642 having been Windsor’s last taste of war, its sternest office after that having been the safe-keeping of Charles I., who here spent his “sorrowful and last Christmas.” Once inside the gate, visions of peace recur. The eye first falls on the most beautiful of all the assembled structures, St. George’s Chapel. It, with the royal tomb house, the deanery and Winchester tower, occupies the left or north side of the lower or western ward. In the rear of the chapel of St. George are quartered in cozy cloisters the canons of the college of that ilk–not great guns in any sense, but old ecclesiastical artillery spiked after a more or less noisy youth and laid up in varnished black for the rest of their days. Watch and ward over these modern equipments is kept by Julius Caesar’s tower, as one of the most ancient erections is of course called. Still farther to our left as we enter are the quarters of sundry other antiquated warriors, the Military Knights of Windsor. These are a few favored veterans, mostly decayed officers of the army and navy, who owe this shelter to royal favor and an endowment. The Ivy tower, west of the entrance, is followed in eastward succession by those of the gateway, Salisbury, Garter and Bell towers.


The fine exterior of St. George’s is more than matched by the carving and blazonry of the interior. The groined roof bears the devices of half a dozen early kings, beginning with Edward the Confessor. Along the choir stretch the stalls of the sovereign and knights-companions of the order of the Garter, each hung with banner, mantle, sword and helmet. Better than these is the hammered steel tomb of Edward IV., by Quentin Matsys, the Flemish blacksmith. In the vaults beneath rest the victim of Edward, Henry VI., Henry VIII., Jane Seymour and Charles I. The account of the appearance of Charles’ remains when his tomb was examined in 1813 by Sir Henry Halford, accompanied by several of the royal family, is worth quoting. “The complexion of the face was dark and discolored. The forehead and temples had lost little or nothing of their muscular substance. The cartilage of the nose was gone; but the left eye, in the moment of first exposure, was open and full, though it vanished almost immediately, and the pointed beard so characteristic of the reign of King Charles was perfect. The shape of the face was a long oval; many of the teeth remained; and the left ear, in consequence of the interposition of some unctuous matter between it and the cere-cloth, was found entire. The hair was thick at the back part of the head, and in appearance nearly black. A portion of it, which has since been cleaned and dried, is of a beautiful dark-brown color. That of the beard was a reddish-brown. On the back part of the head it was not more than an inch in length, and had probably been cut so short for the convenience of the executioner, or perhaps by the piety of friends after death in order to furnish memorials of the unhappy king. On holding up the head to determine the place of separation from the body, the muscles of the neck had evidently contracted themselves considerably, and the fourth cervical vertebra was found to be cut through its substance transversely, leaving the face of the divided portions perfectly smooth and even–an appearance which could have been produced only by a heavy blow inflicted with a very sharp instrument, and which furnished the last proof wanting to identify Charles I.”

[Illustration: HERNE’S OAK.]

A highly-edifying spectacle this must have been to the prince regent and his brother Cumberland. The certainties of the past and the possibilities of the future were calculated to be highly suggestive. A French sovereign had but a few years before shared the fate of Charles, and a cloud of other kings were drifting about Europe with no very flattering prospect of coming soon to anchor. Napoleon was showing his banded foes a good double front in Germany and Spain. His dethronement and the restoration of the Bourbons were not as yet contemplated. The Spanish succession was whittled down to a girl–that is, by Salic law, to nothing at all. The Hanoverian was in a similar condition, or worse, none of the old sons of the crazy old king having any legitimate children. The prince regent himself was highly unpopular with the mass of his people; and the classes that formed his principal support were more so, by reason of the arrogance and exactions of the landed interest, the high price of grain and other heavy financial burdens consequent on the war, the arbitrary prosecutions and imprisonment of leaders of the people, and the irregularities of his private life.

But these sinister omens proved illusory. Leigh Hunt, Wraxall and the rest made but ineffectual martyrs; the Bourbons straggled back into France and Spain, with such results as we see; George IV. weathered, by no merit of his own, a fresh series of storms at home; the clouds that lowered upon his house were made glorious summer by the advent of a fat little lady in 1819–the fat old lady of 1875; and we step from the tomb of Charles in St. George’s Chapel to that where George and William slumber undisturbed in the tomb-house, elaborately decorated by Wolsey. Wolsey’s fixtures were sold by the thrifty patriots of Cromwell’s Parliament, and bought in by the republican governor of the castle as “old brass.” George was able, too, to add another story to the stature of the round tower or keep that marks the middle ward of the castle and looks down, on the rare occasion of a sufficiently clear atmosphere, on prosperous and no longer disloyal London. This same keep has quite a list of royal prisoners; John of France and David II. and James I. of Scotland enjoyed a prolonged view of its interior; so did the young earl of Surrey, a brother-poet, a century removed, of James.

Leaving behind us the atmosphere of shackles and dungeons, we emerge, through the upper ward and the additions of Queen Bess, upon the ample terrace, where nothing bounds us but the horizon. Together, the north, east and south terraces measure some two thousand feet. The first looks upon Eton, the lesser park of some five hundred acres which fills a bend of the Thames and the country beyond for many miles. The eastern platform, lying between the queen’s private apartments and an exquisite private garden, is not always free to visitors. The south terrace presents to the eye the Great Park of thirty-eight hundred acres, extending six miles, with a width of from half a mile to two miles. The equestrian statue at the end of the Long Walk is a conspicuous object. The prevailing mass of rolling woods is broken by scattered buildings, glades and avenues, which take from it monotony and give it life. Near the south end is an artificial pond called Virginia Water, edged with causeless arches and ruins that never were anything but ruins, Chinese temples and idle toys of various other kinds, terrestrial and aquatic. The ancient trees, beeches and elms, of enormous size, and often projected individually, are worth studying near or from a distance. The elevation is not so great as to bring out low-lying objects much removed. We see the summits of hills, each having its name, as St. Leonard’s, Cooper’s, Highstanding, etc., and glimpses of the river and of some country-seats. St. Anne’s Hill was the home of Fox; at St. Leonard’s dwelt the father of his rival and rival of his father, and at Binfield, Pope, of whom it is so hard to conceive as having ever been young, “lisped in numbers, for the numbers came,” natural descriptions, ethical reflections, _vers de societe_ and all, for around him here there was food for them all. To descend from Pope in point of both time and romance, the view includes the scenes of Prince Albert’s agricultural experiments. Quite successful many of them were. He was a thoroughly practical man–a circumstance which carried him by several routes across ploughed fields and through well-built streets, straight to the hearts of the English people. His memory is more warmly cherished, and impressed upon the stranger by more monuments, than that of any other of the German strain. It might have been less so had he succeeded in the efforts he is now known to have made soon after his marriage to attain a higher nominal rank. He possessed, through the alliance of Leopold and Stockmar and the devotion of Victoria, kingly power without the name and the responsibility, and with that he became content. He used it cautiously and well when he employed it at all. His position was a trying one, but he steered well through its difficulties, and died as generally trusted as he was at first universally watched. The love-match of 1840 was every way a success.


Another figure, more rugged and less majestic, but not less respectable, will be associated with Victoria in the memories, if not the history proper, of her reign. This is John Brown, the canny and impassive Scot, content, like the Rohans, to be neither prince nor king, and, prouder than they, satisfied honestly to discharge the office of a flunkey without the very smallest trace of the flunkey spirit. He too has lived down envy and all uncharitableness. Contemptuous and serene amid the hootings of the mob and the squibs of the newspapers, he carries, as he has done for years, Her Majesty’s shawl and capacious India-rubbers, attends her tramps through the Highlands and the Home Park, engineers her special trains and looks after her personal comfort even to the extent of ordering her to wear “mair claes” in a Scotch mist. The queen has embalmed him in her books, and he will rank among the heroes of royal authors as his namesake and countryman the Cameronian, by favor of very similar moral qualities, does with those of more democratic proclivities.


We cannot apply literally to the view from Windsor Thackeray’s lines on “the castle towers of Bareacres:”

I stood upon the donjon keep and viewed the country o’er; I saw the lands of Bareacres for fifty miles or more.

[Illustration: EARL OF SURREY.]

We scan what was once embraced in Windsor Forest, where the Norman laid his broad palm on a space a hundred and twenty miles round, and, like the lion in the fable of the hunting-party, informed his subjects that that was his share. The domain dwindled, as did other royal appurtenances. Yet in 1807 the circuit was as much as seventy-seven miles. In 1789 it embraced sixty thousand acres. The process of contraction has since been accelerated, and but little remains outside of the Great and Little Parks. Several villages of little note stand upon it. Of these Wokingham has the distinction of an ancient hostelry yclept the Rose; and the celebrity of the Rose is a beautiful daughter of the landlord of a century and a half ago. This lady missed her proper fame by the blunder of a merry party of poets who one evening encircled the mahogany of her papa. It was as “fast” a festivity as such names as Gay and Swift could make it. Their combined efforts resulted in the burlesque of _Molly Mog_. These two and some others contributed each a verse in honor of the fair waiter. But they mistook her name, and the crown fell upon the less charming brow of her sister, whose cognomen was depraved from Mary into Molly. Wiclif’s Oak is pointed out as a corner of the old forest, a long way east of the park. Under its still spreading branches that forerunner of Luther is said to have preached. Messrs. Moody and Sankey should have sought inspiration under its shade.

In the vast assemblage of the arboreal commonwealth that carpets the landscape the centuries are represented one with another. It is a leafy parliament that has never been dissolved or prorogued. One hoary member is coeval with the Confessor. Another sheltered William Rufus, tired from the chase. Under another gathered recruits bound with Coeur de Lion for the Holy Land. Against the bole of this was set up a practicing butt for the clothyard shafts that won Agincourt, and beneath that bivouacked the pickets of Cromwell. As we look down upon their topmost leaves there floats, high above our own level, “darkly painted on the crimson sky,” a member, not so old, of another commonwealth quite as ancient that has flourished among their branches from time immemorial. There flaps the solitary heron to the evening tryst of his tribe. Where is the hawk? Will he not rise from some fair wrist among the gay troop we see cantering across yonder glade? Only the addition of that little gray speck circling into the blue is needed to round off our illusion. But it comes not. In place of it comes a spirt of steam from the railway viaduct, and the whistle of an engine. Froissart is five hundred years dead again, and we turn to Bradshaw.


Yet we have a “view of an interior” to contemplate before facing the lower Thames. And first, as the day is fading, we seek the dimmest part. We dive into the crypt of the bell-tower, or the curfew-tower, that used to send far and wide to many a Saxon cottage the hateful warning that told of servitude. How old the base of this tower is nobody seems to know, nor how far back it has served as a prison. The oldest initials of state prisoners inscribed on its cells date to 1600. The walls are twelve feet thick, and must have begotten a pleasant feeling of perfect security in the breasts of the involuntary inhabitants. They did not know of a device contrived for the security of their jailers, which has but recently been discovered. This is a subterranean and subaqueous passage, alleged to lead under the river to Burnham Abbey, three miles off. The visitor will not be disposed to verify this statement or to stay long in the comparatively airy crypt. Damp as the British climate may be above ground, it is more so below. We emerge to the fine range of state apartments above, and submit to the rule of guide and guide-book.

[Illustration: LOCK AT WINDSOR.]

St. George’s Hall, the Waterloo gallery, the council-chamber and the Vandyck room are the most attractive, all of them for the historical portraits they contain, and the first, besides, for its merit as an example of a Gothic interior and its associations with the order of the Garter, the knights of which society are installed in it. The specialty of the Waterloo room is the series of portraits of the leaders, civil and military, English and continental, of the last and successful league against Napoleon. They are nearly all by Lawrence, and of course admirable in their delineation of character. In that essential of a good portrait none of the English school have excelled Lawrence. We may rely upon the truth to Nature of each of the heads before us; for air and expression accord with what history tells us of the individuals, its verdict eked out and assisted by instructive minutiae of lineament and meaning detected, in the “off-guard” of private intercourse, by the eye of a great painter and a lifelong student of physiognomy. We glance from the rugged Blucher to the wily Metternich, and from the philosophic Humboldt to the semi-savage Platoff. The dandies George IV. and Alexander are here, but Brummel is left out. The gem of the collection is Pius VII., Lawrence’s masterpiece, widely familiar by engravings. Raphael’s Julius II. seems to have been in the artist’s mind, but that work is not improved on, unless in so far as the critical eye of our day may delight in the more intricate tricks of chiaroscuro and effect to which Lawrence has recourse. “Brunswick’s fated chieftain” will interest the votaries of Childe Harold. Could he have looked forward to 1870, he would perhaps have chosen a different side at Waterloo, as his father might at Jena, and elected to figure in oils at Versailles rather than at Windsor. Incomparably more destructive to the small German princes have been the Hohenzollerns than the Bonapartes.


We forget these nineteenth-century people in the council-chamber, wherein reign Guido, Rembrandt, Claude, and even Da Vinci. If Leonardo really executed all the canvases ascribed to him in English collections, the common impressions of his habits of painting but little, and not often finishing that, do him great injustice. Martin Luther is here, by Holbein, and the countess of Desmond, the merry old lady

Who lived to the age of twice threescore and ten, And died of a fall from a cherry tree then,

is embalmed in the bloom of one hundred and twenty and the gloom of Rembrandt. The two dozen pictures in this room form nearly as odd an association as any like number of portraits could do. Guercino’s Sibyl figures with a cottage interior by Teniers, and Lely’s Prince Rupert looks down with lordly scorn on Jonah pitched into the sea by the combined efforts of the two Poussins. The link between Berghem’s cows and Del Sarto’s Holy Family was doubtless supplied to the minds of the hanging committee by recollections of the manger. Our thrifty Pennsylvanian, West, is assigned the vestibule. Five of his “ten-acre” pictures illustrate the wars of Edward III. and the Black Prince. The king’s closet and the queen’s closet are filled mostly by the Flemings. Vandyck’s room finally finishes the list. It has, besides a portrait of himself and several more of the first Charles and his family in every pose, some such queer, or worse than queer, commoners as Tom Killigrew and Sir Kenelm Digby and Venetia his hopeful spouse, so dear to novelists of a certain school.

[Illustration: ELMS NEAR THE HERONRY.]

Vast sums have been expended on the renovation and improvement of the castle during the past half century. With Victoria it has been more popular as a residence than with any of her predecessors since the fourteenth century. What, however, with its greater practical proximity to London, due to railways, and what with the queen’s liking for solitude since the death of her consort, the more secluded homes of Osborne and Balmoral have measurably superseded it in her affections. Five hundred miles of distance to the Dee preclude the possibility of the dumping on her, by means of excursion trains, of loyal cockneydom. She is as thoroughly protected from that inundation in the Isle of Wight, the average Londoner having a fixed horror of sea-sickness. The running down, by her private steamer, of a few more inquisitive yachts in the Solent would be a hazardous experiment, if temporarily effective in keeping home invaders at bay. Holding as her right and left bowers those two sanctuaries at the opposite ends of her island realm, she can play a strong hand in the way of personal independence, and cease to feel that hers is a monarchy limited by the rights of the masses. It is well for the country that she should be left as far as possible to consult her own comfort, ease and health at least as freely as the humblest of her subjects. The continuance of her life is certainly a political desideratum. It largely aids in maintaining a wholesome balance between conservatism and reform. So long as she lives there will be no masculine will to exaggerate the former or obstruct the latter, as notably happened under George III. and William IV. Her personal bearing is also in her favor. Her popularity, temporarily obscured a few years ago, is becoming as great as ever. It has never been weakened by any misstep in politics, and so long as that can be said will be exposed to no serious danger.

We are far from being at the end of the upper Thames. Oxford, were there no other namable place, is beyond us. But we have explored the denser portion–the nucleus of the nebula of historic stars that stretches into the western sky as seen from the metropolis. We lay aside our little lorgnette. It has shown us as much as we can map in these pages, and that we have endeavored to do with at least the merit of accuracy.



I am an idle reed;
I rustle in the whispering air;
I bear my stalk and seed
Through spring-time’s glow and summer’s glare.

And in the fiercer strife
Which winter brings to me amain,
Sapless, I waste my life,
And, murmuring at my fate, complain.

I am a worthless reed;
No golden top have I for crown,
No flower for beauty’s meed,
No wreath for poet’s high renown.

Hollow and gaunt, my wand
Shrill whistles, bending in the gale; Leafless and sad I stand,
And, still neglected, still bewail.

O foolish reed! to wail!
A poet came, with downcast eyes,
And, wandering through the dale, Saw thee and claimed thee for his prize.

He plucked thee from the mire;
He pruned and made of thee a pen,
And wrote in words of fire
His flaming song to listening men;

Till thou, so lowly bred,
Now wedded to a nobler state,
Utt’rest such paeans overhead
That angels listen at their gate.




I had now learned to place myself unreservedly in the hands of Bhima Gandharva. When, therefore, on regaining the station at Khandallah, he said, “The route by which I intend to show you India will immediately take us quite away from this part of it; first, however, let us go and see Poona, the old Mahratta capital, which lies but a little more than thirty miles farther to the south-eastward by rail,”–I accepted the proposition as a matter of course, and we were soon steaming down the eastern declivity of the Ghats. As we moved smoothly down into the treeless plains which surround Poona I could not resist a certain feeling of depression.

“Yes,” said Bhima Gandharva when I mentioned it to him, “I understand exactly what you mean. On reaching an unbroken expanse of level country, after leaving the tops of mountains, I always feel as if my soul had come bump against a solid wall of rock in the dark. I seem to hear a dull _thud_ of discouragement somewhere back in my soul, as when a man’s body falls dead on the earth. Nothing, indeed, could more heighten such a sensation than the contrast between this and the Bombay side of the Ghats. There we had the undulating waters, the lovely harbor with its wooded and hilly islands, the ascending terraces of the Ghats: everything was energetic, the whole invitation of Nature was toward air, light, freedom, heaven. But here one spot is like another spot; this level ground is just the same level ground there was a mile back; this corn stands like that corn; there is an oppressive sense of bread-and-butter about; one somehow finds one’s self thinking of ventilation and economics. It is the sausage-grinding school of poetry–of which modern art, by the way, presents several examples–as compared with that general school represented by the geniuses who arise and fly their own flight and sing at a great distance above the heads of men and of wheat.”

Having arrived and refreshed ourselves at our hotel, whose proprietor was, as usual, a Parsee, we sallied forth for a stroll about Poona. On one side of us lay the English quarter, consisting of the houses and gardens of the officers and government employes, and of the two or three hundred other Englishmen residing here. On the other was the town, extending itself along the banks of the little river Moota. We dreamed ourselves along in the lovely weather through such of the seven quarters of the town as happened to strike the fancy of my companion. Occasionally we were compelled to turn out of our way for the sacred cattle, which, in the enjoyment of their divine prerogatives, would remain serenely lying across our path; but we respected the antiquity, if not the reasonableness, of their privileges, and murmured not.

Each of the seven quarters of Poona is named after a day of the week. As we strolled from Monday to Tuesday, or passed with bold anachronism from Saturday back to Wednesday, I could not help observing how these interweavings and reversals of time appeared to take an actual embodiment in the scenes through which we slowly moved, particularly in respect of the houses and the costumes which went to make up our general view. From the modern-built European houses to the mediaeval-looking buildings of the Bhoodwar quarter, with their massive walls and loop-holes and crenellations, was a matter of four or five centuries back in a mere turn of the eye; and from these latter to the Hindu temples here and there, which, whether or not of actual age, always carry one straight into antiquity, was a further retrogression to the obscure depths of time. So, too, one’s glance would often sweep in a twinkling from a European clothed in garments of the latest mode to a Hindu whose sole covering was his _dhotee_, or clout about the loins, taking in between these two extremes a number of distinct stages in the process of evolution through which our clothes have gone. In the evening we visited the _Sangam_, where the small streams of the Moola and the Moota come together. It is filled with cenotaphs, but, so far from being a place of weeping, the pleasant air was full of laughter and of gay conversation from the Hindus, who delight to repair here for the purpose of enjoying the cool breath of the evening as well as the pleasures of social intercourse.


But I did not care to linger in Poona. The atmosphere always had to me a certain tang of the assassinations, the intrigues, the treacheries which marked the reign of that singular line of usurping ministers whose capital was here. In the days when the Peishwas were in the height of their glory Poona was a city of a hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, and great traffic was here carried on in jewelry and such luxuries among the Mahratta nobles. The Mahrattas once, indeed, possessed the whole of India practically; and their name is composed of _Mahu_, a word meaning “great,” and often to be met with in the designations of this land, where so many things really _are_ great, and _Rachtra_, “kingdom,” the propriety of the appellation seeming to be justified by the bravery and military character of the people. They have been called the Cossacks of India from these qualities combined with their horsemanship. But the dynasty of the usurping ministers had its origin in iniquity; and the corruption of its birth quickly broke out again under the stimulus of excess and luxury, until it culminated in the destruction of the Mahratta empire in 1818. So, when we had seen the palace of the Peishwa, from one of whose balconies the young Peishwa Mahadeo committed suicide by leaping to the earth in the year 1797 through shame at having been reproved by his minister Nana Farnavese in presence of his court, and when we had visited the Hira-Bagh, or Garden of Diamonds, the summer retreat of the Peishwas, with its elegant pavilion, its balconies jutting into the masses of foliage, its cool tank of water, reposing under the protection of the temple-studded Hill of Pararati, we took train again for Bombay.

The Great Indian Peninsula Railway’s main line leads out of Bombay over the Ghats to Jabalpur, six hundred miles; thence a railway of some two hundred and twenty miles runs to Allahabad, connecting them with the great line, known as the East Indian Railway, which extends for more than a thousand miles north-westward from Calcutta _via_ Patna, Benares, Allahabad, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Agra and Delhi. Our journey, as marked out by Bhima Gandharva, was to be from Bombay to Jabalpur by rail; thence by some slow and easy conveyance across country to Bhopal, and from Bhopal northward through Jhansi to Delhi and the northern country, thence returning by rail to Calcutta.

As one ascends the Western Ghats shortly after leaving Bombay one has continual occasion to remark the extraordinary resources of modern railway engineering. Perhaps the mechanical skill of our time has not achieved any more brilliant illustrations of itself than here occur. For many miles one is literally going up a flight of steps by rail. The word Ghat indeed means the steps leading up from pools or rivers, whose frequent occurrence in India attests the need of easy access to water, arising from the important part which it plays both in the civil and religious economies of the Hindu. The Ghats are so called from their terraced ledges, rising one above another from the shores of the ocean like the stairs leading up from a pool. In achieving the ascent of these gigantic stairs all the expedients of road-makers have been resorted to: the zigzag, the trestle, the tunnel, the curve, have been pushed to their utmost applications; for five continuous miles on the Thull Ghat Incline there is a grade of one in thirty-seven, involving many trying curves, and on nineteen miles of the Bhore Ghat Incline there are thirty tunnels.

That which gives tone and character to a general view of the interior of a railway-car in traveling is, from the nature of things, the head-covering of the occupants, for it is this which mostly meets the eye; and no one who has traveled in the United States, for example, can have failed to observe the striking difference between the aspect of a car in the South, where the felt slouch prevails, and of one in the North, where the silk hat is more affected. But cars full of turbans! There were turbans of silk, of muslin, of woolen; white turbans, red, green and yellow turbans; turbans with knots, turbans with ends hanging; neat turbans, baggy turbans, preternatural turbans, and that curious spotted silk inexpressible mitre which the Parsee wears.

[Illustration: GONDS.]

Bhima Gandharva was good enough to explain to me the turban; and really, when within bounds, it is not so nonsensical a headdress as one is apt at first to imagine. It is a strip of cloth from nine to twelve inches wide, and from fifteen to twenty-five yards long. They are known, however, of larger dimensions, reaching to a yard in width and sixty yards in length. The most common color is white; next, perhaps, red, and next yellow; though green, blue, purple and black are worn, as are also buff, shot colors and gray, these latter being usually of silk; but this does not exhaust the varieties, for there are many turbans made of cotton cloth printed in various devices to suit the fancies of the wearers.

“The _puttee-dar_ (_pugri_, or turban),” continued my companion, “is a neat compact turban, in general use by Hindus and Mohammedans; the _joore-dar_ is like the _puttee-dar_, except that it has the addition of a knot on the crown; the _khirkee-dar_ is the full-dress turban of gentlemen attached to native courts; the _nustalik_ is a small turban which fits closely to the head, and is worn for full dress at the Mohammedan _durbars_ or royal receptions; the _mundeel_ is the military turban, with stripes of gold and ends; the _sethi_ is like the _nustalik_, and is worn by bankers; the _shumla_ is a shawl-turban; and I fear you do not care to know the other varieties–the _morassa_, the _umamu_, the _dustar_, the–”

“Thank you,” I said: “life is short, my dear Bhima, and I shall know nothing but turbans if this goes on, which will be inconvenient, particularly when I return to my home and my neighbor Smith asks me that ghastly question, ‘What do I think of India?'”

“It is a more ‘ghastly’ question as to India than as to any other country in the world,” said the Hindu. “Some years ago, when Mr. Dilke was traveling in this country, a witty officer of one of the hill-stations remarked to him that _all general observations about India were absurd_. This is quite true. How could it be otherwise? Only consider, for example, the languages of India–the Assamese, with its two branches of the Deccan-goel and the Uttar-goel; the Bengalee; the Maithilee, Tirhutiya or Tirabhucti, spoken between the Coosy and the Gunduck; the Orissan, of the regions around Cuttack; the Nepalese; the Kosalese, about Almora; the Dogusee, between Almora and Cashmere; the Cashmiran; the Panjabee; the Mooltanee, or Vuchee, on the middle Indus; the two dialects of Sindhi, or Tatto, on the lower Indus; the Cutche, on the west coast of the peninsula; the Guserate, spoken on the islands of Salsette and Bombay and the opposite coast of the Coucan, as well as by the Parsees in the cities, where it is corrupted with many words of other languages through the influence of commercial relations; the Coucane, from Bombay to Goa and along the parallel Ghats where it is called Ballagate; the Bikaneere, the Marvare, the Jeypore, the Udayapore, of Rajpootana; the Vraja-bhasha (the cow-pen language) of the Doab, between the Ganges and the Jumna, which is probably the parent of Hindi (or Oordu); the Malooe, of the tableland of Malwa; the Bundelakhande, of the Bundelkhand; the Mogadhe, of Behar; the Maharachtre, of the country south of the Vindhyas; the–”

“It gives me pain to interrupt you, Bhima Gandharva,” I said (fervently hoping that this portion of my remark might escape the attention of the recording angel); “but I think we are at Jabalpur.”

_Apropos_ of Jubbulpoor, it is well enough to remark that by the rules of Indian orthography which are now to be considered authentic, the letter “a” without an accent has a sound equivalent to short “u,” and a vowel with an acute accent has what is usually called its long sound in English. Accordingly, the word written “Jabalpur” should be pronounced as if retaining the “u” and the “oo” with which it was formerly written, “Jubbulpoor”. The termination _pur_, so common in the designation of Indian places, is equivalent to that of _ville_ in English, and means the same. The other common termination, _abad_, means “dwelling” or “residence”: e.g., Ahmedabad, the residence of Ahmed. Jabalpur is but about a mile from the right bank of the Nerbada (_Nerbudda_) River; and as I wished to see the famous Marble Rocks of that stream, which are found a short distance from Jabalpur, my