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Full text of "History of the battle of Lake Erie : and miscellaneous papers"

(JKORGK BANCROFT. 



HISTORY OF 

THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE, 

AND 
MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS, 



BY 



HON. GEORGE BANCROFT. 



LIFE AND WRITINGS OF 

GEORGE BANCROFT, 



BY 

OLIVER DYER. 



WITH PORTRAIT AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



NEW YORK: 

ROBERT BONNER S SONS, 
l8qi. 



COPYRIGHT, 1860 and 1891, 
BY ROBERT BONNER S SONS. 



(All rights reserved.) 



LIFE AND WRITINGS 

OF 

GEORGE BANCROFT. 



By OLIVER DYER, 
AUTHOR OF "GREAT SENATORS." 

CHAPTER I. 

MR. BANCROFT S LIFE AND CAREER. 

In the last revision of his History of the 
United States, made in 1884, Mr. Bancroft 
says : 

" Scarcely one who wished me good speed 
when I first essayed to trace the history of 
America remains to greet me with a wel 
come as I near the goal. Deeply grateful 
as I am for the friends who rise up to 
gladden my old age, their encouragement 



M709141 



George Bancroft 



must renew the grief for those who have 
gone before me." 

This touching paragraph was written 
when Mr., Bancroft was eighty-four years 
old. He was born in Worcester, Mass., 
October 3, 1800. He died in Washington, 
D. C., January 17, 1891. 

Mr. Bancroft came of good stock. His 
family name was brought from England to 
America by John Bancroft, who arrived in 
June, 1632, less than twelve years after the 
Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. John Ban 
croft settled at Lynn, Mass. His descend 
ants were always sturdy upholders of the 
rights of the colonists, and enjoyed the 
respect of their fellow-citizens. George 
Bancroft s grandfather, Samuel Bancroft, 
filled several public stations and was a 
man of note. The great historian s father, 
Rev. Aaron Bancroft, was a Doctor of 
Divinity and a man of mark and influence. 



Life and Writings 



He was born in 1755. When only twenty 
years old, he fought at Lexington and 
Bunker Hill. At the age of twenty-three 
(1778) he was graduated at Harvard College. 
The same year he was settled at Worces 
ter, Mass., and died there in 1839, nve years 
after the publication of the first volume of 
his son s History of the United States, and 
two years after the completion of the second 
volume. He was an able preacher, an 
author of note in his day, and a member of 
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 
His son George therefore came by inherit 
ance into his strong bias for scholastic, liter 
ary and historical pursuits. 

From childhood, George Bancroft exhib 
ited both a fondness and an aptitude for 
.study. He was fitted for college at the 
Exeter (N. H.) Academy. He entered 
Harvard College when he was only thirteen 
years old, and took his degree in 1817, when 



io George Bancroft 

he was less than seventeen years of age. He 
stood second in his class, of which it is sup 
posed he was the youngest member. 

Edward Everett, who had recently been 
appointed Professor of Greek Literature in 
Harvard College, wished to have some 
young graduate of promise sent to Germany 
for purposes of study, with a view of having 
him enrolled on his return in the corps of 
college instructors. The choice fell on 
Bancroft, and in the summer of 1818 he went 
to Gottingen. He remained abroad four 
years, and diligently improved his oppor 
tunities. 

When we contrast the youthful Bancroft s 
career abroad with the way in which the 
vast majority of young Americans spend 
their time in Europe, the difference is seen 
to be almost immeasurable. It does not 
appear that he wasted an hour in useless pur 
suits, in frivolous pleasure, or in the gratifi- 



Life and Writings 1 1 

cation of an idle curiosity. Every day was 
devoted to study and intelligent observation, 
or passed in the company of the eminent 
men of that time whose conversation was a 
fountain of instruction. Eichhorn, Heeren, 
Blumenbach, Schleiermacher, the Humboldts, 
Savigny, Varnhagen von Ense, Lappenberg, 
Schlosser, Cousin, Chevalier Bunsen, Nie- 
buhr and Goethe were among the distin 
guished men whose acquaintance he culti 
vated. He also met and passed a day with 
Byron, an interesting account of which, 
written by Mr. Bancroft s own hand, will be 
given hereafter. 

During his residence abroad, Mr. Bancroft 
compassed a wide range of study and made 
enormous literary and philosophical acquisi 
tions. He chose history as his special 
branch of study, and thoroughly equipped 
himself for its pursuit. He mastered the 
French, German, Spanish and Italian Ian- 



12 George Bancroft 

guages in order that their rich historical and 
literary treasures might come within his 
grasp, and he made these treasures his own 
to such an extent that subsequently he was 
never at a loss in their use and application. 
He also applied himself to Greek phil 
osophy, in which he pursued a thorough 
course; he gave much attention to meta 
physics and morals, studied the oriental lan 
guages, the interpretation of the Scriptures, 
ecclesiastical history, ancient history, nat 
ural history, European history and the 
antiquities and literature of Greece and 
Rome. He traveled through Europe, min 
gled with the philosophers, the savants, the 
statesmen of every country he visited, con 
stantly enriching his mind by utilizing every 
opportunity that came within his reach and 
every facility bestowed by his extensive and 
intimate intercourse with the finest intellects 
of the age. 



Life and Writings -13 

Mr. Bancroft returned to America in 1822, 
and in discharge of his obligations to Har 
vard University he accepted the office of 
tutor of Greek in that institution. The 
office was uncongenial, and he resigned it at 
the end of a year. In 1823, in conjunction 
with Dr. Joseph G. Cogswell, he founded 
the Round Hill School at Northampton, 
Mass. This school was founded for the pur 
pose of giving boys broader, more congenial 
and more thorough instruction than had 
previously been imparted. It was to some 
extent modeled on Count Fellenberg s cele 
brated institution at Hofwyl in Switzerland. 
There was a farm in connection with the 
school, but the agricultural feature was 
never successfully developed. The pupils, 
who were to be from nine to twelve years of 
age on entering, and limited to twenty in 
number, were permitted to build houses for 
themselves on the estate. Thev established 



1 4 George Bancroft 

a village, which they named Cronyville. 
Each boy supervised the erection of his own 
shanty, and had a chimney with an ample 
fireplace, where on winter evenings he could 
roast apples and potatoes, pop corn ad 
libitum, and prepare other luxuries for the 
delectation of his guests. It is doubtful if a 
happier or a healthier assemblage of boys 
was ever known. But the school was not a 
financial success; it may be said to have 
been ruined by its great popularity. Messrs. 
Cogswell and Bancroft hadn t the nerve to 
adhere to their original determination to 
limit the number of pupils to twenty. As 
the fame of the school increased, the pres 
sure for admission became so strong that the 
limit was removed, and the number of 
pupils ran up to over a hundred at one 
time to one hundred and twenty-seven. A 
large proportion of the boys came from dis 
tant hornet ; nearly fifty of them had to be 



Life and Writings 15 

kept through the summer ; the expense was 
great ; the parents were slow in paying the 
bills, and some of them did not pay at all ; 
the executive ability of the proprietors of 
the school was not equal to carrying out the 
coercive measures necessary to give it 
pecuniary sustentation, and the enterprise 
was abandoned. Bancroft retired in the 
summer of 1830, after seven years service. 
Cogswell held on till 1832, when, finding his 
health much impaired and his losses swelled 
to twenty thousand dollars, he also gave up 
the attempt to carry on the enterprise, and 
the popular but unprofitable Round Hill 
School was discontinued. 

During the seven years in which he was 
trying to revolutionize the system of aca 
demic education, Mr. Bancroft published 
several works. The first was a small vol 
ume, published in 1823, entitled " Poems by 
George Bancroft." Most of the poems were 



1 6 George Bancroft 

written while he was in Europe. The open 
ing- poem, which is called " Expectation," is 
autobiographically reminiscent, and gives a 
glimpse of Mr. Bancroft and an insight of 
his feelings, when, as a youth of eighteen, he 
set out on his scholastic pilgrimage : 



Twas in the season when the sun 

More darkly tinges spring s fair brow, 
And laughing fields had just begun 

The summer s golden hues to show. 
Earth still with flowers was richly dight, 
And the last rose in gardens glowed : 
In heaven s blue tent the sun was bright, 
And western winds with fragrance flowed 
Twas then a youth bade home adieu ; 
And hope was young and life was new, 
When first he seized the pilgrim s wand 
To roam the far, the foreign land. 



There lives the marble, wrought by art, 

That clime the youth would gain ; he braves 
The ocean s fury, and his heart 

Leaps in him like the sunny waves 
That bear him onward ; and the light 

Of hope within his bosom beams, 
Like the phosphoric ray at night 

That round the prow so cheerly gleams: 



Life and Writings 1 7 

But still his eye would backward turn, 
And still his bosom warmly burn, 
As toward new worlds he gan to roam, 
With love for Freedom s western home." 

Mr. Bancroft having tried his wings in 
what was plainly an unsuccessful flight, 
evidently came to the conclusion, as Carlyle 
did after a similar experience, that whatever 
poetical fervor he possessed should be used 
to animate his prose. His other works 
were a translation of Heeren s " Politics of 
Ancient Greece," which appeared in 1824, 
and of Jacob s Latin Reader (1825). These 
works were intended for the use of the 
pupils at the Round Hill School. He was a 
constant contributor for many years to the 
old North American Review, his first article, 
which was a notice of Schiller s Minor 
Poems, appearing in October, 1823. He 
gave translations of many of the poems, and 
the article is said to have attracted favorable 
attention on both sides of the Atlantic. 



1 8 George Bancroft 



He subsequently published his miscellane 
ous writings in a small volume. He gave 
much thought to theology and preached a 
few sermons, but finding that his tastes were 
irreconcilable with the pursuits and the life 
of a clergyman, he bade adieu to the pulpit. 
Yet he never relinquished his theological 
tenets, and the warmth of his religious sym 
pathies and the strength of his belief in an 
overruling Providence are displayed in his 
treatment of historical events and give fervor 
and elevation to his style. 

It was while he was at Round Hill that 
the plan for his great history was outlined in 
his mind. It developed into such a colossal 
design that he must have had an inspiring 
assurance of long life to enable him to enter 
with serenity upon its execution and to hope 
for its completion. 

I have not discovered the date of Mr. Ban 
croft s first marriage. His wife was Miss 



Life and Writings 19 

Sarah H. D wight. She died in 1837, and in 
1838 he married Mrs. Elizabeth Bliss. By 
the first marriage he had several children, 
only two of whom survive John Chandler 
Bancroft, now (1891) residing in Boston, and 
George, who has spent most of his life 
abroad. 

In politics Mr. Bancroft was a Democrat, 
and to him was allotted a reasonable por 
tion of party spoils and honors. He was 
appointed collector of the port of Boston, by 
President Van Buren, in 1838, and held the 
office till 1841. In 1844, he was the Demo 
cratic candidate for Governor of Massachu 
setts, but was defeated by George N. Briggs, 
his Whig opponent. In 1845, ne entered 
President Polk s cabinet as Secretary of the 
Navy. During his administration of that 
Department, he founded the Naval Academy 
at Annapolis, adroitly using for that purpose 
powers vested in the Secretary of the Navy 



2o George Bancroft 

which had not been heretofore appreciated. 
While acting temporarily as Secretary of 
War, in 1846, he gave the order to General 
Taylor to march into Texas, which brought 
on the war with Mexico. He also gave the 
first order to take possession of California. 
These orders resulted in the ultimate acquisi 
tion by the United States of Texas, Cali 
fornia and other vast stretches of territory. 

In 1846, Mr. Bancroft relinquished the 
Secretaryship of the Navy to take the post 
of American minister to Great Britain, 
which he retained until the incoming of 
General Taylor s (Whig) administration in 
1849. I* 1 tne last-named year (1849) ^ ne 
University of Oxford made him a doctor of 
civil law, previous to which he had been 
chosen correspondent of the Royal Academy 
of Berlin, and also of the French Institute. 
He used the opportunity of his residence in 
Europe to enlarge and perfect his collection 



Life and Writings 



of American historical material. For this 



purpose he sought and obtained access to 
the state archives of Great Britain, France 
and Germany, and was generously assisted 
in his researches by the statesmen, savants 
and government officers of those countries. 
He returned to the United States in 1849, and 
took up his residence in New York, where 
he resided until 1867. During that period 
he declined every public office that was 
tendered to him, and devoted himself to his 
great historical work, several volumes of 
which were completed and published. In 
the spring of 1867 he was appointed minister 
to Prussia. He accepted the office, and in 
1868 he was accredited to the North Ger 
man Confederation, and in 1871 to the Ger 
man Empire. Important treaties were 
concluded with the various states of the 
Confederation, in 1868, under his auspices. 
Mr. Bancroft s entire diplomatic career 



22 George Bancroft 

was useful to his country and honorable to 
himself. One of the most important services 
which he rendered was in his advocacy of 
the cause of the United States, before the 
Emperor of Germany, in the settlement of 
what was known as the San Juan question. 
In determining the western portion of the 
boundary line between the American and 
the British possessions, the commissioners 
appointed for that purpose under the treaty 
of 1846, could not arrive at an agreement. 
If the line were run according to the claim 
of the American commissioners, the island of 
San Juan would belong to the United States 
arid form a part of the (then) Washington 
Territory ; if it were run in accordance with 
the claim of the British commissioners, the 
island of San Juan would belong to Great 
Britain. The question was at last referred 
to the Emperor of Germany with power "to 
decide finally and without appeal " the whole 



Life and Writings 23 

matter in dispute. Mr. Elaine, in treating of 
this subject in his " Twenty Years of Con 
gress," says : * 

" The government of the United States 
was fortunate in having its rights and inter 
ests represented before the umpire by its 
minister at Berlin, the Honorable George 
Bancroft. He was a member of Mr. Folk s 
Cabinet during the period of the discussion 
and completion of the treaty of 1846, and was 
minister at London when the San Juan dis 
pute began. With his prolonged experience 
in historical investigation, Mr. Bancroft had 
readily mastered every detail of the question, 
and was thus enabled to present it in the 
strongest and most favorable light. His suc 
cess fitly crowned an official career of great 
usefulness and honor. His memorial to the 
Emperor of Germany, when he presented his 
case, was conceived in his happiest style. 
*Vol. n: pp. 501-3, 



24 George Bancroft 

The opening words were felicitous and 
touching : * The treaty of which the inter 
pretation is referred to your majesty s arbi 
trament was ratified more than a quarter of 
a century ago. Of the sixteen members of 
the British cabinet which framed and pre 
sented it for the acceptance of the United 
States, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Aberdeen and 
all the rest but one, are no more. The 
British minister who signed it at Washington 
is dead. Of American statesmen concerned 
in it, the minister at London, the President 
and Vice-President, the Secretary of State, 
and every one of the President s constitu 
tional advisers, except one, have passed away. 
I alone remain, and after finishing the three 
score years and ten that are the days of our 
years, am selected by my country to uphold 
its rights. 

The Emperor of Germany decided the 
question in favor of the United States. The 



Life and Writings 25 

British government accepted the decision 
cordially, and the work of determining the 
boundary line was speedily completed. Mr. 
Blaine adds that the conclusion of the nego 
tiation enabled President Grant to say in his 
message to Congress, December, 1872 
ninety years after the close of the Revolution 
ary war : " It leaves us for the first time in the 
history ot the United States as a nation, with 
out a question of disputed boundary between 
our territory and the possessions of Great 
Britain on the American continent " 

Mr. Bancroft was recalled at his own 
request from Berlin in 1874 four years 
after he had passed " the three-score years 
and ten that are the days of our years." 
From that time to the day of his death he 
resided in Washington, but spent his sum 
mers at Newport, R. I. In Washington he 
found congenial society, especially among 
the foreign ministers (who usually came 



26 George Bancroft 



accredited to him as well as to the govern 
ment) and in the ambassadorial circles. His 
vast stores of information, his brilliant con 
versational powers, his kindness of heart, his 
agreeable manners, his genial spirit mel 
lowed by age and enriched by experience, 
made him welcome in any society ; and 
he was so universally esteemed and so admir 
ingly honored that his last years were among 
the happiest of his four-score and ten. 



CHAPTER II. 

MR. BANCROFT AS A HISTORIAN. 

In his essay on Edward Everett, which 
was published in the New York Ledger, Mr. 
Bancroft says the three qualities needed by 
historians are (i) perception of how bad men 
can be, of that evil in human nature which 
theologians call depravity ; that (2) events are 
subordinate to law ; that (3) after all there is 
something in man greater than himself.__In ^ 
his History of the United States of America* 
from the Discovery of the Continent (1492) 
to the Adoption of the Federal Govern- 

* The edition of Mr. Bancroft s history to which 
reference is made in these pages, is the last (revised) 
edition, in six volumes, issured by D. Appleton & 
Co., in 1890. 



28 George Bancroft 

ment (1789), these three qualities are amply 
exhibited. The depravity of human nature 
is constantly exposed, the overruling law 
which flows from the wisdom, power and 
mercy of a superintending Providence is 
never lost sight of, and that " something in 
man greater than himself " is seen to lead man 
kind onward and upward by coalescing with 
the overruling law, and thus gradually over 
coming the native depravity of the human 
race by the evolution of a higher intelligence 
and a purer morality. 

The labor which Mr. Bancroft performed 
in writing his history was enormous. The 
period embraced in his annals lacks but three 
years of three centuries. The vast material 
which he was obliged to gather was scattered 
through the archives and the libraries of 
America and Europe. The authorities 
which he was obliged to consult were 
numerous, prejudiced, contradictory, and, 



Life and Writings 29 

in many cases, obscure, unveracious and 
malignant. To collect, compare and sift this 
mass of material so as to winnow truth from 
error and secure accuracy in the relation of 
facts, even to the details and their coloring, 
and develop the narrative so lucidly that the 
reader may intelligently follow the changes 
of public affairs, and with every page be 
carried forward in the story of two hundred 
and ninety-seven years of diversified yet con 
nected events, was a task which might well 
tax for half a century the abilities of the 
most accomplished and industrious historian. 
The arrangement of the work, in its chrono 
logical divisions and the orderly presenta 
tion of pivotal tacts, greatly helps the reader 
to grasp the numberless details and to keep 
in mind both the contemporaneity of impor 
tant incidents and personages and the epochal 
sequences of historical events. 

It is not within the scope of this sketch to 



30 George Bancroft 

give an exhaustive analysis of Mr. Bancroft s 
history, or to set forth its excellence in 
detail. The purpose is to give such extracts 
from the work as will enable the reader to 
form an opinion of its interest, to catch 
glimpses of the author s philosophical 
insight, and to get a fair idea of the force 
and felicity of his style. The first division, 
entitled, " The History of the United States 
as Colonies," and comprising the period 
from 1492 to 1748, narrates events of novel, 
romantic and tragic interest. The courage, 
the fortitude, the avarice, the cruelty of 
many of the early explorers of the North 
American continent seem, in some instances, 
to have approached the superhuman. The 
expedition of Narvaez, as described by Mr. 
Bancroft, will give the reader an idea of 
what the thirst for gold incited men to do 
three hundred and sixty odd years ago : 
"In 1526, Pamphilo de Narvaez obtained 



Life and Writings 



from Charles V. the contract to explore and 
reduce all the territory from the Atlantic to 
the river Palmas. * * * Narvaez, who 
was both rich and covetous, hazarded all his 
treasure on the conquest of his province, and 
sons of Spanish nobles and men of good con 
dition flocked to his standard. In June, 
1527, his expedition, in which Alvar Nunez 
Cabeza de Vaca held the second place as 
treasurer, left the Guadalquivir, * * * 
and on the I4th o-f April, the dav before 
Good Friday, he anchored in or near the 
outlet of the bay of the Cross, now Tampa 
Bay. 

" On the day before Easter, the governor 
landed, and in the name of Spain, took pos 
session of Florida. The natives kept aloof, 
or, if they drew near, marked by signs their 
impatience for his departure. But they had 
shown him samples of gold, which, if their 
gestures were rightly interpreted, came 



32 George Bancroft 

from the north. Disregarding, therefore, 
the most earnest advice of Alvar Nunez 
Cabeza de Vaca, he directed the ships to 
meet him at a harbor with which the pilot 
pretended acquaintance ; and on the first of 
May, mustering three hundred men, of 
whom .forty were mounted, he struck into 
the interior of the country. Then for the 
first time the floating peninsula, whose low 
sands, impregnated with lime, just lift them 
selves abov e the ocean on foundations laid 
by the coral worms, a country notched with 
bays and drenched by morasses, without 
hills, yet gushing with transparent fountains 
and watered by unfailing rivers, was trav 
ersed by white men, * * * who found 
no rich town, nor a high hill, nor gold. 
When, on rafts and by swimming, they had 
painfully crossed the strong current of the 
Withlochoochee, they were so worn away 
by famine as to give infinite thanks to God 



Life and Writings 33 

for lighting upon a field of unripe maize. 
Just after the middle of June, they encoun 
tered the Suwanee, whose wide, deep and 
rapid stream delayed them till they could 
build a large canoe. Wading through 
swamps, made more terrible by immense 
trunks of fallen trees, that lay rotting in the 
water and sheltered the few but skillful 
native archers, on the day after Saint John s 
they approached Appalachee, where they 
had pictured to themselves a populous town 
and food and treasure, and found only a 
hamlet of forty wretched cabins. 

" Here they remained for five-and-twenty 
days, scouring the country round in quest of 
silver and gold, till, perishing with hunger 
and weakened bv fierce attacks, they aban 
doned all hope but of an escape from a region 
so remote and malign. Amid increasing 
dangers, they went onward through deep 
lagoons and the ruinous forest in search of 



34 George Bancroft 

the sea, till in August they came upon a 
bay, which they called Baia de Caballos, 
and which now forms the harbor of St. 
Mark s. No trace could be found of their 
ships ; sustaining life, therefore, by the flesh 
of their horses and by six or seven hundred 
bushels of maize plundered from the Indians, 
they beat their stirrups, spurs, cross-bows, 
and other implements of iron into saws, axes, 
and nails ; and in sixteen days finished five 
boats, each of twenty-two cubits, or more 
than thirty feet in length. In calking their 
frail craft, films of the palmetto served for 
oakum, and they payed the seams with pitch 
from the nearest pines. For rigging they 
twisted ropes out of horsehair and the fibrous 
bark of the palmetto ; their shirts were 
pieced together for sails, and oars were 
shaped out of savins ; skins flayed from 
horses served for water-bottles ; it was difli- 



Life and Writings 35 

cult in the deep sand to find large stones for 
anchors and ballast. 

" Thus equipped, on the twenty-second of 
September, about two hundred and fifty men, 
all of the party whom famine, autumnal 
fevers, fatigue, and the arrows of the savage 
bowman had spared, embarked for the river 
Palmas. Former navigators had traced the 
outline of the coast, but among the voyagers 
there was not a single expert mariner. One 
shallop was commanded by Alonso de Cas 
tillo and Andres Dorantes, another by 
Cabeza de Vaca. The gunwales of the 
crowded vessels rose but a hand-breadth 
above the water, till, alter creeping for 
seven days through shallow sounds, Gabeza 
seized five canoes of the natives, out of which 
the Spaniards made guard-boats for their five 
boats. During thirty days more the) 7 kept 
on their \vay, suffering from hunger and 
thirst, imperilled by a storm, now closely 



36 George Bancroft 

following the shore, now avoiding savage ene 
mies by venturing upon the sea. On the 
thirtieth of October, at the hour of vespers, 
Cabeza de Vaca, who happened to lead the 
van, discovered one of the mouths of the 
river now known as the Mississippi, and the 
little fleet was snugly moored among islands 
at a league from the stream, which brought 
down such a flood that even at that distance 
the water was sweet. They would have 
entered the * very great river in search of 
fuel to parch their corn, but were baffled by 
the force of the current and a rising north 
wind. A mile and a half from land they 
sounded, and with a line of thirty fathoms 
could find no bottom. In the night follow 
ing a second day s fruitless struggle to go up 
the stream, the boats were separated ; but 
the next afternoon Cabeza, overtaking and 
passing Narvaez, who chose to hug the land, 
struck boldly out to sea in the wake of Cas- 



Life and Writings 37 

tillo, whom he descried ahead. They had no 
longer an adverse current, and in that region 
the prevailing wind is from the east. For 
four days the half-famished adventurers kept 
prosperously to\vards the west, borne along 
by their rude sails and their labor at the oar. 
All the fifth of November an easterly storm 
drove them forward ; and, on the morning 
of the sixth, the boat of Cabeza was thrown 
by the surf on the sands of an island, which he 
called the Isle of Malhado that is, of Misfor 
tune. Except as to its length, his description 
applies to Galveston ; his men believed 
themselves not far from Panuco. The Indians 
of the place expressed sympathy for their 
shipwreck by howls, and gave them food and 
shelter. Castillo was cast away a little 
farther to the east; but he and his company 
were saved alive. Of the other boats, an 
uncertain story reached^ Cabeza ; that one 
foundered in the gulf ; that the crews of the 



38 George Bancroft 

two others gained the shore ; that Narvaez 
was afterward driven out to sea ; that the 
stranded men began wandering toward the 
west; and that all of them but one perished 
from hunger. 

" Those who were with Cabeza and 
Castillo gradually wasted away from cold 
and want and despair ; but Cabeza de Vaca, 
Dorantes, Castillo, and Estevanico, a blacka 
moor from Barbary, bore up against every 
ill, and, though scattered among various 
tribes, took thought for each other s welfare. 

" The brave Cabeza de Vaca, as self-pos 
sessed a hero as ever graced a fiction, fruit 
ful in resources and never wasting time in 
complaints of fate or fortune, studied the 
habits and the languages of the Indians ; 
accustomed himself to their modes of life ; 
peddled little articles of commerce from 
tribe to tribe in J;he interior and along the 
coast for forty or fifty leagues ; and won 



Life and Writings 39 

fame in the wilderness as a medicine man of 
wonderful gifts. In September, 1534, after 
nearly six years captivity, the great forerun 
ner among 1 the pathfinders across the con 
tinent inspired the three others with his 
own marvelous fortitude, and, naked and 
ignorant of the way, without so much as a 
single bit of iron, they planned their escape. 
Cabeza has left an artless account of his 
recollections of the journey ; but his memory 
sometimes called up incidents out of their 
place, so that his narrative is confused. He 
pointed his course far inland, partly because 
the nations away from the sea were more 
numerous and more mild ; partly that, if he 
should again come among Christians, he 
might describe the land and its inhabitants. 
Continuing his pilgrimage through more 
than twenty months, sheltered from cold 
first by deer-skins, then by buffalo robes, he 
and his companions passed through Texas as, 



4O George Bancroft 

far north as the Canadian River, then along 
Indian paths crossed the water-shed to the 
valley of the Rio Grande del Norte ; and 
borne up by cheerful courage against 
hunger, want of water on the plains, cold 
and weariness, perils from beasts and perils 
from red men, the voyagers went from town 
to town in New Mexico, westward and still 
to the west, till in May, 1536, they drew near 
the Pacific Ocean at the village of San 
Miguel in Sonora. From that place they 
were escorted by Spanish soldiers to Compos- 
tella, and all the way to the city of Mexico 
they were entertained as public guests." 

The expedition of Ferdinand de Soto, in 
1539, was much more romantic and tragic 
than that of Narvaez, but the narrative is 
too long to quote. Soto was rich and already 
renowned for his exploits in the New World, 
and when it became known that he was 
going to lead an expedition into the wilds of 



Life and Writings 41 

Florida, in search of gold and glory, the 
whole Spanish peninsula was aroused. The 
noblest youths of Spain, and even of Por 
tugal, sought service under his banner. 
From the numerous aspirants, Soto selected 
for his companions six hundred men in the 
bloom of life, the flower of the peninsula. 
The fleet sailed as gayly as on a holiday 
excursion. After touching at Cuba, of 
which Soto had been appointed governor, 
and where he was welcomed by long and 
brilliant festivals and rejoicings, he set sail 
in May, 1539, for Florida, leaving his wife to 
govern Cuba during his absence. In a fort 
night his fleet anchored in the bay Spiritu 
Santo. The soldiers went on shore ; the 
horses, nearly three hundred in number, 
were disembarked. Soto, imitating Cortez, 
sent his ships to Havana, lest their retention 
should tempt to a retreat. 

" And now," says Mr. Bancroft, "began 



42 George Bancroft 

the nomadic march of horseman and infantry, 
completely armed ; a force exceeding in 
numbers and equipments the famous par 
tisans who triumphed over the empires of 
Mexico and Peru. Everything was provided 
that experience in former invasions could 
suggest; chains for captives and the instru 
ments of a forge ; weapons of all kinds then in 
use, and bloodhounds as auxiliaries against 
the natives ; ample stores of food, and, as a 
last resort, a drove of hogs, which would 
soon swarm in the favoring climate where 
the forests and maize furnished them abun 
dant sustenance. It was a roving company 
of gallant freebooters in quest of a fortune ; 
a romantic stroll of men whom avarice 
rendered ferocious, through unexplored 
regions ; over unknown paths, wherever 
rumor might point to the residence of some 
chieftain with more than Peruvian wealth, 
or the ill-interpreted signs of the ignorant 



Life and Writings 43 

natives might seem to promise gold. Often, 
at the resting-places, groups of listless 
adventurers clustered together to enjoy the 
excitement of desperate gaming. Religious 
zeal was also united with avarice ; twelve 
priests, besides other ecclesiastics, accom 
panied the expedition. Ornaments for the 
service of mass were provided ; every 
festival was to be kept, every religious 
practice to be observed. * * * 

" The movements of the first season, from 
June to the end of October, 1539, brought 
the company from the bay of Spiritu Santo 
to the home of the Appalachians, east of 
the Flint River, and not far from the head 
of the bay of Appalachee. The names of the 
intermediate places cannot be identified. 
The march was tedious and full of dangers. 
The Indians were always hostile ; the two 
captives of the former expedition escaped ; a 
Spaniard, who had been kept in slavery from 



44 George Bancroft 

the time of Narvaez (i528), could give no 
accounts of any land where there was silver 
or gold. The guides would purposely lead 
the Castilians astray and involve them in 
morasses, even though death under the fangs 
of the bloodhounds was the certain punish 
ment. The company grew dispirited, and 
desired the governor to return, since the 
region opened no brilliant prospects. I 
will not turn back/ said Soto, till I have 
seen the poverty of the country with my 
own eyes. The hostile Indians who were 
taken prisoners were in part put to death, in 
part enslaved. These were led in chains, 
with iron collars about their necks ; their 
service was to grind the maize and to carry 
the baggage. An exploring party dis 
covered Ochus, the harbor of Pensacola ; 
and a message was transmitted to Cuba, 
desiring that in the ensuing year, supplies 
might be sent to that place." 



Life and Writings 45 

From this time, disappointment and dis 
aster tracked every step of the adventurers. 
Their inhumanity excited in the Indians an 
unappeasable thirst for vengeance. The 
young cavaliers took delight in cruelty and 
carnage. They cut off the hands of Indians 
for a pastime, and for the purpose of intimi 
dating the tribes. Numbers of the natives 
were enslaved and made to serve as porters 
and guides. Their villages were wantonly 
set on fire and consumed. They were robbed 
of their stores of food and left to perish of 
starvation. These cruelties added to the 
difficulties which more and more thickly 
environed the Spaniards. Their native 
guides constantly led them astray. For 
three years they wandered in the intermin 
able wilds, and suffered all that hunger, sick 
ness, nakedness and hope deferred could 
inflict. The exaltation with which they 
started on their quest for gold was changed 



46 George Bancroft 

to despondency, their gayety to melancholy, 
their hope to despair; but their resolution 
did not falter, nor their fortitude 1 yield, nor 
their courage quail. The story of their 
adventures and their sufferings almost tran 
scends belief. At last, in May, 1542, on the 
banks of the Washita River, on the western 
side of the Mississippi, Soto s stubborn pride 
and dauntless resolution succumbed to a 
malignant fever, and on the twenty-first of 
the month he died, without any of the kind 
and gentle ministrations which are so grate 
ful in the last hours of mortals. " Thus," 
says Mr. Bancroft, " perished Ferdinand 
de Soto, the governor of Cuba, the success 
ful associate of Pizarro. His miserable end 
was the more observed from the greatness 
of his former prosperity. His soldiers pro 
nounced his eulogy by grieving for their 
loss; the priests chanted over his body the 
first requiems that were ever heard on the 



Life and Writings 47 

waters of the Mississippi. To conceal his 
death, his body was wrapped in a mantle, 
and in the stillness of midnight was sunk in 
the middle of the stream." 




CHAPTER III. 

VIVID SKETCHES OF GREAT MEN. 

Every chapter of Mr. Bancroft s History 
contains passages of vivid interest, but the 
propo sed limits of this sketch forbid their 
quotation. A long skip must be made, but I 
cannot forbear to give this electric flash 
upon the character of James I., " who was 
not destitute of shrewdness nor unskilled in 
rhetoric. He aimed at the reputation of a 
most learned clerk/ and so successfully 
that Bacon pronounced him incomparable 
for learning among kings ; and Sully, who 
knew him well, esteemed him the wisest 
fool in Europe. At the mature age of 
thirty-six, the imbecile man, afflicted with an 



Life and Writings 49 

ungainly frame and a timorous nature, 
escaped from austere supervision in Scot 
land to freedom of self-indulgence in the 
English court. His will, like his passions, 
was feeble, so that he could never carry out 
a wise resolution ; and, in his love of ease, he 
had no fixed principles of conduct or belief. 
Moreover, cowardice, which was the core 
of his character, led him to be false ; and he 
could vindicate deception and cunning as 
worthy of a king ; but he was an awkward 
liar rather than a crafty dissembler." 

In his chapter on " The Place of Puritan 
ism in History," Mr. Bancroft has a theme 
which evidently enlists his theological and 
political sympathies. His treatment of the 
subject is fervid and picturesque. The 
entire chapter is full of interest, but only a 
few extracts can be given. " There are 
some," says the eloquent historian, " who 
love to enumerate the singularities of the 



50 George Bancroft 

early Puritans. They were opposed to 
wigs ; they could preach against veils ; they 
denounced long hair ; they disliked the cross 
in the banner as much as the people of Paris 
disliked the lilies of the Bourbons. They 
would not allow Christmas to be kept 
sacred ; they called neither months, nor 
days, nor seasons, nor churches, nor inns by 
the names common in England ; they 
revived Scripture names at christenings. 
The grave Romans legislated on the cos 
tume of men, and their senate could even 
stoop to interfere with the triumphs of the 
sex to which civic honors were denied ; the 
fathers of New England prohibited frivolous 
fashions in their own dress ; and their aus 
terity, checking extravagance even in 
woman, frowned on her hoods of silk and 
her scarfs of tiffany, extended her sleeve to 
the wrist, and limited its greatest width to 
half an ell. The Puritans were formal and 



Li/e and Writings 51 

precise in their manners ; singular in the 
forms of their legislation. Every topic of 
the day found a place in their extemporan 
eous prayers, and infused a stirring interest 
into their long and frequent sermons. The 
courts of Massachusetts respected in prac 
tice the code of Moses; in New Haven the 
members of the constituent committee were 
called the seven pillars, hewn out for the 
house of wisdom. But these are only forms, 
which gave to the new faith a marked 
exterior. If from the outside peculiarities 
we look to the genius of the sect itself, Puri 
tanism had two cardinal principles : Faith in 
the absolute sovereignty of God, whose will 
is perfect right ; and the Equality of all who 
believe that His will is to be done. It was 
Religion struggling in, with and for the 
People ; a war against tyranny and supersti 
tion. * * * 

" The church existed independent of its pas- 



52 George Bancroft 

tor, who owed his office to its free choice ; the 
will of the majority was its law ; and each 
one of the brethren possessed equal rights 
with the elders. The right, exercised by 
each congregation, of electing its own minis 
ters, was in itself a moral revolution ; reli 
gion was now with the people, not over 
the people. Puritanism exalted the laity. 
Every individual who had experienced the 
rapture of devotion, every believer who in 
moments of ecstasy had felt the assurance of 
the favor of God, was in his own eyes a con 
secrated person, chosen to do the noblest and 
godliest deeds. For him the wonderful 
counsels of the Almighty had appointed a 
Saviour ; for him the laws of nature had 
been suspended and controlled, the heavens 
had opened, earth had quaked, the sun had 
veiled his face, and Christ had died and had 
risen again ; for him prophets and apostles 
had revealed to the world the oracles and the 



Life and Writings 53 

will of God. Before Heaven he prostrated 
himself in the dust ; looking out upon man 
kind, how could he but respect himself whom 
God had chosen and redeemed? He cher 
ished hope ; he possessed faith ; as he walked 
the earth his heart was in the skies. Angels 
hovered round his path, charged to minister 
to his soul ; spirits of darkness vainly leagued 
together to tempt him from his allegiance. 
His burning piety could use no liturgy ; his 
penitence revealed itself to no confessor. He 
knew no superior in holiness. He could as 
little become the slave of priestcraft as of a 
despot. He was himself a judge of the 
orthodoxy of the elders ; and if he feared the 
invisible powers of the air, of darkness and 
of hell, he feared nothing on earth. Puri 
tanism constituted not the Christian clergy, 
but the Christian people, the interpreter of 
the divine will ; and the issue of Puritanism 
was popular sovereignty. 



54 George Bancroft 

"The effects of Puritanism display its char 
acter still more distinctly. Ecclesiastical 
tyranny is of all kinds the worst ; its fruits 
are cowardice, idleness, ignorance and pov 
erty. Puritanism was a life-giving spirit; 
activity, thrift, intelligence followed in its 
train ; and as for courage, a coward and a 
Puritan never went together. * * * 

" Of all contemporary sects, the Puritans 
were the most free from credulity, and, in 
their zeal for reform, pushed their regulations 
to what some would consider a skeptical 
extreme. So many superstitions had been 
bundled up with every venerable institution 
of Europe that ages had not yet dislodged 
them all. The Puritans at once emancipated 
themselves from the thralldom to obser 
vances. They established a worship purely 
spiritual. They stood in prayer. To them 
the elements remained but wine and bread, 
and in communing they would not kneel. 



Life and Writings 55 

They invoked no saints ; they raised no altar ; 
they adored no crucifix ; they kissed no book ; 
they asked no absolution ; they paid no tithes ; 
they saw in the priest nothing more sacred 
than a man ; ordination was no more than an 
approbation of the officer, which might be 
expressed by the brethren just as well as by 
other ministers ; the church, as a place of 
worship, was to them but a meeting-house; 
they dug no graves in consecrated earth ; 
unlike their posterity, they married without 
a minister and buried their dead without a 
prayer. * * * 

u Historians have loved to eulogize the 
manners and virtues, the glory and the bene 
fits of chivalry. Puritanism accomplished 
for mankind far more. If it had the secta 
rian crime of intolerance, chivalry had the 
vices of dissoluteness. The knights were 
brave from gallantry of spirit ; the Puritans 
from the fear of God. The knights obeyed 



56 George Bancroft 

the law of honor; the Puritans hearkened to 
the voice of duty. The knights were proud 
of loyalty ; the Puritans of liberty. The 
knights did homage to monarchs, in whose 
smile they beheld honor, whose rebuke was 
disgrace ; the Puritans, in their disdain of 
ceremony, would not bow at the name of 
Jesus, nor bend the knee to the King of kings. 
Chivalry delighted in outward show, fav 
ored pleasure, multiplied amusements and 
degraded the human race by an exclusive 
respect for the privileged classes ; Puritanism 
bridled the passions, commanded the virtues 
of self-denial, and rescued the name of man 
from dishonor. The former valued cour 
tesy ; the latter, justice. The former adorned 
society by graceful refinements ; the latter 
founded national grandeur on universal edu 
cation. The institutions of chivalry were 
subverted by the gradually increasing weight 
and knowledge and opulence of the industri- 



Life and Writing* 57 

ous classes ; the Puritans, rallying upon those 
classes, planted in their hearts the undying 
principles of democratic liberty." 

In describing the conduct of Charles I. in 
the chapter on " The Fall and Restoration of 
the Stuarts," Mr. Bancroft gives this noble 
passage : 

" Treason against the state, on the part of 
its highest officers, is the darkest of human 
offences. Fidelity to the constitution is due 
from every citizen ; in a monarch, the debt 
is enhanced, for the monarch is the hereditary 
and special favorite of the fundamental laws. 
The murderer, even where his victim is emin 
ent for mind and character, destroys what time 
will repair ; and, deep as is his guilt, society 
suffers but transiently from the transgres 
sion. But the king who conspires against the 
liberties of the people, conspires to subvert 
the most precious bequest of past ages, the 
dearest hope of future time ; he would destroy 



58 George Bancroft 

genius in its birth and enterprise in its 
sources, and sacrifice the prolific causes of 
intelligence and virtue to his avarice or his 
vanity, his caprices or his ambition ; would 
rob the nation of its nationality, the indi 
vidual of the prerogatives of man ; would 
deprive common life of its sweets, by depriv 
ing it of its security, and religion of its 
power to solace, by subjecting it to super 
vision and control. His crime would not 
only enslave a present race of men, but forge 
chains for unborn generations. There can 
be no fouler deed." 

In his characterization of Cromwell, Mr. 
Bancroft says: "All great men incline to 
fatalism, for their success is a mystery to 
themselves ; and it was not entirely with 
hypocrisy that Cromwell professed himself 
the servant of Providence, borne along by 
irresistible necessity. #-.; *-* 

" Cromwell was one whom even his ene- 



Life and Writings 59 

mies cannot name without acknowledging his 
greatness. The farmer of Huntingdon, 
accustomed only to rural occupations, 
unnoticed till he was more than forty years 
old, engaged in no higher plots than how to 
improve the returns of his land and fill his 
orchard with choice fruit, of a sudden became 
the best officer in the British army, and the 
greatest statesman of his time ; overturned 
the English constitution, which had been the 
work of centuries ; held in his own grasp the 
liberties which formed a part of the nature of 
the English people, and cast the kingdoms 
into a new mould. Religious peace, such as 
England till now has never again seen, flour 
ished under his calm meditation ; justice 
found its way even among the remotest High 
lands of Scotland ; commerce filled the Eng 
lish marts with prosperous activity ; his fleets 
rode triumphant in the West Indies ; Nova 
Scotia submitted to his orders without a 



60 George Bancroft 

: , 

struggle ; the Dutch begged of him for peace 
as for a boon ; Louis XIV. was humiliated ; 
the Protestants of Piedmont breathed 
their prayers in security. His squadron 
made sure of Jamaica ; he had strong 
thoughts of Hispaniola and Cuba ; and, to 
use his own words, resolved to strive with 
the Spaniard for the mastery of all those 
seas. The glory of the English was spread 
throughout the world : * Under the tropic 
was their language spoke. 

" And yet his career was but an attempt to 
conciliate a union between his power and 
permanent public order ; and the attempt 
was always unavailing, from the inherent 
impossibility growing out of the origin of his 
power. It was derived from the submission, 
not from the will, of the people ; it came by 
the sword, not from the nation, nor from 
national usages. Cromwell saw the imprac 
ticability of a republic, and offered no excuse 



Life and Writings 61 

for his usurpations but the right of the strong 
est to restore tranquility the plea of tyrants 
and oppressors from the beginning of the 
world. * * * 

" Seldom was there a less scrupulous or 
more gifted politician than Cromwell. But 
he was no longer a leader of a party. He 
had no party. A party cannot exist except 
by the force of common principles ; it is 
truth, and truth only, that of itself rallies men 
together. Cromwell, the oppressor of the 
Independents, had ceased to respect princi 
ples ; his object was the advancement of his 
family ; his hold on opinion went no farther 
than the dread of anarchy, and* the strong 
desire for order. If moderate and disinter 
ested men consented to his power, it was to 
his power as high constable, engaged to pre 
serve the public peace. He could not confer 
on his country a fixed form of government, 
for that required a concert with the national 



62 George Bancroft 

affections which he was never able to gain. 
He had clear notions of public liberty, and 
he understood how much the English people 
are disposed to honor their representatives. 
Thrice did he attempt to connect his usur 
pation with the forms of representative 
government, and always without success." 

One of the finest specimens of Mr. Ban 
croft s style when he is treating domestic 
themes, occurs in his description of the polity, 
the character and the condition of the 
founders of the colony of Connecticut : 

" The charter of Connecticut secured to her 
an existence of unsurpassed tranquility. 
Unmixed popular power was safe under the 
shelter of severe morality ; and beggary and 
crime could not thrive. From the first, the 
minds of the yeomanry were kept active by 
the constant exercise of the elective fran 
chise ; and, except under James II., there 
was no such thing in the land as a home 



Life and Writings 63 

officer appointed by the English king. The 
government was in honest and upright 
hands ; the strifes of rivalry never became 
heated ; in the choice of magistrates, gifts of 
learning and genius were valued, but the 
state was content with virtue and single- 
mindedness ; and the public welfare never 
suffered at the hands of plain men. * * * 
" Industry enjoyed the abundance which it 
created. No great inequalities of condition 
excited envy or raised political feuds ; wealth 
could display itself only in a larger house 
and a fuller barn. There was venison from 
the hills ; salmon in their season, not less 
than shad, from the rivers ; and sugar from 
the maple of the forest. For a foreign mar 
ket little was produced beside cattle ; and, in 
return for them, but few foreign luxuries 
stole in. Even so late as 1713, the number of 
seamen did not exceed one hundred and 
twenty. The soil had originally been justly 



64 George Bancroft 

divided, or held as common property in trust 
for the public, and for new-comers. There 
was for a long time hardly a lawyer in the 
land. The husbandman who held his own 
plough and fed his own cattle was the great 
man of that day ; no one was superior to the 
matron, who, with her busy daughters, kept 
the hum of the wheel incessantly alive, spin 
ning and weaving every article of their dress. 
Life was uniform. The only revolution was 
from the time of sowing to the time of reap 
ing ; from the plain dress of the week to the 
more trim attire of Sunday. There was 
nothing morose in the Connecticut character. 
Frolic mingled with innocence; and the 
annual thanksgiving to God was, from primi 
tive times, as joyous as it was sincere." 






CHAPTER IV. 

NOBLE STRUGGLES FOR LIBERTY. 

Mr. Bancroft s narrative of the proceedings 
by Charles II. to deprive the colony of Mas 
sachusetts of its chartered liberties, stirs one s 
blood and excites his indignation. In 1679 it 
was determined to annul the charter and 
bring the colony under the rule of despot 
ism. It was against fearful odds that Mas 
sachusetts entered into this struggle ; but 
her brave sons did not quail. They met the 
danger as undauntedly then as, a hundred 
years later, they met their British foes at 
Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. The 
king, astounded at the ability and fortitude 
exhibited by the colonists, himself shrank 



66 George Bancroft 

from the contest, and tried to wheedle them 
out of their liberties. They were informed 
that if they would submit, the royal favor 
would be extended to them, and that the 
fewest alterations would be made in their 
charter consistent with the support of a royal 
government. At the same time a quo war 
rant o was issued and Massachusetts was 
arraigned before an English tribunal, under 
judges holding their office at the pleasure of 
the monarch. The agents of the colony rep 
resented its condition as desperate. " Was 
it not safest for the colony to decline a con 
test, and throw itself upon the favor or for 
bearance of the king ? Such was the theme 
of universal discussion ; it entered into the 
prayers of families ; it filled the sermons of 
the ministers ; and, finally, Massachusetts 
resolved, in a manner that showed it to be 
distinctly the sentiment of the people, not to 
concede one liberty or one privilege which 



Life and Writings 67 

was held by charter. If liberty was to 
receive its death-blow, better that it should 
die by the violence and injustice of others 
than by its own weakness." 

The conclusions of the colonists as to their 
rights and duties were conceived in that lofty 
spirit which is inspired by love of liberty and 
devotion to God. " Ought the government 
of Massachusetts," they argued, " submit to 
the pleasure of the court as to alteration of 
their charter? Submission would be an 
offense against the majesty of Heaven ; the 
religion of the people of New England and 
the court s pleasure cannot consist to 
gether. * * * 

" The civil liberties of New England are 
part of the inheritance of their fathers ; and 
shall we give that inheritance away ? Is it 
objected that we shall be exposed to great 
sufferings ? Better suffer than sin. It is bet 
ter to trust the God of our fathers than to 



68 George Bancroft 



put confidence in princes. If we suffer 
because we dare not comply with the will of 
men against the will of God, we suffer in a 
good cause, and shall be accounted martyrs 
in the next generation and at the great day." 

These noble sentiments cannot be taken 
too deeply to heart by American freemen of 
this generation ; nor can the legacy of freedom 
which those brave men left us be too highly 
prized or too ardently cherished. To think 
that such a people should be subjected to the 
insolence and the tyranny of a king Avhose 
character was so foul that the mere thought 
of it excites nausea in the stomach of every 
decent human being, is sufficient to make 
every self-respecting freeman rejoice in 
regicide. 

The judicial proceedings against the colony 
were changed in the summer of 1684 to avoid 
certain legal obstacles, and the charter was 
adjudged to be forfeited. Thus fell the 



Life and Writings 69 



charter which had been brought by the fleet 
of Winthrop to the shores of New England, 
and had been cherished with courage through 
every vicissitude. Gloomy forebodings over 
spread New England, but the courage of 
those brave old hearts did not wane. They 
trusted in themselves and in God, whose 
slow-grinding mills were already beginning 
to pulverize the despotism of the Stuarts. 

The last chapter of the first volume of the 
history, which brings the narrative of events 
down to the great revolution of 1688 and the 
accession of William of Orange to the Eng 
lish throne, sums up the results thus far with 
felicity and power. " The emigration," says 
Mr. Bancroft, " of the fathers of these com 
monwealths [the American colonies], with 
the planting of the principles on which they 
rested, though, like the introduction of 
Christianity into Rome, but little regarded 
by contemporary writers, was the most 



7o George Bancroft 

momentous event of the seventeenth century. 
The elements of our country, such as she 
exists to-day, wei*e already there. # * * 
Nothing- came from Europe but a free people. 
The people, separating itself from all other 
elements of previous civilization ; the people, 
self confiding and industrious; the people 
wise by all traditions that favored its culture 
and happiness alone broke away from 
European influence, and in the New World 
laid the foundations of our republic. Like 
Moses, as they said of themselves, they had 
escaped from Egyptian bondage to the 
wilderness, that God might there give them 
the pattern of the tabernacle. Like the 
favored evangelist, the exiles, in their wes 
tern Patmos, listened to the angel that dic 
tated the new gospel of freedom. Over 
whelmed in Europe, popular liberty, like the 
fabled fountain of the sacred Arethusa, 
gushed forth profusely in remoter fields. 



Life and Writings 71 

" Of the nations of the European world, the 
chief emigration was from that Germanic 
race most famed for the love of personal 
independence. The immense majority of 
American families were not of * the high folk 
of Normandie, but were of the low men, 
who were Saxons. This is true of New Eng 
land ; it is true of the south. The Virginians 
were Anglo Saxons in the woods again, with 
the inherited culture and intelligence of the 
seventeenth century. * The major part of the 
house of burgesses now consisted of Virgin 
ians that never saw a town. The Anglo- 
Saxon mind, in its serenest nationality, 
neither distorted by fanaticism, nor subdued 
by superstition, nor wounded by a perse 
cution, nor excited by new ideas, but fondly 
cherishing the active instinct for personal 
freedom, secure possession, and legislative 
power, such as belonged to it before the 
reformation, and existed independent of the 



72 George Bancroft 

reformation, had made its dwelling place in 
the empire of Powhatan. * * * 

" The colonists, including .their philosophy 
in their religion, as the people up to that time 
had always done, were neither skeptics nor 
sensualists, but Christians. The school that 
bows to the senses as the sole interpreter of 
truth, had little share in colonizing our 
America. The colonists from Maine to Caro 
lina, the adventurous companions of Smith, 
the proscribed Puritans that freighted the 
fleet of Winthrop, the Quaker outlaws that 
fled from jails with a Newgate prisoner as 
their sovereign all had faith in God and in 
the soul. The system which had been 
revealed in Judea the system which com 
bines and perfects the symbolic wisdom of 
the Orient and the reflective genius of 
Greece the system, conforming to reason, 
yet kindling enthusiasm ; always hastening 
reform, yet always conservative ; proclaiming 



Life and Writings 73 

absolute equality among men, yet not sud 
denly abolishing the unequal institutions of 
society ; guaranteeing absolute freedom, yet 
invoking the inexorable restrictions of duty ; 
in the highest degree theoretical, and yet in 
the highest degree practical ; awakening the 
inner man to a consciousness of his destiny, 
and yet adapted with exact harmony to the 
outward world ; at once divine and humane 
this system was professed in every part of 
our widely extended country and cradled our 
freedom. * * * 

" The period through which we have 
passed shows why we are a free people ; the 
coming period will show why we are a 
united people. We shall have no tales to 
relate of more adventure than in the early 
period of Virginia, none of more sublimity 
than of the pilgrims at Plymouth. But we 
are about to enter on a wider theatre ; and, 
as we trace the progress of commercial am- 



74 George Bancroft 



bition through events which shook the globe 
from the wilds beyond the Alleghanies to the 
ancient abodes of civilization in Hindostan, 
we shall still see that the selfishness of evil 
defeats itself, and God rules in the affairs of 
men." 



CHAPTER V. 

INDIAN WARS OBJECT OF THE AUTHORS OF 
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

Mr. Bancroft s second volume takes a wide 
historical range, and covers many series of 
important events, but our quotations must be 
iimited. The descriptions of some of the 
occurrences which took place in New Eng 
land during the French and Indian wars, are 
tragic beyond invention ; they bear the stamp 
of faithful accounts of actual atrocities perpe 
trated by the barbarous foes of the colonists. 

" Death hung on the frontier," says the his 
torian. " The farmers, that had built their 
dwellings on the bank, just above the beauti- 



76 George Bancroft 

ful meadows of- Deerfield, had surrounded 
with pickets an enclosure of twenty acres, the 
village citadel. There were separate dwell 
ing houses, likewise fortified by a circle of 
sticks of timber set upright in the ground. 
Their occupants knew, through the Mo 
hawks, that danger was at hand. All that 
winter there was not a night but the sentinel 
was abroad ; not a mother lulled her infant 
to rest without fearing that, before morning, 
the tomahawk might crush its skull. The 
snow lay four feet deep, when the clear, 
invigorating air of midwinter cheered the 
war party of about two hundred French and 
one hundred and forty-two Indians, who, with 
the aid of snow-shoes and led by Hertel de 
Rouville, had walked on the crust all the way 
from Canada. On the last night in February 
1704, a pine forest near Deerfield gave them 
shelter till after midnight. When, at the 
approach of morning, the unfaithful sentinels 



Life and Writings 77 

retired, the war-party entered within the pal 
isades, which drifts of snow had made useless, 
and the war-whoop of the savages bade each 
family prepare for captivity or death. The 
village was set on fire, and all but the church 
and one dwelling house were consumed. 

" Of the inhabitants, but few escaped : 
forty-seven were killed ; one hundred and 
twelve, including the minister and his family, 
were made captives. One hour after sun 
rise, the party began its return to Canada. 
But who would know the horrors of that 
winter march through the wilderness ? Two 
men starved to death. Did a young child 
weep from fatigue, or a woman totter from 
anguish under the burden of her own off 
spring, the tomahawk stilled complaint, or 
the infant was cast out upon the snow. 
Eunice Williams, the wife of the minister, 
had not forgotten her Bible; and, when they 
rested by the wayside, or at night made their 



78 George Bancroft 

couch of branches of evergreen strewn on the 
snow, the savages allowed her to read it. 
Having but recently recovered from con 
finement, her strength soon failed. To her 
husband, who reminded her of the * house not 
made with hands, eternal in the heavens, she 
justified God in what had happened. The 
mother s heart rose to her lips as she com 
mended her five captive children, under God, 
to their father s care ; and then one blow 
from a tomahawk ended her sorrows. * She 
rests in peace, said her husband, and joy 
unspeakable and full of glory. In Canada, 
no entreaties, no offers of ransom, could res 
cue his youngest daughter, then a child of 
but seven years old. Adopted into the vil 
lage of the praying Indians near Montreal, 
she became a proselyte to the Catholic faith, 
and the wife of a Cahnewaga chief. When, 
after long years, she visited her friends at 
Deerfield, she appeared in an Indian dress ; 



Life and Writings 79 

and, making a short sojourn, in spite of a day 
of fast of a whole village, which assembled to 
pray for her deliverance, she returned to the 
fires of her wigwam and to the love of her 
Mohawk children. 

From 1705 to 1707, the prowling Indian 
stealthily approached towns even in the 
heart of Massachusetts. Children, as they 
gambolled on the beach ; mowers, as they 
swung the scythe ; mothers, as they busied 
themselves about the household fell victims 
to an enemy who was ever present where a 
garrison or a family ceased its vigilance, and 
disappeared after striking a blow. 

"In 1708, after a war-council at Montreal, 
the French, under Des Chaillons and Hertel 
de Rouville, with Algonkin allies, ascended 
the St. Francis, and, passing by the White 
Mountains, having traveled near one hundred 
and fifty leagues, made their rendezvous at 
Winnipiseogee. There they failed to meet 



8o George Bancroft 

the expected aid from the Abenakis, and, in 
consequence, were too feeble to attack Ports- 
mouth ; they therefore descended the Merri- 
mack to the town of Haverhill, which was, at 
that time, a cluster of thirty cottages and 
log-cabins, embosomed in the primeval for 
ests, near the tranquil Merrimack. In the 
center of the settlement stood a new meeting 
house, the pride of the village. On the few 
acres of open land, the ripening Indian corn 
rose over the charred stumps of trees ; on the 
north and the west the unbroken wilderness 
stretched beyond the White Mountains. On 
the twenty-ninth of August, evening prayers 
had been offered in each family, and the 
village had resigned itself to sleep. 

That night the invaders slept quietly in the 
near forest. At daybreak they assumed the 
order of battle ; Rouville addressed the sol 
diers, who, after their orisons, marched 
against the fort, raised the shrill yell, and 



Life and Writings 81 

dispersed themselves through the village to 
their work of blood. The rifle rang ; the cry 
of the dying rose. Benjamin Rolfe, the 
minister, was beaten to death ; one Indian 
sunk a hatchet deep into the brain of his 
wife, while another dashed the head of his 
infant child against a stone. Thomas Harts 
horn and two of his sons, attempting a rally, 
were shot ; a third son was tomahawked. 
John Johnston was shot by the side of his 
wife ; she fled into the garden, bearing an 
infant; was caught and murdered; but as 
she fell, she concealed her child, which was 
found after the massacre, clinging to her 
breast. Simon Wainwright was killed at the 
first fire. Mary, his wife, unbarred the door; 
with cheerful mien bade the savages enter ; 
furnished them what they wished, and, when 
they demanded money, she retired as if to 
bring it, and, gathering up all her children 
save one, succeeded in escaping. 



82 George Bancroft, 

" As the destroyers retired, Samuel Ayer, 
ever to be remembered in village annals, with 
a force which equaled but a thirteenth part 
of the invaders, hung on their rear himself 
a victim, yet rescuing several from captivity. 

" The day was advanced when the battle 
ended. The rude epitaph on the moss grown 
stone tells where the interment was made in 
haste ; Rolfe, his wife and child, fill one 
grave ; in the burial-ground of the village, an 
ancient mound marks the resting-place of the 
multitude of the slain." 

The English revolution of 1688, which was 
the forerunner of the American revolution 
of 1776, formed an auspicious era in the his 
tory of England and of mankind. Hence 
forward the title of the king to the crown 
was bound up with the title of the aristo 
cracy to their privileges, of the people to 
their liberties ; it sprang from law, and it 
accepted an accountability to the nation 



Life and Writings 83 

accepted the right to resist tyranny, even by 
dethroning a dynasty. The fated period of 
arbitrary monarchy was come ; it was denied 
to be a form of civil government. Nothing, 
it was held, can bind freemen to obey any 
government save their own agreement. 
Political power is a trust, and the breach of 
the trust dissolves the obligation to allegi 
ance. The supreme power is the legislature 
to whose guardianship it has been sacredly 
and unalterably delegated. By the funda 
mental law of property, no taxes may be 
levied on the people but by their own 
authorized agents. These political principles 
were solidified into governmental axioms by 
the English revolution of 1688, and it was the 
attempts to deprive the colonies of the pro 
tection given to freemen by these principles 
that led to the American revolution of 1776 
the scope, spirit, philosophy and result of 



84 George Bancroft 

which Mr. Bancroft sets forth with unusual 
force and eloquence : 

"The authors of the American revolution 
avowed for their object the welfare of man 
kind, and believed that they were in the ser 
vice of their own and of all future genera 
tions. Their faith was just; for the world of 
mankind does not exist in fragments, nor can 
a country have an insulated existence. All 
men are brothers ; and all are bondsmen for 
one another. All nations, too, are brothers ; 
and each is responsible for that federative 
humanity which puts the ban of exclusion on 
none. New principles of government could 
not assert themselves in one hemisphere 
without affecting the other. The very idea 
of the progress of an individual people, in its 
relation to universal history, springs from 
the acknowledged unity of the race. * * * 

" To have asserted clearly the unity of 
mankind was the distinctive character of 



Life and Writings 85 

the Christian religion. No more were the 
nations to be severed by the worship of 
exclusive deities. They were taught that all 
men are of one blood ; that for all there is 
but one divine nature and but one moral 
law; and the renovating faith which made 
known the singleness of the race, embodied 
its aspirations, and guided its advancement. 
The tribes of Northern Europe, emerging 
freshly from the wild nurseries of nations, 
opened new regions to culture, commerce 
and refinement. The beams of the majestic 
temple, which antiquity had reared to its 
many gods, \vere already falling in ; roving 
invaders, taking to their hearts the regenerat 
ing creed, became its intrepid messengers, 
and bore its symbols even to Iceland and 
Siberia. * .* * 

" While the world of mankind is accom 
plishing its nearer connection, it is advanc 
ing in the power of its intelligence. The 



86 George Bancroft 

possession of reason is the engagement for 
that progress of which history keeps the 
record. The faculties of each individual 
mind are limited in their development ; the 
reason of the whole strives for perfection, has 
been restlessly forming itself from the first 
moment of human existence, and has never 
met bounds to its capacity for improvement. 
The generations of men are not like the 
leaves on the trees, which fall and renew 
themselves without melioration or change ; 
individuals disappear like the foliage and 
the flowers; the existence of our kind is con 
tinuous, and its ages are reciprocally depen 
dent. * * * 

" It is this idea of continuity which gives 
vitality to history. No period of time has a 
separate being ; no public opinion can 
escape the influence of previous intelligence. 
We are cheered by rays from former cen 
turies, and live in the sunny reflection of all 



Life and Writings 87 

their light. What though thought is invisi 
ble, and, even when effective, seems as 
transient as the wind that drives the cloud ! 
It is yet free and indestructible ; can as little 
be bound in chains as the aspiring flame ; 
and, when once generated, takes eternity for 
its guardian. We are the children and the 
heirs of the past, with which, as with the 
future, we are indissolubly linked together ; 
and he that truly has sympathy with every 
thing belonging to man, will, with his toils 
for posterity, blend affection for the times 
that are gone by, and seek to live in the life 
of the ages. It is by thankfully recognizing 
those ages as a part of the great existence 
in which we share, that history wins power 
to move the soul ; she comes to us with 
tidings of that which for us still lives, of that 
which has become the life of our life ; she 
embalms and preserves for us the life-blood 



George Bancroft 



not of master-spirits only, but of genera 
tions. * * * 

" From the intelligence that had been 
slowly ripening in the mind of cultivated 
humanity, sprung the American revolution, 
which organized social union through the 
establishment of personal freedom, and 
emancipated the nations from all authority 
not flowing from themselves. * * * It 
was the office of America to substitute for 
hereditary privilege the natural equality of 
man ; for the irresponsible authority of a 
sovereign, a government emanating from the 
concord of opinion ; and, as she moved for 
ward in her high career, the multitude of 
every clime gazed toward her example with 
hopes of untold happiness, and all the 
nations of the earth learned the way to be 
renewed. 

" The American revolution, essaying to 
unfold the principles which organized its 



Life and Writings 89 

events, and bound to keep faith with the 
ashes of its heroes, was most radical in its 
character, yet achieved with such benign 
tranquility that even conservatism hesitated 
to censure. * * * The equality of all 
men was declared, personal freedom secured 
in its complete individuality, and common 
consent recognized as the only just origin of 
fundamental laws ; so that in thirteen sepa 
rate states, with ample territory for creating 
more, the inhabitants of each formed their 
own political institutions. By the side of 
the principle of the freedom of the individual 
and the freedom of the separate states, the 
noblest work of human intellect was consum 
mated in a federal union ; and that union put 
away every motive to its destruction by 
insuring to each successive generation the 
right to amend its constitution according to 
the increasing intelligence of the living 
people. Astonishing deeds throughout the 



90 George Bancroft 

globe attended these changes. * * * For 
America, the period abounded in new forms 
of virtue and greatness. Fidelity to principle 
pervaded the masses ; an unorganized people, 
of their own free will, suspended commerce 
by universal assent ; poverty rejected bribes. 
Heroism, greater than that of chivalry, burst 
into action from lowly men ; citizens, with 
their families, fled from their homes and 
wealth in towns, rather than yield to oppres 
sion. Battalions sprung up in a night from 
spontaneous patriotism ; where eminent 
statesmen hesitated, the instinctive action of 
the multitude revealed the counsels of mag 
nanimity ; youth and genius gave up lite 
freely for the liberties of mankind. A nation 
without union, without magazines and arse 
nals, without a treasury, without credit, with 
out government, fought successfully against 
the whole strength and wealth of Great Brit- 



Life and Writings 91 

ain ; an army of veteran soldiers capitulated 
to insurgent husbandmen. 

" Europe could not watch with indifference 
the spectacle. The oldest aristocracy of 
France, the proudest nobles of Poland, the 
bravest hearts of Germany, sent their repre 
sentatives to act as the peers of plebeians, to 
die gloriously, or to live beloved, as the 
champions of humanity and freedom ; Russia 
and the northern nations shielded the young 
republic by an armed neutrality ; while the 
Catholic and feudal monarchies of France 
and Spain, children of the middle age, were 
wonderfully swayed to open the gates of 
futurity to the new empire of democracy ; so 
that, in human affairs, God never showed 
more visibly his gracious providence and 
love." 



CHAPTER VI. 

WASHINGTON S CAREER AND CHARACTER- 
TRIUMPH OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

The third volume of the history covers the 
period from 1763 (when Great Britain 
acquired possession, by treaty, of the French 
possessions in America, which she had already 
wrested from France by conquest) to 1774, 
when England took the step which alienated 
the colonies. The subject of the volume is 
the estrangement of America from Great 
Britain. This portion of American history is 
given in our school-books, and, so far as its 
salient points are concerned, it is so familiar 
to the reading public that it will not be 
dwelt upon here. The fourth volume treats 



Life and Writings 93 

of the events which occurred between May, 
1774, and July, 1776. On the tenth of May, 
1774, which was the day of the accession of 
Louis XVI., the act closing the port of Bos 
ton reached the devoted town. The act 
transferred the board of customs to Marble- 
head and the seat of government to Salem. 
The king was confident that the slow torture 
which was to be applied to the inhabitants 
of Boston would constrain them to cry for 
mercy and promise unconditional obedience. 
Success in resistance could come only from 
an American union, which the king and his 
counselors did not believe to be possible. It 
was confidently asserted that the other 
colonies would not peril their own interests 
by supporting Massachusetts. Never were 
king and counselors more mistaken. As the 
news of Boston s suffering and fortitude 
spread through the land, the people of every 
colony rallied to her support. The hour of 



94 George Bancroft 

the American revolution was come. The 
people of the continent obeyed one general 
impulse, as the earth in spring- listens to the 
mandate ot nature and without the appear 
ance of effort bursts into life. The move 
ment was quickened by the efforts made to 
intimidate its supporters. The arrival of 
British troops and British vessels of war in 
Boston aroused the people to a more firm-set 
purpose of resistance. A general congress 
was proposed ; delegates were elected ; and 
on September 5, 1774, the first American 
Congress met at Philadelphia. The current 
of events now moved with constantly 
increasing rapidity and momentum, and Mr. 
Bancroft develops the narrative with great 
amplitude, clearness and power. Lexington, 
Concord, Bunker Hill, the uprising of a great 
people, the convening of the Continental 
Congress, the election of Washington as 
commander-in-chief of the Continental army 



Life and Writings 95 



follow swiftly and are described in the histo 
rian s most philosophical and picturesque 
style. His sketch of Washington will be 
read with delight by every lover of liberty : 

" Washington was then [June 15, 1775] 
forty-three years of age. In stature he a 
little exceeded six feet ; his limbs were sinewy 
and well-proportioned ; his chest broad ; his 
figure stately, blending dignity of presence 
with ease. His robust constitution had been 
tried and invigorated by his early life in the 
wilderness, the habit of occupation out of 
doors and rigid temperance ; so that few 
equaled him in strength of arm, or power of 
endurance, or noble horsemanship. His 
complexion was florid ; his hair dark brown ; 
his head in its shape perfectly round. His 
broad nostrils seemed formed to give escape 
to scornful anger. The lines of his eyebrows 
were long and finely arched. His dark-blue 
eyes, which were deeply set, had an expres- 



96 George Bancroft 

sion of resignation, and an earnestness thai 
was almost pensiveness. His forehead was 
sometimes marked with thought, but never 
with inquietude ; his countenance was pleas 
ing and full of benignity. 

" At eleven years old left to the care of an 
excellent but unlettered mother, he grew 
up without learning. Of arithmetic and 
geometry he acquired just knowledge 
enough to be- able to practice measuring 
land ; but all his instruction at school taught 
him not so much as the orthography or rules 
of grammar of his own tongue. His culture 
was altogether his own work ; yet from 
early life he never seemed uneducated. At 
sixteen he went into the wilderness as a 
surveyor, and for three years continued the 
pursuit, where the forests trained him, in 
meditative solitude, to freedom and large 
ness of mind ; and nature revealed to him 
her obedience to serene and silent laws. In 



Life and Writing* 97 

his intervals from toil he seemed always to 
be attracted to the society of the best men, 
and to be cherished by them. Fairfax, his 
employer, an Oxford scholar, already aged, 
became his fast friend. He read little, but 
with close attention. Whatever he took in 
hand he applied himself to with care ; and 
his papers, which have been preserved, show 
how he almost imperceptibly gained the 
power of writing correctly, always express 
ing himself with clearness and directness, 
often with a happy choice of language, and 
with grace. 

" When the frontiers on the West became 
disturbed, he at nineteen was commissioned 
an adjutant-general with the rank of major. 
At twenty-one he went as the envoy of 
Virginia to the council of Indian chiefs on 
the Ohio, and to the French officers near 
Lake Erie. Fame waited upon him from his 
youth ; and no one of his colony was so 



98 George Bancroft 



much spoken of. He conducted the first 
military expedition from Virginia that 
crossed the Alleghanies. Braddock selected 
him as an aid, and he was the only man who 
came out of the disastrous defeat near the 
Monongahela with increased reputation, 
which extended to England. * * * 

" Courage was so natural to him that it 
was hardly spoken of ; no one ever at any 
moment of his life discovered in him the 
least shrinking in danger ; and he had a 
hardihood of daring which escaped notice, 
because it was enveloped by calmness and 
wisdom. * * * 

" His faculties were so well balanced and 
combined that his constitution, free from 
excess, was tempered evenly with all the 
elements of activity, and his mind resembled 
a well-ordered commonwealth ; his passions, 
which had the intensest vigor, owned allegi 
ance to reason ; and, with all the fiery quick- 



Life and Writings 99 

ness of his spirit, his impetuous and massive 
will was held in check by consummate judg 
ment. He had in his composition a calm 
which gave him in moments of highest 
excitement the power of self-control, and 
enabled him to excel in patience, even when 
he had most cause for disgust. Washington 
was offered a command when there was little 
to bring out the unorganized resources of 
the continent but his own influence, and 
authority was connected with the people by 
the most frail, most attenuated, scarcely dis 
cernible threads ; yet, vehement as was 
his nature, impassioned as was his courage, 
he so restrained his ardor that he never 
failed continuously to exert that influence, 
and never exerted it so sharply as to break 
its force. 

" His faculty of secrecy, in which he was 
unsurpassed, had the character of prudent 
reserve, not of concealment. His great 



TOO George Bancroft 

natural power of vigilance had been devel 
oped by his life in the wilderness. 

" His understanding- was lucid and his judg 
ment accurate, so that his conduct never 
betrayed hurry or confusion. No detail was 
too minute for his personal inquiry and con 
tinued supervision ; and at the same time he 
comprehended events in their widest aspects 
and relations. He never seemed above the 
object that engaged his attention, and he was 
always equal, without an effort, to the solu 
tion of the highest questions affecting the des 
tiny of mankind, even when there existed no 
precedents to guide his decision. In the per 
fection of the reflective powers he had no peer. 

" In this way he never drew to himself admir- 
ation for the possession of any one quality 
in excess, he never made in council any one 
suggestion that was sublime but impractica 
ble, never in action took to himself the praise 
or the blame of undertakings astonishing in 



Life and Writings 101 

conception, but beyond his means of execu 
tion. It was the most wonderful accomplish, 
ment of this man that, placed upon the largest 
theatre of events, at the head of the greatest 
revolution in human affairs, he never failed 
to observe all that was possible, and at the 
same time to bound his endeavors by that 
which was possible. 

" A slight tinge in his character, percepti 
ble only to the close observer, revealed the 
region from which he sprung, and he might 
be described as the best specimen of man 
hood as developed in Virginia ; but his qual 
ities were so faultlessly proportioned that the 
whole people rather claimed him as its 
choicest representative, the most complete 
expression of all its attainments and aspir 
ations. He studied his country and 
conformed to it, not from calculation, but 
from a sincere, ever-active benevolence and 
sympathy. His countrymen felt that he was 



102 George Bancroft 

the best type of America ; they lived in his 
life, and made his success and his praise their 
own. 

" Profoundly impressed with confidence in 
God s providence, and exemplary in his 
respect for the forms of public worship, no 
philosopher of the eighteenth century was 
more firm in the support of freedom of religi 
ous opinion, none more remote from bigotry ; 
but belief in God and trust in his overruling 
power formed the essence of his character. 
Divine wisdom not only illumines the spirit, 
it inspires the will. Washington was a man 
of action ; his creed appears in his life ; pro 
fessions burst from him very rarely, and only 
at those great moments of crisis in the for 
tunes of his country when earth and heaven 
seemed actually to meet, and his emotions 
became too intense for suppression ; but his 
whole being was one continued act of faith in 
the eternal, intelligent, moral order of the 



Life and Writings 103 

universe. Integrity was so completely the 
law of his nature that a planet would sooner 
have shot from its sphere than he have 
departed from his uprightness, which was so 
constant that it often seemed to be almost 
impersonal. His integrity was the most 
pure, his justice the most inflexible I have 
ever known, writes Jefferson, no motives of 
interest or consanguinity, of friendship or 
hatred, being able to bias his decision. 

" They say of Giotto that he introduced 
goodness into the art of painting ; Washing 
ton carried it with him to the camp and the 
cabinet, and established a new criterion of 
human greatness. The purity of his will 
confirmed his fortitude ; and, as he never 
faltered in his faith in virtue, he stood fast by 
that which he knew to be just ; free from 
illusions; never dejected by the apprehension 
of the difficulties and perils that went before 
him, and drawing the promise of success 



104 George Bancroft 

from the justice of his cause. Hence he was 
persevering, leaving nothing unfinished ; 
devoid of all taint of obstinacy in his firm 
ness ; seeking and gladly receiving advice, 
but immovable in his devotedness to right. 

"Of a retiring modesty and habitual 
reserve/ his ambition was no more than the 
consciousness of power, and was subordinate 
to his sense of duty ; he took the foremost 
place, for he knew from inborn magnanimity 
that it belonged to him, and he dared not 
withhold the service required of him ; so 
that, with all his humility, he was by necessity 
the first, though never for himself or for pri 
vate ends. He loved fame, the approval of 
coming generations, the good opinion of his 
fellow-men of his own time, and he desired to 
make his conduct coincide with their wishes; 
but not fear of censure, not the prospect of 
applause, could tempt him to swerve from 
rectitude, and the praise which he coveted 



Life and Writings 105 

was the sympathy of that moral sentiment 
which delights in uprightness. 

" There have been soldiers who have 
achieved mightier victories in the field, and 
made conquests more nearly corresponding 
to the boundlessness of selfish ambition ; 
statesmen who have been connected with 
more startling upheavals of society ; but it is 
the greatness of Washington that in public 
trusts he used power solely for the public 
good ; that he was the life and moderator 
and stay of the most momentous revolution 
in human affairs, its moving impulse and its 
restraining power. Combining the centri 
petal and the centrifugal forces in their 
utmost strength and in perfect relations, with 
creative grandeur of instinct he held ruin in 
check, and renewed and perfected the insti 
tutions of his country. Finding the colonies 
disconnected and dependent, he left them 
such a united and well-ordered common- 



106 George Bancroft 

wealth as no visionary had believed to be 
possible. So that it has been truly said : 
4 He was as fortunate as great and good. 

" This also is the praise of Washington : 
that never in the tide of time has any man 
lived who had in so great a degree the almost 
divine faculty to command the trust of his 
fellowmen and rule the willing. Wherever 
he became known, in his family, his neighbor 
hood, his county, his native state, the conti 
nent, the camp, civil life, among the common 
people, in foreign courts, throughout the 
civilized world, and even among the savages, 
he beyond all other men had the confidence 
of his kind. 

" Washington saw at a glance the difficul 
ties of the position to which he had been 
chosen. * * * He knew that he must 
depend for success on a steady continuance 
of purpose in an imperfectly united continent, 
and on his personal influence over separate 



Life and Writings 107 

and half-formed governments, with most of 
which he was wholly unacquainted. He 
foresaw a long and arduous struggle; but a 
secret consciousness of his power bade him 
not to fear ; and he never admitted the 
thought of sheathing his sword or resigning 
his command till the work of vindicating 
American liberty should be done. To his 
wife he unbosomed his inmost mind : . * I 
hope my undertaking this service is designed 
to answer some good purpose. I rely con 
fidently on that Providence which has hither- 
fore preserved and been bountiful to me. 

" His acceptance changed the aspect of 
affairs. John Adams, looking with compla 
cency upon the modest and virtuous, the 
amiable, generous and brave general/ as the 
choice of Massachusetts, said : * This appoint 
ment will have a great effect in cementing the 
union of these colonies. The general is one 
of the most important characters of the 



io8 George Bancroft 

world ; upon him depend the liberties of 
America. All hearts turned with affection 
toward Washington. This is he who was 
raised up to be, not the head of a party, but 
the father of his country." 

From this point the history o. the United 
States is so familiar to the American people 
that further quotations from the narrative 
portions of Mr. Bancroft s great work (which 
I wish was owned and read by every intelli 
gent family in the United States) will be 
foregone. His sixth volume is devoted to 
the history of " The Formation of the Con 
stitution of the United States of America." 
It is to be feared that although this volume 
is in many respects the most valuable por 
tion of Mr. Bancroft s history, it is the vol 
ume which will be least read. 

In presenting his subject, the historian 
says: 

" The order of time brings us to the most 



Life and Writings^ 109 

cheering- act in the political history of man 
kind, when thirteen republics, of which at 
least three reached from the sea to the Mis 
sissippi, formed themselves into one federal 
commonwealth. There was no revolt 
against the past, but a persistent and healthy 
progress. The sublime achievement was the 
work of a people led by statesmen of earn 
estness, perseverance and public spirit, 
instructed by the widest experience in the 
forms of representative government, and 
warmed by that mutual love which proceeds 
from ancient connection, harmonious effort in 
perils, and common aspirations." 

The Constitution having been evolved and 
adopted, Washington having been elected 
President of the Union, and all things being 
in readiness to organize the government, Mr. 
Bancroft says : 

" The philosophy of the people of the 
United States was neither that of optimism 



no George Bancroft 

nor of despair. Believing in the justice of 
the Great Governor of the world/ and con 
scious of their own honest zeal in the cause 
of freedom and mankind, they looked with 
astonishment at their present suctess and at 
the future with unclouded hope. 

" The election to the presidency found 
Washington prepared with a federal policy, 
which was the result of long meditation. He 
was resolved to preserve freedom ; never to 
transcend the powers delegated by the con 
stitution ; even at the cost of life to uphold 
the union, a sentiment which in him had a 
tinge of anxiety from his thorough acquaint 
ance with what Grayson called the southern 
genius of America ; to restore the public 
finances ; to establish in the foreign relations 
of the country a thoroughly American 
system ; and to preserve neutrality in the 
impending conflicts between nations in 
Europe. 



Life and Writings 1 1 1 

" Across the Atlantic Alfieri cried out to 
him : Happy are you who have for the sub 
lime and permanent basis of your glory, the 
love of country demonstrated by deeds/ 

"On the fourteenth of April (1789) he 
received the official announcement of his 
recall to the public service, and was at ten 
o clock on the morning 1 of the sixteenth on 
his way. Though reluctant in the evening 
of life to exchange a peaceful abode for an 
ocean of difficulties, he bravely said : * Be 
the voyage long or short, although 1 may be 
deserted by all men, integrity and firmness 
shall never forsake me. 

" But for him the country could not have 
achieved its independence ; but for him it 
could not have formed its union ; and but for 
him it could not have set the federal govern 
ment in successful motion. His journey to 
New York was one continued march of 
triumph. All the way he was met with 



1 1 2 George Bancroft 

addresses from the citizens of various towns, 
from societies, universities and churches. 

" On the thirtieth, the day appointed for 
the inauguration, Washington, being fifty- 
seven years, two months, and eight days old, 
was ceremoniously received by the two 
houses in the hall of the senate. Stepping 
out to the middle compartment of a balcony, 
which had been raised in front of it, he found 
before him a dense throng, extending to 
Broad street and filling Wall street to 
Broadway. All were hushed as Livingston, 
the chancellor of the state, administered the 
oath of office ; but when he cried, Long 
live George Washington, President of the 
United States ! the air was rent with huzzas, 
which were repeated as Washington bowed 
to the multitude. 

" Then returning to the senate chamber, 
with an aspect grave almost to sadness, and 
a voice deep and tremulous, he addressed 



Life and Writings 113 

the two houses, confessing his distrust of his 
own endowments and his inexperience in 
civil administration. The magnitude and 
difficulty of the duties to which his country 
had called him, weighed upon him so heavily 
that he shook as he proceeded: " It would 
be peculiarly improper to omit, in this official 
act, my fervent supplications to that 
Almighty Being who presides in the councils 
of nations, that his benediction may conse 
crate to the liberties and happiness of the 
people of the United States a government 
instituted by themselves. No people can be 
bound to acknowledge the invisible hand 
which conducts the affairs of men more 
than the people of the United States. Every 
step by which they have advanced to the 
character of an independent nation seems to 
have been distinguished by some token of 
providential agency. There exists in the 
economy of nature an indissoluble union 



1 1 4 George Bancroft 

between an honest and magnanimous policy 
and public prosperity. Heaven can never 
smile on a nation that disregards the eternal 
rules of order and right. The preservation 
of liberty, and the destiny of the republican 
model of government, are justly considered 
as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the 
experiment intrusted to the American 
people. 

"At the close of the ceremony the presi 
dent and both branches of congress were 
escorted to the church of St Paul, where 
the chaplain of the senate read prayers 
suited to the occasion, after which they all 
attended the president to his mansion. 

" Every one without exception, so 
reports the French minister to his govern 
ment, appeared penetrated with veneration 
for the illustrious chief of the republic. The 
humblest was proud of the virtues of the 
man who was to govern him. Tears of joy 



Life and Writings 1 1 5 

were seen to flow in the hall of the senate, 
at church, and even in the streets, and no 
sovereign ever reigned more completely in 
the hearts of his subjects than Washington 
in the hearts of his fellow-citizens. Nature, 
which had given him the talent to govern, 
distinguished him from all others by his 
appearance. He had at once the soul, the 
look and the figure of a hero. He never 
appeared embarrassed at homage rendered 
him, and in his manners he had the advan 
tage of joining dignity to great simplicity. 

" In the same moments of the fifth day of 
May, 1789, when these words were reported, 
the ground was trembling beneath the arbi 
trary governments of Europe as Louis XVI. 
proceeded to open the states-general of 
France. The day of wrath, against which 
Leibnitz had warned the monarchs of Europe, 
was beginning to break, and its judgments 
were to be the more terrible for the long 



1 1 6 George Bancroft 

delay of its coming. The great Frederick, 
who alone of them all had lived and toiled 
for the good of his land, described the 
degeneracy and insignificance of his fellow- 
rulers with cynical scorn. Not one of them 
had a surmise that the only sufficient reason 
for the existence of a king lies in his useful 
ness to the people. * * * The monarchs, 
whose imbecility or excesses had brought 
the doom of death on arbitrary power, were 
not only unfit to rule, but, while their own 
unlimited sovereignty was stricken with 
death, they knew not how to raise up states 
men to take their places. Well-intentioned 
friends of mankind burned with indignation, 
and even the wise and prudent were incensed 
by the conscious endurance of wrong ; while 
the lowly classes, clouded by despair, were 
driven sometimes to admit the terrible 
thought that religion, which is the poor man s 
consolation and defence, might be but an 



Life and Writings 1 1 7 

instrument of government in the hands of 
their oppressors. There was no relief for 
the nations but through revolution, and their 
masters had poisoned the weapons which 
revolution must use. 

" In America a new people had risen up 
without king, or princes, or nobles, knowing 
nothing of tithes and little of landlords, the 
plough being for the most part in the hands 
of free holders of the soil. They were more 
sincerely religious, better educated, of serener 
minds, and of purer morals than the men of 
any former republic. By calm meditation 
and friendly councils they had prepared a 
constitution which, in the union of freedom 
with strength and order, excelled every one 
known before ; and which secured itself 
against violence and revolution by providing 
a peaceful method for every needed reform. 
In the happy morning of their existence as 
one of the powers of the world, they had 



1 1 8 George Bancroft 

chosen justice for their guide ; and while 
they proceeded on their way with well- 
founded confidence and joy, all the friends 
of mankind invoked success on the unex 
ampled endeavor to govern states and terri 
tories of imperial extent as one federal repub 
lic." 

Here we bid adieu to Mr. Bancroft s great 
historical work. It is earnestly to be hoped 
that our presentation of it will inspire in 
many readers a desire to possess it, to study 
it, and to appreciate its inestimable value 
to every lover of American liberty. 

In next week s Ledger we shall give an 
account of one of the most interesting por 
tions of Mr. Bancroft s literary career. 




CHAPTER VII. 

MR. BANCROFT S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE NEW 
YORK LEDGER. 

The popularity which Edward Everett 
won among the masses of the people by his 
" Mount Vernon Papers " and other contribu 
tions to the New York Ledger, which were 
continued to the time of his death, made a 
deep impression on Mr. Bancroft s mind. In 
the sketch of Everett which he wrote for the 
Ledger, he referred in eloquent language to 
the " Mount Vernon Papers," saying : " His 
[Mr. Everett s] zeal in this cause led him to 
accept the munificent invitation of the Led 
ger, and when he had in that way become 
accustomed to discourse to a cloud of listen- 



I2o George Bancroft 

ers whose number was incalculable, his love 
of sympathy assisted to make that journal his 
favorite way of access to the public. 

Mr. Bancroft was acutely conscious of the 
value of an opportunity to " discourse to a 
cloud of listeners whose number was incal 
culable." He wrote to Mr. Robert Bonner, 
then the proprietor and editor of the Ledger, 
and, after referring- to Mr. Everett s contri 
bution, suggested that he himself could 
furnish articles for the Ledger of popular 
interest. This led to his engagement as a 
contributor to the Ledger, and he soon sent 
in, as his first contribution, an article, in 
three parts, entitled " Oliver Hazard Perry 
and the Battle of Lake Erie." 

I well remember that article. The manu 
script was rendered so illegible by number 
less erasures and interlineations that the 
compositors and the foreman in the printing- 
office could not read it, and I was obliged 



Life and Writings 121 

to decipher and rewrite it before the article 
could be put in type. It was written on 
sheets of paper about eight inches long and 
six inches wide. In the first draft four lines 
were written, widely apart, on each page. 
In the completed article hardly one of the 
original significant words were left, and all 
manner of interlineations were scrawled 
upon the page, often without any mark to 
indicate the order in which they were to fol 
low one another. It was interesting to trace 
the changes which a phrase underwent from 
its first expression to the last finishing touch 
which set the stamp of superlative excellence 
upon it. Original words would be stricken 
out and synonyms substituted. Then the 
substitutes would be eraced, and new syno 
nyms introduced, or the thought would be 
cast in a new verbal mold. These substitutes 
and changes were repeated over and over, 
and again and again, and in every instance 



122 George Bancroft 

the new word or the new transposition 
would be an improvement; and so the work 
went on, until the author s taste and judg 
ment were satisfied, and he was conscious of 
having reached the climax of felicity and 
clearness in the expression of his thoughts. 
I never think of that wretched manuscript 
without being reminded of Mr. Bancroft s 
declaration, in the preface of his history, that 
" there is no end to the difficulty in choosing 
language which will awaken in the reader 
the very same thought that was in the mind 
of the writer. In the form of expression, 
many revisions are hardly enough to assure 
strict correctness and propriety." 

No wonder it took such a painstaking 
writer fifty years to complete his monumen 
tal history. 

Every one of Mr. Bancroft s contributions 
to the Ledger is written in his best style. 
His sketch of " Oliver Hazard Perry and 



Life and Writings 123 

Battle of Lake Erie " is a fine specimen of 
literary art. His translucent narrative of 
the way in which Perry overcame the seem 
ingly insurmountable obstacles which he 
encountered, and his vivid description of the 
battle, bring out the matchless skill, the 
unyielding fortitude and the dauntless cour 
age of the young hero in a manner to excite 
emotions of sympathy and exultation in 
every American heart. What could be finer 
or more touching than this closing para 
graph : 

" The personal conduct of Perry through 
out the loth of September [the day of the 
battle] was perfect. His keenly sensitive 
nature never interfered with his sweetness 
of manner, his fortitude, the soundness of 
his judgment, the promptitude of his deci 
sion. In a state of impassioned activity, his 
plans were wisely framed, were instantly 
modified as circumstances changed, and were 



124 George Bancroft 

executed with entire coolness and self-posses 
sion. The mastery of the lakes, the recovery 
of Detroit and the far West, the capture of 
the British army in the peninsula of upper 
Canada, were the immediate fruits of his 
success. The imagination of the American 
people was taken captive by the singular 
incidents of a battle in which everything 
seemed to have flowed from the personal 
prowess of one man ; and whenever he came 
the multitude went out to bid him welcome. 
Washington Irving, the chosen organ as it 
were of his country, predicted his ever- 
increasing fame. Rhode Island cherishes 
his glory as her own; Erie keeps the tradi 
tion that its harbor was his ship-yard, its 
forests the storehouse for the frames of his 
chief vessels, its houses the hospitable shelter 
of the wounded among his crews; Cleve 
land graces her public square with a statue 
of the hero, wrought of purest marble, and 



Life and Writings 125 

looking out upon the scene of his glory; the 
tale follows the emigrant all the way up the 
Straits, and to the head of Lake Superior. 
Perry s career was short and troubled ; he 
lives in the memory of his countrymen, 
clothed in perpetual youth, just as he stood 
when he first saw that his efforts were 
crowned with success, and could say in his 
heart: WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND 

THEY ARE OURS. " 

Mr. Bancroft s sketch of " A DAY WITH 
LORD BYRON " has unique and precious 
qualities. What other man of world-wide 
literary fame, recently living among us in 
this year 1891, could, in the flush of his 
manhood, have passed a day with Lord 
Byron who died sixty-seven years ago ? Mr. 
Bancroft was in his twenty-second year on 
that May morning in 1822, when he passed a 
day with Lord Byron at Monte Nero. His 
imagination was exalted, his feelings were 



126 George Bancroft 

animated, his perception was quickened, his 
observation was keen and comprehensive. 
His account of Byron s conversation, his 
description of Countess Giuccioli, then in 
the heyday of her beauty and fascination, 
and his subtle and philosophical setting- 
lorth of the whole unique and picturesque 
scene, constitute a chapter of literary remin 
iscence of the highest interest and value. 

In his sketch of Edward Everett, written 
immediately after the death of that distin 
guished scholar, orator and statesman, Mr. 
Bancroft s heart sometimes overmasters his 
mind. The opening sentence " In the death 
of Edward Everett I have lost the oldest 
friend that remained to me " sets the pitch 
and strikes the keynote of the article. The 
sketch exhibits abundant evidence that on 
its preparation Mr. Bancroft lavished the 
wealth of his genius, his accomplishments 
and his affections. In all literature there is 



Life and Writings 127 

no finer tribute, by a historian of universal 
fame, to a departed friend who was himself 
a peer of the most gifted and accomplished 
men of his time. 

The essay on Washington, which was Mr. 
Bancroft s last contribution to the New 
York Ledger, is the crowning literary effort 
of his life. This subject is one on which he 
had meditated for more than sixty years, and 
of which he had written much. We have 
already given the sketch of Washington 
written fifty years ago, in which Mr. Ban 
croft delineates him as he stood before the 
world when he was appointed commander- 
in-chief of the American armies in 1775. If 
the reader will compare that sketch with 
the one which was writen for the New York 
Ledger, he will have no difficulty in perceiv 
ing that the Ledger sketch is the historical 
sketch come to maturity, amplified, strength 
ened and enriched with the accumulated 



128 George Bancroft 

experience, intelligence, philosophy and 
reflection of halt a century. It is, in truth, 
a wonderful piece of work. It is, in every 
respect, a fitting tribute to him whose " name, 
descending with all time, spreading over 
the whole earth, and uttered in all the lan 
guages belonging to the tribes and races of 
men, will forever be pronounced with affec 
tionate gratitude by every one in whose 
breast there shall arise an aspiration for 
human rights and human liberty." * 

* From Daniel Webster s speech at the dinner in 
honor of Washington s centennial birthday, at Wash 
ington, February 22, 1832. 



HISTORY OF 



THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE, 



AND 



MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS, 



BY 



HON. GEORGE BANCROFT. 



WITH PORTRAIT AND ILLUSTRATIONS 



NEW YORK: 

ROBERT BONNER S SONS, 
1891. 



COPYBIGHT, 1860 and 1891, 
BY ROBEKT BONNEB S SONS. 



(All rights reserved.-} 



THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE, 



CHAPTER I. 

N the last weeks of 1812, Oliver 
Hazard Perry, a lieutenant in 
the United States Navy, then 
twenty-seven years of age, 
despairing of a sea-going ves 
sel, sent to the Secretary of 
the Navy " a tender of his ser 
vices for the Lakes." Tired of inactivity, he 
was quickened by the fame which men even 
younger than himself had just gained on the 




130 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

ocean. At that time, he held the command 
of a flotilla of gun-boats in the harbor of 
Newport. " Possessing an ardent desire to 
meet the enemies of his country," and hoping 
one day to lead to battle the able and brave 
men who were at that time under his orders, 
he took " unwearied pains to prepare them 
for such an event," training them to the use 
of small arms, the exercise of the great guns, 
and every war-like service on shipboard. 

The authority of Commodore Chauncey, 
who took charge in person of the operations 
on Lake Ontario, extended to all the upper 
lakes ; he received Perry s application with 
delight, and accepted it with alacrity. 
" You," thus the veteran wrote to the 
impatient young man "you are the very 
person that I want for a service in which 
you may gain reputation for yourself and 
honor for your country." " The situation 
will suit you exactly," wrote the friend who 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 131 

from Washington announced to him that he 
was ordered on duty to Lake Erie ; " you 
may expect warm fighting- and a portion of 
honor." 

His sweet disposition, cheerfulness and 
modest courage, his intuitive good judgment 
and quickness of will, had endeared him to 
his subordinates ; and one hundred and 
forty-nine of them, officers, men and boys, 
for the most part like himself natives of 
Rhode Island, volunteered to go with him in 
the dead of winter on the unknown service. 

Receiving his orders on the i/th of Feb 
ruary, 1813, on that very day he sent forward 
one-third of the volunteers under sailing- 
master Almy, as many more on the ipth, 
unde^sailing-master Champlin, the rest on the 
2ist, under sailing-master Taylor; and on 
the 22nd, delivering over his command in 
Newport, he began the journey across the 
country, took ;with him from his father s 



132 The Battle of Lake Erie. 



house his brother Alexander, a boy of twelve, 
met Chauncey at Albany, and pursuing his 
way in part through the wilderness, he 
arrived on the 3d of March at Sackett s 
Harbor. The command on Lake Ontario 
was important, and to its chief officer was 
paramount. In consequence of a prevailing 
rumor of an intended attack by the British 
on that station to destroy the squadron and 
the vessels on the stocks, Chauncey detained 
Perry and all his old companions for a fort 
night ; and one-third of those companions he 
never let go from his own ships on Lake 
Ontario. 

Not till the i6th of March was Perry per 
mitted to leave Sackett s Harbor. On the 
24th he reached Buffalo ; the next day was 
given to an inspection of the navy-yard at 
Black Rock. On the 26th, Perry set out in 
a sleigh over the frozen lake, and on the fol 
lowing afternoon he reached the harbor of 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 



Erie. There he found that the keels of two 
brigs had been laid, and three gun-boats 
nearly finished by New York mechanics, 
under the direction of Noah Brown as 
master-shipwright, but no precautions for 
defense had been taken ; not a musket was 
employed to guard against a sudden attack 
of the enemy, nor had the ice been used for 
the transportation of cannon from Buffalo. 
The supervising power of the young com 
mander was at once exerted. Before night 
he organized a guard out of the villagers of 
Erie, ordered sailing-master Dobbins to 
repair to Buffalo to bring up forty seamen, 
muskets, power, and, if possible, cannon, and 
wrote to the navy agent at Pittsburg to 
hasten the movements of a party of ship 
wrights on their way from Philadelphia. 

The country expected Perry to change the 
whole course of the war in the West, by 
obtaining the command of the water, which 



134 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

the British as yet possessed without dispute. 
The want of that supremacy had lost Hull 
and Winchester and their forces, had left, to 
the British, Detroit and Michilimacinac and 
the Northwest, and still impeded all the pur 
poses of Harrison. The route from Dayton 
in Ohio, to the lake, was so difficult that the 
line of road through the forest and prairies 
could be traced by the wrecks of wagons 
clinging with tenacity to the rich, miry soil ; 
while the difficulties of transportation by 
land along the lake shore were insurmounta 
ble. Yet to create a superior naval force on 
Lake Erie, it was necessary to bring sails, 
cordage, cannon, powder, military stores, 
from a distance of five hundred miles through 
a region of which a considerable part was 
uninhabited. 

Under the cheering influence of Perry, the 
work proceeded with harmonious diligence. 
He was the central point of confidence, for 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 135 

he turned everything to account. The white 
and the black oak and the chestnut of the 
neighboring woods, often cut down on the 
day on which they were used, furnished the 
frames of the vessels ; the outside planks 
were of oak alone, the decks of pine. To 
eke out the iron, every scrap was gathered 
from the village smithies and welded 
together. Of blacksmiths, but two came 
from Philadelphia ; others were taken from 
the militia, who were called out as a guard. 
Taylor having on the 3Oth of March nrrived 
from Sackett s Harbor with twenty officers 
and men, Perry left him for a few days in 
command, and, by a hurried visit to Pitts 
burgh, quickened the movements on which 
he depended for more artificers, for canvas, 
muskets, small guns, shot and balls. 

On the 3d day of May, the gun-boats were 
launched ; and at sunset of the 23d, the 
brigs, each of one hundred and forty-one 



136 TJie Battle of Lake Eric. 

feet in length, of five hundred tons burden, 
pierced for twenty guns, were got ready for 
launching. Just at that moment, Perry 
received information that Fort George, the 
British post at the outlet of Niagara, was to 
be attacked by the American Army, in con 
cert with the fleet on Lake Ontario. As 
soon as night closed in, he threw himself 
into a four-oared open boat ; through dark 
ness, and against squalls and head winds, 
reached Buffalo the next day, and on the 
evening of the 25th joined Chauncey as a 
volunteer. 

" No person on earth could at this time be 
more welcome," said Chauncey to the young 
hero, whose coming was unexpected. 

Perry was taken to counsel on the best 
mode of landing the troops, and rendered 
essential aid in their debarkation, winning 
general applause for his judgment, gallantry 
and alacrity. The official report declares 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 137 

that " he was present at every point where 
he could be useful, under showers of mus 
ketry." 

He escaped unhurt, and turned the cap 
ture of Fort George to account for his duty 
on Lake Erie. The British, being driven 
from both banks of the Niagara, Perry could 
remove from Black Rock the public vessels 
which had hitherto been confined there by 
Canadian batteries. Of these, the largest 
was the Caledonia, which Lieutenant Elliott 
had captured from the British in the previous 
year. The others were three small schoon 
ers and a sloop, trading vessels, purchased 
for the government, and fitted out as gun 
boats by Henry Eckford of New York. 
They were laden with all the naval stores at 
Black Rock, and by aid of oxen, seamen, and 
a detachment of two hundred soldiers, were 
tracked against the vehement current. 

It took a fortnight of almost incredible 



138 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

fatigue to bring them up to Buffalo, where 
clanger began. The little flotilla had alto 
gether but eight guns ; Finnis, a skillful and 
experienced officer, who still commanded 
the British squadron, was on the watch, with 
a force five or six times as great. But 
Perry, by vigilance and promptness, escaped, 
and in the evening of the i8th of June, just 
as the British squadron hove in sight, he 
brought his group of gun-boats into the 
harbor of Erie. 

The incessant exertion of all his faculties, 
night watching and unending care, wore 
upon Perry s frame ; but there could be no 
pause in his efforts, for there was no end to 
his difficulties. His example sustained the 
spirit of the workmen ; one-fifth of them 
were sick, but the work was kept up all day 
and all night by the rest, who toiled on with 
out a murmur, and not one deserted. The 
brig over which Perry was to raise his flag, 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 139 

was, by the Secretary of the Navy, named 
Lawrence, in honor of the gallant officer who 
could die in his country s service, but could 
not brook defeat ; the other, equal to it in 
size and strength, was called the Niagara. 
By the loth of July all the vessels were 
equipped, and could have gone out in a day 
after the reception of their crsws ; but there 
were barely men enough for one of the brigs. 
All recruits were furnished, not directly 
from Philadelphia, as a thoughtful Secretary 
would have ordered, but with much loss of 
time, roundabout, by way of Sackett s 
Harbor and through Chauncey, who was 
under a perpetual temptation to detain the 
best on Lake Ontario. 

On the 2oth of July, the British, now com 
manded by the veteran Barclay, rode in 
triumph off the bar of Erie. Perry bent his 
eyes longingly on the East ; he watched the 
coming of every mail, of every traveler, as 



140 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

the harbinger of the glad tidings that men 
were on the way. " Give me men," he wrote 
to Chauncey, " and I will acquire honor and 
glory, both for you and myself, or perish in 
the attempt. Think of my situation ; the 
enemy within striking distance, my vessels 
ready, and I obliged to bite my fingers with 
vexation for want of men. I know you will 
send them as soon as possible, yet a day 
appears an age." 

On the 23rd, Champlin arrived with a 
re-inforcement of seventy persons, but they 
were " a motley set of negroes, soldiers and 
boys." Chauncey repelled all complaints : 
" I have yet to learn," said he, " that the 
color of the skin can affect a man s qualifica 
tions or usefulness. I have nearly fifty blacks 
on board of this ship, and many of them are 
among my best men." Meantime, Perry 
declared himself " pleased to see anything in 
the shape of a man." But his numbers were 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 141 

still incomplete. " My vessels," he again 
wrote, " are all ready; our sails are bent, 
Barclay has been bearding me for several 
days. I long to have at him ; he shows no 
disposition to avoid the contest." 

Perry had not in his character one grain 
of envy. Impatient as a spirited race-horse 
to win the palm in the contest for glory, no 
one paid a heartier or more genial tribute to 
the merit of every other officer, even where, 
like Morris, a junior officer received promo 
tion over his head. He now invited Chauncey 
himself to come up with sufficient men, beat 
the British on Lake Erie, and returned to 
crush them on Lake Ontario. In his zeal for 
his country and the service, he subdued his 
own insatiable thirst for honor. Meantime 
he suffered most keenly from his compulsory 
inactivity, for letters from the Secretary of 
the Navy required his active co-operation 
with the army ; and when he explained to 



142 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

Harrison the cause of delay, the Secretary 
chid him for letting his weakness be known. 

The harbor of Erie is a beautiful expanse 
of water, offering shelter to navies of mer 
chantmen, and would be the best on the lake 
but for its bar. It remained to lift the armed 
brigs over the shallow, and it was to be 
done, as it were, in the presence of an enemy. 
Success required secrecy and dispatch. 

On the ist of August, the British squad 
ron disappeared ; on the instant Perry seized 
the opportunity to effect the dangerous 
achievement. Camels had been provided to 
lift the brigs ; the lake was lower than usual, 
but the weather was still. The guns of the 
Lawrence, all loaded and shotted, were 
whipped out and landed on the beach; and 
on the morning of the 2nd, the camels were 
applied. 

On the first experiment the timbers yielded 
a little to the strain, and the camels required 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 143 



to be sunk a second time. From daylight 
on the 2nd of August to the 4th, Perry, 
whose health had already suffered, was con 
stantly on the alert, without sleep or rest ; 
his example heartened his men. 

Who would complain when their com 
mander bore so much ? After toiling all day 
on the 2nd, all the next night, the next day, 
and again another night, the Lawrence, at 
daylight on the 4th, was fairly over the bar. 
On the 5th, the Niagara was got over at the 
first attempt. 

"Thank God," wrote Perry, " the other 
sloop-of-war is over; in a few hours I shall 
be after the enemy, who is now making off." 

Ill-provided as he was with men and 
officers, he gave chase to the British ; but 
his daring was vain ; they retreated to 
Maiden, and he returned to anchor off Erie. 

Till the new ship which the British were 
equipping at Maiden should be ready, Perry 



144 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

had the superiority, and he used it to lade 
his vessels with military stores for the army 
near Sandusky ; but for a battle on the lake 
he needed officers as well as seamen. 

" I have been on the station," he could say, 
" for five months without an officer of the 
least experience, except one sailing-master." 

Just then a midshipman arrived with a 
letter that Lieutenant Elliott, soon promoted 
to a commander, was on the way with eighty 
men and several officers, and a vessel was at 
once hurried off to bring them up. But a 
letter also came to Perry from Chauncey, 
marked in its superscription and in every 
line by impatience, if not by insult. Perry 
was justly moved by its tone ; but after com 
plaint, remonstrance and further letters, he 
acted like " an officer whose first duty is to 
sacrifice all personal feelings to his public 
duties." 

Elliott, on his arrival, took command of 



TJie Battle of Lake Eric. 145 

the Niagara ; and Perry, with a generosity 
that was natural to him, allowed him to 
select for his own ship the best of the men 
who came with him. 

On the 1 2th, Perry having traced his plan 
of battle in case of attack, ranged his squad 
ron in a double column, and sailed for the 
upper end of the lake. Arriving off Cun 
ningham Island, one of the enemy s schooners 
appeared in sight, was chased, and escaped 
capture only by disappearing at nightfall 
among the islands. 

On the evening of the iQth, as the squad 
ron lay off Sandusky, General Harrison came 
on board the Lawrence with Cass, McArthur, 
Gains and Croghan. At the same time came 
six-and-twenty chiefs of the Shawnees, 
Wyandots and Dela wares, by whose influ 
ence it was hoped to detach the Indians of 
the Northwest from the British service. 
Between Harrison and Perry the happiest 



146 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

spirit of concert prevailed. The general 
pointed out to him the excellence of the 
harbor of Put-in-Bay, which became his 
anchoring ground, after he had landed the 
stores for the army and reconnoiteied the 
British squadron at Maiden. 

Chauncey had promised to send fifty 
marines, but had recalled them when on 
their way to Lake Erie. Harrison, who saw 
the warntunsupplied and observed how much 
the little squadron had been weakened by 
sickness, now sent on board from his army 
near one hundred men, all of whom were 
volunteers. Some of these, having served as 
boatmen on the Ohio, were put on duty as 
seamen ; the rest, chiefly men of Kentucky 
who had never before seen a ship, acted as 
marines. 

Just then Perry was taken down by a vio 
lent attack of lake fever ; but it was no time 
to yield to physical weakness ; he gave up 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 147 

to the care of himself only the few days nec 
essary to make the crews acquainted with 
each other and to teach the new men the 
use of the guns. 

On the ist of September he was able to be 
on deck, and again sailed toward Maiden. 
Here he found that the British had equipped 
their new ship, which they had proudly 
named Detroit, as a memorial of their con 
quest ; but though Perry defied them, the 
British as yet showed no disposition to meet 
him; and he returned to Putin-Bay. 

But meantime the British Army, which 
had been accustomed to the abundance and 
security which the dominion of the water 
had afforded, began to suffer from the want 
of provisions : and to restore the uninter- 
rupted communication with Long Point* 
General Proctor insisted on the necessity of 
risking a naval engagement of which the issue 



148 The Battle of Lake Eric. 

was not thought uncertain. Of this Perry 
was seasonably informed. 

On the 6th, he again reconnoitered Maiden, 
and finding the enemy still at his moorings, 
he returned once more to his anchorage, to 
make his final arrangements for the conflict, 
which was inevitably near at hand. On the 
evening of the Qth, he summoned, by signal, 
the commanders of the several vessels, and 
gave them their instructions in writing. It 
was his policy to fight the enemy at close 
quarters ; to each vessel its antagonist on the 
British side was marked out ; to the Lawrence, 
the Detroit ; to the Niagara the Queen Char 
lotte ; and the written order said : " Engage 
each your designated adversary in close 
action, at half cable-length." He also showed 
them a flag of blue bunting, on which were 
painted in white letters, the last words of 
Lawrence : " Don t give up the ship." It 
was a bright autumn night ; the moon was at 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 149 

the full ; as they parted, each to return to the 
vessel, the last injunction of their young 
commander was given in the words of Nel 
son : " If you lay your enemy close alongside, 
you cannot be out of your place." 

At sunrise on the loth, the British squadron 
was discovered, from the mast head of the 
Lawrence, gallantly bearing down for action. 
To Perry, all languishing as he was from the 
wasting attack of a severe bilious fever, the 
news was as welcome as the bidding to the 
most important duty of his life. His anchors 
were soon lifted, and his squadron began 
beating out of the bay against a gentle breeze 
from the southwest. Three or four hours 
passed away in this contest with an adverse 
wind, when he resolved to wear ship and run 
to leeward of the island. " You will engage 
the enemy from to leeward," said the sailing- 
master Taylor. " To windward or to lee 
ward," answered Perry, " they shall fight to- 



150 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

day." But nature on that day came into an 
alliance with his hopeful courage, and the 
wind shifted to the southeast. A slight 
shower had fallen in the morning ; the sky 
became clear ; the day on which Perry, form 
ing his line, slowly bore up toward the 
enemy, then nearly three leagues off, was one 
of the loveliest of the beautiful days of 
autumn. 

At first, the Niagara had led the van. 
When within about a league of the British, 
Perry saw that Barclay, with whose vessel 
he was about to engage, occupied the head 
of the British line, and he promptly altered 
the disposition of his vessels to conform to it. 
Elliott had no cause to be piqued at the 
change, which was required by the plan that 
had been uniformly proposed. It was in 
itself most fit, and was made promptly and 
without confusion. 

The British squadron had hove to, in close 



The Battle of Lake Erie. \ 5 i 

order, the ships heads to the southward and 
westward, and waiting to be attacked ; the 
sides of the vessels, newly painted, glittering 
in the sun, and their gay colors flying in the 
breeze. The Detroit, a new brig of nineteen 
or twenty guns, commanded by Barclay, an 
experienced officer, who had fought with 
Nelson at Trafalgar, was in the van, supported 
by the Chippewa^ a gun-boat with one long 
eighteen on a pivot. Next rode the Hunter, 
of ten guns ; the Queen Charlotte, of seventeen 
guns, commanded by Finnis, a gallant and 
tried officer, who had commanded the squad 
ron till Barclay s arrival, was the fourth, and 
was flanked by the Lady Prevost, which 
carried thirteen guns, and the Little Belt, 
which had three. On the American side, 
Perry in the Lawrence, of twenty guns, flanked 
on his left by the Scorpion, under Champlin, 
with one long and one short gun, and the 
Ariel, under Lieutenant Almy, with four 



152 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

short twelves, and sustained on his right by 
Turner, in the Caledonia, with three long 
twenty-fours, were to support each other and 
to cope with the CJiippewa, the Detroit and 
the Hunter ; while Elliott, in the Niagara, a 
noble vessel of twenty guns, which was to 
encounter the Queen Charlotte, came next ; 
and with Almy in the Sowers, of two long 
thirty-twos, the Porcupine, with one long 
thirty-two, the Tigress with one long twenty- 
four, and the Trippe, with one long thirty- 
two, was to engage Lady Prevost and the 
Little Belt. The American gun-boat Ohio was 
absent on special service. 

In ships the British had the superiority, 
their vessels being stronger and their forces 
being more concentrated ; the American gun 
boats, at the right of the American line, 
separated from each other by at least a half 
cable-length, were not near enough for good 
service. In number of guns the British had 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 153 

sixty-three, the Americans fifty-four. In 
action at a distance, the British, who had 
thirty-five long guns to fifteen, had greatly 
the advantage ; in close action the weight of 
metal would favor the Americans. The 
British commander had one hundred and 
fifty men from the royal navy, eighty Cana 
dian sailors and two hundred and forty 
soldiers, mostly regulars, and some Indians, 
making, with their officers, a little more than 
five hundred men, of whom, at least, four 
hundred and fifty were efficient. The Amer 
ican crews of whom about one-fourth were 
from Rhode Island, one-fourth regular seamen 
American or cosmopolitan, about one-fourth 
raw volunteers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and 
chiefly Kentucky, and about one-fourth 
blacks numbered on the muster-roll four 
hundred and ninety, but of these one hundred 
and sixteen were sick, nearly all of whom 
were too weak to come on deck, so that the 



1 54 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

efficient force of the squadron was a little less 
than four hundred. 

While the Americans, having the weather- 
gauge, bore up for action, Perry unfolded to 
the crew of the Lawrence, the motto-flag. It 
was received with hearty cheers, and run up 
to the fore-royal, in sight of all the squadron. 
The decks were wet and strewed with sand, 
to insure a firm foothold when blood should 
begin to flow, and refreshments were hastily 
served. For an hour, the stillness of expec 
tation continued unbroken, till a bugle was 
heard to sound on board the Dettoit, fol 
lowed by loud and concerted cheers from all 
the British line, and Barclay began the con 
flict, in which the defeat of the Americans 
would yield to the British the superiority in 
arms on the land, bare the shores of Ohio to 
ruthless havoc and ravage, leave Detroit 
and the far West in the power of the English 
king, let loose the savage with his tomahawk 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 155 

on every family of emigrants along the 
border, and dishonor the star-spangled ban 
ner on the continent and on the lakes. 




CHAPTER II. 

THE FATE OF THE FLAG-SHIP LAWRENCE. 

At fifteen minutes before twelve, Barclay 
began the action by firing a single twenty- 
four pound shot at the Lawrence, which had 
then approached within a mile and a half, or 
less, of the British line. The shot did not 
take effect ; but it was clear that he desired 
to conduct the fight with the American 
squadron at a distance, which his very great 
superiority in long guns marked out as his 
wisest plan. It was, on the other hand, the 
object of Perry to bring his squadron as 
near to his antagonist as possible, for he had 
the advantage in weight of metal. In five 



The Battle of Lake Eric. 157 

minutes more the shot from the Detroit struck 
the Lawrence, and passed through its bul 
warks. 

At that moment, the advantage lay alto 
gether with the British, whose line headed 
nearly south-southwest; the Americans, as 
they advanced, headed about southwest, 
with the wind abeam ; so that the two lines 
formed an acute angle of about fifteen 
degrees ; the Lawrence as yet scarcely 
reached beyond the third vessel in the Brit 
ish line, so that she was almost as much in 
the rear of the Detroit as in advance of the 
Queen Charlotte. The Caledonia was in its 
designated place in the American line, at a 
half-cable s length from the Lawrence ; and 
from the angle which the line formed, a little 
less near the enemy. The Niagara, which 
followed the Caledonia, was abaft the beam 
of the Charlotte, and opposite the Lady 
Prevost, but at a slightly greater distance 



158 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

from the British than the ships which pre 
ceded her. As for the gun-boats, they would 
have spread beyond the British lines by 
more than a quarter of a mile, had they 
been in their places, each distant from the 
other a half-cable s length ; but they were 
dull sailors, and the sternmost was more 
than two miles distant from the enemy, and 
more than a mile behind the Lawrence. 

At five minutes before twelve, the Law 
rence, which was already suffering, began to 
return to the British attack from her long 
twelve-pounder ; the two schooners on her 
weather-bow, the Scorpion under Champlin, 
the Ariel under Lieutenant Packet, were 
ordered by trumpet to open their fire ; and 
"the action became general along the two 
lines. The two schooners bravely kept their 
places all the day, and gallantly and steadily 
rendered every aid which their few guns 
and weight of armament allowed. The 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 159 

Caledonia was able to e ngage at once and 
effectively, for she carried two long- twenty- 
fours ; but the carronades of the Niagara 
fell short of their mark. Elliott therefore at 
first used only one long twelve-pounder, 
which was on the side towards the enemy ; 
but he soon moved another where it could 
be serviceable ; so that while his ship 
carried twenty guns he discharged but two, 
which, however, were plied so vigorously, 
that, in the course of two hours or more, 
nearly all the shot of that caliber was 
expended. The sternmost gunboats could 
as yet take no part in the fight. 

It was under these circumstances that 
Perry formed the desperate but necessary 
resolution of taking the utmost advantage of 
the superior speed of the Lawrence, and leav 
ing the Caledonia, he advanced upon the 
enemy; so that however great might have 
been the zeal of every officer in the other 



160 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

ships of his squadron, he must necessarily 
have remained for a short time exposed 
alone. The breeze was light ; his motion 
was slow ; and as he fanned down with the 
flagging wind, the Detroit with her long 
guns planted her shot in the Lawrence delib 
erately and at discretion. The Scorpion and 
Ariel, all exposed as they were for the want 
of bulwarks, accompanied the flag-ship, but 
suffered little, for they were neglected by 
,the enemy, who concentrated his fire on the 
Lawrence. 

At noon, Perry luffed up and tried the 
effect of the first division of his battery on 
the starboard side ; but it did not much 
injure his antagonist ; he therefore bore 
away again, and approached nearer and still 
nearer, and after firing a broadside at a quar 
ter-past twelve, once more continued his 
onward course, till he arrived " within can 
ister shot distance," or within five hundred 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 161 

yards, or a little less, when he took a position 
exactly parallel to the Detroit, and, notwith 
standing what he had suffered from loss of 
men and injury to his rigging, he poured in 
upon her a swift, continuous and effective 
fire. Here the good effect of his discipline 
was apparent ; his men showed how well 
they had been trained to the guns, which 
were rapidly and skillfully served. In the 
beginning of the conflict, the Niagara came in 
for a share of the attention of the enemy ; 
whose shot very early took effect upon her and 
carried away one of her fore-top-mast back 
stays. But at half-past twelve, Finnis, who 
commanded the Queen Charlotte, perceived 
that the Niagara, which was apparently des 
tined for his antagonist, " kept so far to wind 
ward as to render his twenty-four-pounder 
carronades useless," " made sail for the 
purpose of assisting the Detroit;" so that 
Perry, in the Lawrence, aided only by the 



1 62 The Battle of Lake Erie. 



schooners on his weather bow, and the distant 
shot of the Caledonia, had to contend in close 
action with more than twice his force. 

The carnage was terrible, yet the commo 
dore, as his men loved to call their young 1 
commander, was on that day nerved by a 
superior spirit ; wrought up to the highest 
state of mental activity, he was superior to 
every infirmity of mind or body, of passion 
or will ; he knew not that he was still 
languishing under the effects of a violent 
fever ; he was unmoved in the presence of 
danger ; and amidst the scenes of agony and 
death, he maintained a perfect cheerfulness 
of manner and serenity of judgment. His 
young brother, a boy of thirteen, was struck 
down at his side, but he was spared the trial 
of seeing him die ; the blow came only from 
fragments which had been dashed in pieces 
by a ball ; and he soon recovered. Yarnall, 
his first lieutenant, came to him with the 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 163 

report that all the officers in his division 
were cut down ; and he asked for others. 
They were assigned him ; but he soon 
returned with a renewal of the same tale and 
the same request. " I have no more officers 
to furnish you," said Perry; " you must 
endeavor to make out for yourself." And 
Yarnall was true to the admonition ; though 
at least thrice wounded, he kept on deck, 
ever directing his battery in person. For 
est, the second lieutenant, was struck down 
at Perry s side by a grape shot; but the ball 
had spent its force ; he was only stunned, 
and soon recovered. The dying, with whom 
the desk was strewed, rested their last looks 
upon the countenance of their beloved com 
mander ; and when men at the guns were 
swept away, the survivors turned silently 
round to catch his eye, as they stepped into 
the places of their companions who had 
fallen. Brooks, of Massachusetts son of a 



164 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

soldier of the Revolution, who is still 
remembered as an upright and popular gov 
ernor of the State an excellent officer of 
marines, a man of rare endowments and of 
singular personal beauty, was fearfully man 
gled by a cannon-ball in the hip. Carried 
down to the surgeon s apartment, he asked 
no aid, for he knew his doom, and that he 
had life in him for only one or two half- 
hours ; but as he gave himself over to death, 
he often inquired how the day was going ; 
and when the crowd of new-comers from 
the deck showed how deadly was the con 
test, he ever repeated his hope for the safety 
of the commander. 

In the midst of this terrible slaughter, con 
centrated in a single brig, both officers and 
crew looked along their line for help, and 
asked one another, Where is the Niagara? 
She was to have engaged the Queen Charlotte ; 
why is she not at hand ? Elliott knew full 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 165 

well that it had been Perry s " intention to 
bring the enemy to close action immediately," 
and, before the fighting began, had " men 
tioned it to his crew," in language suited to 
inspire them with confidence. He knew full 
well that he was specially directed to attack 
the Queen Charlotte, and from the superiority 
of his armament, he had boasted that if he 
could come alongside of her, he could take 
her in ten minutes. The wind, it is true, was 
light ; but no want of a wind compelled him to 
leave the Lawrence to bear " a great propor 
tion " or the whole " of the fire of the Queen 
Charlotte and of the Hunter, as well as of the 
Detroit / his ship was a fleet one ; to 
restrain her from passing the Caledonia, " he 
was obliged frequently to keep the main yard 
braced sharp aback." Elliott was a young 
man, born the self-same year with Perry, his 
peer in rank as master-commandant, except 
that Perry, from having entered the navy in 



1 66 The B *t tie of Lake Erie. 

boyhood, was some years his senior in the 
service. How could he suffer the enemy, 
undisturbed, to fall in numbers on one whom 
he should have loved as a brother, whose 
danger he should have shared, in the bright 
ness of whose glory he should have found 
new luster added to his own name ? Some 
attributed his delay to fear ; but though he 
had so far one attribute of a timid man, that 
he was a noisy boaster, his conduct during 
the day, in the judgment of disinterested 
observers and critics, acquits him of having 
been spell-bound by downright cowardice. 
Some charged him with disaffection to his 
country, from sympathy with family connec 
tions in Canada; but this is an imputation 
justified by no concurrent circumstances, or 
acts of his earlier or later life. Some thought 
him blinded by envy, which sews up the eyes 
with an iron thread, and leaves the mind to 
hover on an undiscerning wing. He may, 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 167 



perhaps, have been disturbed by that unhappy 
passion, for a year before he had himself con 
spicuously won applause near Buffalo, and 
had then promised himself the command on 
Lake Erie, to be followed by a victory 
achieved under his own flag; that very 
morning-, too, his first position had been, as 
we have seen, in the van, but it had been very 
properly changed for the very purpose of 
placing him opposite to the Queen Charlotte. 
Elliott had inherent defects of character. He 
wanted the generous impulse which delights 
in the fame of others; the delicacy of senti 
ment which rejects from afar everything 
coarse or mean ; the alertness of courage 
which finds in danger an allurement ; the 
quick perception that sees the time to strike ; 
the self-possessed will, which is sure to hit 
the nail on the head. According to his own 
account, he at first determined to run through 
the line in pursuit of the Queen CJiarlotte ; 



1 68 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

and having a fair and sufficient breeze, he 
directed the weather braces to be manned 
for that purpose; but he changed his pur 
pose when he observed that the Lawrence was 
crippled and that her fire was slackening ; 
and after a consultation with the purser, 
Magrath, who was an experienced seaman, he 
agreed : " If the British affect the weather 
gauge, we are gone." So he kept his place 
next in the line to the Cafed0nia,which lingered 
behind, because she was a dull sailor, and, in 
the light wind, was, moreover, retarded in her 
movements by the zeal of Turner, her com 
mander, to render service by his armament, 
which enabled him to keep up an effective fire 
from the distance. 

It was a part of Elliott s orders to close 
with the Queen Charlotte, but he held it to be 
his paramount duty to keep his place, a half- 
cable s length behind the Caledonia on the line 
as designated in the original order of battle, 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 169 

even though the flagship of the squadron 
might be cut to pieces. 

So Perry lay exposed to thrice his force, 
at the distance of fifteen hundred or a thou 
sand feet, aided only by two schooners onhis 
beam and the constant help of the Caledonia. 

Under the heavy fire, the men on deck 
became fewer and fewer ; but Perry con 
tinued the action with unabated serenity. 
Parsons, the surgeon s mate, and the only 
man in the fleet who was then able to render 
surgical aid, heard a call for him at a small 
skylight that let in the day upon his apart 
ment; and as he stepped up he recognized 
the voice of his commander, who said, with a 
placid countenance and quiet tone : 

" Doctor, send me one of your men ; " 
meaning one of the six allowed for assistance 
to the wounded. The call was obeyed ; in a 
few minutes more it was successively 
renewed and obeyed, till at the seventh call 



i 70 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

Parsons could only answer that there were 
no more. " Are there any that can pull a 
rope?" asked Perry ; and two or three of the 
wounded crawled on deck, to lend a feeble 
hand in pulling at the last guns. Wilson 
Mays, who was so sick as to be unfit for the 
deck, begged to be of use. " But what can 
you do?" was the question. And he replied: 
" I can sound the pump, and let a strong man 
go to the guns." He accordingly sat down 
by the pump, and at the end of the fight was 
found at his post, " with a ball through his 
heart." The surgeon s apartment could offer 
no security to the wounded. In the shallow 
vessel it was necessarily on a level with the 
water, and was repeatedly perforated by 
cannon-balls. Once as the surgeon stooped 
to dress a wound, a ball passed directly over 
his head, and must have destroyed him, had 
he not been bending down. A wounded 
midshipman, just as he left the surgeon s 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 1 7 1 

hands, was dashed against the ship s side by 
a cannon-ball. On deck, the bulwarks were 
broken in, and round balls passed through 
with little obstruction ; but as long as he 
could, Perry kept up a regular and effective 
fire, so that the Detroit, of whose crew many 
were killed or wounded, was almost dis 
mantled. On board the Queen Charlotte, the 
loss was most important, for Finnis, her com 
mander, " a noble and intrepid officer," fell at 
his post, and Lieutenant Stokes, the next 
officer in rank, was struck senseless by a 
splinter. On board the Lawrence the shrieks 
of the wounded and the crash of timbers 
shattered by cannon-balls were still heard ; 
but its own fire grew fainter and fainter; one 
gun after another was dismounted. Death 
had the mastery ; the carnage w r as unparal 
leled in naval warfare ; more than four-fifths 
of the effective officers and men on board 
were killed or disabled by wounds; the deck, 



172 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

in spite of the layer of sand, was slippery 
with blood, which ran down the sides of the 
ship ; the wounded and the dead lay thickly 
strewed everywhere around. To fire the 
last gun, Perry himself assisted. At last 
every gun in the ship s battery on the enemy s 
side was dismounted ; every brace and bow 
line was shot away ; the vessel became 
unmanageable, in spite of the zeal of the 
commander and the great exertions of the 
sailing-master. And still Perry did not 
despair, but had an eye which could look 
through the cloud. 

Meantime Elliott watched the last spasms 
of the Lawrence as it lay gasping in its ruins ; 
and now that its fire was dying away, that no 
fresh signal was hoisted, that no special mes 
sage was sent from Perry, he persuaded him 
self that his young superior lay among the 
slain. 



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The Battle of Lake Erie. i 73 

THE VICTORY. 

Believing himself now the chief commander 
of the squadron, Elliott hailed the Caledonia and 
ordered Lieutenant Turner to bear up and 
make way for him. Turner at once, without 
a word, put up his helm in the most daring 
manner and made sail for the enemy s line, 
using his small armament all the while to the 
best advantage ; while Elliott, under a fresh 
ening breeze, passed to the windward of the 
Caledonia. The Lawrence lay disabled and 
silent ; by all the rules of naval warfare he 
should have given her protection by sailing 
between her and the British ; but instead of 
it, he kept to the windward, sheltered by the 
helpless flag-ship, to which he sent Magrath 
in his boat with a few brace men for twelve- 
pound round shot, to replenish his own nearly 
exhausted stock; and then firing, as he went 
along, on the Charlotte, he steered for the 



174 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

head of the British line. Perry, who saw 
with the swiftness of intuition the new method 
that must be chosen now that the first had 
failed, and who had already resolved to trans 
fer his flag, with the certainty that, in the 
crippled state ol the British, " victory must 
perch on his banner," immediately entered 
his boat with his commander s pennant and 
his little brother, and bade the four sailors 
whom he took as oarsmen to row with all 
speed for the Niagara. The command of the 
Lawrence fell to Yarnall, with full discretion 
ary power to surrender or hold out ; but he 
had an admonition from above in the motto- 
flag which the departing hero left flying at 
the mast-head, and which spoke with trumpet 
words : " DON T GIVE UP THE SHIP." The 
flag had been raised amidst the shouts of the 
whole squadron and the promise of the crew 
of the Lawrence to redeem the pledge. Yar 
nall consulted with Forest and with Taylor ; 



The Battle of Lake Erie. i 75 

there were no more guns that could be used ; 
and had there been, men were wanting 
to handle them. Fourteen persons alone 
were left well and unhurt, and of these, 
only nine were seamen. Further resist 
ance was impossible ; to hold out might 
only expose life recklessly. Officers and 
men watched anxiously the progress of 
Perry ; they saw the sailors force him to sit 
down; they saw a broadside aimed at him, 
and fall harmlessly around him ; they saw 
marines from three vessels shower at him 
musket-balls, which only ruffled the water of 
the lake ; and at fifteen minutes before three, 
they saw the oars dipping for the last time, 
and their beloved commander climb the side 
of the Niagara. They had braved the enemy s 
fire for three hours ; could they not confide 
in help from their commodore and hold out 
five minutes more? True, they had no 
means of offence ; but the battle-flag with its 



1 76 The Battle of Lake Eric. 

ringing words floated over their heads ; they 
had a pledge to keep ; they had an enemy 
whose dying courage they should refuse to 
re-animate ; they had their country s flag to 
preserve unblemished ; they had the honor 
of that day s martyrs to guard ; they had a 
chief to whom they should have spared an 
unspeakable pain ; they had the wounded to 
consider, who, with one voice cried out : 
" Rather sink the ship than surrender ! Let 
us all sink together !" And yet a shout of 
triumph from the enemy proclaimed to both 
squadrons that the flag of the Lawrence had 
been lowered ; nor did they then forbode how 
soon it was to be raised again. 

Meantime, Perry climbed the gangway of 
the Niagara, and the superior officer, whom 
Elliott had thought to be dead, stood before 
him, radiant with the indomitable purpose of 
winning the day ; with his fortitude unim 
paired by the crowded horrors of his last 



77/6 Battle of Lake Erie. 177 

two hours ; black with the smoke of the 
battle, but unscathed, with not so much as a 
wound of his skin ; with not a hair of his 
head harmed. His quick eye glanced at the 
ship s rigging, at her hale crew that thronged 
the deck, and his buoyant nature promised 
him a harvest of glory as he beheld the 
Niagara, " very little injured," even " per 
fectly fresh," its crew in the best condition, 
with scarcely more than three men hurt. 
Elliott s mind was stunned, and completely 
dumfounded, he asked the foolish question : 
" What is the result on board your brig?" 
though he had seen that the brig was a dis 
abled wreck, and had even thought that 
Perry had fallen. " Cut all to pieces !" said 
Perry, whose mind had instantly condemned 
the course in which Elliott was steering, and 
was forming his plan for redeeming the day. 
" I have been sacrificed," he added ; but he 
checked all reproach of Elliott and blamed 



178 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

only the gun-boats, which had been still 
further astern. It marks how ill Elliott was 
at his ease, how much he was struck with 
shame, how entirely he lost his self-possession, 
that he caught at the word which seemed to 
relieve him from censure, and at once offered 
to go and bring up the gun-boats. " Do so," 
said Perry, for Elliott had anticipated his 
wish, and proposed what was best for both. 
At this, Elliott, the second officer of the 
squardron, whose right it would be to take 
the chief command if Perry should be 
wounded, left his own brig, and went in the 
boat on the paltry errand fit only for a 
subordinate, to bear a superfluous message to 
the gun-boats, which, under their gallant 
officers, were advancing as fast as possible. 

As he stepped into the boat, Perry, run 
ning up his pennant and hoisting the signal 
for close action, which was instantly an 
swered from all the squardron with loud 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 1 79 

cheers, hove to, veered ship, altering her 
course eight points, set foresail and topsails 
and top-gallant sail, and bore down to cut 
the British line, which lay at the distance of 
a half-mile. 

The Lady Prevost, disabled by the loss of 
her rudder, had drifted to the westward and 
leeward from her place in the line. Barclay, 
in the Detroit, when he saw the prospect of 
a contest with a second brig, had attempted 
to veer round, that he might bring his 
broadside to bear ; but in doing it he had 
fallen upon the Queen Charlotte. At this 
moment, Perry, whom seven, eight or ten 
minutes in the freshened breeze had brought 
up with the British, disregarding their fire, 
cut their line, placing the Chippewa and the 
Lady Prevost on his left, the Detroit and 
Queen Charlotte on his right ; and as he did 
so, he shortened sail to make sure of his aim, 
and coolly and with fatal accuracy, at half 



180 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

pistol shot, he raked the Lady Prevost with 
his broadside port, while he poured his full 
starboard broadside on the Detroit and Queen 
Charlotte, as they lay entangled and for the 
moment helplessly exposed. The loud, 
many-voiced shriek that rose from the 
Detroit told that the tide of battle had 
turned ; but what was worse for the 
British was that their gallant commander, 
the skillful and intrepid but ill-fated Barclay, 
who had lost an arm at Trafalgar, received 
a desperate wound which was to deprive 
him of the other. The wound was so severe 
that he was obliged to be carried below, 
leaving the direction to an officer of little 
experience. 

Perry now ordered the marines to clear 
the decks of the Lady Prevost ; but the sur 
vivors, terrified by the raking fire which they 
had suffered, fled below, leaving on deck no 
one but their commander, who, having for 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 181 

the moment lost his senses from a severe 
wound in the head, remained at his post, 
gazing about with a vacant stare. Perry, 
merciful even in battle, stopped his guns on 
that side, but having luffed athwart the bows 
of the two ships, which had now got clear of 
one another, he continued to pour into them 
a close, deadly fire. Meantime, Elliott, heed 
less of exposure to danger, had passed in an 
open boat down the line, and repeated to the 
schooners the orders which Perry had suffi 
ciently announced by signal. Their com 
manders themselves, with sails up and the 
use of large oars, hastened into close fight. 
The Trippc, under Holdup Stevens, was 
following hard upon the Caledonia ; so that 
Elliott got on board the Somers, a schooner 
of two guns, where he showed his rankling 
discontent and unsettled frame of mind by 
sending the commanding officer below, and 
beating with his trumpet a gunner whc 



1 82 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

disregarded an absurd order, and did just 
what was evidently most proper to be done. 

The small vessels having by this time " got 
within grape and canister distance," threw 
in close discharges from their side. The 
commanding officer of the Queen Charlotte 
finding himself exposed to be raked ahead 
and astern, was the first to give up ; one of 
her officers appeared on the taffrail of that 
ship and waved a white handkerchief, bent 
to a boarding-pike, in token that she had 
struck. The Detroit had become completely 
unmanageable ; every brace was cut away, 
the mizzen-topmast and gaff were down, the 
other masts badly wounded, not a stay left 
forward, the hull very much shattered, and 
a number of her guns disabled ; at three, or 
a few minutes after, Lieutenant Inglis was, 
therefore, under the necessity of hailing the 
Americans, to say he surrendered. The 
Hunter yielded at the same time, as did the 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 183 

Lady Prevost, which lay to leeward under the 
guns of the Niagara. The Chippewa, on the 
right of the British line, and the Little Belt 
on the extreme left, endeavored to escape, 
but the first was stopped by Champlin, in the 
Scorpion ; the other by Holdup Stevens, in 
the Trippe. 

As the cannon ceased, an awful stillness 
set in ; nothing was heard but the feeble 
groans of the wounded, or the dash of oars 
as boats glided from one vessel to another. 

Possession having been taken of the con 
quered fleet, at four o clock Perry sent an 
express to Harrison with these words: 

" DEAR GENERAL : We have met the enemy, and 
they are ours ; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and 
one sloop." 

As he wrote to the Secretary of the Navy, 
a religious awe seemed to come over him at 
his wonderful preservation in the midst of 
great and long-continued danger; and he 



1 84 The Battle of Lake Eric. 

attributed his signal victory to the pleasure 
of the Almighty. 

It was on board the Lawrence that Perry 
then received the submission of the captives. 
This was due to the sufferings of her crew, to 
the self-sacrificing courage of the unnamed 
martyrs who still lay unburied on her deck ; 
to the crowd of wounded, who thought their 
trials well rewarded by the issue. The 
witnesses to the act of the British officers in 
tendering their swords were chiefly the dead 
and the wounded, and the scene of sorrow 
tempered and subdued the exultation of 
triumph. 

The conqueror bade his captives retain 
their side-arms, and added every just and 
unaffected expression of courtesy, mercy and 
solicitude for their wounded. 

When twilight fell, the mariners who had 
fallen on board the Lawrence and had lain in 
heaps on the side of the ship opposite to the 



The Battle of Lake Erie. i 85 

British, were sewed up in their hammocks, 
and, with a. cannon-ball at their feet, were 
dropped one by one into the lake. 

At last, but not till his day s work was 
done, exhausted nature claimed rest, and 
Perry, turning into his cot, slept as sweetly 
and quietly as a child. 

The dawn of morning revealed the deadly 
fierceness of the combat. Spectators from 
the island found the sides of the Lawrence 
completely riddled by shot from the long 
guns of the British ; her deck was thickly 
covered with clots of blood ; fragments of 
those who had been struck hair, brains, 
broken pieces of bones were still sticking to 
the rigging and sides. The sides of the 
Detroit and Queen Charlotte were shattered 
from bow to stern ; on their larboard side 
there was hardly a hand s-breadth free from 
the dent of a shot. Balls, canister and grape 
were found lodged in their bulwarks ; their 



1 86 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

masts were so much injured that they rolled 
out in the first high wind. 

The loss of the British, as reported by Bar 
clay, amounted to forty-one killed, of whom 
three were officers, and ninety-four wounded, 
of whom nine were officers. Of the Ameri 
cans, twenty-seven were killed and ninety-six 
wounded. Of these, twenty-one were killed 
and sixty-one wounded in the Lawrence, and 
about twenty more were wounded in the 
Niagara after she received Perry on board. 

An opening on the margin of Putin Bay 
was selected for the burial-place of the 
officers who had fallen. The day was serene, 
the breezes hushed, the water unruffled by 
a wavelet. The men of both fleets mourned 
together ; as the boats moved slowly in 
procession, the music played dirges to which 
the oars kept time ; the flags showed the 
signs of sorrow ; solemn minute-guns were 
heard from the ships. The spot where the 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 187 

funeral train went on shore was a wild 
solitude ; the Americans and British walked 
in alternate couples to the graves, like men 
who, in the presence of eternity, renewed 
the relation of brothers and members of one 
human family, and the bodies of the dead 
were likewise borne along and buried alter 
nately, English and American side by side, 
and undistinguished. 

The wounded of both fleets, meeting with 
equal assiduous care, were sent to Erie, 
where Barclay was seen, with tottering steps, 
supported between Harrison and Perry, as 
he walked from the landing-place to his 
quarters. 

Perry crowned his victory by his modesty, 
forbearing to place his own services in their 
full light, and more than just to others. 
When, in the following year, he was re 
warded by promotion to the rank of captain, 
he who had never murmured at promotion 



1 88 The Battle of Lake Erie. 

made over his own head, hesitated about 
accepting- a preferment which might wound 
his seniors. 

The personal conduct of Perry throughout 
the loth of September was perfect. His 
keenly sensitive nature never interfered with 
his sweetness of manner, his fortitude, the 
soundness of his judgment, the promptitude 
of his decision. In a state of impassioned 
activity, his plans were wisely framed, were 
instantly modified as circumstances changed, 
and were executed with entire coolness and 
self-possession. The mastery of the lakes, 
the recovery of Detroit and the far West, the 
capture of the British army in the peninsula 
of Upper Canada, were the immediate fruits 
of his success. The imagination of the 
American people was taken captive by the 
singular incidents of a battle in which every 
thing seemed to have flowed from the per 
sonal prowess of one man ; and wherever he 



The Battle of Lake Erie. 189 

came the multitude went out to bid him 
welcome. Washington Irving, the chosen 
organ as it were of his country, predicted his 
ever-increasing fame. Rhode Island cher 
ishes his glory as her own ; Erie keeps the 
tradition that its harbor was his ship-yard, its 
forests the storehouse for the frames of his 
chief vessels, its houses the hospitable shelter 
of the wounded among his crews ; Cleveland 
graces her public square with a statue of the 
hero, wrought of purest marble, and looking 
out upon the scene of his glory ; the tale 
follows the emigrant all the way up the 
Straits, and to the head of Lake Superior. 
Perry s career was short and troubled ; he 
lives in the memory of his countrymen, 
clothed in perpetual youth, just as he stood 
when he first saw that his efforts were 
crowned with success, and could say in his 
heart : " WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND 

THEY ARE OURS." 



A DAY WITH LORD BYRON. 




FTER a ramble of three or 
four days among the Ap- 
penines, to climb the peak 
which commands a view of 
the Tuscan Sea as well as 
of the Adriatic, and to fol 
low the footsteps of Milton 
among the shades of Vallambrosa, and after 
lingering through nearly three weeks of 
spring in Florence and its environs, I took 
leave of the delightful city, and descending 



A Day with Lord Byron. 191 

the valley of the Arno, went through Pisa to 
Leghorn. The time on which I had fallen 
was opportune ; the Mediterranean squad 
ron of the United States lay at anchor in the 
harbor, and Lord Byron, having expressed a 
wish to see an American frigate, had been 
invited by Commodore Jones to inspect the 
Constitution. On the morning of the 2ist of 
May, 1822, the few Americans who happened 
to be in Leghorn went on board the ship at 
the desire of its officers. About noon, Lord 
Byron, followed by his secretary, mounted 
its gangway. As he stepped upon the deck 
he appeared to be agitated, and it was 
remarked that at first his walk was unsteady ; 
in part from his lameness, in part, perhaps, 
from an apprehension that curious gazers of 
some other country than America had in 
truded, for the sake of seeing him ; but find 
ing all present to be Americans, his manner 
became easy, frank and cheerful. Each one 



192 A Day with Lord Byron. 

of the officers and the guests was introduced 
to him. His high forehead, dark hair and 
gray eyes ; his features, which transmitted 
his thoughts and feelings as they rose, set off 
his fame as a poet ; and every one who came 
near him held that day a happy one. One 
lady, of great personal beauty, put out her 
hand, and saying, " When I return to Phila 
delphia, my friends will ask for some token 
that 1 have spoken with Lord Byron," she 
gently took a rose which he wore in the but 
ton-hole of his black frock-coat. He was 
pleased with her unaffected boldness, and the 
next day sent her a charming note and a copy 
of "Outlines to Faust ".as a more durable 
memento. 

On that day, 1 had little opportunity to 
converse with him ; but I received an invita 
tion to visit him at Monte Nero. He gave 
the morning to the officers and to a thorough 
examination of the ship, of w r hich he well 



A Day with Lord Byron. 193 

knew the history. It was a question whether 
he should receive the honor of a salute; but 
as he filled no public station, and represented 
not his country or its sovereign, but only ail 
the Muses, the stern commodore paid no heed 
to the wishes of Byron s younger admirers. 

From the Constitution, Captain Chauncey 
took Byron to the Ontario, and there the 
junior officers could more freely indulge their 
enthusiasm. As he passed through their 
quarters, his eye lighted upon a New York 
edition of his poems. He took it up with 
every appearance of pleasure, and seemed to 
interpret it as an earnest of his fame. As he 
left the vessel, a salute was fired, the yards 
were manned, and three cheers were given 
with glorious heartiness and union. 

The next morning, I drove out from Leg 
horn to Monte Nero, and at. about eleven, 
sent a short note to Lord Byron, to inquire 



194 A Day with Lord Byron. 

when I might wait on him. His answer came 
immediately, and it was : 

" I shall be very happy in your visit. Could you make 
it convenient about an hour hence, for I have been lazy 
to-day and am not yet dressed, and, I am ashamed to 
say, hardly awake." 

So I amused myself for an hour in looking 
at the sea, which lay before me at about 
three miles distance, and in plucking myrtle, 
with which the side of the mountain was over 
grown. Punctually at the end of the hour, I 
made my way to Byron s villa. The house 
was of brick, painted a flaming red, and stood 
in the midst of cultivated grounds, which had 
no unusual attraction. The country in the 
rear was not picturesque ; the whole aspect 
was prosaic and sultry. It must have been 
an undesirable summer residence, except 
that on the west it was near the Mediter 
ranean. 

I was shown at once into a spacious, cool 



A Day with Lord Byron. 195 

room, and in a moment Lord Byron joined 
me, offering me his hand. He began by ask 
ing many questions about the squadron, and 
generally about our ships of war and our bat 
tles at sea. He appeared to be singularly 
well informed of the duels which had taken 
place among distinguished American naval 
officers, knowing the names of the combat 
ants, and something of the causes of their 
quarrels. He understood, in some measure, 
the political divisions in the United States, 
and gave his sympathy to the Democratic 
party. Of American men of letters he enum 
erated two or three with respect ; among 
them Mr. Edward Everett; but he spoke 
most of Washington Irving. He had been 
delighted with " Knickerbocker s History of 
New York," which he seemed to prefer of all 
Irving s works ; and though he thought 
Irving s style became afterward " rather 
florid," he commended it very highly. On 



196 A Day with Lord Byron. 

my expressing- pleasure at hearing from him 
the praise of our American favorite, Byron 
replied that his esteem for Irving was com 
mon to all his countrymen. 

He spoke a great deal of a tour which he 
was bent on making through America ; he 
believed that he should judge its people with 
impartiality ; thus far, he said, none had gone 
among them but speculators ; he should go 
unprejudiced, and would certainly keep him 
self unbiased by prepossessions in favor of 
his native country. 

Referring to his last journey from England 
to Switzerland, he described his tour on the 
Rhine as having given him unmingled pleas 
ure ; he liked the people as well as the 
scenery ; and regretted only his ignorance 
of the German language, and that he had 
not seen more of Germany and its inhabit 
ants. I told him how often his poems had 
been translated into German, and how widely 



A Day ivitk Lord Byron. 197 

the} 7 were read ; that the court preacher at 
Berlin had made a version of his Hebrew 
melodies ; that a canto of " Childe Harold " 
had been selected at Leipzig for the subject 
of a prize translation. 

He asked me if I knew Goethe. It had 
been my good fortune to have repeatedly 
seen the great epicurean poet, philosopher 
and critic, who was as unlike Byron as pos 
sible ; bearing all things complacently except 
interruption when writing ; serene even in 
his loves, having a heart as clear as crystal 
and as cold; the. friend and minister of a 
prince, yet meditative rather than active; 
dwelling apart, and, as it were, in high 
regions, removed beyond the cares of time ; 
no ruler of the souls of people, but a god 
among his countrymen ; his mind an unruffled 
surface that mirrored his age, and clothed 
its skepticism in verse ; gifted with a refined 
sensibility, that defied the rules of inductive 



A Day with Lord Byron. 



science, he yet looked nature in the eye, 
discerned analogies from afar, divined the 
answer to her sacred riddle, and heard the cho 
rus of the flowers reveal the secret of the law 
which they obeyed in their change of form ; 
no martyr, and with nothing of the spirit of 
martyrdom ; never deeply touched by the 
sufferings of nations in his time; contemplat 
ing with equal indifference the stormy revo 
lutions among the objects of his passion, and 
the overturns of empire in America and in 
Europe. Twice I was with him at Weimar, 
and once on a bright autumn morning Goethe 
had received me in a garden attached to 
the apartments which he occupied in Jena. 
Dressed in a frock-coat, without a waist 
coat, and with not the cleanest of linen, he 
came with the stately step and majesty of 
mien that poets attribute to the Olympian 
Jupiter. As I walked for an hour or more by 
his side, he spoke of many things, but par- 



A Day with Lord Byron. 199 

ticularly of Byron, saying that he devoured 
greedily everything which Byron wrote ; 
that he admired " Manfred," and all the 
more willingly because it appeared to him to 
have been imitated from his own "Faust ;" 
that. " Don Juan," of which two cantos only 
had then appeared, was the most full of life 
and genius ; that its manner was in keeping 
with the subject; and speaking of English as 
though he knew it well enough to pass judg 
ment on style and diction, he pretended to 
find the model of the polysyllabic rhymes in 
the satires and pleasantries of Swift. 

To this Byron replied that the popularity 
of his works in Germany was new to him, 
and would console him for the abuse he was 
constantly receiving in England ; that he had 
dedicated one of his late works to Goethe, 
though his publisher, for some reason, had 
omitted the dedication without asking his 
leave to do so ; that he should take more 



2oo A Day with Lord Byron. 

effectual care that a poem which he was 
about to print should be inscribed to Goethe. 
As to " Manfred," he declared that he deemed 
it honor enough to have " Manfred " men 
tioned with " Faust," but that, at the time of 
writing it, he had never read " Faust," and 
knew nothing about it, except that, a short 
time before he had conceived the idea of 
his own drama, Monk Lewis had translated 
to him some of the scenes of that of Goethe, 
and had given him an idea of its plan. 

Shelley, he added, was translating " Faust," 
and this led him to a defense of Shelley. 

" You may have heard," said he, " many 
foolish stories of his being a man of no prin 
ciple, an atheist, and all that ; but he is not." 
And he explained what appeared in Shelley 
as atheism was only a subtle metaphysical 
idealism. 

He went on to defend himself. He owned 
very frankly that many of his friends in Italy 



A Day with Lord Byron. 201 

as well as in England, had entreated him 
not to go on with " Don Juan." He apolo 
gized for its immorality, pleading in extenua 
tion the example of Fielding, and that there 
were much worse things in Smollett than in 
anything he himself had written. He asked, 
too, what the fault-finders would say to the 
introduction to Goethe s " Faust." 

He then spoke of the clamor which had 
risen against him from all sides in England. 
He said, with an air of indifference, he had 
heard that Jeffrey was preparing a new and 
a severe article against him in the Edinburg 
Review ; that a letter of remonstrance had 
been addressed to his publisher" not to 
me," said he, " for me they deem incorrigi 
ble." Among other enemies, he observed 
that the king (George IV.) was determined 
on persecuting him. 

" I never went to court," he said, " and one 
evening at a ball I was presented to the king 



2O2 A Day with Lord Byron. 

(then prince-regent), at the king s own request, 
not at mine. I never asked to be presented, 
and yet the king complains of me, that after 
he had treated me so civilly I had written 
eight lines against him. The lines were 
written before I was presented to him."* 

He turned round to hand me one of the 
pamphlets written in abuse of him, but then 
corrected himself, saying he had just sent it 
with others to the binder. His manner 
affected careless ease and gayety, but it was 

* The eight lines referred to are those " to a lady 
weeping," the Princess Charlotte of Wales, who was 
said to have burst into tears on hearing that the Whigs 
could not form a cabinet. 

" Weep, daughter of a royal line, 

A sire s disgrace, a realm s decay. 
Ah ! happy if each tear of thine 
Could wash a father s fault away ! 

" Weep for thy tears are virtue s tears 
Auspicious to these suffering isles: 

And be each drop in future years 
Repaid thee by thy people s smiles !" 



A Day with Lord Byron. 203 

plain to me that he had been deeply wounded ; 
that, with a genuine contempt for the cavils 
of impertinent mediocrity, he valued the 
good opinion of his own countrymen beyond 
the praise of all the world beside, and that 
he specially deplored the expected censure 
from Jeffrey. Yet he was too proud to yield 
to menace ; and when he was attacked, it 
was his nature to defy. He seemed ready 
to say with one of his own heroes : 

" No ; though that cloud were thunder s worst, 
And charged to crush him, let it burst." 

He alluded with evident satisfaction to the 
part he had taken in defending Pope. Of 
Shakespeare he disclaimed being one of the 
most enthusiastic admirers, and thought he 
had by some been overrated. He said that 
Johnson s preface to Shakespeare contained 
the most correct judgment of Shakespeare 



204 A. Day with Lord Byron. 

as a poet ; that it expressed his opinion of 
Shakespeare exactly. 

Of Italy Byron spoke with affectionate 
interest. He deplored the success of the 
Austrians in putting- down the Neapolitan 
revolution, which happened during his 
residence at Ravenna. " Had the Neapol 
itans fought bravely," he said, " we were all 
ready to rise in the rear of their invaders." 
He said that the ignominious defeat of the 
revolutionists alone prevented an outbreak 
in the Romagna ; that he was then compelled 
to leave Ravenna, because all his friends 
were, one after another, driven into exile ; 
the priests stuck up an affiche, threatening 
him with he knew not what. But for the 
future of Italy Byron was full of hope. 

" The young men of Italy," he said, " are 
in a fair way ; they long for liberty ; let them 
secure that, and afterward study politics 
and learn how to govern." 



A Day with Lord Byron. 205 

The land from Monte Nero slopes down 
ward toward the Mediterranean. Lord 
Byron, who had made an excuse for leaving 
me a moment, asked me to go into another 
room, which commanded a view of the sea. 
He took me to the window to point out the 
pleasant views, and under his direction I 
caught a glimpse of Napoleon s prison, the 
island of Elba. On turning to take leave, to 
my great surprise, I found a lady had entered 
noiselessly and taken a seat on the sofa. It 
was]the Countess Guiccioli. She appeared to 
me to be about twenty-five, though her age 
was really less. Her hair was a light au burn ; 
her complexion very fair ; her cheeks 
delicately rosy ; her forehead rather high 
and of the purest white, while her fine large 
eyes were dark, expressing calmness and 
gentleness. Her nose was a perfect model 
for a sculptor; her rnouth was small, and 
when she spoke, showed faultless rows of 



206 A Day with Lord Byron. 

teeth ; her smile was singularly pleasing 
one would have said that innocence and 
repose were the leading expression of her 
countenance ; she seemed incapable of wishing 
ill to any one. I had seen and have often seen 
more splendid beauty, but her manner was 
that of uncommon gentleness and amiability. 
I had the seat nearest her. She was very, 
very fond of music, and Lord Byron had 
just imported for her a piano-forte from 
Vienna. She praised the superior excellence 
of the instrument ; and had much to say or 
to inquire about the great love of the Ger 
mans for music; the social habits of the 
Berlinese ; the manner in which " Lalla 
Rookh " had been represented as a pageant 
at the court of Berlin, and many things 
relating to France and Italy. The conversa 
tion was in Italian, which as far as I could 
judge, Lord Byron spoke perfectly well. In 
the course of it he had something to say in 



A Day with Lord Byron. 207 

praise of the Italian language, which he 
appeared to think more beautiful than the 
English ; as if unmindful that the English is 
the best, the simplest, the truest of all, and 
that he had written in it much that will 
endure as long as the language is spoken or 
remembered. 

It was late in the day when I left Monte 
Nero. Lord Byron had been throughout most 
perfectly courteous and friendly, adding 
one civil thing to another and detaining 
me by some new suggestion, when I offered 
once or twice to take leave. I could not 
doubt that the scorn which he sometimes 
professed for English opinion was only an 
evidence of how greatly he would have 
valued the esteem of the best in England, 
and how keenly his exquisitely sensitive 
nature suffered from their reproaches. In 
estimating his rank among poets, it must be 
remembered that he died at thirty-six ; at an 



208 A Day with Lord Byron. 

age when Milton had not produced his epic ; 
when D ry den s genius had given imperfect 
evidence of his great powers ; when Scott 
had become known only by his " Lay of the 
Last Minstrel;" when Schiller had not pro 
duced the magnificent dramas that are his 
crowning glory ; when Goethe had not 
written his " Iphigenie," or "Tasso," or 
" Faust." And Byron s mind, like Schiller s, 
needed time to purify its passions and clear 
itself of imperfections. But the lot of Byron 
has been hardest of all. His wife, against 
the first advice of her counsel, insisted on a 
separation from him, refusing to attempt to 
cherish in him the better life which might 
still have risen up ; his chosen friend, to 
whose fidelity he intrusted, with touching 
earnestness, the defense of his good name, 
accepted money from his enemies to burn the 
carefully prepared memoir that he prepared 
for posterity ; he would willingly have made 



A Day with Lord Byron. 209 

a sacrifice of himself to give liberty and unity 
to Italy, but the. ill-preparedness of her sons 
shipwrecked his hopes ; to Greece he 
devoted his fortune and his life, and died 
before he saw her emancipation secured. 
Sorrow seemed to claim him as her own, and 
to give him no compensation but the power 
of expressing sorrow as no other English 
poet has done. His best thoughts were 
wrung from him by emotions of excessive 
grief. His genius, like the lightning, wrapped 
its brilliancy in the darkness of the blackest 
clouds ; but, though he called himself a mis 
anthrope, he melted at the sight of distress, 
was ever ready to help the poor and the suf 
fering with his purse and his sympathy, and 
spoke and acted and died for the liberties of 
mankind. 

In his poems, he was not so much the rep 
resentative of his native country, as of the 
state of the European mind in his time ; yet 



2io A Day with Lord Byron. 

even in Britain he takes rank as the first 
English poet of this century, while on the 
continent that rank is awarded to him with 
out a peer. In America, his popularity has 
declined less than in England ; but it is the 
renovated nation of the Greeks that fervently 
cherish his memory, as the unselfish martyr 
to their independence. 




EDWARD EVERETT. 




N the death of EDWARD EVER 
ETT I have lost the oldest 
friend that remained to me. I 
saw him for the first time in 
August, 1813, more than a half 
century ago, on my examin 
ation for admission to Har 
vard College. I was then 
twelve years old, he nineteen. He was at 
the time the college tutor of the Latin 
language, and for one quarter at Cambridge 



212 Edward Everett. 

our class read with him the first books of 
Livy. A marvelous account of the ability he 
had displayed in the four years of his stu 
dent s life, his undisputed reputation as the 
best scholar that had been graduated within 
the traditions of that day, a grave and sedate 
and earnest manner, a sanctity of appearance 
that made him in youth an object of venera 
tion, gave him over our class an influence 
such as no other instructor exercised. In a 
few weeks he was invited to take the place 
left vacant by the lamented Buckminster, and 
at the end of the term he bade us an affec 
tionate farewell. I remember to this day the 
aspect of holiness which he wore, as he made 
us a parting speech, full of the best counsels 
and exhortations. In the pulpit his manner 
at that time was more sober and calm and 
solemn than at any later period. Crowds 
thronged to hear him ; he loved occasionally 
to treat subjects of critical learning ; the 



Edward Everett. 2 1 3 

oldest doctors in the temple were amazed at 
his skill in disputation ; and the young of 
both sexes hung with delight on his fervid but 
chaste and modest eloquence. 

In the latter part of 1814 he traveled to the 
South, having for one of his chief objects to 
visit Jefferson ; but calls from home forced 
him back from Washington. In December, 
John Adams, then in his eightieth year, thus 
heralded his fame to the great author of our 
declaration of independence : " The most 
exalted of our geniuses in Boston have an 
ambition to see Monticello, its library and 
its sage. I lately gave a line of introduction 
to Mr. EVERETT, our most celebrated youth." 
He had been a clergyman for about a year, 
and was then but twenty. 

Soon elected Professor of Greek literature 
in Harvard, where the promise of his return 
was hailed with rapturous delight by the 
students, he repaired to the University of 



214 Edward Everett. 

Gottingen for better preparation for the 
office. Here among those most accomplished 
in learning and most famed for industry, he 
secured the same degree of esteem as at home. 
He had a miraculous facility in acquiring 
learning ; this is one of the marked features 
of his intellect, in which I never knew any 
one that excelled him. He mastered Greek 
with an ease that was the admiration of his 
teachers ; Dissen, the great enthusiast for 
Plato and Pindar and the Greek tragedians, 
a solitary recluse, learned to bear him affec 
tion ; and before long he spoke and wrote 
German so well, that at the request of the 
venerable Eichhorn, the editor, he con 
tributed a review to the great Gottingen 
periodical. 

It was during his residence abroad that 
my intimate relations with EVERETT began. 
Just as he was leaving London, when fullest 
of engagements, and when every moment of 



Edward Everett. 215 

his time was most precious, he heard that I, 
then seventeen, was on my way through Hol 
land to Gottingen, and he found time to 
write in advance and send to meet me at 
Amsterdam a very long letter, full of 
encouragement and the most minute and 
carefully considered detail of instructions 
and advice. An elder brother could not 
have shown more of guardian care. I men 
tion this, only to bring out another trait in 
his character. He never missed an oppor 
tunity to do a kind office to a fellow man, 
especially to a man of letters. All his life 
long he was true to this quality in his nature. 
He could not be so occupied but he would 
find time for a good word to any young 
scholar that needed it, and when a novice in 
authorship ventured to come before the pub 
lic, he was sure to ponder upon the best 
way of introducing him to favor, or shielding 
him from censure, or, if need were, breaking 



216 Edward Everett. 

his fall. At the same time he was chary of 
his hours and even of his minutes. 

A young man who had a fondness for clas 
sical studies, and was hesitating whether to 
devote himself specially to them as a pursuit 
for life, EVERETT advised to a different choice, 
and added : "You see, 1 have placed so much 
confidence in you as not to hesitate in advis 
ing you to this, because my own studies 
happen to be devoted to the other. No one 
thing does or will give me greater pleasure 
than to witness any sort of improvement in 
America ; and if you should find your taste 
incline you to those pursuits which fall with 
in my sphere, you may depend upon my 
counting every success you meet as a new 
pleasure of my own." 

Here another marked characteristic of 
EVERETT S mind is portrayed with exact truth. 
He took pleasure in every success that any 
man could gain, alike in other pursuits and 



Edward Everett. 2 1 7 

in those kindred to his own. He never doled 
out scant praise. He never withheld from 
any one the applause that was due. I never 
could discern in him the slightest vestige of 
envy. His heart expanded at observing 
merit in others; and if sometimes he was too 
forbearing or too complacent toward medi 
ocrity, he gloriously redeemed that foible 
by the keenest and most willing perception 
of all kinds of excellence. His own culture 
of a particular branch only gave him taste to 
discern and promptness to acknowledge any 
happy achievement of others in the same 
class of effort. He would hear a public 
speaker do well, relish his performance with 
the liveliest pleasure, and dwell on its merits 
with nice discrimination and the heartiest 
approval. 

Returning home to occupy his post as 
Professor of Greek Literature at Harvard, 
he burst upon the world around him with a 



218 Edward Everett. 

fertility and variety of industry, which even 
went beyond highly raised expectations. In 
part this was the natural outflow of his own 
exuberant and buoyant genius; in part per 
haps it proceeded from something like neces 
sity. He inherited no fortune ; nothing but 
the taste for intellectual culture and purity ; 
he was the most successful member of a 
numerous family ; and his affection for those 
who were bound to him by ties of blood could 
never be exhausted. His manner of life was 
marked by liberality and elegance ; but he 
was simple in his habits, and was never given 
to ostentation ; and by the fruits of his own 
exertion he was able to be of service to those 
who were akin to him and to others. There 
were those whom he never ceased to care for, 
even when the burden became very heavy 
for him to bear. Here is another leading trait 
in his character ; he gave away money not 
thoughtlessly but freely, always with reflect- 



Edward Everett. 219 

ing judgment, as befitted one who had not 
much to spare and who desired to do the most 
good; he kept up his habit of generosity al 
ways ; and in proportion to his own income, 
there was perhaps no one who gave more, or 
showed himself more free from everything 
that is sordid. His happiness seemed to 
centre in others ; and where is there a man 
who habitually did so much work for others 
and so little for himself alone ? His activity 
gave an impulse to all kinds of study ; to the 
study of ancient law, of art, as well as of classic 
literature. His manner of speaking was irre 
sistible. Kirkland, the President of Harvard 
College, who was remarkable for his love of 
all his good scholars, referring to a cast 
which adorned EVERETT S library, said of 
him, that in the animation of his eloquence 
he looked like his own Apollo. And in the 
midst of the toil which his multiplied courses 
of lectures brought upon him, he became 



22O Edward Everett. 

editor of the North American Review. For 
a time the world mixed with its admiration 
that disposition to blame, which is perhaps 
necessary to bring out talent in its perfection. 
To be first in so many branches, in scholar 
ship, in eloquence, in English style, in 
general letters, and among conservative 
people to go off the old track and move upon 
a broader guage of his own, was more than 
could be borne without jealousy ; but if 
others were ever unjust towards Mr. 
EVERETT, he never retaliated, and generously 
and without diminution, recognized the 
worth even of those who most grudgingly 
conceded his own. To these public attrac 
tions he added exemplary tenderness in 
private life ; and when any one of his family 
became ill, he was the most judicious, most 
patient, and most skilful nurse. 

The culminating moment of this period of 
his life was in August, 1824, when he was to 



Edward Everett. 221 

address the great literary society of Cam 
bridge on the circumstances favorable to the 
progress of literature in America. A vast 
audience, culled chiefly from New England, 
rushed eagerly to hear him ; by a happy 
chance, Lafayette, to whom all the people 
wished to show gratitude and honor, was 
present. EVERETT treated the main topic of 
his address admirably and most acceptably, 
and then in a manner peculiarly his own, he 
spoke the welcome to the returning hero in 
words which went straight to the heart of 
his throng of hearers, and which Chateau 
briand translated to delight France. This 
hour was perhaps the happiest of his life ; 
his triumph too perfect to be renewed. The 
oration was printed ; one edition after 
another was swept off with avidity ; and all 
men in Massachusetts were grateful to him, 
that what they wished should be done fault 
lessly well, he had done in a manner of con- 



222 Edward Everett. 

summate tenderness and beauty. A vacancy 
existed in the representation in Congress of 
the district in which he resided, and he was, 
by the enthusiasm of the young, and by a 
general running together of opinion, desig 
nated as the candidate and elected. 

That same season he drew nearer and 
nearer to the affections of the New England 
people by a noble address at Plymouth, on 
the landing of the Pilgrims. In the follow 
ing spring the semi-centennial anniversary 
of the first battles of the revolution was to 
be celebrated; and no other than he was 
thought of to be the orator. The village 
church in which he then spoke was filled 
chiefly by the farmers of the neighborhood ; 
and such was his fame, and such the good 
will borne towards him, that the eyes of 
many an old man shone with tears, as soon 
as he rose and before he could enter on 
his theme. 



Edward Everett. 223 

Intense expectation followed him to Con 
gress, where he took his place in December, 
1825. For some weeks he sat as a listener. 
An extract of a letter from General Hamilton 
of South Carolina, to whom his speech was 
a reply, will show how, early in the follow 
ing February, he began : 

" I send you the debate on the resolution 
calling on the President for information in 
relation to the Congress of Panama, in which 
our friend Mr. EVERETT made his debut. It 
was just as it ought to have been, because it 
was entirely extemporaneous, and therefore 
took the House by surprise, the members of 
which did not entertain any expectation of 
hearing Mr. E., except on some topic of 
elaborate preparation. His manner is mild 
and prepossessing, and urbane in the extreme, 
his fluency uninterrupted, and with practice 
I have little doubt of his becoming a first- 



224 Edward Everett. 

rate, off-hand debater, the only debating tal 
ent that is worth a farthing- in a House con 
stituted like ours." 

Five weeks later, Mr. EVERETT, who, from 
first to last, was the adversary of the nullifiers 
and all their brood, delivered a carefully 
prepared speech in opposition to Mr. Mac- 
Duffie. Up to that time the President, John 
Quincy Adams, had carefully kept back from 
uttering a word that could be specially offen 
sive to a Southern slaveholder, and had even 
maintained a " non-committal" reserve on 
the subject of what was called the protection 
of domestic industry. Mr. EVERETT, in 
opposing a scheme of Southern statesmen, 
desired to announce emphatically that he 
was no opponent of the South ; and by an 
eagerness, not unusual in an orator, his 
rhetoric went beyond his intention. He 
uttered some words that were justly cen- 



Edward Everett. 225 

sured ; and applied apologetically to our 
century the usages and language of two 
thousand years ago ; yet on this occasion he 
was perfectly sincere, and perfectly con 
sistent with his own character and antecedent 
discourse. And this brings me to an explana 
tion of qualities in his nature, which affected 
his long career as a statesman, and must be 
taken as the interpretation of his whole life. 
His organization was so delicate, his nervous 
system so fine and sympathetic and quick, 
that he could not contemplate scenes of 
blood without an instinctive horror. Esteem 
ing his colleagues from South Carolina, and 
loving their society, he refused to consider 
an institution which they upheld as wholly 
inexcusable, or universally and absolutely 
wrong ; and the thought of the sorrows that 
would follow the track of insurgent slaves 
was more than he could bear. Hence, his 
utterance of words which might seem to 



226 Edward Everett. 

have been offered in excuse for slavery itself. 
But with all this dread of sanguinary revolu 
tion and the war of races, Mr. EVERETT was, 
by that very sensitiveness of organization, 
full of sympathy for all who were unhappy 
or oppressed ; he upheld the radical doctrine 
of democracy against the Tory and imperialist 
theory of the divine right, or right of force, 
and against the English Whig doctrine of 
compact ; his mind sometimes ran in a chan 
nel which a socialist might have been willing 
to follow ; he repelled the heart-withering 
doctrines of Malthus ; he kindled the burning 
fellow-feeling for the uprising of the Greeks ; 
he spoke for the dignity and the welfare of the 
free working man ; and without violating his 
instincts or habits of thought, he gave at the 
close of his life his testimony for immediate, 
universal emancipation. By the apprehen- 
siveness of his constitution he was timidly 
conservative ; by the sentiments of his heart 



Edward Everett. 227 

he was the friend of equal rights and of man 
kind. This apparent contradiction, which 
has existed in other great and good men, 
qualified all the judgments made of him by 
those who really knew him ; and if, by those 
who did not know the depth of his love for 
liberty and his fellowmen, he was sometimes 
chidden for want of firmness, those who read 
the secrets of his soul were aware that he 
would be more likely to encounter martyr 
dom for his sympathies and opinions than 
those who doubted his power of self-sacrifice ; 
and in his first speech in Congress, and 
always to his dying breath, he fought inflexi 
bly against the revolutionary tendencies of 
the evil spirit then known as nullification. 

This divided nature unfitted him to become 
a debater in Congress ; he might shine as the 
representative of a party, but not as a party 
leader. Had he had more alloy, he would 
have been a better political gladiator. But 



228 Edward Everett. 

his industry made his services essential to 
those with whom he acted ; some of the best 
official reports put forth by his political 
friends are of his workmanship ; and he 
excelled on occasions when he could strike a 
chord that vibrated sweetly for all. This 
was never more marked than in his farewell 
to Congress, when in beautiful language and 
his most impressive manner, he paid a tribute 
to General Jackson, the restorer of the Union, 
then engaged in upholding the rights and 
honor of our country and establishing peace 
with France. 

In 1835 Mr. EVERETT passed from Congress 
into the chair of Governor of Massachu 
setts. Parties were becoming more evenly 
balanced ; the Northern Democracy, as 
organized in that State, was as much devoted 
to the Union as himself, as much opposed to 
all the forms of nullification, and quite as 
independent of the influence of slavery ; but 



Edward Everett. 229 

they differed from him by vindicating the 
policy of separating the public revenue from 
the hazards of paper currency, and by greater 
inclination to the principles of free trade. 
They increased gradually in weight and in 
numbers, and at the end of four years he found 
his opponent elected over him by a majority 
of one vote. The contest had been carefully 
kept free from personal asperity towards 
EVERETT ; the opponents of his party had 
treated him with the reverence which his 
just administration and his personal virtues 
deserved ; and the new democratic governor 
paid the fullest tribute of esteem to his pre 
decessor, whom, with an unwonted strength 
of expression toward a man still so young, he 
described as " illustrious." Among those 
who contributed to EVERETT S defeat, was one 
at least whom he counted amongst his inti 
mate friends ; but he never allowed himself to 
be swayed by a sentiment of bitterness, and 



230 Edward Everett. 

never required from those he loved a sacri 
fice of political conviction to personal regard. 

After a year devoted to rest during a resi 
dence in Italy, whence he was careful to send 
home works of art of superior excellence, he 
was again called to the public service as minis 
ter to England. His political position appears 
from the manner in which his nomination 
was received by the Senate. The southern 
party against which he had always stood in 
Congress, made war upon his appointment, 
because he had not proved a friend to slavery, 
and it merits to be brought to mind, that he 
was saved from a rejection by the vote of a 
part of the northern democracy. 

How assiduous he was in London to all the 
duties of his station ; how devoted to the 
general interests of his country ; how atten 
tive to the claims of individuals ; how per 
fectly he bore himself in a foreign land as the 
representative of this Republic, and not of a 



Edward Everett. 231 

party is still fresh in the public memory. 
The great and the good of all classes sought 
his society ; he was a most welcome guest at 
every country-house which he found time to 
visit; and in town, Macaulay, and Hallam 
and Milman, and Sidney Smith, and Babbage 
were among his constant companions and 
friends. 

When EVERETT returned home he stood 
undoubtedly at the head of the men of letters 
of New England, and perhaps I might say at 
the head of the men of letters of America. 
True, Longfellow excelled him in poetry, 
and Hawthorne in romance, and Prescott in 
history, and the incomparable Irving in his 
own peculiar walks ; but in power of rapid 
and exact acquisition of knowledge, in vari 
ety and comprehensiveness of research, in the 
perfectly methodical arrangement of his 
learning, in the sovereign command over the 
vast mass of his resources, in the warmth and 



232 Edward Everett. 

rich coloring of style, in correctness, in the 
use of words, in the finished neatness of 
composition, he excelled all. The eyes of 
men turned to him to take the presidency of 
Harvard College. One at least of his inti 
mate friends had warned him against accept 
ing the office ; of which his acceptance 
would certainly bring advantage to the 
public, but would overwhelm him with petty 
cares and torment his too sensitive nature 
with provoking annoyances. Besides, his 
habits of study and occupation at home began 
very seriously to impair his health ; he had 
not in youth indulged in athletic exercises, 
in wrestling, or running, or riding ; now it 
was too late for him to change his habits, 
and, as a consequence, his mode of life 
required extraordinary circumspection. But 
he yielded to the public requisition, which 
seemed the call of duty. It was well for the 
institution that he did" so; but the office was 



Edward Everett. 233 

a continued martyrdom for himself. Under 
his scrupulous sense of responsibility, he 
devoted himself wholly to his task ; his 
favorite studies were suspended ; his mind 
was all in his work. When he came to the 
government of the college, its discipline had 
run down ; the old scholarly atmosphere had 
become a little tainted with indulgences in 
former time unknown ; the liberal endow 
ment for a library and a large part of the 
college funds had been foolishly squandered 
in an ill-shapen building, poorly adapted to 
its end. But EVERETT set earnestly and con 
scientiously about his task ; his supervision 
of the affairs of the college was perfect ; and 
though he personally suffered from dealing 
with the occasional levity and perverseness 
of youth, the university has never in our day 
had a more faithful and able chief. 

When EVERETT retired from the chair, 
men spoke of how much he had sacrificed 



234 Edward Everett. 

and how much he had suffered during the 
few years of his administration ; on reflection 
they see how much he had done to raise the 
character of the university, which he left 
improved if not regenerated. 

His first leisure was given to making a col 
lection of his various addresses ; and he per 
formed the greatest act of friendship for Mr. 
Webster by editing his works and writing 
his life. Here, too, his own special charac 
ter appeared ; the strength of Webster is not 
impaired by his treatment; but, as far as he 
could, he softened asperities and veiled the 
rudeness of conflicts, being always as careful 
to efface the follies or the errors of an 
opponent, as of an associate. 

The health of Mr. Webster was failing ; 
those who saw him in near interviews could 
trace the rapid decay of his vigor ; for the 
last months, perhaps for more than the last 
year, of his life, he was unequal to his duties 



Edward Everett. 235 

as Secretary of State ; on his death EVERETT 
was summoned to be his successor, and this 
\vas the public position for which, above all 
others, he was fitted. Here too the fine and 
generous tone of his mind appeared to the 
greatest advantage. He never lisped a word 
of the confusion in which he found the affairs 
of the department, or the heavy arrears of 
accumulated business. He went diligently to 
work to repair what his friend had of neces 
sity neglected ; he noiselessly and thoroughly 
restored order where it was wanting ; he 
finished without hurry, but completely, what 
remained to be done ; and he did it all in such 
a manner that he was alike faithful to his 
affection for the memory and good name of 
his predecessor, and faithful to his country. 
We all remember with pride the vigor with 
which he repelled an invitation for an entang 
ling alliance with foreign powers respecting 
the government of Cuba. All parties have 



236 Edward Everett. 

joined in praising the ability which he dis 
played during this short period of adminis 
trative service. 

Before he retired from the cares of office, 
which to him were not oppressive, his native 
commonwealth sent him to the Senate of the 
United States. It was too late. His nervous 
excitability, heightened by his sufferings as 
an invalid, wholly unfitted him for a place in 
a body in which the debates were daily 
becoming more fierce. His health was 
broken ; he could not bear the late and the un 
certain hours of labor which the Senate de 
manded ; and under the peremptory and wise 
direction of his physician, he soon retired to 
private life, which he was never again to 
leave. 

The calmness of his quiet years allowed him 
to nurse his constitution, and his old age was 
beautiful and happy. There was no voice 
which his countrymen so loved to hear on 



Edward Everett. 237 

questions of public interest, the culture of 
science, the advancement of learning. Others 
live only for themselves and within them 
selves ; EVERETT lived for others, and was 
never so happy as when he played upon the 
great instrument of the national mind, and 
found that his touch brought out tones in 
harmony with the movements of his own 
soul. This mode of life was attended with 
something of trial ; for the sensitiveness 
which was a requisite to his success in keep 
ing up a sympathy with the mind of the peo 
ple left him more than ever acutely suscepti 
ble of pain from public censure, and even 
from the idle cavils of triflers, or the sneers 
of the envious and malign. But the current 
of public opinion was so strong in his favor, 
he called out so much affectionate approval 
by his singularly disinterested devotion to 
the public good, that his last years were 
among the happiest of his three score and ten 



238 Edward Everett. 

happier than the years of impatient, aspiring- 
youth ; happier than the years of political 
conflict. It was a remark of the late John C. 
Calhoun that there is no reward so much to 
be desired as * for a man to stand well with 
his kind." EVERETT stood well and beloved 
among his fellow-men. 

He saw the clouds that were lowering 
over the land, and prayed earnestly that they 
might be dispelled. For the sake of the 
Union he kept constantly before the mind of 
the nation the name and memory of Wash 
ington ; and devoted himself with earnestness 
to setting apart MOUNT VERNON as the spot 
where all Americans might meet, with an 
equal glow of patriotism. There at least the 
transient passions of the day were to be 
hushed by recalling the immutable glory of 
the past ; and thus disloyalty was to be 
rebuked by the present influence of the father 
of the country. His zeal in this cause led 



Edward Everett. 239 

him to accept the munificent invitation of the 
LEDGER ; and when he had in that way 
become accustomed to discourse to a cloud 
of listeners whose number was incalculable, 
his love of sympathy assisted to make that 
journal his favorite way of access to the 
public. But his views as a statesman could 
not be suppressed ; and his papers in the 
LEDGER reflected, at first indirectly, then 
more openly, his judgments on public affairs. 
To promote the great end of maintaining 
the Union, EVERETT was not an advocate for 
concession, but for conservatism. He had 
in his manhood resisted nullification with 
all his might ; he now resisted everything 
that tended to secession. To keep the con 
stitution as it was, and thus to avoid all con 
flict with the South, was the key-note of his 
policy ; and when men sought to avert the 
storm which threatened ruin, one party 
looked to him, in connection with another 



240 Edward Everett. 

name, to bear, in the presidential contest, the 
standard on which was inscribed " the Con 
stitution and the Union." The selection was 
just; for he was ever a lover of the Union, 
and ever a supporter of the Constitution in 
its simple integrity, unimpaired and un 
changed. Without attempting to solve the 
question whether he was right in the attitude 
which he assumed, it is certain that he was 
honest, and that the place as candidate which 
he consented to occupy, fitted the conduct 
arid the opinions of his life. It is, perhaps, 
less known, that in the threefold division 
which prevailed at the presidential election 
in 1860, it had been the intention of Mr. 
Douglas, as he avowed to one or two at least 
of his friends, in case the decision had gone 
to Congress, to have given his influence to 
secure the election of the ticket which bore 
the name of EVERETT. 

When the storm burst he could not 



Edward Everett. 241 

remain quiet, and there was but one direction 
in which he could move. Like Douglas, to 
whom in so many respects he formed a con 
trast, he rallied to the support of the govern 
ment as the only mode in which he could 
rally in support of his country. Those who 
had before charged him with want of firm 
ness, had not kept in mind that his delay 
grew out of his desires and his convictions ; 
when events left no hope of a peaceful issue, 
he was instant in season and out of season, 
abroad and at his fireside, with friends and 
before the people, in giving to the contest 
unity of action and definiteness of purpose ; 
and while he at the last spoke bravely 
for universal emancipation, that gentleness 
which made him so slow to acquiesce in the 
stern and terrible necessity of civil war, 
inspired him in the last public act of his life 
to send consolation to those who had been 
subdued. He died as he lived, harboring no 



242 Edward Everett. 

persistent ill-will even towards traitors, 
being satisfied if those who have engaged in 
rebellion will but give up the institution which 
led them into evil, and wishing to heal the 
wounds inflicted on the Union, not by the 
block, not by confiscation, not by revenge, 
but by the establishment forever of human 
freedom. 

I have failed in this sketch, if I have not 
made it clear that the course of life of our 
departed friend was marked by integrity and 
consistency, which had their root in his own 
nature. Are there any who wish his career 
had been different ? It could not have been 
different except by his ceasing to be himself. 

It is equally vain to wish that he had 
devoted his powers to the completion of 
some special elaborate work. He was an 
orator, because to be an orator was what he 
liked best; what he was most fitted for, and 
what others most entreated of him. It is not 



Edward Everett. 243 

certain that he would have been one of the 
first of historians ; those of his writings 
which come nearest to history, such as his 
Life of Webster and his Life of Washington, 
are by no means his best. No one would 
have painted action in more vivid colors; 
but of the three qualities which are needed 
by historians, he had not a sufficient percep 
tion of how bad men can be, of that evil 
in human nature which theologians call 
depravity. Neither was he accustomed 
sufficiently to consider events as subordinate 
to law. The other requisite, which is to 
perceive that after all there is something in" 
man greater than himself, he had in an 
eminent degree ; and this perception he 
turned brilliantly to account in his addresses. 
Neither would he have been apt to excel in 
the construction of a scheme of dogmatic 
theology or philosophy ; and perhaps there 
are others in our time who would have gone 



244 Edward Everett. 

beyond him as a systematic expounder of 
public law. But in the field of mental labor 
to which he devoted himself, he is first 
among us without a rival. He touched the 
chord of public feeling with instinctive 
accuracy and power; at seventy he could 
hold a vast audience enchained, as he spoke 
without notes, with a clear, melodious, and 
unbroken voice for two hours together ; and 
when he prepared himself for a public 
speech, all learning and all science seemed to 
come at his bidding, and furnish him with 
arguments, analogies, and illustrations. What 
he has spoken with his golden mouth was 
always in behalf of good letters, of patriot 
ism, of the advancement of his country in 
science and art ; of union ; of the perpetua 
tion of republican institutions. From the 
Charles River to the Missouri the air still 
rings with his eloquence. 

There remains no man alive who has given 



Edward Everett. 



245 



such an impulse to the minds of the young 
in his generation ; they will rise up to bless 
his name and to preserve his memory in 

honor. 

GEORGE BANCROFT. 

NEW YORK, January 18, 1865. 




WASHINGTON S BIRTHDAY, 
His MONUMENT, 




HE United States of Amer 
ica alone of the nations is 
the representative of hu 
manity, for it alone is com 
posed of men from every 
civilized State in the world. 
Moreover, they take the 
lead in the science of politi 
cal organizations, having taught the lesson 
which other nations must follow if they will 



Washington s Birthday. 247 

thrive, that by the true federal system, local 
self-government may be enjoyed in perfection 
throughout a continent under one head. 
The man who, more than any other, brought 
about these results, deserves the constant 
affection of mankind. This day the chord 
that runs under the ocean tells all the culti 
vated nations of the earth that the American 
people devote their hours to the contempla 
tion of the character and achievements of 
George Washington, and invite them all to 
rake part in the sublime commemoration. 

Long before the close of his career, the 
great soldier and statesman at once aroused 
admiration and love in all classes of men. At 
the beck of Virginia, Houdon, in his time the 
foremost of French sculptors, crossed the 
Atlantic, with disinterested enthusiasm, to 
study the face of the hero, and observe his 
attitudes and his step, that he might faithfully 
embody his likeness in stone. North Caro- 



248 Washington^ Birthday: 

lina called on Canova, who in his own life 
had no rival but Thorwaldsen, to carve for 
the State a statue of Washington ; and when 
more than sixty-six years ago he conducted 
a young American through his studio where 
his works were all present in marble, or in 
their original clay, he dwelt with marked 
delight on those in which his material had 
been white without a perverse vein or a 
spot. When the American asked him the 
quality of the block of marble which he had 
chosen for Washington, he answered, with 
sparkling eyes : " Bianchissimo come la sua 
anima ;" as spotlessly white as his own soul. 
Chateaubriand, the devotee of a tempered 
monarchy, and an artist in that which is one 
of the highest of the fine arts, the just 
expression of thought in prose, before he left 
Paris to take part in the Congress of Verona, 
received a visit from Count Circourt, who 
was still in the heyday of youth. This life 



His Monument. 249 

long friend of Americans, as he parted from 
the man whom he revered, expressed to 
Chateaubriand his supreme happiness in hav 
ing- seen the greatest man of his age. " Hush, 
young man," interposed Chateaubriand, 
" you have not seen Washington." 

Christian Karl Bunsen, long the Prussian 
ambassador at London, who, having served 
in Italy as well as in England, knew all the 
great men of his time, saw in Washington 
the disinterested benefactor of a people, and 
declared that before his equal in history 
could be found the inquirer must travel 
back to the time of Moses. 

To justify such a conclusion, it is not 
enough that a man should be endowed with 
singular, or even unique powers. He must 
have manifested them in public acts before 
he can claim a great place in history. 

Washington, in his youth, was chosen by 
those who knew him well to take part in the 



2 5 Washington s Birthday : 

events which extended the rule of the Eng 
lish-speaking people to the Mississippi and 
indefinitely to the north. 

In the expedition of Braddock he was the 
only one who saw clearly what should be 
done ; in the terrible disaster that ensued 
he was the only officer who gained glory for 
himself and his Virginia regiment. He came 
from the field with a reputation so well estab 
lished that he was already looked upon as one 
destined by Providence to render the greatest 
services to his country. 

In the campaign which carried the English 
banner to Pittsburgh, joint voices from New 
England and from Virginia led to his appoint 
ment on the staff of the commanding general. 
His counsels, which, young as he was, were 
the dictates of just reflection, were followed. 
He was appointed to lead the advanced 
troops as a brigadier, and by his command 
the English banner destined to give way to 



His Monument. 251 

none but the banner of his independent coun 
try floated in triumph over the junction of 
the waters that make the Ohio, and the 
dominion of the English tongue was at once 
extended to the Mississippi. 

When the evil influences misguided Great 
Britain into an attempt to subvert the rights 
of America, no one was swifter than Wash 
ington to discern the scope of the design, and 
to hold himself ready to take up arms for its 
defeat. I have had in my hands his letter to 
his royalist friend, Bryan Fairfax, of the 
twenty-fourth of August, 1774, in which the 
cause of America is supported in his own 
language and his own style with perfect clear 
ness and precision of statement, as well as 
with brevity and decision. 

When he took command of the army what 
endless troubles did he not immediately en 
counter from the w r ant of money and of credit, 
and of men ! How often was he compelled by 



252 Washington s Birthday : 

the short-sightedness of Congress to repeat, 
and how often in vain, the admonitions as to 
the manner in which the army should be 
organized; admonitions which Moltke than 
whom no other living man has so many 
points of resemblance with Washington- 
cited to the German Diet in confirmation of 
advice drawn from his own experience. 

The esteem of his fellow-men was the only 
reward which he coveted for his labors ; and 
yet, when at one period of the war an attempt 
was made to turn the public opinion against 
him, and nothing for the vindication of his 
honor was needed but to lay before the pub 
lic the narrowness of the means which Con 
gress had placed at his disposal, he refused to 
repel reproaches by one single word of the 
truth, saying ; " To clear myself from blame 
would do injury to my country." 

When the King of France sent a French 
army, commanded by officers taken in a great 



His Monument. 253 

measure from the highest nobility, to serve in 
America, and placed it absolutely under the 
command of Washington, how did its officers 
vie with one another in their confidence in 
their republican general ! How, for his sake, 
and the cause which he defended, they trod 
under foot all jealousies between one another ! 
How men of superior rank in the army, if the 
good of the service for the moment required 
it, served without a word of reluctance under 
those of an inferior one ! 

How Washington had, for their lives, the 
hearts of every one of them ! When no other 
voice could prevail, how did he himself in 
person persuade the commander of the 
French squadron in American waters to 
submit to his advice ! Where will you find 
in the wars of Europe an example of so per 
fect a union. 

All agree, without one single dissenting 
voice, that but for Washington the war of 



254 Washington/ s Birthday : 

the American Revolution this first decisive 
contest between government founded upon 
the rights of man and government as inher 
ited from the past must have failed. 

When the war of the Revolution was at an 
end, it remained to do what had never before 
been thought possible to form a continent 
into one efficient nation through a perfect 
concert of self-governing States. After a 
vain struggle through a long war, and after 
the approach of peace had made the country 
despair of effecting a real union, it was the 
voice of Washington that was listened to, as 
he summoned the people of the several States 
to meet in convention and form the new con 
stitution. But for Washington the federal 
convention never could have been called, and 
as a consequence the American constitution 
could never have been framed. 

Without Washington the Constitution of 
the United States never would have been 



His Monument. 255 

formed ; and may it not be said that without 
him, the States, which were so strong each 
within itself, might never have consolidated 
the Union? 

The constitution was the form of union, 
but it had not, as yet, life in the habits and 
minds of the citizens of the several States. 
The new government could not, in a moment, 
supercede in the affections of the common 
people the old government under which they 
had thriven so long. It took time for the 
tendrils to be formed by which the plants 
should cling to their new support. It was 
universally acknowledged by the friends of 
the constitution that at the moment no other 
man than Washington had the capacity to 
set the powers of the new government suc 
cessfully in motion. When, after eight years, 
he retired from the presidency, he left the 
Union established. 

After he retired, the point from which to 



256 Washington^ Birthday : 

contemplate his character is that of devoted- 
ness to the Union. He had a successor 
regularly chosen by the people, and he saw 
in him the representative of union. He saw 
in his vicinity the incipient tendency to a 
conspiracy against the Union, growing in 
strength. Just in the degree in which that 
opposition to union increased, did he put 
himself forward as ready even to take the 
field, and published to the statesmen of 
Virginia and to the world his determination 
to stand immovably for union, and, if neces 
sary, to maintain, even in arms, the new 
constitution as the most perfect model of 
government ever established by man. 

So, throughout a long life, Washington 
was from his youth to the moment of his 
death, employed in events which affected the 
great powers of the earth, and for the rest of 
his life he took the leading part in the great 
est modern epoch in the history of the race. 



His Monument. 257 

Without him the war of the Revolution 
would not have succeeded ; without him the 
convention for framing 1 the constitution 
could never have assembled, nor the constitu 
tion have been framed. His influence was 
superior to that of any other man in securing 
the adoption of the constitution ; so that it 
may be even believed that but for him it 
could not have been adopted. All agree 
that his services were essential as President 
to put the new constitution in motion ; and 
he died proclaiming to his country that 
resistance to the Union by unlawful force 
must be met by the lawful exertion of force. 
He who proclaims the greatness of Washing 
ton may, at least, point to a life filled full of 
all-momentous deeds. 

It is but fair to concede leave to a skeptical 
inquirer to demand what manner of man was 
he who, by his deeds, secured such blessings 
for the race; and the observer must be 



258 Washington s Birthday : 

ready to specify the qualities from which 
flowed these transcendant results. 

The character of Washington s greatness 
may be described, in its unity, as the highest 
wisdom of common sense ; that is to say, the 
largest endowment of the power that consti 
tutes the highest part of the nature of man ; 
or, it may be described as in action the perfec 
tion of reflective judgment. That common 
sense, or reflective judgment, was combined 
with creative and executive capacity. If he 
spoke, or if he Avrote, he came directly to 
the point on which the matter in discussion 
depended ; and pronounced his thoughts in 
clear, strong, and concise words ; if he was 
to act, he suited his means, be they scanty 
or sufficient, in the best way to his end. 
When America assembled its ablest men in 
a first congress, Patrick Henry said ; " For 
sound judgment, Colonel Washington is 



His Monument. 259 

unquestionably the greatest man on that 
floor." 

His will moved with the greatest momen 
tum ; but in the supreme moment of excite 
ment it was ever under his control. In mod 
eration, which is the test of greatness, no one 
exceeded him. He was humane ; he never 
wasted the life of a soldier. The highest 
excitement to which he ever yielded was 
impassioned grief at the unjust sufferings of 
others. 

This is the praise of Washington. In the 
construction of the government of the nation 
he would never suffer the employment of 
physical force ; he sought to guide the coun 
try only by giving good advice, and enforcing 
it by a manifest integrity and disinterested 
affection for the public good. His fixed 
belief was, that an available constitution 
could be formed only by means of the public 
wisdom and will, legally expressed, and 



260 Washington s Birthday : 

honestly obeyed. This is the wand of en 
chantment by which Washington controlled 
the judgment and the will of his countrymen. 

It is said of Raphael that the idea of 
BEAUTY was so enshrined in his nature that it 
nourished his imagination, inspired his inven 
tive powers, and guided his hands ; so that of 
all the painters known to us, he is the greatest. 
In like manner, Washington had within him 
self the idea of GOODNESS, the creative prin 
ciple and ruling power of his life, illuminat 
ing every part of his mind and his heart, 
and guiding him in every action. The crown 
ing glory of his character was his purity of 
will. Who in the world s history is his equal ? 

Miltiades rescued Hellenic civilization 
from Asiatic despotism ; and generation after 
generation gratefully dwell on his name. But 
the great act of Miltiades was the deed of a 
single day. After a busy life of action Wash- 



His Monument. 261 

ington still served humanity in his old age, 
and died in the public service. 

Of Julius Cassar, the youth was profligate. 
In manhood he was overwhelmed with debt 
till he obtained the rule of a province. Italy 
was sinking under the system of large es 
tates cultivated by slave labor, and Cassar 
increased the desolation by sending home 
hordes of captives to be sold as slaves. He 
could not reform the Roman constitution, 
for he had no moral power, and could rely 
only on his legions. He fell when about to 
assume the emblems of a monarch, leaving 
to his own times, and to posterity, a pesti 
lent example. 

Cromwell stepped from the peaceful culti 
vation of the soil to the command of armies, 
and the direction of victory. But his 
strength was in the sword, and therefore he 
could give peace neither to England, nor to 
Scotland, nor to Ireland ; still less conciliate 



262 Washington s Birthday : 

the three by establishing, with their consent, 
a new constitution. For this reason the 
influence of the greatest one in the line of 
English princes could not outlast his life. 

Napoleon Bonaparte was " a great wor- 
rior," not a great man. Gaining power by 
treason and bloodshed, he was mad enough 
to attempt to quarter his family as kings and 
princes, and his generals as pensioners on 
some of the proudest -nations of Europe ; and 
the result was that after he had exhausted 
France in wars of contest, and after having 
kings of the old lines for his companions and 
princes for his servants, he was driven beyond 
the equator, leaving France with a dimin 
ished boundary to be the sufferer for his 
crimes. 

It is Washington alone who led thirteen 
separate States jointly to independence, and 
then to union under a constitution framed 
by themselves. 



His Monument. 263 

The monument to Washington, though it 
may show no sign that we have among us a 
Pericles and a Phidias, speaks the thought of 
the American people. It is not built over 
the dust and ashes, the wasting relics of 
WASHINGTON ; these are preserved where 
they properly belong, on the heights of 
Mount Vernon, the scene of his domestic life, 
his own beloved home. There let them rest 
forever. The monument which points to 
the skies was built to keep in memory the 
services and the virtues of the living man. 
It points to no career that is ended ; it points 
to deeds that are to have their influence as 
long as the nation keeps together, as long as 
the world shall remain. 

The monument is made in honor not of 
dust and ashes that lie buried, but of the 
person whose spirit and influence and char 
acter are to-day fresh and active. The mon 
ument is the evidence that Washington still 



264 WasJitngtorfs Birthday : 

lives. It looks to the south and to the north, 
to the west and to the east, and its voice cries 
to all : " The Union must be preserved the 
Union must last forever." 



THE END. 



A Matter of Millions. 

By ANNA KATHARINE GREEN, 

Author of " The Forsaken Inn," " The Leavenworth Case," etc. 
MAGNIFICENTLY ILLUSTRATED BY VICTOR PERAHD. 



12mo. 482 Pages. Handsomely Bound in English Cloth, 
Gold Stamping- on Cover. Price, $1.50. 



This brilliant, artistic novel will enhance the great 
reputation of the popular author of " The Forsaken 
Inn." It is a story of to-day. The scene is laid in the 
city of New York and the village of Great Barrington, 
Mass. The story recites the strange adventures of a 
beautiful heiress who is herself so mysterious a creature 
that the reader cannot fathom her character until the 
final explanation and denouement of the plot. She is an 
intellectual and talented girl whose musical gifts make 
her admired and beloved by her own sex, and the object 
of passionate adoration by the other sex. The artistic 
life is pictured and exemplified by two of the principal 
characters in the story. Everything conspires to make 
the story one of strong dramatic interest. 



A NEW EDITION. 

THE HIDDEN HAND. 

By MRS. E. D. E. N. SOUTHWORTH, 

Author of " Unknown" "For Woman s Love," "A Leap in 

the Dark," "Nearest and Dearest," "The Lost Lady 

of Lone," " The Unloved Wife," etc. 

With Illustrations By W. H. Thwaites aud Arthur Lutuley. 
Paper Cover, 50 Cents. Bound Volume, $1.00. 



" The Hidden Hand ; or, Capitola the Madcap," is one 
of the most popular stories ever issued from the press. We 
doubt if, in all the realms of literature, there has ever 
been a heroine who could vie with th captivating mad 
cap Capitola in exciting the admiration of readers, or in 
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spirited, so beautiful, so sagacious, so dauntless, and yet 
so innocent and childlike, that she at once takes all 
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tions clear to the last page of the story. 

The way in which Capitola outwits, overcomes and cap 
tures the gigantic and brutal robber Black Donald, when 
he had concealed himself in her lonely room at the dead 
of night, and chuckled with fiendish glee to think he had 
the bewitching girl in his power, is one of the most thrill 
ing chapters in the entire range of romantic literature. 

"The most valuable and popular story ever published 
in the New York Ledger was Mrs. Southworth s * Hidden 
Hand. So great was the demand for it that it was re- 
published in the Ledger three times ! The cry came 
from everywhere : Publish this great story in book form / 
And now it is published in book form, and is eagerly read 
by tens of thousands of admirers." Passaic City Herald. 



THE NEW SOUTH. 

By Henry W. Grady. 

With a Character Sketch of 

HENRY W. GKRADY 

BY OLIVER DYER. 

16mo. Bound in Cloth. Uniform With "Great Senators." 
With Portrait. Price, $1.00. 



In his letter consenting to write the series of interesting letters 
which form this volume, Mr Grady said : " It is a matter that I 
take great interest in, and I will give you six letters that I think 
will make an impression. My idea would be to deal in the first 
letter with the difference between the new South and the old. In 
the second, with the general growth of the South since the War. 
In the third, with the agriculture of the South. In the fourth, 
with the industrial status of the South. In the fifth, with the 
political condition of the South and its probable outcome, and 
touching the race problem. In the sixth, a general letter closing 
the series." Mr Grady did not adhere strictly to this outline, but 
it affords a sufficiently clear idea of his intention and the contents 
of the volume. " In his letters to the New York Ledger on The 
New South, " Mr Dyer, in his eloquent sketch, says, "Mr. Grady 
gave to the world the gist and essence of all that he had been in 
spired to write on that subject by his love for the land of his birth, 
by his pride in her worth and his hope in her destiny. These 
letters evidently came hot from his heart ; they are freighted with 
information, are picturesque in description, fervid and eloquent 
in style, honest in purpose and noble in spirit. They will long be 
treasured as the latest and ripest utterances of the remarkable 
man who wrote them," 



FIVE YEARS 

WITH THE 

CONGO CANNIBALS. 

By HERBERT WARD. 

Magnificently Illustrated With Many Full-Page Engrav 
ings After Original Drawings Made on the Spot By 
the Author. Crown Octavo, Elegantly Bound, $3.00. 

Herbert Ward s book is the record of five years spent 
with the most savage tribes of the far interior of Africa. 
It contains many facts, hitherto unknown, concerning the 
life, customs and superstitions of the cannibal races. It 
abounds with thrilling adventures, and the story it tells of 
risks and dangers encountered in strange places, and 
among wild and hostile people, is one of fascinating in 
terest. A flood of light is thrown on the horrors and 
cruelties existing among the millions of Central Africa. 

Mr Ward s travels in Africa commenced in 1884, when 
he received an appointment in the service of the Congo 
Free State. He was a member of the Emin Bey Relief 
Expedition, and while in the service of Mr. H. M. Stanley, 
he made his memorable canoe journey of eleven hundred 
miles on the Congo. 

His book contains entirely new matter about the tribes 
of Central Africa, will have permanent interest and value, 
and will be the standard work on that subject. 



A NEW NOVEL 

By the Popular Author, Mrs. Amelia E. Barr. 

A Cheap Edition : Price, 50 Cents. 



The Beads of Tasmer. 

By MRS. AMELIA E. BARR. 
BEAUTIFUL^ ILLUSTRATED BY WARREN B. 



12mo. 395 Pages. Handsomely Bound in English Cloth. 
Uniform with "A Matter of Millions" and "The For 
saken Inn," by Anna Katharine Green. Price, $1.25. 
Paper Cover, Price, 50 Cents. 



"The Beads of Tasmer," by Mrs. Amelia E. Barr, is 
a powerful and interesting story of Scotch life. The sin 
gular and strenuous ambition which a combination of an 
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hibition of the most loving and loyal devotion, constitute 
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For sale by all Booksellers, or sent, postpaid, on 
receipt of price, by 

ROBERT BONNER S SONS, Publishers, 
COR. WILLIAM AND SPRUCE STREETS, NEW YORK. 



A NEW LIFE OF "OLD HICKORY." 

General Andrew Jackson 

By OLIVER DYER, 

Author of "Great Senators of the United States," "Life of 

Henry W. Grady," "Life and Writings of 

George Bancroft," etc. 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. M. EATON. 

12mo. 378 Pages. Handsomely Bound in Cloth. Price, 
$1.00. 



Andrew Jackson s career is the most interesting and thrilling 
in the annals of American politics. Few men of any race or nation 
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every citizen who exercises intelligently the right of suffrage. 

Mr. Dyer s Life of Andrew Jackson is characterized by the in 
sight, the subtle appreciation of principles and motives, the vivid 
delineations of character, the picturesque descriptions, the clear 
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sketch of Jackson s childhood and early manhood, which re 
veals the secret of Ms character and marvelous career, is one of 
the most affecting, thrilling and instructive chapters in biography. 
The picture of the wild frontier life of a hundred years ago, and 
of General Jackson s Indian fights and his battles in the New 
Orleans campaign, are so vivid and graphic that the reader seems 
to be a participant in the scenes described. Burr s conspiracy, 
the rise and fall of Nullification, the theory of Secession, and 
the philosophy, the inherent nature and the paramount impor 
tance of the American Union are analytically and luminously 
treated. In short, Mr. Dyer s Life of Andrew Jackson is 
crammed full of correct information on the tide-turning events 
in American history, law and government, as well as a powerful 
and brilliant biography of the most popular of the heroes whose 
achievements have rendered the American name illustrious. 

For sale by all Booksellers, or sent, postpaid, on receipt of 

price, by 

ROBERT BONNER S SONS, Publishers, 

COR. WILLIAM AND SPRUCE STREETS, New York. 




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