THE BAY STATE MONTHLY.
A Massachusetts Magazine.
VOL. III. MAY, 1885. NO. II.
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[THE PROJECTOR OF THE MOUNT WASHINGTON RAILROAD.]
By Charles Carleton Coffin.
There were few settlers in the Pemigewasset Valley when John Marsh of East Haddam, Connecticut, at the close of the last century, with his wife, Mehitable Percival Marsh, travelling up the valley of the Merrimack, selected the town of Campton, New Hampshire, as their future home. It was a humble home. Around them was the forest with its lofty pines, gigantic oaks, and sturdy elms, to be leveled by the stalwart blows of the vigorous young farmer. The first settlers of the region endured many hardships—toiled early and late, but industry brought its rewards. The forest disappeared; green fields appeared upon the broad intervales and sunny hillsides. A troop of children came to gladden the home. The ninth child of a family of eleven received the name of Sylvester, born September 30, 1803.
The home was located among the foot-hills on the east bank of the Pemigewasset; it looked out upon a wide expanse of meadow lands, and upon mountains as delectable as those seen by the Christian pilgrim from the palace Beautiful in Bunyan's matchless allegory.
It was a period ante-dating the employment of machinery. Advancement was by brawn, rather than by brains. Three years before the birth of Sylvester Marsh an Englishman, Arthur Scholfield, determined to make America his home. He was a machinist. England was building up her system of manufactures, starting out upon her great career as a manufacturing nation determined to manufacture goods for the civilized world, and especially for the United States. Parliament had enacted a law prohibiting the carrying of machinist's tools out of Great Britain. The young mechanic was compelled to leave his tools behind. He had a retentive memory and active mind; he settled in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and set himself to work to construct a machine for the carding of wool, which at that time was done wholly by hand. The Pittsfield Sun of November 2, 1801, contained an advertisement of the first carding machine constructed in the United States. Thus it read:
"Arthur Scholfield respectfully informs the inhabitants of Pittsfield and the neighboring towns that he has a carding machine, half a mile west of the meeting-house, where they may have their wool carded into rolls for twelve and a half cents per pound; mixed, fifteen cents per pound. If they find the grease and pick the grease in it will be ten cents per pound, and twelve and a half mixed."
The first broadcloth manufactured in the United States was by Scholfield in 1804, the wool being carded in his machine and woven by hand.
In 1808 Scholfield manufactured thirteen yards of black broadcloth, which was presented to James Madison, and from which his inaugural suit was made. A few Merino sheep had been imported from France, and Scholfield, obtaining the wool, and mixing it with the coarse wool of the native sheep, produced what at that time was regarded as cloth of superior fineness. The spinning was wholly by hand.
The time had come for a new departure in household economies. Up to 1809 all spinning was done by women and girls. This same obscure county paper, the Pittsfield Sun, of January 4, 1809, contained an account of a meeting of the citizens of that town to take measures for the advancement of manufactures. The following resolution was passed: "Resolved that the introduction of spinning-jennies, as is practiced in England, into private families is strongly recommended, since one person can manage by hand the operation of a crank that turns twenty-four spindles."
This was the beginning of spinning by machinery in this country. This boy at play—or rather, working—on the hill-side farm of Campton, was in his seventh year. Not till he was nine did the first wheeled vehicle make its appearance in the Pemigewasset valley. Society was in a primitive condition. The only opportunity for education was the district school, two miles distant—where, during the cold and windy winter days, with a fire roaring in the capacious fire-place, he acquired the rudiments of education. A few academies had been established in the State, but there were not many farmer's sons who could afford to pay, at that period, even board and tuition, which in these days would be regarded as but a pittance.
Very early in life this Campton boy learned that Pemigewassett valley, though so beautiful, was but an insignificant part of the world. Intuitively his expanding mind comprehended that the tides and currents of progress were flowing in other directions, and in April, 1823, before he had attained his majority, he bade farewell to his birthplace, made his way to Boston—spending the first night at Concord, New Hampshire, having made forty miles on foot; the second at Amoskeag, the third in Boston, stopping at the grandest hotel of that period in the city—Wildes', on Elm street, where the cost of living was one dollar per day. He had but two dollars and a half, and his stay at the most luxurious hotel in the city of thirty-five thousand inhabitants was necessarily brief. He was a rugged young man, inured to hard labor, and found employment on a farm in Newton, receiving twelve dollars a month. In the fall he was once more in Campton. The succeeding summer found him at work in a brick yard. In 1826 he was back in Boston, doing business as a provision dealer in the newly-erected Quincy market.
But there was a larger sphere for this young man, just entering manhood, than a stall in the market house. In common with multitudes of young men and men in middle age he was turning his thoughts towards the boundless West. Ohio was the bourne for emigrants at that period. Thousands of New Englanders were selecting their homes in the Western Reserve. At Ashtabula the young man from Quincy market began the business of supplying Boston and New York with beef and pork, making his shipments via the Erie Canal.
But there was a farther West, and in the Winter of 1833-4 he proceeded to Chicago, then a village of three hundred inhabitants, and began to supply them, and the company of soldiers garrisoning Fort Dearborn, with fresh beef; hanging up his slaughtered cattle upon a tree standing on the site now occupied by the Court House.
This glance at the condition of society and the mechanic arts during the boyhood of Sylvester Marsh, and this look at the struggling village of Chicago when he was in manhood's prime, enables us to comprehend in some slight degree the mighty trend of events during the life time of a single individual; an advancement unparalleled through all the ages.
For eighteen years, the business begun under the spreading oak upon what is now Court House square, in Chicago, was successfully conducted,—each year assuming larger proportions. He was one of the founders of Chicago, doing his full share in the promotion of every public enterprise. The prominent business men with whom he associated were John H. Kuisie, Baptiste Bounier, Deacon John Wright, Gurdon S. Hubbard, William H. Brown, Dr. Kimberly, Henry Graves, the proprietor of the first Hotel, the Mansion house, the first framed two-story building erected, Francis Sherman, who arrived in Chicago the same year and became subsequent builder of the Sherman House.
Mr. Marsh was the originator of meat packing in Chicago, and invented many of the appliances used in the process—especially the employment of steam.
In common with most of the business men of the country, he suffered loss from the re-action of the speculative fever which swept over the country during the third decade of the century; but the man whose boyhood had been passed on the Campton hills was never cast down by commercial disaster. His entire accumulations were swept away, leaving a legacy of liability; but with undaunted bravery he began once more, and by untiring energy not only paid the last dollar of liability, but accumulated a substantial fortune—engaging in the grain business.
His active mind was ever alert to invent some method for the saving of human muscle by the employment of the forces of nature. He invented the dried-meal process, and "Marsh's Caloric Dried Meal" is still an article of commerce.
While on a visit to his native state in 1852, he ascended Mount Washington, accompanied by Rev. A.C. Thompson, pastor of the Eliot Church, Roxbury, and while struggling up the steep ascent, the idea came to him that a railroad to the summit was feasable and that it could be made a profitable enterprise. He obtained a charter for such a road in 1858, but the breaking out of the war postponed action till 1866, when a company was formed and the enterprise successfully inaugurated and completed.
Leaving Chicago he returned to New England, settling in Littleton, New Hampshire, in 1864; removing to Concord, New Hampshire, in 1879, where the closing years of his life were passed.
Mr. Marsh was married, first, April 4, 1844, to Charlotte D. Bates, daughter of James Bates of Munson, Massachusetts. The union was blessed with three children, of whom but one, Mary E. Marsh, survives. She resides in New York. Mrs. Marsh died August 20, 1852, at the age of thirty-six years. She was a woman of the finest mental qualities, highly educated, and very winning in her person and manners.
Mr. Marsh married, second, March 23, 1855, Cornelia H. Hoyt, daughter of Lumas T. Hoyt of St. Albans, Vermont. Three daughters of the five children born of this marriage live and reside with their mother in Concord, New Hampshire. Mr. Marsh died December 30, 1884, in Concord, and was buried in Blossom Hill Cemetery.
Mr. Marsh was to the very last years of his life a public-spirited citizen, entering heartily into any and every scheme which promised advantage to his fellow man. His native State was especially dear to him. He was very fond of his home and of his family. He was a devout Christian, and scrupulous in every business transaction not to mislead his friends by his own sanguine anticipations of success. His faith and energy were such that men yielded respect and confidence to his grandest projects; and capital was always forthcoming to perfect his ideas.
He had a wonderful memory for dates, events, and statistics, always maintaining his interest in current events. Aside from the daily newspapers, his favorite reading was history. The business, prosperity, and future of this country was an interesting theme of conversation with him. In business he not only possessed good judgment, wonderful energy, and enthusiasm, but caution.
He was philosophical in his desire to acquire wealth, knowing its power to further his plans, however comprehensive and far-reaching. Immense wealth was never his aim. He was unselfish, thinking ever of others. He had a strong sense of justice, and desired to do right—not to take advantage of another. He was generous and large in his ideas. He was benevolent, giving of his means in a quiet and unostentatious way. He took a great interest in young men, helping them in their struggles, with advice, encouragement, and pecuniary assistance. Students, teachers, helpless women, colored boys and girls, in early life slaves, came in for a share of his large-hearted bounty, as well as the Church with its many charities and missions.
Mr. Marsh was a consistent Christian gentleman, for many years identified with the Congregational denomination. He was a Free Mason; in politics he was an anti-slavery Whig, and later a Republican. In private life he was a kind, generous, and indulgent husband and father, considerate of those dependent on him, relieving them of every care and anxiety.
He was a typical New Englander, a founder of institutions, a promoter of every enterprise beneficial to society.
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BARNABAS BRODT DAVID.
By Rev. J.G. Davis, D.D.
In the early records of the French Protestant Church of New York City, appears the name of John David, a Huguenot, an emigrant, who married Elizabeth Whinehart. They settled in Albany, and had eleven children, of whom only five attained majority. Peter David, the sixth child, born March 11, 1764, married Elizabeth Caldwell, born May 24, 1764, the only child of Joseph Caldwell, an officer in the British navy. They also lived in Albany and had a large family of eleven children; Barnabas Brodt David, born August 8, 1802, the subject of the following sketch, was the ninth child and fifth son. On the death of his mother, which occurred September 17, 1808, the family was widely scattered, and the lad Barnabas found a home for the next five years with a family named Truax, in Hamilton Village, New York. At the end of this period he was taken into the family of an older brother, Noble Caldwell David, who resided in Peterborough, New York. Of his previous opportunities of instruction we are not informed, but during his stay of two years in Peterborough he was permitted to attend school part of the time. The death of Caldwell David's wife became the occasion of a third removal, which brought him to Keene, New Hampshire, into the care of an older sister, Mrs. David Holmes. The journey was made in the winter, in an open sleigh, without robes, and being poorly clad, the hardship and exposure were vividly remembered. He was interested in his studies, and enjoyed the privileges of the schools in Keene, so far as they were open to the children of the town. The question of an employment coming up for decision, it was determined by his friends that the lad should go to Boston and enter the shop of his eldest brother, John David, as an apprentice to the art of whip making. At that time no machinery was employed in the business, and the apprentice was taught every part of the craft.
Before the termination of his apprenticeship, his brother John David, was removed by death and an opportunity was presented of taking the stock and tools and carrying on the business. He was ambitious and his early experiences had made him self-reliant and courageous. The opening was promising, but he had neither money nor credit. In this exigency a partnership was formed with Mr. Samuel B. Melendy, who had some knowledge of the craft. With the beginning of the year 1821, the firm of Melendy and David raised a sign in Dock Square. The young men were willing to labor and they determined by industry and economy to win success. For a time the room, which they hired, served a two-fold use as they worked and slept in the same apartment. They lived cheaply and the work benches were cleared at night to furnish a place whereon to rest. Having no one to endorse a note for the firm in Boston, they had recourse to Mr. William Melendy, who had recently retired from business in the city and returned to Amherst, New Hampshire. By the most direct route, the distance from Boston must have been over forty-five miles, but Mr. Melendy, starting in the early morning on foot, reached his destination at night, and securing the signature of his brother returned the next day.
Such pluck insured success. The business became profitable, the firm had a reputation for promptitude, and were soon able to command capital. Retaining the store in Dock Square as a salesroom, the young men adopted a more comfortable style of living. They were unlike in their tastes and temperaments, the staid, cautious and steadfast conservatism of the older partner, making an admirable combination with the enterprising and hopeful spirit of the younger. Mr. David was sagacious and ready to employ every advantage that would enlarge the manufacture, or perfect the workmanship, or promote the sale of whips; while his associate had a practical oversight of the shop and materials which prevented any waste. The demand for their goods increased rapidly, and with a view to larger facilities for the manufacture, and diminished expenses, Mr. Melendy came to Amherst and commenced work in the Manning Shop, so called, about a mile south of the village, and a larger number of hands were employed. In the course of three years, a salesman was placed in Boston, an agency started in New York, and the business of manufacturing wholly transfered to this town. There was an element of romance leavening these various transactions, as in December on the twenty-second, 1825, Mr. Melendy was married to Miss Eveline Boutelle of Amherst, and on the twenty-fifth of the same month, Mr. David was married to Elizabeth Welch Melendy, a sister of his partner. These were fortunate marriages. The parties were not only happy in each other, but what is worthy special notice, a few years later in 1831, very eligible houses were bought, one for each family, at joint expense, which were occupied without interruption till both couples had commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. During all this period, the property was held in common, and the expenses of each family, however enlarged, were paid from the common fund.
In 1830, stimulated by a desire to perfect his knowledge of the business and secure any improvements in methods or machinery to be found in England, Mr. David sailed for Liverpool.
As might be anticipated, in subordination to this main interest Mr. David sought to enlarge his knowledge of English men and English institutions. He became familiar with their commercial habits, visiting public buildings and places of historical importance, so that fifty years afterwards he could speak of parks, streets, and sections of the city of London in which any recent event occured as if he had been an eye witness. He was present at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway when Lord Huskinson was killed, being crushed by the wheels of the locomotive. At this time he saw the Duke of Wellington, with other distinguished men, members of Parliament, and nobility. On his return to America, he brought a machine for winding whip-stocks, the first ever used in this country. The machine was subsequently duplicated, and proved a valuable accession to the trade. He also introduced some new materials, and enlarged the variety of fashions. In other respects the manufacture was unchanged. The prosperity of the firm had no serious checks; they had agencies for the sale of goods in Boston, New York, New Orleans, and large orders came from other cities. They bought materials for cash, so that when the commercial crash of 1837 carried disaster to multitudes, they survived. "We did not fail," said Mr. David, "for we owed no one anything, but we lost nearly all we had by the failure of others." The result of this experiment was a contraction of the system of credits and selling goods for cash or by guaranteed commissions.
For many years, the manufacture of whips was the most important business in Amherst. It gave employment to several persons and furnished the means of support to ten or twelve families. The purchases of ivory, whalebone, and other raw material, were usually made from first hands and in such quantities as often gave the firm control of the market; while in the style and workmanship of their handmade whips, they had few competitors.
With the enlargement of their resources, Messrs. Melendy & David became interested in other enterprises. They held real estate and buildings. They bought shares in the railways which were finding their location in New Hampshire. Mr. David belonged to the Board of Directors that laid out and constructed the Northern Railroad. Subsequently this property was sold, and with the proceeds they joined in new undertakings at the West, which subjected the firm to very serious losses. The business was entrusted to others, and unforeseen difficulties arose, attended by material disasters, which no precaution will certainly avert; and failing in the support which was supposed sure, defeat ensued. But these reverses were not without their uses, as subsequent events clearly demonstrated. Accepting the conditions, which were most disheartening, Mr. David and his partner addressed themselves to the work of securing their creditors and restoring their fortunes. It was a long and weary struggle, demanding persistent application, economy, and careful management. They were subjected to painful imputations and occasional rebuffs, but they also found sympathy, and at the end of nine years, in which they sought no relief from the usual claims of social and religious obligations, every debt was discharged and their real estate freed from all incumbrance. The example was most commendable, illustrating the sterling virtue and high determination of the men in circumstances where weak minds would have faltered, and unconscientious persons would have evaded payment.
Going back in this history to the period of their increasing business, we shall find that a strong religious element controlled the lives of both of these men. In the years from 1830 to 1836, which were so memorable in large accessions to the Churches of New Hampshire, the power of the gospel was manifested in Amherst, and these men with many others were persuaded to act upon their religious convictions and avow their faith in Christ. Mr. Melendy united with the Congregational Church in 1832, and Mr. David and several of his workmen followed the example in 1835; the character of all these men for integrity and steady habits had been good, but from this date a higher standard of conduct prevailed. A new direction was given to their thoughts, and the tone of the establishment was elevated by superior motives. While resident in Boston. Mr. David had been attentive to the vigorous doctrinal discussion which divided the community sixty years ago. He had listened approvingly to the preaching of Wayland and Beecher, then in the fulness of their strength. He was persuaded that the doctrines to which these divines gave such prominence were in harmony with the teachings of the New Testament; accordingly, when Mr. David accepted the Evangelical system of faith as the ground of his own hope of God's favor, he acted intelligently. He acknowledged his dependence on the grace of God in Christ Jesus. He recognized the sacredness of the Christian calling. He became a student of the Scriptures, entered the Sabbath School as a teacher, and assumed the responsibilities of sustaining the ordinances of public and local religious worship. In 1846, he was elected deacon in the Congregational Church. He accepted the office with some reluctance, being distrustful of himself, but his counsel and service were of great value to the brotherhood. Intent on improving himself in all the qualities of Christian manhood, he was observant of the great movements of society, and deeply interested in the new and enlarged applications of Chistianity. He followed the operations of the American Board, as new fields opened to the missionaries of the Cross; keeping informed as to the changing phases of Evangelical effort in this and in foreign lands. In this particular he manifested the same accuracy which marked his knowledge of current affairs. He was familiar with the history of the United States and Great Britain, and having a lively admiration of learned men, statesmen, scholars, and divines, he was a reader of biographies. While emulating the excellence which he admired, these stores of information were employed to enliven conversation and to furnish material for public discourses. In the gathering of the people, whether for secular or religious purposes, he was often called upon to speak. His remarks were received with attention, and had weight with his audience, because they embodied the fruits of his study and reflection.
In the meetings of the Church for conference and prayer, he was often very helpful. He had too much reverence for the place and object of the assembly, to indulge in crude and repetitious utterances. He prepared himself for the duty, by recalling the lessons of his own experience or citing illustrations from the wide stores of his reading. His words were well chosen, and his thoughts seldom common-place. In the exigencies of the missionary cause, or on some occasion of special peril to the truth he would bring forward an instance of signal deliverance from similar trial, in the previous history of the Church, or in the lives of her servants. There were those, who might speak with more fluency, or employ a more impassioned manner, but no one spoke more to edification. His prayers also were marked by the same evident thoughtfulness and spirituality. He was not hasty to offer his desires before God. You felt, in following his petitions, that he had a message, and his voice would often be tremulous with emotion as he made supplication in behalf of the sick or the sorrowful; as he prayed for the youth of the congregation, or interceded in behalf of the Church and the country. As an officer of the Church, he was considerate of the feelings and wants of his brethren; visiting the sick, searching out the poor, and practicing a generous hospitality. Ministers of all denominations were welcome to his house, and among his chosen friends there were none held in higher esteem than the ministers whom he loved for their works' sake.
Deacon David was averse to strife and controversy; the convictions which he cherished had been matured by careful study, and he was ready to give them expression on all suitable occasions; but he avoided personal disputes, and the imputations that accompany heated discussion. He knew that these controversies were unprofitable, and he consequently sought "the things that make for peace." When differences arose and bad feelings were likely to be stirred, he was happy if he could remove or allay the cause of alienation.
As a citizen, Deacon David exhibited a hearty interest in the prosperity of the town, and he did not shrink from the duties by which the community is served. He wished to have good schools, well made roads, and all public buildings convenient and in good repair. A modest man, not seeking office for himself, and always ready to commend good service when rendered by others, he did not decline when called to take office. He accordingly acted as a select-man, representative to the Legislature, member of the School Committee, in addition to special services when some interest or enterprise affecting the community was given in charge to a committee to act in behalf of the town.
Socially, his influence was constantly exerted in the promotion of whatever would elevate and improve the aims and habits of his townsmen. He was active in the movement for the establishment of a Library which should be open to all; in the absence of an Academy, he favored the introduction of a High School.
He constructed sidewalks, and along the streets, so far as he had control, shade trees were planted by his direction. He was also careful to maintain the amenities of life, prompt in meeting and reciprocating all social obligations. Somewhat above the medium height, erect but spare in figure, there was a mingling of dignity and sweetness in his expression which won your confidence. The promptness and despatch, which distinguished his methods of business, were manifest in the general ordering of his affairs. The practical forecast, which, anticipates the crowding of engagements, and maps out the work, was seen in the distribution of his occupations. The materials were in readiness for every workman's alloted task. Without formal designation, there was time for study, or the performance of civil or social duty, in the busiest season. It entered into his plans to maintain an order in his reading and recreations. His farm, his buildings, tools, equipage, and the whole estate, were kept in excellent condition. Without lavish expenditure, his premises wore an air of neatness and thrift. He was uneasy if his animals were exposed to ill treatment, and he tolerated no waste. With such habits, it was pleasant to be associated with him in any service. You had not to wait for him. He remembered his appointments. He was in his seat in the sanctuary before the opening of the service. No special message was required to secure his attendance at town meeting. The power of his example was elevating and wholesome, and as we review his life and deplore the loss of his presence and cooperation, it is interesting to hear the frequent and hearty testimonials to his kindness, and fairmindedness coming from men who were long in his employment; while others gratefully acknowledge his friendly counsel and assistance in their youthful days.
In politics, Deacon David was Whig and Republican; he believed in the policy of protecting American manufactures, and, during the most active period of his life, his opinions were in harmony with the sentiments of Mr. Webster. With the dissolution of the Whig party, and the undeniable intention on the part of the South to extend the area of slavery, he became a staunch Republican. On the election of Lincoln he put forth his best endeavors to maintain the government, and when the call was made for troops, he was among the foremost to pledge himself and all that he had to sustain the imperilled cause of Liberty. He encouraged his sons to enlist in the army and two of them entered the military service of the country.
Deacon David had seven children, of whom five attained majority and became heads of families; three of this number are now living, two sons and a daughter; and there are fifteen grandchildren. He retired from active business in 1875, but interested himself in the affairs of the Church, and in the business of a son in Boston. But his health, never very robust, became impaired with the advance in years, and he withdrew more and more from public notice. His wife and children were constant with their grateful ministrations, and, under the oversight of attentive physicians, his life was prolonged beyond expectation. He retained his mental powers in great activity until the end, his memory of recent, as well as remote occurrences, serving him with unusual accuracy. He was seldom depressed, and had none of the "melancholy damp of cold and dry," of which Milton speaks, to weigh his spirits down. Being able to see friends, he conversed with the animation and intelligence of one in middle life.
The change came at length, and sustained by an unfaltering trust in the Lord Jesus, whom he had publicly confessed for nearly half a century, he fell asleep on the third of September, 1883. He had lived with his wife fifty-seven years, and in the same house for fifty-two years. Soon after his death, the Church adopted formal resolutions, setting forth the grounds of their gratitude to God for his valuable life and services as an officer, and expressing the sincere affection with which they cherished his memory as a citizen and friend.
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THE BOSTON LATIN SCHOOL.
The one educational institution in this country which has the honor of ante-dating Harvard College by a few years, and of thus being the very oldest in the land, is the Boston Latin School. For two hundred and fifty years it has been a part, and an important part, of the town and city of Boston, influencing all its other institutions, social, literary, moral, political, and religious, and largely giving to the metropolis, directly or indirectly, its wide-spread fame as the "Athens of America."
The establishment of this School has its origin in a vote of which the following is a transcript:
"... 13th of the 2d moneth 1635 ... att a General meeting upon public notice ... it was generally agreed upon, that our brother Philemon Pormout shall be intreated to become scholemaster for the teaching and nourtering of children with us."
At this time, Boston was a village of perhaps, fifteen hundred inhabitants, and it was a hundred years later before it had reached as many thousands.
The first school-house was on the north side of School street, close by the burying-ground which had already received the mortal dust of several of the early settlers. It was a century before King's Chapel was built, but at the foot of School street, near the site of the Old South meeting-house, was Governor Winthrop's imposing mansion; and nearly opposite this, was the Blue Lion Tavern.
The foundation of this school was soon followed by several others. Charlestown had a school in 1636, Salem and Ipswich in 1637, and the Eliot school in Roxbury was established in 1645. The Latin school was alone in Boston, however, for nearly fifty years, and it was wisely cherished and nurtured by the town. Mr. Pormout was paid a salary of sixty pounds a year, a sum considered comportable to the talent employed, and the grave responsibilities of the position.
The masters who succeeded to Mr. Pormout are, in their order: Rev. Daniel Maude, Rev. John Woodbridge, Robert Woodmansie, Benjamin Thompson, Ezekiel Cheever, Rev. Nathaniel Williams, and John Lovell, whose rule continued for forty-two years, or until the Revolutionary war. Among Lovell's pupils was Harrison Gray Otis. During the excitement of the war, the school was closed for a short time, but was again opened in June, 1776, under the rule of Mr. Samuel Hunt. He was in authority for twenty-nine years and was then succeeded by William Bigelow of Salem, who held the sceptre until 1813, when it passed to Benjamin Apthorp Gould, and in 1828 to Frederick P. Leverett. The later masters have been Charles K. Dilloway, who succeeded in 1831, Epes Sargent Dixwell in 1836, Francis Gardner in 1851, Augustine W. Gay in 1876, and in 1877 Moses Merrill, the present efficient master. Among these many school teachers, some have been famous for their marked abilities. This is especially true of Ezekiel Cheever, John Lovell, and Francis Gardner.
"Cheever and Lovell and Gardner, the Puritan, the Tory, and shall not we say, in some fuller sense, the man—are they not characteristic figures? One belongs to the century of Milton, one to the century of Johnson, one to the century of Carlisle. One's eye is on the New Jerusalem; one's soul is all wrapped up in Boston; one has caught sight of humanity. One is of the century of faith, one of the century of common-sense, one of the century of conscience. One leaches his boys the Christian doctrine, one bids them keep the order of the school, one inspires them to do their duty. The times they represent are great expanses in the sea of time. One shallower, one deeper than the other; through them all sails on the constant school with its monotonous routine, like the clattering machine of a great ship which over many waters of different depths, feeling now the deepness and now the shallowness under its keel, presses along to some sea of the future which shall be better than them all."
The first school-house stood until 1748. Another was then erected on the opposite side of School street, where the Parker House now stands. In 1812 a new building was erected here. The Latin school was moved in 1844 to Bedford street, where it occupied the building recently torn down, until 1881, when the magnificent structure on Warren Avenue became its home.
A glance over the list of those who have graduated reveals the names of John Hull, Benjamin Franklin and his four fellow-signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock, Sam Adams, Robert Treat Paine, William Hooper; Presidents Leverett, Langdon, Everett and Eliot of Harvard, and Pynchon of Trinity College; Governors James Bowdoin and William Eustis; Lieutenant-Governors Cushing and Winthrop; James Lovell; Adino Paddock, who planted the "Paddock Elms"; Judges Francis Dana, Thomas Dawes, and Charles Jackson; Drs. John C. Warren, James Jackson and Henry I. Bowditch; Professors William D. Peck, Henry W. Torrey, Francis J. Child, Josiah P. Cooke, and William R. Dimmock; Mayors Harrison G. Otis, Samuel A. Eliot and Frederick O. Prince; Honorables Robert C. Winthrop, Charles Francis Adams, George S. Hillard, Charles Sumner, William M. Evarts and Charles Devens; such writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Lothrop Motley, and divines as Right Rev. John B. Fitzpatrick, Roman Catholic bishop of Boston, Right Rev. Theodore Dehon, bishop of South Carolina, and Revs. Cotton Mather, Benjamin Colman, Andrew Eliot, Joseph Tuckerman, William Jenks, Samuel Cooper Thacher, Francis Parkman, N.L. Frothingham, William H. Furness, Alexander Young, Frederick A. Farley, James Freeman Clarke, William Henry Channing, Henry Ward Beecher, John F.W. Ware, Edward E. Hale and Phillips Brooks.
[Footnote 1: Rev. Phillips Brooks.]
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THE WHITE AND FRANCONIA MOUNTAINS.
By Fred Myron Colby.
What would the world be without mountains? Geographically, one vast monotony of unchanging surface; geologically, a desert waste. Mountains are the rib-bones of the great skeleton of nature, and they hold together the gorgeous outline of river, valley, lake, and savannah that gives the earth all its varied beauty. Beautiful and grand as they are, they are as useful as ornamental, and serve a momentous necessity in mundane affairs. They are grand landmarks of the Almighty's power and mercy and goodness, and historically occupy a high position in the lives of nations.
The seers and saints of the old time speak of the strength of the hills as if they were the special gifts of the Creator to his favored people for their defence. The history of later nations has shown us that they have found more in the strength of the hills than defences against the attacks of outside enemies; that they have drawn from them a moral vigor of character, a keenness and activity of intellect, and a love of country, which has produced the most enduring and elevated patriotism. And, indeed, we must bless God for mountains; those who live near them are larger, better, nobler than the denizens of the plains. "Flee to the mountains," cried the angel to Lot. Ah! there was meaning in the command. Men stagnate upon the plain; they grow indolent, sensual, mediocre there, and are only vivified as they seek the great alphabet of nature, as they pulsate with her in her wondrous heart-beats. It has been the mountain men who have ruled the world.
New Hampshire is a land of mountains. She is indeed throned among the hills, and well deserves the title of the "Switzerland of America." Her cloud-capped peaks, even in mid-summer, glisten with frosts and snows of winter, and they stand watchful sentinels over the liberties of her children. Our Alps are the White Mountains, and they hold no mean place beside their rivals in the old world. Their lofty elevation, their geological formation, the wild and romantic scenery in their vicinity, and their legends of white and red men, all concur to render them peculiarly interesting.
The White Mountain range is located in Coos, Grafton, and Carroll Counties, covering an area of about two thousand square miles, or nearly a third of the northern section of the State. Four of the largest rivers of New England receive tributaries from its streams, and one has its principal source in this region. The peaks cluster in two groups, the eastern or White Mountain group proper, and the Franconia group, separated from each other by a tableland varying from ten to twenty miles in breadth. These mountains differ from most others in being purely of a primitive origin. They are probably the most ancient mountains in the world; not even the organic remains of the transition period have ever been discovered near them; and they are essentially of granitic formation. Underneath these coherent and indurate ledges the most valuble ores exist, but coal and fossils are searched for in vain. Many a change during the geological periods have these granite mountains looked upon. They have seen fire and water successively sweep over the surface of our globe. Devastating epochs passed, continents sunk and rose, and mountains were piled on mountains in the dread chaos, but these stood firm and undaunted, though scarred and seamed by glaciers, and washed by the billows of a primeval sea, presenting nearly the same contour that they do to-day. They are the Methuselahs among mountains.
The Indians generally called these mountains Agiocochook, though one of the eastern tribes bestowed upon them the name of Waumbek Ketmetha, which signifies White Mountains. A mythic obscurity shadows the whole historical life of this region till the advent of the white men. The red man held the mountains in reverence and awe. What Olympus and Ida were to the ancient Greeks, what Ararat and Sinai were to the Jews, what Popocatapetl and Orizaba were to the Aztecs, so were the summits of the White Mountains to the simple natives of this section. An ancient tradition prevailed among them that a deluge once overspread the land and destroyed every human being but a single powwow and his wife, who fled for safety to these elevated regions, and thus preserved the race from extermination. Their fancy peopled the mountains with invisible beings, who indicated their presence and manifested their power by storms and tempests, which they were believed to control with absolute authority. The savages, therefore, never attempted to ascend the summits, deeming the undertaking perilous, and success impossible. But, though thus cherishing a superstitious respect for their utmost elevations, they still frequented the environs and mountain defiles, and propogated many marvelous stories of what they alleged could there be seen. Among other things, they gave accounts of immense carbuncles seen far up the steep and inaccessible sides, which shone in the darkness of night with the most brilliant and dazzling splendor.
The first white men who visited these mountains, were Messrs. Neal, Jocelyn, and Field, who explored the region carefully in the year 1632. They were incited partly, no doubt, by curiosity, but more probably by the hope of finding mineral treasure. They were disappointed in finding gold, however, but they gave a glowing account of their adventures, and of the extent and grandeur of the mountains, which they called Crystal Hills. A few years later, Captain Richard Vines and others were attracted there by the reports they heard. They remained some time in their vicinity, but returned without anything more than a knowledge of their romantic scenery and the fine facilities they afforded for game. Since then, they have been frequented by hunters and men of science, and within a number of years they have become one of the most fashionable places of summer resort in the United States.
The White Mountain plateau is approached by travellers from four directions, namely: from the east by the Grand Trunk, Eastern, and Ogdensburg Railroads; from the south by Lake Winnipiseogee and the Pemigewassett rivers; from the south-west by way of Connecticut River and White Mountain Railroad at Littleton, and from the north by the Grand Trunk at Northumberland. The approach is grand from all sides, and the mountain combinations picturesque and beautiful. From five to six thousand feet above the plain, these mountains rise presenting every variety of mountain scenery, slopes, ravines, precipices, towering cliffs, and overhanging summits.
To the south of the mountains and nestling among the foot hills, lies Lake Winnipiseogee—"Pleasant Water in a High Place," or "The Smile of the Great Spirit," as the aborigines termed it, with its surface broken by hundreds of islands: one, they say, for every day of the calendar year; and its shores the delight of artists in search of the picturesque, as well as of the sojourner after pleasure. Its waters smile eternally pleasant, and the visitor will not find the fountain of perpetual youth of the swart old navigator a fable; for here he will regain lost youth and strength in the contemplation of scenes as beautiful as poets' dreams. O! Lake Winnipiseogee, we recall the sails across thy bright waters with delight, and long to see thy rippling tide once more murmuring beneath the keel of our boat.
What haunts form a magic chain along the verdant shores of this charming lake! The Wiers, Wolfborough, Alton Bay, Centre Harbor, each a name that moves the heart to thrill it. A voyage across the lake will be remembered a life-time. Says Edward Everett, commenting upon a sail from Wiers up the lake: "I have been something of a traveller in my own country, though far less than I could wish—and in Europe have seen all that is most attractive, but my eye has yet to rest upon a lovelier scene." A climb to the summit of Red Hill, at Centre Harbor, Starr King's favorite haunt, well repays for the labor. The lake presents a charming picture from its crest. Across its waters can be seen the domes of Belknap and more distant Kearsage and Monadnock. In the east are the Ossipee Mountains and bold Mount Chocorua. Toward the north is a throng of lofty mountains overtopped on a clear day by distant Mount Washington, which towers king-like over all his neighbors. In the west one has a view of Squam Lake, with its many islands bordered by beaches of white sand, the little village of Centre Harbor, Meredith, and that popular lakeside resort, the Weirs.
At the Weirs, which is a way-station of the Boston and Montreal Road on the borders of the lake, is a cottage city. Here in front of each domicile is built the miniature wharf off which is moored the row boat or yacht, dancing feather like on the waves. Lofty trees with dense foliage grow to the water's edge, affording grateful shade. Within the grove is an auditorium in one of nature's amphitheatres where the weary people, assembled from their homes in the dusty city, listen to words of eloquence or exhortation while fanned by lake breezes. On the sides of the hill the veterans of the Grand Army have erected barracks, and there they annually assemble, build their camp fires, recount old scenes, fight mimic battles, and close up their ranks thinned by time. The approach to their camp is guarded by cannon, used to salute some honored comrade, and overlooked by an observatory on which stands no sentinel.
We had made up our minds "to do" the White Mountains, Molly, Fritz and I, the latter being an indefinite person, and we calculated on going prepared. We had spent a fortnight reading Starr King's "White Hills," studying handbooks and Hitchcock's Geology of New Hampshire, Then it took us a week to do the packing. One bright summer day we started; night found us at Plymouth on the banks of the Pemigewasset, at the very gateway of the mountains. We slept at the Pemigewasset House, where we were shown the room in which Hawthorne died twenty years ago, while on an excursion for health with his friend Franklin Pierce. That will be what Plymouth will be famous for one hundred years hence—the place where Hawthorne died. "It is a pleasant place at which to die," said Fritz, "but I had rather have been born there."
Following up the valley by the river-road through the towns of Campton, Thornton, and Woodstock, one sees himself surrounded on either hand by towering mountains and the most exquisite rural scenery. Another road following the Indian trail from Canada to the coast, over which the weary feet of many a captive passed in the old time, driven ruthlessly from their homes to the wilderness by their savage captors, passes through Rumney and Wentworth to Warren summit, the lowest land in the "divide" between the Connecticut and Merrimack valleys, yet a thousand feet above the ocean. Moosilauke, the ancient Moosehillock, here stands sentry, almost five thousand feet above the sea level. It is the western outpost of the mountain region and deserves a visit. A good carriage road leads from the station to Breezy Point House, at its base, where buck-boards are chartered for the ascent. At first the road leads through rocky pastures, thence into primeval woods in which the way becomes more and more precipitous; and as we go up the trees become dwarfed to bushes, until as one emerges to the open space on the shoulder of the mountain a most impressive scene breaks upon him. An immense gulf lies beneath him, while before him towers the lofty summit.
The morning or evening view from Moosilauke is grand in the extreme. The valley of the Connecticut for many miles is in view, through which winds the "long river" like a blue ribbon. Over in Vermont are the Green Mountains, commanded by Mount Mansfield, while across the State and over Lake Champlain one catches a glimpse of the distant Adirondacks. In the south can be seen Ascutney and the mountains and lakes of central New Hampshire, while a distant peak beyond Monadnock may be Mount Wachuset in Massachusetts. To the eastward is massed an ocean of mountains, of which Mounts Washington and Lafayette are monarchs. To the north lies the Gardner range, and in the valley near at hand the sheltered community incorporated by the name of Benton and overlooked by Mount Kinsman.
As the sun sinks below the western mountains, one stands in brilliant daylight, while the valleys below him are shrouded in the gloom of night; when the sun has disappeared, darkness has come. One can well spend a night on the summit if only to behold the glorious sunrise in the morning. Before the dawn comes, one is on an island in an ocean of foam. The sun springs gladly from behind the hills on the eastern horizon, and scatters the early mists as by an enchanter's wand. As a matter of course there is a Tip Top House on Moosilauke, and a genial landlord.
Owl's Head the traveller passes on the right as he leaves Warren summit. Between Owl's Head and Moosilauke there is a deep valley through which winds a road leading from Warren to Benton and Dansville, affording a lonely but pleasant route through the mountains.
"That road," said Molly, "looks as if it might be haunted by Claude Duval and his ilk; I suppose there are robbers among the mountains."
Fritz smiled. "We find them at the hotels now and then, and they wear diamond studs generally," he said. "Our modern highwaymen do not haunt lonesome defiles and cry 'Stand and Deliver.' That style is obsolete; nor are there any romantic stories told of their dancing on the green with the victims they have plundered. They are not gallant enough for that."
"I don't care," declared Molly. "I like the modern way best; besides we get our money's worth Why! any one of these views is worth, oh,—'ever so much,' which includes hotel bills and all," laughed the cynical Fritz.
At Wells River a very high bridge spans the Connecticut. Here the waters of the tumbling Ammonoosuc, the wildest and most rapid stream in New Hampshire, joins the Connecticut in its journey to the sea. The highlands of Bath repay attention as we journey northward. Littleton is a thriving village, which controls the business of this section, and promises to be a northern metropolis.
A few miles from Littleton is Bethlehem, a regular mountain village, with an altitude higher than that of any other village east of the Mississippi. This is one of the most charming resorts in the White Mountain region. The long, main street of the town runs along the side of Mount Agassiz, and its elevation is such as to banish hay fever and all kindred complaints.
After we had dined, Fritz, Molly, and I, proceeded to investigate the place by carriage. The day was warm, but Bethlehem has the luxury of admirably-shaded streets; and although tropic heat may flood the outer world, they lie temptingly cool beneath the great boughs; delightful breezes sweeping from the mountains, so that a ride is always enjoyable. There are regulation drives, and there are other drives, for one can take a different route every day for a month, and each drive will seem to surpass the other. In fact, the drives, walks, and woodland paths about this village, rival those of Central Park in New York City. The hotels of the village are palatial, and compare favorably with the best in much older communities. Their accommodations are fully appreciated by the army of health and pleasure seekers who annually visit them.
This village has lately been directly connected with the outside world by a narrow-gauge road, which runs parallel with the street and joins the main line at Bethlehem Junction. In laying the track very little attention was paid to the grade, and the train follows the undulating surface. The train after leaving the junction seems fairly to climb to the upper level.
Southerly from Bethlehem Junction a narrow-gauge railway extends into the heart of the Franconia Notch, having its terminus at the celebrated Profile House, which is a considerable village in itself. At the end of the route the road skirts the shores of Echo Lake, a gem of water surrounded by lofty mountains, a fit home for nymphs and naiads.
"I should like to read 'Manfred' here," said Molly one morning (Byron was one of her favorites) "It is just the place, mountains, forests and all, and who knows—the wizzard."
"There is the Old Man of the Mountain; perhaps he would volunteer," suggested Fritz.
"I thought it was a witch," observed the indefinite person.
"Well, it matters not which it was," said Molly, seeing that we were attempting to badger her. "Here is the hour and the scene."
"But the man, O, where is he?" cried Fritz.
"The truth is, we cannot appreciate Byron till we come here," pursued Molly. "If we could only have a tempest now. Ah, I can imagine those mountain Alps. How beautiful and grand it is. Within this wide domain romance, science, and nature, murmur an eternal anthem, which wooes for every soul that finds itself herein a new aspiration, and a realization that, after all our study and care, we have appreciated creation so lightly!"
That afternoon Molly had her wished-for tempest. The heat had been sultry, but by five o'clock a heavy wind began to blow and huge billows of clouds began to appear above the tops of the mountains. The sky grew blacker every moment. By and by a mighty river of clouds began to pour itself down over the peaks into the valley below; one by one each haughty crest disappeared beneath the flood. In a few moments every ravine was filled with rolling masses of clouds and the rain was falling in sheets. We could trace its rapid flight over the space between the hotel and the distant mountains. A gentleman who has been at the Profile House for several summers said that he had never seen so grand a storm-cloud as the one just described. When the storm was past and the clouds began to melt away, it was natural enough that we should call to mind the following passage from "Lucile:"
Meanwhile, The sun in his setting, sent up the last smile Of his power, to baffle the storm. And, behold O'er the mountains embattled, his armies, all gold, Rose and rested; while far up the dim airy crags, Its artillery silenced, its banners in rags, The rear of the tempest its sullen retreat Drew off slowly, receding in silence, to meet The powers of the night, which, now gathering afar, Had already sent forward one bright signal star.
A whole host of natural beauties and attractive scenes lie at hand near this great mountain caravansary. Turn in any and all directions, at every point a view greets the vision which rivals the touches of an almost divine brush on Oriental canvas. Avenues lead through a perfect labyrinth of forests in all directions, and many are the famous sights to be seen. Profile Lake lies close by at the base of Cannon or Profile Mountain and Mount Lafayette. From its shore can be seen that inspiring curiosity known the world over as the "Old Man of the Mountain," about which much good prose and passable poetry has been written. The profile is produced by the peculiar combination of the surfaces and angles of five huge granite blocks, and when viewed from one spot the resemblance is perfect. Colossal as it is in its proportions, being seventy feet from chin to forehead, the lines are softened by distance, and the sphynx itself is not carved more justly. There it stands, calm, grand, majestic, wearing from age to age the same undisturbed expression of sovereign and hoary dignity—the guardian spirit of the region. No wonder the simple red man, as he roamed these wilds, should pause as he caught sight of this great stone face gazing off through the mountain openings into the distant valley, and worship it as the countenance of his Manitou. All are impressed with it, and its influence is magnetic.
To climb Mount Lafayette will be scarcely less interesting than the ascent of Mount Washington, though it is more tedious, as it has to be made wholly on foot. But the charming views from its sides and summit will repay the labor of the tourist. A fine view of the Franconia Mountains can be obtained from the summit of Bald Mountain, to the top of which a carriage road has been constructed.
Following down the outlet of Profile Lake, the headwaters of the Pemigewasset, one may visit with profit and pleasure Walker's Falls, the Basin, the Cascades, and the Flume. The Flume is one of those rifts in the solid rock caused by some titanic force in ages long since. For many years there hung suspended far up above the path a huge granite boulder. In 1883 a sudden mountain storm caused a torrent to dash through the chasm, and the boulder became a subject for history. It disappeared, thus partially explaining how it was originally lodged in its former resting place. A short distance below the Flume are the Georgiana Falls, where the water descends for more than a hundred feet over a sheer precipice.
Franconia is a fairyland of wonderful fascination; and the weary of body and mind, or the despondent and languid invalid, and no less the strong and healthy, will find their physical faculties invigorated, and the mind and soul elevated by a sojourn among the attractions of that lovely town. It was with the deepest regret that we turned from those delightful regions. Our time was not lost, for as we pant and struggle in "life's ceaseless toil and endeavor," a thousand memories come to cheer us from those sojourns in this romantic and magnificent mountain land.
Again at Bethlehem Junction we follow the main thoroughfare through the mountains to the great chain of hotels of world-wide fame known as the Twin Mountain House, Fabyan's, and the Crawford House. Up the valley of the Ammonoosuc to the Twin Mountain House, which takes its name from two prominent peaks of the Franconia range, is a delightful ride. We are now in the midst of the mountain region, the White Mountain plateau. Here nature, en dishabille, with locks unkempt and loosened zone, reclines at Ease in her most secret chamber, beyond the reach of intrusion, and neither thinking of, nor caring for, the critical philosophy of the outside world; an emerald-crowned Cleopatra, revelling in the midst of her great vassals.
The Twin Mountain House, like Fabyan's and the Crawford House, is a post-office. It is a hostelry, also, that is not surpassed in its management, cuisine or in magnificence by any in the chain.
"It is good to be here," said Molly, lying back in her chair on the long piazza, "while the wind blows fair, as in Indian myth blew the breeze from the Land of Souls."
"Do you remember the other time we were here, Molly?" asked Fritz, "and the beautiful moonlight evenings we enjoyed?"
"Oh, yes. How many nights we sat here or promenaded among the trees. It was in September and the moon was full. As she arose over the eastern hills and threw her light upon the valley beneath, I never saw her more majestic. The soft, mellow radiance of the queen of night filled every nook and crevice with light. The trees waved their branches, and beckoned the woodland nymphs forth to a dance on the green. Surely, it seems as if Shakespeare must have had just such evenings in his mind when he wrote 'Midsummer Night's Dream.'"
"Ah, that was a 'Lover's Pilgrimage,'" observed Fritz, grimly, "now it is a pilgrimage for—"
"You interrupted me; we will call it an aesthetic pilgrimage."
What days those were we passed in the upland region. Fabyan's is situated in the very heart of the White Hills and is the objective point for all tourists. From the verandas of this spacious hotel, one obtains an uninterrupted view of the whole Presidential Range, and can watch the course of the train of cars as it creeps slowly up the precipitous sides of Mount Washington.
Taking the train at Fabyan's, one glides rapidly up the steepest practical grade to the Base station, where he leaves the ordinary passenger coach and takes his seat in a car designed to be pushed up the Mount Washington Railroad. After the warning whistle the train starts slowly on its journey—the grandest sensation of the whole trip to the ordinary traveller. The most magnificent scenery is soon spread before the tourist. No other three miles of railway in the world affords such a succession of wild and startling views as the passenger has on his mountain ride on this iron line up the steep inclination of this mighty summit of the great northern range. We get glimpses of the wide valley below, the bold landscape ever changing, yet always filled with grand and startling outlines. Up and up we go. We pass Gulf station, Naumbet station, Jacob's Ladder, and the monument of stones which marks the spot where, in 1855, Miss Lizzie Bourne of Maine died from exposure. At last we are at the summit, in front of the hospitable looking Tip Top House. We are standing at an altitude of over six thousand feet above the sea, or to be exact, 6,293 feet, according to Professor Guyot, on the highest point of land with one exception east of the Rocky Mountains.
"Isn't the thought inspiring," I remarked to my companions, "that we are on the highest land for which our fathers fought a century ago?"
"And is it not the theme the ultima thule of grandeur in an artist's pilgrimage?" said Molly. "What a prospect! The plains of Canada, the forests of Maine, the mountains of New York, and I really believe the sea, if I mistake not that faint blue line in the far distance over the billowy land! What a grand spectacle a sunrise or a sunset would be, viewed from this height!"
The next morning we saw the sun start from its bed in the Orient, swathed in radiant clouds and vapors, and rise up behind the eastern range of hills; we had never seen anything so beautiful and striking before, and the scene is one which neither pen can describe nor pencil portray. Our memory will not fail to cherish it as the choicest revelation to be seen in a life time.
"Do you know it was just one hundred years ago this very year, 1784, Mount Washington received its name?" asked Fritz. "Well it was, and eight years later Captain Eleazar Rossbrook penetrated into the heart of the mountains and made a clearing where the Fabyan House now stands. His son-in-law, Abel Crawford, the patriarch of the mountains, settled the next season in the Notch, in the vicinity of Bemis station. Captain Rossbrook built the first house for the reception of visitors in 1803. Ethan Allen Crawford, son of Abel Crawford, took Captain Rossbrook's house in 1817, and two years later opened the first footpath to the summit of this mountain, where he soon after built a stone cabin. There, I give all that information to you gratis."
"Very kind of you, I am sure," said Molly, "but who will vouch for its authenticity?" you used to be a terrible story-teller."
"Clio does not lie; this is history."
"You would have us believe the staid muse very modest," said Molly. But I remember some one has said history is a great liar."
"A libel, a positive libel! Shall we believe nothing?"
"Only absolute truth. Do you believe in the Trojan war? Do you believe that Marshal Ney said at Waterloo, 'Up guards and at them?'"
"Do you believe there is a Mt. Washington? Your iconoclasts would destroy everything. There are White Mountain legends, of course, but there is also White Mountain history, and the time is not so remote but that the data can be relied upon."
"No one can argue with you, Fritz," answered Molly. "I accept your data in this case. You are welcome to wear the wreath of victory."
A night spent at the White Mountain House, one of the old-fashioned hostelries, cheery, hospitable, and with an excellent cuisine, cool, airy chambers, where one is made to feel at home by the urbane landlord, Mr. R.D. Rounsend, and we turned from this section.
The Crawford House, four miles below Fabyan's, is one of the finest in its plans of the mountain houses, its wide piazzas extending the entire length of the buildings. It is magnificently situated upon a little plateau, just north of the gate of the White Mountain, or Crawford Notch. The Saco River has its source not far from the house, its birthplace being a picturesque little lake. At the right hand Mount Willard rears its shapely mass, from whose summit a glorious view can be obtained. The ascent is easily accomplished by carriage, and the prospect, though not so grand and wild as that from Mount Washington, exceeds it in picturesque beauty. The whole valley of the Saco, river of the oak and elm, lies spread before the vision. The grand outlines of the gorge, the winding road through the whole extent, the leaping cascades flashing in the sunshine, all appear before the eye as in a picture. One feels like exclaiming with Cowper:
"Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around, Of hills, and dales, and woods, and lawns, and spires, And glittering towers and gilded streams, The stretching landscape into smoke till all decays."
One of the beauties of the Notch is the Flume, a brook that goes leaping through its curious zigzag channel of rock on the side of Mount Webster, hastening on its way to join the deeper current of the Saco. Then here is "Silver Cascade," which is above the Flume, a series of leaping, dashing, turning waterfalls, descending now in a broad sheet of whitened foam, then separating into several streams, and again narrowing to a swift current through the rocky confined channel. The visitor will pause by its whitened torrent, loth to depart from the scene.
The White Mountain Notch, after Mount Washington, is the great natural feature of the range. For three miles the road follows the bottom of a chasm between overhanging cliffs, in some places two thousand feet in height, and at others not more than twenty-five feet apart. This is the great thoroughfare of travel, from the northern towns on the Connecticut to Conway and the Saco valley, and vice versa; and through it pass the headwaters of the Saco, which afterwards broadens out into a great river, and flows with rapid course through the loveliest of valleys to the sea. Much of the natural wildness and grandeur of the pass has been destroyed by laying the line of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad, which has been graded through the ravine. Railroads serve a great utilitarian purpose, but they have their defects; it seems out of place to ride across Egypt or the Holy Land behind a locomotive; a prancing steed or a camel with tinkling bells seems the most fitting motive power. There is nothing sentimental about a railroad, but after all who would care to return to the old methods of locomotion?
The Willey House, famous in story, stands upon the Notch road nestling under the steep acclivity of Mount Willey, which rises some two thousand feet behind the house.
"Why don't some of our authors use more of the historical material of this region in story writing than they do?" asked Fritz.
"The material is so romantic that romance can add nothing to it," answered Molly. "But you forget Hawthorne. His Ambitious Guest has imparted a weird interest to the event. He makes a young man, travelling through the Notch, partake of the hospitality of the family on the fatal night. At the fireside they fall to talking of their individual plans, the guest expressing himself as desirious of achieving fame. It seemed a terrible thing to him to die and to be forgotten, to leave no name behind and no monument to mark his resting place. In the midst of the conversation the ruin came, and the ambitious guest, flying with the family, found his burial with the others. The story will live in Hawthorne long after the true facts have been forgotten; or they will live because Hawthorne's narrative will have conferred immortality upon them."
This memorable event happened on the night of Monday, the twenty-eighth of August, 1826. A terrible storm of wind and rain prevailed, the mountain branches of the Saco and the Ammonoosuc speedily overfilled their rocky channels, and the steep sides of hills loosened by the rain swept down upon the valleys, destroying many an ancient landmark. One of these slides swept down toward the Willey House, then occupied by Samuel Willey, his wife, and family. The frightened inmates, seeking safety by flight from the impending ruin, were overwhelmed by the avalanche and perished, while the house remained untouched. The bodies of two sons and one daughter were never found; the rest of the Willey household lie buried in a small cemetery enclosure near the mansion house of Willey Farm at North Conway.
A most charming ride is that down the line of the Saco river to North Conway, whether by rail or stage. The beauty and boldness of the scenery on either side alternately enchants and awes.
"It reminds me of Switzerland," said Fritz, who had travelled on the continent, "only there are more rocks and ledges visible. The lower Alps are clothed in green and the upper ones in perennial snow. The Simplon Pass is not nearly so rugged as the Notch. Only in the West among the Rockies is there anything to compare with this. But below, a few miles, we have a view as pleasant as Christian and Hopeful saw from the Delectable Mountains."
"And do we have to pass Doubting castle, as they did?" asked Molly. "I don't think I should care for their experience with giants and giantesses."
"Here are castles and strongholds, but the giants, if there are any, are as helpless as Giant Pope was, who could only sit in the sun and gnaw his finger nails."
The towering cliffs on either side smile like the walls of a prison. We felt a relief when once they were passed, and we found ourselves in the broader valley below, stretching wide and green and beautiful in the summer sunshine—the famous meadows of the Saco. All of the savage aspects disappeared or were seen only at a distance. Glimpses were caught now and then of charming vistas, with the waters of the Saco gleaming brightly between the trees. No fairer valley can be found in our land than that of the Saco; and as for skies and sunsets, stop at North Conway and see what cannot be matched in Italy or the Orient.
That is what we did. A broad, level plain, five miles long by three wide, is the site of the village, which is a quiet and picturesque rural hamlet of the average size of country towns. Far in the north towers the lofty Presidential Range, in full sight, the distance softening all harsh and rugged outlines into beautiful curves and combinations, Mount Washington wearing a snowy forehead often through the entire heated term. The swelling summit of Mount Pequakett rises at the north-east of the village, a lone sentinel, guarding the gateway of the mountains with bold and unchanging brow. On the western side extends a long range of rocky hills, with the single spire-like summit of Chocorua far beyond, piercing the blue vault of heaven.
Sitting on the cheerful piazzas of any of the many hotels, one can breath the mountain air as freely as if they sat under the tower of Fabyan's or the French roof of the Twin Mountain House, but much of the grandeur of course is missed. The mountains do not seem to frown down upon you; they smile rather, and seem to beckon and wave as if desiring to gain your closer acquaintance. To know the mountains you must visit them, press their scarred rocky sides, feel their cool breezes on your forehead, then you will love them, reverence them. And this privilege is free to every one. Great railroads penetrate into the very heart of the hilly region, and the cost of travel is reduced to such a minimum that the poorest man can once in a while take his family for a pleasant sojourn among the mountains. One can start from Boston in the morning, take a dinner at the Pemigewasset House, Plymouth, and at night eat his supper at Fabyan's. And even a short visit is so refreshing, so invigorating to mind and body, that it repays when even the sight is not a novel one.
Glorious, grand, old mountain, lifting thy brow among the eternal snows; thou needst not the presence of Jove, nor the voice of a Homer to consecrate thee; and although Greeks and Trojans have never battled at thy base, still to us art thou dearer than Ida's wooded height where the gods sat enthroned to witness that divinely-recorded combat. Thy hoary peaks bear the names of chiefs and heroes who are not myths, and in the hearts of the people they are an everlasting memory.
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THE PAST AND FUTURE OF SILVER.
By David M. Balfour.
Silver, next to iron and gold, is the most extensively diffused metal upon our planet. It is found frequently in a natural state, though never chemically pure, being invariably mixed with gold or copper, or sometimes antimony, arsenic, bismuth, quick-silver, or iron. It is distinguished by its whiteness, its brilliant lustre when polished, its malleability, and its indifference to atmospheric oxygen. It is remarkable for its beauty, and is ten times heavier than water. It does not appear to have been in use before the deluge. Moses does not allude to it before that event, but mentions only brass and iron; but in Abraham's time it had become common, and traffic was carried on with it, and its value was eight to one of gold. "He was rich in silver and gold, and bought a sepulchre for his wife Sarah for four hundred shekels of silver" ($250.) It was not coined, but circulated only in bars or ingots, and was always weighed. Silver usually takes precedence in the Scriptures, whenever the two metals are mentioned conjunctively. "Silver and gold have I none," said Peter to the importunate beggar, "but such as I have, I give unto thee." Silver is first mentioned in Genesis xxiii: 15; but where it was first found is unknown to us.
Silver was extremely abundant in ancient times. "And Solomon made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones." (I Kings x: 27.) "Cyrus heaped up silver as the dust." (Zacariah ix: 3.) In the earliest times the Greeks obtained silver from the Phoceans and Laurians. The chief mines were in Siphnos, Thessaly, and Attica. In the latter country the silver mines of Laurion furnished an abundant supply, and were generally regarded as the chief source of the wealth of Athens. They ceased to be worked in the second century of the Christian Era. At the period B.C. 500, the relative value of silver to gold was eighteen to one. The Romans obtained most of their silver from the very rich mines of Spain, which had previously been worked by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, and which, though abandoned for those of Mexico, are still not exhausted. The most important use for silver, among the Greeks, was for money. At Rome, on the contrary, silver was not coined until B.C. 260.
Silver, as regards its mines, is represented in every portion of our planet. The richest silver mine in the world is Potosi; it is situated on an elevation thirteen thousand feet above the level of the sea, in a region of perpetual snow; it has always been worked in a very rude manner, yet it has already produced $250,000,000, and shows no signs of exhaustion. The annual product of the silver mines of South America, at the present time, is estimated to be $22,000,000. Their total product, to the present time, has amounted to $2,430,000,000. The silver mines of Mexico were wrought long before Cortez revealed them to the eyes of Europe, in 1513. Their annual product, at the present time, is estimated to be $30,000,000. The total product, to the present time, has amounted to $3,834,000,000. In 1850 Nevada was not reckoned among the silver-producing countries of the world. In 1867 she could proudly point to an annual product of $13,000,000; but it has declined to $6,000,000 at the present time. The total product of silver in Nevada has amounted to $340,000,000. The largest nugget of silver yet obtained was dug up in Arizona, and weighed 43,200 ounces, valued at the same number of dollars. The highest silver deposit in the world is on King Solomon's mountain, in Colorado, fourteen thousand feet above the Pacific Ocean. The annual product of the silver mines of North America is estimated to be $76,480,000. Their total product has amounted to $4,783,000,000, more than one-third of the entire product of the world from the earliest times to the present day. The annual product of the silver mines of America at the present time is estimated to be $98,480,000, and their total product has amounted to $7,170,000,000, more than three-fifths of the entire product of the world, from the earliest times to the present day. The export of silver from the United States, since 1848, has amounted to $413,292,757. The annual product of the mines of Europe at the present time is estimated to be $15,000,000; and their total product has amounted to $2,600,000,000. The annual product of the silver mines of Asia (including Australia, New Zealand, and Oceanica), at the present time is estimated to be $480,000; and their total product has amounted to $1,685,000,000. India has often been represented as destitute of silver, but we have statements from Sir Roderic Murchison that the Kulu valley is so rich in silver ore that it could yield a large product for future ages. The silver country of Vasours comprises the mountainous regions between the Beas, Sainji and Parbutti rivers. The mines, though previously worked, are now almost forgotten. The same is the case with the Manikarn mines, hitherto known to be incalculably rich. The annual product of the silver mines of Africa is estimated at the present time to be $40,000; and their total product to the present time has amounted to $389,000,000.
Silver, to the amount of $2,913,000,000, is estimated to have been obtained from the mines of the earth from the earliest times to the commencement of the Christian Era; from the date of the latter event to the discovery of America $521,000,000 were obtained; thence to the close of 1847, an addition of $6,025,000,000 was made; thence to the close of 1884, there was added $2,344,000,000; making a grand total of $11,803,000,000. The average loss by abrasion of coin is estimated by Professor Bowen at one per cent. per annum; and the loss by consumption in the arts, and fire, and shipwreck at $5,000,000 per annum. A cubic inch of silver is worth, at 48 3-4d., or 97 1-2 cents per ounce, $9.75; a cubic foot, $16.848; a cubic yard, $454,896.
Silver, to the amount of $900,000,000, is estimated to have been in existence at the commencement of the Christian Era; at the period of the discovery of America it had diminshed to $135,000,000; after the latter event it gradually increased, and in 1600 it attained to $391,000,000; in 1700, to $1,410,000,000; in 1800, to $3,622,000,000; in 1842, to 4,998,000,000; in 1853, to $4,945,000,000; and at the present the amount of silver in existence is estimated to be $5,504,000,000; which, melted into one mass, could be contained in a cube of seventy feet. Of the amount of silver in existence $3,800,000,000 is estimated to be in coin and bullion, $1,200,000,000 in watches, and the remainder in plate, jewelry, and ornaments. Of the amount now in existence $4,722,000,000 has been obtained from North America; $613,000,000 from South America; $59,000,000 from Europe; $50,000,000 from Asia (including Australia, New Zealand, and Oceanica); and $60,000,000 from Africa. The amount of the precious metals in existence is estimated to be $13,670,000,000.
Silver, so far as its annual product is concerned, has varied greatly at different periods. At the commencement of the Christian Era it is estimated to have been $4,200,000; at the period of the discovery of America it had diminished to $150,000; after that event it gradually increased, and in 1600 it attained to $9,000,000; in 1700, to $18,000,000; in 1800, to $38,000,000; in 1848, to $47,000,000; in 1863, to $63,000,000; and at the present time it is $114,000,000.
Silver, in performing the function of money, is of great antiquity. Asia was a commercial country when Europe was a wilderness; and as the East has not changed her habits since the remotest ages, silver alone is the money of that continent, inhabited by more than one-half of the human race, and among whom paper-money is unknown. The drachma was the principal silver coin among the Greeks, containing sixty-six grains of pure metal, worth about seventeen and a half cents. It furnished the type of the Roman denarius, containing fifty-eight grains of pure metal, worth about fifteen and a half cents. The silver mark was imported into England from Denmark by Alfred in A.D. 870; the penny was next issued in 1070; the groat in 1280; then came the shilling in 1503; and the crown made its appearance in 1607. The earliest silver coin issued in France was the livre, which appeared in 800, of the value of eighty cents. It steadily depreciated, until, in 1643, it was worth only sixty cents; it then, fell rapidly, until the epoch of the Revolution, when its value was only nineteen cents, and the franc took its place. The Henri was issued in 1012; the teston appeared in 1499; and the couronne followed in 1610. The first silver coin issued in the American colonies was in 1652, by Massachusetts, in the shape of pine-tree shillings; silver coins were also issued, at a later period, by the colony of Maryland. Silver half-dimes were issued by the United States in 1792; dimes appeared in 1793; and half-dollars in 1794.
Silver, in regard to coinage, has exchanged places with gold since 1848. Since 1726, to the present time, the silver coinage of the French mint has amounted to 7,500,000,000 francs, of which 4,000,000,000 has been issued since 1850; since 1664 the silver coinage of the Russian mint has amounted to 488,000,000 roubles, of which 188,000,000 has been issued since 1850; since 1792 the silver coinage of the United States mint has amounted to $325,968,571, of which $352,741,869 has been issued since 1850; since 1603, the silver coinage of the British mint has amounted to L40,000,000, of which L16,000,000 has been issued since 1850. The silver coinage of the United States, within the last decade, has amounted to $271,954,638.
Silver, since the commencement of the present century, has trebled its annual product, but its price has declined but twenty-two per cent. The causes of the depreciation of silver may be thus briefly stated:
1. The increased production of the metal; it having increased from $47,000,000 in 1848 to $114,000,000 at the present time.
2. "Council Drafts," or bills drawn by Great Britain upon India, have proved a most potent cause in the decline in the value of silver. The materials which the Indian railways, or the Indian governments require, in order to conduct business, have to be largely imported from England, and therefore, payments are largely liquidated in these bills, which now average $60,000,000 per annum, while formerly they did not average one-fifth of that sum. These bills supersede silver, and the effect is the same as though the silver mines had been equally increased. The export of silver to the East has decreased from $80,000,000 in 1847 to $20,000,000 in 1884.
3. The demonetization of silver, which has taken place in various countries. In 1865 Italy adopted unconvertible paper-money, its previous metallic currency, nearly all silver, having been about $90,000,000, Doubtless, nearly all this amount was thrown upon the markets of the world. But this produced no appreciable effect upon the price of silver, which remained as formerly (62 3-4d.) until 1872; after which it fell rapidly, reaching its lowest point in 1876, when it stood at 46 3-4d. During the same period $30,000,000 were also thrown upon the markets of the world by Germany, and $10,000,000 more by the Scandinavian kingdoms. These direct effects of the demonetization of silver down to 1876 did not of themselves, produce any appreciable effect upon its price, as undoubtedly its very low price in 1876 was greatly due to panic. In resuming specie payments in 1879 the United States adopted a gold standard; Italy resumed specie payments in gold on the twelfth day of April, 1883; and in Europe, the previous annual absorption of silver in the leading countries has entirely ceased. The Occident, led by England, is abandoning silver as money, thereby reducing it to a mere metal; and thus depriving it of the chief source of that value, which it has possessed since the beginning of civilized society. Germany has discarded silver, and adopted a single gold standard; so have the Scandinavian kingdoms; and France has closed her mint, since 1877, against silver, to avoid being deluged with the metal, discarded by her neighbors.