THE BAY STATE MONTHLY.
A Massachusetts Magazine.
VOL. III. AUGUST, 1885. NO. III.
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JOHN ALBION ANDREW.
THE "WAR-GOVERNOR" OF MASSACHUSETTS.
John Albion Andrew, the twenty-first Governor of Massachusetts, was born, May 31, 1818, at Windham, a small town near Portland, Maine. His father was Jonathan Andrew, who had established himself in Windham as a small trader; his mother was Nancy Green Pierce, of New Hampshire, who was a teacher in the celebrated academy at Fryeburg, where Daniel Webster was once employed in the same capacity.
Jonathan is described as having been "a quiet, reticent man, of much intelligence and a keen perception of the ludicrous," while his wife was "well educated, with great sweetness of temper, and altogether highly prepossessing in appearance." There never was a more united and happy family. The father possessed ample means for their education, and left his household to the good management of his wife, who was admirable in her domestic arrangements, judicious, sensible, energetic, and a rigid disciplinarian of her children. There was a rare union of gentleness and force in this woman, which made her generally attractive, and especially endeared her to all who came under the influence of her character.
Mrs. Andrew died on the 7th of March, 1832. Shortly afterwards the husband sold out his property in Windham and removed to a farm in Boxford, in the county where he was born. He died in September, 1849.
John Albion, the oldest son, entered Bowdoin College in 1833, where he pursued a course in no way remarkable. He was a studious youth, applied himself closely to his books, and appeared to take no lively interest in athletic sports. Notwithstanding his studiousness, he was ranked among the lowest of his class, and was allotted no part at Commencement. Among his fellows he was, however, exceedingly popular, and his happy temperament, his genial nature, won him friendship which after years only made stronger and more enduring.
After his graduation the young man came to Boston and entered the office of the late Henry H. Fuller, as a student of law. The attraction between him and young Andrew was mutual, and they became almost like brothers. It was while serving his novitiate under Mr. Fuller that Andrew became interested in many of the reform movements of the day, and was as firm and peculiar in one direction as his friend was in another.
Andrew rose slowly at the bar. To his clients he simply did his duty, and that was all. He was not a learned lawyer, nor was he in any sense a great lawyer, and yet he expended great care and industry in looking up his cases, and probably never lost a client who had once employed him. We are told by one of his biographers that, "during all these years he was not what was called a student, but was never idle." He entered largely into the moral questions of that day; was greatly interested in the preaching of James Freeman Clarke; a constant attendant at meeting and the Bible-classes. Occasional lay-preaching being the custom of that church, young Andrew sometimes occupied the pulpit and conducted the services to the general acceptance of the people.
Andrew did not become actively interested in politics until his admission to the bar, and then he joined the Whig party, and became thoroughly in earnest in advocating the Anti-Slavery movement. In 1859 he was chosen to the lower branch of the Legislature and at once took a prominent position. In 1860 he was nominated for Governor of the Commonwealth, by a general popular impulse which overwhelmed the old political managers, who regarded him as an intruder upon the arena, and had laid other plans. He was called to the position of chief magistrate of Massachusetts at a most momentous time, but he was found equal to the emergency, and early acquired, by general consent, the title of "The Great War-Governor."
It was just on the eve of the Rebellion, and the whole North was excited by the events which had already transpired. In his inaugural address in January, '61, Governor Andrew advised that a portion of the militia should be placed on a footing of activity, in order that, "in the possible contingencies of the future the State might be ready without inconvenient delay to contribute her share of force in any exigency of public danger," and immediately despatched a confidential messenger to the Governors of Maine and New Hampshire to inform them of his determination to prepare for instant service the militia of Massachusetts, and to invite their cooeperation.
This is not the place nor the time to give even a resume of Governor Andrew's administration. He retired from office at the close of 1865, after a service of unexampled interest and importance in the history of the Commonwealth. He retired with honor to himself and to the regret of all who had known him best. We have already alluded to Governor Andrew's interest in the question of Anti-Slavery, and it should be stated that in regard to the emancipation of the slaves he was among the first, as he was the most persistent advocate of a measure which he considered the greatest blow that could be struck at the enemy, fully justified as a measure of war and demanded by every consideration of justice and humanity.
Apropos of his impatience on this subject the following incident related by one of the Governor's friends is worth recalling:—
"It was the summer of 1862, when emancipation was being talked a great deal. We had not had any great successes, and everybody had a notion that emancipation ought to come. One day the Governor sent for me to come up to the State-House. I went up to his room, and I never shall forget how I met him. He was signing some kind of bonds, standing at a tall desk in the Council Chamber, in his shirt-sleeves, his fingers all covered with ink. He said, 'How do you do? I want you to go to Washington.'—'Why, Governor,' said I, 'I can't go to Washington on any such notice as this; I am busy, and it is impossible for me to go.'—'All my folks are serving their country,' said he; and he mentioned the various services the members of his staff were engaged in, and said with emphasis, 'Somebody must go to Washington.'—'Well, Governor, I don't see how I can.' Said he, 'I command you to go!'—'Well,' said I, 'Governor, put it in that way and I shall go, of course.'—'There is something going on,' he remarked. 'This is a momentous time.' He turned suddenly towards me and said, 'You believe in prayer, don't you?' I said, 'Why, of course.'—'Then let us pray;' and he knelt right down at the chair that was placed there; we both kneeled down, and I never heard such a prayer in all my life. I never was so near the throne of God, except when my mother died, as I was then. I said to the Governor, 'I am profoundly impressed; and I will start this afternoon for Washington.' I soon found out that emancipation was in everybody's mouth, and when I got to Washington and called upon Sumner, he began to talk emancipation. He asked me to go and see the President, and tell him how the people of Boston and New England regarded it. I went to the White House that evening and met the President. We first talked about everything but emancipation, and finally he asked me what I thought about emancipation. I told him what I thought about it, and said that Governor Andrew was so far interested in it that I had no doubt he had sent me on there to post the President in regard to what the class of people I met in Boston and New York thought of it, and then I repeated to him, as I had previously to Sumner, this prayer of the Governor's, as well as I could remember it. The President said, 'When we have the Governor of Massachusetts to send us troops in the way he has, and when we have him to utter such prayers for us, I have no doubt that we shall succeed.' In September the Governor sent for me. He had a despatch that emancipation would be proclaimed, and it was done the next day. You remember the President made proclamation in September to take effect in January. Well, he and I were together alone again in the Council Chamber. Said he, 'You remember when I wanted you to go on to Washington?' I said, 'Yes, I remember it very well.'—'Well,' said he, 'I didn't know exactly what I wanted you to go for then. Now I will tell you what let's do; you sing "Coronation," and I'll join with you.' So we sang together the old tune, and also "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." Then I sang "Old John Brown," he marching around the room and joining in the chorus after each verse."
After the war had begun, Governor Andrew insisted on every measure to defeat the Confederate armies that was consistent with the laws of war. He was especially strenuous in demanding the emancipation of the slaves, as the following quotation from a sketch by Mr. Albert G. Browne, Jr., the Governor's military secretary, will show:—
"Over the bodies of our soldiers who were killed at Baltimore he had recorded a prayer that he might live to see the end of the war, and a vow that, so long as he should govern Massachusetts, and so far as Massachusetts could control the issue, it should not end without freeing every slave in America. He believed, at the first, in the policy of emancipation as a war measure. Finding that timid counsels controlled the government at Washington, and the then commander of the Army of the Potomac, so that there was no light in that quarter, he hailed the action of Fremont in Missouri in proclaiming freedom to the Western slaves. Through all the reverses which afterwards befell that officer he never varied from this friendship; and when at last Fremont retired from the Army of Virginia, the Governor offered him the command of a Massachusetts regiment, and vainly urged him to take the field again under our State flag. Just so, afterwards, he welcomed the similar action of Hunter in South Carolina, and wrote in his defence the famous letter in which he urged 'to fire at the enemy's magazine.' He was deeply disappointed when the administration disavowed Hunter's act, for he had hoped much from the personal friendship which was known to exist between the General and the President. Soon followed the great reverses of McClellan before Richmond.
"The feelings of the Governor at this time, on the subject of emancipation, are well expressed in a speech which he made on Aug. 10, 1862, at the Methodist camp-meeting on Martha's Vineyard. It was the same speech in which occurs his remark since so often quoted:—
"'I know not what record of sin awaits me in the other world, but this I know, that I was never mean enough to despise any man because he was black.'
"Referring to slavery, he said:—
"'I have never believed it to be possible that this controversy should end and peace resume her sway until that dreadful iniquity has been trodden beneath our feet. I believe it cannot, and I have noticed, my friends (although I am not superstitious, I believe), that, from the day our government turned its back on the proclamation of General Hunter, the blessing of God has been withdrawn from our arms. We were marching on conquering and to conquer; post after post had fallen before our victorious arms; but since that day I have seen no such victories. But I have seen no discouragement. I bate not one jot of hope. I believe that God rules above, and that he will rule in the hearts of men, and that, either with our aid or against it, he has determined to let the people go. But the confidence I have in my own mind that the appointed hour has nearly come makes me feel all the more confidence in the certain and final triumph of our Union arms, because I do not believe that this great investment of Providence is to be wasted.'"
Governor Andrew retired from office January 5, 1866, and, returning to private life, he again entered upon a large practice at the bar, which was lucrative as well.
On the 30th of October, 1867, he died suddenly of apoplexy, after tea, at his own home on Charles street, Boston. The body was laid in Mount Auburn Cemetery, but was afterwards removed to the old burial-place in Hingham, where a fine statue has since been erected over his grave.
Governor Andrew was married Christmas evening, December, 1848, to Miss Eliza Jane, daughter of Charles Hersey, of Hingham. They had four children living at the time of his death,—John Forrester, born Nov. 26, 1850; Elizabeth Loring, born July 29, 1852; Edith, born April 5, 1854; Henry Hersey, born April 28, 1858.
Mr. Edwin P. Whipple, who was first chosen as the most competent person to write the biography of Governor Andrew, after examining the Governor's private and official correspondence, affirmed that he could discover nothing in his most private notes which was not honorable.
Says Mr. Peleg W. Chandler, in his "Memoir and Reminiscences of Governor Andrew," a most charming volume, from which largely this sketch has been prepared:—
"He passed more than twenty years in an arduous profession, and never earned more than enough for the decent and comfortable support of his family. He devoted his best years to the country, and lost his life in her service. His highest ambition was to do his duty in simple faith and honest endeavor, of such a character the well-known lines of Sir Henry Watton are eminently applicable:—
"This man was free from servile bands Of hope to rise, or fear to fall; Lord of himself, though not of lands, And having nothing, yet had all."
[Footnote 1: Published by Roberts Brothers, Boston.]
* * * * *
THE CITY OF WORCESTER—THE HEART OF THE COMMONWEALTH.
By Fanny Bullock Workman.
The city of Worcester, forty-four miles west of Boston, lies in a valley surrounded on all sides by hills, and covers an area which may be roughly estimated as extending four miles in length by two in breadth, its long axis running north and south. It is the second city in the State in point of population, while in enterprise it yields the palm to none of its size in the country, sending to all parts of the world its manufactured products, the excellence of which has established the reputation of the place in which they were produced.
Worcester was first settled in the spring of 1675, under the name of Quinsigamond. The original order of the General Court, granted Oct. 11th, 1665, was as follows:—
This Court, understanding by the petition of Thomas Noyes, John Haynes of Sudbury, and Nathaniel Treadaway of Watertown, hereunto affixed, that there is a meete place for a Plantation about ten miles from Marlborow, westward, at or neer Quansetamug Pond, which, that it may be improved for that end, and not spoiled by the grantinge of farms, in answer to the forsaid petition, This Court doth order, that there should he a quantitie of eight miles square layd out and reserved thereabout, in the Courts dispose, for a plantation, for the encouragement of such persons as shall appear, any time within three years from the date hereof, beeing men approved by this Court; and that Capt. Edward Johnson, Lieut. Joshua Fisher, and Lieut. Thomas Noyes, shall, and are herby appointed and empowered to lay out the same, and to be payd by such persons as shall appear within the terme above expressed. The Deputies have passed this with reference to the consent of our honored Magistrates hereto.
WILLIAM TORREY clerk
The Magistrates consent to a survey of the place petitioned for, and that Capt. Gookin doe joine with those mentioned of our brethren the deputies, and make return of their survey to the next General Court of Elections, who may take order therein as they shall see meete, their brethren the deputies hereto consenting.
EDWARD RAWSON Sect'y.
WILLIAM TORREY Cleric. Consented to by the deputies.
At that time several persons occupied lands that had been granted them, and built houses. This infant settlement was strangled almost at its birth by the outbreak of King Philip's War, which spread in that year throughout Massachusetts. The colonists, few in number, and without adequate means of protection against the hostile savages, soon abandoned their buildings, which were burned by the Indians, December 2, 1675. In 1684 some of the former proprietors returned to their lands, accompanied by new settlers, and a second plantation was formed; this time under the name of Worcester. The records relating to the fortunes of this plantation are very meagre; but it continued to exist till 1700, or 1702, when, during the progress of the French and Indian hostilities, owing to its exposed position, it was again deserted by its inhabitants. One man only, Digory Serjent, remained with his family, refusing to give up to the Indians the fields his labor had brought under cultivation. For a time he was unmolested. The authorities sent messengers to warn him of the danger he incurred by his rash course, and to advise his removal with his family to a place of safety. But the warning and admonition were alike disregarded. At last, early in the winter of 1702, an armed force was sent to compel him to depart. They marched with due expedition, but, being detained overnight by a severe snow-storm at a blockhouse about two miles from his residence, they arrived too late to attain their object, and found his body, scarcely yet cold, lying on the floor, and his family carried captive by the Indians. Thus terminated the second attempt at a settlement on this spot, which was again given over for several years to desolation and decay.
The principal seat of the Indians in this vicinity was Pakachoag Hill, a little south of where now stands the College of the Holy Cross. They were called Nipmuck Indians, and consisted of about twenty families, numbering about one hundred persons, under Sagamore John. Another tribe, of about the same number, dwelt on Tatnuck Hill, under Sagamore Solomon. John Eliot, the famous apostle to the Indians, with General Daniel Gookins, visited these tribes in 1674; but he did not fully reclaim them to peaceful habits, although many of them professed Christianity.
In 1713 the inhabitants, not discouraged by their former experience, one after another returned again to take possession of their property; and this time they returned to stay. They were joined by others, and the population began to increase. In 1722 Worcester was incorporated as a town, and henceforth assumed its share of responsibility with the other towns in adopting measures for the general welfare, and contributed its proportion of men and supplies for the common defence. Through the stormy period preceding the War of the Revolution, the public sentiment of Worcester sustained the rights of the Colonies, and when, on the 19th of April, 1773, the messenger of war, on his white horse, dashed through the town, shouting, "To arms! to arms! the war is begun," the response was immediate; the bell was rung, cannon fired, and the minute-men, true to name, rallied on the Common, where they were paraded by Capt. Timothy Bigelow. At about five o'clock in the afternoon they took up their line of march. Capt. Benjamin Flagg soon followed, with thirty-one men,—a total of one hundred and eight men. Capt. Bigelow having halted at Sudbury, to rest his men, was met by Capt. Flagg, when they both pushed on to Cambridge, where the organization of the army was being made. Timothy Bigelow, whose abilities were at once recognized, was appointed Major in Col. Jonathan Ward's regiment. On the 24th of April another company, of fifty-nine men, all from Worcester, enlisted under Capt. Jonas Hubbard. During the seven dark years that followed, this town never wavered in its devotion to the cause of liberty, and was represented on many of the most important battle-fields, as well as at the surrender of Yorktown, which terminated the struggle for independence. Saturday, the 14th of July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was received. It was publicly read, for the first time on Massachusetts soil, from the porch of the Old South Church, by Isaiah Thomas, to the assembled crowd. On Sunday, after divine service, it was read in the church. Measures were adopted for a proper celebration of the event, and on the Monday following, the earliest commemoration of the occasion, since hallowed as the national anniversary, took place in the town.
Worcester continued to increase both in size and importance during the first half of the present century, till, in 1848, having outgrown the limits of a town, it was made a city, and the first city government inaugurated, with Ex-Gov. Levi Lincoln, Mayor, and the following Aldermen: Parley Goddard, Benjamin F. Thomas, John W. Lincoln, James S. Woodworth, William B. Fox, James Estabrook, Isaac Davis, and Stephen Salisbury. The City Clerk was Charles A. Hamilton; the City Treasurer, John Boyden; and the City Marshal, George Jones. Since then it has made rapid strides in growth, influence, and prosperity. When the call for troops to defend Washington came, in 1861, Worcester as a city was true to her record as a town; for within twelve hours a company started for the seat of war, and passed through Baltimore with the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, on the memorable 19th of April, just eighty-six years from the first shedding of Massachusetts blood at Lexington.
In 1800 the population of Worcester was 2,411; in 1820 it was 2,962; in 1840, 7,500; in 1850, 17,049; in 1860, about 25,000; in 1870, about 41,000. At the present time it is about 70,000. The first event of consequence that gave an impetus to the growth of the town was the opening of the Blackstone Canal, in 1828, connecting Worcester with tide-water at Providence. This, although considered at the time a marvel of engineering skill, and undoubtedly of great benefit to the public, was not a successful enterprise, and on the establishment of railroads a few years later was discontinued.
In 1831 the Boston and Worcester Railroad was incorporated and soon built, followed at short intervals by the Western Railroad, the Norwich and Worcester, the Nashua and Worcester, Fitchburg and Worcester, and the Providence and Worcester railroads; thus making a centre from which one could travel in any direction. Later the Barre and Gardner Railroad was built, and the Boston and Worcester consolidated with the Western Railroad. By this last corporation the Union Passenger Station was erected, in 1877, which is one of the most costly, elegant, and convenient edifices devoted to this business in the country. About seventy-five trains arrive and depart daily. The advantage thus given to Worcester over other towns in the county was great, and the results were striking and immediate, as may be seen by reference to the figures of population above given. The facility of communication thus afforded caused capitalists to settle here, and manufactures rapidly sprang up and flourished, drawing to this spot thousands of laborers, who otherwise would have gone elsewhere. At the present time the chief interests of the city centre in its manufactures, which embrace almost every variety of articles made in iron, steel, and wire cotton and woollen fabrics, leather, wood, and chemicals.
Among the multitude of manufactured products it is almost useless to attempt to specify any particular ones. The same is true of the manufacturing establishments and corporations. Mention may be made, however, of the Washburn & Moen Wire Works, which give employment to about three thousand operatives, established in 1831, and having a capital of two million dollars. The power used in manufacturing is almost exclusively steam, but water is used somewhat in the outskirts, where streams have been dammed to make reservoirs.
Connected with the growth of Worcester it is interesting to note that the increase in the population has been largely from the ranks of the laboring classes. The manner in which the city is built shows this to the most casual observer. There are but few large estates or imposing residences, surrounded with extensive grounds. The great majority of the houses are made of wood, are of small size, and stand in small enclosures. As mechanics have prospered they have bought land, and built such houses as were suitable to their means, obtaining loans of the savings-banks, which they have paid off gradually. This has been especially the case the last few years, during which time the city has extended in every direction in the manner indicated; and it is said the greater part of the deposits in the savings-banks, as well as their loans, have been made by and to people of the laboring class. This shows a general prosperity, and indicates a permanency of population not seen in many cities. During the last twenty years many people who began life with the most modest means, or with none at all, have become wealthy; and in almost every such case their prosperity has been due to their connection with manufacturing interests.
Worcester is exceptionally fortunate in its water-supply. This is derived from two large reservoirs fed by running streams, each about five miles distant from the city. One of these, called the Lynde-Brook Reservoir, is situated in the township of Leicester. It was built in 1864, has a water-shed of 1,870 acres, and a storage capacity of 681,000,000 gallons, and an elevation of 481 feet above the City Hall. The dam of this reservoir gave way in February, 1876, during a freshet, and the immense mass of water was precipitated, with an unearthly roar, into the valley below, destroying everything in its path, and carrying rocks, earth, trees, and debris to a distance of several miles. The other, called the Holden Reservoir, is in the township of Holden. This was built in 1883, has a water-shed of 3,148 acres, a storage capacity of 450,000,000 gallons, and lies 260 feet above the City Hall. There are also three distributing reservoirs at elevations of 177 to 184 feet above the level of Main street, and supplied from the two principal reservoirs. Thirty-inch mains connect the reservoirs with the city. The height of the water-supply gives a pressure in the pipes at the City Hall of from sixty to seventy-five pounds to the square inch, which is sufficient to throw a stream of water to the tops of the highest buildings,—a great advantage in case of fire, rendering the employment of steam fire-engines unnecessary in those parts of the city provided with hydrants. The water is of excellent quality, being remarkably free from impurities, either organic or mineral. The total amount expended on the water-works from 1864 to December 1, 1884, is $1,653,456, and the income from water-rates for the year ending December, 1884, was $107,515. The uneven character of the ground upon which Worcester is built is favorable to drainage, and advantage has been taken of this fact to construct an excellent system of sewers, which thoroughly drain the greater parts of the city. All abutters are obliged to enter the sewers; and no surface-drainage nor cesspools are allowed. The result is that Worcester is a very clean city, and few places can be found either in the city itself or in the suburbs where surface accumulations exhale unpleasant or noxious odors. To the influence of pure water and good drainage may partly be ascribed the general good health of the inhabitants, and the absence, during the last few years, of anything like an epidemic of diseases dependent upon unsanitary conditions. The sewers all converge upon one large common sewer, which discharges its contents into the Blackstone river at Quinsigamond.
In Worcester, as in most of the smaller cities of New England, the Main street is the chief thoroughfare and the site of many of the prominent buildings. This street runs north and south, and is about two and a half miles long. Near the north end, at Lincoln square, are the Court-House and the American Antiquarian Society building. The latter contains a large number of valuable and rare books, much sought after for reference by students. Farther on toward the business centre are the Bay State House—Worcester's principal hotel—and Mechanics' Hall. This hall is one of the handsomest and largest in the State, and has a seating capacity of about two thousand. In the centre of the city, bordering upon Main street, is the Old Common, the original park of Worcester, now a small breathing-place of the working class, where band concerts are frequently given in summer. Here stand the Soldiers' Monument, designed by Randolph Rogers, of Rome, and the Bigelow Monument, erected to Timothy Bigelow, who commanded the minute-men who marched to Cambridge upon receipt of the news of the Battle of Lexington, and served throughout the Revolution as colonel of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Regiment. At one corner of the Common, facing Main street, is the City Hall, a small, unimposing structure, hardly worthy of the city. The question of erecting a new one has been lately agitated. Near by stands the Old South Church, built in 1763. The business portion of Main street is well lined with large blocks, and the south end is laid out for residences.
Upon one of the hills, at the west side, stands the City Hospital, which is well managed and kept up, and has a visiting staff of the best physicians in the city. In connection with this institution, a training-school for nurses has lately been established.
The city's most imposing building is the Worcester State Lunatic Asylum, which can be seen from the trains on the Boston and Albany Railroad. A picturesque edifice in itself it crowns a hill about two miles east of Worcester, and overlooks the blue waters of Lake Quinsigamond, and also a charming stretch of hill and dale beyond. Were the softening charms of nature a potent remedy for the diseased mind, speedy cures might be effected in this sequestered retreat. It contains generally over seven hundred inmates, and can accommodate more. The building, begun in 1873, was completed in 1877, is handsomely fitted up throughout, and very spacious. It cost one million and a quarter dollars.
On Summer street is the Asylum for the Chronic Insane. For many years it was the only asylum, but upon the completion of the new building the chronic cases were removed there, and it has since been devoted to their needs only. The Technical School, or Free Institute, is situated on a pretty wooded acclivity on the west side. Founded in 1865. it was endowed, through the liberality of John Boynton, of Templeton, with $100,000, which he left as a legacy for that purpose. This school is more particularly for mechanics, chemists, and engineers, and is conducted on the plan of the polytechnic schools of Europe. It is the aim of the institution to train young men in such branches as are not usually taught in the high schools, that any mechanic or civil engineer on leaving the establishment may be fitted in a thoroughly scientific manner to pursue his life-work. The institution is free to Worcester-county residents; to those outside of the county the price of tuition is $150. The number of students accommodated is one hundred and twenty-six. The Free Public Library, founded in 1859, is one of the best in the State, has a circulating department of 26,000 and an intermediate department of 14,000 books; also a reference collection of over 20,000 volumes, bequeathed by the late Dr. John Green. An endowment fund, left by this gentleman for the latter collection, is used to the best advantage in procuring a great variety of encyclopaedias and other desirable books of reference. That Worcester citizens appreciate their opportunities in this line is indicated by the large daily patronage. Connected with the Public Library is a well-arranged reading-room, supplied with periodicals and daily papers, accessible at all times to the public; also the valuable library of the Worcester District Medical Society, containing about 6,000 volumes. The able and accomplished librarian is Mr. S.S. Green, who not only supplies its shelves with the newest and most desirable books for reading and reference, but is a fountain-head of information in himself, and ever ready and willing to answer the many questions put to him constantly by a steady concourse of applicants.
The public-school system has been the occasion of much compliment, and is regarded both here and elsewhere as a model one. In 1733 it was voted, "that a school-house be built in the centre half, and that said school house be 24 feet long, 16 feet wide, and 7 feet stud, and be completely finished with good chimney glass," This was the first school-house built in Worcester, and it stood at the north end of Main street, near the middle of the present street, and there remained until after the close of the Revolution. In 1740 L100 were granted for the support of schools. The first Grammar school was established in 1752. In 1755 John Adams, afterward President of the United States, taught the Latin Grammar school here, and remained until 1758. There are now twenty-six different school-houses, including the High School, a large effective building, situated on Walnut street. Further accommodations at the present time are greatly needed, the existing houses being overcrowded. The amount last appropriated for the schools was $184,500 for maintenance, and $20,000 for the purchase of free textbooks. Beside the public schools there are several large and well-known educational institutions,—the College of the Holy Cross, the Free Institute, the Worcester Academy, the Highland Military Academy, the Oread Institute, the State Normal School, and the Roman Catholic Parochial schools. There are also several private schools of note. The educational interests of the city have kept pace with its rapid and astonishing growth.
Worcester has seven national banks, four savings-banks, and one safety deposit and trust company.
Among a number of newspapers the chief ones have been the "Spy" and "Evening Gazette." The "Massachusetts Spy" is one of the oldest papers in this country, and has been published with unbroken numbers for 115 years. It was established in Boston, in July, 1770, but was removed to Worcester by its proprietor, Isaiah Thomas, in May, 1775. It was in those days outspoken with regard to the difficulties between the mother country and the colonies, and, owing to its urgent appeals for freedom from tyranny, it became necessary to remove press and paper. Mr. Thomas was certainly one of the most remarkable men of his day. His patriotism never waned during the most trying days of the Revolution, and the "Massachusetts Spy" and its editor are a part of the history of the country. July 22, 1845, the "Daily Spy" was first issued. The first number was on a sheet 18 by 23 inches, a trifle larger than the first number of the "Massachusetts Spy," which was 16 by 20 inches. It has been enlarged several times. The "National AEgis," published in 1801, in 1833 merged into the "Massachusetts Yeoman," a paper started in 1823. The name was changed to the "Worcester Palladium." In 1829 the "Worcester County Republican" was started, and also merged into the "Palladium," in 1834. It was a successful paper for years, but in 1876 it was sold to the "Spy." The "Gazette," begun in 1801 as a weekly, became a daily in 1843, and is now an eight-page paper, the only one in the city. In 1851 the "Daily Morning Transcript" was issued. Early in 1866 its name was changed to the "Evening Gazette," and it is now the representative afternoon sheet of the city. There are two able and well-conducted French weekly journals,—"Le Travailleur," and "Le Courier de Worcester."
In 1719 the first church was built, near the present Old South Church, on Main street. Previous to that time the inhabitants had held service in their different houses, where their prayers were often interrupted by the presence of hostile Indians, who took the occasion when the people were absorbed in their devotions to molest them. In 1763 the present Old South Meeting-House was built. The original dimensions were seventy feet long, fifty-five wide, with a tower on the north side surmounted by a spire one hundred and thirty feet high. It was commenced June 21, 1763, and first occupied Dec. 8, 1763. There were sixty-one large square box pews and seven long ones on each side of the broad aisle, which were free. The building committee consisted of John Chandler, Joshua Bigelow, Josiah Brewer, John Curtis, James Putnam. Daniel Boyden, James Goodwin, Jacob Hemmenway, David Bigelow, Samuel Moore, and Elisha Smith. The entire expense of the building was L1,542.
Since the date of its erection there have been many changes and additions, so that it now presents but little of the appearance of its former self.
The bell now in use was cast in 1802, and has this inscription:—
"The living to the church I call, And to the grave I summon all."
In 1786, owing to certain disagreements, a division occurred in the parish, some of its members leaving and forming an organization of their own, with the Rev. Mr. Bancroft as rector. This society dedicated its first church January 1, 1722, and this was replaced by a new structure, of brick, in 1829, which is still in use. Since this first division new societies have sprung up and new churches have been built, until to-day there are forty-eight different houses of worship, among which are eleven Congregational, eight Methodist Episcopal, seven Baptist, seven Roman Catholic, three Protestant Episcopal, two Universalist, and two Unitarian churches.
On account of the encircling hills the climate of Worcester is hot in summer, but somewhat more temperate and less subject to east winds in winter than that of Boston.
The surrounding country has all the charms that cultivated soil and undulating hill-and-valley scenery can give. Good roads run in various directions to the adjacent towns, and strangers often speak of the many different and delightful drives to be found about Worcester.
Three miles east of the city is the beautiful sheet of water called Lake Quinsigamond. It is a narrow lake, about five miles long, with thickly wooded banks, and its surface dotted with picturesque little islands. Along its shores the Nipmuck Indians are said to have lived and hunted; and on Wigwam Hill, a wooded eminence overlooking the water, where one of their encampments is supposed to have been, are still occasionally found specimens of their rude house utensils.
A large tract of land bordering on the lake has lately been given to the city by two Worcester gentlemen, and it is expected that in the near future it will be cleared away and made into a public park. The only park that the city now possesses, besides the Common, before alluded to, is a small affair on the west side, at the foot of Elm street, one of the principal residence streets.
* * * * *
By George Lowell Austin.
There is something eminently satisfactory in the reflection that, when the new faith, "That all men are created equal," and that "Governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," was finally assailed by the slave-power of America, and had to pass the ordeal of four years of war, a man born and reared in poverty, deficient in education, unused to the etiquette even of ordinary society, and untutored in the art of diplomacy and deception, had been selected by the people of the United States to become the representative of the new faith, and the defender of the government established upon it. This man was ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Illinois, the record of whose life, at once important, eventful, and tragic, it is pleasant to recall.
There are, in my judgment, at least four men associated with the period of the civil war, who, in their early lives, their struggles, their training, and their future callings, ought forever to command the admiration of this people: Lincoln, the lowly, the exalted, the pure man in rude marble, the plain cover to a gentle nature, the giant frame and noble intellect; Grant, the defender of the Federal Union, the unflinching soldier, around whose dying couch a whole nation now lingers, whose light will shine down through future ages a warning to conspirators, to freemen a pledge, and to the oppressed a beacon of hope; Stanton, the lion of Buchanan's cabinet, the collaborator of Lincoln, the supporter of Grant, gifted with the far-seeing eye of a Carnot, spotless in character, incorruptible in integrity, great in talent and learning, and a fit object of unhesitating trust; and John Rogers, the American sculptor, who has offered, in his beautiful and famous group of statuary, "The Council of War," an undying tribute to these three great leaders in American history, and is himself worthy to be grouped with them in our remembrance.
"Leaves have their time to fall, And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath, And stars to set; but all— Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!"
If we could have looked into a rude log-cabin in Hardin county, Kentucky, on the morning of the 12th of February, 1809, we should have seen an infant just born,—and with what promise of future greatness? Looking ahead ten years, we should have discerned this infant, Abraham, developing into youth, still living in the old log-cabin, with neither doors nor windows, with wolves and bears for neighbors, with a shiftless father. But his mother was dead! Still this mother had left her impress, and she had become in that boy's heart "an angel of a mother." She made him what he afterwards proved himself to be. Follow Abraham Lincoln where we will,—from the cradle to the grave,—and we shall find honesty and kindness ever distinguishing him. In his boyhood, among boys, he was always fighting the battle of the offended and the weak; in manhood, he was always protecting the fugitive from an angry mob; as a lawyer, saving the widow's son from the gallows, and declining the rich fee of an unrighteous cause; as a public debater, the fairest ever met in the political arena; and as president of the republic, honest in his convictions and kind to his bitterest enemies.
Let us not forget the difficulties which it was his lot and his good fortune to surmount. He never was six months at school in his life; and yet, by the use of a single book and the occasional aid of a village schoolmaster, he became an expert surveyor in six weeks! At the age of twenty-one he accompanied his family to Illinois. One morning, when seated at the breakfast-table of his employer, Lincoln was told that a man living six miles away had a copy of an English grammar. He left the table at once, and went and borrowed the book. During the long winter evenings that followed, in the light of the village cooper's shop, he pored over the pages of that book,—studying the science of language, the theory of human speech, and qualifying himself to become the author of one of the three great State papers of modern times, by the light of burning shavings!
But we leave that early life of his, which, in rude simplicity, repeats "the short and simple annals of the poor."
In 1832 Black Hawk, the celebrated Indian chief, then in his sixty-seventh year, crossed the Mississippi to regain the Rock River valley,—the scene of his early trials and triumphs. His coming meant war upon the pale-faced stranger, that had ventured to possess the hunting-grounds of the red men. Several companies of volunteers were raised to meet him, and Abraham Lincoln served as captain of one of them.
When the war was over Lincoln returned to New Salem, his home in Illinois, and shortly afterwards began the study of the law. He was still poor in purse, his clothing was threadbare, but his ambition was immense. He often pursued his study in the shade of a tree. One day Squire Godbey—a very good man he was, too, so we are told—saw him seated on a pile of wood, absorbed in a book, when, according to the squire, the following dialogue took place: "Says I, 'Abe, what are you studying?'—'Law,' says he. 'Great God Almighty!' says I." Studying law astride of a wood-pile, probably barefooted, was too great a shock for the squire's susceptible nature. He continued to study, then to practise a little without fee, and finally was admitted to the bar in 1836.
Judge Davis, once on the Supreme Bench of the United States, a man spotless alike upon the throne of justice and in his daily walk, was upon intimate terms with Lincoln for upwards of twenty years, and during more than half of that period sat upon the judicial bench before which Lincoln most frequently practised. No one is abler than he to speak of Lincoln as a lawyer,—a lawyer who became one of the first of the Western bar,—a bar that can proudly point to its Carpenter, its Trumbull, its Ryan, and its Davis. He says:—
"The framework of Lincoln's mental and moral being was honesty; and a wrong cause was poorly defended by him. The ability which some eminent lawyers possess of explaining away the bad points of a cause by ingenious sophistry was denied him. In order to bring into full activity his great powers it was necessary that he should be convinced of the right and justice of the matter which he advocated. When so convinced, whether the cause was great or small, he was usually successful.
"He hated wrong and oppression everywhere; and many a man whose fraudulent conduct was undergoing review in a court of justice has writhed under his terrific indignation and rebukes. He was the most simple and unostentatious of men in his habits, having few wants, and those easily supplied."
In 1837 Mr. Lincoln removed to Springfield, Ill., where he entered into partnership with his old friend, John T. Stuart; and this partnership continued until 1841. In 1834 he had been elected to the Legislature, and after his removal to Springfield he was again chosen to that body. It was during this period that he found the nerve, when it did require courage, to express and record his protest against the injustice of slavery. Twice as a youth he had made a trip to New Orleans,—in 1828 and 1831,—and on his second visit had for the first time observed slavery in its most brutal and revolting form. He had gone into the very centre of a slave mart, had seen families sold, the separation forever of husband and wife, of parent and child. When we recall how deeply he always sympathized with suffering, brute as well as human, and his strong love of justice, we can realize how deeply he was affected by these things. His companions on this trip have attempted to describe his indignation and grief. They said. "His heart bled. He was mad, thoughtful, abstracted, sad, and depressed."
The years which Mr. Lincoln passed in Springfield were the preparatory years of his future greatness. From this time onward he was ever a busy man.
He was once associated with Mr. Swett in defending a man accused of murder. He listened to the testimony which witness after witness gave against his client until his honest heart could stand it no longer; then, turning to his associate, he said: "Swett, the man is guilty; you defend him: I can't." Swett did defend him, and the man was acquitted. When proffered his share of the large fee Lincoln most emphatically declined it, on the ground that "all of it belonged to Mr. Swett, whose ardor and eloquence saved a guilty man from justice."
At another time, when a would-be client had stated the facts of his case, Mr. Lincoln replied: "Yes; there is no reasonable doubt but I can gain your case for you. I can set a whole neighborhood at loggerheads. I can distress a widowed mother and her six fatherless children, and thereby get for you $600, which rightfully belongs, it seems to me, as much to the woman and her children as it does to you. You must remember that some things that are legally right are not morally right. I shall not take your case, but will give you a little advice, for which I will charge you nothing. You appear to be a sprightly, energetic man: I would advise you to try your hand at making $600 some other way."
I turn now to another phase of his nature, and recall that he had not grown up to manhood without the usual experiences of the tender passion. It was while he was yet living at New Salem that his heart opened to a fair, sweet-tempered, and intelligent girl, with the romantic name of Anne Rutledge. They were engaged to be married as soon as he should be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court. But in August, 1835, she died. Her beauty and her attractions and her early death made a very deep impression upon him. We are told that he idealized her memory, and in his recollections of her there was a poetry of sentiment, which might possibly have been lessened, had she lived, by the prosaic realities of life. With all his love of fun and frolic, with all his wit and humor, with all his laughter and anecdotes, Lincoln, from his youth, was a man of deep feeling. We have it on the authority of the most reliable of his biographers, that he always associated with the memory of Anne Rutledge the poem which, in his hours of despondency, he so often repeated:—
"Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud? Like a swift fleeting meteor, a fast flying cloud, A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave, He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.
"The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade, Be scattered around, and together be laid; And the young and the old, and the low and the high, Shall moulder to dust and together shall lie."
I never read this beautiful poem, so full of the true philosophy of life, so suggestive of the rich promises of the hereafter, that I do not think of the great president. He first found it in the columns of a newspaper, cut it out, carried it in his pocket, and treasured it in his memory for many years without knowing who was its author.
It would be pleasant to trace the years spent by Mr. Lincoln in the State Legislature, and to revert to some of the speeches and occasional addresses belonging to those years, which, in the light of his subsequent history, are strangely significant. In the early period of his legislative career he became acquainted with Stephen A. Douglas, while the latter was a school-teacher at Winchester. Douglas was a man of extraordinary powers, and one of the readiest of the American debaters of his time. As the years went on he became actively interested in politics, and at length assumed the leadership of the Democrats in Illinois, while Lincoln became the standard-bearer of the Whigs. When party platforms were promulgated, upon the eve of important contests, these two statesmen, by the unanimous consent of their supporters, were selected to debate the merits of their respective political creeds before the people. A series of joint discussions was arranged to take place in the various important towns of the State. The assemblages were large, and were composed of men of all parties. The discussion opened with a speech of an hour, from one of the debaters; the other replied in an address of an hour and a half; a rejoinder of half an hour brought the discussion to a close. At the next meeting the order of speaking was reversed, and by this arrangement the "last word" was indulged in alternately by each debater.
During the various joint discussions held between the eloquent political orators who were chosen to represent the Anti-Slavery and Democratic parties, it may fairly be asserted that Lincoln opposed, while Douglas defended, directly or indirectly, the slave interests of the country. The former always felt that slavery was wrong, and in seeking a remedy for the existing evil he followed in the footprints of Henry Clay. He advocated gradual emancipation, with the consent of the people of the slave States, and at the expense of the General Government. In his great speech against the Kansas and Nebraska bill, he said, "Much as I hate slavery, I would consent to its extension rather than see the Union dissolved, just as I would consent to any great evil to avoid a greater one."
The debates between Lincoln and Douglas, especially those of the year 1858, were unquestionably the most important in American history. The speeches of Mr. Lincoln, as well as of the "Little Giant" who opposed him, were circulated and read throughout the Union, and did more than any other agency to create the public opinion which prepared the way for the overthrow of slavery. As another has said, "The speeches of John Quincy Adams and of Charles Sumner were more scholarly; those of Lovejoy and Wendell Phillips were more vehement and impassioned; Senators Seward, Hale, Trumbull, and Chase spoke from a more conspicuous forum; but Lincoln's were more philosophical, while as able and earnest as any, and his manner had a simplicity and directness, a clearness of statement and felicity of illustration, and his language a plainness and Anglo-Saxon strength, better adapted than any other to reach and influence the common people,—the mass of the voters."
From 1847 to March 4, 1849, Mr. Lincoln served a term in Congress, where he acted with his party in opposing the Mexican war. In 1855 he was a prominent candidate for the United States Senate, but was defeated. From the ruins of the old Whig party and the acquisition of the Abolitionists, the Republican had been formed, and of this party, in Illinois, Mr. Lincoln became, in 1858, the senatorial candidate. Again he was defeated, by his adversary Mr. Douglas. Lincoln felt aggrieved, for he had carried the popular vote of his State by nearly 4,000 votes. When questioned by a friend upon this delicate point, he said that he felt "like the boy that stumped his toe,—it hurt him too much to laugh, and he was too big to cry."
In his speech at Springfield, with which the campaign of 1858 opened, Mr. Lincoln made the compromisers of his party tremble by enunciating a doctrine which, they claimed, provoked defeat. He said: "'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this Government cannot permanently endure half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other; either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in a course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States,—old as well as new, North as well as South."
These were prophetic words; and they were spoken by a man born in the slave State of Kentucky. It was the truth, the fearless truth, uttered in advance of even the acknowledged leader of the Republican party, Governor Seward, of New York. The simple assertion of that truth cost Lincoln a seat in the United States Senate; but it set other men's minds to thinking, and in 1860 the PEOPLE, following the path made through the forest of error by a pioneer in the cause of truth, came to similar conclusions, and made "Honest Old Abe" Chief Magistrate of the republic.
On the 10th of May, 1860, the Republican convention of Illinois met at Decatur, in Macon county, to nominate State officers and appoint delegates to the National Presidential Convention. Decatur was not far from where Lincoln's father had settled and worked a farm in 1830, and where young Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Hanks had split the rails for enclosing the old pioneer's first cornfield. Mr. Lincoln was present, simply as an observer, at the convention. Scarcely had he taken his seat when General Oglesby arose, and remarked that an old Democrat of Macon county desired to make a contribution to the convention. Two old fence rails were then brought in, bearing the inscription: "Abraham Lincoln, the rail candidate for the Presidency in 1860. Two rails from a lot of three thousand, made in 1830, by Thomas Hanks and Abe Lincoln, whose father was the first pioneer of Macon county."
The effect of this contribution can well be imagined: at once it became useless to talk in Illinois of any other man than Abraham Lincoln for President.
On the 16th of May the National Republican Convention was called together in Chicago. The convention met in a large building called the "Wigwam," which had been constructed specially for the occasion. The contest for the nomination lay between William H. Seward of New York and Abraham Lincoln of Illinois. On the third ballot, as we know, the latter was nominated. I was but a youth on that memorable day, but I vividly recollect that I was standing, with other urchins, nearly opposite the "Wigwam," and was startled when a man stationed on top of the building yelled out, "Fire: Lincoln is nominated!" Then followed the roar of cannon and cheers upon cheers.
When the news reached Mr. Lincoln he was chatting with some friends in the office of the "Sangamon Journal," in Springfield. He read the telegram aloud, and then said: "There is a little woman down at our house who will like to hear this. I'll go down and tell her." The "little woman" was his wife, whom, as Mary Todd, he had won in 1842, and he knew that she was more anxious that he should be President than he himself was.
On the 7th of November, 1860, it was known throughout the country that Lincoln had been elected. From that very hour dates the conspiracy which, by easy stages and successive usurpations of authority, culminated in rebellion. It is painful now to revert to the events which marked its progress. There is not a man living to-day, I trust, that does not wish they could be blotted out from our history. While watching the course of these events Mr. Lincoln chanced one day to be talking with his friend, Newton Bateman, a highly respectable and Christian gentleman, and Superintendent of Public Instruction in Illinois. I can only quote a part of the interview, as furnished by Mr. Bateman himself: "I know there is a God," said Lincoln; "and he hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming. I know that his hand is in it. If he has a place and work for me,—and I think he has,—I believe I am ready. I am nothing; but truth is everything, I know I am right, because I know that liberty is right; for Christ teaches it; and Christ is God. I have told them that 'a house divided against itself cannot stand,' and Christ and reason say the same; and they will find it so.
"Douglas doesn't care whether slavery is voted up or down; but God cares, and humanity cares, and I care; and with God's help I shall not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I shall be vindicated; and these men will find that they have not read their Bible aright."
We are told that, after a pause, he resumed: "Does it not appear strange that men can ignore the moral aspects of this contest? A revelation could not make it plainer to me that slavery or the Government, must be destroyed. The future would be something awful, as I look at it, but for this rock on which I stand." He alluded to the Testament which he held in his hand, and which his mother—"to whom he owed all that he was, or hoped to be"—had first taught him to read.
There is nothing in history more pathetic than the scene when, on the 11th of February, 1861, Abraham Lincoln bade a last farewell to his home of a quarter of a century.
To his friends and neighbors he said, while grasping them by the hand, "I go to assume a task more difficult than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same divine blessing which sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support." The profound religious feeling which pervades this farewell speech characterized him to the close of his life.
All along the route Lincoln preached the gospel of confidence, conciliation, and peace. Notwithstanding the ominous signs of the times, he had such an abiding faith in the people as to believe that the guarantees of all their rights under the Constitution, of non-intervention with the institution of slavery where it existed, and the assurance of a most friendly spirit on the part of the new President would calm the heated passion of the men of the South, would reclaim States already in secession, and would retain the rest of the cotton States under the banner of the Union. What a striking evidence of the lingering hope and of the tender heart of the President is afforded by his first inaugural address!
"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war.
"The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors; you can have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one,—'to preserve, protect, and defend it.'
"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection.
"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth-stone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
Abraham Lincoln took the helm of government in more dangerous times and under more difficult and embarrassing circumstances than any of the fifteen presidents who preceded him. The ship of Union was built and launched and first commanded by Washington.
"He knew what master laid her keel, What workmen wrought her ribs of steel, Who made each mast, and sail, and rope, What anvils rang, what hammers beat, In what a forge and what a heat Were shaped the anchors of her hope."
The men whom he chose as her first crew were those who had helped to form her model. During succeeding generations inefficient hands were occasionally shipped to take the place of worn-out members of the original crew. Often the vessel was put out of her course to serve the personal ends of this or that sailor, and ere long mutiny broke out among her passengers, headed by John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina. Finally, a man ignorant in the science of astronomy and navigation, feeble alike in heart and arm, became, nominally, commander, but really the cat's-paw, of his crew, at whose bidding the ship was steered. When Abraham Lincoln was called to the helm he found the once stanch, strong vessel in a leaky, damaged condition, with her compasses deranged, her rudder broken, and the luminous star by which Washington guided his course dimmed by a cloud of disunion and doubt. When the belching cannon opened upon Sumter, then it was that the ship of State was found to be all but stranded on the shoals,—Treason.
We are all aware of the story of that struggle. We can never forget the story, for there is yet a "vacant chair," that recalls it in many a home. The manner in which President Lincoln conducted the affairs of the government during that struggle forms an important chapter in the history of the world for that period. After Good Friday comes Easter; after the day of dejection and doubt comes the day of recompense and rejoicing. To my mind there is that in the life-work of President Lincoln which itself consecrates every soldier's grave, and makes the tenant of that grave more worthy of his sublime dying. It added honor to honor to have fallen, serving under such a commander.
It was midsummer, 1862, and at a time when the whole North was depressed, that the President convened his cabinet to talk over the subject-matter of the Emancipation Proclamation. On the 22d of September ensuing it was published to the world. It was the act of the President alone. It exhibited far-seeing sagacity, courage, independence, and statesmanship. The final proclamation was issued on the 1st of January, 1863. On that day the President had been receiving calls, and for hours shaking hands. As the paper was brought to him by the Secretary of State to be signed, he said, "Mr. Seward, I have been shaking hands all day, and my right hand is almost paralyzed. If my name ever gets into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. If my hand trembles when I sign the proclamation those who examine the document hereafter will say, 'He hesitated.'" Then, resting his arm a moment, he turned to the table, took up the pen, and slowly and firmly wrote, ABRAHAM LINCOLN. He smiled as, handing the paper to Mr. Seward, he said "That will do."
This was the pivotal act of his administration; but this humane and just promise to liberate four millions of slaves, to wipe out a nation's disgrace, was followed by the darkest and most doubtful days in the history of America. Grant, in the lowlands of Louisiana, was endeavoring, against obstacles, to open the Mississippi; but, with all his energy, he accomplished nothing. McClellan's habit of growling at the President had become intolerable, and Burnside superseded him in command of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside advanced against Lee, fought him at Fredericksburg, and was repulsed with terrible disaster. Then the army broke camp for another campaign, the elements opposed, Burnside gave way to Hooker. The soldiers became disheartened, and thousands deserted to their homes in the North. The President's proclamation was now virtually a dead letter; people looked upon it and characterized it as a joke. But there came at last a break in the clouds, and on Independence Day, 1863, the star of liberty and union appeared upon the distant sky as a covenant that God had not forsaken the Prophet of the West,—the Redeemer of the Slave. I can find no more fitting words to characterize Grant's victory at Vicksburg than those which the young and brave McPherson used in his congratulatory address to the brave men who fought for the victory:—
"The achievements of this hour will give a new meaning to this memorable day; and Vicksburg will heighten the glory in the patriot's heart, which kindles at the mention of Bunker Hill and Yorktown. The dawn of a conquered peace is breaking before you. The plaudits of an admiring world will hail you wherever you go."
Take it altogether it was perhaps the most brilliant operation of the war, and established the reputation of Grant as one of the greatest military leaders of any age. He, the last of the triumvirate, is passing away; and, in this connection, no apology is needed in quoting the letter which the President wrote with his own hand, and transmitted to him, on receipt of the glorious tidings:—
MY DEAR GENERAL,—I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country. I wish to say a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg I thought you should do what you finally did,—march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and then go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope, that you knew better than I that the Yazoo-Pass expedition and the like could succeed. When you got below, and took Fort Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join Gen. Banks; and when you turned northward, east of the Big Black, I thought it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right, and I was wrong.
And recall now the never-to-be-forgotten scenes at Gettysburg. The Union army had been defeated at Chancellorsville, and Gen. Lee, having assumed the offensive, had been making the greatest preparations for striking a decisive blow. Already had he passed through Maryland; he was now in Pennsylvania. But valiant men were there to meet and oppose. The fate of the day, the fate of the Confederacy, was staked upon the issue. I cannot picture the battle; but we all know the result, and how great was the rejoicing in the North when, on that 4th day of July, the tidings of the fall of Vicksburg and the victory at Gettysburg reached the country.
A portion of the battle-field of Gettysburg was set apart as a resting-place for the heroes who fell on that bloody ground. In November of that year the ceremony of consecration took place. Edward Everett, the orator and the scholar, delivered the oration; it was a polished specimen of his consummate skill. After him rose President Lincoln,—"simple, rude, his care-worn face now lighted and glowing with intense feeling." He simply read the touching speech which is already placed among the classics of our language:—
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
"But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth."
There have been but four instances in history in which great deeds have been celebrated in words as immortal as themselves: the epitaph upon the dead Spartan band at Thermopylae; the words of Demosthenes on those who perished at Marathon; the speech of Webster in memory of those who laid down their lives at Bunker Hill; and these words of Lincoln on the hill at Gettysburg. As he closed, and while his listeners were still sobbing, he grasped the hand of Mr. Everett, and said. "I congratulate you on your success."—"Ah," replied the orator, gracefully, "Mr. President, how gladly would I exchange all my hundred pages to have been the author of your twenty lines!"
I forbear to dwell longer on the events of the war. The tide had turned, and the end was already foreseen. Notwithstanding that Mr. Lincoln had proved the righteousness of his course, a great many people in the North—and many even in his own party—were opposed to his nomination for a second term. The disaffected nominated Gen. Fremont, upon the platform of the suppression of the Rebellion, the Monroe doctrine, and the election of President and Vice-President by the direct vote of the people, and for one term only. The Democratic party declared the war for the Union a failure, and very properly nominated McClellan. It required a long time for the General to make up his mind in regard to accepting the nomination; and, in conversations upon the subject with a friend, Lincoln suggested that perhaps he might be entrenching. The election was held, and Lincoln received a majority greater than was ever before given to a candidate for the presidency. The people this time were like the Dutch farmer,—they believed that "it was not best to swap horses when crossing a stream."
On the 4th of March, 1865, he delivered that memorable inaugural address which is truly accounted one of the ablest state papers to be found in the archives of America. It concludes with these words:—
"With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in,—to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
Read and reread this whole address. Since the days of Christ's Sermon on the Mount, where is the speech of ruler that can compare with it? No other in American annals has so impressed the people. Said a distinguished statesman from New York, on the day of its delivery, "A century from to-day that inaugural will be read as one of the most sublime utterances ever spoken by man. Washington is the great man of the era of the Revolution. So will Lincoln be of this; but Lincoln will reach the higher position in history."
Four years before, Mr. Lincoln, an untried man, had assumed the reins of government; now, he was the faithful and beloved servant of the people. Then, he was ridiculed and caricatured; and some persons even found fault with his dress, just as the British ambassador found fault with the dress of the author of the Declaration of Independence. The ambassador is forgotten, but Jefferson will live as long as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, endures. While he lived Lincoln was shamefully abused by the people and press of the land of his forefathers; and not until the shot was fired—not until the blood of the just—the ransom of the slave—was spilled, did England throw off the cloak of prejudice, and acknowledge—
"This king of princes-peer, This rail-splitter, a true-born king of men."
It is well known that not all of Mr. Lincoln's friends invariably harmonized with his views. Of the number of these Horace Greeley stood foremost, and undoubtedly caused the President great anxiety upon several occasions. He never did things by halves; and, whenever he undertook to do a thing, the whole country, believing in the honesty and purity of his motives, gave to him a willing ear. From the editorial sanctum of the "Tribune" many a sharp and soul-stirring letter went forth addressed to the executive of the nation. Mr. Lincoln read them, oftentimes replied to them, but very rarely heeded the counsel which they contained. When the President was struck down, Mr. Greeley, who differed so widely from him, mourned the loss of a very dear friend.
Charles Sumner often differed from the President, and on the floor of the Senate Chamber frequently gave utterance to statements which carried grief into the White House. But Mr. Lincoln knew and understood Charles Sumner. An incident may here be recalled. The President was solicitous that his views, as embodied in an act then claiming the attention of Congress, should become law prior to the adjournment of that body on the 4th of March. Mr. Sumner opposed the bill, because he thought it did not sufficiently guard the interests of the freedmen of that State. Owing to the opposition of the Senator and a few of his friends the bill was defeated. Mr. Lincoln felt displeased, and the newspapers throughout the country published that the friendship which had so long existed between the two men was at an end.
But Mr. Lincoln was not a man who would withdraw friendship on account of an honest difference of opinion. It was not he who made the mistake of urging the dismissal of Mr. Sumner from the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. On the 4th of March Mr. Lincoln was reinaugurated; on the evening of the 6th occurred the Inauguration Ball. Mr. Sumner had never attended one of these state occasions, and he did not purpose doing so at this time until he received, in the course of the afternoon, the following letter:—
DEAR MR. SUMNER,—Unless you send me word to the contrary, I shall this evening call with my carriage at your house, to take you with me to the Inauguration Ball.
The great Senator entered the ball-room, with Mrs. Lincoln leaning on his arm, and took his seat by the side of the President. The evening was pleasantly spent, and the newspapers at once discovered how great a blunder they had made.
At length the curtain fell upon the bloody scenes of the war. Under the mighty blows of Grant and his lieutenants the Rebellion was crushed. On a bright day the President, accompanied by Mr. Sumner, entered the streets of Richmond, and witnessed the grateful tears of thousands of the race he had redeemed from bondage and disgrace. Having returned to Washington, he convened a cabinet council on the 14th of April. During the session his heart overflowed with kind and charitable thoughts towards the South, and towards those officers who had deserted the flag of their country in her trying hour he poured out a forgiving spirit.
After that cabinet meeting he went to drive with Mrs. Lincoln,—they two were alone. "Mary," said he, "we have had a hard time of it since we came to Washington; but the war is over, and, with God's blessing, we may hope for four years of peace and happiness, and then we will go back to Illinois and pass the rest of our lives in quiet. We have laid by some money, and during this term we will try and save up more, but shall not have enough to support us. We will go back to Illinois, and I will open a law-office at Springfield or Chicago, and practise law, and at least do enough to help give us a livelihood." Such were the dreams of Abraham Lincoln the last day of his life. The whole world knows the remainder of the story,—of that terrible night at the theatre; of that passing away in the early dawn of the morning; of that sad and mournful passage from the Capitol to the grave at Oak Ridge Cemetery. It is painful to dwell upon it; it makes the heart faint even to recall it.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN needs no eulogy. There is but one other name in American history which can be mentioned with his as that of a peer,—the name of Washington. He was as pure, and just, and as patriotic as the Father of his Country. He was born of his time, a creature of the age of giants, a genius from the people, all the greater for his struggles, for he really did more than any man of his day to destroy caste and give courage to the lowly; and therein he wrote the brightest pages of progress. The shaft that marks his silent resting-place, the books he read, the office he used, the strong body that covered his warm heart and wise purposes, were only the outer symbols to the higher gifts of his Creator. All gifts and graces are not found in one person. He is great in whom the good predominates. All persons are not born equal. Gifts are diversified; but if ever a man had the "genius of greatness," it was Abraham Lincoln. As all are eloquent in that which they know, he was eloquent in what he both knew and did.
A few words more. The President left a heart-broken widow, a woman whose intellect was shattered by one of the most awful shocks in human history. No mind can picture the agonies which she suffered, even till the day of her death, on July 16, 1882. I make mention of her now, because, during her eventful life in Washington and afterwards, she was most cruelly treated by a portion of the press and people. I can conceive of nothing so unmanly, so devoid of every chivalric impulse, as the abuse of this poor, wounded, and bereft woman. But I am reminded of the splendid outburst of eloquence on the part of Edmund Burke, when, speaking of the heart-broken Queen of France, he said:—
"Little did I dream that I should live to see such disasters fall upon her in a nation of gallant men,—a nation of men of honor, cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone."
"Lincoln was incontestably the greatest man I ever knew. What marked him was his sincerity, his kindness, his clear insight into affairs, his firm will and clear policy. I always found him preeminently a clear-minded man. The saddest day of my life was that of Lincoln's assassination."—U.S. GRANT.
[The death of GENERAL GRANT has occurred since this article was put into type.—Ed.]
* * * * *
By Edward P. Guild.
The outline of Boston harbor somewhat resembles a very irregular letter C, with its open side facing to the north-east. The upper horn terminates with Point Shirley, in the town of Winthrop. The lower horn is a narrow ridge of land of varying width, extending four miles from the mainland, then abruptly turning to the westward for three miles. This peninsula is the town of Hull; the sharp elbow is Point Allerton.
The stretch of four miles from the point to the mainland is of greatly varying width, the harbor side being of most irregular and fantastic outline; but the side toward the sea is smooth and even, and forms Nantasket Beach,—one of the most popular watering-places on the Atlantic coast.
The development of Nantasket as a summer resort began a long time ago, although the era of large hotels and popular excursions began in the last few years. Forty or fifty vears ago people from Boston, Dorchester, Hingham, and other towns, when hungering for a sniff of unalloyed sea-breeze, or a repast of the genuine clam-chowder, were in the habit of resorting to this beach, where they could pitch their tents, or find accommodations in the rather humble cottages which were already beginning to dot the shore. That the delights of the beach were appreciated then is evinced by the habitual visits of many noted men of the time, among them Daniel Webster, who often came here for recreation, usually bringing his gun with him that he might indulge his sporting proclivities; and, according to his biographer, "he was a keen sportsman. Until past the age of sixty-five he was a capital shot; and the feathered game in his neighborhood was, of course, purely wild. He used to say, after he had been in England, that shooting in 'preserves' seemed to him very much like going out and murdering the barn-door fowl. His shooting was of the woodcock, the wild-duck, and the various marsh-birds that frequent the coast of New England.... Nor would he unmoor his dory with his 'bob and line and sinker,' for a haul of cod or hake or haddock, without having Ovid, or Agricola, or Pharsalia, in the pocket of his old gray overcoat, for the 'still and silent hour' upon the deep."
Another frequent visitor—Peter Peregrine—wrote: "The Nantasket Beach is the most beautiful I ever saw. It sweeps around in a majestic curve, which, if it were continued so as to complete the circle, would of itself embrace a small sea. There was a gentle breeze upon the water, and the sluggish waves rolled inward with a languid movement, and broke with a low murmur of music in long lines of foam against the opposite sands. The surface of the sea was, in every direction, thickly dotted with sails; the air was of a delicious temperature, and altogether it was a scene to detain one for hours."
Evidently, Peter was a lover of nature at the sea-side; but to show that those who sojourned here forty years ago were not unexposed to ridicule, the following extract is given from a letter written from Hull in 1846: "The public and private houses at Nantasket are overrun with company, chiefly from Boston. Some of our fashionable people, as the rich are vulgarly called, will leave their airy, cool, well-appointed establishments in Boston, with every luxury the market affords, in the vain hope of finding comfort in such houses. They will leave their city palaces, the large and convenient rooms, comfortable bedsteads and mattresses, and all the delicacies of the season, and submit to being stowed away on straw-beds or cots, even upon the floor, half-a-dozen in a small chamber, or four deep in an entry, to be half-starved into the bargain upon badly cooked fish and other equally cheap commodities, for the mere sake of being able to think that they are enjoying the sea-breeze." Had the writer of this satire lived to lodge for a night in one of the palace hotels which now adorn Nantasket Beach he would have sung another song.
The peninsula of Hull is graced by three gentle elevations,—Atlantic Hill, a rocky eminence marking the southern limit of the beach; Sagamore Hill, a little farther to the north; and Strawberry Hill, about midway to Point Allerton. The last of these elevations is the most noted of the three. On its summit is an old barn, which is not only a well-known landmark for sea-voyagers, but a point of the triangulations of the official harbor surveys. In 1775 a large barn, containing eighty tons of hay, was burned on this spot by the Americans, that it might not be secured by the British. The splendid scene which this fire must have produced was doubtless applauded with even more enthusiasm than the great illuminations which are now a part of each season's events at the beach.
It is said that fierce conflicts among the savages used to often occur on the plains extending toward Point Allerton, before these parts were invaded by the white man. The theory has arisen from the finding of large numbers of skulls, bones, arrows, tomahawks, and other relics in this locality.
The trip to Nantasket from Boston by boat on a summer day is most delightful, affording a sail of an hour among the most interesting objects of Boston harbor. The point of departure is at Rowe's wharf, near the foot of Broad street, where the passenger steps on board one of the well-equipped steamers of the Boston and Hingham Steamboat Company. The course down to Nix's Mate, and thence to Pemberton, is quite straight, but the route the remainder of the way, especially after entering Weir river, is so tortuous as to cause the passenger to constantly believe that the boat is just going to drive against the shore. Upon the arrival at Nantasket pier the passenger is aware that he is at a popular resort. Barges and coaches line the long pier; ambitious porters give all possible strength of inflection to the names of their respective hotels; while innumerable menu cards are thrust into the visitors' hands, each calling particular attention to the chowders of the ——— House as being the best to be had on the New England coast.
Two minutes' walk is sufficient to cross from the steamboat-pier over the narrow ridge of land to the beach. The difference between one side and the other is very striking. On the one is the still, dark water of Weir river; on the other, the open sea and the rolling surf. The beach at once impresses the visitor as being remarkably fine, and, indeed, it is equalled by none on the coast, unless, possibly, by Old Orchard. The sands are hard and firm, and at low tide form a spacious boulevard for driving or walking. Before the eye is the open sea, dotted here and there with glistening sails. The long, dark vessel which appears in the distance, about four o'clock on Saturday afternoon, is a Cunard steamer, which has just left East Boston for its voyage to Liverpool. For two or three hours it is in sight, slowly and majestically moving toward the horizon.
The scene on the beach is in marked contrast to what might have been witnessed a generation ago. Then one would have found here and there a family group just driven down in the old-fashioned carryall, and enjoying a feast of clam-chowder cooked over a fire of drift-wood. Now the beach is thronged by crowds of many thousands; immense hotels vie with those of the metropolis in grandeur; there are avenues and parks, flying horses, tennis-grounds, shops for the sale of everything that the city affords, and some that it does not, dog-carts and goat-wagons, fruit and peanut-stands, bowling-alleys, shooting-targets, and, in fact, as many devices to empty the pocket-book as are usually found at a cattle-show and a church-fair together. An excursion party has just arrived, but this occurs, sometimes, several times in a day,—for Nantasket is a Mecca to the excursionist. Societies and lodges come here; clubs resort hither for a social dinner; mercantile firms send their employes on an annual sail to this place, and philanthropists provide for hundreds of poor children a day's outing on this beach.