NEW ENGLAND MAGAZINE
BAY STATE MONTHLY.
OLD SERIES JUNE, 1886. NEW SERIES
VOL. IV. NO. 6. VOL. I. NO. 6.
Copyright, 1886, by Bay State Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the article.
BY REV. N. H. EGLESTON.
Williams College has something peculiar and romantic in its history, as well as in its site amid the beautiful hills of Berkshire. It had its birth upon the very frontiers of civilization, and amid the throes of that struggle which was to decide finally whether the control of this continent, and the permanent shaping of its institutions and its destiny were to be French or English. The nascent colleges of Colorado, Dakota, and Oregon are relatively to-day in the position held by Williams when it was founded.
Col. Ephraim Williams, from whom the college takes its name, had been an active participant in the struggle to which we have alluded. He had been commissioned by the General Court of Massachusetts to construct and command a line of forts along the northern border of settlements from the Connecticut River on the east to the valley of the Hoosac on the west. This line coincided nearly with the northern boundary of Massachusetts; all above, to the borders of Canada, being then a wilderness, through which the roaming savages often burst with sudden violence upon the settlements of the English colonists. The westernmost of the line of forts was not far from what is now the site of the college, and this, being the most exposed and most important, Williams commanded in person.
After acting in this capacity for a time, and in a manner which gained him much distinction in the colony, he was placed in charge of a regiment of troops, designed to participate with other forces in an expedition against the French; the special object being the capture of Crown Point, a fortress on Lake Champlain. While on the way to Crown Point a French force was met, near the head of Lake George. Williams, with a detachment of troops, was sent against it. The movement was successful. The French were repulsed, but in the encounter Williams lost his life. A monument, erected in recent years by the alumni of the college, marks the spot where he fell.
While engaged in his military duties on the frontier, Williams became much interested in the soldiers under his command. Through his agency chiefly, two townships of land in the vicinity of Fort Massachusetts—the name given to the most western fort in the valley of the Hoosac—had been set off by order of the Legislature, and lots in them had been disposed of to the soldiers on favorable terms. Williams had also expressed the intention of still further benefiting his comrades in arms. While resting for a day or two at Albany, on his way to Crown Point, he bethought him of his purpose, the execution of which had hitherto been postponed. Accordingly, he made his will on the spot, by which he devised his property, after making some bequests to relatives and friends, for the purpose of establishing what he termed a Free School.
Such was the beginning of Williams College, for the school took the name and form of a college in two or three years after its organization. It was noble in purpose from the outset, but humble, indeed, in pecuniary endowment. Some will smile, now that we think hundreds of thousands, not to say millions, necessary for the establishment of a college, when they are informed that the executors of Williams' estate were obliged to allow the proceeds of it to accumulate for thirty years before they ventured to organize the school or erect a building for its use.
That it was to be something more than an ordinary school was insured from the beginning by the character of the trustees who so patiently brooded over the work committed to them while the funds in their hands were gaining the needful increase. They were among the most distinguished and intelligent citizens of the Colony. Most of them were of collegiate training, and a large number graduates of Yale. They believed in the value of a liberal education, not only to the person immediately concerned, but to the community of which he might be a member. They believed in the importance of basing liberty upon sound education. Such men, at such a time, could hardly have done otherwise than to lay foundations which could be fitly built upon for a long time to come. They designed to give the youth who might come to their school such a training as would fit them for the engagements and duties of practical life. So they began their school in the wilderness, as it then was, so far out on the verge of settlement that a few years before there had been debate as to whether it was not actually beyond the boundaries of New England. Now that the wilderness is gone, and the college, long secluded from observation, has been made so accessible by the construction of one of our transcontinental lines of railway along the valley of the Hoosac, and the town to which Williams gave name has become noted far and wide for its beauty, one wonders whether those early founders were aware of the fair setting which Nature had provided for their school. Certainly the aesthetic sense can ask for nothing more in the way of natural scenery than is here presented to the eye in the combination of mountain, valley, and stream; the infinite variety on every hand, with a quiet grandeur characterizing all. The visitor no sooner looks out upon the enchanting scene than he is ready to say this is pre-eminently a fit place for the training of students; all without is so in harmony with what is best in culture and character.
But outward or geographical situation is of secondary importance with a seat of learning. Scenery will not make scholars, though it may be desirable and helpful, and is likely to impress itself upon the habitual beholder with life-long influence. The college is where the teachers are. It is also what they are. Plato made the Academy. And judged by this standard Williams has not been deficient. From its beginning it has had able instructors, men of sound learning, of exemplary character, and "apt to teach." Among the earliest was Jeremiah Day, afterwards, and for so long a time, serving as the president of Yale College. Ex-President Hopkins is just now completing the fiftieth year of continuous instruction in the college since he was called to be its head, and no name is higher than his as a teacher. With him have been associated fit and eminent coadjutors in the various departments of instruction. If the work of the college has been done quietly and unobtrusively, it has been done well. The faculty of Williams have not been ambitious to make a university amid the Berkshire Hills, nor to enter into a strife with other institutions for the purpose of swelling the number of its students. They have been content to do the work of a simple college, and to be judged by the quality rather than the quantity of their work. Faithful to the students who might be led to seek the benefits of such an institution, they have sought to make their pupils faithful to themselves and to their opportunities. In the working of the college, the training of character has been regarded as of prime importance. While sound scholarship has been insisted upon,—sound rather than showy,—no scholarship has been allowed to take the place of character. The moral element has ever been held uppermost, and the endeavor has been to blend it with all the studies of the assigned curriculum. A truly manly character has been the finished product which the college has sought to give to the world from year to year in the persons of its graduates.
Colleges no less than persons have their peculiarities and special characteristics. Its very situation made it almost certain that at Williams much attention would be given to the natural sciences. With mountains and meadows on every side inviting their exploration, it was almost a matter of course that much attention should be given to botanical studies, and that the new sciences of chemistry and geology should meet a hearty welcome. This was made the more certain by the special qualification of the teachers of these sciences. Professor Dewey was distinguished by his lectures and experiments in natural philosophy and chemistry. Professor Eaton early gave lectures in mineralogy, geology, and botany. He was a pioneer in these departments of science, and an enthusiast whose spirit easily kindled a like spirit in others. To pursue his favorite studies he had forsaken the profession of law. It was his custom to take his classes into the fields and woods and there interrogate Nature. Emmons, the younger Hopkins, Tenney, and Chadbourne were teachers of similar spirit. Aided by the instruction of such men the natural sciences have been studied with a zeal which has become traditional at Williams. As evidence and result of this, a Lyceum of Natural History has been established and maintained for many years by the students, and has become a fixed institution. The Society has a substantial brick building on the college campus containing a valuable collection of specimens in the various departments of natural history, and a hall in which the Society holds regular meetings for the reading of papers and the discussion of questions relating to natural science. The students have been encouraged also to pursue their researches at a distance from the college, and various expeditions have been undertaken for this purpose. The long summer vacations have frequently been profitably spent in this way. In company with a professor of the college, as their guide and helper, the members of the Society have prosecuted their researches southward to the Gulf, and as far north as Greenland. The college has now a table in the building of the United States Fish Commission at Wood's Holl, on the southern coast of Massachusetts, where the students have the opportunity, every summer, of prosecuting their biological studies.
Of course every one who knows anything of the college knows that the study of mental and moral science has had as prominent place as that of the natural sciences. It could not be otherwise with such a man as Ex-President Hopkins in the chair of instruction. Dr. Hopkins has had, in a remarkable degree, the faculty of making these studies, usually regarded as abstruse and repulsive to the majority of students, both intelligible and attractive. It has been his conviction that we may know and ought to know what is nearest to us—ourselves; that we are capable of ascertaining the laws and movements of our own being. This is properly the science of Man. This, in his apt, clear way, he has taught year after year. He has sought to lead the young men of his classes to look within, to study and know themselves. For text-book he has used now one and now another. The book has been of secondary importance. The familiar, free discussions of the class-room have been the most effective means of instruction, and many are the graduates of Williams who look back upon their studies in philosophy as the most interesting and valuable of their college course.
Since the accession of President Carter to his place at the head of the college, while attention to other studies has not been lessened, more attention has been given to the study of the modern languages and to our own native tongue, formerly so sadly neglected in most of our colleges. The belles-lettres studies have been given a larger place than they had before. Other changes have also been made in the curriculum and in the arrangements and management of the college calculated to adapt it in all respects to the wants of the time, and the present condition and needs of the country. The list of elective studies has been increased. For some years the senior class have had a wide liberty of choice as to the studies in which they should be engaged. A similar liberty is now given to the juniors. As to the lower classes, the managers of the college are not disposed to think that a boy on coming to college is the best judge as to the studies to be pursued by him. At the same time they recognize the fact that the average age of students is greater by several years than it was twenty-five or fifty years ago, and that this may well be taken into account and, coupled with the effect of two years of college training, may make it safe and even desirable to throw students in the latter half of their course partly upon their own responsibility as well as privilege of choice. They are not disposed to regard their pupils as boys when they are men, or to use compulsory requisitions when free choice will accomplish as good results.
During President Carter's incumbency of office, or in recent years, large additions have been made also to what may be called the furniture of the college. Its funds have been sensibly augmented, and its equipment of buildings largely increased. A new observatory has been erected to supplement the uses of the old one, which was distinguished as being the first observatory for astronomical purposes erected in this country. The new one has mounted in it a meridian circle of the latest and best construction. Other instruments in both observatories in the hands of one so eminent as Professor Safford, furnish unusual means for the prosecution of astronomical studies. Clark Hall, a fine new building, contains the Wilder Mineralogical Cabinet and the college archives. A new dormitory has been erected by the liberality of the late Ex-Governor Morgan, of New York, and during the present year a spacious building of stone has been erected for gymnastic purposes. As new buildings have been constructed, old ones have been rearranged and better adapted for the various uses of the college, and so it has been provided with the means of enlarging and improving its work, and it is believed that few, if any, of our colleges are better equipped in this respect than Williams.
With such natural surroundings as the students of Williams have, such scenery appealing everywhere to the eye and soul, mountains close at hand to climb, and sequestered nooks to explore, it could hardly be otherwise than that they should combine with their studies the physical exercise necessary for the maintenance of health. They have been encouraged also by the college authorities to engage in athletic games among themselves, and to participate in friendly contests with the students of other colleges, and in these contests the students of Williams have held an honorable place.
It would be wrong perhaps not to make a more distinct reference to the moral character of the college. As has been seen, the ethical studies hold a prominent place in the curriculum. The college has a distinctively religious character. By this is not meant that it is a religious institution. It was not founded by any religious sect or denomination. It is not under the control of any such. It was founded as a school, a place of education, with no ulterior aim. But its founder, and those who executed his will and gave shape to his design, were men of religious character; persons who held moral character above mere scholarship, and who believed that every scholar should have a devout spirit. Their successors and those who from the first have held the position of instructors, have been of like feeling. They have been Christian scholars themselves, and have sought to make their pupils such; not, however, in any forced or unpleasant way. The chapel has its place among the college buildings. There the students assemble every morning for the reading of the sacred scriptures and for prayer; and on the Sabbath religious services are conducted after the customary manner of the churches. Studies in natural theology and in the catechism also form a part of the college course. The religious atmosphere which surrounds the college is as genial and cheerful as the natural atmosphere which bathes the hills and valleys around in October days. It has no element of sectarianism or bigotry. Free alike from cant, from looseness and indifference, the religious tone of the college is altogether wholesome.
Williams, the westernmost of our New England colleges, blends in harmonious combination the puritan spirit of the East with the progressive spirit of the West, and offers to all who come to her doors an education based upon tried principles, and conducted in a healthful spirit. At his inauguration to the office of its presidency, Dr. Hopkins said, "I desire and shall labor that this may be a safe college; that here may be health, and cheerful study, and kind feelings, and pure morals." No words perhaps could better describe the character which, under his wise management, and that of his associates, the college has maintained.
President Carter's inaugural address contained an urgent plea for a professorship of the "History and Polity of the Hebrew Theocracy," and although the funds for such a professorship are still wanting, the college stands faithfully by the old traditions of reverence and worship and sound morality.
THE HUNTING OF THE STAG OF OENOE.
BY CLINTON SCOLLARD.
From proud Mycenae's lion-guarded gate, Where King Eurystheus reigned in regal state, One springtime morn when every field was fair And song-birds carolled in the azure air, A man of mighty stature swiftly strode, And took his way along the winding road That led to well-walled Argos and the sea. From Lerna's fens a salty breeze blew free, And stirred the locks that fell his shoulders down And wreathed his forehead like a golden crown. Upon his shield—a sight to hold men mute— Was seen the head of the Nemean brute; Within one hand a gnarled club he bore, Hewn from an oak bole in the forest hoar. The shafts of Hermes, and the wondrous bow, The helm of Vulcan with its fiery glow, The fine-wrought peplus fluttering in the breeze, Proclaimed the hero valiant Hercules. Beside the torrent Perseia that won Its way to join the sweet Asterion, Through flowery meads and field of greening grain, The hero's pathway led him o'er the plain; But ere the walls of Argos met his view, Or ere he saw the AEgean shining blue, He turned, and toward the mountain peaks that rose Along the far horizon, capped with snows Of lands Arcadian, pursued his quest. And many days he fared with meagre rest Taken in starlit hours 'neath forest boughs, Where nightly Queen Titania's elves carouse. By day he hasted with unflagging pace Through woodland depths where Dian's hounds gave chase To startled deer, through fields by yeomen tilled, Through vineyards whence the winepress would be filled When teeming Autumn with her purple fine Had tinged the grape upon the yielding vine; Through olive groves that, in good time, would bear A bounteous fruitage 'neath the pruner's care: And those who saw him as he sped along Paused 'mid their work, or hushed the jocund song To do him homage. None in all the land But felt the blessings that his potent hand Had widely wrought; remote were they and few But that his face and stately presence knew. Where'er his many wanderings led, he heard In field or household no unwelcome word; Whene'er he came, though bread and wine were spent, He saw no frown nor look of ill content.
At last, when many nights the vernal moon Had risen and set, and song-birds presaged June, One sultry eve the weary hero came To mountain hamlet where his matchless fame Had been on all men's lips, but where his face Was known to none; and in the market-place He found a throng with wreaths and garlands bound, And one who blew with clear, harmonious sound Upon a hollow reed. Amidst the folk A goodly ox, unfettered by the yoke, Stood gayly decked with flowers in skilful wise As though prepared for godly sacrifice. When they beheld the noble-visaged man, They bade him join the festal rites of Pan; For some at heart believed that he might be, In mortal guise, a heavenly deity; And much they marveled at his kingly mien, As with the throng he sought the forest green. Within a glade where drooping birches stirred Their silvery leaves, and where the drowsy bird Sang plaintively a tender twilight lay, An altar stood entwined by tendrils gay. And soon thereon the mighty ox, new-slain, Was sprinkled o'er with wine and barley grain; Then one, amid the sound of choral song, The seemly leader of the pastoral throng, With reverent hand brought forth the sacred fire, And prayerful knelt and lit the holy pyre. Amid the roar of sacrificial flame The devotees besought their God by name; And while they worshipped, Hercules unheard, Through flowering, fragrant thickets scarcely stirred By evening's breezes, softly slipped away, His vows fulfilled. The golden orb of day Had ceased to flush the placid western sky; With slowly lengthening shadows night drew nigh, But still the hero with unslackened stride Went hurrying onward, till a torrent wide, Grown fierce with melting snow, his progress barred; And there beneath the cloudless dome, bright-starred, Upon his tawny shield he laid him down, And slept till morning with her rosy crown Followed the car of Phoebus up the East. Then, when his limbs from slumber were released, And he had eaten of his frugal fare, He stemmed the stream, and up a hillside bare Of aught but tangled bush and hindering briar Toiled slowly to the crest, whereon a spire Of splintered pine like lonely sentry stood. Below him lay a wide-outreaching wood, And far beyond a hamlet that he knew, Oenoe called. Before the thick night dew Had dried from off the grass and rustling leaves, Or shepherd maids from under well-thatched eaves Had gone afield to watch the wandering Of flocks that fed beside a crystal spring, Stout Hercules had trodden half the way That 'twixt the pine-tree and the hamlet lay.
A Titan power, while yet the world was young, Within the woodland's shady heart had flung The green earth open, and a dark ravine, Through which a streamlet purled o'er mossy-green, Gigantic boulders, formed the chosen lair For ravening beasts that through the forest fare. At night or morn the deer were wont to seek The freshening nectar of the crystal creek; At night or morn the pard, with stealthy tread, Crept softly out upon the boughs o'erhead; A wanderer from rocky realms remote, Here laved the mountain bear his shaggy coat; And birds, bright-mirrored on the sedgy brink Of darkling pools, here paused to plume and drink.
Where o'er the granite ledge the noisy stream Came tossing down athwart the slanting gleam Of morning sunrays, Hercules reclined Beneath a tangled growth of vines that twined Around o'erhanging saplings, oak and elm. Upon the ground was cast his weighty helm, Likewise his shield and shafts, his club and bow. Breathless he listened with his ear bent low Upon the earth. The moments sped; around The honey-hoarding bees' unceasing sound, The crested jay's complaining, shrilly call, Were intermingled with the water's fall. But soon upon his keen, detecting ear There fell a noise which told that hoof of deer Was lightly rustling through the reeds and grass. With eye alert he scanned the narrow pass Beside the stream, and, in a moment more, Beheld a stag upon the shelving shore Whose hoofs seemed brazen, and whose horns outshone With gold like that which binds the slender zone Of fair Aurora, daughter of the Dawn. Deep eyes more tender had no timid fawn; Of perfect form was every graceful limb; The tapering flank symmetrical and slim, The head erect, the nostril fine of curve, The shapely shoulders flawless, and the swerve Of stately neck a marvel to behold. This was the stag a woodland nymph of old To swift Diana gave, remembering she Had been her friend in dire extremity. This stag it was that brave Mycenae's king Had bidden valiant Hercules to bring Alive unto his court. And now so fair The creature stood before him, unaware A foe lurked near, that he at heart was fain To capture it without the piercing pain The wounding dart might give; and so aside He cast his princely peplus, purple-dyed, And softly crept from 'neath the viny roof. But lo! the stag with smite of startled hoof On yielding ground, and toss of antlers high, Flashing a look from out his frightened eye, With agile bound sprang knee-deep in the stream, A moment paused as in a trance or dream; Then, casting back a calmly questioning look, Regained the bank above the brawling brook, And ere the hero seized his barbed dart, Had disappeared within the forest's heart.
Twelve weary months had slowly dragged away Since Hercules, upon that fateful day, Within Arcadian wilds had sought in vain To snare the sacred stag; through sun and rain, Through wintry cold and winds that tossed and whirled The falling leaf, through drifting snows that pearled Arcadian slopes, untiring in pursuit, He held a lonely chase that bore no fruit; If he at morn descried the stag afar, At night it vanished like a falling star; And though his subtlest woodcraft he had tried, The brazen hoof his cunning still defied. Oft did the harvesters and husbandmen Behold him ranging through an Argive glen, And oft the wandering shepherd saw him rest On some Arcadian upland's bosky crest.
In rapid flight the hunted stag had come From craggy heights of Artemesium To placid Ladon's fruitful vale, and there Had sought a refuge in a cavern ne'er Beheld by mortal man. Remote it stood Within the precincts of a pathless wood To Dian sacred. Round its entrance grew A tangled copse, and one gigantic yew Towered at its mouth. The river ran near by, And on its bank was heard the bittern's cry, For May had come again.
One morn by chance, Just as the sun had flung its earliest lance O'er towering treetops, Hercules drew near The spot where every dawn the brass-hoofed deer From out the grot came softly slipping down To drink and lave its limbs of glossy brown. Day after day the mighty man had sought In vain the stag's retreat; his mind was fraught With gathering fear lest he should find no trace Of royal covert in that wildwood place. Erelong a sound that smote his eager ear Gave swift assurance that his prize was near. With cautious hand a skimmering dart he drew, And eager, peered the tremulous leafage through; The pattering footfalls near and nearer came, A moment paused,—then, like a flash of flame, The stag in splendor dawned upon his sight, And sniffed the crystal air with keen delight. Upon the morning breeze the piercing twang Of taut-drawn bowstring ominously rang, While with a moan the noble creature sank In pain and terror on the reedy bank. Beneath a haughty hemlock's spicy shade The hero stanched the wound his shaft had made; With leathern thong the stag's slight limbs he bound, And striding swiftly o'er the ferny ground, His precious burden on his shoulders wide, Toward fair Mycenae with her walls of pride He hurried on from lisping Ladon's shore, Elate to feel his arduous task was o'er. Before his steps the joyful tidings flew, And when anigh the city's gates he drew, A band of stately elders bade him hail; Then came a troop of youths in garments pale, Upon their lips a merry hunting lay; And following close a group of maidens gay, With twining flowers, freshed plucked, and emerald sprays. And all the concourse wished him length of days, O'erjoyed to see, with horns of glittering gold, The living stag within the hero's hold. Nor here nor there the happy hunter stayed His rapid steps, but while the people made Great clamor in his honor from the wall, Sought out the king within the royal hall; And there, 'mid cries that echoed from the street, He laid his trophy at the monarch's feet.
BY HON. STEPHEN M. ALLEN.
The first great National success of the Whig party was in the election of their candidates for President and Vice-President in 1840, William Henry Harrison, of Ohio, and John Tyler, of Virginia, being the successful nominees. The previous influence of the party in many States of the Union, their ability to carry out great local measures in their respective locations, and their party power in Congress, but made the political contest which was long and bitter, the more active and important. Party strife ran to the highest pitch throughout the whole country, and Mr. Webster, who was the acknowledged head in the North, and one of the principal originators of the National Whig organization in the United States, was looked up to as a most important personage in the contest, and his influence was deeply felt and appreciated. General Harrison early selected Mr. Webster for one of his Cabinet, and offered him the choice between the Treasury and the State Department. Mr. Webster chose the latter, and during the short month of General Harrison's life, laid out the ground plan of that important work which kept him so busily employed for the next two years, and which under no circumstances during the contest between Mr. Tyler, the succeeding President, and the Whig party, did he feel willing to leave to the chances of a settlement by a successor less familiar and perhaps less skilled in National affairs with foreign governments than himself. Although Mr. Webster was generally sustained by the party friends in Congress, and in part by the whole country, the shortsighted, less skilful, and more selfish of Whig partisans denounced him in unmeasured terms through the press and upon the stump, for not forsaking his post and leaving the President with the rest of the Cabinet. It was here, at the great pivotal turn of the Whig party, so far as Mr. Webster was concerned, and not at a later period, while in the Senate where he delivered his seventh of March speech, or in the Cabinet of President Fillmore, that the great coalition of radical partisans was made against him. The most bitter denunciations were launched by this premeditated alliance of selfish politicians, who, not having been able to bit, bridle, and drive Mr. Webster, were determined to rule or ruin, through his political disfranchisement, from the great party he was virtually the father of. All this, too, by false pretence; for a cool review of Mr. Webster's course has satisfied the country that the great depth of motive, prescience of danger to the Union and in fact, purpose of that speech, was, in the highest sense, proper and patriotic, and in no way at variance with the interpretation of either the old or new Constitution as now understood. The occasion was seized upon, having failed in their first effort to denounce and defame him, in the hope of thus building up an influence with some candidate for President, whom they could control for their own selfish purposes. It will be remembered that some of Mr. Webster's friends, or, at least, those who claimed to be such, took occasion to forsake him at that time. He, however, went into the Cabinet of President Fillmore after the death of General Taylor, where he remained until his death. The bill pending before Congress when he left it, was altered after Mr. Webster's speech, and he stated to his friends that he should have proposed amendments to it on its final passage, if he had been in the Senate. It was at this time that he prepared the following paper, which I have always designated as "Webster's Vindication." This document, as shown by the endorsement, in the handwriting of Colonel Fletcher Webster, was proposed to the Cabinet by Mr. Webster, in October, 1850, who intended it as a mandate to the United States officials in all the States, but it was rejected by President Fillmore, who did not wish thus to be committed. There is no doubt about the genuineness of the document itself. It was found in looking over Mr. Webster's papers before the Webster mansion was burned, and was presented to the writer by Mrs. Fletcher Webster, some years before it was made public, at the Webster Centennial Celebration at Marshfield in 1882, where it was first read in the presence of President Arthur, who was at the meeting. It speaks strongly for itself, and is all that will be needed, at this late day, to convince every dispassionate lover of justice and truth, of Webster's sincerity and singleheartedness of motive, and his unswerving loyalty to the Constitution and the Union.
"CABINET CIRCULAR OF DANIEL WEBSTER, OCTOBER, 1850.
"The open manner in which disunion, secession, or a separation of the States, is suggested and recommended in some parts of the country, naturally calls on those to whom are confided the power and trust of maintaining the Constitution, and seeing that the laws of the United States be faithfully executed, to reflect upon the duties which events not yet indeed probable, but possible, may require them to perform. In the Northern and Eastern States, these sentiments of disunion are espoused principally by persons of heated imaginations, assembling together and passing resolutions of such wild and violent character as to render them nearly harmless. It is not so in other parts of the country. There are States in the South in which secession and dismemberment are proposed or recommended by persons of character and influence, filling stations of high public trust, and, it is painful to add, in some instances, not unconnected with the Government of the United States itself. Legislatures of some of the States have directed the government of those States to reassemble them in the contingency of the passage of certain laws by Congress. While these occurrences do not constitute an exigency calling for any positive proceeding either by the Executive Government of the United States or by Congress, yet they justly awaken attention, and admonish those in whose hands the administration of the government is placed, not to be found either unadvised, surprised, or unprepared, should a crisis arrive. The Constitution of the United States is founded on the idea of a division of power between the general government and the respective State governments; and this division is marked out and defined by the Constitution of the United States with as much distinctness and accuracy as the nature of the subject and the imperfection of language will admit. The powers of Congress are specifically enumerated, and all other powers necessary to carry these specified powers into effect are also expressly granted. The Constitution was adopted by the people in the several States, acting through the agency of conventions chosen by themselves; the Legislatures of the States had nothing to do with this proceeding, but to regulate the time and manner in which these conventions thus chosen by the people, the true source of all power, should assemble. The Constitution of the United States purports to be a perpetual form of government; it contains no limits for its duration, and suggests no means and no form of proceeding by which it can be dissolved, or its obligations dispensed with; it requires the personal allegiance of every citizen of the United States, and demands a solemn oath for its support from every man employed in any public trust, whether under the Government of the United States, or any State government. This obligation and this oath are enjoined in broad and general terms without qualification or modification, and with reference to no supposed possible change of circumstances or events.
"No man can sit in a State Legislature, or on the bench of a State court, or execute the process of such court, or hold a commission in the militia, or fill any other office in a State government, without having first taken and subscribed an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. Without looking, therefore, to what might be the result of forcible revolution, since such cases can, of course, be governed by no previously established rule, it is certainly the manifest duty of all those who are entrusted with the Government of the United States in its several branches and departments to uphold and maintain that government to the full extent of its constitutional power and authority, to enact all laws necessary to that end, and to take care that those laws be executed by all the means created and conferred by the Constitution itself. We are to look to but one future, and that a future in which the Constitution of the country shall stand as it now stands; laws passed in conformity to it to be executed as they have hitherto been executed, and the public peace maintained as it has hitherto been maintained. Whatsoever of the future may be supposed to lie out of this line, is not so much a thing to be expected, as a thing to be feared and dreaded, and to be guarded against by the firmest resolution and the utmost vigilance of all who are entrusted with the conduct of public affairs; no alternative can be presented which is to authorize them to depart from the course which they have sworn to pursue. In conferring the necessary powers on the general government, it was foreseen that questions as to the just extent of those powers might occur, and that cases of conflict between the laws of the United States and the laws of individual States might arise. It was of indispensable necessity, therefore, that the manner in which such questions should be settled, and the tribunal which should have the ultimate authority to decide them, should be established and fixed by the Constitution itself: and this has been clearly and amply done. By the Constitution of the United States, that instrument itself, all acts of Congress passed in conformity to it, and public treaties, constitute the supreme law of the land, and are to be of controlling force and effect, anything in any State constitution or State law to the contrary notwithstanding; and the judges in every State, as well as of the courts of the United States, are expressly bound thereby. The supreme rule, then, is plainly and clearly declared and established: it is the Constitution of the United States, the laws of Congress passed in pursuance thereof, and treaties made under the authority of the United States. And here the great and turning question arises, Who in the last resort is to construe and interpret this supreme law? If it be alleged, for example, that a particular act of a State Legislature is a violation of the Constitution of the United States, and therefore void, what tribunal has authority finally to determine this important question? It is evident that if this power had not been vested in the tribunals of the United States, the government would have wanted the means of its own preservation; all its granted powers would have depended upon the variable and uncertain decisions of State courts.
"It is a well-established maxim in political organization, that the judicial power must be made co-extensive with the constitutional and legislative power; otherwise there can be no adequate provision for the interpretation and execution of the laws. In conformity with this plain and necessary principle, the Constitution declares that the judicial power of the United States shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution, the laws of the United States and treaties, no matter in what court such a case arises. Whenever and wherever such a case comes up, the judicial power of the United States extends to it, and attaches upon it; and if it arise in any State court, the acts of Congress have made provision for its transfer to the Supreme Court of the United States, there to be finally heard and adjudged. This proceeding is well known to the profession, and need not now be particularly stated or rehearsed. Finally, the President of the United States is by the Constitution made commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and of the militia when called into the actual service of the United States; and all these military means are put under his control in order that he may be able to see that the laws be faithfully executed. The Government of the United States, therefore, though a government of limited powers, is complete in itself, and, to the extent of those powers, possesses all the faculties for legislation, interpretation and execution of the laws, and nothing is necessary but fidelity in all those who are elected by the people to hold office in its various departments to cause it to be upheld, maintained, and efficiently administered.
"The Constitution assigns particular classes of causes to the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and other courts are to exercise such powers and duties as are or may be prescribed by Congress. Congress has not as yet found it necessary or expedient to confer on the circuit or other inferior courts all the jurisdiction created or authorized by the Constitution; thus there are many cases in which a summary jurisdiction usually belonging to courts, such as that of mandamus and injunction, are not provided for by general law, but some such cases are provided for. Thus by the act of March 2, 1833, it is declared that the jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts of the United States shall extend to all cases in law or equity arising under the revenue laws of the United States; and if any person be injured in his person or property on account of any act by him done under any revenue law of the United States, he may bring suit immediately in the Circuit Court of the United States; and if he be sued in any State court for such act, he may cause such suit to be immediately removed into the Circuit Court of the United States; and if the State court refuse a copy of its record, that record may be supplied by affidavit; and if the defendant be under arrest, or in custody, he is to be brought by habeas corpus before the Circuit Court of the United States. Under the first part of these provisions, writs of mandamus and injunction may be issued, and all other writs and processes suitable to the case; and any judge of any court of the United States is authorized to grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases of prisoners committed or confined for any act done in pursuance of a law of the United States, or of any order, process or decree of any court of the United States. These provisions are all found in the permanent sections of the act of Congress already referred to. The importance and efficiency of these provisions, if events were to arise in which obstruction to the collection of revenue should be attempted or threatened, are too obvious to require comment. The several district attorneys of the United States will take especial care to inform themselves of these enactments of law, and be prepared to cause them to be enforced in the first and in every case which may arise, justly calling for their application.
"Declarations merely theoretical, or resolutions only declaratory of opinions, from however high authority emanating, cannot properly be made the subject of legal or judicial proceedings. They may be very intemperate, they may be very exceptional, they may be very unconstitutional; but until something shall be actually done or attempted, hindering or obstructing the execution of the laws of the United States, or injuring those employed in their execution, the officers of the government will remain vigilant indeed, and prepared for events, but without any positive exercise of authority. It is most earnestly to be hoped that the returning good sense of the people in all the States, and an increase of harmony and brotherly good will everywhere, may prevent the necessity of resorting to the exercise of legal authority; it is to be hoped that all good citizens will be much more inclined to reflect on the value of the Union and the benefits which it has conferred upon all, than to speculate upon impracticable means for its severance or dissolution. No State legislation, it is evident, is competent to declare such severance or dissolution—the people of no State have clothed their Legislature with any such authority; any act therefore proclaiming such severance by a Legislature, would be merely null and void as altogether exceeding its constitutional powers. No State was brought into the Union by the Legislature thereof, and no State can be put out of the Union by the Legislature thereof. Doubtless it is to be admitted that revolution, forcible revolution, may produce dismemberment more or less extensive; but there is no power on earth competent, by any peaceable or recognized manner of proceeding, to discharge the consciences of the citizens of the United States from the duty of supporting the Constitution. The government may be overthrown, or the Union broken into fragments by force of arms or force of numbers, but neither can be done by any prescribed form or peaceable existing authority."
 The above portrait of Daniel Webster is taken from a book just issued by the Fowler & Wells Co., New York, entitled, "A Natural System of Elocution and Oratory," founded upon analysis of the Human Constitution. By Thomas A. Hyde and William Hyde. Among other valuable subjects which this book contains is a description and analysis of Webster oratory.
HAWTHORNE'S LAST SKETCH.
BY PHILIP R. AMMIDON.
In the list of contributors to the old "New England Magazine,"—of which this is in a manner the legitimate successor,—among other names afterward famous is that of Nathaniel Hawthorne, then an obscure writer for various periodicals, and the ill-paid author of those juvenile histories that gave Mr. S. G. Goodrich ("Peter Parley") a literary reputation he scarcely earned.
The writer has a copy of this respectable and for a time popular monthly, with which he would be reluctant to part. It contains, for the first time printed, "The White Old Maid," one of the weirdest and most fascinating of the "Twice-Told Tales."
My present object is to invite the notice of readers of the "New England Magazine" of our day to the last completed work from the hand of that man of marvellous genius,
"Which at its topmost speed let fall the pen, And left the tale half told."
I remember with what concern I once heard a resident of Concord, a man not unknown in the world of letters, speak of certain evils likely to result from "Hawthorne's fall."
This, to me, conveyed only the idea of physical disaster, and it was with a sentiment of relief, commensurate with the contempt inspired by such an explanation, that I was given to understand that it was the great author's unselfish effort in behalf of his old college comrade and life-long friend, that was supposed to imply a state of moral declension fitly indicated by the sinister word.
It was thus that men and women, full of the cheap patriotism of the time, and puffed up with a sort of loyal egotism that blinded them to the possibilities of honest purpose in any whose views on politics and public affairs varied never so slightly from their accepted standard of right, ventured to condemn what they were constitutionally incapable of judging with either coolness or fair appreciation.
The "Life of Franklin Pierce" is by no means a great book, and neither the subject nor its treatment entitles it to a place among the immortal works that preceded and followed it; but to those of us who knew and loved the writer, and to those who through his books got some glimpses of the singular purity of his moral nature, a quality of friendship that excludes the idea of selfish interest seems its author's only and sufficient motive.
When the storm of civil war broke upon us, these worthy critics flung themselves with tongue, or pen, or sword—chiefly with tongue—into the good cause, and were scandalized at the vision of one who would fain have dreamed while they, after their various methods, were fighting; of a poet so far aloft in the regions of ideal fancy that the confused voices of battle well-nigh failed to reach him. And yet, in the words of one of their own writers,
"There was but one man living whom the country could so ill afford to lose as this strange, wayward, fitful, unreasonable poet and dreamer, who sneered at the war, and at the great nation that waged it, with the pettishness of a spoiled child."
But the charge that Hawthorne sneered at the righteous war, or, far worse, at his country, is full of an injustice which seems more bitter because it comes from one whose hearty admiration of the AUTHOR should have lifted him to a clearer appreciation of the MAN in his purity and lofty patriotism.
The writer concludes the article from which I have quoted, and which, in keen analysis and generous, literary judgment, is rarely equalled by any of Hawthorne's reviewers, with these and like ill-considered words:—
"Wherever he turned his weary steps, there stood in his path the genius of the time, not beautiful, not romantic, to his eyes; not even grand—but stern enough and in grim earnest, demanding of him what he could not give,—the heart and voice of an American citizen in the hour of America's danger."
The writer forgot, or, blinded by strong feeling, failed to perceive, that the silence which, with him as with hundreds of good and earnest men, would indeed have indicated a fatal lack of patriotic emotion, was in the case of Hawthorne only the inevitable shrinking of a rare and sensitive spirit from contact with the awful realities of conflict.
When the "Artist of the Beautiful" descended from the serene atmosphere, where his lofty spiritual nature had its true home and highest sphere of action, and devoted his delicate gifts to the useful mysteries of watch-making, the result, while eminently satisfactory to his old employer and well-wisher, the jeweller, and doubtless of blessed effect on the poor artist's purse, was disastrous in loss to the world of thought, and in its influence on his better and real self.
A writer of tenderer sympathies and nicer discrimination, takes a more kindly and a wiser view:—
"About the whole question of the war, Hawthorne's mind was, I think, always hovering between two views. He sympathized with it in principle; but its inevitable accessories—the bloodshed, the bustle, and above all, perhaps, the bunkum which accompanied it—were to him absolutely hateful.... To any one who knew the man, the mere fact that Hawthorne should have been able to make up his mind to the righteousness and expediency of the war at all, is evidence of the strength of that popular passion which drove the North and South into conflict."
But it was not Hawthorne's silence that provoked to fiercest expression the safe zeal of certain literary loyalists. This last sketch from that pen, the secret of whose magic was never communicated, and which, precious in itself, is invaluable because the last, was published in the summer of 1862—less than two years before its author's death. Its title, "Chiefly about War Matters," suggests its character. It was, in fact, a series of pictures of scenes in and about Washington at this stage of the great contest.
The present writer attempts nothing here like a review of this remarkable essay, entirely worthy as it was of its subject and its author's genius; it is simply my purpose to call the reader's attention to a production, which, more than anything else in Hawthorne's writings, has kindled the hostile criticism of shallow and uncongenial minds.
So quaintly characteristic is its commencement that I am tempted to give its opening paragraphs in full:—
"There is no remoteness of life and thought, no hermetically scaled seclusion, except, possibly, that of the grave, into which the disturbing influences of this war do not penetrate. Of course, the general heart-quake of the country long ago knocked at my cottage-door, and compelled me, reluctantly, to suspend the contemplation of certain fantasies to which, according to my harmless custom, I was endeavoring to give a sufficiently lifelike aspect to admit of their figuring in a romance. As I make no pretensions to statecraft or soldiership, and could promote the common weal neither by valor nor counsel, it seemed at first a pity that I should be debarred from such unsubstantial business as I had contrived for myself, since nothing more genuine was to be substituted for it.
"But I magnanimously considered that there is a kind of treason in inoculating one's self from the universal fear and sorrow, and thinking one's idle thoughts in the dread time of civil war; and could a man be so cold and hard-hearted, he would better deserve to be sent to Fort Warren than many who have found their way thither on the score of violent but misdirected sympathies.
"I remember the touching rebuke administered by King Charles to that rural squire, the echo of whose hunting-horn came to the poor monarch's ear on the morning before a battle, where the sovereignty and constitution of England were at stake. So I gave myself up to reading newspapers, and listening to the click of the telegraph, like other people, until after a great many months of such pastime, it grew so abominably irksome that I determined to look a little more closely at matters with my own eyes."
It was in the early days of March that Hawthorne, in company with his friend and publisher, Wm. D. Ticknor, left Boston on a visit to Washington and the seat of war, then in its immediate vicinity.
The sketches of natural scenery are touched with the same pencil that gave us the charming picture of daily life at the Old Manse.
It was in New York that the travellers had the first clear intimation of the unnatural order of things consequent on a state of civil war. Here they found a rather prominent display of military goods at the shop windows—such as swords, with gilded scabbards and trappings, epaulettes, carbines, revolvers, and sometimes a great iron cannon at the edge of the pavement, as if Mars had dropped one of his pocket-pistols there while hurrying to the field.
As railway companions, they had now and then a volunteer in his French-gray great coat, returning from furlough, or a new-made officer travelling to join his regiment in his new-made uniform, which was perhaps all of the military character that he had about him; but proud of his eagle buttons, and likely enough to, do them honor before the gilt should be wholly dimmed.
The country, in short, so far as bustle and movement went, was more quiet than in ordinary times, because so large a proportion of its restless elements had been drawn towards the seat of conflict.
But the air was full of a vague disturbance.
The author's patriotic alarm seems to have been especially excited by the host of embryo warriors that filled the cars and thronged the stations all along the journey. One cause of this terror will seem to us now all the more amusing because there are not wanting those who will doubtless honestly believe that in giving it expression he wrote with something of prophetic unction:—
"One terrible idea occurs in reference to this matter. Even supposing the war should end to-morrow, and the army melt into the mass of the population within the year, what an incalculable preponderance will there be of military titles and pretentions for at least half a century to come! Every country neighborhood will have its general or two, its three or four colonels, half a dozen majors, and captains without end—besides noncommissioned officers and privates, more than the recruiting officers ever knew of,—all with their campaign stories which will become the staple of fireside talk forevermore.
"Military merit, or rather, since that is not so readily estimated, military notoriety, will be the measure of all claims to civil distinction.
"One bullet-headed general will succeed another in the presidential chair; and veterans will hold the offices at home and abroad, and sit in Congress and the State Legislature, and fill all the avenues of public life. And yet I do not speak of this deprecatingly, since, very likely, it may substitute something more real and genuine, instead of the many shams on which men have heretofore founded their claims to public regard; but it behooves civilians to consider their wretched prospects in the future, and assume the military button before it is too late."
The day of their arrival in Washington was the date of McClellan's historic movement on Manassas:—
"On the very day of our arrival sixty thousand men had crossed the Potomac on their march towards Manassas; and almost with their first steps into the Virginia mud, the phantasmagory of a countless host and impregnable ramparts, before which they had so long remained quiescent, dissolved quite away.
"It was as if General McClellan had thrust his sword into a gigantic enemy, and, beholding him suddenly collapse, had discovered to himself and the world that he had merely punctured an enormously swollen bladder.
"There are instances of a similar character in old romances, where great armies are long kept at bay by the arts of the necromancers, who build airy towers and battlements, and muster warriors of terrible aspect, and thus feign a defence of seeming impregnability, until some bolder champion of the besiegers dashes forward to try an encounter with the foremost foeman, and finds him melt away in the death-grapple. With such heroic adventures let the march upon Manassas be hereafter reckoned.
"The whole business, though connected with the destinies of a nation, takes inevitably a tinge of the ludicrous.
"The vast preparation of men and warlike material,—the majestic patience and docility,—with which the people waited through those weary and dreary months,—the martial skill, courage, and caution, with which our movement was ultimately made,—and at last the shock with which we were brought suddenly up against nothing at all!"
It is in dealing with ponderous and awful blunders like this that the satiric power of the writer finds its favorite field of action.
It is not strange that, in those excited times of bitterness and strife, certain genuine but shallow souls should have counted it little short of treason to extract anything like fun from an episode which for us, in the day of it, was full of very solemn mortification. In this sketch, as indeed all through his works, it is in the delineation of individual character—in the analysis of motives—that Hawthorne's peculiar and amazing power is especially manifest, intermingled withal with a certain droll self-distrust and deprecation of adverse criticism, to which he has here given expression in a series of foot-notes, ostensibly from the editor's pen, but written in fact by the author himself.
The mixture of candor and apologetic self-disapproval in these addenda has a sufficiently odd effect, intermingled as it is with the utmost freedom of comment and criticism.
Prominent generals, cabinet ministers, and even the President himself, are dealt with in a vein of satiric candor, but with a pervasive spirit of good-nature evident enough and of sufficient breadth to disarm even official sensitiveness of anything like rancor.
Whatever personal descriptions the author may have meditated, or accomplished and afterward suppressed, the only full-length portrait he has given us is that of McClellan, of all the deeper interest and value now that both these famous Americans are numbered with the dead.
His impressions of President Lincoln seemed colored with a trace of prejudice, which, however unjust and unfortunate it may appear to us now, was really only the inevitable consequence of the wide intellectual gulf that yawned between those two men, both of positive character, and with tastes and sympathies the most radically opposite. But despite this unavoidable repulsion, Hawthorne's keen, resistless insight did not fail to penetrate the wonderful purity and simplicity of Lincoln's character. In a final word he does him ample justice:—
"He is evidently a man of keen faculties, and, what is still more to the purpose, of powerful character.
"As to his integrity, the people have that intuition of it which is never deceived. Before he actually entered upon his great office, and for a considerable time afterwards, there is no reason to suppose that he adequately estimated the gigantic task about to be imposed upon him, or, at least, had any distinct idea how it was to be managed; and I presume there may have been more than one veteran politician to propose to himself to take the power out of President Lincoln's hands into his own, leaving our honest friend only the public responsibility for the good or ill success of the career. The extremely imperfect development of his statesmanly qualities at that period may have justified such designs. But the President is teachable by events, and has now spent a year in a very arduous course of education; he has a flexible mind, capable of much expansion, and convertible towards far loftier studies and activities than those of his early life; and if he came to Washington a backwoods humorist, he has already transformed himself into as good a statesman (to speak modestly) as his prime minister."
So long as a general's sword is seemingly invincible, and the uniformity of his success silences even the cavillings of envy,—that most persistent of all the unlovely emotions,—just so long he may safely count on a unanimity of public approval. But let disaster befall, and, justly or otherwise, it matters little which, the voices just now most vociferous for coronation, bellow the loudest for crucifixion! Few of our commanders in the late war had bitterer evidence of this than McClellan. Idolized while victorious, he was vituperated with corresponding violence the instant fortune showed signs of wavering in her fidelity. At this distance from those stirring times we can easily perceive that the idolatry and the abuse were alike unjust and even ridiculous; the same wisdom that pronounces it unsafe to praise a man until death has set the seal to his earthly reputation, deems it no less a folly to bestow adulation or excessive blame on a military commander before the end of his campaigns. To his brief estimate of McClellan's character and qualifications for his post of vast responsibility, our author brought an admirable coolness of judgment, and that wonderful insight into men and motives so seldom at fault. Keenly alive to the ridiculousness of the attack on Manassas, and declaring that "no rebel artillery has played upon us with such overwhelming effect," he was capable, with a fairness sufficiently amazing in any critic of those days, of doing full justice to the general's indubitable ability and patriotism. He closes his sketch of McClellan, by no means the least valuable part of the article we are considering, with this decided expression of opinion: "I shall not give up my faith in his soldiership until he is defeated, nor in his courage and integrity even then."
An odd peculiarity of Hawthorne's mind was the incertitude—I use this vile word in lack of a better at the moment—that seemed at times to invest his reasoning powers with a sort of Indian summer haziness.
This idiosyncrasy had a striking exemplification when our travellers met "a party of contrabands escaping out of the mysterious depths of Secessia."
"They were unlike the specimens of their race whom we are accustomed to see at the North, and, in my judgment, were far more agreeable.
"So rudely were they attired,—as if their garb had grown upon them spontaneously,—so picturesquely natural in manners, and wearing such a crust of primeval simplicity (which is quite polished away from the Northern black man), that they seemed a kind of creature by themselves, not altogether human, but perhaps quite as good, and akin to the fauns and rustic deities of olden times. I wonder if I shall excite anybody's wrath by saying this?
"It is no great matter at all events. I felt most kindly towards the poor fugitives, but knew not precisely what to wish in their behalf, nor in the least how to help them. For the sake of the manhood which is latent in them, I would not have turned them back; but I should have felt almost as reluctant on their own account to hasten them forward to the strangers' land; and I think my prevalent idea was that, whoever may be benefited by the results of this war, it will not be the present generation of negroes, the childhood of whose race has now gone forever, and who must henceforth fight a hard battle with the world on very unequal terms. On behalf of my own race, I am glad, and can only hope that an inscrutable Providence means good to both parties."
The whimsical feature in Hawthorne's character to which we have alluded, is thus noticed by an intimate and valued friend of the great author:—
"Nobody disliked slavery more cordially than he did; and yet the difficulty of what was to be done with the slaves weighed constantly upon his mind. He told me once that while he had been consul at Liverpool a vessel arrived there with a number of negro sailors, who had been brought from slave States, and would, of course, be enslaved on their return. He fancied that he ought to inform the men of the fact, but then he was stopped by the reflection—who was to provide for them if they became free? and, as he said with a sigh, 'While I was thinking, the vessel sailed.' So I recollect, on the old battlefield of Manassas, on which I strolled in company with Hawthorne, meeting a batch of runaway slaves—weary, footsore, wretched, and helpless beyond conception; we gave them food and wine, some small sums of money, and got them a lift upon a train going northward; but not long afterwards Hawthorne turned to me with the remark, 'I am not sure that we were doing right, after all. How can those poor beings find food and shelter away from home?'
"Thus this ingrained and inherent doubt incapacitated him from following any course vigorously.
"He thought on the whole that Wendell Phillips and Lloyd Garrison and the abolitionists were in the right, but then he was never quite certain that they were not in the wrong after all; so that his advocacy of their cause was of a very uncertain character."
There is a constant temptation to transcend proper limits in quoting from this most characteristic production of our great author.
It was my purpose simply to recall to the minds of readers an article whose authorship was scarcely known at the time of its appearance (in the July of 1862), and which has never been included in its writer's collected works.
Nothing in Hawthorne's books—not even excepting "Twice-Told Tales"—is more suggestive and eloquent of the man and the author.
The same matchless purity of style, with never a sophomoric flight nor a tinge of dulness; replete with subtle humor, and an irony whose tempered edge scarcely wounds by reason of the attendant richness of good nature that "steals away its sharpness"; as in the same soil that nourishes the keen, aggressive nettle, is always found a certain herb of healing potency. I cannot refrain from giving our readers some passages near the close. They are descriptive of certain guests at Willard's Hotel, in Washington, where the travellers lived during their stay at the Capital.
This portion of Hawthorne's last magazine article recalls forcibly passages in the first of his published stories, "The Gray Champion."
"It is curious to observe what antiquated figures and costumes sometimes make their appearance at Willard's. You meet elderly men with frilled shirt-fronts, for example, the fashion of which adornment passed away from among the people of this world half a century ago.
"It is as if one of Stuart's portraits were walking abroad.
"I see no way of accounting for this, except that the troubles of the times, the impiety of traitors, and the peril of our sacred Union and Constitution have disturbed in their honored graves, some of the venerable fathers of the country, and summoned them forth to protest against the meditated and half-accomplished sacrilege.
"If it be so, their wonted fires are not altogether extinguished in their ashes,—in their throats, I might rather say,—for I beheld one of these excellent old men quaffing such a horn of Bourbon whiskey as a toper of the present century would be loath to venture upon.
"But, really, one would be glad to know where these strange figures come from.
"It shows, at any rate, how many remote, decaying villages and country neighborhoods of the North, and forest nooks of the West, and old mansion houses in cities, are shaken by the tremor of our native soil, so that men long hidden in retirement put on the garments of their youth and hurry out to inquire what is the matter.
"The old men whom we see here have generally more marked faces than the young ones, and naturally enough; since it must be an extraordinary vigor and venerability of life that can overcome the rusty sloth of age, and keep the senior flexible enough to take an interest in new things; whereas, hundreds of commonplace young men come hither to stare with eyes of vacant wonder, and with vague hopes of finding out what they are fit for. And this war (we may say so much in its favor) has been the means of discovering that important secret to not a few."
* * * * *
The writer remembers the vivid and untiring pleasure with which, when a child, he read and re-read that marvellous book for little people, "Grandfather's Arm Chair." It opened to him a new world of poetry and beauty—a revelation which close and severest study of the great author's mind and character, as developed in his maturer works, has but made broader and deeper.
With a grateful memory of the first, I write these few lines to recall almost the latest of Hawthorne's writings; the very last indeed, save the charming fragment that gave to the world of letters "Little Pansy"—"The sweetest child," says Alexander Smith, "in English literature."
I cannot close this brief and cursory notice more appropriately than in the words of a dear friend and appreciative admirer of our author, James Russell Lowell:—
"This now 'sacred and happy spirit' was cruelly misunderstood among men. There were those who would have taken him away from his proper and peculiar sphere, in which he has done more for the true fame of his country than any other man, and made him a politician and reformer.
"Even the faithfulness of his friendships was turned into reproach.
"Him in whom New England was embodied as never before, making a part of every fibre of his soul, we have heard charged with want of patriotism.
"There were certain things and certain men with whom his essentially aristocratic nature could not sympathize, but he was American to the core. Just after Bull Run he wrote to a friend, 'If the event of this day has left the people of the North in the same grim and bloody mood in which it has left me, it will be a costly victory to the South.'
"But it is unworthy of this noble man to defend him from imputations which never touched him. As the years go by, his countrymen will grow more and more proud of him, more and more satisfied that it is, after all, something considerable to be only a genius."
ON HOOSAC MOUNTAIN.
BY EDWARD D. GUILD.
One day, when all the city street Lay sultry in the summer heat, I stood on Hoosac's rocky crest, And drank a draught of joy and rest.
The bracing Berkshire breezes blew Across the hills, and sweeping through The grateful valleys, gently fanned The sun-scorched brow of Greylock grand.
From off the cragged hills Taghkonic, High o'er the river Housatonic, An eagle in his strength was soaring, The paltry earth beneath ignoring.
Swift did his wings his will obey; Straight north by east he coursed his way; Proudly he took his fearless flight, Toward fair Monadnock's hazy height.
Then on this rugged mountain wall, A deeper silence seemed to fall: Over this road, though broad and wide, No traveller was seen to ride.
Only in vision rumbled by A creaking coach with driver high, Who cracked his whip, and rang his cheers— Echoes they were of other years.
A group of graves were clustered here; The wind wailed o'er them wild and drear:— Could souls rise higher to the Light When soaring from this mountain height?
And as I mused, the twilight fell: I heard a distant evening bell; And in the valley far below, I heard the home-bound cattle low.
Far down where winds the Deerfield stream, I saw a light,—a sudden gleam, As up the narrow river riding The Western train came swiftly gliding.
Then full to Hoosac's height it came, When, with a sudden flare of flame, Boldly the barrier it defied And plunged into the mountain side.
The train was lost to sound and sight, But still I knew it kept its flight: I marked its subterranean way;— Below the little graveyard lay.
Ah! trav'ller, through this cavern deep, Fast in thy thoughts or book asleep, Dost know that high above thy head There rest the ashes of the dead?
A VERITABLE TRADER.
BY A. T. S.
A little remote from the centre of a village, on that strip of seacoast in the southeastern part of New Hampshire, lived a self-made trader, Joshua Jackson. He occupied a small, unpainted house, two stories in front, with the roof sloping down at the back part to one story. In the rear was the barn, with its generous red door, a well with its long "sweep," a pig-pen, and a hen-pen; but the hens seemed equally or more at home in the barn, with liberty of the yard, and sometimes they took a peep of curiosity into the back entry of the house.
Here, with his mother, lived Joshua Jackson, familiarly known as "Uncle Josh." It is a kind instinct which makes humanity in the rural districts claim, as uncle or aunt, any single man or woman who is left one side of the common lot of marriage and its ties. It is a relationship accepted in silent, good-natured consent on both sides. It was difficult to think of Uncle Josh as ever having been young. His hair, his complexion, his eyes, and even his coat, all seemed nearly of a color—a kind of snuff-colored red. He had a limping, rolling gait, affected by some infirmity of lameness which had, perhaps, prevented him from engaging in farming or fishing, which employed most men of the village; so he went into trade.
One of the "fore rooms," so called, of the house was his shop; the floor was of immaculate neatness, and carefully sanded every morning. On one side stood a cluster of barrels, one empty barrel surmounted by a board, exactly a yard long, the edge notched for the quarters and inches. This was his counter, and held a clumsy pair of scales. On the other side was a rude table containing boxes of cotton cloth, cambrics or checked goods, sewing cotton, buttons, thimbles, scissors, jack-knives, needles, and pins. On the mantel-shelf stood a pile of white, blue-edged plates, and mugs, and pitchers, from which projected sticks of red and white candy, like miniature barber's poles, and heaps of "gibraltars," hard and solid, sweet and brittle, and honest. Every child knew that they were a cent apiece, and thought them worth it.
No errand was half as welcome as one to Uncle Josh, when they might take an egg and get a skein of cotton. Sometimes he dived down into a cask of raisins as he passed by it, and filled the hand of the waiting messenger when he gave her whatever she came for, and took her money. Uncle Josh made no charges; he went on the cash system. He would barter, but he kept no running accounts with any one. The youngest child might go to him with the same certainty of right measure and weight as the shrewdest adult. One bright-faced little girl, who used to come often into his store, neatly dressed in her high-necked tier, and cape-bonnet, seemed to be a great favorite with him. He would sometimes say, half aside, that she was "pooty as a queen," although why the sturdy republican should make that comparison is a mystery. One day he stood at the open door, wistfully watching her as she walked off with her light, elastic step, and his mother, who had come in from the back room, answered to his unspoken thought, "Yes, she does, look a sight as Liza used to." The one woman whom others had connected with the idea of Uncle Josh's marrying had been dead long ago. It was said he had meant to ask her to be his wife when he should have laid by a certain sum of money, but the shy and reticent man suddenly found her "spoken for," as the villagers termed it, by the mate of a vessel. She died of consumption, unmarried. Uncle Josh never referred to this passage in his life, but his mother knew his mind, and why his words grew fewer than ever. The little Molly reproduced the soft hazel eyes and the trim air he so well remembered in her aunt.
Uncle Josh had a way of calling all strangers "furiners." A pale-faced girl who was boarding at the seashore for her health was delighted to be sent by her hostess, or any of the family, on an errand to the queer, quaint, old store, kept by "the funny old man." "You're a furiner, I guess," he said to her one day. "No, indeed, sir," she answered quickly, with an indignant blush, "I am not a foreigner. I came from Rochester, New York." "Why! such a long piece off, poor child, poor child," he muttered, as he went to a mug and took out a bright red sugar heart, and pressed it in her hand. "Ain't you dreadful homesick to live so fur?" "Oh, no; my home is very pleasant, and my father and mother are travelling; but they left me here because I have not been strong since I had the fever, and the doctor said I must bathe every day in the ocean. I have nice times. They keep cows where I board, and let me milk them a little sometimes. I am going to stay all summer." "Yes, yes; there are getting to be a great many furiners here in the summer." "What did Uncle Josh mean?" she asked on her return to the house; "did he take me for an Irish or a German girl? He asked if I was a foreigner." "Oh, he meant a stranger here in the village—some one not born here. He always calls 'em so. A good many folks do."
When Uncle Josh first went to Boston to buy his stock in trade, it was said that a merchant of whom he made large purchases, thought he did not know about trusting so queer and shabby looking a customer,—he should have to require good security. To his surprise, the countryman looked at the amount, unbuttoned his coat, and, from an ample old pocket-book he counted off his money; then from the depths of his pantaloon's pocket he brought up a round piece of leather twisted together for fastening, and from this he counted the exact change. Then he directed how the goods should be sent to him by such a schooner at a certain wharf. "Thank you, Mr. Jackson," said the merchant; "I hope we shall always be able to accommodate you. You prefer to pay down now, I see; but if you would like to have your bill remain awhile on credit at any time, we shall be happy to trust you." "It is very kind in you, but I don't trade on promises. 'Tain't my way. I thank ye all the same."
One day Uncle Josh happened to be in a merchant's store when the head of the establishment was absent. The clerk who waited on him had the pertness and superior airs of youth, sometimes seen even fifty years ago. He thought it fine fun to chaff the old countryman so shabbily dressed, and who drawled his words, and seemed so heavy and lumbering in his movements. As his customer said he guessed he would take so much of one thing, and then of another, the clerk said, "You are running up quite an account, it seems to me. Dipping in pretty deep for a man like you, hey?" "Perhaps I am," answered the old man; "I'll let 'em go," and walked out of the store. Another clerk who had finished business with a customer, came forward, and said to his fellow-clerk, "What made Mr. Jackson go off so suddenly?" "Who? That old cove? I rather think he was miffed at something I said about his dipping in deep. He didn't look as if he could afford a mouse-trap." "He? why, he's worth his weight in gold—always money down on the spot. If you've offended him, the governor'll be in your hair, I can tell you." "Goodness!" cried the terrified clerk, "I'll go after him, and bring him back," and off he started in quick pursuit. He could easily distinguish the rusty-looking suit, and limping, sidelong gait, even among the crowd of passengers on the sidewalk. When he had nearly overtaken him, he called out, "Here, sir, Mr. Jackson! Please stop," but the countryman still continued to move on at his slow pace. The clerk came up to him, and touched his hat, saying, "Please excuse me, Mr. Jackson. I am sure I didn't mean anything. I hope you will go back to the store, and let us wait on you. I am sure Mr. —— would be so sorry to miss your custom. I hope you will excuse—" "You can go back to the store, young man," answered Mr. Jackson, "and tell your master I don't trade on excuses."
When the honest old man was gathered to his fathers, those who had known him in trade missed him. He always recognized a good article, and was willing to pay a fair price for it. He believed in a system of just equivalents in all business; he was exact to the smallest fraction, but not mean. He was simple, upright, honest, in all his dealings, never using his shrewdness to the disadvantage of his fellow-men.
LYDIA MARIA CHILD.
BY OLIVE E. DANA.
This is an age of biography. We have the two-volumed "Lives and Letters," and the brief and popular biography, with many of varying length and value between the two. And the contents of these two are outlined for us, again and again, in magazines and newspaper sketches. The histories of famous men and women are told and retold. It is the public's own fault if there is not a more general interest in, and a better knowledge of, the work of the notable characters of the century than ever before. This implies, also, a certain familiarity with the great movements of reform and philanthropy, and with the literature of the time. Some, however, who had a large share in the noblest work of this century, are less known, and less brought into notice, than we should expect. Among such is Mrs. L. M. Child. Her letters, published in 1880, were prefaced by a brief memorial sketch by the poet Whittier, and contained in an appendix the tribute of Wendell Phillips. An account of her life-work, written by Susan Coolidge, appeared in the "Famous Women" series. But her life, in many aspects, might profitably have the attention of this younger generation, who know little either of her antislavery work or of her literary attainments or fame. In both these departments her work seems like that of a pioneer. She helped to clear the way for the antislavery leaders,—Garrison and Higginson, Curtis and Lowell and Whittier. And in a similar manner she led the way into those paths where, for two or three decades, the woman-author has been so conspicuously advancing,—where her success has been so brilliant and varied. As to her literary genius, in the words of Whittier, "It is not too much to say that half a century ago she was the most popular literary woman in the United States." And again, "It is not exaggeration to say that no man or woman of that period rendered more substantial service to the cause of freedom, or made such a doing it." And when we add that her benevolence and 'great renunciation' in philanthropy—unobtrusive as they were—give her a valid claim to lasting remembrance, that the originality, insight, and force of character manifest in her letters, place them among the most valuable and suggestive of the letters of women, and that her truth, beneficence, and devotion would have made her life and character memorable if she had not written a line, we have stated only the barest truth; yet reason sufficient, why we of this generation should know more of her life and genius.
Lydia Maria Francis, afterwards Mrs. Child, was born in Medford, Mass., 1802. Her education was obtained in her native town, with the advantage of only one term in a private seminary. Her first book, "Hobomok," appeared in 1821, followed in 1823 by another novel, "The Rebels." These gave her a good degree of popularity. In 1827 she established "The Juvenile Miscellany," "pioneer to a long line of children's magazines." In 1828 she was married to David Lee Child, and they made their home in Boston. Within a very few years she wrote and published "The Frugal Housewife," "The Mother's Book," "The Girl's Own Book," "The History of Women," and the "Biographies of Good Wives."
Then, while all around her were heard the murmurs of popular praise and approval, and while in addition to the appreciation of countless humbler readers, she was winning commendation from the highest literary authorities,—in 1833 she "startled the country by the publication of her noble 'Appeal in behalf of that class of Americans called Africans.'" Mr. Whittier says: "It is quite impossible for any one of the present generation to imagine the popular surprise and indignation which the book called forth, or how entirely its author cut herself off from the favor and sympathy of a large number of those who had previously delighted to do her honor." And he continues: "Social and literary circles, which had been proud of her presence, closed their doors against her. The sale of her books, the subscriptions to her magazine, fell off to a ruinous extent. She knew all she was hazarding, and made the great sacrifice, prepared for all the consequences which followed."
She said in the preface: "I am fully aware of the unpopularity of the task I have undertaken, but though I expect ridicule and censure, I do not fear them. A few years hence the opinion of the world will be a matter in which I have not even the most transient interest, but this book will be abroad on its mission of humanity, long after the hand that wrote it is mingling with the dust. Should it be the means of advancing, even one single hour, the inevitable progress of truth and justice, I would not exchange the consciousness for all Rothschild's wealth or Sir Walter's fame." "Thenceforward," says Mr. Whittier again, "her life was a battle, a constant rowing hard against the stream of popular prejudice and hatred. And through it all, pecuniary privations, loss of friends and position, the painfulness of being suddenly thrust from the still air of delightful studies into the bitterest and sternest controversy of the age, she bore herself with patience, fortitude, and unshaken reliance on the justice and ultimate triumph of the cause she had espoused."